Committee site visits
It may be helpful for the Planning Committee to visit the site of a planning application so that they can have a better understanding of the effects an application may have before it is determined. Site visits should only be necessary where:
- the application can't be assessed without a site visit, and where the required information can't be provided by plans, images or any supporting information, or
- where the proposal is particularly contentious and where the benefit of a site visit is clear and substantial.
Site visits are intended to:
- be fact-finding exercises,
- enable officers to point out relevant features,
- enable questions to be asked on site for clarification,
- enable Members to see plans in the context of the site.
Site visits are not part of the formal consideration of the application and therefore public rights of attendance and speaking do not apply. A site visit will only include a visit to the application site. If a visit to an adjacent site is considered necessary, this will be decided prior to a site visit taking place.
What happens at a site visit
The Chair will call the site visit to order and will ask the planning officer in attendance to summarise:
- the application
- any relevant site history
- the features of the site
- any other matters the officer considers should be pointed out
There will be no discussion of the merits of the case or opinions given. The applicant may be asked to point out particular features, or explain aspects of the proposals but only as an aid to the explanation. Planning Committee Members may seek clarification from the Planning Officer.
Ward Member(s) may attend the site visit to observe and, only at the request of the Chair, may clarify factual matters. At no time will the Ward Member, applicant, agent or local resident be permitted to address or question Members of the Committee.
What happens after a site visit
After a site visit has taken place, the application will be discussed at a committee meeting. Members will discuss what they saw, and any comments made by interested parties.
Full details of the site visit procedures can be found at B11 Planning Code - Planning Committee Site Visit Protocol.