The process enabling members of the public to become official objectors to planning applications is as “clear as mud”, according to a city councillor.
Coldside representative Jimmy Black has said the system which ordinary members of the public use to officially object to planning proposals could be made clearer.
It comes as Care for Caird campaigner Amy Paterson revealed the difficulties her group face trying to get together an official deputation to oppose the building of the Regional Sport Performance Centre in Caird Park.
Councillor Black, commenting on the general difficulties people face trying to oppose planning applications, said: “I think the council could make the process much clearer.
“The current process in place means it can be difficult (for people trying to oppose planning applications) to see when the meetings are going to be held.
“The planning application and deputation process may seem quite obvious to planning officers, council officials and councillors, because they deal with them on a regular basis.
“For members of the public, it is much more difficult.
“Several deputations have appeared before the development management committee and wanted to hand out letters of objection or photographs, only to be told it’s not allowed.
“Also, trying to know when a planning application is going to be discussed can be difficult, as planning applications can be withdrawn from the agenda at a late stage.
“The whole process may seem perfectly clear for those of us who work in the council, but for members of the public it is as clear as mud.”
Amy Paterson, of Care for Caird, said: “We are still not entirely sure when the development management committee meeting will be.
“We ask for information on when the meeting is going ahead and we get sent a ‘Guide to Committee Meetings’ booklet which does not inform us of anything other than procedure.
“The ‘Guide to Committee Meetings’ is what they like to send us whenever we ask a question instead of actually answering the questions.”
The council provide information on their website telling people how they can go about forming a deputation and becoming “official objectors” to planning applications.
The advice booklet states: “It is the council’s policy to entertain requests from the applicants or their agents, supporters or objectors who wish to make verbal presentations to the development management committee.”
If a deputation wishes to submit further support material — such as additional objection letters or photographs — approval from the development management committee convener is required in writing beforehand, according to the council.
The council also request all applications to be heard at the development management meeting are submitted to the committee 14 days prior to the committee being held.
The decision whether a deputation will be heard on the night is ultimately decided by the committee, and the council’s advice notes there is no automatic right to be heard.
Members of the public can also view and comment on planning applications on a separate section of the council’s website.
The public can write to or email the development management committee at email@example.com or call on 01382 433105 .