The outcomes of planning applications following the process from submission, presentation before the Town Council and decision-making at SEBC level (simple approval by a planning officer, presentation to the Development Control Panel (17 SEBC councillors, plus report from Planning Officer and public statements from statutory bodies and other parties) and, rarely, recommendation from a planning inspector and even a planning inquiry – all of these are announced publicly.
In the majority of cases, simple approval is granted. In a few cases, usually because of objections raised, a planning application may go further.
The Town Council has a Planning working party who have undertaken specialist training and acquired considerable knowledge of the procedures. They prepare material to assist the council in making recommendations. Our attention to detail and knowledge of local conditions as a statutory body means that we are rarely in disagreement with SEBC decisions. Our recommendations pay close attention to the multiple & varied development management policies established by SEBC [View Development Management Policies 2015].
We were disappointed by the recent decision to allow the Antiques Centre to change its use and convert most of the property into flats. Our final comments on the Planning Officer’s report may be found here.
Approval was given by 8 votes to 5. Most of the Panel accepted the argument that refusing the application on the basis of no parking being included could constitute grounds for the applicant to appeal (with implicit financial costs to SEBC) because they had previously granted similar conversions with no parking attached. The effect upon the economic viability of the town was discussed, but had been excluded within the Planning Officer’s report, we believe, incorrectly. The Town Council will continue to take up with the Planning Department the issue of the ill-defined mapping of the ‘town centre’ as this may affect future planning and investment. We thank the Clare Society and the Clare Castle Country Park Trust for their clear contributions.
The Town Council will be considering new steps to support the economic viability of the town as a consequence of this decision. Consultation with all elements of the town will be actively pursued.
All the papers remain as a matter of record on the SEBC site: Reference: DC/16/0103/FUL. [Note: As of 23 September the final Planning Officer’s report is not online.]