Speaking at Development Management Committee meetings

How to speak to the Development Management Committee about a planning application.

The Development Management Committee is responsible for deciding planning applications and other related matters.

Now and then, residents may want to speak directly to the committee about a particular application.

We have introduced a scheme to allow this to happen. There are, however, a few rules to make the process workable.

How to speak at a meeting

  • You can only speak about an application for which you have already submitted written comments and which the Development Management Committee is deciding. In many cases, officers can decide on a planning application without it having to go to committee. This is known as delegated powers and the rules for this are set out in our pdf icon Scheme of Delegation [18kb]
  • If you have commented on a planning application that the Development Management Committee will decide, we will write to you about a week before the date of the committee meeting to let you know you may be able to speak

Asking to speak at a meeting

You will need to contact the meeting administrator using the committee services contact details on this page. You need to do this by 5pm on the last working day (usually a Tuesday) before the relevant meeting.

Please do not send us anything earlier than five working days before the meeting. You should tell us:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Daytime telephone number
  • The planning application reference number and address
  • If you want to speak in support or against the application

You must put these details in writing - speaking to the meeting administrator or a planning officer on the phone will not be enough to register your request.

What will happen after you have asked to speak at a meeting

You need to make sure that the meeting administrator has acknowledged your request to address the committee.

If you are in any doubt  about whether you can speak, or not, at the meeting, please telephone our committee services team using the contact details on this page. You must do this before the deadline of 5pm on the day before the committee meeting.

Who can speak at the meeting

  • Only one person will be able to speak against a planning application and only one will be able to speak in support of it
  • Where more than one person has written in to speak either for or against an application, we will only allow the first person to have written in will be allowed to speak - unless one spokesperson can be agreed to speak on behalf of all. We may ask you if we can pass on your details to others with a similar point of view
  • We will let you know as soon as possible if you can speak or not
  • We try to be as helpful as possible to speakers, but we cannot give a precise time when the committee may hear the item during the evening

What happens on the night

The Development Management Committee normally meets every four weeks on a Wednesday evening. The meeting starts at 7pm in the Concorde Room at the Council Offices in Farnborough.

We need to make sure that the meeting runs efficiently, so if we accept your request to speak, you will need to register with the meeting administrator at least 15 minutes before the start of the meeting.

We will show you where to make your presentation, and where to sit before and after you have spoken.

There will be a maximum of six minutes' speaking time for each planning application. We divide the time in the following way:

  • Objector (three minutes in total)
  • Applicant, agent or supporter (three minutes in total)

We are very strict on the time limit and we will not let the speaker exceed the time given. The speaker must stop when asked to do so by the Chairman.

You cannot circulate further presentation material at, or just before, the meeting. This is set out in our policy on late representations. Councillors will already have a full report on the proposal with relevant plans - and often photographs will be available at the meeting.

If you send any information to councillors ahead of the meeting, you should also copy it to our Planning team using the contact details on this page.

At the meeting, the chairman will announce the application and a planning officer will give a brief introduction.

Then speakers will be invited to address the committee in the following order:

  • Objector
  • Applicant, agent or supporter

When invited by the chairman, speak clearly and concisely, and stick to the time limit. Do not smoke and do not use rude or abusive language.

Councillors will not question the speakers unless the Chairman thinks that relevant matters have been raised, which are not covered in the officer's report. Councillors may then seek clarification on particular issues from council staff, before they make a decision on the planning application.

Speakers will not be allowed to question councillors, council staff or other speakers during the meeting.

If the committee postpones making a decision on the application, we will not invite you to speak that evening and you will have to apply to speak again.

If you fail to register or do not turn up at the meeting

If for any reason you do not register with the meeting administrator on the night or do not attend the relevant meeting, the committee will decide the application without you.

Guidelines for speakers

You should restrict your comments to matters covered by planning legislation. The most common planning issues you can speak on are:

  • Local planning policies
  • Government advice
  • The effect of the development on the street or area (but not any loss of private view)
  • Size, layout and density of buildings
  • Design, appearance and materials used
  • Amount of parking and whether there is enough
  • Traffic generation and overall highway safety
  • Overlooking and loss of privacy
  • Noise and disturbance from the use of the building (but not from construction work)
  • Ground contamination

Matters the committee cannot take into account

  • Any matters controlled under other laws such as building regulations (for example, structural stability, drainage, fire precautions, etc)
  • Loss of property value in the area
  • Sunday trading
  • Disturbance from construction work
  • The identity or personal character of the applicant
  • Competition
  • Moral issues
  • Need for development

Private issues between neighbours (such as land and boundary disputes, damage to property, private rights of way, deeds, and covenants). The issue of covenants has no role in the decision-making on planning applications

This list covers the main areas but cannot cover them all. If you want more advice, please contact our Planning team using the contact details on the right of this page.

Planning reports

The planning officers' reports are collated into an agenda, which is available on our Development Management Committee meetings page. It is also available at the Council Offices five working days before the committee meeting.

Final checklist

  • Make sure you register in writing to speak
  • Check date, time and venue
  • Turn up 15 minutes early
  • Tell the meeting administrator of your arrival
  • When invited by the chairman, speak clearly and stick to the time limit
  • Do not try to circulate additional written information, plans, or photographs at the meeting.
  • Do not smoke
  • Do not use rude or abusive language
 
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