Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough 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.

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

Yours faithfully,

Sarah James

Dalton, Chelsea, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Ms James,

 

Thank you for your recent request made under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000. Please see response below:

 

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).

As outlined within the guidance (section 4 copied and pasted below), where
there is a petition of at least 25 signatures, a representative can
address the Committee for a maximum of 5 minutes.

 

"4 Public Speaking at Planning Committee

 

4.1 The benefits of allowing public speaking at Planning Committee are
that public confidence is generally enhanced and direct lobbying may as a
result be reduced.  The disbenefits are that it may lengthen meetings and
make them marginally more difficult to manage.  Public speaking is allowed
at Wirral Council’s Planning Committee and clear rules to enable this have
been established as to who is allowed to speak.  The following protocol
should therefore be adopted:

 

(a) Where there is a petition of objection to the grant of planning
permission and this contains at least 25 names/signatures, a
representative of the petitioners shall be allowed to address the Planning
Committee upon the subject of the petition for up to a maximum of 5
minutes.

 

(b) When this occurs, the applicant or his/her agent will also be allowed
to address the Planning Committee for up to a maximum of 5 minutes.

 

(c) Where there is more than one such petition (as outlined in (a) above),
if it appears that the subject matter of the petition is significantly
different in substance, the Chair of the Planning Committee may decide
whether or not to allow more than one representative to address the
meeting, provided that the maximum period of 5 minutes is not exceeded.

 

(d) A dialogue will not be permitted between the Members of the Planning
Committee and applicants/agents and representatives of the petitioners. 
Normally any questions or issues arising from representations will be
responded to by officers with the Chair of the Planning Committee having
identified those specific matters requiring a response. "

 

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. 

Where the representative of the petitioners has addressed the Committee,
the applicant/agent will also be allowed to address the Committee for a
maximum of 5 minutes.

 

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

A maximum of 5 minutes

 

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

The Code of Conduct for Members and Officers dealing with planning matters
can be found here: 
[1]http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/mgCommitt...

The Planning functions are outlined within the published Constitution.

 

I trust this will be of assistance to your enquiry.

 

You have the right under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
to ask for an internal review if you are dissatisfied with the information
provided to you. Please direct any request for an internal review to
[2][Wirral Borough Council request email] and your request will be allocated for
review.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Chelsea Dalton

Information Management Officer

Business Management - ICT

Treasury Building

Argyle Street

Birkenhead

Wirral

CH41 1AH

Tel: 0151 666 5201

[3][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

PLEASE FORWARD ALL FOI RESPONSES TO [4][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

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References

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