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Agenda item

Reference from Planning Committee - Planning Training


The Democratic Services Officer introduced the reference and stated that it was a constitutional requirement for Members and Substitute Members of the Committee to receive training on planning matters, in the event that they were required to attend a meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee acting as the Planning Referrals Body.


The training session dates had now been agreed and provided to Members ahead of the meeting.


The Committee expressed a preference for the training to be recorded and made permanently available for any Member that wished to revisit the sessions which officers would explore.


In supporting the provision of virtual training, several Members highlighted the greater ease and convenience with which these sessions could be attended. Consideration was given as to whether Members should be required to complete some form of assessment to demonstrate their understanding of the training. A similar approach had been taken with regulatory training in the past. There were concerns raised that this was an unnecessary requirement, as Members should be expected to complete the training as part of their duties as a Committee Member. 


Several Members felt that in the event of a decision being challenged, completing some type of assessment would demonstrate that the Council had taken the necessary steps to ensure Members had been suitably trained. Consideration would be given as to whether a signed declaration would be sufficient.


The Monitoring Officer confirmed that an assessment was not a legal requirement, but that the Council, as a Planning Authority, needed to be able to demonstrate that appropriate measures had been taken in providing training to Members, which would lead to reasoned decision making in determining planning applications.




1.  The training programme as agreed by the Planning Committee to enable Members and Substitute Members of that Committee to fulfil their responsibilities under the Council’s Constitution and their individual responsibilities to maintain their knowledge and understanding of local and national planning policies and legislation, be noted;


2.  Unless Members have already undergone Induction training under resolution 2 or are an existing Member as contemplated by resolution 3 of Minute 71 of the Meeting held on 1 July 2021, all Members (including Substitute Members) of the Committee must undergo Induction training as outlined in Appendix 1 to the report (as amended) by the end of September 2021 if they are to sit as Members (or Substitute Members) of the Planning Referrals body should the Committee be required to sit in that capacity, be noted; and


3.  If the Committee be required to meet prior to Members having completed that training, such training will need to be completed prior to the meeting of the Planning Referrals body. A failure to complete this training will disqualify that Member’s participation in the Planning Referrals body until this training has been completed, be noted.


Note: Councillors Cooper, English and Parfitt-Reid temporarily left the meeting during the items’ consideration, between 7.09 p.m. to 7.11 p.m., 7.11 p.m. to 7.12 p.m. and 7.27 p.m. to 7.31 p.m. respectively.



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