What will happen at the meeting and how long can I speak for

Back to: A Guide to Public Speaking at a Planning Committee

Back to: How do I register to speak?

The Chairman will invite those who have registered to speak to address the committee. Each speaker will have up to three minutes each to address the committee. When addressing the committee members of the public should:

Can I provide handouts or use visual aids?

No. Letters and photographs, or any other items must not be distributed at the meeting. These must be provided with your written representations during the consultation period in order to allow time to assess the validity, or otherwise, of other points being raised. To ensure fairness to all parties, everyone needs to have the opportunity to consider any such information in advance to ensure that any decision is reasonably taken and to avoid potential legal challenge.

What happens at the committee?

After formal business such as declarations of interest and signing of minutes the meeting moves on to planning applications.

  1. The planning / rights of way officer will present the application including any updates.
  2. The Chairman will invite those who have registered to speak to address the committee and each speaker is allocated a maximum of three minutes
  3. The applicant or their representative will be allowed up to three minutes speaking time in total between them both.
  4. The order of speaking will normally be: individual members of the public and groups; the applicant or their representative and then; parish/town council representative. Any such group or council will normally be given one three minute slot each for any representations to be made on its behalf.
  5. If one or more of the relevant Dorset Council ward councillors wishes to address the committee, they will each be allowed three minutes to do so.
  6. Neither the objectors or supporters will normally be questioned. However,the Chairman may ask questions to clarify a point of fact in very exceptional circumstances
  7. Public participation then ends and the committee will enter into the decision making phase. During this part of the meeting only members of the committee and officers may take part.
  8. The Chairman of the Committee has discretion over how this protocol will be applied and has absolute discretion over who can speak at the meeting.

You should not lobby members of the committee or officers immediately prior to or during the committee meeting. Members of the public should also be aware that members of the committee are not able to come to a view about a proposal in advance of the meeting because if they do so it may invalidate their ability to vote on a proposal. Equally any communication with members of the committee during the meeting is to be avoided as this affects their ability to concentrate on the matters being presented at that time. You should note that the council has various rules and protocols relating to the live recording of meetings.

What happens after the committee?

The minutes, which are the formal record of the meeting, will be published after the meeting and available to view in electronic and paper format, as a matter of public record, for a minimum of six years following the date of the meeting. Please note that if you attend a committee meeting and make oral representations to the committee, your name, together with a summary of your comments will be included in the minutes of the meeting.

Back to: A Guide to Public Speaking at a Planning Committee