Handing down power to the local community is to be welcomed. As Nick Clegg said the intention is to return power to the people; also to be welcomed. However some of the issues which can divide communities are the decisions reached by L.A. councillors regarding planning applications. To those involved these decisions represent the democratic process in a most personal manner and can have a greater affect on their wellbeing than any other decisions taken by National, Devolved or Local Government. Applicants and objectors will no doubt have spoken to the Ward Councillors to press their opinions, to be informed that their representative on the local council cannot give an opinion "in case my views influence the outcome of the vote
To scrap the laws, regulations or rules which prohibit L. A. councillors giving an opinion on current planning applications prior to the committee meeting which will determine the application.