Your right to speak
The Council encourages the opportunity for you to have your say on planning proposals considered by the Development Control Board. You do not have to speak to have your views taken into account, but you may feel that it gives you the chance to reinforce the points you make in writing.
If an application is due to be considered by the Development Control Board, we will write to all those who have commented on the application, as well as the applicant and agent advising them of the time and date of the meeting. If a petition with less than six signatures is received the Council will write to all signatories. If a petition has six or more signatures, the Council will write to the lead petitioner or if that is not obvious, the first signatory.
The agenda will be available for public inspection at the Civic Centre and at Central Library in Market Street, Dartford five working days before the meeting. It is also available to view on this website.
One speaker will be allowed to speak in favour of an application and one against. This will be operated on a "first come first served" basis. Where more than one speaker wishes to speak in support of an application, precedence will be given to the applicant/agent if he/she wishes to speak. If you register to speak and another member of the public also wishes to speak, we will upon request provide them with your contact details so that that they can get in touch with you if they wish.
Only those who have commented on the application, along with the applicant/agent will be allowed to speak. We will advise all those who made comments on the application of the final decision once it is made.
Registering your interest
You must register your intention to speak with Development Control on 01322 343987. This is a 24hr phone line which is also open over the weekend. The letter notifying you of the meeting date will explain when you may register to speak. Once the register is closed, no additions to the list of speakers will be allowed, but you may write to the Chairman, via the Civic Centre, before the meeting, for an opportunity to raise any objections/comments that the Chairman may wish to take into account. (Please note that this will not be an opportunity for you to ask to speak at the meeting.) If you have already registered but wish to stand down in favour of another speaker, the new speaker must be notified to Development Control before the above deadline.
On the night of the meeting, speakers who have registered must report in to staff in the Council Chamber no later than 6.45 pm.
Order of speakers and conduct of meeting
The Chairman may take agenda items in an order which reflects the degree of public interest.
For cases where speakers have registered, the officer will first make a presentation, describing the proposal, outlining the main planning considerations and concluding with a recommendation. This will be followed by public speaking.
Where permission is recommended, the objectors will have the opportunity to speak first, followed by any supporter. The reverse will apply for cases where refusal is recommended.
You will be allowed three minutes to make your points.
The same arrangements will apply to applications which have previously been deferred by the Board for whatever reason.
The Chairman will have absolute discretion to curtail or extend speaking in individual cases if considered appropriate. Recording/filming of meetings is permitted though this may be curtailed by the Chairman if a speaker so requests.
Making the most of your opportunity
The Members of the Board will have a written report on the application before them and will be able to see the plans on TV screens. The report and plans are publicly available if you wish to see them.
Try to be brief and keep to planning matters. The Board can only consider relevant material planning considerations, such as compliance with Local Plan policies, impact on neighbouring properties, the character of the area, highway capacity etc. The impact on property values, competition with existing businesses and private concerns such as covenants or boundary disputes will not influence the Board's planning decision. The planning case officer will be able to advise you on relevant considerations if you need help.
You may find it helpful to read from a prepared statement. However, you may not distribute any written or visual material to help make your case, eg: written statements, photos, videos etc.
Avoid derogatory or defamatory statements - there is no legal protection for comments made at meetings.
Try and address your points to the Chairman.
If you need any help or guidance, please do not hesitate to contact the case officer dealing with the application; you will find their details on the original notification letter.