Larger and more controversial applications are decided by Councillors at Planning and Highways Committees.
Committees meet regularly, every few weeks, and reports on planning applications are open to the public.
When an application is to be decided at Committee, all representations, received in time, are summarised in the report of the application. Late representations will be reported at the meeting itself. The agenda lists all the applications to be decided.
It is published five working days before the meeting and available to view at the Town Hall, Pinstone Street or (soon after) on the Planning and Highways Committee.
Applications of a minor nature covered by approved guidelines can be dealt with by Senior Officers even if objections are received.
It is important that you put down your views in writing at the earliest opportunity, regardless of whether you wish to speak at the Committee.
This is so that your views can be taken into account by the Planners when they are considering what recommendation to make and to allow Committee Members a chance to properly consider the issues.
The Chance to Speak is at the Chair's discretion, so they may refuse to accept long or complex late written submissions, which should have been submitted earlier and cannot be properly considered at this late stage (you may write in English, Urdu, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese or Somali).
Phone us to check if an application is going to be reported to a Committee and when on 0114 2039183.
If it is not yet clear which Committee meeting an application is likely to be reported to, you will be advised when to call back again. It is also possible to check the agenda for the Planning and Highways Committee, to see if the application you are interested in is on the agenda or not.
There can be changes from the published agenda at the Committee meetings. The Committee may decide to defer consideration of an application in order to first visit a site, although officers try to organise visits in advance wherever possible.
Supplementary reports can also be tabled on the day, for example if there are late representations or to report on the resolution of minor outstanding details.
Occasionally outstanding matters may not be resolved and officers have to advise that an application is not ready to be considered by the Committee after all.
In very exceptional circumstances, urgent items can be added to the agenda at the meeting, but this is rare. A telephone call the day before the meeting can sometimes be useful, to avoid a possible wasted trip or day off work.
Committees meet in the Town Hall (main entrance on Pinstone Street). You should arrive 15 minutes early and ask for directions to the appropriate room.
The Committee members sit around a central table and you will find seating in the rest of the room.
We welcome disabled people who would like to attend. Meeting rooms in the Town Hall are fully accessible for wheelchair users and the visually impaired.
An infra-red hearing loop is fitted in meeting rooms and BSL or English interpreters can be provided, but need to be requested in advance of the meeting.
Anyone affected by an application, whether as the applicant, as a neighbour or other Interested parties, may also ask to put views personally, or have someone speak for them.
The Chair will welcome your interest and usually allow you to speak. The Chair will do everything possible to make you feel at ease and able to put your views across.
Remember, your local Councillor may agree to put your views across but you should make these arrangements with your Councillor in advance.
If you have difficulty speaking English you may arrange for a representative to speak for you.
If you have any difficulty finding a suitable representative, or in understanding the Planning system, please contact us:
Before the start of the meeting the committee clerk will take a note of anyone who wishes to speak and pass these requests on to the Chair.
You will be advised if there is any difficulty. You should then wait for the Chair to announce your particular item on the agenda and then to inform you when to speak.
Because each Committee normally has much business to conduct, where several people wish to speak about one application, the Chair will normally ask for one person to act as spokesperson for the group and to cover all the views raised.
Only where groups/residents have very different points of view will the Chair consider allowing more speakers.
The Committee will visit sites where they decide that it is necessary. Members of the public are not normally invited to attend the visits.
The purpose of these visits is for the Councillors to see the circumstances of the site for themselves and not to discuss the issues in detail there and then.
Decisions on applications are not made on visits, but at the Committee.
So if the Committee decides to visit a particular site they will defer a decision on the application until the next available meeting after the visit has taken place. This could involve you in attending two Committee meetings, in order to get your chance to be present and speak when the decision is made.
If you explain that you are not able to attend the second meeting, the Chair may allow you to speak at the first meeting. If a decision to visit is made, you may leave the meeting.
Please take the time to read what we consider. It explains what we can take into account in deciding an application and you may find it helpful before deciding what to say.
The Chair will ask the planning officer to introduce the application and give a recommendation to the Committee.
The Chair will then invite any applicants or agents, and groups or local residents or other representatives to speak in turn. The objector will speak first, followed by the applicant or agent.
The officer may be asked to comment on what has been said. The Committee will then discuss the issues raised, calling on any further reports from the planning officer as required. You may not take part in the discussion by the Committee.
On occasion you may be asked to clarify a factual matter, but essentially you must now allow the Committee to come to their decision. Once a decision has been made you do not have to sit through the rest of the meeting, but if you do leave early please do so as quietly as possible.
Any member of the public interrupting the meeting, whilst Members or officers are discussing an application, will be asked by the Chair to leave the room.
Applicants are sent a ‘notice’ informing them of the decision, including any conditions imposed by the Committee, and the reasons why permission has been granted or refused.
All those who have written with views will usually be informed in writing of the decision. Details of all Committee decisions and any appeals against refusals or conditions imposed are downloadable from the Planning weekly list.