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Public participation at Council meetings

The public can take part in various Council and Committee meetings held by the Council.

Public questions at Council meetings

You can ask a question at our meetings if you are any of the following:

  • on the Electoral Register for Neath Port Talbot
  • a Neath Port Talbot Council Tax payer
  • a Neath Port Talbot business rates payer

Questions must be submitted and accepted in advance of the meeting. 

Types of question

Acceptable types of question

You can ask questions:

  • about our policies
  • about our work in respect of any matter or issue affecting Neath Port Talbot
  • related to items on the meeting agenda

Unacceptable types of question

Questions will not be accepted if they:

  • are about matters for which the Council has no responsibility
  • don’t specifically affect Neath Port Talbot
  • are defamatory, frivolous or offensive
  • relate to a complaint. These should be channelled via the Council’s formal complaints procedure
  • are related to the questioner personally or their family
  • relate to a specific planning application or application for licence
  • relate to a specific Member, Council employee or member of the public
  • are substantially the same as a question which has already been put at a meeting of the Council in the past six months
  • require the disclosure of confidential or 'exempt' information
  • involve the preparation of an answer which would require the expenditure of a disproportionate amount of time, money or effort

Questions at Full Council/Cabinet Board meetings

Questions must be:

  • submitted in writing
  • received no later than noon on the working day before the meeting
  • related to items on the agenda

Questions will be dealt with in a 10 minute period.

Allocation of questions

Questions will be dealt with in the order received. Similar questions might be grouped together. 

Location of meetings

All our public meetings take place via our hybrid system. This means that you can choose whether you wish to attend the meeting in person or online.

If you wish to attend one of our meetings, you will need to email your request to Democratic Services.

We will then send the Microsoft Teams link for those wishing to join online. If you are attending in person, you will need to go to the Council Chamber located at Port Talbot Civic Centre.

Submit a question

To submit a question, please email Democratic Services


 

Planning Committee meetings

Members of the public have a right to speak during Planning Committee meetings.

Read our Guide to public speaking at Planning Committee. This explains the process and how to register to speak.

Guide to public speaking at Planning Committee

The Planning Committee decide the larger, complex or more controversial planning applications in the County Borough.

The Committee meetings usually take place on Tuesday at 10am in the Council Chamber, in the Civic Centre, Port Talbot, SA13 1PJ, and are open to the public. The Committee meetings can also be accessed online using Microsoft Teams.

The public have a right to attend the meeting and address the Committee in accordance with the Council’s approved protocol.

Who can speak at Committee

Speaking is limited to one person for and one person against an application.

In the event of more than one person wishing to speak either for or against an application a spokesperson should be nominated. If agreement cannot be reached on nominating a spokesperson then the right to speak shall fall to the first person(s) to register a request to speak for and/or against the proposal.

Where a person is permitted to speak against a proposal then the Applicant or Agent will be allowed the right of reply.

A person wishing to speak at a Planning Committee, should be:

  • an objector or spokesperson on behalf of a group of objectors who has a genuine interest in expressing a view on the planning merits of a proposal
  • a supporter of an application, or spokesperson on behalf of a group of supporters
  • an applicant (or the applicant’s nominated agent) for the planning application – only where an objector has previously indicated and spoken at the meeting (i.e. it is a right of reply)

In addition, Elected Members who do not sit on the Planning Committee may attend the meeting and exercise their right to speak in accordance with current procedures as specified within the Constitution.

Registering to speak

If you would like to speak at Planning Committee on a specific planning application, you must contact Democratic Services in writing or via email.

You must:

  • request to speak by no later than two working days prior to the meeting date
  • clearly indicate the item number or application number on which you wish to speak
  • confirm whether you are supporting or objecting to the application

Should an objector register to speak the Applicant/Agent will be notified by the Council of their ability to address committee (their right to reply).

Should the applicant/agent wish to exercise that right, it will be necessary to confirm this to the Democratic Services section before noon on the day before the meeting.

What you can say to the Committee

Under planning law, we can only take into account comments on planning issues. For example, these include:

  • loss of light or privacy
  • highway safety
  • traffic and parking issues
  • noise
  • amenity
  • pollution
  • conservation,
  • wildlife
  • the design and appearance of the development

This is not an exhaustive list.

Issues which cannot be taken into account include:

  • loss of view
  • effect on property values
  • private rights
  • covenants
  • boundary disputes

In addition to its own Planning Policies, Neath Port Talbot County Borough has to take into account Welsh Assembly Government Policies and guidance. You may wish to refer to these as well.

You must not make statements that are personal, slanderous or abusive.

Keep your address short, relevant and to the point.

The use of visual aids, circulation of plans, photographs, or other material at the Committee meeting will not be permitted.

What happens at the meeting

  1. Persons registered to speak should arrive no later than fifteen minutes before the meeting starts. If attending in person, a clerk will advise on seating arrangements and answer any queries.
  2. The Chairperson of the Committee will open the Meeting
  3. Items where people have registered to speak, will normally be taken first on the agenda and will strictly follow the procedure set out below:
    • The item will be introduced by the Presenting Officer who will give a formal presentation of the item, concluding with a formal recommendation;
    • The Chairperson will then invite, in turn, the Objector and/or Supporter to speak for a maximum of five minutes* each;
    • The Chairperson will invite the Applicant/Agent to address Committee in response to the objector for a maximum of *five minutes;
    • Time limits will be strictly adhered to;
    • Response by Officers if necessary to the points raised;
    • Consideration and discussion by Members before reaching a decision;
    • The Objector/Supporter or Applicant/Agent may not take part in the Members consideration of the application and may not ask questions;
    • Should the Objector registered to speak fail to attend and/or speak, the Applicant/Agent will not be allowed to speak;
    • Should the Objector or Supporter registered to speak arrive after the fifteen minute cut off time, their opportunity to speak will be lost;
    • In the event of an application being deferred for the Planning Committee to visit the site, the objector and/or supporter will be allowed the opportunity to speak when the item is re-presented to Committee following the site visit. The Applicant/Agent will also be allowed the opportunity to speak in response to the objection at that deferred meeting;
    • At the meeting, you should not interrupt another speaker of the Committee debate
  1. Late requests to speak will not normally be accepted, although in exceptional circumstances they may be taken with the specific agreement of the Chair and Committee.
  2. An application before Committee will not be deferred if a person due to speak is unable to attend. This applies to persons for or against the application and the applicant/agent. Reserve speakers may be nominated in place of the person unable to attend. If no reserve is appointed then depending whether the person due to speak was for or against the application the opportunity to speak will fall to the next person in that category who has registered their request to speak
Please Note: * The Council Constitution provides for a total time of 5 minutes for representations (a maximum of 5 minutes each for objectors and applicants and supporters). The Chair always has discretion as to whether or not a person speaks and has discretion to allow longer speaking times if appropriate.

After you have spoken

After your five minutes have expired, you will be able to stay to listen to the debate within the Committee Meeting.

Following the cessation of the debate, Members will be presented with a recommendation and will vote on that recommendation.

The decision of the Committee will be clearly conveyed verbally to those in attendance at the Committee.

If you are not a Voting member of the Committee you may leave the Committee meeting at any time.

Contact details

If you wish to address the Planning Committee, please put your request in writing to Democratic Services (please state in your request if you wish to attend in person or online):

By post: Democratic Services, Civic Centre, Port Talbot, SA13 1PJ

By email: democratic.services@npt.gov.uk

Once this has been done, Democratic Services will respond with the necessary information you will need to take part in the meeting.

If you have any questions about the procedures above or would like a copy of the full scheme, please make contact with the Democratic Services Team.

Website: www.npt.gov.uk

Translation/special requirements

If you would like this information in a different format, for example in Welsh or large print, please contact Planning Services, Environment Directorate, The Quays, Brunel Way, Baglan Energy Park, SA11 2GG.


 

Scrutiny meetings

Scrutiny provides the opportunity for the public to get involved in the Council’s activities.

More information about Scrutiny and how to get involved.


 

Petitions

Petitions are documents (whether electronic or physical) that contain details of issues that are important to communities of Neath Port Talbot. They are signed by local electors who are in support of the proposed action.

The Council has published a Petitions scheme(as per the Local Government & Elections (Wales) Act 2021)

Before submitting a petition, residents should:

ePetitions

An ePetition is a petition which collects signatures online. This allows petitions and supporting information to be made available to a potentially much wider audience than a traditional paper based petition.

Anyone who lives, works or studies in the area can submit or sign an ePetition.

ePetitions are part of the Council’s ongoing commitment to listening to and acting on the views of the public.

Submitting an ePetition

On the ePetitions homepage, select the ‘Submit a new ePetition’ option. To submit an ePetition you will need to be a registered user. Registration is a simple process that just requires you to provide us with your:

  • name
  • address
  • postcode
  • valid email address in case we need to contact you about the ePetition

To do this you will need to select 'Register as a new user' via the 'submit a new ePetition' link.

Once registered, you will be prompted to enter a title which the system will automatically check against existing ePetitions. This will allow you to see if a similar one has been considered recently. You will then need to fill in the online form. This will be submitted to the Democratic Services team who may contact you to discuss your ePetition before it goes live. It may take up to 10 days for your ePetition to be published online.

An ePetition can relate to any issue on which the Council has powers or duties or on which it has shared delivery responsibilities through a partnership arrangement.

Supporting an ePetition

To support an existing ePetition choose an ePetition and add your name, address and email address.

To do this, please selet 'Browse all current and completed ePetitons'. Please esnure you put a valid date range when searching for an ePetition.

To find out more about the issue, see the supporting information, provided by the lead petitioner, attached to the ePetition.

Paper petitions

You may also like to start a paper petition. This works in exactly the same way as an ePetition except that you must hand the petition into the Council or submit it to a Councillor.

Disclaimer

This Council accepts no liability for the petitions on these web pages. The views expressed in the petitions do not necessarily reflect those of the providers.