Public-speaking proposal for Rother planning meetings

Rother District Council is looking to sell the field
Rother District Council is looking to sell the field

The public could be allowed to argue their case against major planning applications in a move opposed by some Rother committee members.

Rother District Council’s cabinet will discuss the proposal to introduce a petition-based scheme for public speaking at planning committee meetings on Monday, April 4.

Petitioners against a planning scheme with at least 10 signatories would be allowed to speak for a maximum of five minutes during the meeting.

Despite ratification from cabinet and full council, as well as support from the public during consultation, many planning committee members oppose the idea including its chairman Brian Kentfield.

The council’s executive director of business operations Anthony Leonard said in his report: “The introduction of any system of public speaking needs to be seen as adding value to the process of decision making.

“At the same time it must be cost effective (within existing resources) and administratively straightforward to operate both at committee and by officers prior to committee within the current processes.”

When officers were given the go-ahead to look into the scheme, councillors said it may not be wholly necessary but it gives people the sense that they had their turn and improves the public’s perception of the council.

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