At their meeting in March 2021, the Policy and Resource Committee supported the recommendation from Lord Lisvane’s Report on the formation of Planning Panels for the future consideration of Planning applications.
Following this, officers have drawn up detailed proposals on the establishment of a panel system which was heard for further consideration at today’s Planning and Transportation Committee. This included:
- Planning applications shall be considered by geographically defined Planning Panels (as sub-committees of the Planning and Transportation Committee), comprising the grand committee’s Members from the Wards in those areas, dealing with those applications in the ‘mirror’ area.
- Suggested format:
- West Planning Panel (Aldersgate, Bread Street, Castle Baynard, Farringdon Within, Farringdon Without, Queenhithe) considers applications for the East of the City.
- East Planning Panel (Aldgate, Billingsgate, Langbourn, Lime Street, Portsoken, Tower) considers applications for the West of the City.
- North Planning Panel (Bassishaw, Bishopsgate, Broad Street, Cheap, Coleman Street, Cripplegate) considers applications for the South of the City.
- South Planning Panel (Bridge & Bridge Without, Candlewick, Cordwainer, Cornhill, Dowgate, Vintry, Walbrook) considers applications for the North of the City.
- No Member shall sit on a panel to hear a planning application that affects their Ward (i.e the application is for a site within their Ward).
- The size of the panel should comprise of 8-10 Members, each with an appropriate quorum.
Members debated the proposals thoroughly with a fairly balanced debate. A number raised objections to the proposed panel system which they deemed would further entrench a lack of democratic accountability and transparency.
Some members however were supportive of the proposals which they stated would improve efficiency. It would also allow greater time for the Planning and Transportation Committee to debate policy and strategic matters.
Others supported a panel system but disagreed with them being geographically defined (North, South, East and West).
After a lengthy debate members voted narrowly to approve the principle of a panel system for determining applications, 14 for and 10 against with one abstention.
Following this there was a further vote on the principle that these panels should be formulated geographically which was roundly rejected with 20 against and 5 abstentions. This will now be taken back to the Policy and Resources Committee for further consideration.