To consider a recommendation from the Standards Committee with regard to procedures (to follow).
Consideration was given to a recommendation from the Standards Committee with regard to procedures. The Chairman of the Standards Committee presented Minute 70 of the Standards Committee meeting on 14 March 2018 which considered Motion 541 (Councillor Mrs J Roach – 30 November 2017):
This Council reconsiders the time and times that it allows ward members to speak at the planning committee. The present system gives many opportunities to speak but allows the local member only one opportunity. At the very least Council should give elected Councillors the opportunity to correct incorrect statements, something that exists within standing orders but not allowed at the planning committee. At the last planning committee the situation that exists at the moment prevented me as the elected Councillor for Silverton for pointing out that the Highways advice was inconsistent with previous advice given on the same site.
At that meeting a *report of the Monitoring Officer had been received and consideration had been given to that part of the Protocol of Good Practice for Councillors Dealing in Planning Matters (“the Planning Protocol”) which addressed public speaking at the Planning Committee. It had been agreed that clarity was required and further consideration was given to the presentation of questions or statements at public question time, the number of people who could speak and in what order and whether it was appropriate to include a form of “point of order” for Ward Members to correct a statement or an error of fact that had been made during the course of the debate on an application.
Members of the Planning Committee considered the following:
· Whether statements should be allowed within Public Question Time or should questions just be asked?
· Whether the ability to correct an error was reasonable
· The views of Councillor Mrs Roach with regard to her motion and the reasoning behind it in that she felt that there was a need to “come back” when clarification or correction was required.
· The need for those interested in a planning application or other matter on the agenda to feel that they had received a fair opportunity to make their point.
With regard to the recommendation on paragraph 9.1 of the Planning Protocol, Members of the Planning Committee considered that the focus should remain on questions, although it should be made clear that those speaking could briefly introduce or explain the background to their questions(s). Members were reminded that those speaking at Public Question Time were limited to 3 minutes in any event.
Accordingly, it was therefore RECOMMENDED to Council that: the Planning Protocol be amended to the following:
(Proposed by Cllr B A Moore and seconded by Cllr P J Heal)
i) * Report previously circulated and attached to Minutes.
ii) Cllr Mrs F J Colthorpe declared a personal interest as a Member of the Standards Committee.