The review of Planning Applications is part of the Parish Councils function; however it is important to understand that Woolsery Parish Council (WPC) has neither the authority or the responsibility to approve or refuse any planning applications. This is the role of the Torridge District Council Planning Dept as the Local Planning Authority (LPA).
The Parish Council can only make comments and/or recommendations to the Planning Dept either in support of, or in opposition to, planning application based on Material Planning considerations, local knowledge & representations made to the Parish Council by members of the public.
The primary function of the Parish Council in a Planning Application is to provide the LPA with, quote “an independent reflection of local views and any important local facts we should take into account.” (TDC Head of Strategic Development & Planning).
With this objective in mind, WPC also has a Planning Sub Committee which comprises those councillors who have Planning as an area of special interest. In the event of a planning application not being able to be discussed by all councillors at a monthly WPC meeting due to the closing date for comments falling before the next scheduled meeting, a meeting of the Planning Sub Committee will be called.
These Planning Meetings are advertised in advance through the usual procedure & are open to the public, comments from local residents are encouraged at these meetings. In the event of a minor or simple, non controversial, planning application where no representations have been made to the Parish Council, no comments have been posted on the Planning Portal & no objections have been received by the LPA. The Parish Council, with the agreement of the majority of Councillors, may hold an online poll instead of holding a Planning Meeting.
In this case the WPC response to the LPA will either be “No Objection” or “No Comment”.