The Peak District National Park Authority is seeking residents’ views on plans to limit public speaking at authority meetings.
From 2000, the authority has allowed any number of people up to three minutes to address a committee, but recent meetings have sometimes had more than 20 speakers for one agenda item, leading to very lengthy sessions, unequal viewpoints and delays to decision-making.
Now the authority is considering having up to three supporters and three objectors able to speak per item, with a time limit of three minutes each. This is more than many councils currently allow.
Chief executive, Jim Dixon, said: “We need to address a potential unfairness in our current system which does not enable equal time for both the objectors’ and supporters’ views to be heard – it’s simply a matter of who applies to speak.
“And we must also be fair to people who cannot get to committee meetings and so give their views in writing beforehand. There is a growing perception that this carries less weight than speaking in person, but this is emphatically not the case. For this reason we propose no longer to allow speakers to be questioned after they have spoken, to be fairer to those who put forward written comments and thus cannot expand on what they said originally.”
People have until Thursday November 22 to give their views via a questionnaire on www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/consultations or for a paper copy of the questionnaire call 01629 816200. A decision will be taken by the full authority on December 7.