Well informed council tax payers and voters with robust, wide open, uninhibited access to information is the best safeguard of any constituency. Freedom of information is very useful and necessary for all democracies. It is also your individual right.
Planning ensures that the right development happens in the right place at the right time, benefiting communities and the economy. It plays a critical role in identifying what development is needed and where, what areas need to be protected or enhanced and in assessing whether proposed development is suitable.
Local people should take the lead in shaping their neighbourhoods and elected councillors have a key leadership role in this process.
The role of councillors in district, county or single tier councils will vary depending on whether they sit on the planning committee (which makes decisions on planning applications) or not. However, all councillors have a role to play in representing the views and aspirations of residents in plan-making and when planning applications affecting their ward are being considered.
Changes in the Localism Act 2011 clarified the ability of councillors to be able to discuss matters which may relate to a planning application prior to voting on that application at committee, as long as they can show that they are going to make their judgement on the application with an open mind, listening to all the evidence and not having pre-determined their decision.
So let your councillors and planning officers know about your views. See Writing To The Planners – Save Hardy’s Vale