Conduct and Outcomes

The Code of Conduct and the Local development plan

As a planning committee member your role in relation to the local development plan is to provide input to the local development plan and to then clear the plan before it is ratified by the full council.

You are likely to be lobbied by interested parties, including landowners, developers and community groups, both in connection with preparing policy, designating environmental and other policy areas, and especially with regards to the zoning of land.

If you are approached, having listened to the views expressed, you must make it clear that you are not in a position to lend support for or against the matter and you must make known to planning officers what representations from constituents and other interested parties you have received on the local development plan. In addition, you can advise constituents to make their views known to the relevant planning officer.

Example

You are approached by a landowner who is objecting to the draft local development plan as it does not include land he owns in the areas zoned for housing. He would like your support in amending the draft plan. You can listen to the landowner and advise him to forward his objections to planning officers but, if you are part of the planning committee deciding on the local development plan, you must not indicate to the landowner that you will support his cause. You must also advise planning officers of any representations made to you.

You must not attempt to influence planning officers beyond the provision of information, or make public statements about pending policies and proposals in the draft plan prior to public consultation. The same principle is equally applicable to all councillors.

As a member of the planning committee you will be given the opportunity to both present arguments in favour of or against proposals. However, this should be done in the public interest (i.e. for the benefit of the council area as a whole) and not to represent any private interest.

Once a decision is made members of the planning committee are advised to respect the decisions of that committee and not to actively seek to undermine their decisions. All local development plans will be subject to a public examination, allowing developers, landowners and residents the opportunity to present their views on the draft plan. A planning official will be available to present the corporate view of the planning committee. Whilst it would not be appropriate for a member of the planning committee to represent an objector by presenting a view contrary to that presented by the planning committee, it is reasonable for councillors not on the planning committee to advocate the position of an objector if they so wish. However, again this should be subject to the principles and rules of the Code.