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Planning Committee

Procedures for speaking at Planning Committees

If you wish to speak at a Planning Committee

Please register with Democratic & Legal Services before 12 noon on the working day before the Committee is due to meet by:

The time, date and details of the venue can be found on the agenda.

Speakers must be available from the advertised meeting start time.


At the meeting

The Committee Chair will run through procedures and check whether registered speakers are present.  Agenda items may not necessarily be discussed in the order they appear on the agenda.

For each item, the Committee Chair will introduce the item and ask the Planning Officer to present any updates.  The Chair will then call any registered speakers to present their comments to the Committee.


The order of speakers will be:

  • one third party speaker for and one third party speaker against the proposal
  • one parish/town council representative
  • one ward councillor
  • applicant or their agent/representative
  • planning officer who presents the report

Third party speakers for or against the proposal will be registered on a first come first served basis.


Where there is significant demand for public speaking on a proposal more than one speaker for and against the proposal may be permitted but this will only be at the discretion of the Committee Chair.

Where more than one ward councillor wishes to speak they should in the first instance seek to collaborate and agree between them who will represent the ward and the content of the presentation.  If ward councillors cannot agree this, the two ward councillors will be permitted to speak and will share the time allocated for ward councillors on a 50/50 basis. 


Speakers will be limited to speak for 3 minutes after which you will be asked to stop.

Ward councilors will be limited to speak for 5 minutes after which you will be asked to stop.

Once speakers have completed their presentation to the Committee the Committee Chair has discretion to allow Committee members to question the speaker on points of clarification and to inform the subsequent Committee debate.

To ensure the smooth running of the meeting, once you have spoken and answered any questions from the Committee members, you will not be able to add anything.

The Committee will then discuss and debate the application.


Tips on speaking

What should you speak about?

  • Explain the proposal or the reasoning behind it, or
  • Explain the effect of the development on you
  • Make your comments within the framework of planning legislation, for example:
    • Planning Policy (Development Plan)
    • Government guidance
    • Design, appearance, layout
    • Residential amenity
    • Highway safety and traffic
    • Character of the area, historic buildings
    • Noise, disturbance, smell

What should you not do?

  • Talk about non-planning issues (eg private property rights/right to a view, effect on property value, developers motives etc)
  • Make personal or slanderous statements which could result in legal action against you
  • Refer to sensitive personal information about any other person (for advice on what this means please contact the Local Authority)
  • To make the most effective use of your time try not to repeat Committee report information

The voting system

Voting will only take place on a planning application where a unanimous decision has not been reached.

If a vote is taken each Committee member has a single vote with the exception of the Chair. The Chair of the Committee will have the casting vote if the result is tied.

Sometimes there is not a vote and the Planning Committee may decide to defer the decision to a future meeting.

If an application is deferred to a future meeting you may be entitled to a second opportunity to speak.