Dear Mr Grimmond,
Further to my previous correspondence (7th December 2016 – Lochore Meadows – Delegated decision query/complaint), I note that there has been a response to my query in the Courier from Andrew Ferguson (committee services manager) claiming that legislation change in 2013 allows “local developments” to be considered under delegated powers.
I am assuming Mr Ferguson is referring to Planning Series Circular 5/2013: Schemes of Delegation and Local Reviews Changes to Legislation which lists one of the changes made by the Town and Country Planning (Schemes of Delegation and Local Review Procedures) (Scotland) Regulations as
- the removal of the requirement for schemes of delegation to include a restriction on delegating planning authority interest cases;
However, point 7 of this circular provides further information regarding transitional arrangements for these changes:
61. The removal of the requirement for schemes of delegation to have a restriction on delegating planning authority interest cases, will only take effect once planning authorities have adopted a new scheme with the requisite changes.
My bold for emphasis.
I have not been able to find the requisite changes in the Fife Council Scheme for Delegation for the version adopted and effective from 2nd April 2015. Nor can I find the requisite changes in the Fife Council Scheme for Delegation currently listed on Fife Direct as effective from 16th December 2016.
Both Schemes state:
The appointed person is authorised:-
To determine all local development applications whether for approval or refusal with the exception of:
[…] – Applications which are submitted by Fife Council, or which relate to land in the ownership of Fife Council, or in which they have a financial interest, which are required by law to be considered by a Committee.
Further to this, the Town and Country Planning (Schemes of Delegation and Local Review Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 requires:
3.—(1) A scheme of delegation must describe the classes of development to which the scheme will apply and state with respect to every such class which of the applications mentioned in paragraph (2) are to be determined by an appointed officer and if such application is only to be so determined in particular circumstances the scheme is to specify such circumstances.
(2) The applications are—
(a) applications for planning permission; and…..
Both Schemes published by Fife Council have failed to describe “requisite changes”. Nor do they describe the classes of development to which the schemes apply. Therefore both Schemes for Delegation do not give Fife Council blanket permission to make a delegated decision for an application where Fife Council is the applicant or land owner, or holds a financial interest in the proposed development.
In the light of the above, I continue to require a full explanation of the reasoning behind treating the Lochore Meadow Visitor Centre application as a delegated decision when it appears to contravene Fife Council’s Scheme for Delegation.
I would like you to treat this email as an official complaint, and I look forward to hearing what the time-scales and procedures are for dealing with my complaint.