Public Speaking on Planning Applications

You have the right to speak at the Council's Area Planning Committees

How the scheme operates

The District Council is committed to extending public involvement in the planning process. There are already extensive consultation and neighbour notification procedures for all planning applications.

Now you can speak directly to councillors at Area Planning Committee meetings. This information explains the Council's public participation policy for applicants, objectors and local councils at Area Planning Committee meetings.

It tries to answer some of the questions you may have about the procedures and what to expect at the meeting. It is based on simple rules, which the Council has formulated to make the system as fair and easy to operate as possible, so please read all the following information

Which applications are reported to the Area Committee?

Not all applications are determined by the Area Committee. The majority of straight forward planning applications are determined by senior officers under the Council's delegation scheme.

You may wish to check with the case officer to see whether the application in which you are interested is to be considered by the Area Planning Committee.

Do I need to attend the meeting to make my comments known to the Committee?

No - your written comments will be reported on the agenda and considered by the committee. As the meetings are open to the public you may, if you wish, attend the meeting to see what happens, without registering an intention to speak.

How can I find out when an application will be considered?

Normally, the Area Planning Committees meet on Wednesday evenings once a month. The agenda is published on the Wednesday before the meeting.

If you have made representations, we will write to you and let you know when the application will be reported to the meeting. If you wish to speak it is your responsibility to check that an item is on the agenda. You can do this by calling the Democratic Services Section.

Copies of the agenda are available from Customer Services at a cost of £1.20 or by checking the Calendar of Meetings.

What is the order of speaking on each application?

One of the planning officers will introduce the item. There will then be an opportunity for a representative of the Town or Parish Council to speak.

Any registered person against the proposal, or their nominated representative, will then have the opportunity to speak for up to 3 minutes. Then the registered person, normally the applicant or agent, will have the opportunity to speak in support of the application for up to 3 minutes.

You will be asked by the Chairman of the Committee to move to a designated seat before you speak. The 3 minute limit will be strictly applied by the Chairman and you will be asked to go back to your seat in the public gallery after that time.

The Planning Officer may add extra comments and then there will be an opportunity for debate by the Committee. The decision is then made.

What can I say at the meeting?

You are advised to make a statement of fact or opinion, but you are likely to have the greatest impact if you are brief and to the point and confine yourself to relevant planning issues- see below.

How do I arrange to speak at the meeting?

Please telephone the Committee Services Officer on 01684862273 e-mail by no later than noon on the working day before the meeting.

The applicant or his nominated representative will need to register. For those wishing to object, registration is on a first come first served basis. This will mean that, for each application, the name of the first person to register as an objector will be noted and any subsequent callers will be given their details to organise between themselves how their three minute slot will be used.

Can I ask questions of other speakers?

No - It is essential that you seek answers to your questions before the meeting and to state your case on the basis of information given to you. You must not interrupt other speakers or the Committee debate.

Can I use slides or overhead transparencies or circulate supporting documents?

No - additional slides or overhead transparencies are not allowed although you will be able to refer to the application plans displayed at the meeting. If you wish to circulate supporting documents to the Members, this must be done before the date of the committee.

A list of Councillors names and addresses is available from Committee Services on 01684862273 or by visiting the Councillor's section of the website. Please do not send documents to the Council for this purpose.

What are the relevant issues in considering proposals?

The relevant issues will vary with the nature of the proposal and the site, but may include the following:

  • Structure and Local Plan policies
  • Government planning guidance
  • Planning law and previous decisions
  • Highway safety and traffic
  • Noise, disturbance, smells
  • Residential amenity
  • Relationship with existing buildings and uses
  • Design appearance and layout
  • Impact on trees, listed buildings, conservation areas and landscape.

What issues are usually irrelevant in considering proposals?

They will vary from case to case, but the following are normally irrelevant:

  • Matters covered by other laws
  • Boundary or area disputes
  • The applicant's morals, motives or background.
  • Suspected future development
  • Loss of view over other people's land
  • Effect on value of property
  • Personal matters

When and where are the Committee meetings held?

There are Area Planning Committees for the northern and southern parts of the district. Area Planning Committee meetings are held on Wednesday evenings in Priory Lodge Hall, next to the Council House, Church Street, Malvern.

Normally the Northern and Southern Area Planning Committee meeting starts at 6.00pm

The calendar of council and committee meetings can be found here.

How are Parish/Town Councils involved?

Parish/Town Councils are consulted on all planning applications and copies of applications are usually available to view with the Local Councils as well as at the District Council offices.

If a Parish/Town Council wishes to make comments at the Area Planning Committee they will be entitled to a three minute slot, if registered to do so beforehand, independent of objectors or applicants.

All representatives of Town and Parish Councils must be authorised to represent the Council’s views in advance of the meeting.

The role of District Councillors

Councillors are elected to represent you on the District Council but they also have to make decisions taking into account wider issues. You may like to contact your Councillor to discuss the planning application.

However he or she will not be able to commit him or herself to a decision before hearing all the evidence and debate at the relevant planning meeting. He or she will need to take into account the law and planning guidance as well as public opinion.

Who do I ask if I have any other queries?

If you have any questions not answered by this information you are welcome to contact:

Democratic Services
Tel: 01684862273
or by E-mail: