Back in December, the District Council rejected proposals to reduce the amount of time given to the public to speak at planning meetings:
However, the Council seems to be having second thoughts and has opened up the can of worms once again. According to a new report , it wants to "to trial a change to the current public speaking arrangements and implement steps to reduce the length of Development Management Committee meetings."
Whilst the document compares how other Councils manage their planning meetings, it's startling to see that East Devon has to deal with more than DOUBLE the amount of planning applications other districts have to.
This is their comment, on page 8:
An alternative analysis of these figures might come up with a different set of questions:
> Why are there so many planning applications being made in this District - compared to others?
> If there are so many, why not double the number of planning committee meetings to accommodate the number of applications?
> Why does the work-load necessitate 'reducing' the amount of time available for comment in public?
However, following on from questions about 'how to access decision-making'
Futures Forum: "What is lobbying?"... "Openness and transparency is vital."
... and within the context of such controversial 'last-minute' planning applications
Outrage at plans for 1,200 houses on green wedge on outskirts of Exeter at Old Park Farm, Pinn Hill, between Pinhoe and the village of Westclyst | Exeter Express and Echo
“You have given permission for 1,200 homes” DMC Chair told | East Devon Alliance
... there are fears that these proposals will simply mean there will be fewer opportunities for members of the public to voice concern:
Futures Forum: Fears of losses in accountability at local government level...
Futures Forum: Permission Impossible: Britain's Planners ... Tues 25th February
Futures Forum: Who to blame when everything falls apart: the politics of planning decisions
Futures Forum: Development: 'commercial confidentiality', being held to 'ransom' and developers picking holes in each other’s sites.
Futures Forum: Publishing 'pre-application' advice... making planning application information public... or not
Futures Forum: Transparency and process in East Devon... continued: part three
Futures Forum: Transparency and process in East Devon... a summary