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Posted by: John Brace | 21st April 2016

Councillors defer decision on 2 planning applications for site visits and approve 7 others

Councillors defer decision on 2 planning applications for site visits and approve 7 others

                                          

Cllr Anita Leech (Chair of Wirral Council's Planning Committee) at the Planning Committee held on the 20th April 2016

Cllr Anita Leech (Chair of Wirral Council’s Planning Committee) at the Planning Committee held on the 20th April 2016

I’m going to try to return to brief reports on public meetings of Wirral Council starting with the Planning Committee meeting held on the 20th April 2016 starting at 6.01pm in Committee Rooms 1 & 2, Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Seacombe, CH44 8ED. Timings next to agenda items are for the two video clips of the meeting.

First a list of who from the Planning Committee was there.

Present (11 + 2 deputies (total 13)):
Cllr Dave Mitchell (Liberal Democrat spokesperson)
Cllr Pat Cleary (Green Party)
Cllr Kathy Hodson (Conservative)
Cllr Eddie Boult (Conservative)
Cllr Anita Leech (Labour (Chair))
Cllr Phillip Brightmore (Labour)
Cllr Treena Johnson (Labour)
Cllr David Elderton (Conservative spokesperson)
Cllr Denise Realey (Labour (Vice-Chair))
Cllr Joe Walsh (Labour)
Cllr Irene Williams (Labour)

Deputies (2)
Cllr Christina Muspratt (Labour) (deputy for Cllr Steve Foulkes (Labour))
Cllr Geoffrey Watt (Conservative) (deputy for Cllr Paul Hayes (Conservative))

It was standing room only for some of the public due to the large numbers of people present. The 88 page report pack for the meeting can be found on Wirral Council’s website. The meeting can be watched from beginning to end using the playlist below.

Playlist of Wirral Council’s Planning Committee meeting held on the 20th April 2016


Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 20th April 2016 Agenda Item 1 from 2m:33s

1. MINUTES Clip 1/2 2m:33s

The minutes of the Planning Committee meeting (pages 1-6 in the report pack) held on the 17th March 2016 were agreed.


Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 20th April 2016 Agenda Item 2 from 2m:50s

2. MEMBERS’ CODE OF CONDUCT – DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST Clip 1/2 2m:50s

No declarations of interest were made by Planning Committee Members.


Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 20th April 2016 Agenda Item 3 from 2m:57s

3. REQUESTS FOR SITE VISITS Clip 1/2 2m:57s

Cllr David Elderton requested a site visit for agenda item 6 (APP/15/01507: Land to the East side of Kinloss Road, Greasby – Erection of 2 no. residential apartment blocks with a total number of 19 apartments, with associated landscaping and car parking (100% affordable housing) – amended car parking layout).

Cllr Dave Mitchell requested a site visit for agenda item 11 (APP/16/00135: 32 BERYL ROAD, NOCTORUM, CH43 9RT – Retrospective consent for a front boundary wall with proposed external visual changes and reduced height.)

The Planning Committee agreed that agenda items 6 (APP/15/01507) and 11 (APP/16/00135) would not be decided at this Planning Committee meeting. Site visits of the Planning Committee would be held prior to making a decision on Tuesday 31st May 2016. These items would then be decided at the Planning Committee meeting held starting at 6.00pm on the 2nd June 2016.


Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 20th April 2016 Agenda Item 12 from 4m:37s

12. APP/16/00210: 14 LARCOMBE AVENUE, UPTON, CH49 6NB – Two storey rear extension Clip 1/2 4:37

A presentation was given on this item. The lead petitioner who lived at 21 Larcombe Avenue addressed the Planning Committee. The applicant Mr Rob Tinsley addressed the Planning Committee.

Cllrs Mitchell, Muspratt, Elderton and Watt either made comments or asked questions which were responded to by a Wirral Council planning officer.

Cllr Denise Realey moved approval. Cllr Joe Walsh seconded approval.

VOTE
FOR (12)
Cllr Dave Mitchell (Liberal Democrat spokesperson)
Cllr Pat Cleary (Green Party)
Cllr Kathy Hodson (Conservative)
Cllr Eddie Boult (Conservative)
Cllr Anita Leech (Labour (Chair))
Cllr Phillip Brightmore (Labour)
Cllr Treena Johnson (Labour)
Cllr David Elderton (Conservative spokesperson)
Cllr Denise Realey (Labour (Vice-Chair))
Cllr Joe Walsh (Labour)
Cllr Irene Williams (Labour)
Cllr Geoffrey Watt (Conservative) deputy for Cllr Paul Hayes (Conservative)

AGAINST (0)

ABSTAIN (1)
Cllr Christina Muspratt (Labour) deputy for Cllr Steve Foulkes (Labour)

The vote was therefore (For:Against:Abstain) 12:0:1, so planning application APP/16/00135 was approved (subject to conditions).


Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 20th April 2016 Agenda Item 4 from 16m:09s

4. OUT/15/00709: Dale End, 178 BARNSTON ROAD, BARNSTON, CH61 1AR
Proposal: Amended application (Re submission of OUT//14/00730) for two new detached dwellings and retention of the existing garage (Outline application with some matters reserved).
Clip 1/2 16:09

A presentation was given on this item. The lead petitioner declined to speak instead leaving it to the ward councillor.

The ward councillor Cllr Mike Sullivan addressed the Planning Committee. Cllrs Brightmore, Johnson, Mitchell and Muspratt made comments or asked questions about the planning application. These were responded to by a Wirral Council planning officer.

Cllr Dave Mitchell moved approval. Cllr Denise Realey seconded approval.

VOTE:
FOR (11):
Cllr Dave Mitchell (Liberal Democrat spokesperson)
Cllr Pat Cleary (Green Party)
Cllr Kathy Hodson (Conservative)
Cllr Eddie Boult (Conservative)
Cllr Anita Leech (Labour (Chair))
Cllr Phillip Brightmore (Labour)
Cllr Treena Johnson (Labour)
Cllr David Elderton (Conservative spokesperson)
Cllr Denise Realey (Labour (Vice-Chair))
Cllr Joe Walsh (Labour)
Cllr Geoffrey Watt (Conservative) deputy for Cllr Paul Hayes (Conservative)

AGAINST (1)
Cllr Christina Muspratt (Labour) deputy for Cllr Steve Foulkes (Labour)

ABSTENTION (1)
Cllr Irene Williams (Labour)

The vote was therefore (For:Against:Abstain) 11:1:1, so planning application APP/16/00135 was approved (subject to conditions).


Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 20th April 2016 Agenda Item 5 from 35m:34s

5. APP/15/01465: Plant and Machinery, 7-11 NEW HALL LANE, HOYLAKE, CH47 4BP – Change of use from warehouse to gymnasium Clip 1/2 35:34

A planning officer gave a presentation. Cllr Denise Realey moved approval. Cllr David Elderton seconded approval. All councillors (13) voted in favour of approval of planning application APP/15/01465.


Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 20th April 2016 Agenda Item 7 from 35m:34s

7. APP/15/01512 – Norton Court, 154 BOROUGH ROAD, SEACOMBE, CH44 6NJ – Conversion and extension of existing building from 15 apartments with ground floor retail space to an assisted living facility containing 22 No. one-bed apartments with ancillary accommodation for staff, residents and visitors Clip 1/2 37:20

A planning officer gave a presentation. Cllr Dave Mitchell proposed approval and Cllr Eddie Boult seconded approval. All councillors (13) voted in favour of approval of planning application APP/15/01512.


Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 20th April 2016 Agenda Item 8 from 39m:21s

8. APP/15/01545: 23 LATCHFORD ROAD, GAYTON, CH60 3RN – Various extensions and internal alterations Clip 1/2 39:21

A planning officer gave a presentation. Cllr David Elderton proposed approval and Cllr Eddie Boult seconded approval. All councillors (13) voted in favour of approval of planning application APP/15/01545.


Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 20th April 2016 Agenda Item 9 from 40m:25s

9. APP/15/01657: 4 BRACKLEY CLOSE, LISCARD, CH44 3EJ – Double storey side extension and loft alterations with dormers & front porch.(Alterations to previously approved APP/08/06693) (Amended plans) Clip 1/2 40:25

A planning officer gave a presentation. Cllr Eddie Boult proposed approval and Cllr Kathy Hodson seconded approval. All councillors (13) voted in favour of approval of planning application APP/15/01657.


Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 20th April 2016 Agenda Item 10 from 42m:15s

10. APP/16/00005: 6 MORLAND AVENUE, BROMBOROUGH, CH62 6BE – Garage conversion, first floor extension and internal alterations. Clip 1/2 42:15

A planning officer gave a presentation. Cllr Kathy Hodson proposed approval and Cllr Eddie Boult seconded approval. All councillors (13) voted in favour of approval of planning application APP/16/00005.


Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 20th April 2016 Agenda Item 13 from 43m:37s

13. Planning Applications Decided Under Delegated Powers Between 07/03/2016 and 06/04/2016 Clip 1/2 43:37

The Chair asked for approval of the planning applications decided by Wirral Council planning officers between 7th March 2016 and 6th April 2016.

The Planning Committee agreed to approve these planning applications.


Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 20th April 2016 Agenda Item 14 from 43m:50s (part 1 of 2)

Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 20th April 2016 Agenda Item 14 from 0m:01s (part 2 of 2)

14. ANY OTHER URGENT BUSINESS APPROVED BY THE CHAIR Clip 1/2 43:50 and Clip 2/2 0:01

The Chair said that site visits would be held on Tuesday 31st May 2016 and a minibus would pick councillors up from the Town Hall at 10am.

Cllr Elderton thanked the Chair and officers for their work during the past year. He made a comment about candidates in the elections and the meeting ended.

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Responses

  1. “The Chair said that site visits would be held on Tuesday 31st May 2016 and a minibus would pick councillors up from the Town Hall at 10am.”

    A mini bus and not a fleet of taxis
    Still don’t understand why we need a gang of Councilllors on a board deciding planning, all we need is a small planning dept and then they go though the applications and if no one objects and everything is in order etc they give go ahead, if not then they can go into the objections in a small hearing, till things are sorted out, I’m sure this would save time and a lot of tax payers money.

    • Well put it this way at that Planning Committee meeting councillors decided on 7 planning applications at that meeting and deferred 2 for a later date (total 9 decisions).

      Over the same time period 122 decisions were made on different planning applications by officers in the planning department.

      So councillors are deciding just under 7% of planning applications over this time period, with the other 93% decided by the planning department.

      The reason a Planning Committee is needed is Wirral Council’s existing policies state that certain types of planning application have to be decided to it. This policy is decided by the councillors.

      For example Planning Committee has to decide when there’s a petition of objection of 25 or more people, or for planning applications where a councillor has asked for the Planning Committee to decide on it, departures from agreed policy, planning application where a councillor is involved as applicant/agent and objections have been received. Those are four reasons just off the top of my head, there are probably more to do with major development (for example hundreds of houses).

      To sum up, they deal with the controversial/contentious ones which in some cases wouldn’t be a good idea for a solitary planning officer to decide.

      You’re right that holding public meetings roughly every three weeks (plus site visits) does cost the taxpayer money, but that’s just the cost of democracy.

      The people of Wirral have the power (through voting each year) to remove Planning Committee councillors and vote for someone else. Whereas the planning officers aren’t directly accountable to the public in the way politicians are.

      However the appeal route (whether the decision is made by a planning officer or Planning Committee is the same), there’s a time limit after the decision is made but such decisions can be appealed to the Planning Inspectorate (which rarely holds hearings).

      Beyond that the route of appeal I think is to the court. However there can be a judicial review of the earlier stages too if they haven’t been done correctly.


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