An explanation of the system for those wishing to speak
The Borough Council has always encouraged people to attend Development Control Committee Meeting. From the 1 8th February 2002 objectors, applicants or supporters have been able to speak directly to the Committee about any planning application which is being considered at the meeting.
This information explains how the scheme operates and answers some of the questions you may have about procedures and what to expect at the meeting. It is based on simple rules agreed by the Council to make the system as fair and easy to operate as possible, so please read all of the information.
How does the Development Control Committee work?
Not all applications are determined by the Committee. The majority of straightforward applications are decided under the Council’s delegation scheme and are not subject to procedures descr·ibed in this leaflet Please telephone the case officer dealing with the application to see whether the application in which you are interested is to be considered by the Development Control Committee or discuss its progress.
The Committee is made up of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and 9 other councillors. The Press may attend the meetings. Committee Members receive written reports on planning applications being considered by the Committee.
Do I need to :attend the meeting to make any comments known to the Committee?
No – your written comments will have been briefly summarised in the officer report and will be considered by the Committee anyway. As the meetings are open to the public you may, if you wish, attend the meeting just to see what happens.
How can I find out when an application will be considered?
A Development Control Committee is usually held on a Monday evening once a month. It can, however, be held on other days of the week. The Committee agenda is normally published at the latest on the Thursday before the Committee meeting. The dates and times of meetings are available on request together with a list of Members. Please telephone the Committee Administration Section on 0303 333 4300. The Committee administration can also provide you with a copy of the agenda item.
How do I arrange 1to speak at a meeting?
When an application is to be considered by the Committee, the applicant, objectors or supporters will be notified ofthe meeting and will receive a copy of this leaflet and a form which will need to be completed if they wish to speak at the meeting.
- The form must be received by the Planning Department by 4.00pm on the working day (normally a Friday) before the Committee meeting, at the very latest. This is so the Chairman knows how many members of the public wish to speak.
- On the day of the Committee please arrive at the Council Chamber at Runcorn Town Hall between 6.00pm and 6. 15pm to register your invitation to speak. It may be difficult to accommodate late arrivals. A council officer will explain to those wishing to speak how the Committee procedures are organised.
- If there are several objectors and/or supporters who wish to speak on an application each group will need to organise a spokesperson. Only one person from the objectors and one from the supporters will be allowed to speak. However, even though you have given notice that you wish to speak at the meeting you can change your mind and decide not to speak.
- Only one person can speak in support on behalf of the applicant, either the applicant or agent.
What is the order of speaking on each application?
The Chairman will, if necessary, explain the process and introduce each planning application by referring to the application number and details of it.
Members of the public can then speak in the following order:
- Objector (5 minutes)
- Supporter (5 minutes)
- Applicant/Agent (5 minutes)
You will be asked by the Chairman of the Development Control and Committee to move to a designated seat before you speak. The five-minute limit will be strictly applied by the Chairman and you will be asked to return to the public seating after that time. If a representative of a Parish Council or a councillor has also asked to speak the Chairman will determine the order of speaking on each application.
The Operational Director of Policy, Planning and Transportation will then bring any necessary information, in addition to that in the officer report, to the Committee’s attention. Members of the Development Control Committee will then debate the matter either to approve, refuse or defer it for amendments/further information. The public cannot take part, and a decision will be made. Any points of clarification raised by Members will be dealt with by Officers. Delegated authority may also be given to the Operational Director to deal with the application e.g. following negotiations and amendments.
Can I use slides or overhead transparencies, video presentations or circulate supporting documents?
No- slides or overhead transparencies or video presentations are not allowed. If you wish to circulate supporting documents you must discuss this with the case officer in the first instance. If you decide to send information direct to councillors that is your responsibility. A list of Councillors names is available from the Members’ Office on 0303 333 4300. Please do not send documents to the Council for this purpose.
What can I say at the meeting?
You are advised to make a statement of fact or opinion, but you are likely to have the greatest impact if you:
- Are brief and to the point
- Limit your views to the planning application
- Focus on the relevant planning issues which may help the committee reach their decision.
What are the relevant issues in considering proposals?
The relevant issues will vary with the nature of the proposal and the date, but examples include the following:
- Local Plan and draft Unitary Development policies
- Government planning guidance (PPGs)
- Planning law and previous decisions by the Council on (an appeal) by the Secretary of State.
- Noise, disturbance, smells
- Residential amenity
- Design, appearance and layout
- Impact on trees, listed buildings, conservation areas, and archaeological heritage
- Public open space provision
What issues are usually irrelevant in considering proposals?
These will vary from case to case but the following are usually irrelevant
- Matters covered by other laws, licences and environmental controls
- Boundary or area disputes
- The developer’s morals or motives
- Suspected further development
- Loss of view over other people’s land
- Effects on value of property
- Personal matters
- Land ownership
You should particularly note that the laws of slander are very stric. If you say something defamatory in public about a person that is untrue, even if you believe it to be true, you may be risk of legal action. You should therefore think carefully about any criticisms you may wish to make about people when speaking at the Committee
Where are the Committee meetings held?
Development Contol Committee meetings are normally held in the Council Chamber at Runcorn Town Hall, Runcorn, and the meetings usually start at 6.30pm. If you have completed a form asking to speak you should arrive at the Town Hall between 6.00pm and 6.15pm to register your invitation to speak,
How are the Parish Councils involved?
Parish Councils are consulted on all planning applications. Parish Councils have separate arrangements for speaking at the Committee. The chairman will use his discretion to fit the Parish Council arrangements in with those for public speaking.
The role of Borough Councillors:
Councillors are elected to represent you on the Borough Council. You may like to contact your Councillor to discuss a planning application. However, he or she will not be able to commit him or herself to a decision before hearing all the evidence and debate at the relevant Development Control Committee meeting if they are a member of the Committee. If you wish a Councillor to represent your views at the Committee then it is strongly recommended that you contac a councillor who is not on the committee itself.
Who do I ask if I have any other queries?
If you have any questions not answered in this informaiton, orn any other comments please contact the case officer responsible for the planning applications or:
Mr Mick Noone, Operational Director
Halton Borough Council
Tel: 0303 333 4300
Mr Tim Gibbs, Divisional Manager
Halton Borough Council
Tel: 0303 333 4300