Public Speaking at Development Management Meetings

The Council has a scheme where members of the public can speak at Development Management committee meetings. Development Management is the committee that discusses and makes decisions on many of the planning applications made to the council.

What happens at the Development Management committee meeting?

Committee meetings are usually once every four weeks on Wednesdays, starting at 7.00pm. They're held at the Council Chamber, Wallfields, Pegs Lane, Hertford.

Please arrive in good time and register with the Democratic Services Officer.

The committee chairman introduces each item. There's a short explanation by the planning officer, whose report will contain a recommendation to approve or refuse the application. The committee doesn't have to follow the recommendation.

Then it's time for the speakers. Objectors go first, followed by supporters. The committee will discuss the matter and may have questions for the planning officer. They won't ask you questions and you can't discuss the matter further with the committee.

You can't circulate additional information at the committee (photos, notes etc).


What happens next?

In most cases the committee will then make a decision. Sometimes they might defer a decision if they feel they need more information.

If this happens you won't be able to speak again unless the proposals change significantly in the meantime and new issues are raised.

In all cases where there is any dispute about the scheme- such as the number of speakers ? the chairman of the committee will make a decision that will be binding on everyone.


How long can I speak for?

There is one 3 minute time slot for people speaking in support of an application and one 3 minute slot for objectors. If more than one person wishes to speak either for or against, we'll ask you to appoint a single spokesperson.

If the planning application relates to a district plan strategic site, the time permitted for each slot is 6 minutes.

Very occasionally and at the discretion of the committee chairman, more than one speaker will be allowed (either in support or in objection) but the time limit will still be 3minutes.

When you register to speak you'll be asked to confirm that we can give your details to anyone else who may later register to speak. If there are multiple requests on the same matter you'll need to co-ordinate with the others to appoint a single speaker; The council can't do this for you. If you don't co-ordinate your responses, it may result in no one being allowed to speak at all.

If more than one person registers by the deadline we will let you know. You will then need to telephone us by 12 noon on the day of the meeting to confirm who your single speaker will be.

In addition to one speaker each for and against the application, there is also provision for the local Town or Parish Council to speak on the application for 3 minutes (6 minutes if a strategic site).


What can I speak about?

You can speak to the committee about any of the applications mentioned. Speaking is not permitted on enforcement cases.

Most applications are decided by planning officers and are not submitted to the Development Management Committee so they are not part of this scheme.

The Development Management Committee can only make decisions based on planning issues. These include the council's planning policies and matters that could affect everybody. Generally, matters that are strictly private, for example the impact of development on the view from your house, or on its value, cannot be taken into account.

So your time is used most effectively when you speak about relevant planning issues, the best presentations deal clearly with the planning impacts of any proposal, stating your views and being clear as to whether what you're saying is opinion or fact. If you wish to raise questions these are best dealt with beforehand by talking to a planning officer.

The committee is a public meeting so please be courteous and polite as you would at any similar public place.


How do I register to speak?

Once the agenda for each meeting is finalised, generally at least a week beforehand, it will be put on the council's website and from there, you can the use the linked form within the agenda to register your wish to speak. You can view the Development Management Committee Meeting Schedule online.


Submission of Representations to the Development Management Committee

At a meeting on 18 January 2023, the Council adopted a protocol in relation to the submission of representations regarding planning and other related applications that are due to be reported to the Development Management Committee.

Members have approved a deadline for representations of no later than 5pm, three working days prior to the date of the committee (not including the day of the committee).  On most occasions, this would require submissions by 5pm on the previous Friday.  If other days are identified as suitable for a committee meeting, or there are intervening public holidays etc, then the representation submission deadline would be adjusted accordingly.

Such an arrangement will permit two full working days during which the content of any late representations can be fully assessed and further advice sought in relation to them as may be necessary.