Public participation in Planning Committee

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Northumberland County Council,

Civic Voice, the national charity for the civic and conservation movement is campaigning to put public participation at the heart of the planning system. With this in mind, I am writing to request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act:

1. Can you confirm how long, in minutes, a community group such as a Civic Society is permitted to speak at your local council’s Planning Committee? (By ‘Planning Committee’ we mean your local authority’s committee of elected members which determines planning applications. It may be known by a different name in your local authority).

2. Is there a limit on the number of registered speakers permitted to speak at your Planning Committee? If yes, please specify the maximum number of speakers allowed.

3. Is there a limit on the total time allowed for registered speakers? If yes, please provide details of the time restriction.

3. Are your Planning Committee procedure rules publicly available online? If yes, please provide the weblink.

4. Can you provide a contact email address for the secretariat for your Planning Committee, should we require any further information?

Yours faithfully,

Sarah James

Northumberland County Council

1 Atodiad

Our Ref: 6480  

Dear Enquirer,

INFORMATION REQUEST

Thank you for your request for information which will be dealt with under
the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 / Environmental
Information Regulations 2004.

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case, we
will let you know the likely charges before proceeding.

If you have any queries about this matter please contact us. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Kind regards

Information Governance Office
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland
NE61 2EF

Tel: 0345 600 6400
Email: [Northumberland County Council request email]
Web: http://www.northumberland.gov.uk

Northumberland County Council

1 Atodiad

Our Ref: 6480   

Dear Enquirer,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST 

I refer to your Freedom of Information request in relation to planning
committee. 

Right of Access 

Section 1(1) of the Act provides any person making a request for
information to a public authority is entitled. 

(a) to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds
information of the description specified in the request (which Section
1(6) of the Act designates as the "duty to confirm or deny"), and 

(b) if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him. 

The right is to obtain access to the information itself and not to the
document or record which contains it. 

The Act creates a general right of access to information held by public
authorities subject to various exemptions. 

Northumberland County Council confirms that it holds the information you
have requested, please see the following information in response. 

Q.1 Can you confirm how long, in minutes, a community group such as a
Civic Society is permitted to speak at your local council’s Planning
Committee? (By ‘Planning Committee’ we mean your local authority’s
committee of elected members which determines planning applications. It
may be known by a different name in your local authority).
There is a total of five minutes each for objectors, local councillors and
supporters (up to a total of 15 minutes public speaking time per planning
application).
People are only entitled to speak on planning applications if they have
submitted written representations on planning applications or been
nominated by other people (who have formally objected/supported the
application or on behalf of the applicant) who are entitled to speak.
Q.2 Is there a limit on the number of registered speakers permitted to
speak at your Planning Committee? If yes, please specify the maximum
number of speakers allowed.
There is not a limit on numbers but speakers have to share the time if
more than one person registers in each speaking slot. (The allocation is
based on a time limit, not the number of speakers who register.) For
example if 10 people wanted to speak in objection, they would have up to
30 seconds each. If there is likely to be multiple speakers wanting to
speak in the same slot, we encourage them to discuss and agree on a
spokesperson (to avoid repetition of points etc). If two speakers want to
speak, they can agree between them how to share it, for example three
minutes for one and two for another. If they cannot agree how to share it,
the available time will be equally divided between each. Each slot is
formally timed by a solicitor at the planning committee meeting.
Q.3 Is there a limit on the total time allowed for registered speakers? If
yes, please provide details of the time restriction.
The maximum is five minutes for somebody if they are the only speaker
registered in a slot.
There is a provision in the public speaking protocol for increasing the
time (as the discretion of the planning committee's chair) when there is
an exceptional level of public interest in a planning application, but
this is rare and has not happened in recent years. 
Q.4 Are your Planning Committee procedure rules publicly available online?
If yes, please provide the weblink.
Yes - details are available
at: [1]https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/Counci....
Go to the planning committees heading and details are available there.
Q.5 Can you provide a contact email address for the secretariat for your
Planning Committee, should we require any further information?
It depends on which area/type of planning application. Six different
committees have planning committee responsibilities. 
Strategic Planning Committee - Lesley Little
Castle Morpeth Local Area Council - Lesley Bennett
Tynedale Local Area Council - Nichola Turnbull
Ashington/Blyth Local Area Council - Kay Norris
Cramlington/Bedlington/Setaon Valley Local Area Council - Heather Bowers
North Northumberland Local Area Council - Mike Bird
Please email [2][email address] if you have any
further queries.
Complaints 

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been
handled, you can request an internal review by writing within 2 months
from the date of this response to the Information Governance Office: 

Information Governance Office
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
NE61 2EF 

Email: [Northumberland County Council request email] 

Information Commissioner 

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have a
right by Section 50 of the Act to apply to the Information Commissioner
for a decision as to whether your request has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act at: 

The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire 
SK9 5AF 

Tel: 0303 123 1113
Email: [email address] 

There is no charge for making an appeal. 

Yours faithfully 

FOI Coordinator 
Information Governance Office
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland
NE61 2EF

Tel: 0345 600 6400
Email: [Northumberland County Council request email] 
Web: http://www.northumberland.gov.uk 

References

Visible links
1. http://track.vuelio.uk.com/z.z?l=aHR0cHM...
2. mailto:[email address]