Councillor Tierney referred to LA11/2019/0152/F - Mobile unit of accommodation as a potting shed/workshop with a toilet and sink. Extended fencing and site curtilage. This proposal is associated with the existing site use at lands to the rear of Nos 21 to 28 (inclusive) Leafair Park, Derry.
He stated that Members had been handed a letter from concerned residents of Leafair Park regarding the above planning application that had been passed at the Planning Committee meeting held on 3 July 2019. He noted that the letter stated that the Planning Committee did not have access to their petition or hear their concerns prior to the approval of the proposal. He advised Members however that all information lodged with that particular application was available to Councillors when the decision had been made.
The Director of Environment and Regeneration confirmed that the Head of Planning had advised that a Planning Officer had re-read the planning report and the objection and petition referenced in the report which had been considered by Members.
Councillor Harkin stated that as a Member of the Planning Committee it was not a clear objection and people did not see the petition. He stated that it was his understanding that residents wished to address the Planning Committee on the matter but were not given the opportunity to do so.
In response, the Lead Legal Services Officer stated that it was his understanding that the petition was specifically referenced within the report on this particular item.
Councillor McCann referred to protocols and procedures regarding planning applications and stated that the residents of Leafair Park, were very discontented at not being given the opportunity to relay their objections to the Committee. He suggested that Members and Officers meet with the residents regarding the matter.
Councillor Jackson stated that the information regarding that particular application had been available to all Members prior to the meeting. He stated that the resident’s concerns and the petition were included in the report and that Officers had went through each issue that had been raised as an objection and had made a recommendation. The Committee subsequently endorsed the officers’ recommendation. He requested legal advice on the matter as he was of the understanding that the decision of the Planning Committee was final.
In response, the Lead Legal Services Officer advised that in relation to planning applications, the Planning Committee had full delegated powers, therefore the decision made by the Committee did not fall for further consideration at Council.
The Director of Environment and Regeneration suggested that a meeting could be arranged between officers and residents if Members were in agreement.
The Director of Environment and Regeneration then advised Members that due to the short timeframe for the production of the Local Development Plan, it was envisaged that a Special meeting of the Planning Committee would take place on 23 September 2019. She stated that due to the close proximity of this meeting to the full Council meeting on 26 September, Members would not be issued with the minutes as per the normal advance notice period. She advised however that Standing Order 14 (1) allowed the shortened advance notice of the minutes in cases of extreme urgency which was required in support to the publication of the Local Development Plan.