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Meeting the Public Sector Equality Duty on diverse and disadvantaged communities to participate in the planning process of the demolition of the Queens Royal Hotel New Brighton.

Anthony Griffin made this Freedom of Information request to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

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Anthony Griffin

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,
I want to see how the council has achieved the following in regards to the demolition of the Queens Royal Hotel

How has the Council taken account of the key principles of consultation, which are best summarised in what is termed 'the Gunning Principles'. These are:
• Consultation should be undertaken when proposals are still at a formative stage - Public bodies need to have an open mind during a consultation and not have already made the decision, but have some ideas about the proposals.
• Consultations should give sufficient reasons for any proposal to permit ‘intelligent consideration'. People involved in the consultation need to have enough information to make an intelligent choice and input into the process.
• Adequate time must be given for consideration and response.
• Responses must be conscientiously taken into account.
• The degree of specificity regarding the consultation should be influenced by those who are being consulted.
• The demands of fairness are likely to be higher when the consultation relates to a decision which is likely to deprive someone of an existing benefit.

In addition how has the council taken into account meeting the public sector equality duty (PSED) with regards to producing an Equality Impact Assessment before the consultation started.

The Government requires you to consult “specific consultation bodies” and other interest groups which cover the whole range of voluntary, community, special interest, amenity and business interests, referred to as “general consultation bodies”.

Can you evidence how you have done this and in the case of General Consultation Bodies
The Government has defined General Consultation Bodies as voluntary bodies some or all of whose activities benefit any part of the authority’s area and other bodies who represent, in the authority’s area, the interests of different racial, ethnic or national groups; different religious groups; disabled persons; and, business interests. Can you evidence who you have consulted.
Thank you
Yours faithfully,
Anthony Griffin

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,
Further to my FOI request on the Queens Royal . I would just like to point out by law you should have responded by 14th August 2020

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Griffin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Griffin

 

We write further to your recent Freedom of Information request regarding
the Queens Hotel.  Wirral Council’s response follows each point of your
original request below.

 

How has the Council taken account of the key principles of consultation,
which are best summarised in what is termed 'the Gunning Principles'.
These are:

• Consultation should be undertaken when proposals are still at a
formative stage - Public bodies need to have an open mind during a
consultation and not have already made the decision, but have some ideas
about the proposals.

A. The responsibility to engage/communicate/consult on proposals prior to
submission is the developers.  The Planning system is regulated and
legislated by the Planning Act and regulations.  The National Planning
Policy Framework states at Paragraph 40 that “they (Local Planning
Authorities) cannot require that a developer engages with them before
submitting a planning application”  and should “encourage any applicants
.. to engage with the local community and, where relevant, with statutory
and non-statutory consultees, before submitting their application(s.”  In
relation to planning proposals, the LPA can only encourage but cannot
require this to be undertaken.

 

• Consultations should give sufficient reasons for any proposal to permit
‘intelligent consideration'. People involved in the consultation need to
have enough information to make an intelligent choice and input into the
process.

A. Once a valid planning application is submitted, the LPA is required to
publicise such applications under the relevant provisions of the General
Development Management Order.  This would take the form of ONE of four
options:  Neighbour Consultation, Site Notice, Press Notice or Publication
on the Council’s Web.  Planning decisions can only be made having regard
to the planning merits of the proposal(s) and no other matters.  All plans
& documentation is published on the web to enable interested parties to
view and make informed decisions.

 

• Adequate time must be given for consideration and response.

A. Planning Law requires planning applications to be publicised for a
period of “not less than 21 days.”  LPA’s are set targets by Government
for determining applications.  The publicity requirements set with any
application take into account the statutory determination period for such
applications.

 

• Responses must be conscientiously taken into account.

A. LPA’s can only have regard to material planning considerations when
determining planning applications.  They cannot take into considerations
matters that are not related to planning issues.  The weight to be
afforded any representation made to the LPA is for the decision-maker to
determine having considered such responses carefully and weighed them
against all other planning matters.

 

• The degree of specificity regarding the consultation should be
influenced by those who are being consulted.

A. As outlined above, the publicity requirements for planning applications
are set out in the Planning Act(s) and the General Development Management
Order and the Council has regard to these when publicising all planning
applications.

 

• The demands of fairness are likely to be higher when the consultation
relates to a decision which is likely to deprive someone of an existing
benefit.

A. When a decision is made on a planning application only certain issues
can be taken into account.  There are a number of issues that are not
relevant to planning decisions and therefore must not be taken into
consideration when reaching that decision.  These include private issues
such as private rights of access, covenants, land ownership, boundary
disputes, property value, loss of a view, problems arising from the
construction period, business competition.  Only matters relating to
planning considerations can be taken into account during the process.

 

In addition how has the council taken into account meeting the public
sector equality duty (PSED) with regards to producing an Equality Impact
Assessment before the consultation started.

A. The LPA can only consult on an application once it has been registered
and is valid.  It has no control over any pre-application engagement. 
Regard to PSED needs to be taken into consideration as part of the
decision making process for planning applications.

 

The Government requires you to consult “specific consultation bodies” and
other interest groups which cover the whole range of voluntary, community,
special interest, amenity and business interests, referred to as “general
consultation bodies”.

A.  Consultation and pre-decision matters for planning applications are
set out:
[1]https://www.gov.uk/guidance/consultation...  This
details statutory consultations for specific planning applications and how
non-statutory consultees may be engaged.

 

Can you evidence how you have done this and in the case of General
Consultation Bodies The Government has defined General Consultation Bodies
as voluntary bodies some or all of whose activities benefit any part of
the authority’s area and other bodies who represent, in the authority’s
area, the interests of different racial, ethnic or national groups;
different religious groups; disabled persons; and, business interests. Can
you evidence who you have consulted.

A. Details of those consulted appear online:
[2]https://planning.wirral.gov.uk/online-ap...

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lynette Paterson

Principal Information Management Officer

Wirral Council

Treasury Building

Cleveland Street

Birkenhead

Wirral

CH41 1AH

 

Email: [3][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

Visit our website: [4]www.wirral.gov.uk

 

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/consultation...
2. https://planning.wirral.gov.uk/online-ap...
3. mailto:[Wirral Borough Council request email]
4. http://www.wirral.gov.uk/

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