Speaking at Committee
Speaking on a planning application at a Neighbourhood Committee or at the Development Control Committee
These arrangements allow applicants and objectors equal time to make their points to Councillors. To be fair, no exceptions can be made. These arrangements also apply to Enforcement Cases and Tree Preservation Orders not being discussed as a confidential item under the Access to Information Rules. In these cases, the land or property owner, and objectors and supporters will have speaking rights.
How can I, or my representative, speak on a planning application?
A letter will tell you at which meeting the application is going to be discussed, the date and time by which you must register to speak - this is 10.00am 3 working days before the meeting, and who to contact in Democratic Support to register with. Three working days allows us to list how many people want to speak on each application and tell you if other people also want to speak. This is important as speakers have to share the time. Applicants can only register to speak if there are objectors who wish to speak. The deadline for registering is also included in the agenda for the meeting, which can be seen at all libraries, or on the website at www.kingston.gov.uk .
Can I table information and photographs when I speak at the meeting?
No, this is not permitted because councillors may not be able to give proper consideration to the new information, and officers may not be able to check it for accuracy or provide the Committee with appropriate advice on it. To be fair to everyone, no exceptions will be made for this.
Responses/representations/additional comments/ late information can be submitted to the Planning Officer up to 5pm two days before the date of the meeting - and the Planning Officer may summarise and report this to the Committee as Late Material. Any representations submitted later than 2 days before the meeting will not be included in Late Material submitted to Committee Members prior to the meeting.
How long can I speak for?
Five minutes is allowed for each side on each application. This time has to be shared by however many speakers there are on each side. It is therefore important that speakers on each side agree in advance how they will share the time. If there are a large number of speakers, people may decide amongst themselves or some other arrangement.
How will I know when the five minutes is up?
There is a timer, and speakers will be made aware when their time is almost up. The Chair has no discretion to extend the time, so please stop speaking at the end of the five minutes.
What is the order of speaking?
The order of speaking is -
- Planning Officer presents (no time limit)
- objectors speak (maximum 5 minutes)
- applicant/supporters (maximum 5 minutes)
- questions from Committee Members seeking clarification from objectors (maximum 5 minutes)
- questions from Committee Members seeking clarification from applicant/supporters (maximum 5 minutes)
- Planning Officer summarises (no time limit)
- questions from Committee Members to officers (no time limit)
- debate by Committee (no time limit)
The order is reversed when there is enforcement, i.e. the property owner becomes the objector.
What happens if the other side is not at the meeting?
If for whatever reason, applicants or objectors who have registered to speak are not at the meeting, the Committee will hear whichever side is present.
Are there any different arrangements for applications that have been considered at Planning Forums?
When a Neighbourhood meeting is deciding an application where a Planning Forum has been held, the arrangements for speaking are exactly the same. When the Development Control Committee is deciding the application the only change is that the standard five minutes time limit may be extended by the Chair at the meeting. In this case, both objectors and applicants will be given the same amount of time.
At the meeting
Please try to arrive by 7.15pm so that you can meet the Council Staff and go through the arrangements - such as where you will be sitting, and the clock etc. You may find it helpful to make some notes on what you want to say, so that you make the most of your speaking time.
Notes on commenting on a planning application
(These notes are intended to provide broad guidelines to help you make comments).
- the Planning Officer's role is to form a fair judgement on planning applications on behalf of the Council and make a recommendation.
- the council has to consider and make a decision on all application's which are registered as valid. The Council aims to consult those who may be directly affected by the development proposed.
- comments must be on the planning merits of the application. Non-planning comments such as effects on the value of property or matters controlled by Building Regulations or other legislation cannot be taken into account.
- an application is judged against the Council's planning guidelines and policies as set out in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Core Strategy and in Supplementary Planning Documents. Copies are available at relevant Libraries and the Contact Advice Centre, Guildhall 2, and increasingly, on the Council's website: www.kingston.gov.uk. These policies give guidance on valid planning issues. The Council also takes account of relevant Government and London wide policies.
Every application is judged on its own merit.
- the council may grant planning permission, usually with conditions, or refuse planning permission. To justify refusal, the Council must show that the proposal would cause material harm. A small effect on the environment or on amenity may be insufficient. In each case, an assessment must be made as to the degree of harm. If planning permission is refused, the applicant has a right of appeal against the Council's decision. Appeals are made to the Planning Inspectorate appointed by the Secretary of State. For certain large planning applications, the Mayor for London has powers to call the applicant in for further consideration.
- the council is required to reach a decision within a reasonable time. Council's should determine applications within 8 weeks with the exception of major developments which have a 13 week timescale (16 weeks where accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment). After this period has elapsed the Applicant has the right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate for non-determination.
- Please remember that you can support as well as object to an application.
If you want to speak at a Committee Meeting, please contact the Democratic Support Officer listed in your letter about the meeting or, if you have a general enquiry about speaking at the meeting, contact the Democratic Support Team on 0208 547 5021.
Agenda items are available on the Council's website (www.kingston.gov.uk) five working days before Committee.