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As a member of a planning authority, you play both a strategic role and a statutory role. Acting in a strategic capacity, you are required to develop planning schemes, propose amendments to planning schemes, and support or reject changes proposed to planning schemes. In a statutory capacity, you are required to make decisions on individual developments in accordance with the planning scheme.
When sitting as a planning authority, you will usually only consider planning applications which require an element of discretion in relation to the planning scheme, and where representations have been made. Otherwise the decision is delegated to a planning officer.
It is important to be aware that your roles as a councillor and as a member of a planning authority are different. The key difference relates to decision making: as a member of a council, your decisions may be swayed by community feedback, but as a member of a planning authority, your decisions must be based on the rules set out in the planning scheme.