The Right to Speak Scheme at meetings of Development Management Committee
Application includes any application for planning permission, and any other application, matter or notification which is before the committee for determination.
Applicants and objectors means the applicants and objectors or such other persons nominated to speak on their behalf, whether professional or otherwise. For the avoidance of doubt, it may from time to time include supporters of an application.
The chair means the chair of Development Management Committee.
Right to Speak Scheme means the Right to Speak Scheme as set out in these rules.
Working days means any day from Monday to Friday (inclusive) which is not Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Good Friday or any other statutory Bank Holiday.
2. The Right to Speak Scheme
2.1 The Right to Speak Scheme shall apply to all applications which are referred to the council's Development Management Committee for determination. It shall not apply to any applications, which may be determined by the council's head of planning under the council's Scheme of Delegation to Officers.
2.2 Applicants, their agents and supporters and objectors are required to register their request to speak through the Right to Speak Scheme. Members of the council are not required to register a request to speak but should inform the chair or the head of planning of their intention to do so preferably in advance of the meeting.
2.3 The Right to Speak Scheme shall operate as described in the rules.
2.4 The interpretation of the rules shall be at the sole discretion of the chair.
2.5 Information regarding the rules will be published on the council’s website and applicants will be notified of this when an application is first received and also on the notification letters sent by the council to local occupiers on receipt of an application.
2.6 Members of the council should not exercise their rights under this Right to Speak Scheme if they have a disclosable pecuniary or personal and prejudicial interest (as defined in the Code of Conduct for Members) in the matter under discussion.
In such circumstances, if they still wish to speak they should do so as a private person and register their request to speak in the manner set out in this scheme.
Members are reminded not to use or attempt to use their position as a member improperly to confer on or secure for themselves or for any other person, an advantage or disadvantage.
3. The rules of the Right to Speak Scheme
3.1 In the event of receipt of written representations relating to any application (that may be reported to Development Management Committee and not determined by the head of planning under delegated powers) the planning case officer shall inform both the writer and the applicant of the target committee date.
Speaking at the meeting
3.2 The speakers who may address the committee are:
- Objectors and applicants must restrict the length of their address to committee to not more than 5 minutes. If more than one objector has submitted a request to speak, they will be permitted to speak but all speakers must do so in a total time of 5 minutes. The applicant and anyone speaking on their behalf or in their support must not exceed a total time of 5 minutes.
- Councillors representing the ward in which the land or property which is the subject of the application is located or of an immediately adjacent ward may address committee for no longer than 5 minutes each.
- Other councillors may address committee for no longer than 5 minutes each, if allowed to do so by the chair at his or her sole discretion.
- Notwithstanding these restrictions, in any cases considered by the chair to be of town-wide significance the chair may at his or her absolute discretion permit a longer overall time period or for each speaker to address committee individually for a time to be agreed in consultation with the head of planning.
Registration for the Right to Speak Scheme
3.3 The lead officer for the receipt of requests to speak shall be the committee administrator for that meeting of Development Management Committee in the Democratic Services section. Requests to speak on an application must be received and registered by the committee administrator in writing or by telephone at least 5 working days before the day of the committee (that is, in the case of a committee on Wednesday, by 5.30 pm on the preceding Wednesday).
3.4 Any person submitting a request to speak, who intends to attend the meeting by remote access, must provide a contact telephone number in case there are technical difficulties with remote access (currently via Teams,) and, where available, an email address. If a telephone number is not provided the request to speak will be regarded as invalid.
3.5 Any requests received will be notified, as soon as is practicable after the deadline, to the head of planning by the committee administrator.
3.6 Applicants and objectors intending to attend the meeting by remote access will be offered a familiarisation “test event” which will take place before the meeting of the committee at a time set by the committee administrator.
This will give those parties wishing to speak an opportunity to test their systems to ensure they can access the meeting and establish whether they have any technical issues. This will not be a forum to discuss the application.
3.7 If someone submitting a request to speak does not qualify to speak at the committee meeting (s)he will be informed by email or telephone no fewer than 4 working days preceding the meeting (that is, in the case of a committee on Wednesday, by 5.30 pm on the preceding Thursday).
3.8 Subject to these rules, requests to speak received after the time specified in the paragraph 3.3 above will not be considered other than in exceptional circumstances. The decision to accept late requests shall be made by the chair in consultation with the head of planning in sufficient time before the meeting takes place to enable the applicant to be informed of the decision.
3.9 The chair shall have the right at his or her absolute discretion to suspend the operation of the rules in such circumstances as (s)he considers appropriate.
Attendance at the meeting
3.10 Attendance at the committee meeting will be subject to the following:-
3.11 All persons who have submitted a valid request to speak in accordance with these rules must ensure that they are present (either in person or through remote access) in time for the start of the committee meeting (for example, for a meeting starting at the customary time of 6pm at 5.45 pm). If they are not present then they may lose their opportunity to speak.
3.12 The chair will try to ensure that agenda items in respect of which there is a valid request to speak and where the speaker(s) is/are present are brought forward for consideration early in the meeting.
3.13 In cases where any person who has registered a request to speak is late or does not take up the opportunity to speak, the committee will proceed to determine the application. There will be no second opportunity afforded to those who have missed their opportunity to speak and an application will not be deferred because an applicant, objector or councillor has failed to attend.
3.14 All those addressing the committee must restrict the content of their speech to relevant planning issues raised by the application.
Procedure at the committee meeting
3.15 Democratic Services and planning will provide the chair with a list of requests to speak and identify where multiple speakers have registered to speak on a particular item(s).
3.16 At the point of considering the application in respect of which more than one objector has registered a request to speak, the chair will ask all concerned if agreement over sharing the 5 minutes has been reached. If agreement has not already been reached the chair will allow up to one minute for it to be reached.
If agreement cannot be reached, the chair will invite objectors to speak in the order they registered their interest to speak according to Democratic Services, until such time as the 5 minutes allowed for speaking expires.
3.17 The one-minute period referred to above shall not be used to make representations on the application.
3.18 The head of planning will present the report on the application.
3.19 The objector(s) may address the committee for no longer than 5 minutes in total.
3.20 Members of the committee may ask questions of the objector(s) to seek clarification of points raised in their speech.
3.21 Ward councillors and those from adjacent Wards and, following them, any other councillors may address the committee for no longer than 5 minutes each.
3.22 Members of the committee may ask questions of the councillors to seek clarification of points raised in their speech.
3.23 The applicant or his/her agent and/or supporters may address the committee, where they have registered to do so, for no longer than 5 minutes. In the event that a supporter to an application also registers to speak, then the applicant or his/her agent will be invited to speak first, with any time left of the 5 minutes being allocated to the supporter or supporters to share.
3.24 Members of the committee may ask questions of the applicant or their agent or supporters to seek clarification of points raised in their speech.
3.25 The committee may then ask questions of officers and go on to debate the issues and determine the application with no further involvement from objectors, applicants or councillors in attendance.
3.26 Under no circumstances may objectors, applicants or councillors in attendance either cross examine each other or engage in a debate with council officers or committee members.
3.27 The time limits for addressing committee shall be strictly adhered to without exception.
3.28 Where any person fails to comply with these rules (and following a request by the chair to do so) the chair shall have the authority at his or her absolute discretion to order their removal from the meeting or to adjourn the meeting for such period as(s)he considers necessary.
3.29 No written submissions may be made by any persons at the meeting of the committee either in person or online. However, photographs may be submitted to illustrate a point provided that these are received by the head of planning not later than 2 working days before the meeting.
3.30 If an application which is subject to the Right to Speak Scheme is deferred by the committee for further consideration, there will be no opportunity to address the committee for a second time.