Planning Committee meetings
Certain applications will be decided by a Planning Committee (made up of elected Councillors) rather than Council officers. Decisions on most applications are dealt with by officers, and only those that meet certain tests will require a member decision and be determined by a Planning Committee. This is set out in the constitution and includes the following:
- the decision would lead to a significant departure from the Local Plan
- the application has been called in by at least 1 Ward Member
- major applications to develop the Council’s own land
- applications by relevant officers employed by the Council
- applications deemed by the Executive Director to require a member decision
There are four Planning Committees that cover applications within West Northamptonshire where details (agendas, minutes, dates, decisions, and so on) can be found:
- Strategic Planning Committee
- Daventry Local Area Planning Committee
- Northampton Local Area Planning Committee
- South Northamptonshire Local Area Planning Committee
The majority of applications that require a member decision will be dealt with by the Local Area Planning Committees.
The following applications (that require a member decision) will be dealt with by the Strategic Planning Committee:
- large-scale major developments of 200 houses (or 4 hectares) or more
- commercial developments of 10,000 square metres (or 2 hectares) or more
- strategically important developments
- applications that cross the boundary of two local area committees
Details of the Planning Committees (agendas, minutes and decisions) prior to the creation of West Northamptonshire Council are available on request by email to [email protected].
The following people can speak at Planning Committee:
- Applicant / agent: If both register you will need to nominate a speaker
- Objectors: Up to two people who wish to object an individual planning application, an enforcement recommendation or any other quasi-judicial matter on the agenda. If there are more than two objectors, they may organise a spokesperson to speak on their behalf
- Supporters: Up to two people who wish to support an individual planning application, an enforcement recommendation or any other quasi-judicial matter on the agenda. If there are more than two supporters, they may organise a spokesperson to speak on their behalf
- Ward Councillors who are not members of the Planning Committee: If Ward Councillors sit on the Planning Committee, they may nominate a substitute Councillor to speak
- Members of Parliament: If the whole or part of their constituency is within West Northamptonshire Council’s boundaries
- Parish / Town Councillors: A representative of a parish council in whose area the application relates.
If you have commented on an application in writing, or you are the applicant or agent for an application, we will contact you to let you know when the application is being considered.
You should not feel obliged to address the Planning Committee but, if you wish to do so, you must register with Democratic Services as soon as possible, and in any event not later than midday on the last working day before the Planning Committee. This applies to all speakers, including Ward Councillors. You are required to indicate whether you will be speaking against or in support of an application.
Speakers may register with Democratic Services by telephone, email or in writing using the contact details below:
|Planning Committee||Contact details|
|Daventry Local Area Planning Committee|
|Northampton Local Area Planning Committee|
|South Northamptonshire Local Area Planning Committee|
|Strategic Planning Committee||Email: [email protected]|
Telephone: 01327 322195
Postal address: Democratic Services, The Forum, Moat Lane, Towcester, NN12 6AD
Consideration of an application will not be delayed because someone who has registered to speak is unable to attend the meeting.
If you are a speaker who is not a member of the Planning Committee, you are only allowed to make statements. You cannot ask questions and must take no further part in the procedure once you have finished your address. Fresh material (which has not first been seen by Planning officers) cannot be circulated to the councillors.
You may speak about material planning considerations and relevant facts pertinent to any planning application that you have made a written representation on, and which is on the agenda for determination at the Planning Committee.
Some examples of material planning considerations and issues that may be taken into account include:
- the environmental impact of the development
- the impact of the development on the highway network
- any policy in the Council’s Local Development Framework, or the relevant Local Plan for your area
- central and regional Government planning policy guidance, circulars, orders and statutory instruments
- planning laws and previous decisions
- noise, disturbance, smells
- residential amenity
- design, appearance and layout
- impact on trees, listed buildings and conservation areas
- public open space
Issues that will not be taken into account include:
- boundary disputes
- private rights of way, private covenants or agreements
- the applicant’s conduct, private affairs or how a business is run
- the applicant’s motives (including profit)
- the impact on property values
- suspected further development
- loss of views over other people’s land
- land ownership
You cannot circulate of plans, photographs, or other material at the Committee meeting. Any such documentation should be submitted to the Assistant Director Economic Growth and Regeneration marked for the attention of the relevant Planning Officer as part of the existing consultation arrangements.
Normally you will put your own case and it should not be necessary to ask a legal advisor or other expert to speak for you. However please note that statements of a personal or slanderous nature could result in legal action against you.
The discussion on applications will be dealt with as follows:
- the Chair of the Committee will announce the application
- an officer will present the item and will add any further information relevant to the application and report
- members of the public can then speak in the following order:
- parish or town council(s)
- Ward Councillor(s)
- a planning officer may summarise issues before the matter is debated by the Planning Committee Members and a vote taken.
All speakers are allowed a maximum of three minutes to address the Planning Committee. Participants addressing the Planning Committee will be advised when they have 60 seconds of their allotted three minutes remaining and will be expected to cease talking immediately on being advised that their three minutes is up. The Chair has discretion to permit questions from the Planning Committee Members to the various speakers, after the end of their allotted 3 minutes.
In the event of any dispute over these procedures or the protocol, the Chair’s decision is final.
You will only be allowed to speak on the first occasion that the application is considered by the Committee. If an application is deferred for any reason, normally the application will then be determined at the next Committee Meeting, which you will be permitted to attend but you will not be permitted to address the Committee unless there has been a material change to the application in the meantime (in which case you will again be invited to register to speak).
Please note: Public speaking is only allowed on applications that we will determine, and not on consultations from other authorities.
Any Member of the Council can “call-in” a planning application to a Planning Committee for determination.
Call‐in requests must be submitted in writing within 21 days from the beginning of the consultation period, or within 7 days from the beginning of any subsequent re-consultation period.
Please address these to the Assistant Director of Growth, Climate and Regeneration and email them to the relevant area team (use the South Northants area address for Strategic Committee applications):
- Daventry area – [email protected]
- Northampton area – [email protected]
- South Northants area – [email protected]
Call‐ins must be based on valid and relevant planning grounds and any issue relating to the propriety of the specified planning grounds will be determined by the Monitoring Officer. By making a call-in request, a Member is indicating that they consider the issues require debate by the Planning Committee.
A Member who has called-in a planning application is expected to attend the Planning Committee meeting at which the application they referred is to be discussed, to address the Planning Committee and explain their views on the application and expand on their call-in reasons.
The Member who has called-in an application is required to register to speak on the item in accordance with the protocol on speaking at Planning Committees (see above). If a Member who has called-in an application does not register to speak on the item or is not present at the start of the Planning Committee meeting at which the application is to be considered, then the item will be withdrawn from the agenda and determined by an officer in accordance with the Council’s scheme of delegations.