The order of business at the meeting is printed on the agenda but the Chairman has the discretion to make appropriate changes when necessary under "Variation of Order of Business". For example, those items where members of the public have indicated that they wish to speak, will be taken first or if a lot of people have attended for one application, then that item might be brought to the beginning of the meeting.
You will see that one of the agenda items is 'Declarations of Interest'. Before the beginning of the meeting, Councillors are invited to advise the meeting if they have a personal or prejudicial interest that they need to declare. The Council has adopted a Code of Conduct for Councillors which defines standards of behaviour for Members. Councillors must declare a personal interest if any of the items being discussed affects them more than any other people in the area. They are allowed to stay in the meeting and take part in the vote provided their interest is not prejudicial. A member is considered to have a prejudicial interest if their interest is one which a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice the member's judgement of the public interest. This is when you will see one or more Councillors leaving the meeting. However, recent changes to the Council's Rules of Procedure allows a Councillor who has a prejudicial interest in a matter being considered, to make representations regarding the item as part of public speaking and then leave the meeting and take no further part in the debate and vote on that particular item. The Member must indicate their interest and their intention to speak on the Delcaration of Interest Sheet, provided for Members, prior to the start of the meeting. This procedure allows members who have a prejudicial interest to act as an advocate for local people on important issues. Also, Members with a prejudicial interest cannot attend site meetings.
Another item on the agenda is 'Requests for Site Visits'. Any requests for site visits are dealt with first to determine whether or not public speaking on those applications will take place at that meeting. If a site visit is approved, members of the public will not be able to speak until the site visits meeting.
There are various booklets attached to the agenda as follows:-
- White papers include agenda, minutes and Officers reports.
- The Lemon Book contains planning applications recommended for approval.
- The Salmon Book contains planning applications recommended for refusal.
- The Blue Book contains other matters such as Borough & County Council Applications, Enforcement Orders, Discontinuance etc., Items requiring a decision by the Council and Decisions notified by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
- Other White Papers - Late background information (this contains information on matters received after the agenda was published and posted to Councillors).
All agenda and supporting documentation for meetings of the Planning Board can be accessed through the Diary of Council Meetings on this website.