Leeds is looking to find a new, more effective way forward for how it deals with major planning applications.
At a meeting of the council’s general purposes committee today, members discussed wide-ranging changes to how planning business is done in Leeds with the aim of recommending a new way forward to full council in September.
With the recent changes to the context of planning, which now include more engagement and influence from local communities when forming development, Leeds has decided to take a look at its planning procedures.
In order to bring the planning process right up to date, a cross party working group was created. They suggested that the council need to be able to make timely and effective decisions and ensure there is a significant amount of local involvement in this process while remaining consistent with applications made across the city.
The group has recommended that a new strategic city wide panel with members from all political groups is formed, with more rights of access for local ward members and communities, where appropriate, for providing the platform to transform ambitious housing growth targets and dealing with big infrastructure projects.
Leader of Leeds City Council Cllr Keith Wakefield, who chairs the general purposes committee, said:
“We are at the threshold of introducing as new 15 year planning core strategy, which has the ability to transform this city. We need to ensure the changes are for the better. We need to invest in major new transport infrastructure, bring decent and affordable homes to people and generate jobs and long term employment opportunities through this process.
“We intend to balance the sense of strategic vision with the need to give a real voice of localism to people in this city.
“The council’s influential general purposes committee today agreed to recommend to the full council in two weeks’ time to set up a new strategic city wide panel with members from all political groups from across the city; with more rights of access for local ward members were accepted as providing the platform to transform ambitious housing growth targets and dealing with big infrastructure projects.”
Councillor Peter Gruen; the executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services, welcomed the decision of general purposes committee and said:
“We all know that for us to meet our ambitions as a city we need to have a planning decision-making framework, which balances the need for timely decisions and good business relationships with developers; with the absolute guarantee that local ward members and communities have an in-depth involvement in projects as they develop.
“We need to generate real confidence on both sides of the planning system that investing in Leeds is worthwhile and that, as we provide new homes for local people, we will also pay huge regard to community identities and address their fears and anxieties.”
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Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450