Speaking at planning committee meetings

Northampton Borough Council allows public speaking at its planning committee. This section answers some of the questions you might have about how to arrange to speak and how the system will operate.

Who can speak at planning committee meetings

  • Up to two people who wish to object and up to two people who wish to support an individual planning application, an enforcement recommendation or any other quasi-judicial matter on the agenda
  • Ward councillors who are not members of the planning committee.  (If both ward councillors sit on the planning committee, they may nominate a substitute councillor to speak.)
  • Members of Parliament with the whole or part of their constituency within Northampton Borough Council boundaries
  • A representative of a parish council to whose area the application relates.

Arrangements for speaking

It is necessary to register with the Democratic Services section at the Guildhall as soon as possible and in any event not later than 12 noon on the day of committee. This applies to all speakers, except ward councillors.  ward councillors should notify the chair prior to the start of the meeting if they want to speak.

Registration can be by:

Telephone: 01604 837722

In writing to:
Democratic Services
The Guildhall
St Giles Square
Northampton
NN1 1DE

By e-mail: [email protected]

Late representations will not be heard. The council will operate a 'first come first served' policy. In the event that two people have already registered, a person wishing to make their views known to the committee should contact the ward councillor to see if the councillor can put across their points.

Where a member of the public has registered to speak but fails to attend the meeting the chair has the discretion to reallocate that speaking place to another member of the public present who would otherwise have wished to speak. (For the avoidance of doubt, such reallocation will be on a like for like basis i.e. if the original registration was 'for', the reallocated place will also be 'for'.)

If objectors intend to speak, the applicant will be contacted to ensure that they have the opportunity to reply.

Procedure at the meeting

A planning officer may give an update on the written committee report, then those objecting to or supporting the application and ward councillors will be invited to speak.

A planning officer can summarise issues before the matter is debated by the planning committee members and a vote taken.

Time

All speakers are allowed to speak for a maximum of three minutes.

Other notes

  • Speakers are only allowed to make statements. They may not ask questions or enter into dialogue with councillors, officers or other speakers. 
  • Consideration of an application will not be delayed simply because someone who has registered to speak is unable to attend the meeting.
  • Addresses should only be about planning issues and should not refer to non-planning issues such as private property rights, moral issues, loss of views, or effects on property values.
  • Fresh material may not be circulated to the councillors which has not first been seen by officers of the planning section.