The arrangements for public speaking a planning committee have been updated following approval by full Council on 11 November 2019. You are no longer required to submit a petition in order to address the committee and the Code of Practice below sets out the new arrangements:

COVID 19 – Temporary Amendment to the Public Speaking Scheme

  1. Members of the public who are eligible to address the Planning Committee on an application may submit a video or written statement (no longer than 5 minutes) in cases where the member of the public is unable or unwilling to join the Planning Committee meeting remotely using Microsoft Teams.
  1. The Chairman of the Committee is authorised to use discretion to temporarily suspend the ability for Members of the Planning Committee to ask questions of the member of the public, should this be impractical during a remote meeting.
  1. This Code of Practice explains the rules that apply to public speaking for planning applications of the Planning Committee. Planning applications which are decided by officers under Rother District Council’s (RDC) scheme of delegation do not come before the Planning Committee and so public speaking rights do not apply in respect of them. 
  1. If you wish to check whether a planning application in which you are interested is on the agenda for the Planning Committee, please look at the Planning Committee agendas page.

    Further information can be found on the Planning Committee public speaking webpage.

    Agendas are published one week before each Planning Committee meeting.
  1. If you wish to speak at a Planning Committee meeting, you must have previously made a written representation on the application. You can then register with Democratic Services by telephone on 01424 787811 or email: Democraticservices@rother.gov.uk.

    Registration will start at 2pm on the date that the agenda is published (Wednesday) and close at 4pm on Monday of Committee week (space subject to availability).

    You will need to provide the following details:
    • The application(s) in respect of which you wish to speak (including the reference).
    • Confirm that you have sent in a submission before the Planning Agenda was published (including the date and reference to any visuals you sent in).
    • Your name, full postal address, a contact telephone number and email address.
    • The speaker category which applies to you – objector; supporter; the applicant, an agent or another person on behalf of the applicant. 
  1. Each speaker will be allowed to address the Planning Committee for no more than 5 minutes.
    • Householder 1 speaker each for and against
    • Minor/Other 2 speakers each for and against
    • Major3 speakers each for and against
    • Above categories reflect national application thresholds
  1. The Planning Committee meeting will be managed by the Chairman with the advice of the Officers of the Council. Where people have registered to speak, applications will be dealt with as follows:
    • The Chairman will introduce the application by reading out its reference number, address and report page number.
    • The Planning Officer will introduce the application and provide the Planning Committee with any update as necessary.
    • The Chairman will invite those who have registered to speak to come to the designated table and address the Planning Committee.
    • The Chairman will then invite Members of the Planning Committee to ask questions of each speaker on the content of their speech if so required.
    • The Planning Committee will then debate and decide the application.
  1. The order of speaking is as follows:
    • Nominated Parish representative.
    • Objectors.
    • Supporters including the applicant.
    • RDC Ward Member who does not sit on the Planning Committee.
  1. You might find it helpful to write out your speech beforehand or at least to make notes about what you want to say to the Planning Committee. Your speech must relate solely to your written submission (which may include any visuals you submitted with your original submission). You must not introduce new arguments, additional information or hearsay which has not been subject to Council and public scrutiny. Please speak slowly and clearly into the microphone. Time limits will be strictly observed.
  1. You must focus your comments only on your written submission and relevant planning issues, for example:
    • The external design, appearance and layout of the development.
    • The impact on trees and nature conservation or overshadowing and privacy.
    • Highway safety.
    • Planning policy and government guidance.
  1. You should avoid referring to matters which are not relevant to planning, for example: 
    • Boundary disputes or other property rights.
    • The applicant’s motives, character or reputation. 
    • The loss of property value or loss of a view.
    • Matters covered by other legislation.
  1. You must not pass written material such as diagrams and photographs around the table to Members of the Planning Committee.
  1. When you have finished Members of the Planning Committee will be given the opportunity to ask you questions on the content of your speech.
  1. Once you have spoken and answered Committee questions you will not be allowed to speak again on that application at that meeting. However, if the application is deferred, you can register afresh to speak when the application is reconsidered at a subsequent meeting.

The table below explains the number of speakers and timings that will apply to different types of applications in more detail:

Rother – ProposedFor*AgainstParish & Town**Ward MemberQuestion The SpeakerAdmin of SystemMax Time per Application
Householder1 x 5 minutes1x 5 minutes5 minutes5 minutes (interspersed)YesDemocratic Services20 minutes + questions
Minor/Other***2 x 5 minutes2 x 5 minutes5 minutes5 minutes (interspersed)YesDemocratic Services30 minutes + questions
Major****3 x 5 minutes3 x 5 minutes5 minutes5 minutes (interspersed)YesDemocratic Services40 minutes + questions

Note: No petition will now be required

* For – All times include the applicant/agent

** Parish & Town – Can be from adjoining Parish if application on a Parish Boundary but only one speaker as nominated by the Parish by resolution

*** Minor/Other – includes any non-major planning application (i.e. listed building consents or developments up to 9 units or up to 1,000 sqm of commercial floorspace

**** Major – 10 units and above or above 1,000 sqm of commercial floorspace

Speakers may use visual aids which must have been provided in advance for circulation whether hard copy or computer generated and have been submitted with a comment on the application prior to the officer’s report being completed.

Discretion will always sit with the Chairman regarding speaking in relation to speakers and times allowed.