The Planning & Environment Committee has delegated authority to respond to all planning matters in the town and parish.
Committee members are:
Cllr Duncan White (Chair)
Cllr Mike Grace (Deputy Chair)
Cllr David Fenwick
Cllr Wilfred Grainger
Cllr Chris Tyler
Future meeting dates 2021/22:
Tuesday 2nd & Tuesday 30th
Meetings are usually held at the Guildhall, Wilmore Street, Much Wenlock
Much Wenlock Town Council Planning Pre-Application Discussions Protocol
The principles of localism engender openness and accountability with the local community, and to give them a greater say in what happens in their neighbourhood. This is especially true where major or significant development is planned, and developers are encouraged to engage with communities so that an amicable outcome is achieved. It is therefore beneficial for the Town Council to ensure that it is actively engaged in pre-planning application discussions with Shropshire Council, the developer, and relevant stakeholders, prior to the formal planning application being submitted, especially with major and significant applications which are likely to be of wider public interest.
This protocol has been developed to guide the Town Council when considering pre-planning application discussions so that the Council’s views are adequately communicated to Shropshire Council, developers, stakeholders and the local community.
The National Planning Policy Framework was introduced in 2012. It was developed to support sustainable growth. Sustainable development should meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (Resolution 42/187 of the United Nations General Assembly.)
It is beneficial to work with both developers and local planning authorities so as to ensure a better mutual understanding of objectives and the constraints that exist.
Benefits of pre-planning application discussions
The benefits of entering into pre-planning application discussions are as follows:
- Pre-application discussions will enhance the speed and quality of the planning system by identifying relevant issues which can be addressed from the outset.
- Major or potentially contentious applications considered prior to being formally submitted will help to identify and address key issues at an early stage.
- Information required in connection with a proposed application, including any gaps in policy or data, can be addressed prior to determination of the application.
- Key consultees can be involved in the consultation process.
- The Town Council will be able to facilitate public meetings and exhibitions so that community interests are considered and acknowledged.
- Applicants will be able to attend meetings with council officers and councillors.
- Enable certain planning issues to be resolved prior to major applications being formally submitted.
- Identify required legal agreements, including infrastructure requirements.
- Allow the developer, or agent, to amend the submission in response to the consultee comments, prior to formally submitting the application.
- Allow design quality and access issues to be addressed.
- Identify at an early stage any corporate requirements for community infrastructure, such as transportation measures, education contributions, affordable housing and public open space.
- The characteristics of the proposal i.e. design, materials etc. can be amended if necessary so that they comply with the Much Wenlock Design Statement.
- Gives an opportunity for stakeholders to raise concerns before the application is submitted and reduce the potential of public objections to the scheme.
- Ensure that applications have regard to the Neighbourhood Plan for Much Wenlock.
The Town Council’s involvement in pre-planning applications
The Town Council is a statutory consultee in the planning process. It is therefore desirable that the Council should take an active interest in the pre-planning application process because the Council:
- Has a good understanding of its area.
- Should have active involvement in expressing the needs of the community.
- Needs to ensure that all development is in keeping with the Design Statement for Much Wenlock.
- Wants to ensure that future development is in conformity with the Neighbourhood Plan for Much Wenlock.
- Wants to represent the views of its local residents.
- Needs to have input into development that might devolve public open space or other community facilities to the Town Council.
- Wants to ensure that any CIL and s106 awards are appropriately allocated to the local community.
Representing the local community
It is usual for Shropshire Council to notify the Town Council of all planning applications within the parish of Much Wenlock. However, there may be occasions when an applicant may contact the Town Council directly to discuss an application to seek an informal opinion with a view to gain support.
Role of the Town Council’s Planning & Environment Committee
The Town Council’s Planning & Environment Committee has delegated powers to consider planning applications, including pre-planning applications. The Committee considers all planning applications in public session, unless a matter is considered to be confidential and, although there is no pubic session, the Committee can, if it wishes, resolve to suspend Standing Orders and listen to the views of members of the public, or invite guests to speak.
There may be times when the Town Council is asked to enter into confidential discussions concerning a proposal for future development. The Town Council has a duty to conform to the Freedom of Information Act and will only enter into private discussions where the Council feels that to disclose information relative to the proposed development falls within the following categories:
- s22 – Information intended for future publication;
- s24 – National security (other than information supplied by or relating to named security organisations, where the duty to disclose in the public interest does not arise);
- s26 – Defence;
- s27 – International relations;
- s28 – Relations within the United Kingdom;
- s29 – The economy;
- s30 – Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities;
- s31 – Law enforcement;
- s33 – Audit Functions;
- s35 – Formulation of government policy, etc;
- s36 – Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs (except information held by the House of Commons or the House of Lords);
- s37 – Communications with Her Majesty, etc and honours;
- s38 – Health and Safety;
- s39 – Environmental information;
- s40 – Personal information of a third party (i.e. not data relating to the requester). An exemption will stand or fall on whether disclosure of the information to a member of the public would be ‘unfair’, taking into account all the circumstances involved, in particular how the information was obtained; the likely expectations of the data subject regarding the disclosure of the information; the effect which disclosure would have on the data subject; and the public interest in disclosure of the information. If disclosure of personal data to a member of the public would be ‘unfair’ then the request is likely to need to be refused under the Freedom of Information Act insofar as it relates to that personal data.
- s42 – Legal Professional Privilege; and
- s43 – Commercial interests.
In reaching a decision as to whether the public and press should be excluded from discussions concerning future development proposals the Planning & Environment Committee will ask, “Does the public interest in withholding the information outweigh the public interest in disclosing the information?”
Only in circumstances where the applicant has provided a compelling argument that the application is commercially sensitive, and disclosure of information would either prejudice or adversely affect future contract negotiations/transactions, will the Committee consider applications in private session.
Much Wenlock Town Council 3 Adopted 5 December 2013 (minute no: 10)
Code of Practice for Site Visits and Attendance at Shropshire Council Planning Committee Meeting
At a Planning & Environment Committee meeting held on 4 March 2014 it was agreed that any Member of the Committee may attend site visits and Shropshire Council Planning Committee meetings (minute no: 9(ii) dated 4 March 2014).
The Town Clerk will notify Members of the date, time and place of site visits and Shropshire Council Planning Committee meetings and Members must notify the Town Clerk if they wish to attend.
The Planning & Environment Committee will already have considered any planning application that has been referred to Shropshire Council’s Planning Committee and therefore, any Member attending such meetings must represent the collective views and convey the decision of the Planning & Environment Committee as agreed at the appropriate meeting.
The following sets out the protocol that Members should follow on these occasions. Only two Members may attend any one site visit at any one time. Should more than two Members express a desire to attend preference will be given to the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Planning & Environment Committee.
- 1) Members should inform the Town Clerk that they wish to make a site visit and specify the planning application to which the site visit refers.
- 2) During the site visit Members may be asked to point out physical features, as points of fact, to the Shropshire Council Planning Committee, but they must not present any views or opinions.
- 3) The Chairman of the Shropshire Planning Committee may invite Members to ask questions and seek clarification of any facts from the officers present. Members should not direct questions to the applicant or agent or any other persons present.
- 4) Members should not make comments or express opinions on the application.
- 5) Members should have due regard to health and safety of themselves and others and follow any appropriate safety instructions on site. Appropriate clothing and footwear should be worn.
- 6) Members should observe and comply with the Code of Conduct during site visits.
- 7) Members should leave the site once the site visit has been concluded.
Members attending meeting of Shropshire Council’s Planning Committee meetings should follow the following procedure
- 1) The Town Clerk will notify all Members of the Planning & Environment Committee of each planning applications that is to be considered the Shropshire Council’s Planning Committee.
- 2) Members are allowed to speak at Planning Committee meetings provided they are registered to speak, therefore Members should inform the Town Clerk if they wish to attend a Planning Committee meeting so that they can be registered. The Town Clerk must be notified no later than 2 days before the meeting.
- 3) If more than one Member attends a Planning Committee meeting only one will be allowed to speak and a spokesperson should be agreed before arriving at the meeting.
- 4) No-one can speak more than once and for no more than 3 minutes as timed by the Chairman of the Planning Committee. Each person may ask up to 2 questions within their 3 minutes. They may also be asked questions by the Committee although there is no obligation to answer questions.
- 5) The Chairman of the Committee will introduce the agenda item and invite the Planning Officer to outline the case.
- 6) Speakers will be called to address the meeting.
- 7) Speakers may not circulate papers at the meeting. Members who wish to have papers considered at the meeting must give them to the Town Clerk who will ensure that the Committee receives them prior to the meeting.
- 8) Members must stick to the facts and not present any views other than those agreed by the Planning & Environment Committee.
- 9) Members are advised that if they say something in public about a person that is not true they risk legal action being taken against them.
- 10) Shropshire Council’s opinion is that the public does not have a ‘right to a fair hearing’ at Planning Committee meetings under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The procedures for public speaking at Committee are permissive and do not arise from any obligation.
Adopted 1 April 2014
Respond to planning applications
Members of the public should be aware that they are able to respond to all planning applications online on Shropshire Council’s website. Information about planning applications in Shropshire can be viewed online by searching for planning applications at this address:
Residents who do not have online access are able to use computers in Much Wenlock library, situated at the Corn Exchange in the High Street.
Comments for Consideration in Public Session
At the discretion of the Chairman, during the public session members of the public who have given prior written notice to the Town Clerk, may speak in support of, or against a planning application included on the agenda
Please note that members of the public are not allowed to speak during Town Council meetings unless invited by the Chairman.
Filming and Recording of Council Meeting and the Requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018
Any person present at a Council meeting may not orally report or comment about a Council meeting as it takes place but otherwise may: film, photograph, or make an audio recording of a meeting; use any other means for enabling persons not present to see or hear proceedings at a meeting as it takes place or later; report or comment on the proceedings in writing during or after a meeting, or orally report or comment after the meeting. Anyone making a recording for non-domestic purposes is advised to seek advice on their obligations to ensure any processing of personal information complies with the Data Protection Act 2018.
Anyone who objects to being filmed or recorded should notify the Town Clerk prior to the commencement of the meeting.