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Speaking at the Planning Committee

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3. Your role as a speaker

When can I speak?

At the meeting, the Chair of the Committee will announce the application and the planning officer will give a brief outline of the proposal and relevant matters for consideration.

Members of the Council not on the Planning Committee who ask to speak in respect of any planning application will then speak. The objector’s spokesperson will then be invited to speak, followed by any spokesperson in support of the applicants/agents. Members of the Committee may ask questions of the speakers purely for clarification.

The Chair will then normally ask the planning officers to comment on what they have heard. Members of the Committee will then debate the proposal and make their decision. Speakers can make no further comment during the course of the Committee debate.


How long can I speak?

The maximum time each speaker will be allowed is three minutes. All speakers will be timed and must finish after three minutes.

The speaker will be requested by the Chair to immediately end their remarks if they exceed this time limit.

Where there are two applications for the same proposal, such as a planning application and a listed building consent, the two rights to speak can be separate or combined for one five minute opportunity.


What can I speak about?

All speakers’ comments will be taken into consideration. However, weight can only be given to relevant planning issues, which will vary with the nature of the proposals and site. Relevant issues normally include:

  • Local plan policies
  • Highway safety and traffic issues
  • Noise/disturbance/smells
  • Design and appearance
  • Layout
  • Conservation matters
  • Wildlife and trees
  • Residential amenity such as loss of privacy and overlooking

Other issues, which are not relevant to planning considerations, include:

  • Private property disputes
  • Loss of view
  • Loss of value to property

If a speaker is unsure as to whether an issue is a relevant planning consideration, it is advisable to check with the planning officer dealing with the application before the meeting. Speakers are also advised not to make slanderous statements about individuals or companies, to avoid the possibility of legal action by them.