Guidance to councillors on conflicts of interest with respect to planning matters.

The request was successful.

Could you please release any guidance issued by Cambridge City Council to elected councillors on the subject of conflicts of interest with respect to meetings at which planning applications are considered.

If it is not clear from the guidance itself, could you please also let me know how it has been produced. Has it been produced by Cambridge City Council officers or by central government for example?

I am expecting the document(s) released to include the following, which has been quoted by my local councillor, as guidance he has received:

"If you have objected to a planning application as a ward councillor and do not have a personal interest of any kind, then you should ... not speak and vote on the application. It is important that councillors approach planning applications with an open mind and are able to weigh all the arguments right up to the point at which a decision is made. If you make it clear that you have made up your mind to vote for or against an application before the meeting, regardless of the officer's presentation and evidence and arguments on both sides, this could well leave the eventual decision open to legal challenge and/or a finding of maladministration."

I would like to suggest guidance supplied to councillors is made available, and kept up to date, on the city council's Website.

Many thanks,

Richard Taylor

Cambridge

http://www.rtaylor.co.uk

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

My local councillor's statement on planning matters, along with my comments on it is available on my website at:
http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/cllr-mike-todd-...

Gary Clift, Cambridge City Council

Sir, I acknowledge receipt of your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In accordance with the Act we will send you the information within 20 working days i.e. by 24/9 at the latest.

Gary Clift
Democratic Services Manager
01223 457011

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Gary Clift, Cambridge City Council

Dear Mr Taylor

The guidance is within the Council's Constitution, the link is below. There is a section titled 'Planning Code of Conduct' which sits within the Council's Members' Code of Conduct. See page 354 of the document onwards. The document was written by the Council's Head of Legal Services and agreed by Planning Committee and Standards Committee prior to adoption by Council in September 2004. There were slight revisions made in September 2007 to tie-in with an adopted revised national Code of Conduct for Members.

The parts of the Planning Code quoted to you by a Councillor are contained in paras 4.4 and 4.1 respectively of the Code.

I am grateful for your comment on the way information is provided on the website and I am looking at how it could be improved.

Regards

http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/ccm/navigati...

Gary Clift
Democratic Services Manager
01223 457011

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Heather Brooke left an annotation ()

Why don't these people just attach the document? Surely they should know more than anyone how often council webpages change name. This link no longer works.

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

The council's constitution is now at:
http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/public/docs/...

The Planning Code of Good Practice starts on p.356

Simon Pugh, Cambridge City Council

1 Attachment

In response to Heather Brooke's suggestion, I attach the Council's
Planning Code of Good Practice.

Simon Pugh Head of Legal Services Cambridge City Council