Introduction

Planning Committee meets roughly once a month - usually on a Thursday, at 7pm in the Council Chamber - to make decisions on planning and listed building applications. The meetings are open to the public.

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.

Anyone who has commented on a planning application due to be heard by the Committee will be notified of the date of the meeting.

Watch our video on how the Committee works:

 

Which applications will be heard by the Committee?

Not all planning applications are considered by the Committee. Council officers have the authority to approve or refuse many types of applications. However, some types of application - usually due to their size or complexity - must be considered by the Planning Committee.  Those types of application are set out in the terms of reference of the Committee in the Council's Constitution.

Sometimes even where officers have the power to decide an application they may refer it to the Committee to consider. This may happen after consulting lead Committee members, who make up the Members’ Briefing Panel.  If the case is to be referred to the Committee, all those who have made comments will be notified of the meeting date.

For more information on how planning applications are considered, please see our planning application pages.

Planning Committee agendas and reports

A couple of weeks before each Committee meeting, officers draw up a list of applications to be heard at that meeting. An agenda is then prepared containing a notice of the meeting, a list of applications to be considered and reports on the applications listed. The reports are written by planning officers, taking all planning issues, including the results of consultation, into consideration. Each report contains:

  • a description of the application
  • the number of people who were consulted and replied, and a summary of those comments
  • 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, including reasons

The agenda is published 5 clear working days before the meeting - usually the Wednesday of the week before the meeting - and can be viewed on the Council’s website.  Once published members of the public can request to see the agenda and/or for a copy of the report in which they are interested by asking the Committee Clerk.  Spare agendas and reports are available at every meeting for those who want to attend.

Putting forward your views to the Committee

Once the agenda has been published there is an opportunity to submit comments to the Committee on an application which it is due to hear at that meeting. These are separate comments to any you might have made during the earlier part of the process.

You should not contact members of the Planning Committee directly. Instead you should either:

  • write to the Committee with your views - known as making a written submission; or
  • ask to address the Committee at the meeting - known as making a deputation. This must be accompanied by a statement provided in advance, setting out the issues you want to raise with the Committee. The Committee will only accept deputation requests from people or organisations who have a planning-related interest that could be affected directly by the proposal such as applicants, neighbouring occupiers and local groups.

You cannot submit both a written submission and a deputation statement.

Deputations statements and written submissions must be:

  • received by the Committee Clerk by 9am on the working day before the meeting. They can be submitted via email, fax or letter. Any written submissions or deputations request not received by this time will not be provided to the Committee for their consideration except in exceptional circumstances. 
  • no more than two sides of A4 paper long, though any photographs, diagrams or other images you wish to provide do not count towards this limit. You can have any illustrative material included with a deputation statement displayed on screen when making your deputation as long as you have indicated in advance you would like this.

When sending in a written submission or deputation request, please ensure you provide the following information to assist us in processing your request:

  • your name(s)
  • 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
  • whether your comments are a written submission or deputation statement. For a deputation request it should also be clear if you wish to speak for, against or in neutral terms on the application

Your submission/statement should only deal with the planning issues of an application, such as how you and your home might be affected by the proposal. It must not contain anything defamatory or discriminatory. The Council reserves the right to reject any submissions/statements containing defamatory or discriminatory statements.

The Clerk will collate and send all written submissions and deputation statements to the Committee on the day before the meeting as part of a supplementary agenda. This will be published on the Council's website and hard copies will be available at the meeting.

All persons making a deputation/written submission should consult our privacy notice.

Rules for applicants and agents

Applicants and agents do not have to submit a deputation statement in advance of the meeting, though they may choose to do so and the same rules apply. Where there are people speaking in objection to an application, the applicant/agent can respond verbally to the points raised. Where there are no objectors, the applicant/agent will not be invited to address the Committee, but may be asked to answer any questions that arise.

The applicant/agent should notify the clerk in writing by 9am the working day before the meeting if they wish to reserve the right to respond to any objectors, setting out the names of the person(s) who would be responding.

If the applicant/agent submits a deputation statement, but they are not called to speak, the statement will be treated as a written submission instead.

Rules for councillors

Councillors may also make written submissions to the Committee, though they must follow the same rules as for ordinary members of the public in terms of length and submission by the deadline of 9am the working day before the meeting.

Ward councillors, Cabinet members, or any other councillor who can demonstrate a planning related interest may also make a deputation to the Committee. They do not have to provide a statement in advance, though must inform the clerk by 9am the working day before the meeting they wish to address the Committee on an application. This applies to Committee members who are going to stand down from the Committee in order to speak on an application.

Any councillors who do not meet the deadline will not be permitted to speak except in exceptional circumstances.

Deputations and submissions about applications not on the Committee agenda

The Committee does not accept any deputations or written submissions where they relate to applications that are not on the agenda. Any comments on other applications form part of the planning process and should be provided to the relevant planning officer.

Procedure at the meeting

People who have registered to speak at the meeting or simply want to watch should arrive at least 15 minutes before the meeting starts - usually 6.45pm - to allow time to collect papers and be seated. People making deputations will need to make themselves known to the Committee Clerk.

Bear in mind you can watch live webcasts of Planning Committee meetings via the Internet, instead of attending in person.

If you are planning to attend the meeting please note:

  • seating is limited and will be offered on a first-come-first-served basis. When a large turnout is expected, a ticketing system may be in operation.
  • you should refrain from trying to speak to councillors or officers immediately prior to or during the meeting, including during any adjournments. This includes passing written notes or similar.
  • no banners or placards are permitted in the Council Chamber.
  • 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, and care should be taken with drinks so they are not spilled.
  • 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.

Order of business

The Committee will formally agree at the start of the meeting the deputations to be heard. Then after the plenary items have been completed, the Committee will move on to hearing applications. They will almost always proceed in the order listed on the agenda, and there are no guaranteed timings of when applications will start being heard and how long they may take. The Committee must conclude its business no later than 10.30pm.

Most applications are heard as follows:

  • the Planning Officer introduces the application and their recommendations
  • deputation from objectors (if any) (5 minutes, shared by all objectors)
  • deputation response (if any)  (5 minutes, shared by applicant and supporters)
  • Ward councillors (5 minutes, shared by all ward councillors)
  • Cabinet members (5 minutes, shared by all Cabinet members)
  • questions from the Committee and debate
  • voting for a decision, when the Chair considers that there has been sufficient debate.

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

Making your deputation

If you are making a deputation, you should be ready to start once the Chair calls your name. When making your deputation, you should:

  • remain seated and turn on the microphone.
  • state your name and whether you are an affected resident or business, or the name of the organisation you represent if you are speaking on behalf of a group.
  • bear in mind the Committee will have read your deputation statement, so it would be helpful if you were concise and avoided repetition as it is your only chance to make your views heard.
  • keep to time, whether you have the full 5 minutes to speak or a shorter period of time because you are sharing. There will be a timer on display to show how long you have left. If you go over time, the Chair may cut-off your speech.

Once your deputation has concluded, you may not address the Committee again, other than to answer questions.

It is expected that anyone who has requested a deputation will speak and conduct themselves in an orderly manner and only speak when called upon by the Chair.

Decisions

Ordinarily, once the Committee's debate has concluded, the Chair will put the officers' recommendation to the vote. This may include any new or amended conditions that have been identified during the debate. If the Committee decides not to follow the officers' recommendation, the Chair will ask the Committee to identify an alternative course of action with reasons. This could be to refuse the application or to defer the decision to seek further information. 

The Committee's decision should be clear to everyone present at the meeting. After the meeting, you can find out the decision by either contacting the Committee Clerk or the relevant planning officer. 

Decisions are recorded in the minutes of the meeting, which are available roughly a fortnight after the meeting. The minutes also include a summary of the debate and responses to questions. The minutes form part of the agenda for the next meeting, when they are agreed as the correct record.  You can see minutes of meetings on the Council's website

Appeals

Applicants who wish to appeal against a decision by the Committee to refuse an application or against conditions imposed on a planning permission may do so by contacting the Planning Inspectorate. More information is available elsewhere on the Council's website.

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

Contact with Committee members

The Planning Committee and associated processes are governed by the Council's Planning Protocol, which forms part of the Council's Constitution.  Members of the Committee have a responsibility to make decisions 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 outside of agreed processes could be prejudicial to the decision of the Committee and might mean that the councillor could not take part in that decision.

Therefore, you are strongly advised not to contact Committee members directly on any application due to come before the Committee, both before or during the meeting. Instead, you should channel all your concerns or views in writing through the Committee Clerk, who will ensure that all Committee members have a copy to ensure transparent and fair decision-making.

When contacting a ward councillor in relation to a planning application, you should try to speak only to those ward councillors who are not members of the Planning Committee, and they may agree to represent your views at the meeting.  If you contact a ward councillor who is a Committee member, s/he may advise you to approach another ward councillor for help, so they can take part in the decision and not be seen as prejudiced.

Site visits by the Committee

The Committee may make a site visit as part of their decision-making.  This generally happens in two ways:

  • officers deem it necessary to invite Committee members to visit the site before the application is heard. This is usually on major applications, where the complexity means the Committee would likely find it easier to understand the proposals by inspecting the site in person.
  • the Committee decides when hearing the application to defer a decision in order to arrange a site visit in order to clarify some aspect of the proposal.

In either situation, site visits are solely for information purposes and for the Committee only; invitations are not extended to members of the public or applicants. The applicant, agent, objector or other relevant party is contacted to provide access to the site or premises at any agreed time, but then not otherwise involved. Officers will attend with the Committee and will seek to ensure that any other party who attends uninvited is not allowed to make representations or lobby Members on the visit.

Failure of a Committee member to attend a site visit does not preclude them from participating when the application goes before the Committee. 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.

Contact details

For further enquiries about the procedure at meetings of the Planning Committee, please contact the clerks:

Sola Odusina / Dan Rodwell
Committee Services
London Borough of Camden
Town Hall
Judd Street
London WC1H 9JE
Phone: 020 7974 6884 / 5678
E-mail: planningcommittee@camden.gov.uk
Fax: 020 7974 5921/