Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Penrith
Contact: Members Services 01768 817 817
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Holden, with Councillor Baker Deputising, and Councillor Lynch.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of the existence and nature of any private interests, both disclosable pecuniary and any other registrable interests, in any matter to be considered or being considered.
No declarations of interest were received.
Questions and Representations from Members of the Public
To receive questions and representations from the public under Rules 10 and 11 of the Council Procedure Rules of the Constitution.
No questions or representations were received from members of the public under Rules 11 and 12 of the Council Procedure Rules of the Constitution.
Questions and Representations from Members
To receive questions and represenations from Members under Rules 11 and 12 of the Council Procedure Rules of the Constitution.
Councillor Ryland asked the following question:
Thank you Chair for allowing me to put this question to you, Gillian’s well at Calthwaite is a listed historical monument. Last year when I was deputising on this Committee a development behind the well came up for approval on reserved matters. At this meeting I requested a reinstatement condition for any damage to this well. I was assured by the planning officer present that a condition would be included and this induced me to give my vote for approval. Residents have raised concern about the condition of the well, that the water is now polluted, large amounts of water are seeping through the rendering of the wall – this goes up to 18 to 20 inches off the ground, and that the wall is now beginning to buckle. This is all due to the excavation, with the development actually excavating within half an inch of the wall behind, my fears have been realised. Upon checking the reserved matters condition notice it appears that nothing has been included at the time of my request. Please can you tell me what redress I now have for the residents of Calthwaite that I represent, and what actions do you advise?
The Planning Services Development Manager gave the following response:
There is a combination of things we can look at, we can go over the paper trail and see what happened with the condition. Secondly we can look at the case file. And thirdly we might get enforcement involved, because regardless of the condition or not that was imposed there is clearly work going on, engineering works, which may in themselves require planning permission.
Councillor Ryland asked the following question:
Further to my question at Full Council in September, requesting additional resources for planning enforcement to alleviate the large backlog of 200 cases, I am pleased to see in today’s report at number 23 and 24 there is an additional £150,000 put in place for the next financial year, however at number 3 of the report there is no additional budget costs for planning enforcement regarding vacant positons, could you please clarify for me what the £150,000 constitutes and what time frame and impact this will have on the backlog.
The Assistant Director Development gave the following response:
Thank you for your question. First of all I will update you on the additional £150,000 that is referred to in the report. We considered a number of factors for this in the budget making process, in particular, one of the considerations we had to make was the current market situation, and so what we identified is a sum of money we can use to enhance enforcement. At this point we’re not sure if we will have to recruit on normal salary rates or where we will have to go through agency staff, so it’s a broad budget it is not broken down by individuals, but we will be aiming to add two more enforcement posts to the team. ... view the full minutes text for item Pla/119/01/22
To consider the Assistant Director Development’s report DCE03/22 (attached), which informs members about the recent peer review of the Council’s planning service carried out by the Planning Advisory Service (PAS), set out at Appendix 1 to the report, and the Council’s response, financial implications and plan at Appendix 2.
RECOMMENDED that the Planning Committee notes the report, considers the
draft action plan and provides any comments the Committee wishes to make
for the Cabinet to consider.
Members considered Report No: DCE03/22 of the Assistant Director Development which sought to inform Members about the recent peer review of the Council’s planning service carried out by the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) attached at Appendix 1. The recommendations from the review are set out in full in Appendix 2 along with our response to them which forms a plan to deliver related improvements. The financial implications of the plan are also set out for member’s consideration and approval.
The Chairman opened the floor for the Committee to discuss the recommendations of the report, and to provide any comments for consideration to the Cabinet. The following principal points were made in debate:
· Clarification of the total financial implications of the recommendations.
· Queries on the updated planning portal and the ability for Members to see consultation responses.
· Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) and how the existing framework is not powerful enough to support BNG, leading to friction between officers and Members.
· The need for improved communication for complainants and Councillors in regards to enforcement matters raised by them.
· The need for the “meet the staff” sessions to be expanded to include all members of Planning Committee to facilitate better communication between Officers and Members.
· The need for case officers to present their own applications to ensure that specific information is available at the Committee.
· The need for effective s106 monitoring, to allow Members to better answer queries from the public around what happens to these funds.
· That the Annual Infrastructure Funding Statement be reported to Planning Committee.
· The need for improved communication from Officers to both Members and Applicants.
· The need for updated I.T, and queries over the twelve month lead in period, and the effectiveness of this considering the long timescale.
· The highlighted need to alleviate staffing issues through the recruitment and filling of new and existing posts.
The Committee endorsed the proposed action plan and requested that the following comments of Committee are taken into consideration by Cabinet, and in implementing the plan:
· That applicants on current applications should receive an update where delays have resulted and be informed of the reasons for this and the steps being taken to address this.
· That the s106 monitoring function should be properly resourced, a robust monitoring procedure put in place and the annual Infrastructure Funding Statement reported to planning committee.
· That the “meet the staff” sessions recommended at R8 of the review should be expanded to include all members of planning committee to improve officer member communication more widely and consideration be given to providing a forum for members to raise planning issues/ queries.
· That the Committee support R9 and in particular that case officers should present their own applications to committee to assist with better communications and so that more specific information is readily available at committee.
· That the Committee should receive regular enforcement updates, as proposed and actioned under R22.
· That regular updates should be given to complainants and Councillors, as part of the enforcement process, on matters raised by ... view the full minutes text for item Pla/120/01/22
Any Other Items which the Chairman decides are urgent
No items of urgent business were raised at this meeting.
Date of Next Meeting
The date of the next scheduled meeting be confirmed as 20 January 2022 at 9.30 a.m.
The date of the next scheduled meeting of this Committee was confirmed as being the 20 January 2022.