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Does a member of Council have to be present at a 'called in' planning application?
by (1.7k points)

1 Answer

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Many call-ins are often an attempt to remove the planning decision from the LPA and give the applicant a chance of obtaining a refusal by the Secretary of State.  Very few applications for a call-in are successful, generally less than 20 in any year.

Once an application has been called-in, anyone can comment on or take part in the subsequent inquiry.
This is supposed to be an important role in the planning process, as it will indicate any support or opposition to the proposed scheme.

Hence, I think it would be important for a council with a strong view on the application to take part in the inquiry. It is also an education to sit through an inquiry - you learn a lot about the planning process!

The next question is - who requested the application for call-in? I hope they have deep pockets. The developers will turn up at the inquiry with some very expensive barristers, who will have read every word of the documentation and will find every weakness in the case.
Put aside about £50K++ if the applicant wants to defend an application. At least you don't have to pay the other sides costs unless the applicant has been unreasonable.
by (5.2k points)
Thank you. The planning application in this case was called in our ward Councillor to go before the LA planning committee. It will be the second time the application has been called in to go before the planning committee. The planning application has already been refused by the planning inspectorate.
There are mixed views on my local parish council. Nobody likes the developers plans. The development site is quite untidy.
When you said 'called-in' I assumed you meant called in by the SofS.

So, your ward councillor has asked for the planning application to be decided by the LA planning committee, rather than let the Planning Officer make the decision as normal.

In which case your parish council can nominate a councillor to speak at the meeting (probably restricted to about 3 mins of talking) and make any objections you may have. Having several members of your council in the public gallery will support your nominated councillor, as well as your Ward Councillor and helps show your strength of feeling.
However, the vote will often swing on the deciding vote of the chairman, not to mention that if the case planning officer gives his opinion that there are no valid planning objections and that she/he was minded to pass the application, then the District Council may find that the developer will appeal if it is refused, which of course costs money.
The developer will no doubt field their own team at the planning meeting, and will certainly want to use their 3 minutes (or whatever time your LA allows) of public speaking time.
Members of the public can also apply to speak at the meeting, so it may well be worth encouraging that notion, without telling them what to say of course.

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