This page explains the procedure for the public to speak at the Planning and Regulatory Committee, on planning applications for minerals, waste and County Council development. This has recently changed following a review of the operation of the committee and changes to the County Council's Constitution.
- What are the basic rules?
- What can I speak about?
- Who can speak at the committee?
- How will I know when the item I am interested in is going to committee?
- How do I register my interest in speaking?
- What if five speakers are already registered?
- What issues can I cover in my three minutes?
- Can I circulate photographs or other material at the meeting?
- Can I speak on more than one occasion on the same application?
- What will happen at the committee meeting?
- What if I can't turn up on the day?
- What do I do if I have other questions that aren't answered in this page?
1. What are the basic rules?
The procedure allows for up to six people (three in support and three against), plus the applicant or their agent, to address the committee. Each speaker will be given three minutes and members of the committee will be given the opportunity to ask for any points of clarification. The applicant will have three minutes to speak. If there are speakers against the proposal then their time is extended to the same total length of time as those speakers (three minutes per objector). They may also be asked for clarification by members of the committee.
2. What can I speak about?
You can only speak on any planning applications being reported to the Planning and Regulatory Committee for a decision. The Planning Development Manager may decide some items under delegated powers. You cannot address the committee on delegated items.
3. Who can speak at the committee?
In order to speak, the County Council must have received written representation from you on the planning application in question at least five days in advance of the committee meeting. Speakers must be members of the public and may speak for other individuals who are interested parties. Elected Representatives of parish, town, and district councils, residents associations and representatives of bodies and organisations are not eligible to speak in an official capacity; they can, however, register to speak as a member of the public if a representation was made in that capacity.
4. How will I know when the item I am interested in is going to committee?
Our Contact Centre has details of committee dates and will know which items are being considered at least five working days before a committee. The reports will also be published on the website, where you will also find details of dates and agendas. It is not possible for us to alert individuals to committee dates.
5. How do I register my interest in speaking?
You will need to telephone or email the Planning and Regulatory Committee Manager after the committee papers are published (at least five working days ahead of committee), but no later than midday (12 noon) on the working day before committee.
You cannot register an interest ahead of the papers being published, or by speaking with anyone other than the Committee Manager. When you contact them, please be prepared to give:
- your name, address and daytime telephone number
- the application number and proposed development to which it refers
- whether you wish to speak for or against the application and whether you also represent other individuals
- whether you are prepared to have your details passed on to other callers with similar views so that you can also speak on their behalf
- details of any special access arrangements you may need.
6. What if three speakers are already registered?
If those registered give their consent, we will be able to give you their details and they may be prepared to include your views in their presentation. If anyone is later found not to be eligible (e.g. we have not received a written representation), the place will be offered to a reserve.
7. What issues can I cover in my three minutes?
Speaking at committee gives you the opportunity to present directly to County Councillors the points you have made in your written representations on a planning application. For the committee to give proper consideration to your views, you must still ensure your written representation covers all your points. You should not make new points when addressing the committee.
Decisions on planning applications are limited by law to specific issues known as "material planning considerations". It is best that you keep to these issues since anything else must be ignored by the Committee. By way of example, the following are relevant planning considerations:
- planning policies contained in national and local planning documents such as the Minerals and Waste Local Plans
- traffic and impact on road networks
- the impact of a proposal on the environment and residential amenity
- opportunity for mitigation of impact
The following are not relevant planning considerations:
- boundary disputes, covenants or other property rights
- effect on property values
- personal remarks about the applicant (e.g. their conduct, private affairs)
8. Can I circulate photographs or other material at the meeting?
The committee will not accept or consider any additional written materials or other evidence submitted by speakers on the day of the meeting. Such submissions must be sent to the Planning Development Team well before the meeting, so that the committee can be told of the content and have officer advice.
9. Can I speak on more than one occasion on the same application?
In most cases, no. If an application is deferred after public speaking and has been significantly amended or there is a gap of six months or more between meetings then those wishing to speak will need to register afresh, and previous speakers can speak again.
If an item is deferred, either before the meeting, or at the meeting before public speaking and any debate has taken place, then the right to speak will still exist when the application is reported to the committee. The list of speakers will be carried forward to the meeting the application is reported back to and they will be contacted in writing and asked to confirm whether or not they still wish to speak.
10. What will happen at the committee meeting?
You should make yourself known to the Committee Manager by 10am on the day of the meeting. They will note your attendance and answer any concerns. The meeting will start at 10:30am. The Chairman will invite you to speak at the appropriate time. You will be timed and given a reminder after two minutes to give you the time to conclude your three-minute submission. You cannot question Members, officers or other speakers, although members of the committee will be able to seek clarification from you. After the applicant has responded, you are welcome to remain and listen to the rest of the debate.
11. What if I can't turn up on the day?
You may nominate a deputy, details must be given to the Committee Manager by 10am on the day of the meeting or arrangements may be available to give you the opportunity to address the committee virtually. Items will not be deferred if a person programmed to speak is unable to attend.
12. What do I do if I have other questions that aren't answered on this page?
This page is intended to answer most of your questions about speaking at the Planning and Regulatory Committee. For further information and advice, please contact the Committee Manager.