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Labour Leader lays out plans to revitalise the City Council's Area Committees and strengthen Planning

Councillor Lewis Herbert, Leader of the Labour Group which will be fighting for control of the City Council in May 2014, will lay out plans today to revitalise Area Committees and strengthen planning decisions.Empty Development Site
Speaking ahead of the debate tonight (27 February) on the City's 2014/15 Budget, Councillor Herbert said: " We want to return all planning decisions to be heard by the main planning committee and free up ward councillors to be champions and advocates for their communities and their residents, untying their hands to speak forcefully on local planning issues unlike now.

Our plans will also mean area committees can concentrate on their core purpose of community engagement on local matters, giving more time for setting local policing priorities or considering how to use developer money to improve local neighbourhoods. It's clear that too often area committees are just saying the same things to the same small group of people and that they need to be a real place of challenge on everything affecting local residents.”
Councillor Herbert added "On the improved and consistent handling of planning applications, all applications are equally important and deserve the full facilities available to the main planning committee. Basing them in Guildhall will mean the actual case officer can present and be part of the discussion as well as enabling vital access to advice from officers across the Council in departments like Legal or Design and Conservation. It will also open up the possibility of costing a webcasting trial of planning committee meetings which we see as a potentially important step forward for transparency for residents who rightly want involvement in planning decisions large and small in our high growth city."

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