Public speaker trial a success

Councillors have agreed to continue to allow applicants and objectors speak at the planning committee meetings.

A report from Brian Frater, head of planning, revealed committee members and those who had spoken before the committee had felt that the trial, introduced at the end of last year, had been positive.

However the surveys did indicate areas for potential improvement, with issues regarding the audibility of the debate for those hard of hearing and speakers feeling intimidated by the layout of the chamber.

Chairman Ron Smith said: “I think we are totally unanimous that the acoustics in this chamber are totally unsatisfactory and this needs to be borne in mind for improvement.”

He added that he tried to make speakers feel relaxed and welcome and said layout changes would not improve the situation.