Residents to have their say on town planning

Exmouth householders could be allowed to voice their views on planning applications at the town hall before a decision is made.

At the first meeting of the new council this week, councillor Steve Gazzard proposed introducing public speaking at the town’s planning committee, writes David Beasley.

The town council has final say on the felling of trees and for determining advertising signs and are a statutory body consulted on all other applications in Exmouth.

If given the green light, it would leave Sidmouth Town Council as the only parish or town council in East Devon where the public have no right to speak at planning meetings.

Budleigh Salterton allows 15 minutes for the public to speak, while Ottery St Mary allows each speaker three minutes, as does the district council.

Provision for public speaking has also been made at Axminster, Seaton and Honiton town councils.

Steve Wragg said: “Every other council in East Devon has public speaking at planning committees.”

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But, while councillor Gazzard urged that the change should be made immediately, Cllr Maddie Chapman urged caution.

“We need to do this properly – we need to know how we are going to do this.

“The meeting is only 45 minutes long.”

Mayor Sandy Sutton said: “We cannot make a decision at this meeting” and added it should be debated at the next planning meeting.

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