Having your say at the Regulatory Committee
If you have commented on a planning application you can, as a member of the public speak at meetings of the Regulatory Committee during the consideration of the planning application that you feel affects you. This page explains how members of the public can communicate your views on a planning application to the people who will make the decision and should give you an idea of what to expect from the meeting itself.
The Regulatory Committee
The Regulatory Committee is made up of 12 elected Councillors. In addition, planning officers and other council staff will attend to present applications, answer Councillors’ queries and take minutes. Representatives of the local press may also be present.
How it works
Committee Members get a detailed report about each application that is on the agenda. Copies of these are available 5 days before the meeting from our planning office or online. The report summarises comments raising relevant planning issues that were received at the time the report was written. Any comments received after the report is written are given to the Committee at the meeting. There may be a lot of debate over some applications; others may be decided very quickly. Because of this please be aware that it is not always possible to predict the time when a particular application is likely to be discussed.
Planning Committee meetings are held at:
They start at 10.30am and usually last 2 or 3 hours. When you arrive at the meeting, please report to the personnel at Shire Hall reception who will note that you have arrived and help you with any queries you may have.
Speaking at the Regulatory Committee
Other than the relevant Councillor, only applicants, their agents or people who have made written comments about an application will be invited to speak at Committee. No more than three objectors and three supporters (excluding local Councillors) may speak on any one application. In controversial cases, it is possible that a number of people will wish to speak either for or against an application. When you contact us to register we will advise you if more than three people have already requested to speak in either category. If this is the case, you may wish to contact them and agree a smaller number of representatives. If you find that you cannot agree, preference will be given to those whose views appear to be most representative of local feeling and to those most affected by the application. If you would rather not speak yourself, you may nominate a representative to speak on your behalf.
Registering to speak
Anyone who has made written comments about a planning application and wishes to speak to the Committee must make a request to the Development Group either by letter, fax, e-mail or telephone at least three working days before the Committee meets.
Preparing to speak
Speaking gives you the chance to say why you think the application should be approved or refused and to stress the issues you consider most important.
The comments you raise should already have been identified in your letter to us and will be summarised in our report. It is not helpful to introduce new issues when speaking to the Committee.
Please note that the following issues are not usually considered relevant in reaching planning decisions:
- Matters covered by other laws, e.g. alcohol license;
- Private property rights e.g. boundary or access disputes or covenants;
- The developer’s morals or motives;
- Possible future development;
- Loss of view over other people’s land;
- Effect on value of the property.
The Council recognise that making a public address can be a daunting task. It will help if you plan what you want to say, and practice it, ensuring everything you wish to say can be communicated in your allocated 3 minutes.
Do not forget that the laws of slander are very strict. If you say something 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.
Speakers cannot circulate new documents other than photographs and no presentation aids such as overhead projectors or PowerPoint may be used.
After the planning officer has introduced the application, those who are permitted to speak will do so in the following order:
- The County Councillor Other Councillors
- The Applicant
Each speaker will have a maximum of 3 minutes to express their views after which time they may be questioned by officers and members of the Committee. Please note that if a person speaks against an application, the applicant has a right to reply.
You will not be able to interrupt or question other speakers or Committee Members at the Regulatory Committee and will not be allowed to speak more than once. If it is necessary to make a factual correction after speaking, the information should be supplied to an officer.
The Chair may stop a speaker if what they are saying is irrelevant or offensive or if they attempt to introduce substantial new issues or evidence. Please note that speakers who do not conduct themselves in an orderly manner may be asked to leave the meeting.
After hearing contributions from all speakers, the Committee will discuss the application and respond to any matters raised.
The Committee will decide most applications at the meeting. They do not always follow the recommendation in the report. Some decisions may be postponed, for example to allow a panel of Councillors to visit the site or to get further information. In some cases, after considering the application, the Committee will pass it to staff to decide. In these cases, the committee would not normally reconsider the application.
If the Committee defers an application to obtain further information or to visit the site, speakers will be allowed to speak when the application is next considered only:
a) if they spoke at the first meeting
b) to address any new information which has emerged in the meantime.
Speakers will be sent written notification of the decision of the Committee.
The Chair may in his sole discretion allow a departure from the rules of this scheme if there are exceptional circumstances.
Once a decision has been made we send signed copies of the decision notice to the agent or applicant within a few days. If the application is approved, the decision will usually be subject to conditions that will be clearly stated on the notice. If permission is refused, the decision notice will state why. Please telephone us after 11.00 a.m. on the day following the Committee meeting if you wish to be informed of the decision made.
If an applicant is unhappy about a decision, they can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, an independent Government agency. Only the applicant can appeal. We will notify anyone who submitted written comments on the application if an appeal is lodged and we will forward their original comments to the Planning Inspectorate.