Planning committee public participation scheme

Last Updated: 19 December 2022

Planning Committee agenda papers are normally published five working days before the relevant meeting. The papers include a report, together with a recommendation, from officers on each of the planning applications to be considered by the Committee.

Public speaking guidelines on agenda items that are not related to a specific planning application or enforcement item are outlined in the general public participation scheme.

Public participation regarding specific planning applications or enforcement agenda items

You can speak at Planning Committee if you are:

  • an elected ward member
  • an elected member of South Lakeland District Council, including co-optees on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (see more information on this point below).
  • a parish/town councillor representing the views of your parish/town council
  • an objector to a planning application
  • a supporter to a planning application

Elected Members utilising public participation should indicate in what capacity they are speaking, eg to confirm whether on behalf of a ward or specific community.

All current members of the council, including co-optees on Overview and Scrutiny Committee, have been granted a dispensation in circumstances in which they have a disclosable pecuniary interest in relation to an agenda item, to make representations under this public participation scheme. Upon completing their address, the member will be required to leave the chamber for the remainder of the agenda item as the dispensation does not apply to the remainder of the agenda item. Such members must register to speak before the meeting in the same way as a member of the public.

All current members of the council (including co-opted members) who, due to private or ward activities, has to declare bias and pre-determination in relation to an agenda item may utilise this public participation scheme and speak on such an agenda item. Such members must register to speak before the meeting in the same way as a member of the public. Upon completing their address the member will be required to leave the chamber for the remainder of the agenda item.

Registering to speak

Register to participate in planning committee

You must give notice of your wish to speak by registering to participate no later than 0:01am (one minute past midnight) two working days before the date of the Planning Committee. Planning Committee usually takes place on a Thursday so you will usually be required to register by no later than 0:01am (one minute past midnight) on the Tuesday before that meeting.

You will need to provide:

  • your name
  • your address
  • a contact phone number and an email address
  • the planning application or agenda item number of the item to which you wish to speak

Committee Services will acknowledge all requests to speak within two working days of receipt of that request. If your request is received outside of the Council's office hours, the date of receipt will be taken as the next working day. If you do not receive an acknowledgement either within this time frame or before the Planning Committee if sooner, please call Committee Services who will be pleased to help.

Anyone who has registered to speak on a specific planning application or enforcement agenda item should try to arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the meeting.

You can speak for three minutes.

You will be given a reminder shortly before your allocated time comes to an end. In order to ensure fairness to all parties, you will not be allowed to speak beyond your allocated time.

In order to speak on behalf of a group of people, you must provide the names of all those on whose behalf you will be speaking. Those addressing the Committee on behalf of a group may have up to five minutes in which to make representations. Any organisation that is a legal entity, such as a school, parish council or company will be treated as an individual and not as a group. They will, therefore, be given three minutes in which to address the Committee.

The Chairman may refuse an individual’s application to speak if it becomes clear that they would be doubly represented at the meeting.

Your presentation

Any presentation must be limited to planning considerations.

The planning system operates to regulate the use of land in the public interest and not to protect private interests. The three possible decisions that the Planning Committee can take with regard to planning applications are to approve, refuse or defer.

By law, decisions must be based upon planning considerations, namely:

  • Development Plan policies of the Council (South Lakeland Land Allocations Development Plan Documents, Core Strategy and Local Plan)
  • National Planning Policy Framework and other national government planning guidance
  • Other material considerations which must be related to planning

Examples of other material considerations include:

  • loss of privacy
  • overlooking
  • highway impacts (safety, traffic, parking)
  • noise and disturbance
  • design, scale and appearance of the proposed development
  • flooding
  • effect on conservation areas/listed buildings, wildlife, trees

Decisions cannot, however, be based upon personal issues such as:-

  • loss of private views
  • business competition
  • noise or disturbance during development phase
  • boundary disputes
  • impact on property values
  • impact of private rights
  • private covenants and other property matters
  • personal comments eg the motive of the applicant

Please do not make statements of a personal or slanderous nature, be abusive or interrupt other speakers, or the committee, during their debate. If you fail to abide by this requirement, you will not be permitted to address the committee any further and will be required to leave the chamber.

If you are unsure that what you want to say is a planning consideration please contact the Planning Office and a member of staff will be able to advise you.

If you are unable to attend

If, due to unforeseen circumstances, you are unable to attend or address the Committee then you may appoint someone to speak on your behalf, subject to the approval of the Chairman of the Planning Committee and the relevant authority being provided to the representative.

Please note: an agenda item will not be deferred if someone who has registered to speak fails to arrive in time for the item to be considered.

What happens at the meeting

Requests to speak at Planning Committee are usually taken in the order of the related planning application as it appears on the printed agenda. However, this order can be varied at the discretion of the chairman.

The Chairman will introduce the application and the Planning Officer will provide a brief overview of the item. The speakers will then be invited to address the committee in the following order:

  • objectors
  • supporters
  • parish/town Councillor
  • ward member/elected member of council
  • applicant/agent/developer

The Planning Officer will then, if necessary, provide a more detailed report on the planning application/enforcement item before it is debated by the committee.

Where a speaker is not present in the room when it is their time to speak they may lose their right to speak on the application.

Circulating documents or photographs

Speakers cannot distribute photographs, plans or similar additional material at the meeting. However, if you wish to submit such material, you should contact the relevant Planning Office by 5pm two working days prior to the meeting and this can instead be included in the late representations report provided at the meeting to the Committee. Anything submitted after this time will not be considered by the Planning Committee.


Speakers cannot ask committee members, officers or other speakers questions during the meeting and committee members and officers are not permitted to cross-examine speakers. However, if clarification is needed speakers may be asked questions by the chairman, or with the permission of the chairman, a member of the committee.

If an item is deferred

Where an application or enforcement item is deferred (eg for a site visit by the Committee) or is referred back to committee by officers, any person, or group, who has already spoken will not be permitted to speak when the matter comes back to the committee other than on any new information. The relevant Planning Officer can provide clarification on this point.

Filming at meetings

The use of social media, filming, videoing, photographing or recording of Council meetings or other meetings which are open to the public is allowed, subject to the conditions of the protocol governing the use of mobile phones, social media, filming and recording at meetings attached to the public participation guidelines in the Constitution.

The use of social media in formal meetings is permitted for members of the public, press and Councillors, so long as this does not cause any disruption or disturbance. The Chairman’s decision on this point is final.

To minimise disruption to others attending the meeting, all attendees, including Councillors, must ensure that their phone and other mobile devices are switched off or set to silent mode during the meeting.