Members of parish councils from across the town and beyond will get more time so speak at borough council planning meetings.

Parish councils must be allowed to consider and give their views on planning applications in their patch, and they generally make a written report, particularly if the council objects to an application.

The final decision is always taken at the borough council level.

Members of parish councils are able to speak at the meetings of the higher authority's planning committee - but until know, they had to share their time with members of the public.

It meant that should a parish councillor want to speak in favour, or against an application, and a nearby resident also wanted to speak, they got five minutes between then.

Planning committee member Coun Fionuala Foley said: "I think they deserve more time - parishes are a statutory consultee, and there have been a number of times when a councillor has had to rush through their comments - I think they deserve to be heard better."

Members of the committee voted at the end of their meeting to allocate five full minutes to parish council comments whoever else from the community wished to speak.

The new rule will be used at the next planning committee meeting on Tuesday March 26.