In this episode of Planning TV we are joined by Hannah David, director of Planning Futures, Alice Lester MBE, Head of Planning at Brent Council and Jamie McKie, Dentons Planning and Public Law Team, to discuss the role of planning committees and good decision making.
Planning committees are formed of elected councillors who meet regularly to decide the fate of some of the larger and more controversial planning applications. They are the democratic face of the planning process and help guide development that will have a significant impact on an area. Planning committees wield significant decision making powers, so it is important that the individual members have the knowledge and skill to be able to make good decisions.
Hannah David, who has significant experience as a former chair of a planning committee, discussed the training provided to councillors. She went on to reiterate the importance of not using up planning committee time with less important applications that could be dealt with delegated powers.
There is some agreement amongst the panel that planning committees are perhaps overworked and undertrained, and should be focusing their efforts on only the most contentious applications.
Alice Lester, Head of Planning at Brent Council, defended the role of planning committees.
That’s the price of democracy … I’d be as worried with a committee who never overturned a decision that one who overturns a lot. There has to be that challenge and that’s quite right.
What’s your opinion? Do planning committees need an overhaul? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
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The views and opinions expressed by Denton’s Planning TV panellists are those of the individuals interviewed not the organisations they work for.