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Friday 26 August 2011 2.52pm
Has anyone had experience of attending a comunity council meeting (in particular a planning one)?

There is a proposed development that I am objecting too and I have heard that you are only allowed 3 minutes to speak.

Do I have to let them know that I will be attending the meeting and wishing to speak, or do I just turn up.

As a newbie to this sort of thing I would like to go in to the meeting with some knowledge of what happens.

Thanks everyone.


Friday 26 August 2011 3.41pm
You can just turn up.

Be aware that if there are others also wishing to speak in objection, you will have to carve up the three minutes amongst yourselves beforehand.

When the chair calls for an objector to speak, it is vital to indicate your intention to speak straight away as you will not be able to contribute after this point if you don't say so at that point, especially if there are multiple objectors.

After the three minute presentation the councillors will be able to ask you questions - and if it is obvious that you haven't covered all the points you wished to make then one of them will often (but not always) ask a helpful general question like 'was there anything else you wanted to say?' so that any issues not fully addressed during the three minutes get aired before the decision is made.

It is also possible for several people to come to the top table when objectors are called, then for one person to speak for three minutes and several others to be on hand to answer questions from councillors.

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Friday 26 August 2011 4.11pm
Hello James,

Thanks for the info. It is nice to know what will happen on the night.

Also thanks for telling me that the councillors may ask if there is anything else I would like to say. When I heard about the three minute rule my first thought was how do I get across what I want to say in such a short time.


Friday 26 August 2011 4.17pm
Don't bank on the extra time, though.

You could say, towards the end of your 3-minute presentation, something like:

"As well as the objections I have just outlined, I am also concerned about the x, y and z aspects of the proposed development and would be happy to answer questions about these issues."

... to flag up the fact that you've got more to say without being too pushy about it.

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Friday 26 August 2011 5.30pm
It may help noting down your main points in bullet points as I for one would forget half of what I wanted to say originally in the heat of the moment.

As it's planning make sure the points you're objecting about are not in keeping with planning guidelines etc. or and a detrimental effect on the area etc.

It may be worth making further bullet points why this development is so bad etc. and it's consequences as the Councillors might ask you a number of questions after your three minutes. The better you're prepared the more successful you will be.

Some time ago I was advise to show up about 15 minutes before the meeting starts - like this you have a chance to figure out if anyone else is wishing to speak.

All the best
Friday 26 August 2011 6.09pm
The points you make should be "material" i.e. not a moan about loss of view, the effect of development on the value of your home or general grumbles.
You can distribute photos, or drawings to the committee in support of your case.
The planning process is designed to encourage development, with protection for light &c, not stop developments, 'coz they are unpopular. Try contacting the cllrs before the meeting, to let them know you will be opposing, don't expect them to commit to supporting you, as that will bar them from taking part. Ask a cllr to use his/her three minutes to speak against the proposal.
Good luck.
Saturday 27 August 2011 2.53pm
Thanks once again for the advice James.

I am going to follow it. I feel a lot more confident about this up and coming meeting than I was when I first posted.

I can only give it my best shot, and that is what I am going to do.


Saturday 27 August 2011 2.58pm
Thanks Tak.

Makes sense to go into the meeting prepared. Bullet points do sound like a good idea. I am sure that standing there most of what you wanted to say would probably go out of your mind.

I see that there is another council meeting (for a different area of Southwark) on the 6th (the night before the one that I intend to be at), so I am going to go along to that and see what happens there. It might give me some pointers.


Saturday 27 August 2011 3.01pm
Hello Graham,

Never thought of contacting the Councillors or submitting documentation/photographs etc. What a good idea.

Looks like I have my work cut out for me before the 7th.

Thanks for your input. It really helps.


Saturday 27 August 2011 11.41pm
Welcome to the world of political lobbying, they do it, why shouldn't you?
email me for more help-
[email protected]
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