The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on
8 July 1986, the following members being present:

                   MM. J.A. FROWEIN, Acting President
                       G. SPERDUTI
                       E. BUSUTTIL
                       G. JÖRUNDSSON
                       G. TENEKIDES
                       S. TRECHSEL
                       B. KIERNAN
                       A.S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                       A. WEITZEL
                       J.C. SOYER
                       H.G. SCHERMERS
                       H. DANELIUS
                       G. BATLINER
                       J. CAMPINOS
                       H. VANDENBERGHE
                   Mrs G.H. THUNE
                   Sir Basil HALL

                   Mr. H.C. KRÜGER, Secretary to the Commission

Having regard to Article 25 (art. 25) of the Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

Having regard to the application introduced on 19 August 1985 by
W.C., F.S. and J.T. against the United Kingdom and registered on 16
December 1985 under file No. 11931/86;

Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 40 of the Rules of
Procedure of the Commission;

Having deliberated;

Decides as follows:


The applicants are British citizens, born in 1900, 1925 and 1932
respectively, and resident in Cheshire.  The first applicant is a
retired member of Macclesfield Borough Council, the second applicant
is a member of the Liberal Party active in local affairs and the third
applicant is a member of the Macclesfield Borough Council and a member
of the Area Planning Committee for Wilmslow.

On 8 November 1984, the Refuge Assurance Company lodged an application
for permission to transfer its Head Office to a green belt site
between Wilmslow and Alderley Edge.

The application was strongly opposed inter alia by the Greater
Manchester County Council and local residents.  However by letter of
7 February 1985 the Minister of the Environment refused to intervene to
call in the application for his own determination.  The application
was accordingly considered and accepted by the main Planning Committee
on 11 February 1986 and their decision approved by the Macclesfield
Borough Council on 28 February 1985.

By the Planning Regulations of the Council all planning applications
must first be submitted to the appropriate Area Sub-Committee except
those of a significant character which go directly to the main
Planning Committee.  This committee has wide delegated powers and
their recommendations are irrevocable.  Their decisions are formally
approved by the full council and discussion is not permitted.

The fifteen local councillors of Wilmslow and Alderley Edge are on the
Area Sub-Committee: however only six of these sit on the main
Committee which consists of 24 members.  Nine local councillors
including the third applicant therefore did not take part in the
discussion or voting on the application concerning the Refuge
Assurance Company on 11 February 1985.  On 28 February 1985 the
decisions of the main Planning Committee were brought before the full
council for approval.  An attempt was made to exclude the refuge
application from the usual en bloc formal approval by the local
councillors for the area but this was heavily defeated.


The applicants complain that nine of the local councillors including
the third applicant elected by the Wilmslow and Alderley Edge
residents were unable to vote on a major planning decision concerning
their own area, and that the local residents were thereby
disenfranchised as a result of the operation of the planning
regulations.  They also complain that the local representatives
including the third applicant were prevented effectively from speaking
to oppose the application, since no discussion or vote on the merits
was allowed in full council.

The applicants invoke Articles 10 (art. 10) of the Convention and
3 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-3).


1.      The applicants complain that nine of their local
representatives, including the third applicant, were unable to vote on
a matter significant to their area as a result of the rules governing
delegation of planning applications.

Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-3) states that:

"The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at
reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will
ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice
of the legislature."

This Article (P1-3) protects the right of the people by means of free
elections to choose the "legislature".  However, in this case, even
assuming the delegation of planning powers can be said to
disenfranchise the applicants, the Commission finds that Macclesfield
Borough Council cannot be said to be a legislature within the meaning
of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-3).  The Commission notes that the
council does not possess any inherent rule-making power and such
powers exercised by it are exercised subject to the control of the
Parliament of the United Kingdom (see also Application Nos. 5155/71,
11377/85 and 11391/85 to be published in D.R.).

Accordingly, the Commission rejects this part of the complaint as
being incompatible ratione materiae with the provisions of the
Convention within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (art. 27-2)
of the Convention.

2.      The applicants also complain that nine of their local
representatives, including the third applicant, were prevented from
speaking in the debate on the application in the planning committee or
in debating the matter in full council.

Article 10 (art. 10) states that:

"1.     Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right
shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart
information and ideas without interference by public authority
regardless of frontiers. This Article (art. 10) shall not prevent
States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or
cinema enterprises."

The Commission notes that the first and second applicants were not
members of the council and therefore under the rules of the council,
were unable to participate themselves in any debate. However,
Article 10 (art. 10) cannot be construed so as to give them a right
either to take part in the debate themselves or to secure that a
particular number of their representatives should be able to speak for
them in such debate. The Commission recalls that six of their local
councillors were in fact able to participate in the main Planning
Committee's deliberations.

The third applicant is himself a member of the council but under the
rules governing procedure cannot attend the main planning committee or
debate the delegated planning matters in full council. The Commission
finds however that Article 10 (art. 10) cannot be said to confer on
every local councillor a right to speak on each committee and that the
exercise of the council's discretion to delegate planning applications
subject to the above rules does not disclose a violation of Article 10
(art. 10) of the Convention.

An examination of this complaint as it has been submitted therefore
does not disclose any appearance of a violation of Article 10
(art. 10) of the Convention.

It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded
within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (art. 27-2) of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Commission


Secretary to the Commission      Acting President of the Commission

      (H.C. KRÜGER)                              (J.A. FROWEIN)