How are Planning Committees making planning decisions during the Covid-19 crisis?
The government have recognised the difficulties for Planning Committees in the current crisis. The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 came into force on 4 April.
These regulations permit council members to attend meetings remotely, either by phone or video link. The basic requirements are that members can be heard and can hear others, with video links only required “where practicable”.
Committee members attending remotely must be able to hear each other, as well as applicants and council officers.
Members of the public must able to hear what is going on, but there will be no requirement to hear them unless they are entitled to speak because they have registered.
To qualify as “open to the public”, the meeting should be accessible through remote means including video conferencing, live webcast or live interactive streaming.
The regulations only apply to council meetings to be held before 7 May 2021 and are working well throughout the country.
Some Councils have decided to make greater use of Delegated Powers in decision making.
Please contact us for assistance with addressing Planning Committees where this is available or for recommendations on other ways of ensuring that your interests are considered by the Planning Committee members during their decision making.