Around 8,000 comments have been received by the council about the application and these are summarised in the report. In addition, at the meeting there is intended to be an extended period for public participation with up to 10 people addressing the committee in support of the application and 10 against.
This will be followed by a presentation from planning officers outlining the detail of the application. The chairman of the committee, Cllr Andy Cole, will then open up a debate on the expansion proposals giving councillors the opportunity to ask questions and debate the issues before a vote is taken.
In recognition of the amount of public interest, the council has arranged for the meeting to be live streamed at https://youtu.be/M_wOcBlnsKE so people can watch it in the comfort of their own homes.
There is limited capacity at the Town Hall for those wishing to attend the meeting. If everyone wanting to attend can’t be accommodated in the council chamber, another room will be made available with a camera and audio feed from the meeting.
The building will open at 5pm to people wishing to attend the meeting to allow time for security and bag checks to be undertaken. The following items which are determined as threatening the conduct of the meeting will be confiscated and returned after the meeting:
- food and drink (water will be available)
- liquids and aerosols
- any sharp objects
- explosive or flammable items such as pyrotechnics
- marker pens
- placards and banners
- loudhailers, airhorns etc
- non-religious face coverings, e.g. masks and motorcycle helmets
- any items considered potentially harmful to public safety.
Banners will only be permitted outside the meeting.
The report going to the Planning and Regulatory Committee is available on the council’s website at https://apps.n-somerset.gov.uk/Meetings/ByCommittee/4/2019/58.
Due to the amount of public interest and the complexity of the application, it will be the only matter considered at the meeting.
There are three possible outcomes from the meeting:
- The committee can approve the application. If this happens, due to the scale of the development within the Green Belt, the application must first be referred to the Secretary of State. He can either allow the council to go ahead and issue its decision or “call in” the application and have a public inquiry.
- The committee can refuse the application. Because this is against the officers’ recommendation, the council’s procedure is that it would then go back to a subsequent meeting of the Planning and Regulatory Committee for the decision to be ratified. If the decision is ratified, the applicant has six months to lodge an appeal which would be heard at a public inquiry.
- The committee can defer the application for further information to come back to a future meeting of the Planning and Regulatory Committee.