The report summarises the issues considered by the Constitution Review Working Group and sets out a series of recommendations arising from the Working Group for consideration by the Committee.
Any recommendations arising from the Committee shall be referred to full Council for adoption.
The Monitoring Officer and Head of Democratic Services presented a report, a copy of which and of a short supplemental report circulated to each Member, appear as Appendix 'A' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.
The report summarised the issues considered by the Constitution Review Working Group which met during September and October 2020 and it was explained that recommendations arising from the Audit and Governance Committee would be referred to full Council for adoption.
The Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee thanked the members of the Working Group for their work under the chairmanship of Councillor Williams and noted that, going forward, their continuing role in providing review of the Constitution was now well established.
In the case of this particular tranche of work, contributions had also been made by the Chairman of the Planning Committee and by the Head of Planning and these two contributors were available at the meeting to respond to questions from members of the Committee.
A short supplemental report also made recommendations relating to Procedural Rule 36 in Part 4 of the Constitution and these issues had arisen after the Working Group had met.
The Committee received detailed advice regarding proposals from the Working Group relating to the process of Councillors ‘calling-in’ planning applications for determination by the Planning Committee. Clarification was provided about the time frame within which the current process allowed call-in to be made and the supporting internal process which was in place within the Planning department. There was discussion around the implications of extension of the existing, 30-day, call-in period. Overall, however, the importance, as also emphasized by the Working Group, of maintaining close communication between the local Councillor and the Planning Officer managing the application was underlined. The legal advice provided to the Committee at the meeting was that not including a set cut-off point after which a call-in request could not be submitted would potentially increase the risk of inadvertently issuing a decision under delegated powers even though a call in request had been submitted.
Addressing other recommendations from the Working Group, clarification was provided that Neighbourhood Forums, where they existed, were already included within the list of consultees for planning applications within the Forum area.
There was also discussion on the merits of the existing structure of Planning Committee operating within the BCP Council area.
RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL
Procedure Rule 36
(a) That Procedure Rule 36 be amended to read “Any motion under Procedure Rule 12 (Motions on Notice), to vary or revoke these Rules shall, when proposed and seconded, stand adjourned without discussion to the next ordinary meeting of the Council”;
(b) That Procedure Rule 36 (as amended) be moved from Sub Part C (General Provisions) to Sub Part A (Council Meetings);
Member Call-in of Planning Applications
(c) That the Constitution be amended in Part 3, Section 2, Paragraph 2.2 to remove the 30-day time limit for member call-in of planning applications although the requirement for there to be dialogue between ... view the full minutes text for item 47