• Public speaking - eight options for debate next Tuesday

    15th July 2013 | News | Claire
  • The report sets out a choice of the following recommendations, which, once agreed on, will be considered by councillors on the cabinet.

    The public speaking debate came about following Roger Giles’ (and members of the public) complaining about not having an ability to speak at a development management committee meeting in February, relating to a controversial issue on the five year land supply problem. 

    However, a request for wider public speaking rights appears to have prompted a wider review of public speaking at meetings.

    The range of recommendations to be considered by councillors on EDDC’s standards committee next Tuesday, are:

    1) The reasons for the increase in the number and types of applications going to Development Management Committee should be investigated [this may be due in part to technical departures from the NPPF currently being sent to Committee, a matter which is due for discussion at DM on 16 July].

    2) Arrangements be introduced to take first on the agenda those items where planning applicants and/or public wishing to speak are present.

    3) A total period of time for public speaking on each individual planning application be introduced, for example 15 minutes. [This effectively means allowing 2 supporters and 2 objectors for each application, and is one of the most common means nationally of managing the volume of planning committee business].

    This could be linked with requiring those wishing to speak on planning applications to register two days in advance, which would give an opportunity for objectors/supporters to appoint a spokesperson in advance. Members may wish to consider this on a pilot basis, given the particular time pressures on Development Management Committee at the current time.

    4) Where a spokesperson for a group of objectors is appointed they be allowed 5 minutes to speak; the same time being given to the applicant

    5) Special meeting arrangements continue be made in advance for public speaking on major applications

    6) Information or statistical reports be dealt with after the planning applications

    7) Policy items be listed in a separate section of the agenda

    8) Public speaking on policy items be introduced, limited to three minutes per contribution, with the Chairman having the ability to advise the meeting of the number of speakers it is possible to take on any particular occasion in the light of time available. Meeting arrangements will be publicised in advance for issues of major public concern.

    Earlier in the report (2.2) it states:  “What is clear is that some people really wish to make a statement during question time rather than ask a question. Members could decide: To leave questions as questions, and not allow statements;

    Or simply to call it ‘public speaking’ rather than ‘questions’ at the beginning of meetings, so the public can decide how to use their three minutes as they wish; for questions and/or statements. There would still be the option to ask for questions to be received by democratic services in advance.”

    The public speaking paper and the full standards committee meeting agenda, which will be held next Tuesday (23 July) at 10am is here – http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/combined_special_standards_cmttee_agenda_230713.pdf