More Planning Decisions To Be Taken Behind Closed Doors

August 3, 2014 6:24 PM

The number of planning applications in Derby being decided by locally elected representatives is to be curtailed under plans agreed by Labour bosses.

Labour has decided that the number of objections required for a planning application to be considered openly and transparently by councillors, rather than decided behind closed doors by non-elected planning officers, should be 15 not four - and all 15 must be from different households.

Liberal Democrat opposition councillors coted against this change. Cllr Mike Carr (Lib Dem, Littleover) said "Planning is one of the few places where the public see councillors making decisions on their behalf. The change takes away the option of speaking directly to the decision-makers. Unlike councillors, council officers are not accountable directly to the public. This decision is bad for democracy and makes the whole planning system less transparent. Councillors should be prepared to be accountable for their decisions not abdicate the responsibility to unelected officials.

"One of the first actions of Liberal Democrat councillors on Derby City Council in the 1990s was to argue for local people to be allowed to speak at council meetings. As a result, Derby was one of the first councils to allow speakers at Planning meetings and public questions at full council. Now Labour is making this more difficult."