As you will be aware , after the introduction of the COVID-19 restrictions on 23rd March 2020, the scheduled meetings of the Planning and Highways Committee were cancelled until further notice and new revised procedures adopted as a temporary measure to ensure the Town Council continues to comply with its obligation to respond the local planning applications.
This involves circulating each member of the Committee with details of the submitted applications and the members responding to the Planning Officer by e mail. Full plans and supporting documents for each application are available on the District Council’s website.
On or around the date of each scheduled meeting the Chairman and Planning Officer consider the comments submitted by the members and agree a response based on those comments which is then be submitted to the District Council.
A note of these responses, the equivalent of the usual Committee minutes, is circulated to members and published on the Council’s website - HERE
Unsurprisingly, the number of applications submitted in the last six weeks has decreased; only four applications have been dealt with in each of the three-weekly periods up to 23rd April and only two applications are currently awaiting a response.
The Chairman and officers consider that these procedures have worked well and have enabled the Town Council to continue to fulfill this important function on behalf of the Town and its residents.
None of the applications considered under these procedures has been particularly controversial. If a major or controversial application were to be submitted it would be possible to set up a ‘virtual’ meeting so that views could be freely exchanged and discussed as at a normal Committee meeting.
In the current circumstances however it is proposed that these procedures continue until normal meetings can resume.