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Planning committee meetings

Planning Committee Meetings - Update 7 May 2021 

The law, which allows for the holding of virtual council meetings, ended on 07 May 2021.  All planning meetings scheduled after this date will need to be held in the Council Chamber, with councillors attending in person.

Please see Can I speak at the Planning Committee below for full details for registering to speak on an application. Members of the public who are speaking at the meeting may do so via remote connection – there are various options available including via weblink, via telephone, and by officers reading out a pre-prepared script on your behalf.
  
While these are public meetings, access to these meetings for speakers can continue in a virtual manner and the webcast will still be available for anyone wishing to watch the meeting. This is in line with government guidance, which encourages remote participation wherever possible.
 
In-person public access to the meeting is limited so that meetings can take place in a Covid-secure manner. If you have a specific need to be present at the meeting in person (either as a speaker or as an observer), please contact customer services no later than 4pm on the day before the meeting to make a request to attend in person. Spaces are bookable only on a first come, first served basis with priority being given to those who are wishing to attend in person to speak. Confirmation as to whether you can be accommodate at the meeting in person will follow in the morning of the day when the meeting is scheduled to take place. 

Committee reports, agendas and minutes

The agendas and minutes of each of the four planning committees can be found by clicking on the individual links below.

Planning (Development Control) Central
Planning (Development Control) North
Planning (Development Control) South
Planning Referrals Committee

Each committee meets every four weeks and covers a different area (see Planning Committee Boundaries below)

Not all applications are considered by the area committees. For example, major applications and applications by the Council, its employees and councillors and their close relatives are normally considered by Planning Referrals.

Which applications go to a planning committee? Toggle accordion

Planning applications are normally decided by planning officers, without going to Committee. The case officer will make a recommendation on the basis of Local Development Plan policies. The application is then decided by a senior Development Management Officer.

The Planning Committees usually only make decisions on planning applications for some major developments, those proposals considered by the Head of Planning and Building Control to have a significant impact, or those 'called in' by a District Councillor. All Council applications and those submitted by councillors or officers of the Council and their close relatives are also decided at Committee. In addition, where a written objection to an application is received from an elected councillor  who has personal interest, the application should be decided at committee for transparency and probity.

The Council has a code of practice for members of planning committees,  Code of Practice for Members and Officers Dealing with Planning Matters.

How are applications 'called in' to planning committee? Toggle accordion

Only District Councillors may "call in" applications they feel should go to Committee. If you have serious concerns about an application, you may contact your local councillor as soon as you are notified of the application.  Call-ins need to submitted by the call-in deadline date on the weekly list of applications registered on which the application appears. This is now 28 days from the publication date.

District Councillors fill in a form stating why they are calling in the application to committee. These forms are published online in the planning application database. The application will only go to Committee if the call-in position with regard to granting or refusing an application is different from the case officer's recommendation. Sometimes there are call-ins from two councillors, one if the recommendation is to grant permission and another if the recommendation is to refuse, and these applications will always go to Committee. Only some applications can be called-in to Committee including Planning Applications; Householder Applications; Certificates of Lawfulness (Existing); Listed Building Consents; Advertisement Consents and Telecommunications Applications. Other applications, for example Discharge of Conditions or Non-Material Amendments, are decided by planning officers.

For detailed information please see the Council's Scheme of Delegation.

How to find out if an application is going to Committee Toggle accordion

Under the case details displayed for each application, you will see a Committee field (which will tell you which committee it will be heard at) and a Committee date field (which gives the date of the Committee). These fields are updated as soon as we know if an application will be going to Committee, usually one week before the meeting.

In addition, you can check the Agendas for each committee (see links above) to see which applications will be heard. The agendas are published on our website at least one week prior to the meeting.

The Council does not notify interested parties if or when an application is going to committee.

Can I speak at the Planning Committee? Toggle accordion

Speaking at a meeting

One person can speak for and one against each planning application on this agenda. Only the applicant, agent or members of the public who have made written representations can register to speak at committee.

Prospective speakers will be asked for their consent to share their contact details with others of the same views. Preference will be given to people who are prepared to share their details. This is to enable wider public engagement so interested parties can discuss the application with the registered speaker before the Committee meets. If no one who wishes to speak is willing to share their details, the first person to register an interest will be contacted, and if still interested, will become the registered speaker. 

Please note that planning can only consider certain issues when deciding an application. These are called Material Planning Considerations.  Please avoid matters that cannot be considered by the Committee such as the developer’s motives or morals. You are also advised to avoid derogatory or defamatory statements.

How to register

Bookings should be made between 9.00am and 4.30pm on the Friday before the meeting by telephoning the Council on 01727 866100. Each speaker will have up to 3 minutes to address the Committee. Only persons who have registered to speak at the meeting will be allowed to address the Committee. 

Registered speakers, Town/Parish Councillors and District Councillors may exercise their right to speak at this virtual meeting in one of the following ways:

  • by remote attendance via weblink using Microsoft Teams (either from the District Council offices or a location of your choice); 
  • by submitting a written representation to be read to the Committee by officers (send to planningcomments@stalbans.gov.uk); 
  • by remote attendance by telephone call 
  • by submitting an audio file to be broadcast at the meeting. Please provide this no later than 9am on the day of the meeting. 
  • by attendance at the Council Chamber to address the committee in person. Please note that spaces are limited in order to ensure meetings are carried out in a Covid-secure manner and it may not be possible to accommodate a request to attend in person. 

In all cases, submissions must not exceed the allocated speaking time. In cases where remote attendance or submission of an audio file is the chosen method of speaking, please provide a written copy of your speech to officers at planningcomments@stalbans.gov.uk by 9.00am on the day of the meeting. In the event of technological difficulties, the written submission will be read out on your behalf.

Procedure for speaking at this meeting

  1. The Planning Officer will present the application. 
  2. The Chairman will call on the registered public speakers for the application to address the Committee for up to 3 minutes each. 
  3. The person speaking against the application will speak first. 
  4. The person speaking in favour of the application will then speak. 
  5. Any Parish/Town Councillors who wish to speak on the application can do so for up to 3 minutes each. 
  6.  Any District Council members who are not members of the committee may if they wish then speak on the application for up to 5 minutes each. 
  7. The Committee will then discuss the application and vote on whether to grant or refuse it. 

The names of speakers, but no other details, will appear in the minutes of the meeting. 

NOTE: We record all telephone calls made to Customer Services.  We store all personal data recorded in that call on our system, including your name, address and telephone number, securely.  We will retain these records for 30 days after which they are deleted. 
  
If you have any further questions about this, please email: contactus@stalbans.gov.uk

If you do not wish to speak at the meeting or cannot attend, you can speak to your Local District Councillor. You may wish to ask if a Councillor who does not sit on the committee will speak for you. As Councillors who sit on a planning committee can only make up their minds on the works when they make a decision on the application. District Councillors (who are not a Member of that Planning Committee) can each speak for up to 5 minutes. A representative of the local Town or Parish Council can also speak to the Committee.

You cannot distribute documents at the meeting. If you send your views to Councillors before the meeting these should also be sent to planningcomments@stalbans.gov.uk by 4.30pm and to all members of the Committee (including any substitutes).

Webcasts Toggle accordion

We transmit and record all planning committee meetings held in the Council Chambers. Planning Committee meetings are normally held in the Council Chambers on Monday evenings (except on bank holidays) and start at 7pm - they can be viewed live from our webcast pages.

Please note that by entering into the Council Chamber you are giving permission for video (images and sound) to be recorded and transmitted live and as an archive over the internet and by any other means that the Council may deem to use, at its discretion, in the future. The webcast will be made available in the public domain for future viewing purposes.

All meetings are recorded and saved for six months; if you can’t view the live broadcast you can see the archived version (approximately 24 hours after the meeting).