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WHAT IS REPRESENTATION?
Representation is relevant in cases where you are required to speak on a planning matter in person, for example, appeal hearings, public consultations and Planning Committee meetings. Representation is where a professional planning agent speaks on your behalf.
If Planning Direct is representing you, then we will normally prepare a detailed written statement for verbal presentation at the event. We will also attend the event in person to present the case on your behalf.
At the event, we will answer any questions or concerns raised by other parties – such as the council or local residents – in response to your case. Our preparation for the event will always include the drafting of cogent responses to matters we anticipate other parties to raise.
All local councils will have slightly different rules about speaking at public planning events, including who can speak and for how long. Most councils will publish guidance on the planning pages of their website. Click the link below to find your local council.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF REPRESENTATION?
If you need to speak at a planning event, you are entitled to prepare and present your own verbal statement. However, you should carefully consider whether your case would be better presented by an experienced planner. The benefits of professional representation include that your agent will:
- ensure that your presentation focuses on appropriate planning matters only and uses the appropriate planning terminology
- conduct thorough research and use their expertise to identify and persuasively explain all relevant arguments in your favour. That’s likely to include reference to previous appeal decisions or court cases
- respond to questions and comments raised by the other parties in a professional, coherent and convincing manner.
Standing before a Planning Committee or planning inspector can be a daunting experience and in some circumstances you have only a very short amount of time (2 – 5 minutes) to present your case. Professional representation will ensure you make the most of your allotted speaking time. It should therefore give you the best chance of securing the outcome you seek, be that receipt of planning consent, approval of a planning appeal or revisions to a Local Plan etc.
WHEN IS REPRESENTATION REQUIRED?
Common events that benefit from professional representation include:
1. Your planning application is to be determined by Planning Committee
In these circumstances, you are normally given the opportunity to verbally present your case in front of the Planning Committee. These events are usually open to members of the public who may also be invited to speak on your case. If any objections are made, you will normally have a right of response. Councillors on the Planning Committee may also make comments or ask you questions.
Follow the link below to find out more about the determination of planning applications, including in which circumstances Planning Committees are normally involved.
2. Your planning appeal is to be determined by a Hearing or Public Inquiry
In these circumstances, you (or your representative) must attend an in-person event held by the planning inspector. The local council will be there to argue against your case and other interested parties (such as local residents) will be invited to attend to express their support or objection. You must verbally present your appeal case and respond to the inspector’s questions. The inspector’s questions are normally issued before the event so that robust responses can be prepared. You must have adequate representation at appeal Hearings and Public Inquiries, otherwise you could leave yourself vulnerable to an award of costs*.
*meaning you might have to pay the council back for the funds they spent on the case. You can find out more about awards of appeal costs using the button below.
3. You wish to object to a planning application, appeal or emerging Local Plan
We also represent parish/town councils, local residents and local associations that wish to object to a wide range of planning matters, where these are subject to in person events. This could be a major planning application or appeal, an emerging Local or Neighbourhood Plan, or draft policies and site allocations.
In all circumstances, we will prepare a robust verbal case, present it coherently and then defend it confidently.
We understand that in person planning events can be daunting experiences. We’re here to alleviate at least some of that stress. In most cases, you won’t even need to be present unless you choose to be. If you require representation at a Planning Committee or other public planning event, please get in touch using the button below. Our initial advice is always free of charge.