Public Speaking Procedures at Meetings of the Planning Committee
The purpose of public speaking at Planning Committee is to enable people to make their views directly on development proposals other than just by letter. All matters of procedure during the meeting will be at the discretion of the Chair of the Planning Committee. We have produced advice below which will help you understand how the procedures operate and what you need to do, in order that you can speak at Planning Committee.
The following information has been prepared by the Council to provide those who wish to address the Committee with helpful advice on how the procedures operate. All matters of procedure during the meeting will be at the discretion of the Chairman of the Planning Committee. To view or print a copy of the Public Speaking Booklet, use the link under the related media header to access in PDF format.
Who can speak?
You can speak if you are:
- An applicant.
- An individual (or representative of a company) who has commented on an application.
- An agent acting for an applicant.
What do I have to do if I want to speak?
Anyone wishing to speak needs to notify a Democratic Services Officer at the Council by 5.00pm at least two working days before the meeting to register the request. The notification must be either in writing, facsimile or e-mail (see details under further information). Requests to speak which are late will not be granted and telephone requests cannot be accepted. The use of visual aids is not permitted and copies of speakers comments, additional written information or photographs cannot be circulated at the meeting.
How many speakers are allowed?
The applicant/agent, supporters and objectors will be sent a written invitation to register their request to speak. Although you may submit a request to speak at Committee, a maximum of two speakers in support and two speakers against will be able to present their view. The invitation will contain a list of all other supporters or objectors (as appropriate) and advises that those wishing to speak should liaise with each other to agree appropriate speakers. If more than 2 people formally request to speak, speakers will be selected in order of receipt. Those unsuccessful will be notified by telephone and given details of those selected to speak.
NB. In relation to the submission of organised objections, such as by means of a petition, one spokesperson should speak for all, subject to there being a maximum of 2 speakers as described above.
How much time will I have?
Each speaker will have 4 minutes. You will be timed by a Democratic Services Officer who will give you a reminder 30 seconds before the end of the 4 minutes.
What am I allowed to say?
The Council must decide applications according to the relevant planning policies and other material considerations. Examples of the sort of factors which can be taken into account include:
- Noise and disturbance
- Highway safety and traffic issues
- A building which is of poor design
- Loss of light caused by new building
Considerations which cannot affect the way an application is decided include:
- A loss of view
- A reduction in the value of a property
- Business competition
- Inconvenience during construction work
- Private property rights (e.g. boundary disputes)
The above lists are not exhaustive.
Will I be asked questions?
Members of the Committee may ask questions to clarify points that you have made. Your comments should be made as statements. Neither Councillors nor officers will discuss the issues with you. You will not be able to ask questions of Councillors or officers.
Who sits on the Committee and who attends the meeting?
The Planning Committee is comprised of 12 elected Councillors representing different parts of the district. A Chairman is in charge of the business of the meeting. The minutes of the meeting will be taken by a Democratic Services Officer who will also manage the time allowed for speaking. The Chief Planning Officer, a Legal Officer and normally two Planning Officers will also be in attendance. All meetings are open to the press and public so anyone can attend and listen to the proceedings.
What is the order of the business at the meeting?
Although the agenda is published prior to the meeting, applications with speakers may be taken first.
What is the order of speaking on each application?
- The Chairman will announce each application in turn.
- A planning officer will make appropriate introductory comments.
- The order of speakers will be
- speakers against the proposal
- speakers for the proposal
What happens if a decision is deferred?
Applications will not be deferred because of the absence of any person who has expressed a wish to speak. However, they may be deferred for reasons such as the need for further information or a committee site visit. If an application is deferred for a site visit you will not be able to speak on site other than to point out things that they wish members to see or to answer any queries members may have.
Speakers will be expected to conduct themselves in an orderly manner and concern themselves only with planning issues.
To register your wish to speak please either confirm by letter, return the slip attached to my letter to you or notify a Democratic Services Officer at the District Council by means of the following facsimile number or e-mail address.
Fax: 01623 463900
A ward Councillor who is not a member of the Planning Committee can speak at the meeting but is limited to 6 minutes, and other Councillors can speak with the Chairman's permission but will be limited to 4 minutes. They will be timed by the Democratic Services Officer who will give them a reminder 30 seconds before the end of the time period.
For further advice on planning committee administration please use the links under the Contacts header to contact our Democratic Services officers.
There are other ways to make representations on a planning application please go to our commenting on someone else's application page.