Agenda and draft minutes

Joint Standards Committee - Thursday 16th June 2022 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Maldon District Council Offices, Princes Road, Maldon. View directions

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No. Item


Chairman's Notices


The Chairman welcomed everyone present and went through some general housekeeping arrangements for the meeting.


The Chairman also thanked former Chairman, Councillor M G Bassenger for all his work over the past year.


Apologies for Absence and Substitution Notice


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors M G Bassenger and C Mayes and Town Councillor M R Pearlman.


In accordance with notice duly given Councillor C Swain was attending as a substitute for Councillor Mayes.


Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 313 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Joint Standards Committee held on 8 February 2022 (copy enclosed).


RESOLVED by assent that the Minutes of the Joint Standards Committee meeting held on 8 February 2022 be approved and confirmed.


Disclosure of Interest

To disclose the existence and nature of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests, other Pecuniary Interests or Non-Pecuniary Interests relating to items of business on the agenda having regard to paragraphs 6-8 inclusive of the Code of Conduct for Members.


(Members are reminded that they are also required to disclose any such interests as soon as they become aware should the need arise throughout the meeting).


The Chairman noted that most Members of the Committee had sat on the District Planning or South Eastern Area Planning Committees when they had considered the planning application the subject of the motion at Agenda Item 5.


Councillor M W Helm advised that he had some paperwork in relation to the planning application but clarified that he had not been pre-determined.


Motion of Councillor A S Fluker regarding Planning Decision on Land South of Charwood and East of Orchard, Stoney Hills, Burnham-on-Crouch pdf icon PDF 120 KB

To consider the report by the Monitoring Officer (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:


The Committee received a Motion (as set out below) from Councillor A S Fluker, which in accordance with Procedure Rule 4 had been referred to this Committee by the Council at its meeting on 12 May 2022. 



With regards to openness, transparency, and public interest the Council writes to the Planning Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State, Mr Terrence Kemmann-Lane JP DipTP FRTPI MCMI, asking him to evidence his findings of ‘substantive’ ‘unreasonable behaviour’ and pre-determination by ‘elected members’, and that the Council appoints an Independent Person to conduct a review of the decision notice and report their findings to Council.”


Consideration was also given to a report of the Monitoring Officer providing detail to assist the Committee make a recommendation to the Council on any action that should be taken in response to the motion submitted by Councillor A S Fluker.


It was noted that the Planning application referred to by Councillor Fluker in his pre-amble to the Motion had been considered by the South Eastern Area Planning Committee (17 February 2021) and then due to the possibility of legal challenge re-determined by the District Planning Committee on 9 June 2021.  The Minutes of the District Planning Committee were attached as Appendix 1 to the report.  Following the re-determination, a written representations appeal took place and a copy of the Inspectors decision, granting the application was attached at Appendix 2 to the report.  The costs decision, in which full costs of the applicant was awarded was attached as Appendix 3.


In response to a question, the Monitoring Officer clarified that this Motion had been referred from the Council without debate.  The role of the Committee was to make a recommendation to the Council and once that had been done the recommendation would be debated by the Council.


The Monitoring Officer took Members through his report and the two appendices, providing an assessment of the decision letter from the Planning Inspectorate (appended to the report).  He explained how the Motion referred to pre-determination and informed Members he felt it was clear that the Planning Inspector was only making his decision on unreasonable conduct and not pre-determination.  Therefore, Members were advised that they should only be looking at the issue of unreasonable conduct.  At this point the Monitoring Officer went through the options available to the Committee and as set out in the report.


Councillor Fluker disagreed with the view of the Monitoring Officer regarding pre-determination, highlighting how the Planning Inspector had referred to this statement in his decision notice.  He referred to a number of documents which he had obtained and advised that he was happy to share them with the Committee.  Councillor Fluker went through the information contained and appended to the report presenting his views and also referred to the content of the other documents he had obtained. 


Councillor Fluker proposed that the Committee agree recommendation (ii) as set out in the report on the grounds that recommendation (i) was insular to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 117.