Cross party review leads to Planning Committee improvements
The Council agreed last night (11 April) to make a number of changes as agreed by the Planning Committee on 8 March.
This includes reducing the number of councillors on the Planning Committee from 23 to 15, and the maximum number of substitute members per political group on the committee, from seven to five. These changes will be trialled for 12 months, and will then be reviewed.
Cllr Paul Spooner, Leader of the Council says: "We feel this is now the right time to introduce a smaller Committee to serve the interests of Guildford. This change will put us in line with other Surrey authorities, as well as improving a number of processes.
"As part of the Cross Party Review Group we looked at many processes and matters associated with the workings and functioning of the Planning Committee, including frequency of meetings, site visit protocol, start time and triggers for the Committee, as well as the number of members.
"This is a positive step moving away from a one Councillor one ward system. The new system would still allow for a ward councillor, who is not part of the new Committee, to speak to an item. Ultimately, the ward Councillor is bound by planning polices at both national and local level, and any relevant guidance, and will need to reach a planning judgement on the merits of the case. This allows Councillors more freedom than the current system does to express their views at arm's length to the Committee itself."
Published on Wednesday 12 April.