Housing Allocations – Who does What?

June 21, 2008 by  

Urban SprawlThe Liberal Democrats have published an article called A “Presidential-style” Council but The Rochford Independent would like to share with all residents just how this new BASIS for Rochford District Council will directly affect one of the big decisions that are made in the next few months.  We don’t think that the public appreciates that the new cabinet members are in a very powerful position.  So how will this impact on the allocation of 3700 new houses across the District?  This is how it works…………and if you wish to get your views known before the policy is made then write to Councillor Hudson now rather than later.  We feel that although there is a public consultation period it will be so much harder to get big changes once it has been published so do it now ……..

The Planning Policy Sub Committee at RDC comprises:

Keith Hudson (Hockley)
Carole Weston (Hockley)
John Pullen (Rayleigh)
Chris Black (Rayleigh)
Trevor Goodwin (Great Wakering)
Keith Gordon (Rochford)

“The Planning Policy sub committee has had a day when we travelled together around the district looking at various proffered sites.”

Responsibilities under the new Leader and Cabinet system
The Council has set up a Planning Policy Sub Committee. Councillor Hudson is the portfolio holder for Planning & Transportation and, as such, is responsible to the Executive for coming forward with proposals prior to the Executive making recommendations on policy to the Council through the sub-committee.

A portfolio holder can consult whomsoever he wishes in connection with matters falling within his portfolio, even setting up his own sub-committee if he so wishes. If the Council’s sub-committee meets before the portfolio holder has formed a view, there will be very little to discuss as the Executive’s recommendations will not be known. Under the old regime, officers prepared the reports that now fall to the portfolio holder and they presented their own recommendations. The new system is intended to ensure members lead, take responsibility and make the decisions albeit with proper professional advice and input. In the present circumstance, the portfolio holder will be obliged to take advice, have discussions and make site visits before arriving at a considered opinion. None of this breaches the rules of confidentiality and officers will still provide professional advice to the Council on final proposals.
Meetings the portfolio holder has do not fall within the Access to Information Procedure Rules applicable to Council meetings unless the portfolio holder intends to take a key decision. These meetings may be describe as “private” but this should not be confused with “secret”.
With regard to the current development of the LDF, Officers have full knowledge of portfolio holder meetings and will usually be present although not necessarily so.



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