Planning Committee

The Planning Committee decides on planning applications, enforcement reports and tree preservation orders that have been referred to it, or cases which do not fall within the remit of the officer’s delegated powers.

Where officers have powers to approve certain applications under delegated powers, not all planning applications are heard at Committee.

Frequency

The Committee usually meets every three weeks in the Salon, York House. The exact meeting dates may vary, so please refer to the calendar.

If you have already commented on a planning application, you will receive written notification of the application going to Committee five to ten working days before it is held.

You can view the agenda five working days before the meeting. A limited number of copies will also be available at the meeting itself as well as any addendum .

Attending a meeting

Planning Committee meetings are open to the public. You do not need to register in advance unless you wish to speak.

If you have any special accessibility requirements, please advise Democratic Services ahead of the meeting on democratic.services@richmond.gov.uk or 020 8891 7183.

Planning Committee meetings are filmed for live or subsequent broadcast on our website. At the start of the meeting the Chairman will confirm if all or part of the meeting is being filmed. The images and sound recording may be used for training purposes within the Council.

By entering the meeting room and using the public seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings for webcasting and/or training purposes.

Timings

Meetings start at 7pm. If the meeting continues beyond 9pm, the Chairman may call a break lasting around ten minutes.

Order of events

At the beginning of the meeting the Chairman of the Committee will announce the order in which items are to be heard which in most cases is per the order set out in the agenda. If there are minutes of any previous meetings, the Chairman will ask the Committee for permission to sign them. Members will be asked to declare any interests in items on the agenda.

Each item will be heard as follows:

  1. The Planning Officer will introduce the item and refer if necessary to the addendum and state whether they have anything to add to the report.
  2. Speakers ‘against’ the application will be heard, followed by speakers ‘for’ and finally any interested Councillors (who do not participate in views and do not have a vote on the item which they speak on).
  3. The Planning Officer will address the Committee on the points raised and answer any questions from Councillors, including those made by interested Councillors .
  4. The Chairman will ask Councillors to express their views on the matter before the Committee including the voting of planning conditions and reasons for overturning the officer’s recommendation .
  5. The Committee will vote on the item with reference to the recommendation in the report (either ‘for’ or ‘against’).

If the vote is tied, the Chairman has a second or casting vote.

The Committee is not bound by an Officer’s recommendation. However, it must give clear planning reasons (which may require defending on appeal) if it does not follow the direction given in the report.

Speaking at a meeting

Anyone can apply to speak at a meeting.

When you arrive at the meeting, see the Committee Manager in the foyer to confirm your attendance, then take a seat in the public area of the meeting room.

Your speech and presentation material

Your speech should only relate to material planning considerations.

  • Presentation material must be submitted in advance by 12 noon on the day before the meeting, and should be limited to just photographs, drawings and images (text and transcripts of your speech will not be accepted).
  • If you attend the Planning Committee with any late material, this must be handed to the Committee Manager in the foyer, who will pass this to the presenting planning officer to review. Any late material will only be accepted at the discretion of the Chairman.
  • When the presenting officer introduces the item, any presentation material submitted will be handed to the Committee.
  • All registered speakers are given three minutes in which to make their points to the Committee. A light box is used to time this. After two and a half minutes the light begins to flash and after three minutes a red light comes on. This is the signal to stop speaking.
  • Please do not to repeat points made by other speakers.
  • The Chairman will disallow remarks which are not material planning considerations or which do not assist the decision-making process.
  • After you have spoken the Committee may wish to ask you questions to clarify points you have raised. You will then be asked to return to the public gallery, at which point you cannot make any further comments.

This video explains how the Planning Committee functions and may help you prepare to speak before the Committee.

Defamation warning

The laws of libel and slander are very strict. If you say something about a person in public which is not true, even if you believe it to be true, you may be sued and have to pay compensation. Therefore you must be very careful about any criticism you wish to make of people.

Councillors are able to speak more freely and bluntly while in Council or Committee meetings than members of the public, who do not have the same protection.

Procedure rules

Our Planning Committee procedure rules(pdf, 47KB) govern the conduct of all applications at Planning Committee.

More information

For further advice, please contact Customer Services on 020 8891 1411.

You can also contact your ward Councillor.

Councillors who are voting Planning Committee members cannot express a view on any comments sent to them if they wish to participate in the decision making process at a later date. For this reason, you may wish to avoid sending views to these members and send them direct to the Planning Department.

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Updated: 25 May 2016