• Consultation ends tomorrow on planning agent rule change

    10th July 2013 | News | Claire
  • An email from a senior EDDC officer circulated last Friday asks members to contact the legal team if they have any questions or comments to make, on the new guidance.

    At the standards committee meeting last month, councillors were made aware of the new guidance and a consultation with members was recommended, before any decisions were made on a way forward.

    Friday’s email states that if a change was introduced at EDDC, it would most likely be by inclusion in the code of conduct/appropriate protocols. Full council agreement would be needed to make any change, it was advised.

    The email also advises that there is currently no automatic bar to members acting as planning agents for applications in East Devon; which reflects current general practice across the country. However,it is likely many councils will review their current practice because of the latest LGA guidance, it goes on to say.

    It adds: “Members will be aware there are already restrictions in place in the code of conduct to deal with potential conflicts of interest. The constitution deals with member and officer planning applications in a way which subjects them to greater public scrutiny than would otherwise be the case.”

    Responses will be fed back to the the standards committee which will discuss the proposals once again, at its meeting on Tuesday 23 July, starting at 10am.

    Councillors are asked to contact relevant officers by the end of tomorrow, with their views.  I have replied to say that I believe that the guidance should be adopted as soon as possible and that I cannot see any reason why it should not be.