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Birmingham City Council

Speaking at the Planning Committee






Public speaking at the Planning Committee meetings enables members of the public and applicants to put their comments directly to the councillors who make the decisions on planning applications.

Which applications are decided by the Committee?

The Committee only decides about 10% of the applications received by the Council. These tend to be the larger and more complex applications which tend to generate the most comments from people.

The Director of Planning and Regeneration decides the rest on behalf of the Council, under what are known as delegated powers.

It is only the applications that are decided by the Committee that you are able to speak on.

You can find out if the application you are interested in is going to the Committee by contacting us.

Who is entitled to speak?

You will be able to speak at the Committee meeting if you -

  • object to a planning application which is recommended for approval, or want to represent someone or a group of people who object to the application
  • support a planning application which is recommended for refusal, or want to represent someone or a group of people who support the application
  • have submitted a planning application and the Committee is being recommended to refuse your application, or if an objector is speaking to the Committee against your application.

How do I make a request to speak?

We need you to give us notice that you will want to speak at the Committee. It is best to contact us as soon as you decide you want to speak and then we will contact you to tell you when the application is going to the Committee (see below).

Please Note:We only notify people of the committee details if they have expressed a wish to speak or attend the meeting

To request to speak at Planning Committee you can either

  • Complete the request to speak at Committee form below.
  • Phone 0121 303 3141 (requests to speak only)

You will need to tell us the application address and reference number of the application you wish to speak on. All requests to speak, must be made by noon on the Monday before the Committee meeting where the application is to be decided, and give a daytime contact telephone number if possible.

If for any reason the application will not go to Committee for a decision and you have requested to speak, we will let you know.

What happens then?

In the interests of fairness, if someone has requested to speak on an application we will then try to contact opposing parties to give them the opportunity to speak. It may not always be possible to contact everyone involved, but we endeavour to.

If you have registered that you want to speak, you will be contacted when we know when the application you are interested in is going to the Planning Committee. Unfortunately we may only be able to give you a few days notice, so you may like to contact the case officer periodically to give you an indication of when the application may be considered, or you can check on the progress of the application by contacting us.

The Officer's report on the application is also available a week in advance and looking at this may help you prepare your presentation.You will be able to view this at www.birmingham.gov.uk/pcreports

What do we do with your personal information?

If you are requesting to speak at Planning Committee we may need to pass on your contact details to other speakers who have requested to speak on the same application. This is because there is a combined total of 3 minutes for all objectors to make their public address and the same for supporters of the application. Sharing the contact details allows requestors to collaborate a response together .

If you make comments on a planning application, we do not currently publish these online, however they are available for inspection by the public and copies provided on request. Therefore you might like to ensure phone numbers, signatures and email addresses are omitted.

What happens at the meeting?

When you attend the meeting you will be shown where to sit and be given a copy of the order of business for the meeting. If a number of people have asked to speak on one application, you will be recommended to choose a spokesperson. The committee room will be available for an hour before the meeting starts for you to meet and discuss who will represent you.

The meeting is divided into sections dealing with applications in the north west, south central and east areas of the city. Planning officers introduce the application, and give any update to the written report on the agenda.

Objectors are allowed to speak for a total of 3 minutes, regardless of the number of people who wish to speak. Similarly applicants, agents and supporters are allowed a total of 3 minutes. This is to enable us to be fair to everyone involved. You may like to get together with other speakers to decide how to allot this time.

The introduction or submission of additional evidence in the form of written documents or photographs for display, circulation or distribution will not be permitted at the planning committee meeting

Planning officers may make comments on the points raised by the speakers and then the Committee members will discuss the application and decide whether or not to grant permission.

Sometimes applications are deferred from the meeting to enable the Committee to visit the site or to find out more information. If this happens the Chair of the Committee will explain what will happen next. In most cases, speakers will only be allowed one opportunity (when the application is first presented) to address the Committee. Any subsequent comments you may have will have to be put in writing.

What can I say at the meeting?

It is best to prepare what you want to say in advance and time yourself to make sure you can fit it into 3 minutes (although you don't have to use the full 3 minutes). The Officer's report is available a week before the Committee and may help you prepare what you want to say.


Planning applications have to be decided on 'planning grounds'. These might include possible loss of light or privacy as a result of the proposed development, or highway safety, parking and traffic issues. We also consider the proposal's effect on the design and appearance of an area, or on listed buildings and conservation areas close by.

We also have to take into account national and local policies and Government guidance, and you may wish to refer to these too. You will be able to view this at www.birmingham.gov.uk/planningpolicy

We cannot take into account however, the developers' motives or morals, loss of view, boundary and ownership disputes or private rights of way or covenants.

Please don't make statements that are personal, slanderous or abusive and please do not interrupt another speaker or the Committee debate about the application.

What happens after the meeting?

Depending on the Committee's decision we will endeavour to notify you within 5 working days

A copy of the Speaking at Committee Leaflet, is available below.

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Last Updated : 7th February 2014