Planning board

Meetings of the planning board normally take place in the council chamber at the town hall, Ripley, Derbyshire at 7pm. View the full diary for council meetings. Public access is through the barrel vault (glass tunnel) entrance, off the market place.

The board is made up of 13 elected councillors (members of the board), from the political parties represented on the council and from wards across the borough. Information on members of the board can be accessed on the membership page.

Council officers also attend the meeting. There are usually officers present from the development management department, who are able to give professional planning advice to the members of the board. There will also be officers present to provide legal advice and take minutes of the meeting.

Members of the public or applicants and/or their agents can attend and can register in advance to speak at the meetings. The procedures for public speaking can be accessed on our public speaking page.

The press is usually present. The press and members of the public will be asked to leave the council chamber when confidential items are discussed (although this rarely happens for planning applications).

Frequently asked questions

The order of business at the meeting is printed on the agenda but the chairman has the discretion to make appropriate changes when necessary under "variation of order of business". For example, those items where members of the public have indicated that they wish to speak, may be taken first or if a lot of people have attended for one application, then that item might be brought to the beginning of the meeting.

You will see that one of the agenda items is 'declarations of interest'. Before the beginning of the meeting, councillors are invited to advise the meeting if they have a personal or prejudicial interest that they need to declare. The council has adopted a code of conduct for councillors which defines standards of behaviour for Members. Councillors must declare a personal interest if any of the items being discussed affects them more than any other people in the area. They are allowed to stay in the meeting and take part in the vote provided their interest is not prejudicial. A member is considered to have a prejudicial interest if their interest is one which a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice the member's judgement of the public interest. This is when you will see one or more councillors leaving the meeting. However, recent changes to the council's rules of procedure allows a councillor who has a prejudicial interest in a matter being considered, to make representations regarding the item as part of public speaking and then leave the meeting and take no further part in the debate and vote on that particular item. The member must indicate their interest and their intention to speak on the declaration of interest sheet, provided for members, prior to the start of the meeting. This procedure allows members who have a prejudicial interest to act as an advocate for local people on important issues. Also, members with a prejudicial interest cannot attend site meetings.

The councillors on the board will have already had the opportunity to study the reports prepared by officers on each of the applications being considered at the meeting. The planning board's decisions will be based only on planning issues which include:

  • The design, appearance and layout of a proposed development;
  • Government guidance, local regional and national policies including the Derbyshire Structure Plan and the Amber Valley Borough Local Plan;
  • Road safety and traffic;
  • The effect on the local area and local properties;
  • Loss of light and overlooking;
  • Crime and disorder;
  • Nuisance caused by noise, disturbance and smell; and
  • Protecting buildings and trees.

The planning board considers the officers reports on planning applications and decides whether to grant permission after reading the recommendations provided by the director of borough development and listening to the views of members of the public. An application is normally granted unless the development is not in accordance with planning policy, or it raises serious amenity or highways issues. Objections must relate to these factors in order to influence the decision. If the officer's recommendation is to approve the application, suitable conditions are often imposed. If the recommendation is to refuse, reasons are given.

There are two types of planning board meeting as follows:-

  • The main meeting - to discuss and decide on planning applications; and
  • The site visits of the planning board - to allow councillors to visit a site to gather facts before making a decision.

Site visits are carried out usually two weeks after the main meeting.

Please note that only councillors on the planning board can ask for a site visit. If you feel one is required, please contact your local councillor who will contact the chairman or another member of the Board. For details of your local councillor, please see borough councillor lookup.

Criteria for a site visit (extract from the council's constitution):

"A site visit is only likely to be necessary if:-

a) the impact of the proposed development is difficult to visualise from the plans and any supporting material, including photographs taken by officers (although if this is the case Councillors should first consider requesting that additional illustrative material should be made available);

b) there is a good reason why the comments of the applicant and objectors cannot be expressed adequately in writing; or,

c) the proposal is particularly contentious."

Need further help or information?

Contact the team directly on 01773 841631 or email rebecca.smith@ambervalley.gov.uk