Cllr Jory introduced the report and explained that concerns had been raised following the decision to grant outline planning permission at Plymouth Road Tavistock (Application Ref: 3654/18/OPA). As a result, he had commissioned a review and that a report be brought forward of findings by one of the Council’s Senior Legal Specialists.
Cllr Mott, as Lead Member for the Environment, introduced the Council’s Senior Legal Specialist who took Members through his findings. Before doing so, he advised the Committee that, following receipt of a solicitor’s letter from a third party concerning the report, he would be asking the Committee at the end of his introduction to resolve to exclude the press and public so that he could give the Committee legal advice.
Planning permission for 250 dwellings and 2 hectares of commercial B1 use was granted in June 2020 subject to conditions. In particular, condition 37 had required the parties with an interest to the land to enter into a planning agreement prior to the start of the development. The decision was taken under delegated powers by officers.
Concerns had since been raised as to the Council’s Scheme of Delegation to Officer and the deliverability of the Employment land and proposed Section 106 contributions to education.
The officers advised that his review recommendations were grouped under four headings:
· Giving Members more information about planning applications;
· Ensuring that decisions on planning applications are taken on a sound basis;
· Making the Council’s decision-making arrangements clearer and more accountable; and
· Encouraging proactive and constructive working with the Town and Parish Council’s on planning applications
At the conclusion of the Senior Legal Specialist’s introduction it was PROPOSED and SECONDED (and when put to the vote declared CARRIED) that:
To enable the Committee to receive legal advice, it was “RESOLVED that, in accordance with Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item of business as the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act is involved.”
Following receipt of the legal advice and once Members had been given the opportunity to ask questions on this advice, it was then PROPOSED and SECONDED (and when put to the vote declared CARRIED) that the public and press be re-admitted to the meeting.
The Senior Legal Specialist then explained that, in light of the legal advice that he had just given, a revised set of recommendations were to be tabled.
These were that the Committee:
· notes the findings and conclusions of the Review of the process followed in connection with Planning Application 3614/08/OPA – Land at SX482425 Plymouth Road, Tavistock;
· does not make a decision at this time in respect of the recommendations in paragraph 5.3 of Appendix B to this report other than to agree to receive a further report at the Committee’s next meeting.
· agrees the recommendations made by the Review and which are set out in paragraphs 5.1, 5.2, 5.4 -5.19 of Appendix B to this report.
· asks the Head of Planning to prepare an action plan to implement the recommendations of paragraphs 5.1, 5.2, 5.4-5.19 of Appendix B to this report for approval by the Committee at its next meeting.
· A progress report would be taken to Overview & Scrutiny Committee in six months’ time.
During questions it was confirmed that the 3 working day response from Members on planning applications was proposed to be extended to 5 working days. Member training was discussed and it was confirmed that all Members were invited to all training sessions on offer which included training on the planning process.
The revised recommendations were proposed and seconded and, when put to the vote, it was subsequently “RESOLVED that the Committee:
1. notes the findings and conclusions of the Review of the process followed in connection with Planning Application 3614/18/OPA - Land at SX482725 Plymouth Road Tavistock (as set out at Appendix A of the presented agenda report);
2. does not make a decision at this time in respect of the recommendations set out in paragraph 5.3 of Appendix B to this report other than to agree to receive a further report at the next meeting of the Development Management and Licensing Committee;
3. agrees the recommendations made by the Review and which are set out in paragraphs 5.1, 5.2, 5.4 -5.19 of Appendix B to the presented agenda report;
4. asks the Head of Development Management to prepare an action plan to implement the recommendations in paragraphs 5.1, 5.2, 5.4 -5.19 of Appendix B to the presented agenda report for approval by the Committee at its next meeting; and
5. notes the intention to bring forward a progress review of the planning improvement action plan to a future meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in six months’ time.”