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Cambridge City Council

Pre-application presentation to councillors

Councillors can have an important role in pre-application discussions, particularly on more significant or controversial proposals.

Getting councillors involved early can help to identify whether the proposal is likely to be broadly acceptable or not, and draw out any key issues that could usefully be addressed and resolved before an application is submitted. Their involvement at this stage may reduce the possibility of councillors taking a different approach to officers about the proposal later down the line.

Presentation and meeting

Where appropriate, a pre-application presentation to relevant councillors can be arranged for more significant or controversial proposals. It's up to the developer to make a request, normally after an initial meeting with our officers to discuss the provisional proposal.

  • As we have limited resources it may not be possible to agree to every request that is made.
  • A presentation will only be held with the agreement of senior management within the planning service and the chair of the Planning Committee.

Meeting arrangements

The meeting will:

  • be held at a mutually agreed convenient time and date, normally at the Guildhall;
  • be publicised at least seven days in advance on our website;
  • last a maximum of one and a half hours;
  • be informal and no decisions will be taken. Any views expressed by councillors at the meeting will not bind them to a decision on any subsequent planning application that is submitted for the development;
  • be 'minuted' and these notes will be made publicly available;
  • chaired by one of our senior planning officers.

Attendance by members of the public

  • The meeting will be open to the public as observers to ensure the planning process is as transparent as possible.
  • Developers are encouraged to invite interested representatives of the local community to the meeting, particularly those that may have had a previous involvement in the proposal in some way.
  • Other council staff may be in attendance.
  • Members of the public must refrain from entering into the discussion at the meeting.

Meeting structure

The meeting will normally follow the sequence below:

  1. Introduction by the Head of Planning Services or a senior planning officer (up to 10 minutes).
  2. Presentation by the developer of the proposal (up to 30 minutes).
  3. Opportunity for members to ask questions, raise issues, seek clarification, comment on the apparent positive and less positive aspects of the proposal (up to 40 minutes).
  4. Summing up (up to 10 minutes).

During the third part of the meeting it's important that councillors who may ultimately make the decision on any subsequent planning application don't feel unduly constrained by what they can ask or raise. However, they should avoid expressing views that might give any appearance that they are approaching the proposal with a closed mind. The discussion should not be used for negotiations with the developer - these should take place with officers separately from the meeting.

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