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  4. Public participation

Public participation

We encourage members of the public to participate in our affairs. All relevant issues raised by members of the public will be taken into account when the council is making its decisions.

Find meetings, agendas, reports and minutes

Taking part in Council meetings

From May 2020 until further notice, meetings will be held remotely and you can view them on Facebook Live (you do not need a Facebook account). These meetings are all open to the public and most have time set aside for submissions to be read out. Direct questions are not allowed, but you may read a statement or express an opinion.

Anyone who lives in the district or who pays council tax or business rates is eligible to take part. You will need to send us a written submission of no more than 750 words. We must receive your written submission by 10am on the working day before the meeting. You must contact us to request to take part and let us know what you want to comment on by:

What your submission can be about

At committee and cabinet meetings your submission must relate to points on the meeting agenda. At full council meetings other issues can be raised which are relevant to the district. You can find out which committee has responsibility for the issue you want to raise by looking at the agendas and reports for the meetings. These are available five working days before each meeting. Some matters may be excluded, contact us for advice or more information.

What happens during the meeting

The time limit for one submission is five minutes. If several people want to contribute on the same subject they are restricted to a total of five minutes. The time for all submissions at one meeting is 30 minutes. Submissions will be read to the meeting by a member of staff. You will not be asked questions on your submission. Contact us for advice if you are unsure.

These temporary processes aim to strike a balance between the need to conduct business, technological and other risks, and being able to hear the views of the public. We will keep this process under review.

Taking part in Planning Committees

When planning applications are heard by the Planning Committees, there is an opportunity for applicants, members of the public and other interested parties to put forward views for or against the application. The information that they provide is considered to be very useful in helping the Committee to reach a sound planning decision.

From May 2020 until further notice, meetings will be held remotely and you can view them on Facebook Live (you do not need a Facebook account).

You will need to send us a written submission of no more than 450 words. This must be received by 12 noon on the Friday before the meeting. This will be discussed with you when you contact us to make a request to participate. Submissions will be read to the meeting by a member of staff. You will not be asked questions on your submission.

You must contact us no later than 12 Noon the Friday before the meeting to request to take part by:

What you can comment on

Submissions will be allowed on any application on the schedule of planning applications to be considered by the Planning Sub-Committees. For example, applications for planning permission, listed building consent, conservation area consent, advertisement consent and applications to fell trees the subject of Tree Preservation Orders. It will also be allowed those types of application included on the agenda for determination at the meeting, or where confirmation of a previous decision is being sought. Submissions will not be allowed on items within the Agenda, such as potential enforcement action cases where there is no associated retrospective planning application or Lawful Development Certificates which are legal determinations based on the facts.

Planning meetings are held in public and no submissions of a personal, slanderous, defamatory, or otherwise offensive or abusive nature should be made.

A maximum of three minutes per submission will be allowed. The time must be strictly adhered to.

Conflict of interests

Submissions must be seen to be truly independent and not have a direct interest in the application or be related to, or a business associate of the applicant. Town and Parish Councillors are reminded of their responsibilities under the agreed Code of Conduct. We will not be aware of any interests or conflicts which town or parish councillors have. So the responsibility for complying with this rests with the council and councillor concerned.

Petitions

We welcome petitions from those who live, work, or study in West Oxfordshire and we recognise that petitions are one way in which people can let us know their concerns or the strength of public feeling.

All petitions sent or presented to us will be acknowledged within 10 working days of receipt. The acknowledgement will set out what we plan to do with the petition. We will treat something as a petition if it is identified as being a petition, or if it seems to us that it is intended to be a petition.

Submitting a petition

Petitions submitted to the council must include:

  • a clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition, stating what action the petitioners wish the council to take
  • the name and address and signature of any person supporting the petition, which must be not fewer than 10 people

Petitions should be accompanied by contact details, including an address, for the petition organiser. This is the person we will contact to explain how we will respond to the petition. If the petition does not identify a petition organiser, we will contact signatories to the petition to agree who should act as the petition organiser.   

Our petitions scheme has more information about submitting petitions and what will happen after you have done so, as well as some matters which are excluded from the scheme, by law.

Details of petitions received and of the council's response will be published online. The contact details of the petition organiser will not be placed online.

Send paper petitions to: Head of Democratic Services, West Oxfordshire District Council, Council Offices, Woodgreen, Witney, OX28 1NB.

e-Petitions

Petitions can also be submitted online. To request the creation of an e-petition, the petition organiser will need to provide us with their name, postal address and email address. You will also need to decide how long you would like your petition to be open for signatures, up to a maximum of 12 months. E-petitions must follow the same guidelines as paper petitions.

To request the creation of an e-petition email enquiries@westoxon.gov.uk with the information described above, and please include "e-petition request" in the subject line. We will, as necessary, contact you should we need to clarify anything before your e-petition goes live.  

Current petitions

View our petitions page to read the details of any current petitions, or to support a current e-petition.