The planning committee meets once a month at 10am on the second Friday of the month to consider planning applications, appeals and enforcement issues. The planning committee is responsible for considering:
- applications that are major or sensitive or raise policy issues
- applications with more than three substantial and valid objections
Who attends the meetings?
Members of the public: All planning committee meetings are open to the public. Members of the public affected by a planning application (or their agents) can arrange to speak at the meeting either to support or object. The only exception to this is when there is a planning application with ‘Part B: Exempt information’. If this appears on the agenda, the public and press are asked to leave the meeting so that legal, financial or personal information about individuals or staff members remains confidential.
Members of staff: A number of different staff members from the Authority attend the planning committee meeting.
- Planning team: When we receive a planning application, it is assigned to a planning officer. This planning officer (or the team manager) may attend the relevant committee meeting to present a final report to the committee meeting and to answer any questions. The head of the planning service also attends the meeting.
- Legal team: The head of law or an assistant solicitor attends the meeting.
- Democratic services: A member of the Democratic Services team takes the minutes and supports the committee process.
Members of the planning committee: The chair of the committee leads the meeting. The committee members are a mix of members from the National Park Authority and include county, district, city and borough councillors. The Secretary of State for the Environment also appoints local parish councillors and members who have an understanding and specialist knowledge about the issues that affect the national park. All members of the planning committee receive specialist training in planning issues that relate to the national park.
How the meeting is organised
When you arrive for the meeting, you will receive a copy of the agenda and any planning officers’ reports that are going to be discussed. The planning committee meeting follows a standard agenda each month.
- Members’ apologies for absence
- Minutes of the last meeting (an approved record of what was agreed)
- Any matters arising from the minutes
- Urgent business
- Planning applications
- Reports on any appeals, enforcement action or other issues
If the meeting has not finished by 1pm, the chair of the meeting will decide on an appropriate time to have a 30-minute lunch break. Any remaining planning applications will be considered afterwards.
If the planning committee has not completed its business by 5pm, the meeting will be adjourned and reconvened at a later date.
Speaking at a meeting
If you wish to speak at a planning committee meeting, please be aware of the following:
- You are allocated three minutes to speak.
- You may be asked questions by members of the planning committee after you have spoken.
- All speakers must comply with our public participation scheme.
- Both objectors and supporters of an application can speak.
If you want a time slot to speak at the planning committee, you must arrange this by 12pm (midday) two working days in advance of the planning committee. Please contact:
Telephone: 01629 816 362 or 01629 816 382
What to expect
At the meeting, the members of the planning committee consider the final report that has been written by the planning officer. This final report includes a summary of all comments received.
The planning committee also listens to people who speak in favour of or object to the application.
- A member will propose a motion. It is usually (but not always) the recommendation given in the report.
- For the motion to be accepted for debate it has to be supported by another member ("seconded").
- A debate then takes place. Members discuss the report and may ask questions.
Members make a decision either to vote for or against the motion. They can make one of three decisions:
- Recommend approval
This is a motion to approve the application. Members can add or amend conditions to this approval.
- Recommend refusal
This is a motion to refuse the application. Members can add new reasons for refusal or amend the reasons in the report.
- Defer making a decision
If members need further information or need to visit the site, they can agree to not make a decision until a future planning committee meeting.
Members decide by voting. For a committee decision to be agreed, the majority of members need to agree. Votes are cast by a show of hands. If necessary, the chair of the meeting has the right to use a casting vote to finalise the decision.
If a motion is not agreed, further motions can be proposed and discussed until a clear decision is reached.
Exceptions to agreed policies
Members may propose that an application be approved that conflicts with the policies or plans of the Authority or with statutory approved plans. When this happens, the planning committee is only able to make a recommendation to the next meeting of the Committee. Planning Officers will then prepare a report for the next meeting setting out the wider policy implications of making the proposed decision. This means that before approving or refusing an application the Committee is able to consider in more detail the policy issues raised.
Impartiality of decision-makers
You have the right to contact any of the Authority’s members about any aspect of our work. However, the people who make the decisions on planning issues must remain impartial. They have to make sure that they are not influenced in any way by one party or another. To do so might lead to an application being deferred or a decision challenged.
If members receive any information about an application, they are legally obliged to inform the planning officer responsible for writing the final report.
It is our policy not to forward lobbying letters, on your behalf, to members. This slows down the planning process, duplicates work and in some cases may prejudice the process. To ensure we treat everyone fairly, there are no exceptions to this policy.
All letters received will automatically be sent to the planning officer. Unfortunately, any letters received after the committee deadline cannot be reported. The planning officer is responsible for making sure that all information received is summarised and included in the final report. If a member’s impartiality is compromised, they may have to declare a personal prejudicial interest and withdraw from the decision-making process.