Page last updated at 31 August 2017 at 15:29
Public Participation Local Area Committees
At the meeting there will be Councillors, Council Officers and members of the public. Councillors and staff wear name badges so you can recognise them easily. They will also have name plates on their tables. If you have any questions about the meeting please ask any one of them. They will be pleased to help you.
The meeting is conducted by the 'Chair' of the Local Area Committee.
A number of Council Officers will be present, each with a different role. For Planning Applications a Planning Officer will present the recommendations; a Legal Officer will be present to advise the meeting on points of procedure and law; a Democratic Services Officer will record what happens at the meeting and provides advice on public participation opportunities. Other Council Officers will also be present to introduce or advise on their reports.
If you require any further assistance, please contact Democratic Services.
Tel 023 8068 8342
Order of the Meeting
The Agenda sets out all the items to be considered. Copies are provided at the meeting but on occasions you may have to share. Most agenda items consist of a brief report written by a Council Officer usually containing one or more recommendations. Where an item contains confidential information, such as financial information about private firms, legal or personnel matters, no details will be included with the public agenda.
The procedures and rules of debate are contained within the Council's 'Constitution'. The 'Chair' is responsible for ensuring that the orderly running of the meeting is in line with these rules. The Agenda will contain different types of issues.
At the beginning of the meeting there are 15 minutes allocated for comments or questions about issues not on the agenda. During this time members of the public have the opportunity to put their view on issues that fall within the Committee's terms of reference or issues that would be of interest to the Committee. A question or statement should not exceed three minutes. For agenda items, a total time of five minutes for and five minutes against is permitted for all public speakers.
The consideration of planning applications are dealt with in a formal way. It is normal practice for a Planning Officer to introduce the item with a short presentation explaining the proposal (using video projections of the plans). He/she will outline the relevant considerations and may add additional information or recommendations to the report. After this presentation, members of the public and applicants are invited to speak, comment or ask questions. A maximum of five minutes in total for and against the application is allowed. If there are several speakers the Chair may ask for one or two speakers to speak on everyone's behalf. The Chair will ensure all sides are given an opportunity to speak. The Chair will have discretion on contentious items to extend the public participation session to accommodate a large number of speakers. When speaking, please avoid repeating what has already been stated but do indicate if you agree or disagree with previous speakers.
Viewing Committees for Planning Applications
If the Local Area Committee is unable to reach a decision on the night and feels that viewing the site in question will be of benefit, Councillors may defer an application pending a 'Viewing Committee' visit. Should this happen, the Local Area Committee will decide whether the decision will be made at or near to the site after it has been viewed, or at another meeting. In either case, agendas and notification letters will be despatched in the usual way. There will also be opportunities for public participation.
Reports will have an agenda number and usually be introduced by a Council Officer. Once the report has been presented, members of the public are invited to put their views. The time allowed for the public to speak is the same as for planning applications - a total time of five minutes for and five minutes against the item for all public speakers.
Councillors may make a proposal to the Committee for action on a local issue. The Committee will decide whether to adopt, amend or not support the motion.
Some items may contain confidential information such as financial information about private firms, legal or personnel matters. Before such items are discussed a motion will be passed to exclude the press and public and you will have to leave the room. If there is a request for public participation on confidential issues this may be accommodated in the general session or before the exempt motion is moved. However, speakers should refrain from disclosing confidential information.
What happens during the debate?
Once a public participation session has been completed, one of the Councillors will propose that the item be 'moved'. This is the start of the formal debate and further public participation is not allowed. A Councillor will propose the recommendations in a report or propose an alternative. The proposal is then supported (seconded) and becomes a motion. The 'Chair' invites debate and the proposer is allowed to speak for up to ten minutes. Other Councillors are allowed five minutes and will not usually speak again on that item although they can put forward amendments to the motion. Once the debate has finished the proposer of the original motion will sum up and a vote is taken.
Are there any records of the meeting?
The Democratic Services Officer will record the decisions made by the Committee. These are called minutes. The minutes will also include how many people spoke for or against each item but will not include their names or addresses. You can obtain a copy of the minutes from Democratic Services at Eastleigh House, Upper Market Street, Eastleigh SO50 9YN
What should you consider when speaking at the meeting?
Members of the public will be invited to speak by the 'Chair' at the meeting when the item is considered. Please let a member of staff know in advance that you wish to speak (either by phone, email, letter or on the night before the meeting starts). You should :
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- try to relax - the Committee is interested in what you have to say
- prepare your statement or questions beforehand - this will help
- you put your point across clearly and simply
- direct your comments and questions to the 'Chair' of the Committee
- clearly state your name, who you are representing and whether you are supporting or objecting to the item in question
- remember to speak slowly, clearly and loud enough for everyone to hear you (a microphone is provided to assist)
- be brief and to the point; there is no need to repeat comments from previous speakers.
- remember that these are not public meetings where Council staff and Councillors enter into debate with the public