Planning and Building Standards Performance and Service Improvements
As emailed to all Edinburgh Community Councils:
A report on Performance and Service Improvements was placed before the Planning Committee on 14 March 2018. This report had a number of recommendations, some of which were accepted by the committee, some which were deleted by the Committee and some which were amended by the Committee. The key changes related to the current Scheme of Delegation which allows officers to determine planning applications on the Committee’s behalf. Here’s what was agreed by the Planning Committee (but see below as they are not the final decision-maker):
- Officers had proposed full delegated powers for all householder applications and associated listed building consent no matter the number of objections. Other criteria would still apply such as a ward councillor calling for it to go to committee etc. The Committee was not in full agreement with this proposal and instead put forward an amendment to the recommendation raising the number of objections to more than 20 (currently this is more than 6). Please note that this only applies to householder applications and associated listed building consent. More than 6 objections would still apply to other development types.
- Officers had proposed that applications could be refused by officers no matter the number of support comments unless the community council supported the application as a statutory consultee. The Committee decided it would prefer that the ‘more than 20 support’ criteria applied for refusals as well but this would relate to all local developments including housing development of up to 49 houses.
- Currently there are no delegated powers for petitions so technically any application with a petition should go to committee. Officers had proposed petitions should be aligned with the proposals in 1 and 2 above but the Committee decided the ‘more than 20’ criteria should apply to the numbers of signatures in a petition whether support or objection. However, the Committee also decided that this should not apply to householder development and petitions should not be taken into account for house extensions or alterations in determining delegation.
- There is nothing at all about statutory consultees in the current scheme of delegation and the aim was to resolve this. Currently an application can be approved even if the CC objects as a statutory consultee. The recommendation, which was agreed, was that where there are unresolved objections from statutory consultees and the application is recommended for approval, it must be decided by Committee. However, if the application is recommended for refusal and it is supported by a statutory consultee, it can still be refused under delegated powers unless the community council supports it. I hope you can see this has enhanced the powers of Ccs to get a committee decision on an application with wider local interest.
Other changes to the scheme of delegation were minor amendments. However, it should be noted that the final decision on these changes lies with full council in June and the statutory scheme in relation to local developments also has to be agreed by the Scottish Government. The changes agreed by the Planning Committee very much aligns with their wish to concentrate on those applications which have wider implications for the development of the City. Consultation was not carried out on the scheme of delegation changes as this is a matter for members to decide what applications they want to take decisions on. The current scheme still applies and there is currently no change to the number of representations required.
Community councils were asked for their views on stopping accepting emailed representations and directing people to the portal to make comments. Appendix 4 of the report sets out the responses and there was widespread opposition. The Planning Committee decided to delete this recommendation but made it clear that it was not opposed to the principle of this but wanted the portal upgrades to be in place and tested before the trial starts. We will therefore return to Planning Committee with this proposal after the upgrade later this year and we will be hoping to work with community council on testing this before a trial possibly starts.