Attending the Planning Committee

COVID-19 Update - Virtual Planning Committee meetings

We are facing an unprecedented situation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and this has inevitably had an impact on a number of the District Council’s functions and services including how we deliver Planning Committee meetings.

For the safety of all, and in line with current guidance from government, Planning Committee meetings are currently being held remotely online, hosted via Microsoft Teams. As a result of this, the public speaking scheme has been amended for the time being.

If you wish to speak at committee, you need to email democraticservices@n-kesteven.gov.uk. 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. Registered speakers will be contacted in advance to go through the joining instructions for the remote meeting.

Registered speakers are required to submit a written copy of their verbal presentation by 12 noon the day before the meeting.
- This must not exceed the three minute verbal presentation.
- Speeches should be submitted to  democraticservices@n-kesteven.gov.uk.
- In the event that a registered speaker cannot remotely attend the meeting, then the meeting will continue, taking account of their written representation

Registered speakers will be able to speak for three minutes. There will be no questions. We are not able to accept supporting material during the public speaking session. With this approach, we aim to facilitate good decision making in unusual circumstances. We thank you for your understanding. 

Speaking at planning meetings

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

The advice below applies to:

  • Applicants and their agents or supporters of an application
  • Objectors to an application and

  • Representatives of Town or Parish Councils

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 three 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, supporters and objectors a week before the meeting. If you want to speak you need to telephone 01529 304807 (answer phone service). 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 three 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.

Can a question be answered by another speaker?

You may ask questions of other speakers within the three minutes. However, the other speaker can choose whether they answer or not.

You must not interrupt other speakers or the Committee’s discussion.

Can supporting material be included in the presentation?

Photographs, illustrative drawings or presentations may be used within the three minutes speaking time, but you must make sure that our Development Control team has them by NOON on the Friday before the Committee Meeting. After this time, no further material will be accepted. Please contact Carolyn Fairhurst, or one of the Planning Assistants, on 01529 414155 or email planning@n-kesteven.gov.uk for details on how to submit your presentation material.

Please remember that you must be careful what you say. Wrong comments can lead to legal action.

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 3 minutes each in the following order (speakers must have previously registered):
    • Applicant / Supporter
    • Objector
    • Town/Parish Council
  • Members of the Committee may then ask speakers questions.
  • Local Ward Members may address the Committee to speak on behalf of residents in their Ward.
  • Members of the Committee then discuss and consider the application.
  • 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.

Planning Application Queries

If you have any comments or queries regarding a planning application or about how an application has been considered please email  planning@n-kesteven.gov.uk 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 democratic_services@n-kesteven.gov.ukor telephone  01529 414155 after the meeting.