On July 23rd the Council’s main Planning Committee meets to consider significant changes to the way planning applications are decided, proposed by senior EBC Planning Officers and supported by some senior councillors. These changes will drastically reduce the ability of the Society and Residents, who have serious concerns regarding planning applications, to elevate the determination of planning applications to the South Area Planning Committee where local concerns can be fully considered by the Councillors that represent and know the area where the application is sited. In addition, any application for 10 or more dwellings would no longer be decided by the sub-committee. They could be decided by Officers, but most will instead be decided by the main borough wide Planning Committee where local Councillors are in the minority and consequently local issues will not be fully appreciated.
In addition to the above changes, residents will no longer be able to ensure that new “Householder” or single dwelling planning applications are elevated to the planning sub-committee. No number of objections will make this happen. Their only redress will be by persuading a Ward Councillor to take up the case. Other types of application will require 15, 20 or 40 objections to result in any action.
There has been no public consultation process on these proposals and the changes can be enacted by the main Planning Committee meeting on July 23rd at 7 p.m. at the Civic Centre in Esher.
It is the view of the Weybridge Society that the proposed changes to the way planning applications are determined by centralizing planning decisions for developments of 10 or more dwellings, along with other negative changes, will, if implemented, disempower local Ward Councillors and residents across Elmbridge. Currently the Society already has reservations concerning the voice of the local residents in determining planning applications, and the proposed changes, if accepted, will only disenfranchise residents much further.
If you do not agree with the proposed changes, referred to as ‘Revisions to the Scheme of Delegation’, please e-mail the following:
The Leader of the Council, Stuart Selleck – email@example.com; the portfolio holder for Planning, Karen Randolph – firstname.lastname@example.org; the Deputy Leader Andrew Davis – email@example.com and make your views known. Please copy your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
If you have the opportunity you might like to attend the Planning Committee meeting and hear what is said.