Members of the public will be able to speak at Planning Committee meetings under a new scheme introduced by the Department of Infrastructure.
The ‘public speaking scheme’ will be trialled for 12 months starting from Wednesday, December 18.
While Planning Committee meetings are open to the public, only written comments on planning applications have previously been considered. Under the scheme, for each planning application considered one objector and one supporter, or the applicant, plus the Local Authority representative, will be allowed to explain their position in person to the Planning Committee.
Laurence Skelly MHK, the Department’s Political Member with responsibility for Planning & Building Control, said:
‘Changes made to the Planning Committee Standing Orders earlier this year introduced the option of allowing members of the public to address meetings, subject to a number of criteria. The Department has decided the introduction of public speaking at the meetings of the Planning Committee should happen now.
‘Many people will be happy to continue to make their views known in writing only, but we hope the opportunity to speak at Planning Committee meetings is embraced and helps develop an even more open planning process.’
‘The scheme allows one person to speak for a proposal, the applicant or a supporter, and one to speak against. Only objectors who have previously made written comments on an application will be able to speak, although a representative of the relevant Local Authority will be allowed to address the Committee regardless of whether they have submitted a written reply to the application.
‘Alongside introducing public speaking, we are making a number of changes to the administration of Planning Committee meetings and a leaflet explaining how the scheme works is available from the Planning Office at Murray House in Mount Havelock, Douglas, and can be downloaded.'
To register to speak at Planning Committee meetings, you must call Planning Administration on +44 1624 685911 – and you need to register by 4.30pm on the working day prior to the Committee meeting. The dates of all forthcoming Planning Committee meetings are available online and meetings are advertised in the Isle of Man Courier.
The first Committee meeting to include public speaking is on Wednesday, December 18, which has been brought forward from Monday of the following week because of Christmas bank holidays.