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Public set to get more time to speak in Anglesey planning meetings

Anglesey County Council In Llangefni (Pic: Google Map)

PROPOSALS to raise the time from three to five minutes for public speakers during Anglesey planning meetings have been unanimously supported.

Anglesey County Council has agreed to make changes to its constitution which would see the time people have to verbally raise issues for and against planning applications more than double.

Recommendations were unanimously backed by the Full Council on Tuesday, December 19.

Councillor Carwyn Jones portfolio holder for corporate and customer experience had presented the report: “Amending the time allowed for members of the public to speak in the planning committee.”

The council was asked to  “…change the reference in paragraph of the constitution from three minutes to five minutes (the time that members of the public are allowed to speak in the planning committee).

The recommendation was:  “That the Council approves the change to five minutes and delegated: a. To the Monitoring Officer the right to make the change to the Constitution, and b. To the Head of Regulation, the right to change any reference in guidance related to the procedure that members of the public are allowed to speak for five minutes.”

A council spokesperson said that increasing the time would “ensure consistency” with the time allowed for elected members to speak in the committee.

Support for the idea had come from all four political group leaders, the executive and planning and orders committee after a consultation.

Seconding the recommendations council leader Cllr Llinos Medi thanked Cllr Aled Morris Jones for bringing the matter forward.
The four political group leaders had “all agreed straight away” she said.

Cllr Morris Jones thanked her, but said the matter had first been raised by Cllr Jeff Evans.

“We went to see the chief executive, and we took it to the group leaders’ meeting, but to be fair, it was Cllr Jeff Evans who began this matter and brought it forward for change.”

He added it would “give fairness to the public to speak in the planning committee.”

“It is quite daunting coming before the committee to speak,  so it is important to give people more time to consider what they want to say.” He said.

Cllr Jeff Evans said he was  “so pleased” the matter had finally come before the committee.

“It has been a long time coming but was something warranted by the public who put in planning applications or those who want to speak for or against them,” he said.

“Three minutes was never enough time, five minutes is still short, but it is almost double what it was allowed previously and will ensure fair play to those who wish to speak.”

A former planning committee chair Cllr Neville Evans added as “someone who has chaired a planning meeting, one for over four hours, I still welcome this.”

The current planning chair Cllr Ken Taylor told the meeting it was “important to remember that the public who wished to speak publicly must send a copy of their speech to planning beforehand.

“I  receive a copy of that speech, when that clock is ticking on the monitor in front of me, and it’s getting closer I know exactly how much time and speech is left.” He said.

“If the speech is too long, I will stop them, but if they haven’t got much left of the speech, I do allow them to go just over.

“I always try to be flexible and fair to everyone,” he added.