Royal Borough goes “virtual” for its Planning Committees
New approach to its Planning Committees by the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead
Patrick Griffin, one of our Trustees, gives an update on the new approach to planning adopted by the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead:
“The Coronavirus has caused major disruption to our day-to-day lives, not least of all to councils making decisions necessary to support communities and local economies.
The Royal Borough has looked at its procedures for deciding on planning applications and has decided to ‘go virtual’ by conducting the monthly meetings by video conferencing. The Council is using these changes as a means of streamlining procedures, now with a maximum of nine councillors and a focus on major planning applications.
Councillors will still be able to call in applications for decision at these committees where local residents feel this is necessary, particularly for those that are contentious.
These arrangements will be reviewed at the end of 2020, by which time we all hope the threat posed by the virus has receded or gone away.
See here for the Council minutes where it was discussed and approved.”
Public oversight of planning applications is critical. It helps to ensure that residents can engage with the planning process, and that decisions are not taken behind closed doors.
We encourage all residents to acquaint themselves with this new approach in the Royal borough. These are exceptional times, and some of this change is needed so we can build infrastructure to protect people. But we have to ensure that this does not lead to a worrying loss of public access to planning decisions.
Developers shouldn’t be allowed to use the pandemic as an opportunity to push through poor planning decisions. Instead, the government should be making sure we’re strengthening planning and elevating local voices so we can build the resilient green future we all want.
We need to build back better, not gamble away the future for a quick cash injection.
Will you stand with us for a democratic planning system? Urge your MP to back the planning system by calling on the Secretary of State for Housing to deliver for people and the countryside. You can take action by sending a letter to your MP here