Housekeeping: Instructions if Fire Alarm sounds Where toilets are Switch mobile phones off or to silent
Who is who – degree of formality depends upon audience and who is presenting the module Agree/understand what Councillors expect to get from the session …Why are we all here? Brief introduction to the content of the module Help Councillors be clear about their role and engagement
PAS aims to facilitate self-sustaining change and improvement in the local authority planning sector. PAS helps Councils provide faster,fairer,more efficient and better quality services. PAS does much more than provide training modules – see summary in final slide
PAS has produced a series of modules to brief Councillors on some of the key aspects of modern planning Modules are aimed to be self serve to enable councillors to be briefed on both the basics and general principles of planning (this first module) and other topics in more detail (eg. Modules covering topics such as Decision Making, Development Management and Climate Change) Can be presented or used as a study aide to allow Councillors to gain training hours (eg where training is mandatory and Councillors need to be offered a variety of means of gaining training )
While this module covers the basics of planning it is aimed at all Members,no matter how experienced,as an integral purpose of the session is the learning derived from the round table discussion. While the modules contain some common elements they can be used singly to meet the particular needs of individual authorities These modules start to address more complex or specialised parts of the planning system in more detail
These are the main elements of the planning system that Members making decisions need to be familiar with. From the basics of “What is planning? “ to essential technical and legal procedures such as enforcement and planning obligations.
Summary – What is planning for/what is it trying to achieve? Why are Councillors on planning committee? What are their expectations? Roles and responsibilities
Consultation is the cornerstone of a responsive planning system. It needs public understanding and support. Planning is not just complex processes – it delivers changes for the better on the ground.
Planning is exciting and interesting and touches everyone. Houses, infrastructure (roads,rail,power supply and generation etc.),schools,hospitals,factories,leisure facilities,retailing,education, tourism and agriculture are all shaped by planning. It shapes our town centres and suburbs and helps to protect our best landscapes and coastlines.
Good planning is essential to ensue that the right development is delivered in the right place at the right time. What would the country look like without planning – left to the choices of individuals?
Do not intend to explain the significance of each piece of legislation. No need to go through details – but need to emphasise that it’s an essential framework for decision making Introduce – significance of the law and the quasi judicial process Very Brief explanation of permitted development could be added here.
Councillors (and officers – eg also have RTPI code of conduct etc) must behave appropriately. Rules and codes are important to protect Councillors and help them be clear about their roles and responsibilities Lord Nolan was the first chairman of a commission that highlighted that planning is probably the most contentious matter with which local government deals. While his report created, as mentioned earlier, an unhelpful atmosphere where councillors shied away from any involvement with applicants, it contained many positive recommendations such as that members of planning committees should be trained and there should be greater openness in the planning process.
Briefly explain old system – structure plans,local plans etc ( refer to saved policies) and status of development plan RSS scrapped July 2010 – look to CLG FAQs for advice on how to proceed for now. The current system is a portfolio of development plan documents (DPDs) designed to meet the needs of individual authorities.
This slide is slightly adapted from one that DCLG have been using to describe the new vision for planning as set out in the Planning and Localism Bill. You will have heard or read about neighbourhood plans and community right to build etc. This slide sets up an image of these new structures fitting together with the familiar structures of the national policies, the local plan and planning decisions. While the exact details of the Government’s neighbourhood planning policy are still in development we have a strong feel for the direction of travel. So what are the key principles – at their heart is genuine and active community engagement and empowerment and planning’s role as an enabler of change. Some of the consistent messages are: reducing local authority decision-making on development and planning in neighbourhoods the ability for neighbourhoods to be self-defined (but within constraints) a neighbourhood-owned and community-initiated process –LPAs will support but aren’t seen as leaders of this process. creating a light-touch testing process, using the planning process and decentralisation to maximise creativity and innovation at a local level through the granting of pp it might reduce the amount of small scale development in the planning system it is an entirely permissive regime - there’s no compulsion to have neighbourhood plans if the community don’t want them.
Summary of current system Must use evidence based system to first produce a Core Strategy. Strategy must be subject to a sustainability appraisal. SPDs,DPDs should be produced to meet local needs and circumstances. Parish plans Community engagement is essential – set out in Statement of Community Involvement
Diagram illustrates how the various documents fit together – you don’t need to do them all!
The LDF must integrate with other strategies,both inside (eg . Corporate Vision/Strategy) and outside (eg. sustainable community strategy (SCS)) an authority. The authority must fully utilise the LDF as a mechanism for delivering their corporate ambitions. LDF and planning is also the delivery vehicle for the SCS
Development management is not just the new name for development control Proactive approach to managing development to achieve spatial objectives Principles – summary of 5 principles…….. Culture – place shaper,not regulator Process – the whole system from pre –application to post decision. Different models for different types of development Skills & resources – how to identify and tackle – sharing resources and joint working New structures – integrated teams and corporate working. Engagement with community, stakeholders, applicants and Councillors
The basis of the planning system is the consideration of private proposals against wider public interests. Much is often at stake in this process, and opposing views are often strongly held by those involved. While planning committee councillors should take account of these views, the general role and conduct of Councillors and officers is they should not favour any person, company, group or locality, nor put themselves in a position where they appear to do so. Councillors who do not feel that they can act in this way should consider whether they are best suited to serve on a planning committee. Details of pre-disposition and pre-determination covered by Probity in Planning module.
The key issue here is how a Councillor’s actions are viewed or perceived.
Prejudicial Interest. A councillor with a ‘personal interest’ also has a ‘prejudicial interest’ in a matter if the interest is one, which a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice the councillors judgment of the public interest.
Personal Interest - In general terms, a councillor attending a meeting about a matter which they are aware that he/she or one or more of their relatives or friends has an interest (directly or indirectly, for example, through an organisation of which they are a member, or a company of which they are a director) must disclose to that meeting the existence and nature of the interest at the commencement of that meeting, or when the interest becomes apparent. If the decision to be taken by the meeting may be regarded as potentially affecting the well-being or financial position of that Councillor or one or more of their relatives or friends, then such a ‘personal interest’ must be declared before the matter is discussed, or as soon as it comes apparent to that councillor. Councillors must in all matters consider whether they have a personal interest , and whether their council’s code of conduct requires them to disclose that interest. Councillors must exercise personal responsibility in deciding whether they have a personal interest that should be disclosed. They may seek advice from the authority’s Monitoring Officer and must have regard to any advice from the relevant Standards Committee in doing so. In practice, it is more often than not, that a personal interest will be perceived by the public to be a prejudicial interest.
Brief introduction to the process – major topic of great interest to Councillors and central to the credibility and reputation of an authority. Subject of a separate module (see Module 4)
Balance between committee and delegated decisions. Not possible to report all to committee Councillors and officers must develop mutual trust and understanding Should agree delegation scheme and criteria for referral to committee What type of service does the Council want (or can afford) ? Published protocol – open and everyone can see. Sets out how everything from how the public can get involved (e.g. speaking at committee), to site visits. It should e visible to the public and be the cornerstone of all communications and interaction. Duty to whole community – not just that applicant or that objector. We must be aware of our role as community leaders serving the whole community/public through the system. Good and ethical - Planning decisions affect us all, affect land and property values, they can affect livelihoods, quality of life, our health, social and economic well being. Planning decisions carry great responsibility on the part of those making them.
Development plan (and reference to national advice such as PPS etc) is the starting point – and will always be referred to in officers’ reports Need to consider age of plan ( any saved policies etc) and relevance to the matter which is being considered
Not exhaustive Differing weight to be given depending upon circumstances relating to specific application
Not exhaustive Need to have a system (eg. information provided with public speaking or neighbour notification guidance) for explaining this to third parties who will feel that their comments are being disregarded. Some matters may be addressed by other legislation (eg licensing regimes)
Why necessary Role of parish councils Press and public notices Legal requirements/local practice Changes post May 2010??????
Tests of a planning condition – how to use and apply (legislation and local examples could be used here – also mention the 6 tests of a condition) S 106 – planning gain – how and why use (legislation and local examples could be used here)
Explain that whilst discretionary is central to credibility of Planning PPS 18 provides clear guidance – such as when not expedient to take action Need a policy – time consuming and complex Various notices – PCN,EN and BCN Injunctions Essential to have knowledgeable legal support/advice
Did the session achieve anticipated outcomes? What future training /modules would be useful? (use of modules should be part of a longer term/cyclical Councillor development programe – to provide structure and some certainty for Councillors) Should always try to evaluate the session (in addition to outcomes need to consider the venue,quality/relevance of materials and quality of presenter etc.)
Pas councillor training introduction to planning - presentation with notes
Introduction to planning presenter Date www.pas.gov.uk
Welcome and introductions <ul><li>Aim of the session </li></ul><ul><li>To help councillors be clear about their role and how to engage in the planning system </li></ul><ul><li>Help councillors begin to understand what planning can do for their areas </li></ul><ul><li>How to get the most from the system </li></ul>
The Planning Advisory Service <ul><li>Improvement </li></ul><ul><li>Self-sustaining </li></ul><ul><li>Better planning </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>… of … with … and for the sector </li></ul>
The modules <ul><li>This is the introductory module </li></ul><ul><li>Other modules : </li></ul><ul><li>expand upon key themes </li></ul><ul><li>provide specialist advice </li></ul><ul><li>Self serve or use as a study aide </li></ul><ul><li>PAS can present them for you </li></ul>
The modules <ul><li>Introduction to Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Probity in Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Decision making </li></ul><ul><li>Development Management </li></ul><ul><li>Planning for climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Localism and neighbourhood plans </li></ul>
Introduction to planning <ul><li>What is planning? </li></ul><ul><li>Context, rules and procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Development planning – delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Development management </li></ul><ul><li>The decision making process </li></ul><ul><li>Planning obligations </li></ul><ul><li>Enforcement </li></ul>
Planning is… a decision making framework which aims to manage competing uses for space by setting out a long term vision for places; balancing economic, social and environmental needs;
Planning is… <ul><li>providing legitimacy through effective consultation and testing of evidence; </li></ul><ul><li>delivering change on the ground </li></ul>
Good planning ensures… <ul><li>Right development </li></ul><ul><li>Right place </li></ul><ul><li>Right time </li></ul>
Rules and codes <ul><li>Local Government Act 2000 </li></ul><ul><li>Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (England) Order 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Local codes for planning </li></ul><ul><li>The Nolan Report (‘Standards in public life’) </li></ul><ul><li>Killian Pretty Review – role of councillors </li></ul><ul><li>And now the Localism Bill </li></ul>
Development planning <ul><li>Primacy of the development plan established by S54 A of the 1990 Act </li></ul><ul><li>Now S38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Two tiers to development plan </li></ul><ul><li>Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) </li></ul><ul><li>Local Development Framework (LDF) </li></ul><ul><li>and Neighbourhood Plans in the future </li></ul>
The Planning Reform Agenda Community Right to Build Neighbourhood Plans Local Plans National Policy Incentives Planning decisions
Local development framework <ul><li>Summary of current system </li></ul><ul><li>Suite of documents </li></ul><ul><li>Not a single UDP or Local Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability Appraisal </li></ul>
Delivery <ul><li>Relationship with LSP and SCS </li></ul><ul><li>Develop consensus and ownership across the authority </li></ul><ul><li>Integration with other strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Delivery mechanism for corporate strategy </li></ul>
Control to ‘management’ <ul><li>Delivery focus </li></ul><ul><li>Summary of development management: </li></ul><ul><li>Principles of development management </li></ul><ul><li>Development management culture </li></ul><ul><li>Process models </li></ul><ul><li> Skills & resources </li></ul><ul><li>New structures to support development management </li></ul>
Role of councillors <ul><li>1. As a Ward Councillor… </li></ul><ul><li>… you can support or oppose an application and represent the views of your constituents </li></ul><ul><li>2. As a Planning Committee Member… </li></ul><ul><li>… doing so will compromise your (impartial) role on the committee. </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ Avoid favouring a person, company, group or locality or putting yourself in a position where you appear to do so” </li></ul>
Prejudicial Interest – Withdraw <ul><li>“ the test is not whether the councillor thinks there is an interest to declare but whether other people, knowing the facts of the situation might reasonably think so” </li></ul>
Personal Interest – declare <ul><li>Decision by planning committee potentially affects: </li></ul><ul><li>You / your family / friends / organisation well </li></ul><ul><li>being / financial position </li></ul><ul><li>If in doubt – declare </li></ul>
The decision making process <ul><li>Delegated and committee decisions </li></ul><ul><li>The development plan </li></ul><ul><li>Material considerations </li></ul><ul><li>Non – material considerations </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation and notification </li></ul>
Delegated and committee decisions <ul><li>Procedures to ensure that committee consider most significant or contentious applications </li></ul><ul><li>Referral to committee </li></ul><ul><li>Time and resources </li></ul><ul><li>Costs of committee decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Local democracy </li></ul><ul><li>90% delegated </li></ul>
The development plan <ul><li>Section 38 of the Planning & Compulsory Purchase Act 2004: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ If regard is to be had to the development plan for the purpose of any determination to be made under the planning Acts, the determination is to be made in accordance with the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise’ </li></ul>
Material considerations <ul><li>Layout, density </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy </li></ul><ul><li>Daylight / sunlight </li></ul><ul><li>Access / traffic </li></ul><ul><li>Local economy </li></ul><ul><li>Design / appearance </li></ul><ul><li>Noise / smell </li></ul><ul><li>Previous similar decisions </li></ul>
Non-material considerations <ul><li>History / character of applicant </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of view </li></ul><ul><li>Commercial competition </li></ul><ul><li>Impact on property value </li></ul><ul><li>Restrictive covenants </li></ul><ul><li>Ownership of land </li></ul><ul><li>Matters of decency or taste </li></ul>