Ideas to overhaul the planning committee system in Kirklees have been mooted.
And itt could lead to a limit on the number of speakers at planning committees and major applications considered by a super committee.
Clr Steve Hall, Cabinet member for planning and highways, says the idea is to speed up the process.
He said: “We had one application in Slaithwaite where there were 18 people speaking against, seven or eight in support, plus the political speakers.
“An officer has looked at other authorities to see what they do and they boil it right down.
“Inevitably when there is a lot of opposition, and even support, people repeat the same thing so we want to trim it down.”
All neighbouring councils allow just one person to speak for and one against planning applications, apart from Barnsley which permits two speakers for and against.
Kirklees allows an unlimited number of people to speak for three minutes at its planning committees.
Ideas for Full Council debate on Wednesday are to permit one speaker for and against for five minutes each; agree a maximum number of speakers, potentially up to five for and five against, and allow them to speak for three minutes; or continue with the current arrangement.
Ward councillor and MPs wanting to speak will be in addition to public speakers.
It’s likely the idea could prove controversial and Clr Hall’s message to opponents of the idea is: “People are already organising themselves as groups to oppose or support plans, if they elect one or two spokespeople they can put the views across as part of a team rather than everyone repeating the same message.
“We still want the public to have a say, but to organise themselves for the meetings.”
The Examiner has previously reported on Kirklees plans for a ‘super planning committee’’.
It will be known as the Strategic Planning Committee with nine councillors - four Labour, two Conservative, two Liberal Democrat and one Green Party or Valley Independent.
Clr Hall added: “If an application is for houses above a certain number (50-plus) or for a particular piece of land it will come straight to the Strategic Committee rather than going to Huddersfield or Heavy Wolleen first. So many developers now are sitting on land and we want to get things moving.”
Other ideas include recorded votes and pre-application hearings which Clr Hall explained: “Pre-application hearings allow the developer to give us and the public an insight into their plans, get our views and then work on the application. I think it will be of great benefit and save time too so they don’t go off and do something we won’t allow.”
Feedback from Full Council and visits to other authorities will focus the ideas before they’re implemented. Any changes will be assessed after 12 months.