M20 Junction 10A
Mr Lowe queried whether the Open Floor Hearing (OFH) scheduled to follow the Preliminary Meeting on 2 December 2016 would allow for representations to be made about the merits of the proposed development. He further queried whether his attendance at the OFH would be essential, and what further opportunities there would be in the course of the Examination to make oral representations on behalf of his clients.
The Open Floor Hearing (OFH) scheduled to be held on the afternoon of 2 December 2016 will deal with matters beyond the procedure for the Examination. The following extract from our ‘Advice note 8.5: Participating in the examination’ deals with OFHs:
“Open floor hearings: These can be requested by anyone who has registered and made a relevant representation or by other interested parties. Requests [for an OFH to be held] must be made by the deadline which is set by the Examining Authority. At the hearing, anyone who is an interested party can give oral evidence based on their relevant or written representation.”
Advice note 8.5 is available to read in full, here: attachment 1
By way of clarification, the purpose of OFHs are to allow Interested Parties (IP) to expand upon the representations that they have already made in writing ie at this stage, your Relevant Representation (RR). The Examining Authority will not wish to hear RRs simply repeated orally. A simple agenda will be published ahead of the OFH which will consist of a ‘running order’ for the Examining Authority to hear representations from IPs who have notified us of their wish to speak.
We very much welcome all IPs to make oral representations at OFHs where the content of those representations includes new evidence which could add value to the Examination. IPs also have a statutory right to be heard.
There are likely to be Issue Specific Hearings (ISH) (see Advice note 8.5) which deal with design/ socio-economic matters later in the Examination, but these types of hearing tend to be more technical. The specific issues which will be heard at ISHs will also be led by the Examining Authority through the publication of detailed agenda, and so they are a little less flexible than the OFH set-up.