Pre-application protocol for councillors
About meetings with councillors
All ward members will be invited, along with the development services cabinet member and planning committee chairman or vice chairman, in addition to the officers of the development team (DT).
A minimum of 7 days' notice will be given to all members.
The agreement of the applicant/developer will always be sought.
The meeting will normally be held on a Wednesday afternoon (as per the DTA). The meeting will be conducted as follows:
- The meeting will be chaired by the development executive (DE) or development control manager (DCM).
- The DE or DCM would introduce the purpose of the meeting and advise how it will be conducted.
- Officers will confirm that the discussions will not bind us to make a particular decision and that views/opinions expressed are made without prejudice to the future consideration of any application.
- Members will be advised as to the confidentiality status of the proposal.
- The developer will present their proposal (having first been viewed and approved by the DE or DCM).
- DT officers given the opportunity to provide comments.
- Members then given the opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification, but care will need to be taken that personal views are not expressed. They may alert the developer to what they perceive as actual or likely views of their constituents – careful not to fetter their discretion.
- The chairman will conclude the meeting – summarising the key points and close the meeting.
Members may advise officers of any concern they have with the proposal and any elements they feel would benefit from negotiation. They will be guided by officers on the scope of negotiation in accordance with local plan policy and other material considerations. Negotiations will be undertaken by professional officers only.
The case officer will record the meeting and co-ordinate a minute of the meeting and/or formal pre-app response for the developer normally within 14 days. Members and DT officers will receive a draft copy of the response in advance for any suggested amendments. The note of the meeting and letter will be placed on the file at the earliest possible opportunity (taking account of the need for commercial confidentiality). The involvement of members will be recorded in any subsequent committee report.