The newly-elected Labour City Council is to implement plans to revitalise Area Committees and strengthen planning decisions in the city. Labour’s plans include taking all planning applications to the central Planning Committee at the Guildhall from later this year.
Labour’s detailed plans will be presented and considered by the Council’s Environment Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday 8 July.
Cllr Kevin Blencowe, Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport and Chair of East Area Committee, said: "We are returning all planning decisions to be heard by the main Planning Committee to 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. The change was in our election manifesto and we have a clear mandate from the residents of Cambridge to make this improvement.
“Our plans will mean that Area Committees can concentrate on their core purpose of community engagement on local matters. We want the Committees to focus on discussing and addressing resident concerns, giving more time for setting local policing priorities and considering how best to use developer money and City and County funding to improve local neighbourhoods. Area Committees need to be a real forum for local debate and decision on services and investment choices affecting the four local areas served.”
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, added: "All planning applications are equally important and deserve the full facilities available to the main Planning Committee. Basing them in Guildhall will mean the actual case officers 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.
We want transparency for residents who rightly want their say on planning decisions large and small in our high growth city. We will also review and improve the already valuable contribution that Area Committees, and the public attending them, make to our city."