Councillor engagement in pre-apps

Guidelines for members attending meetings

Members shall only attend meetings organised in accordance with this protocol and shall not attend or arrange private meetings with developers.

Members are at the meeting to learn about the proposals and process, to help identify issues to be dealt with by further submission and negotiation, but not express any initial view for or against the proposal which may pre-determine their position to the extent that they will not be able to vote on the application (prejudicial interest) should they be a member of the planning committee. Members may alert the applicant/developer to what they perceive as the likely (or actual) views of their constituents – careful not to fetter their discretion.

Members to be aware of the confidentiality status of the proposal and to have regard to this in conducting further discussions with others, including constituents and other members.

Members should avoid giving separate advice on the development plan or material considerations, as all the issues and relevant information may not be available at this early stage. Any advice should be given by professional officers.

Members should not be drawn into any negotiations. This should be done by professional officers only.

Members should adhere to our existing guidance contained in:

  • Planning committee members planning code of good practice protocol (May 2008)

  • Non-planning committee members good practice guidance (May 2008)

All members to attend pre-application meetings shall have undertaken appropriate training.

This protocol supplements and should be read in conjunction with our pre-application protocol for major planning applications (DTA).