At this weeks meeting on Wednesday 19th June 2013 the topic is the Draft Local Plan.
In the light of events at recent meetings in Canterbury relating to the Plan, we draw to the attention of all members and other attendees of our meeting the following code of conduct.
Conduct of Meetings Regarding Interests
Meetings or parts of meetings on any planning matters are held to uphold the interests of Whitstable, whether development affects and/or can be seen by large or a small numbers of people (the objective). Meetings to decide policy must not be dominated by speeches from one lobbying group to the exclusion of contrary or middle-ground viewpoints; especially. On pecuniary matters, the WS is not authorised to hold court for the interests of property owners re matters which simply affect the value of that property or for landowners or developers unless they are invited to speak to aid the overall objective (eg by explaining advantage for Whitstable).
- When a member or other person asks a question of a guest, makes a comment or otherwise contributes in discussion during a WS meeting on any matter, they will reveal any pecuniary interest. It is entirely in the discretion of the officer chairing that meeting or part of the meeting whether or not that person will be heard or continue to be heard.
- If members are advised in advance that a meeting will be covering a topic or area of interest, a member should seek advance permission to speak about anything in which they hold a pecuniary interest.
If it becomes clear that a meeting is packed by people from one lobby group, the chair of the meeting reserves the right to halt contributions from people from one point of view so as to ensure fairness to other speakers wishing to make their views clear; just as effort is made to ensure less forward contributors get the chance to air their views.
We expect members to advise if they are personally affected by an issue (eg a development may block a view from a garden, a non-planning argument) as this may bias their views. It should be noted however that the WS does assist where development affects the interests of one or more people if there is unfair/unbalanced planning process/practice involved (eg a commercial unit threatens to take away light from a garden). This is consistent with our objectives and role as Official Planning Consultee for Whitstable.