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Have your say about planning applications
This note explains what to do if you want to speak about a planning application at a meeting of the Planning Management Committee (previously called Development Control Committee).
Where and when are meetings held?
The Planning Management Committee meets every four weeks, on Wednesdays at 7.00 pm. The meetings are in the council chamber, Cedar Drive, Thrapston (See Calendar of Meetings).
Planning Management Committee (formerly known as Development Control Committee) agendas are available on the council's website.
Who can speak?
Up to three members of the public will be allowed to speak on each item. One person authorised by the town or parish council to speak on their behalf; one on behalf of objectors and either the applicant or their representative or supporter. Members of the public may appoint an agent to speak for them.
If several people want to speak for or against the same matter they will be asked to choose a spokesperson to represent them. Otherwise requests will be dealt with on a "first to ask, first served" basis.
How do I arrange to speak?
To speak at a meeting of the Planning Management Committee, you must notify the council before 5.00 pm on the Tuesday before the meeting.
If you have written to us with your objections on a planning application you will be sent a letter telling you the date of the Planning Management Committee which will consider the application.
How long can I speak?
You may speak for up to three minutes, after which you will be asked to stop by the chairman. A microphone is provided in the public gallery for you to use. The end of the three minutes will be signalled automatically by a red light.
You should only make a statement with your views and comments. You should not ask questions and objections must relate to how you think the proposed development will affect you and should be confined to "material planning considerations".
What are "material planning considerations"?
This means things like residential amenity, highway safety and traffic; noise, disturbance and smell; design and appearance; the effect on the character or amenity of an area; the effect on historic buildings or on trees; the planning policies of the council, the local plan, the Structure Plan and Government planning guidance. Things which the committee cannot take into account and which are not planning issues include private property rights, loss of view, the effect on property values, and the applicant's morals or motives. For further information relating to 'material changes' please see our View and comment on planning applications page.
How will I know when to speak?
The chairman of the committee will invite you to speak, usually just before the item is discussed by the committee.
What happens then?
The committee will discuss the application and decide either to permit or refuse it. Sometimes a decision will be deferred to a future meeting, to give the applicant an opportunity to amend the proposal or for further information to be obtained.
If the application you are interested in is deferred, it will be considered again at a future meeting. You will have an opportunity to address that meeting too.
We ask you not to:
- ask individual councillors or council staff direct questions
- show maps, plans or photographs to illustrate your comments. (Plans are already displayed for councillors in the council chamber)
- make statements of a personal or defamatory nature (which could result in legal action against you)
- be abusive
- interrupt other speakers or the committee debate
- disclose any confidential or exempt information.
Councillors will always give equal weight to views received from members of the public in writing so as not to disadvantage those who, for whatever reason, are unable to attend a meeting, or who are unable to speak in public.
The right to speak does not apply to formal consultees like Northamptonshire County Council, English Heritage, the Ramblers' Association etc. There is already a procedure for involving these organisations in the planning decision making process.
Nothing in these arrangements shall supersede the council's procedural rules for the proper conduct of the meeting.
The chairman's authority at a meeting is final.
The public gallery in the council chamber is fully accessible to people in wheelchairs and the hearing loop can be enabled on request.