Where officers are recommending approval of an application and there are objections made on valid planning grounds within the 21 day consultation period, the Ward Councillors will be advised of the objections. Having considered the merits and significance of the application, Ward Councillors may, in exceptional circumstances, request that a Site Review Meeting (SRM) be arranged.
Officers will proceed to arrange the meeting unless, in exceptional circumstances, there are clear differences of opinion between the officers and the Councillor about whether such a meeting is necessary. In these circumstances the matter will be referred to the Chairman of the Development Management Committee (DMC) for decision.
Where there are five or more objections to an application and officers are recommending approval, the same procedure will apply. However officers will automatically discuss with the Chair of the DMC whether the application should be heard at Committee.
Who attends a site review meeting?
The applicant and his/her agent, any objectors and the Ward Councillor will be invited to the SRM. A planning officer will also attend and conduct the meeting. The only required attendees are the planning officer and the Councillor, since the views of the applicant and any objectors can be taken from the written submissions.
What is the purpose of a site review meeting?
The meeting is intended to decide whether the decision will be made under Delegated Powers or the application be referred to the DMC for determination. This decision is made by the planning officer and the Councillor and follows them having seen the site, viewed the plans and considered the views of the parties. The meeting is not intended to debate or argue about the issues but to allow the Councillor and officer to look at the site, view and understand fully the proposal and consider the views of the applicant and the objector/s.
A SRM may be terminated by the planning officer in attendance in the event that any person present fails to adhere to the principles of this protocol or fails to treat other people present with courtesy and respect.
All parties will be informed in writing of the outcome of the SRM.
What happens next?
In most cases the application will be decided upon by the delegated officer who will consider the application with regard to planning law and planning policies set at a national and a local level. Where appropriate the application may go to the DMC.