Public attendance at Council Meetings

Members of the public are welcome to attend council meetings.

Council meetings are open to the public and you can stay for as long as you want. There will be places for members of the public to sit in the meeting room.

Admittance to the Council Chamber is on a 'first come, first served' basis and public access will be from 30 minutes before the start time of the meeting. All Council meetings start at 6.30pm unless otherwise stated.

A copy of the agenda and meeting items will be available for all our meetings from Agendas, reports and minutes.

The law does not allow members of the public to attend for Part 2 items on the agenda. When Part 2 items on the agenda are being discussed you will be asked to leave.

Recording a Council Meeting

If you would like to record a council meeting you must notify us using the Notification of Recording a Committee Meeting form.

This form must be returned to us by 5.00pm at least one day before the meeting.

Speaking at a Council Meeting

It is easy for you to be heard by councillors at council meetings.

If you would like to ask a question or make a comment at a council meeting and would like an immediate response please email committee.services@ribblevalley.gov.uk or call 01200 425111 at least 2 working days before the meeting.

If you wish to speak to the committee without an immediate response you must let us know by no later than noon on the day of the meeting (or by the Friday before a Full Council meeting).

Councillors need time to consider your questions and prepare a reply. Certain types of questions will not be answered - for example they will not answer any questions about personal circumstances.

For more information about attending council meetings see the GOV.UK guidance on attending and reporting meeting of local government.

Public Participation rules

Listed below are the ground rules for people wishing to speak at any meeting.

  1. Only residents of the Ribble Valley may ask a question or make comments.
  2. Contributions are limited to one per person per item and no person shall speak for more than 3 minutes, except in exceptional circumstances.
  3. Public participation will last for 15 minutes at the start of each meeting. The running order of the agenda may be changed to accommodate public participation at the discretion of the Chairman. 
  4. Public participation is a part of the formal proceedings and will be recorded in the minutes.
  5. Persons wishing to speak at any meeting can only do so in relation to decision items on the agenda. All agendas will be published on the Council’s website at least 5 working days before the meeting. Agendas are also available for inspection at the Council Offices, Church Walk, Clitheroe.
  6. If an item is listed in Part 2 of the agenda it is to be discussed in private as exempt information and press and public are excluded from the meeting.
  7. Speakers on the same agenda item will be taken in the order they are received. Speakers on different agenda items will be dealt with in agenda item order.
  8. No person will be allowed to speak on the same issue at two consecutive meetings unless the item has been deferred from a previous meeting.
  9. No paperwork/plans/photographs are allowed to be circulated by a speaker at the meeting. This must be done in advance of the date of the meeting if they wish the members to consider information other than that which is contained in the agenda papers. 
  10. Any person wishing to speak at committee meetings must register with the council by no later than noon on the day of the meeting (for Full Council it is the Friday before the meeting).
  11. If an immediate response is required to a question/comment, it should be submitted in writing at least two working days before the meeting.
  12. In respect of questions at Council meetings, members of the public must give notice in writing to the Chief Executive by no later than noon on the Friday before the Council meeting. The notice must specify the nature of the question in enough detail to enable a reply to be prepared. A response will be given by the Chairman of the appropriate committee and a copy of the written answer will be given to the questioner. Questioners have the right to ask one supplementary question once they have received the chairman’s response.
  13. Speakers must be aware that under the ‘Openess Regulations’ there is an obligation on the Council to allow filming /recording of meetings as long as it is not disruptive.
  14. There are different rules for Licensing Sub-Committees and Planning and Development committees as follows:

At Licensing Sub-Committee committee

  • Only the Applicant and persons who have made relevant representations to a licensing application are permitted to speak;
  • The Applicant will be invited to speak first followed by each person who has made a relevant representation; 
  • There is no limit on the length of time a person may speak, although parties will be allowed a maximum equal period to exercise their rights, such period to be determined by the Sub-Committee; 
  • Members of the public who attend the sub-committee and who have not submitted a relevant representation are not permitted to speak; 
  • Members of the Sub-Committee may ask a question of any party or other person appearing at the hearing; 
  • Parties will be allowed to clarify points upon which they wish to support their application; 
  • Any additional paperwork/evidence in support of or against the application must be submitted prior to the hearing, and members of the Sub-Committee may take into account any new documentary or other information produced to the authority on the day of the hearing with the consent of all parties

At Planning and Development committee a maximum of 2 speakers is also allowed on each planning application.

  • One will be the applicant/agent; the other an objector
  • If the Parish Council is the objector they will have first refusal on the right to speak
  • If the Parish Council do not wish to speak, the Council will accept the first person to register as an objector
  • The applicant/agent will speak first and the objector second
  • With reference to rule 1 – residents of Ribble Valley. This rule is waived to accommodate representatives of applicants/objectors from outside the Ribble Valley to participate
  • Officers and members other than the Chairman cannot question the speaker. In exceptional circumstances the Chairman may ask an applicant and/or objector to clarify a matter of fact. If this happens, the applicant and /or objector must confine themselves to giving a  direct answer to the question
  • Officers will not be required to answer questions raised, but will do so if a member of the committee so requests
  • No paperwork/plans/photographs will be allowed to be circulated by the applicant/agent or objector at the meeting. The onus is on the applicant/agent and/or objector to do this in advance of the date of the meeting if they wish the members of the planning and development committee to consider information other than that which is contained in the agenda papers.


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