Public speaking could be allowed at Rother planning meetings

Rother District Council
Rother District Council

The public could be allowed to speak at planning meetings after the council agreed to look into a petition-based system.

Rother District Council officers will be looking into its viability after the authority agreed to at a meeting on Monday (December 14).

Some members were sceptical about letting people potentially make unvalidated statements or even lies which could effect a planning decision.

But most agreed that it would good for people to be given the chance to have their say and feel like they have had done their bit like Cllr Sue Prochak.

“I think this is one of the most important documents we have in terms of our relationship with the public,” she said.

Planning committee chairman Brian Kentfield said many councils have regretted introducing public speaking and is concerned that members will not be able to ratify what people say.

Deputy leader Martin Kenward tried to settle the opposers’ worries as he said it would be very controlled and officers would be able to respond to any claims which usually ironed out false claims.

Cllr Tony Ganly said he was initially against the proposal because he did not believe anything new could be gained from public speaking.

But he has since changed his mind as he thinks it will stop people from feeling frustrated because they have not had their chance to speak.

A report will be presented to cabinet in the new year with the officer’s findings.

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