Planning Committee scheme of delegation

Every council has its own scheme of delegation to identify the circumstances where planning consent decisions are taken by Planning Committee rather than delegated to officers.  Councils will make a decision on the matters that are referred to Planning Committee based on a whole range of factors.  We have highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of various approaches.

At most councils, the percentage of decisions delegated to officers is over 90% with many over 95%.  The decision on whether matters are referred to the Planning Committee is usually influenced by the following factors:

  • The level of interest from local residents
  • Whether the application is contentious and accords with the Council’s own policies
  • The impact a development will have on the local community
  • Probity issues where the council could be perceived as being biased if the application is delegated to officers
  • Where there is a variation in opinion between the council and other key consultees or community organisations

Some councils will publish their scheme of delegation as a separate document on the council’s website, but many will just include it within the body of the council’s constitution and as such it may be difficult to access without help.

Outlined below are some of the most commonly found reasons why a council decides that a decision should be made by the Planning Committee rather than delegated to officers.  In each case, we give the pros and cons of the approach and the variations of approach taken by different councils.  We have not commented on whether we think you should adopt these approaches as each council is different.  An approach that works well for one council may not work well for another.