Planning & Development Committee – Terms of Reference

Planning & Development Committee

Purpose / Role of the Group:

West Bergholt Parish Council is a statutory consultee to Colchester Borough Council (CBC- the Local Planning Authority) for all domestic and business planning applications that relate to the parish area. The Parish Council is also a consultee on planning applications relating to waste, minerals, schools and certain highway matters to Essex County Council (ECC). As a consultee, the final decision rests with either CBC or ECC and not with the Parish Council.

The Planning Committee is constituted to consider and to respond on behalf of the Parish Council in respect of such applications.

The Planning Committee has the delegated authority from West Bergholt Parish Council:

  • To make representations to CBC and ECC on applications for planning permission which have been notified to the Council.
  • To make representations to the LPA in respect of appeals against the refusal of planning permission.
  • To identify and make representations to the relevant authorities in respect of enforcement action or any matters considered to be breaches of planning regulations.
  • To monitor, review and where necessary make recommendations to the Council for amendments to the planning consultation procedure.
  • To consider and respond to planning consultations from Government, County, Borough or other statutory planning bodies.
  • To deal with any other planning related matter that a meeting of the full Council considers appropriate to be referred to the Planning Committee.
  • To maintain Parish Council guidance documents such as adopted Parish Plans, Village Design Statements and similar items which from time to time may be produced by the Committee and endorsed by the Parish Council.

Membership:

  • The Committee is open to members of the Parish Council including lay members not elected or co-opted.
  • The Committee will normally be made up of a minimum of four people at least three of whom must be full PC members; the Chairman of the Parish Council is by default an ex-officio member but does not have voting rights.
  • Membership of the Committee is for a nominal 12 months extendable through the auspices of the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council.
  • A Chairman and Vice Chairman are to be elected annually by its membership.

Accountability:

  • The Committee is accountable to the PC and will make reports to it monthly.
  • An annual report on its activity will be published through the Annual Parish meeting.

Working methods/ways of working:

  • The Committee will order and manage its work in the following ways:
    • Monthly meetings will be held at which decisions will be taken.
    • The Chairman or Vice Chairman may call ad hoc site meetings to be undertaken.
    • The Committee may, through the Clerk, make general and specific queries to Colchester Borough Council or Essex County Council officers.
    • The Committee may liaise with elected District or County Council members.
    • On occasion, the Committee may refer particular applications or other planning matters to the full Parish Council for determination.
    • Methods of communication may include written reports or email correspondence either through the Chairman or the Clerk.
    • Decisions will be taken by majority vote; a quorum will comprise of at least three PC members.
    • Extraordinary meetings may be arranged on Planning matters where these are of concern to a large number of the community.

Meetings of the Committee:

The Planning Committee will arrange its meetings as follows:

  • Meetings will be held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month unless advertised differently.
  • Meetings will be presided over by the Planning Chairman or Vice Chairman.
  • Meetings will be advertised on the village web site and notice boards.
  • An agenda will be published at least 3 clear working days prior to the meeting taking place. The agenda will include the Planning Applications that will be discussed. The Chairman may consider other matters or other Planning Applications not on the agenda, if such matters cannot await the next meeting.
  • The meeting will be open to the public and press; the first part of the meeting is devoted to pre-application discussions.
  • Decisions will be included in Parish Council minutes and comments will be lodged by the Clerk on Colchester Borough Council’s website.

Sharing of information and resources (including confidential materials):

  • All copies of agendas and decisions, recommendations, letters, reports and correspondence will be held by the Clerk.
  • An area of the village web site will be devoted to Planning matters.

Review: These terms of reference will be reviewed annually.