Cabinet Member for Planning
99.1 Councillor Horn introduced the report and MOVED the recommendations in the report.
99.2 In his opening speech Councillor Horn informed Council that the revised Joint Statement of Community Involvement for Planning Matters explained how the Council would engage with the public and other interested parties on planning matters being recommended for adoption by Council. The Statement of Community Involvement had been reviewed as a result of the greater use of the Council’s website, it reflected the move of the Council headquarters and the opening of the two customer access points in Stowmarket and Sudbury. It also explained the support offered in the consultation stages with neighbourhood planning and reflected the amendments relating to community involvement in relation to planning applications, the introduction of community infrastructure levy and a chargeable pre- application advice service.
99.3 Councillor Horn informed Council that there had been 24 respondents to the consultation, these included a mix of private individual, parish councils, local authorities and statutory consultees. A summary of those responses was shown on pages 19 and 20 of the report together with the Councils’ responses. Many of these responses reflected concerns with the planning system rather than the Statement of Community Involvement documents itself. Changes have been made following the consultation feedback to ensure that the text was clearer and explaining how electronic communication methods could help to overcome some of the barriers that prevent people from taking part in public consultation.
99.4 Councillor Flatman seconded the recommendations in the report.
99.5 Cllr Otton raised concerns about charging members of the public for copies of planning applications and felt that any major applications should be heard in the locality and asked why the Council did not advertise planning applications? She also felt that it would be sensible to have some consultation with neighbouring parishes when there were major applications involved.
99.6 Councillor Stringer asked if it would be possible when searching for a planning application to make it easier to find out who the case officer was and also include their contact number and email.
99.7 Councillor Field sought clarification on the definitions of types of application which appeared inconsistent in two places, and secondly the categories of application which included discharge of conditions, reserve matters and advertisement consent not in a conversation area, which were not mentioned. Councillor Field felt that there should be some position taken about those kinds of applications as for the most part essentially no consultation takes place on them. But in some cases he felt it was justified to have at least the ward member notified and probably the parish council or the parish within which the action is to take place notified as well.
99.8 In response Councillor Horn stated that in the absence of the officer he would like to address the more technical points outside of the meeting, if Members would like to bring them forward to him he would make sure that they were addressed.
It was Resolved:-
(i) That the update to the finalised Babergh and Mid Suffolk Joint Statement of Community Involvement: Planning Matters (February 2019), which updated the March 2014 adopted version be noted.
(ii) That the finalised Babergh and Mid Suffolk Joint Statement of Community Involvement: Planning Matters (February 2019) be adopted and published.
(iii) That the Corporate Manager – Strategic Planning be authorised to make minor technical and formatting amendments if necessary to the Babergh and Mid Suffolk Joint Statement of Community Involvement: Planning Matters (February 2019) prior to adoption and publication.