Planning Committee – 31 August 2007 (Policy Meeting)
Chair: Councillor Collinson
Venue: Function Room 1, Pittwood House, Scunthorpe
- Declarations of personal or personal and prejudicial interests (if any).
- Amendments to Approved Planning Applications
- Tree Policy Compendium
Note: Reports are by the Head of Highways and Planning unless otherwise stated.
PRESENT: – Councillor Collinson (Chair).
Councillors Whiteley (vice–chair), Armitage, Bainbridge, Barker, B Briggs, Bunyan, Carlile, Eckhardt, Grant, C Sherwood and Wardle.
The committee met at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe.
950 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – There were no declarations of interest.
951 (30) ISSUES RELATING TO THE APPROVAL OF AMENDMENTS TO APPROVED APPLICATIONS FOR PLANNING PERMISSION – The Head of Planning submitted a report informing members of issues surrounding the receipt, processing and approval of minor amendments to planning permissions and requesting a change in the scheme of delegation.
Currently, the Head of Planning had delegated authority to approve “minor” amendments to approved plans.
This delegation had been used by officers as a mechanism to ensure the speedy determination of minor amendments to schemes that had already received planning permission but where the developer wished to undertake small changes which had become apparent perhaps during construction. Currently very minor changes were dealt with very speedily by an exchange of letter between the local authority and the applicant confirming that the changes were of such an incidental nature that they had no material impact on the original decision and could proceed without further consultation or publicity. Other changes might necessitate re-consultation with consultees or adjacent neighbours before they would be accepted.
The system of delegated authority in respect of amendments to approved plans had been in existence within North Lincolnshire for many years and generally had worked well, with a high degree of discretion by officers as to what should or should not be regarded as a minor amendment. However the question of what constituted a “minor” amendment was open to interpretation and on occasions neighbours had not considered changes approved in this manner to have been of a minor nature. Furthermore, whilst this practice was widespread throughout the country, a number of recent legal decisions, had thrown it into question.
The safest course of action open to local planning authorities was to refuse to approve amendments to planning applications no matter how insignificant or minor they may be. This would then place the onus on the developer to ensure that development was carried out in accordance with the approved plans. If it was not, officers would then have to consider whether any changes were acceptable and, if they were not, whether it was expedient to take enforcement action.
Recommended to Council – That the change in practice to the approval of minor amendments be noted and that the Scheme of Delegation be revised by the deletion of the words “Amendments to approved plans” from Paragraph 2.
952 (31) NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE COUNCIL TREE POLICIES – The Service Director Highways and Planning submitted a report seeking the adoption of a compendium of policy concerning the making of tree preservation orders, and to guide works to trees owned or controlled by the council.
Historically North Lincolnshire was a sparsely treed area. Whilst there were some significant woodlands most of the borough had an open aspect with hedgerow trees and/or, small coppices dominating. In settlements the contribution of trees to local character was important and the concentration of tree preservation orders in settlements attested to this.
Most trees in the borough were privately owned. The council owned and/or, managed many thousands of trees however. A recent assessment of highway trees suggests a figure of 14,000. There were many more than this figure on other council land, parks; amenity areas; playing fields etc. The council also owned about 85 hectares of woodland.
In 2011 central government E-Tree Standards would require enhanced electronic access to information concerning council trees.
A draft Tree Policy and Practice (incorporating the making of Tree Preservation Orders) was appended to the report.
Resolved – (a) That the policy compendium be adopted by the council in so far as it relates to the making of Tree Preservation Orders, as the expression of its concern to achieve a consistency of approach to tree works based on best practice, (b) that the cost of works/programmes arising from the policy provision be accurately costed and made the subject of a further report, and (c) that compendium policy be regularly reviewed and updated to keep abreast of changes in best practice and circumstances on the ground.