Agenda item

To enable Full Council to consider a formal request from the Planning Committee that the commencement time for meetings of the Committee be amended from 6.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.


Council was informed that, the Planning Committee, at its meeting held on 28 September 2023 (Minute 41 referred) had considered, at the request of its Chairman (Councillor Fowler), whether to amend the start time of future meetings of the Planning Committee.


An update sheet had been circulated to Members prior to that meeting with advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officer that had stated that the Planning Committee did not have the delegated power and that only Full Council could amend the permanent start time of a Committee’s meetings under the Council’s Constitution (Council Procedure Rule 35.1 (Ordinary Meetings of Committees)). The Monitoring Officer had also suggested a way forward for the Planning Committee on this matter.


Having discussed the matter, the Planning Committee had resolved, by six votes in favour to one against, that -


(a)   the meetings of the Planning Committee due to be held on Tuesday 24 October 2023 commencing at 6.00 p.m. and on Tuesday 21 November 2023 commencing at 6.00 p.m. be cancelled;


(b)   the Chairman of the Planning Committee be requested to exercise their delegated power under Council Procedure Rule 35.2 (Special Meetings) and to call special meetings of the Planning Committee to be held on the following dates:-


Tuesday 24 October 2023 commencing at 5.00 p.m.


Tuesday 21 November 2023 commencing at 5.00 p.m.


(c)   Full Council be requested to change the permanent commencement time of meetings of the Planning Committee from 6.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.


It was moved by Councillor Fowler that the permanent commencement time of meetings of the Planning Committee be changed from 6.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.


Councillor M E Stephenson moved and Councillor I J Henderson seconded, by way of an amendment, that the proposal from the Planning Committee for its scheduled meetings to commence at 5.00 p.m., rather than 6.00 p.m., be referred to the Review of the Constitution Portfolio Holder Working Party for its consideration, and recommendation thereon to Cabinet, and thence back to Council for its final determination.


The Leader of the Council (Councillor M E Stephenson) addressed Council on his amendment as follows:-


“I have seen the change proposed by the Planning Committee and I'm actually a great believer that Committees should be able to manage their own business in the way that works best for the Members of those Committees.  However, Full Council has approved a schedule of meetings based on a defined start time for Planning Committee Meetings of 6pm.  And we should not lightly set aside such decisions.  In fact, when other changes in arrangements for the Planning Committee have been considered (such as whether to continue with site visits) we have had a custom and practice of considering these through the Constitutional Review Working Party.  I think that route has worked in the past and I think this proposal should be referred there and, via Cabinet, come back here after that Group has considered the proposal.  I'm moving that as a proposal because I think we can then try to make sure we give all Councillors the opportunity to reflect on the positives and any negatives of the proposal.  In the meantime, as I started by saying, I would hope that we can give the Planning Committee the freedom to regulate its affairs and allow the Chairman to call special meetings at 5pm on the scheduled dates for meetings.  I will do my best to bring this matter back to Council at the earliest opportunity following consideration by the Constitutional Review Working Party.”


Councillors M A Cossens, Calver, Griffiths, Harris, P B Honeywood and Fowler addressed the Council on the subject matter of Councillor Stephenson’s amendment.


The amendment on being put to the vote was declared CARRIED.


Councillor Stephenson’s amendment on being put to the vote as the substantive motion was declared CARRIED.



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