24 May 2018

Guernsey planning matters: My planning application will be decided at an open planning meeting. What does this mean?

This means that your planning application will be decided by the political members of the Development & Planning Authority ("DPA") at a meeting which will be open to the public.

Most planning applications are determined by the planning officers (typically, more than 95%) but in certain circumstances, they will be determined by the political members of the DPA. Those circumstances include cases where the application involves a departure from the DPA’s established policies; where the application appears to raise particularly contentious or sensitive issues; and where an appeal to the Planning Tribunal, or other legal challenge, appears likely.

As with all other planning applications, the planning officers will prepare a planning report setting out all of the relevant planning policies and considerations, a summary of any representations received from third parties, a summary of any consultation responses received from other organisations or States' departments and a recommendation as to whether planning permission should be granted.

This report is published on the States' website (together with the agenda for the meeting) five working days before the meeting is held.

At the meeting, the planning officers will introduce the application and explain their recommendation and then the speakers will be heard. First, any person who submitted a representation in writing and who has also notified the Planning Service of their intention to speak (in both cases, within the required timeframes) will speak for their allotted time (a maximum of four minutes each). The applicant and/or their agent are then given the opportunity to speak. 

The political members then debate the application and ask any questions of the officers before making a decision. They may not agree with the officer's recommendation but in such circumstances, they must be very careful as any disagreement must be on the basis of relevant material planning considerations.  Members must take special care to ensure that clear reasons are given for any disagreement and their decision. Failure to do so could leave the DPA's decision open to legal challenge.

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