Speaking at committee

In view of the latest Government advice regarding Coronavirus the planning and planning sub-committee meetings are currently being held virtually. Members of the public can watch the meetings on our webcast portal. If you are thinking of speaking for or against an application, please read the following guidance. 

Applications eligible for public speaking

Any planning application on the sub-committee or planning committee agenda will be eligible for public speaking. The onus is on the applicant or interested parties to check when an application is going to committee and to register to speak. 

The agendas and reports are published at least 5 working days before the meeting and can be viewed by selecting the date of the meeting from the links below. You can also view lists of upcoming and recent committees on our planning search.

Who can speak at the meeting?

Planning meetings are open to the public but only those that have registered to speak prior to the meeting may address the committee.

One speaker in favour and one speaker against will be permitted to speak for any application going to committee. The applicant (or their agent) will also be permitted to speak only in response to an objector and consequently, not solely to promote the proposed development.

How do I register to speak? 

You will need to register your interest to speak on a planning application by phone, no later than midday two working days before the meeting. For example, the deadline for a Tuesday meeting would be on the previous Friday. Please call 01372 474474 to register, lines open midday one week before the meeting.

How many people are allowed to speak?

Speakers will be chosen on a first-come, first-served basis, and only one person will be allowed to address the committee. However, it is possible for a spokesperson to be appointed to put the combined views of objectors across at the meeting. Your details will therefore be passed on to any subsequent callers, who may contact you.

What happens if an application is deferred?

Once public speaking on an application has taken place there will be no further opportunities to speak. If the application is deferred to another meeting of the same committee public speaking will not be repeated. If an application is referred from an area sub-committee to the full planning committee public speaking will take place at the new committee.

What matters can the committee consider?

You will need to limit your views to relevant planning issues such as:

  • external design, appearance and layout
  • highway safety and parking
  • loss of light or overshadowing
  • loss of amenity
  • residential amenity

The committee are not able to take into account such items as:

  • private property rights
  • the applicant's morals or motives
  • effect on property values
  • loss of a view
  • matters covered by other legislation

What happens at the virtual meeting?

Public speaking will take place at the virtual meetings subject to some minor amendments to the guidelines as set out below.

  • The chosen public speaker will be contacted by email with details of how to join the virtual meeting.
  • Public speakers should log in to the virtual meeting with the details provided at the beginning of the meeting and be available for the relevant agenda item. You will be held in a virtual waiting room until your agenda item.
  • At the relevant agenda item, the chair of the committee will invite you to join the meeting online, at which point you will be able to connect by audio and video. You will be given 3 minutes to outline your views. This time limit is strictly enforced. If you are not available to connect at the relevant time, the meeting will continue, and the applicant will not be able to speak.
  • No documents can be shown during public speaking by either the objector or applicant. If you wish the committee to take anything additional into account, it should be submitted to the Planning Service as a representation by at least noon on the Friday before the meeting to ensure that it can be recorded as a late representation and published on the council’s website for the public to review.
  • Your audio and video link will be disabled at the end of the item. You will still be able to see and hear the rest of the meeting.
  • The applicant or agent will then be invited to join the meeting online and have the same amount of time to present his/her response. The chair of the committee may allow members of the committee to ask you and/or the applicant for clarification.

Please note that plans relating to all items considered at the committee are available to view within the agenda and against the relevant application reference on the website. There will be no plans shown online in the virtual meeting.

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