The Council considered the report and recommendations (attached as Appendix 1 to the report) of the Corporate Governance Working Group (the Working Group) following the recommendations made in the report of the Planning Advisory Services (PAS). It was noted that the PAS was a Local Government Association (LGA) group which was an authoritative voice in planning policy, providing consultancy, peer support and resources to help Local Authorities respond to planning reform and embed best practice.
The report provided background information regarding the PAS review and the conclusions considered by the Working Group. It was noted that the majority were operational / procedural matters however should the Council adopt the recommendation to remove multiple Planning Committees constitutional amendments would be required and an updated Terms of Reference for the District Planning Committee was attached at Appendix B.
Members discussed the report and there was a lengthy debate regarding the proposal to move from three Area Planning Committees to one single Planning Committee. Although the proposal received some support, concern was raised particularly in respect of representing local residents.
Councillor Miss S White proposed that the Council did not accept the option for one Planning Committee as set out in the report and the three Area Planning Committees remain, as they were important to Members and kept the Council’s democracy. This proposal was duly seconded.
Further debate ensued. In light of the discussion, Councillor R H Siddall commented that more information on the Planning Committees and the decisions they make was required. He proposed that this item of business be withdrawn for further analysis and information to be brought back to the Council next year (2022). This proposal was duly seconded.
The Chairman reminded the Council of the earlier proposition from Councillor Miss White which had been duly seconded.
In accordance with Procedure Rule No. 13 (3) Councillor C Morris requested a recorded vote, this was duly seconded. The Chairman then put the proposal in the name of Councillor Miss White to the Council.
Prior to the vote being taken clarification was given on the six-month rule and whether a Member could vote if they had not been present for the whole of the debate. Councillor Mrs P A Channer advised that she would not partake in this vote, having left the chamber during the debate. Councillor R G Boyce advised that although he had left the chamber during the debate he felt he had heard enough to enable him to vote. The voting on the proposal was as follows:
For the recommendation:
Councillors M G Bassenger, Miss A M Beale, A L Hull, J V Keyes, K M H Lagan, C P Morley, C Morris, S P Nunn, E L Stephens, Mrs J C Stilts, C Swain and Miss S White.
Against the recommendation:
Councillors V J Bell, M F L Durham, M R Edwards, C Mayes, R H Siddall, W Stamp and Mrs M E Thompson.
Councillor M S Heard.
The Chairman announced that this was therefore carried.
RESOLVED that the Council retains the three Area Planning Committees and rejects the proposal for one Planning Committee.