I was interested to read Councillor David Williams’ letter about public participation at planning committee meetings (Letters, December 7, 'Other councils limit speakers') and, I suppose that one must largely agree with his observations.

It does seem that sometimes members of the audience don’t seem to have listened to previous speakers and so go over the same ground, again. But there must be give and take about allowing people their ‘day in court’.

However, I would take issue with Mr Williams on one aspect; that of the meeting being quorate. He mentions that many members leave before voting takes place.

I would suggest that this activity be banned. The councillor is paid for attendance and so finding a reason to disappear before the end is not on.

It is incumbent on councillors not to arrange any appointments on the day of their attendance in committee.

Firstly, it can become an excuse for not opposing an item when they may have previously indicated their opposition to their public. Secondly, it can allow a situation whereby councillors who have no particular interest in the topic will let it through because the interested ones are not there. I’ve seen excuses for leaving such as ‘dental appointment’, ‘picking up the children from somewhere’ given. They, surely, knew what they were taking on when they stood for election and unsocial hours goes with the territory.