Agenda item

Monitoring Officer Report On The Decision Of The Planning Committee In Relation To Land Adjacent To Wood View And Chadwell Road, Grays (Application ref 19.01373.OUT)


The report on pages 5 – 32 of the Agenda was presented by Ian Hunt.


Ian Hunt highlighted that:


  • Planning application 19/01373/OUT had been called back before Members with the Chairs agreement to review the decision made at the previous committee. This was because of the details in the decision made had raised concerns over the legality of the decision.
  • The resolution provided by Members for approving the application had not adequately dealt with the significant test that was set out in the NPPF or the local policies regarding the Green Belt (GB), therefore there had been an omission of the Very Special Circumstances (VSC) test outweighing the harm to the GB. This created uncertainty in the decision made by Members and could be open to a legal challenge.
  • It was acknowledged that the Members of the Committee were the decision makers for the application and needed to ascribe weight to VSC with relevant reasoning and explanation within the wider policy and legislative framework to ensure a lawful decision.
  • The email that Members had received from the Applicant’s barrister, did not fully address the distinction between the two reports (item 6 and 7 of the Agenda) that was before the Committee. The first report asked Members to look at whether their previous decision made on the application was adequately reasoned and sustainable in legal terms. If Members approved recommendation 1.1 to rescind their decision, this would not determine the application, instead they would then go onto consider the application itself afresh in item 7 and Members would not be constrained by their earlier views of 16 July 2020.


Michael Bedford added that the Monitoring Officer’s report only asked Members to look at whether there were issues with the decision that they had made at the meeting of 16 July 2020. It was the view of the Monitoring Officer and Michael Bedford, that there were issues with the adequacy of the reasons given for the decision that Members had made on 16 July 2020. The recommendation for Members to rescind that decision provided Members with a chance to resolve those issues through making a fresh decision taking all material factors into account.


The Chair understood that the report recommended that Members rescind their decision due to the reasons given for the decision made so did not think it was Officers looking to necessarily overturn the overall outcome of the decision. He pointed out that other GB applications that Members had made a decision on against Officer’s recommendations such as Langdon Hills Golf and Country Club, had also been looked at by the Monitoring Officer and had not returned to Committee.


The Committee was made aware that if recommendation 1.1 was approved, the Committee would then move on to consider the application of 19/01373/OUT immediately after the report.




For Members:


1.1         To rescind the decision taken by the Planning Committee on 16July 2020.

1.2         To reconsider planning application 19/01373/OUT and to determine the application setting out legally adequate reasons for the decision to be sustainable.

Supporting documents: