I am writing further to your email of 7 November and my request the same day for an FOI request to release the pre-application minutes.
I have since been looking into the law and practice in this are and think we can save a lot of wasted time in view of the following:
1. This application is at public consultation stage, and it is perfectly clear from Section 5 of the Planning Statement that the applicant consents to the publication of the pre-application minutes and discussions, and relies on those records in support of the proposal. Indeed, the Planning Consultants at paragraph 5.4 of the Planning Statement claim that the proposal is now largely agreed! The Planning Statement goes on in paragraphs 5.5 to 5.18 to give a narrative commentary on the pre-application discussions.
2.You will be aware that the Local Government Association advise that pre-planning advice should be published unless there is a reason for the information to remain confidential. Clearly the applicant’s Planning Consultants consent to the publication and it is in the public interest that documents supporting Section 5 of the Planning Statement are made available publicly so consultees have the full picture. I cannot believe that the proposal has already been largely agreed as claimed in the Planning Statement, and the public should have access to the context of the discussions and the qualifications made by officers. These minutes should
not be edited in a summary form .
I therefore request that the minutes of the meetings of the 19th September 2016 and
the 27th March 2017 and the meeting with the Council Design Adviser are published on the web site with the other application documents, and meanwhile are sent to me in accordance with my previous request.
Thank you for your recent Freedom of Information Act Request.
Please see below comments made by Senior Planning Officer
Minutes from Pre-app meetings are confidential until such time a formal planning application has been submitted, it is then up to the individual to make the decision whether the minutes from the Pre-app meetings are to be made available for the Public domain, however in this case Nick Howard has contacted the agent and the agent has requested that the two Pre-application meeting notes are to be kept confidential, therefore we are unable to agree your request.