Speaking at Planning Committee

Can I make my comments known at the Planning Committee?

Yes you can. For each application on the agenda:

  • One person may speak to object
  • One to support, and
  • One from an affected town or parish council.

Requests to speak are however managed on a first come, first served basis.

For some large or complex applications the Chairman of the committee may allow additional speakers but this will not be the normal approach.

How can I speak at the meeting?

To help matters run smoothly there a few simple rules to follow:

Before the meeting – request to speak

You must give written notice by 2pm on the day of the meeting. The best way to do this is using the online Application to Speak form. You can also let us know well in advance that you would like to speak if the application is decided by the committee by emailing Member Services or write to us giving the application reference number and your details at:

Member Services,
Ashford Borough Council
Civic Centre
Tannery Lane
Kent TN23 1PL

At the meeting

  1. You must restrict your speech to three minutes, so please keep to the subject of the application
  2. You may not ask questions of the Committee or try and take part in the debate
  3. You must confine your comments to Planning issues only
  4. During your speech, you are not permitted to refer to the conduct of officers or members or to the manner in which an application has been dealt with. The Council has a separate Complaints Procedure in place to deal with these issues
  5. You are also not permitted to make personal comments about individual applicants, objectors, supporters or others involved in an application.
  6. You are not allowed to request that the Committee visits the application site
  7. If the application you wish to comment on is an “Exempt” item, i.e. an item which will be discussed in private, the Chairman may allow you to speak before the public are asked to leave the meeting. If this happens we will explain why you are being asked to leave
  8. The Chairman of the Planning Committee has sole discretion on whether a person can speak or not and retains overall responsibility for the smooth running of the meeting.  His/her decision on procedural matters must be adhered to.

What will happen at the meeting?

Planning committees usually start at 7pm and are held in the Council Chamber at the Civic Centre, Ashford.

Each application is considered in turn with the following procedure:

  1. The chairman reads out which item is to be discussed next
  2. One of the planning officers may give an introduction or some factual updates about the application
  3. The speakers will be asked to come forward in turn and have their say
  4. The relevant ward member will be asked for their comments if they are in the room
  5. Members of the committee will debate the application and make proposals (motions) on how the application should be dealt with. Each motion must be proposed and seconded before a vote can be taken
  6. Motions are voted on in the order of which one was proposed and seconded first
  7. If a motion is carried i.e. the majority of the councillors voting support the motion, then the committee will move on to the next item on the agenda