Have Your Say - Speaking at the Planning and Regulatory Committee
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.
- 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 leaflet?
1. What are the basic rules?
Local people are able to speak at the Planning and Regulatory Committee. The procedure allows up to ten people (five in support, five against), plus the applicant or their agent, to address the committee on planning applications. Each speaker will be given three minutes. The applicant will be given the same length of time as those speaking against the proposal to respond to the issues raised by objectors. Therefore, if two objectors speak for three minutes each, the applicant will have six minutes to respond; if three objectors speak, then the applicant will have nine minutes. If no local objectors register to speak, the applicant will not have a right to speak.
2. What can I speak about?
You can speak on any planning application submitted to Surrey County Council to determine that is being reported to the committee for decision. The County Council determines:
- applications for extraction of minerals and facilities for their initial processing
- applications for the disposal, storage and processing of waste
- applications for County Council developments which are needed to deliver services, such as school buildings, social services buildings, bridges, etc.
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 14 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.
4. How will I know when the item I am interested in is going to Committee?
Surrey's Contact Centre on 03456 009 009 has the dates of committee meetings and will know at least five working days before a committee which items are being considered. The reports will also be published on the website www.surreycc.gov.uk, where you will also find details of dates and agendas. As applications can attract thousands of letters, it is not possible for us to alert you to committee dates.
Not all planning applications are reported to the Planning and Regulatory Committee for a decision. The Planning Manager may decide some items under delegated powers. You cannot address the committee on delegated items.
5. How do I register my interest in speaking?
You will need to telephone the Committee Manager who services the Planning and Regulatory Committee, 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 ring, 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 five 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 one of the first five is later found not to be eligible (perhaps because we have not received previous 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 Surrey 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 (eg 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. Such submissions must be sent to the Planning Manager 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. Occasionally the decision on an application is deferred to a later meeting. If the item is deferred after the public have spoken, there will be no public speaking allowed when the application comes back to the committee, unless the application has been significantly amended or there is a gap of six months or more between meetings. If either of these two circumstances arises 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. Those on the list will be contacted in writing and asked to confirm whether or not they still wish to speak.
You may, however, speak about more than one item on the agenda, providing you have made written representations and have registered to do so.
10. What will happen at the Committee meeting?
You should make yourself known to the Committee Manager by 10:00am 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 and they will not be able to question 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 but will need to give their details to the Committee Manager by 9.30 am, on the day of the meeting. Items will not be deferred because any person programmed to speak is unable to attend.
12. What do I do if I have other questions that aren't answered in this leaflet?
For further information and advice, please contact the committee manager on 020 8541 9122.
Information contained on this page is available in large print, on audio tape and computer disk. It can also be made available in other languages.
You can view dates of committee meetings and you can contact our Contact Centre on: 03456 009 009, who will know at least five working days before a committee which items are being considered.