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Speaking at planning meetings

Person speaking

You are welcome to put your views on a planning proposal directly to the Planning Committee when planning applications are being considered. Letters of support or objection will also continue to be taken into account.

Can I speak on all planning applications?

You will only be able to speak on those planning applications which are due to be determined by the Planning Committee.

When and where does the Planning Committee meet?

Planning Committee meetings take place in the Town Hall, Lancaster Road, Preston.

There is usually one meeting per month on a Thursday starting at 2pm. Dates of meetings are subject to change but you can check the current meeting dates on the Planning Committee page.

Please note - seating in the Committee room is limited for health and safety purposes and will be made available on a first come first served basis from 1.30pm on the day of the meeting. There will be places reserved for registered speakers and councillors who may wish to attend.

How will I know when a particular application will be heard at committee?

You can find details of which items will be heard at Planning Committee meetings on the meeting agendas which are available on the Planning Committee page.

Agendas are available at least five working days before the relevant Planning Committee meeting.

Who can speak at the meeting and how long?

Any person directly affected by proposals, including applicants, objectors or supporters (or their representatives) may request to speak. In addition, ward councillors whose wards are directly affected may also request to speak.

Each request will be considered by the chair. The decision as to whether someone is directly affected by a proposal will be made taking into account:

  • the proximity of the site to those affected
  • the size and nature of the development and its potential impact
  • whether the objections or support relate to a perceived direct impact on the speakers
  • the number of people objecting or supporting who perceive a direct impact

There will be a maximum of three speakers (excluding ward councillors) for each item and each person is permitted to speak for a maximum of 3 minutes. The total time allocated to public speaking for each item is therefore 9 minutes.

Following the presentation of the report by officers, the order of speakers will be:

  • Objectors or supporters
  • Applicants or agents
  • Ward councillors

Where more than one person wishes to speak within a particular category, it is advisable to appoint a spokesperson. If a spokesperson cannot be appointed, then the people whose requests were received first will be given the opportunity to speak.

Members of the Planning Committee may ask questions of objectors, supporters and applicants. This will take place immediately after each address by a speaker. Members may then seek clarification from officers on particular points, prior to making their decision.

Speakers will not be allowed to address the committee other than in their allocated time or to answer questions from committee members. Responses to questions must be made through the chair.

How do I arrange to speak at the meeting?

If you wish to speak at Planning Committee, you will need to:

  1. visit our planning application search
  2. search for a planning application
  3. select the planning application reference number
  4. scroll down and select 'speak at Planning Committee about this application'
  5. complete the 'request to speak at Planning Committee form'

If you have requested to speak at a committee meeting, you are advised to arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start of the meeting in order to register your details with our Member Services representatives who will be outside the committee room.

The submission of a request to speak does not guarantee speaking, as this will be at the chair's discretion.

Can I provide additional information to present at committee?

Any visual material, including plans and photographs, must have been submitted in advance to the Planning Officer dealing with the application. Their contact details can be found in the letter you received from us notifying you of the planning application or by entering the planning application reference number on the Planning application search page.

Any further additional information cannot be circulated during the meeting.

If you wish to show a power point presentation, you will need to email the presentation, along with details of your name, contact details and planning application reference number to by noon on the Monday in the week of the Planning Committee meeting and it will be pre-loaded onto a laptop in the meeting room ready for you to use (subject to your request to speak being accepted).

It will not be possible for electronic presentations to be arranged on the day of the Planning Committee meeting using a portable storage device such as a memory stick.

Please do not duplicate any material contained in the report to Planning Committee as this information will be taken into account in any decision.

What will I be able to speak about?

This will depend on the application, but must be relevant to planning, for example:

  • Planning policies and guidance (local and national)
  • Noise and disturbance
  • Highway safety and traffic
  • Design, appearance and layout
  • Residential amenity
  • Conservation of buildings, trees and open land and the need to safeguard protected species
  • Impact on the appearance of the area
  • Effect on the level of daylight and privacy of existing property
  • Planning case law and previous decisions
  • The need for development
  • Previous planning history of the site.

Matters which cannot be taken into account include:

  • Matters covered by other legislation such as licensing or the Building Regulations
  • Private property rights such as covenants or boundary disputes
  • The character or identity of the applicant
  • The effect of development on property values
  • Commercial competition

How will my representations be recorded?

Minutes will be taken but will only record the names of speakers, which applications they addressed and whether they spoke for or against the proposal or as a ward councillor.

The minutes are available for inspection at least five working days before the next scheduled meeting and will be published on the Planning Committee pages.

What happens if an application is deferred?

Even if the committee decides to defer the application after hearing the speakers there will be a further public speaking session at the committee meeting to which the application is brought back for consideration but the registration requirements will still apply.

In respect of deferral of applications for site visits there will be a further public speaking session at the committee meeting to which the application is brought back for consideration. Registration requirements will still apply but preference will be given to those that initially registered to speak.

If there are vacant public speaking slots when an application is reported back to the committee following a site visit these will be filled subject to the normal registration process. The numbers of public speakers at committee for each application will not be affected.

What happens if an application is withdrawn prior to being heard?

If the application is withdrawn before being presented at the meeting, those who have already expressed a wish to speak will be notified before the meeting, providing that sufficient time has been given for officers to notify those involved of the withdrawal.

What happens if I cannot attend the Planning Committee meeting but still wish to make my views known?

You can continue to make written representations on all planning applications. Please visit the commenting on planning applications page for more details.

Any comments you make will be taken into account in the consideration the application. If an application is due to be considered at a particular meeting but you are unable to attend, you may wish to consider appointing a representative to speak on your behalf. Applications will not be deferred from meetings for this reason.

Can I make representations on more than one application?

Yes, representations may be made on more than one planning application.

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