Changes to Planning Permission Consultation

Lewisham Council are proposing to raise the threshold on the number of objections needed for a Planning Application to go before a Planning Committee. This puts much more power in the hands of the Committee Chair. It could result in some unneighbourly developments and some very bad decisions. Covid-19 will eventually pass, but bad decisions could be with us forever.

In my opinion Covid-19 is being used as an excuse to do this. Planning department were already missing far too many statutory deadlines long before the virus. The changes will not only affect new applications but also those where the consultation window has closed and which had met the requirements then applying to require a hearing. Having moved the goalposts, I don’t see that LBL will move them back again. I don’t see this as “temporary”.

Proposed Temporary changes to the Scheme of Delegation.pdf (326.9 KB)

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You are right, the Committee Chair does have a very strong say under this. It looks like 10 objections will be needed to guarantee going to Committee; 5 objections or one from an amenity society are now needed to have the Committee Chair decide whether to go to Committee or leave it with officers under this proposal.

It does say that the change is to be for a temporary period and reviewed in three months, though I know what you mean - it could have said the change was limited to three months and would need to be proposed again at that point i.e. the default assumption being that the system reverts to current practices if no proposal to do otherwise is agreed.

I wonder if other councils are taking a similar approach?

Three months later, these changes have been… extended for another 6 months (with review after 3).

From the article by Local Democracy Reporter Grainne Cuffe:

Considering they don’t seem to advertise forthcoming planning permission - particularly council ones (Devonshire Rd paving, A205 gas works and BishopThorpe road all seemed to not get any permission). Private planning permission also seems to sneak through