Planning Applications   


for Minerals, Waste and County Council Development


Traffic Regulation Orders


Speaking to the                           

Planning Committee



What is Public Participation?


Members of the public can ask to speak to ESCC’s Planning Committee to stress the importance of points they have made and to satisfy themselves that Councillors have all the information they need to decide planning applications or whether objections to Traffic Regulation Orders should be upheld.  Usually up to six people will be invited to speak on each proposal, (three in support and three against, one of which can be the applicants or their agent).  Typically each speaker will be given up to three minutes. The total time allocated for presentations will be the same for both sides of the argument up to a maximum of nine minutes per side.


Who can speak to the Committee?


As a member of the public or organisation, if you wish to speak to the Committee, you must have already sent in a written comment about the application or Traffic Regulation Order. The County Council must have received written representations from you on the planning application or proposed traffic order at least 7 days in advance of the meeting. Written representations in relation to a planning application must have been made to the relevant case officer in the Planning Policy and Development Management team.


If that pre-requisite has been met, then residents’ associations, local businesses and other people who live in the County can ask the Democratic Services Officer for the opportunity to speak to the Committee[1]. Contact that officer as soon as you know you wish to be considered to speak so that they can tell you when the application is likely to be considered.  Only those residents or organisations that have submitted views will be allowed to speak and therefore you will not be allowed to be represented by solicitors or other professional agents.  Your local County Councillor can always speak on your behalf.  Generally, only one representative for the applicant will be invited to speak. 



How will I know when the item I am interested in is going to Committee?


The Democratic Services Team 01273 337495 – have details of Committee dates and eight days before the Committee will know which items are on the agenda. Details of dates and agenda can also be found on Applications can attract many letters; it is not possible for us to alert you individually to Committee dates.


Copies of the officer’s report will be on the web-site after 5.00 pm on the Tuesday prior to the meeting or can be obtained from the Democratic Services Officer. 


Please read the report carefully before deciding what you want to say.  The Committee members will have read the report.  What you can add is information on points you have submitted or a particular emphasis you feel is not being made.


How do I register my interest in speaking?


You will need to telephone the Democratic Services Officer on 01273 337495 no later than 12 noon on the Friday before the meeting.


When you ring please be prepared to give:


Ø  Your name, address, daytime telephone number and email address if you are planning to join the meeting remotely


Ø  The application number and proposed development to which it refers or details of the Traffic Regulation Order you wish to speak about


Ø  Confirmation that you have made a written representation to the Council on the planning application or Traffic Regulation Order (checks will be made as necessary)


Ø  Whether you wish to speak in support of, or against and whether you also represent anyone else


Ø  Confirmation that you are prepared to have your details passed onto other callers with similar views so that you can also speak on their behalf


Ø  Details of any special access arrangements you may require



What if I am unable to turn up on the day?


You may nominate a substitute that fulfils all the necessary criteria for speaking at Committee giving details to the Democratic Services Officer by no later than 4.00 pm on the day before the meeting.



What happens on the day?


If you are invited to speak to the Committee then you should aim to arrive at County Hall, Lewes, at least a quarter of an hour before the meeting begins (i.e. usually by 10.15 am). A member of staff will meet you and explain the procedures. If joining the meeting remotely, you should join the call 15 minutes before the meeting begins.


What will happen in the meeting?


The Chair will ask the appropriate officer to introduce the report and explain the reason for any recommendations.


Each member of the public who has registered to speak will then be invited to speak.


It is, of course, up to you what you decide to say, but it might be useful to bear in mind the following: 


Ø  The Committee will listen to what you say but will not debate the merit of your opinions with you.


Ø  Your allotted time will be timed using a coloured lighting system. The Chair will invite you to start speaking when the green light comes on; the amber light comes on when you have one minute left, which you should use as a warning and you should complete your speech before the red light comes on. If joining the meeting remotely, you may wish to time your speech in the event that you cannot see the lighting system.


Ø  Concentrate on explaining the points that you (or the group you are representing) have already made in writing. You should not attempt to surprise the Committee with new information, photographs or additional written material. Any such information should have already been given to the planning officers in time for them to evaluate it professionally.


The Committee can only consider a planning application on planning grounds.  You should not discuss the applicant's past behaviour nor speculate about what you think their possible future intentions may be. You may not discuss boundary disputes, covenants, reduction in property values or matters dealt with by other laws (e.g. licensing). Consideration of the Traffic Regulation Orders is related to the representations received.

Proceedings of the Planning Committee are broadcast live by web-cast and are recorded on DVD and duly archived on our website for a period of six months for future reference.



Who are the people that may speak?

They are:


Ø  up to three individuals or group representatives, including any parish or town council representative, who are opposing the planning application or Traffic Regulation Order


Ø  up to three individuals or group representatives, including any parish or town council representative, and including the applicant who are supporting the planning application or Traffic Regulation Order   


Ø  local County Councillors



If more than three individuals or representatives wish to raise similar points, then the Democratic Services Officer will ask them to agree amongst themselves who should speak for them.  If necessary the Chair of the Committee will decide which members of the public may speak on the issue.





What happens after I have spoken?


After the speeches by the public, applicants and Local County Councillors, the Committee will consider the application or Traffic Regulation Order. Although this will be done in public, there will be no further opportunities for non-committee members to speak.



Useful telephone numbers and addresses


Individual planning officers will normally ask you to write to them personally.


The address for general purposes is:


Planning Policy and Development Management

Communities Economy and Transport

County Hall, St. Anne's Crescent

Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1UE

Tel: 01273 481846




For further information and advice about the public speaking arrangements, please contact the Democratic Services Officer:


Sophie Webb

Democratic Services

County Hall, St. Anne's Crescent

Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1UE

    Tel: 01273 337495




Please check the East Sussex County Council Website at or telephone the Democratic Services Team on 01273 337495 for informationregarding committees.


Link to Web-Cast Live and Recordings of recent meetings:


Updated: June 2022

[1] Planning applications will generally fall to be determined by the Planning Committee when 2 or more written representations are received which raise objections to the proposal on planning grounds. If you wish to know whether any particular application will be determined by the Planning Committee, please contact the case officer. The Council’s Scheme of Delegation, which details the delegation arrangements in full, is available on the Council’s website.