How are planning applications considered?

The Planning Committee (formerly Development Control Committee) is a Council Committee. It meets about every three weeks on a Thursday, at 7pm in the Council Chamber to make decisions on planning and listed building applications and to consider enforcement matters. The meetings are open to the public.

Not all applications received are referred to the Committee. The Executive Director has the authority to approve or refuse many types of applications. The details of those applications that must be considered by the Committee are set out in the terms of reference of the Committee in Part 3 of Camden’s Constitution, which can be viewed on the Council’s website or is available from the Committee Clerk

Public comments on all development proposals are encouraged by Council policy and planning laws, and it is helpful to the Committee to know whether or not local people support an application or how they are affected by it. The Committee has regard to all views put before it when making its decision.

Watch our video on how the Committee works:

The process

When the Council receives a planning application, it consults those people and groups who appear to be most affected and also publicises the application in various ways, including on-site notices, on the Camden Planning website and in a weekly list circulated to libraries/local groups and in local newspapers (for major applications only).  Comments are requested to be received within 21 days.  The Council, after this period, assesses the comments received and the merits of the application and either makes a decision on the application, consults lead Members of the Committee about it under the Members’ Briefing procedure or refers the matter to the Planning Committee.  If the case is to be referred to the Committee, all those who have made comments will be notified of the meeting date.

The Agenda

Where the Director of Regeneration and Planning decides that the Committee should determine the application, an agenda is prepared by the Committee Clerk. The agenda includes a notice of the meeting, a list of items to be considered and reports on the items listed.

The reports are written by planning officers, taking all planning issues, including the results of consultation, into consideration.

The agenda is published 5 clear working days before the meeting and can be viewed on the Council’s website from 5pm on the Wednesday of the week before the meeting.  From that time onwards you can also call to inspect the agenda or collect a copy of the report in which you are interested from the Committee Clerk during office hours.  Copies are available at the meeting.
 

What does the report on the application contain?

 Each report on the application contains:

  • a description of the application
  • the number of people who were consulted and replied
  • a summary of any comments or objections
  • a list of relevant planning policies
  • the planning issues which officers have taken into account before making their recommendations
  • officers’ recommendations and any conditions considered necessary
  • a statement of reasons for any conditions considered or where the officers recommend a refusal of the application.

 

Putting forward your views

If, having read the officers’ report, you wish to make further comments on the application, you should not contact the Members of the Planning Committee directly.

Instead you should either: -
 
  • write to the Committee with your views (known as making a written submission).  Submissions should not be more than two sides of A4 long, although you can submit additional illustrative material such as photographs if you wish.  Your email, fax or letter should be sent to and received by the Committee Clerk no later than 9am on the day before the meeting.
Or
 
  • ask to speak at the meeting (known as making a deputation).  If you would like to speak at the Committee meeting, you must make the request to the Clerk in writing by email, fax or letter.  Your request needs to include a statement of the issues you want to raise, be no more than two sides of A4 long, and has to be with the Clerk by 9am on the day before the meeting.  If you do not do this, you will lose your chance to speak unless the Chair considers there are exceptional circumstances - e.g. you asked to be informed of the date of the meeting when you first sent in your comments, and it was not done.
When you send in a written submission or deputation request, please ensure that you provide the following information to assist us in processing your request and to enable to communicate with you:
 
  • Your name
  • An email address and contact telephone number
  • The name of any group you represent, whether you are a neighbouring occupier, or whether you are the applicant or an agent
  • The address of the application you are writing about; and
  • Whether you wish to speak for or against, or whether you are commenting on the application.
Your comments or objections should deal with the planning issues of a case only, such as how you and your home might be affected by the proposal.  It must not contain anything defamatory or discriminatory.

The Clerk will collate and send all correspondence to the Members on the evening of the day before the meeting and it will be made public on the supplementary agenda.

Communications on planning matters not yet on the agenda should be sent to Email: planning@camden.gov.uk or in writing to the Development Management Service, Supporting Communities Directorate, Town Hall, Judd Street, London WC1H 8JE, Tel 020 7974 4444.

Who can ask to speak at a Committee meeting?

The Committee will only accept deputation requests from people or organisations who have a planning-related interest that could be affected directly by the matter under consideration. These include:
 
  • applicants and their agents
  • local groups
  • neighbouring occupiers (residential or business premises) affected by the application
  • owners of any premises which is the subject of an enforcement report.

Any of the above may submit a request to speak either in support or in opposition to officers’ recommendations.

If you are making a deputation, you can only raise issues set out in your deputation statement.  This allows Councillors, officers and the applicant time to fully consider any relevant issues raised.

Can an applicant respond to a deputation?

If objectors request to speak, the applicant may respond verbally at the meeting, and should notify the clerk in writing by 9am the day before the meeting if they wish to reserve the right to do this.  The applicant or applicant’s agent may also wish to phone the Committee Clerk soon after the deputation deadline i.e. from 9am the day before the meeting to see if anyone has requested to speak and to obtain copies of any deputation statements.

All deputation statements are circulated to Members of the Committee on the evening before the meeting and are available to everyone at the meeting.
 

What are the rules on speaking at the meeting?

  • Deputations and responses are each limited to five minutes
  • Where there is more than one deputation request on the same item, the speakers are encouraged to make a joint deputation for a total of five minutes; otherwise the five minutes is shared out equally between them
  • If the time limit is exceeded, the Chair will immediately call for an end to the speech
  • The Committee will only agree to accept representations made outside these procedures where there are exceptional circumstances: for example, if someone can show they have been prejudiced by a failure to follow procedures and
  • At the meeting, you may not speak to or lobby individual Members or the Committee except as part of a deputation.  You must not pass notes or other documents to Committee Members, as it may compromise their position.

What is the procedure at the meeting?

If you have asked to speak at the meeting, you will find it helpful to arrive at about 6.45pm to allow yourself time to obtain a copy of the agenda and any supplementary papers available and to make yourself known to the Committee Clerk who will direct you to a seat before the meeting starts.

The Committee will agree at the start of the meeting whether your deputation should be heard.  If this is agreed, it will be heard after the presentation of the application by the planning officer.
 
  • You must remain seated when speaking and use the microphone
  • You must state your name and whether you are an affected residential or business occupier, or the name of the organisation you represent if you are speaking on behalf of a group
  • You must be ready to speak when it is your turn, in order to avoid any unnecessary delay
  • You must bear in mind that Members will have read the deputation statements and it would be helpful if you were concise and avoided repetition as it is your only chance to make your views heard.

Members of the public are not permitted to bring any banner or placard into the meeting. Very young children should not be brought into the Council Chamber when the meeting is in progress. Food should not be eaten inside the Council Chamber.
 

Order

It is expected that anyone who has requested a deputation will speak and conduct themselves in an orderly manner and only when called upon by the Chair. If a member of the public interrupts the meeting or behaves in a manner that is threatening, the Chair will warn them and may order their removal from the meeting.

Presentation of visual material

A Powerpoint facility is available for the presentation of illustrative material such as photographs and drawings only. If you would like to use this facility to highlight issues in your deputation, you should email a copy of your material to the Committee Clerk by the deputation deadline, in order that the necessary arrangements can be made.

Contact with Members of the Committee

The Planning Committee is governed by a Protocol which has been adopted by the Council.  Members of the Committee have a responsibility to make a decision on an application with an open mind and under the Protocol they are generally not permitted to discuss specific details of individual planning applications with any party.  Contact with an interested party could be prejudicial to the decision of the Committee and might mean that the Councillor could not take part in that decision.

You are therefore strongly advised not to contact Members of the Committee directly on any application on the agenda before or during a meeting when a decision is due to be made on the application.

You should channel all your concerns or views in writing through the Committee Clerk who will ensure that all Members of the Committee have a copy.  You may contact a Ward Councillor in whose ward the application is, but who is not a Member of the Committee – they may agree to represent your views at the meeting.  If you contact a Ward Councillor who is a Member of the Committee s/he may advise you to approach one of his or her colleagues as agreeing to represent your views will mean that s/he cannot take part in any decision on the item.

How are decisions taken at the meeting?

Most items are dealt with as follows:
 
  • The Chair takes the item in the order listed on the agenda and announces the proposal
  • The planning officer briefly introduces the item
  • Deputation (if any) - five minutes
  • Deputation response (if any) - five minutes
  • Members may put questions to those who have spoken
  • Members then debate the matter seeking to avoid repetition of issues already raised and will not hear any additional representations or comments, although they may seek clarification from officers
  • When the Chair considers that there has been sufficient debate, he/she will call for a decision.  A vote will be taken on the recommendation in the report unless a motion has been moved by a Member of the Committee altering the recommendation
  • Where the Committee decides not to follow officer recommendations, the Chair asks Members to identify specific reasons for this.

In straightforward cases where the recommendation is to approve planning permission, the Committee may make a decision based solely on the officers’ report without an officer presentation or extensive debate.

Do the Members visit a site before making a decision?

The Committee may defer taking a decision on an item in order to make a site visit to clarify some aspect of a scheme. The applicant, agent, objector or other party is contacted to provide access to the site or premises. No formal invitation is sent to other interested parties. You may not make representations or lobby Members if you attend a site visit. Members may ask questions or seek clarification, particularly about the layout of the site, but will not debate the merits of the proposal and no decisions will be made at this point.

There may be occasions when the Director may deem it necessary to invite Members of the Committee to an informal site visit, before an application is submitted to the Committee. This is usually on major applications. This is solely for information purposes and the invitation is not extended to members of the public or applicants. Failure of a Member of the Committee to attend such a site visit would not preclude the Member from participating when the application goes before the Committee.

How do I get to know the decisions of the Committee?

If you attended the meeting, the decision of the Committee should be clear.  Otherwise the Committee Clerk will usually be able to tell you the Committee’s decision the day after the meeting. The Development Management Service will also write to all those who have written to them concerning an application to advise them of the Committee’s decision.

Will there be a record of what happened at the meeting?

The minutes normally only include the decisions unless there are specific directions given by the Committee.  Details of the debate are only recorded where they are considered relevant to the decision.  The minutes form part of the agenda for the next meeting, when they are agreed as the correct record.  You may also view the minutes about a week after the meeting on our website.  You can also contact the Committee Clerk for a copy.

Can I appeal against the Committee’s decision?

Applicants who wish to appeal against the refusal of an application or against conditions imposed on a planning permission may do so to:

The Planning Inspectorate,
Temple Quay House,
The Square, Temple Quay,
Bristol,
BS1 6PN.

Email: enquiries@pins.gsi.gov.uk or via www.planning-inspectorate.gov.uk

There is no right of appeal for any other party and no right of appeal against the approval of a planning application.

Clerks’ contact details

Further enquiries about the procedure at meetings of the Planning Committee can be made to:

Cheryl Hardman/Dan Rodwell
Clerks to the Planning Committee
London Borough of Camden
Room 226, Town Hall
Judd Street
London WC1H 9JE
Phone: 020 7974 1619 or 5678
E-mail: planningcommittee@camden.gov.uk
Fax: 020 7974 5921