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Public speaking at planning committee

What are the basic rules?

In order to speak you must have submitted written representations, electronic submissions are encouraged, on the relevant planning application to the Head of Development Management at least 14 days prior to the committee meeting.

Please contact the case officer for the date of the meeting or view the website page and select the relevant committee.

Who can speak?

Members of the public and elected representatives of parish and town councils are allowed to speak on each planning application at the Planning Committee.

The procedure allows two people (one in support, one against), a representative of the Town/Parish Council, plus the applicant or their agent, to address the Committee members on relevant planning applications.

If there are several objectors and/or supporters who wish to speak on an application, each group will need to organise a spokesperson to speak on their behalf. Each speaker will be given a maximum of three minutes.

If an agent wishes to speak on behalf of the applicant they must be the agent named on the specific planning application form, or have provided the Local Planning Authority with written notification before Committee that they have replaced the original agent. As an alternative, the applicant can appoint somebody to speaking on their behalf. That person must have confirmed in writing prior to the Committee that they represent the applicant.

For a major development, additional speakers may be allowed but this would be at the discretion of the Chairman of the Committee in discussion with the Head of Development Management.

Who cannot speak at the Committee?

Representatives of statutory bodies and organisations who have been formally consulted on the application

What can I speak about?

You can speak about material planning considerations pertinent to any planning application submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council that you have made a written representation on, and which is on the agenda for determination at the Planning Committee.

In addressing the Committee you are requested to restrict your comments to issues which are material planning considerations and relevant facts. Some examples of material planning considerations may include:

The following list highlights some of the issues that may be taken into account by the Committee:

The following list highlights some of the issues that will not be taken into account by the Committee:

The laws of slander are very strict. If you say something defamatory in public about a person which is not true, even if you believe it to be true, you may be at risk of legal action. You are strongly advised to avoid such comments when speaking at Committee.

Are there any constraints on issues I can raise?

Your comments must be confined to material planning considerations only, and be specific to the relevant planning application that you have made written representation on.

The circulation of plans, photographs, or other material at the Committee meeting will not be permitted. Any such documentation should be submitted to the Head of Development Management marked for the attention of the relevant case officer Planning Officer as part of the existing consultation arrangements.

How often may I speak at Committee?

If a proposal is deferred after public speaking has occurred on that item, you will be given the opportunity to speak again at a subsequent Committee.

If the application has been deferred before you have chance to speak, you will be given the opportunity to return to the next Committee meeting. In that event, the list of registered speakers would be carried forward to the next meeting.

What if I cannot attend on the day of Committee?

No items will be deferred to the next Committee meeting if you are, for whatever reason unable to attend.

Please make sure that you are able to be present at the Committee meeting at the time the relevant item is to be considered.

What if two people are already registered?

The protocol only allows one person from each category to speak on any application. If two or people register a request to speak, they will be contacted and asked to agree a spokesperson to represent their views.

How do I register my interest to speak?

It will not be possible to speak at Committee unless you have registered your wish to speak in advance, in writing. The attached form must be filled in and returned to the Development Management Service.

It is your responsibility to contact the Development Management Service in order to register your wish to speak.

The deadline for registering to speak is 12 noon on the working day that precedes the Committee - any interest expressed after the deadline will not be registered and you will be unable to speak.

It is not possible for you to register your intentions before the Committee papers are published (five days prior to the Committee date), nor with any officer other than the nominated officers. Committee papers can be obtained at the Planning Minutes and Agendas page by selecting the relevant Committee.

If you do not register to speak, you will not be allowed to speak at the Committee meeting.

How long can I speak for?

All speakers either in support or against the application or speaking on behalf of the applicant will be allowed a maximum of three minutes to address the Committee.

What is the order of discussion at a Committee Meeting?

The discussion on applications will be in the following order:

The Chairman of the Committee will announce the application.

The Development Control Manager or their representative may present the item, and will add any further information relevant to the application and report. Members of the public can then speak in the following order:

The Chairman will invite the local Councillor to address the Committee.

In the event of any dispute over these procedures or the Committee’s protocol the Chairman’s decision is final.

Those non Council participants addressing the Committee will be advised when they have 30 seconds of their allotted three minutes remaining and will be expected to cease talking immediately on being advised that their three minutes is up.

Please note that any speakers who are not Members of the Committee will not be entitled to ask questions of officers, the Committee or each other and must take no further part in the procedure once they have finished their address to the Committee.

No cameras, tape recorders or any other type of recording equipment shall be permitted to be used/operated while business is being transacted.

Request to speak at meetings of the Planning Committee

There are three ways to make a request: