Attending the Planning Committee

Speaking at planning meetings

Planning Committee Meetings are held approximately every three weeks on a Tuesday afternoon and start at 5pm.

The advice below applies to:

  • A single objector or representative of the objectors 
  • Any representation from Town/Parish Council (but not where their council is the applicant)
  • Applicant (or a representative of the applicant)

Please note – only one person from each of the above groups can speak at a planning meeting. If the applicant is a town or parish council, then only one representative can speak, not one for the applicant and one for the town or parish council. That one speaker will be allowed only five minutes to speak. Where an application is on the boundary of one or more parishes, then speakers will be allowed from each parish, and the applicant will be allowed the same total time to speak.

If I want to speak, how do I arrange it?

The Planning Department will write to applicants, agents and supporters and objectors a week before the meeting. If you wish to speak at committee, you need to email our Democratic Services team. You have from the day the Committee agenda is published - usually 6 working days before the meeting - until 12 noon 2 working days before the meeting. This is the only way you can register a request to speak at a planning meeting.

Only one person from each of the three groups is allowed to speak. If there is more than one objector/ supporter, we advise that they nominate a spokesperson. If no agreement can be made, then the first person to register their request will be the person allowed to speak. We will try to facilitate contact where there is more than one person per group wishing to speak. The Democratic Services team will call you back to confirm meeting arrangements. To help ensure fair proceedings, late requests to speak will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances, with the approval of the Chairman. 

How long does each speaker have?

To be fair to all parties, there is a strict time limit of five minutes per speaker.

Are copies of the agenda available before the meeting?

Copies of the agenda are available to view online. Alternatively, you can contact Democratic Services on 01529 414155.

What are the relevant issues in considering a planning application?

The relevant issues will depend on the specific application and the site. They might include the following:

  • Structure and local plan policies;
  • Government planning guidance;
  • Planning law and previous planning decisions;
  • Highway safety and traffic;
  • Noise, disturbance and smells;
  • Design, appearance and layout;
  • Conservation of historic buildings, protection of trees, etc; or
  • Residential amenities.

What issues are usually not relevant in considering a planning application?

These will also vary depending on the application. The following are examples:

  • Issues covered by other laws or regulations;
  • Private property rights eg boundary or access disputes;
  • The developer’s morals or motives;
  • Suspected future development;
  • Loss of view over other people’s land; or
  • Any effect on the value of property.

What happens at the meeting?

Applications involving speakers are usually heard first. The process for each application is as follows:

  • A Planning Officer will introduce the item
  • Speakers will then be allowed 5 minutes each in the following order (speakers must have previously registered):
  1. A single objector or representative of the objectors
  2. Any representation from Town/Parish Council (but not where their council is the applicant)
  3. Applicant (or a representative of the applicant)
  • Members of the Committee may then ask speakers questions.
  • When Councillors are ready to make their decision, one Member will ‘propose’ and another will ‘second’ a motion to either approve, defer or refuse an application and a vote is then taken to make the decision.
  • The vote is a majority vote using a show of hands for all those Councillors who are in favour, against or wish to abstain.
  • The Chairman will announce the decision.

You should note that Councillors are elected to represent you on the District Council. However, he or she will not be able to commit him or herself to a decision before hearing all the evidence and debate at the planning meeting. They will need to take into account Planning Law and Guidance in making the decision.

How can I listen to the meeting?

Please note that Planning Committee meetings are audio streamed live during the meeting on the Committee web page. The audio will be available to listen to again after the meeting has concluded. The audio stream will take place during public agenda items and will conclude before the discussion of any Exempt Information.

Planning Application Queries

If you have any comments or queries regarding a planning application or about how an application has been considered please email or telephone 01529 414155 after the meeting. 

Meeting Arrangement Queries

If you have any other questions relating to the meeting itself, agendas, minutes or public attendance, please email telephone 01529 414155 after the meeting.