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Manchester chief exec to decide planning applications

Words: Laura Edgar
Manchester city centre / Shutterstock_1071257777

The chief executive of Manchester City Council has been delegated powers to decide planning applications during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. 

Joanne Roney will also make decisions on listed building consent and tree preservation order applications.

According to a Council Business Continuity Arrangements document on the council website, the delegated authority is to be “exercised in consultation with the director of planning, building control and licensing and with the chair and deputy chair of the committee when both are available, and either if only one is available”.

The decision forms part of the council’s response to Covid-19 and the imposed lockdown designed to stem the spread of the virus. 

The document states that the changes are to “ensure continuity of the council’s decision-making functions during the Covid-19 outbreak, with the risks that might arise from members and officers being unable to participate in council business”.

The 1972 Local Government Act requires councillors to be present to decide applications, but the Coronavirus Act, which received royal assent last week (25 March), will mean that planning committee meetings can be held virtually for the foreseeable future, once secondary legislation is published.

Manchester City councillors agreed to the temporary measures, which came into force on the day of the full council meeting on 25 March. These will come to an end on 26 November 2020. 

Under the measures, protecting the health of residents and individual committee members “shall be an approved reason for the non-attendance of a member at any meeting... and that for this approval rule 25 of the council procedure rules be suspended so that this may be rescinded or extended by the council at any time before then”.

Council Business Continuity Arrangements can be found here on the Manchester City Council website (pdf).

Image credit | Shutterstock