Fairness in Council Planning meetings
Posted: 29 June 2010 10:12 AM   [ Ignore ]
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At our planning meetings the objectors get to speak, then the developer and then members discuss and vote.
If during the discussion the members get the wrong end of the stick, the objector does not get a chance to correct the mistake ie we cannot speak again.  So the members may vote based on the wrong information and have done in my experience. 

Is this common practice or do other Councils allow more dialogue.

Thereafter we have the problem already documented, that the objector has no right of appeal when the decision has been made.

 
 
Posted: 29 June 2010 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yes all sorts of things happen. Numerous times the planning officers have given incorrect legal advice on the hoof during the meetings to Councillors which has influenced decisions.  Later when this is shown to be wrong there is little that can easily be done. This and many other reasons is why a third party right of appeal is a fundamental essential to introduce fairness into the currently flawed system. It has the potential to correct a lot of abuses

 
 
Posted: 07 July 2010 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It’s a problem of all council committees.

Canterbury City Council operate a “three minute by appointment” policy and there is no dialogue.

Of course, in theory the chairman can do what he wants and ask the person making the representation to clarify a point, or give more time, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.

But given the length of time development control committee meetings tend to last - a recent one went from 6:30pm-12.30am - I can’t see it changing any time soon, even if the quasi-judicial nature means there should be a reasonable expectation of all possible steps taken to ensure those making the decision are presented with all the available facts.

One possible way around this is ensuring the members and officers have been given supporting papers from the person/group making the representation as far ahead of the meeting as possible, though that still doesn’t stop things coming up “on the fly” that cannot be responded to.

 
 
Posted: 08 July 2010 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I congratulate you Neil on staying at the Committee till past most people’s bedtime, only Ken Dodd’s shows go on longer. Is it really as entertaining as that and do you take a flask and sandwiches?

Seriously the quality of the decision making process with the best will in the world must deteriorate towards the end of such a meeting and that is another reason to have an equal right of appeal statutorily available for third parties if it is needed. Having this equal right in place should reduce things being brought up deliberately at the last minute, which we have all seen, as that process fault itself could be grounds for an appeal.