Guideline to Planning Committee Procedures
About 90% of planning applications are decided by the
professional planning staff. These decisions are reported for
information only to the Planning and Development Committee.
The committee has the responsibility to determine the most
important or significant applications.
Who are the People at the Committee?
In the centre at the front sits the Chair,
who is a Councillor appointed by the Council for this role. To
his/her side are Officers employed by the Council
to advise on Planning, Legal and Administrative matters.
The Planning Officers will usually includeThe
Head of Planning Services and other Planning Officers who will
present individual cases.
Sometimes, specialist Policy, Legal or Design Officers will
Members of the Committee sit around the table
facing the Chairman. They are all elected Borough
Members of the public and the Applicant are
entitled to be present but may not speak unless they have
registered for the Public Speaking Scheme.
How is Business Dealt With?
The Chairman will announce each item. There is normally a
comprehensive written report circulated with the agenda. (This
report is available for viewing 5 working days prior to the
committee date at the relevant Planning Office and on the web
site). The Chairman will then ask an Officer to present the report,
bringing it up to date if necessary. Any speakers will then
The chair invites questions and views from the Members
and the Officer will reply whenever necessary.
Next, a motion will be proposed and seconded, debated if
necessary, and a vote taken. In the event of a tie the Chair has a
second or casting vote.
There are three possible decisions:
Approve: usually subject to conditions, which must
be reasonable and may be challenged on appeal to the Secretary of
Refuse: sound planning reasons must be given
which the authority may have to substantiate in the event of an
appeal. A refusal may be agreed even though the principle of
the development is acceptable. In these cases the applicant
may wish to resubmit an amended application.
Defer: if all the information needed to make
a decision is not available or to allow time for further action
before the decision is finally made. Deferment is very
There are strict rules about the declaration of interests,
affecting both Members and Officers. Where the Committee
decision is different to the officer recommendation, the Committee
ae required to give reasons and these are minuted.
What is the Basis for a Decision?
Decisions must be based on planning issues, for example:
- Central Government guidance
- Regional Policy
- Local Policy
- Highway safety
- Landscape impact
- Local amenity, noise, privacy
- Case law and previous decisions
- Conservation of buildings, trees etc
The following examples are not normally
- Reduction in property values
- Ownership disputes
- Business competition
- Moral considerations
- Restrictive covenants
- Personal circumstances or private rights
- Matters controlled by other legislation (eg
A retrospective application submitted after work has been
carried out has to be determined on its planning merits like any
other. Even if many people object, permission cannot be refused
without good planning reasons.
What if I Don't Like the Decision?
The applicant may appeal to the Secretary of State
against refusal or the imposition of conditions. If at appeal
either the Appellant or the Council is held to have behaved
unreasonably, costs may be awarded to the other side.
A third party (eg a neighbour) has no right
of appeal to the Secretary of State, but there are other
- The Council’s internal complaints procedure (complaints about
the conduct of Members or Officers)
- The Ombudsman (complaints about the way a matter has been
handled – not about the decision itself)
- Judicial review in the High Court
Further information about the first two options is available
from Council Offices, but the third requires expert advice from a
The Planning and Development
meets every 3 weeks at The Town Hall,
St Nicholas Street, Scarborough. The exact dates can be
viewed on the
Planning Committee meetings
The following leaflets are available from Planning
- Planning Committee Members
- Code Of Practice - Pre-Committee Procedure
- Public Speaking at Committees