Councillor Brunt moved a motion which asked the Council to resolve to support the role of open and transparent consultation in development management and the determination of planning applications, in light of recent proposals to reform the National Planning Policy Framework.
Councillor Schofield seconded.
Members highlighted the importance of:
· consultation in ensuring planning decisions reflect the character and needs of local communities and in shaping better developments;
· the role of the local planning authority in making decisions which consider the views of residents; and, the role of the planning inspectorate in regulating those decisions;
There was further discussion about:
· the challenges of meeting housing targets, including affordable housing, in balance with the views of the local community and the conservation of greenspaces;
· the impact of proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework and the current impact of permitted development rights;
· the role of Neighbourhood Plans as a supplementary tool for reflecting the views of local communities and managing developments in the borough. In view of this, it was noted that the Council was already working with residents to progress early proposals for Neighbourhood Plans in the borough;
· The role of parish and town council planning authorities in supplementing the planning authority at the borough level.
RESOLVED that the Council believes the Development Management and planning system works best for residents when developers and the local community work together to shape the future of their local areas and deliver necessary new homes and related infrastructure; it is therefore essential that the rights of residents and their communities to be able to engage fully, transparently and easily in the planning process by: the full use of digital technology; participation in the making of neighbourhood plans; and maintaining the right to object, support and be consulted on all individual planning applications.