Agenda and minutes
Planning and the Environment Committee
An apology for absence was received from Co?optee Niamh Joyce.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 13 September 2011 were signed by the Chair.
Declarations of Interest
Item 7 – Gravesham LDF: Growth Scenarios and Core Strategy Consultation.
Cllr Snelling declared a personal but non-prejudicial interest insofar as he was a Trustee of the Rochester Bridge Trust which owned one of the sites identified in the document and a resident of Meopham.
Cllr Burden declared a personal but non-prejudicial interest insofar as he was a resident of Istead Rise.
To provide Members of the Planning Delivery
Committee with a report on the progress made by the council in
delivering the Areas of Focus and Measures of Accountability
(relevant to the committee) as set out within the Corporate
Business Plan 2011-15.
The Director (Business) introduced the report drawing particular attention to the good performance against target of the number of affordable homes and footfall in the town centre. The Committee was interested to know how footfall was measured. He said that in the past footfall had been measured by someone standing on a street corner but new software which links into the CCTV system had been introduced. This enabled footfall to be measured at any time and the data could be used to identify peaks and troughs and could be compared with other town centres which employed a similar system.
The Committee felt that the unemployment rate (CBP 28) would benefit from a further breakdown of the figures into smaller age groups and if possible the actual figures rather than percentages.
Members queried when the Town Pier pontoon would be finished. The Director (Business) said that the contract was being monitored very closely and expected that the pontoon would be completed early in the New Year. He added that he would circulate Members of the Committee with the most recent information on progress. (See Minute Item 19).
It was agreed that the report be noted with the Committee’s concerns as outlined above.
Note: Cllr Burden spoke with the leave of the Chair on this item.
To inform Members of the Planning Delivery
Committee of the council’s involvement in partnerships that
are within the remit of the Committee and to provide Members with
details of the revised process for scrutinising partnerships, in
order for them to undertake a review of the partnerships that are
within the remit of the Committee.
The Committee discussed the Partnerships that fall within its remit and used the revised process to scrutinise each partnership in turn.
It was agreed that:-
(1) the information contained within Planning Delivery – Register of Partnerships had been reviewed;
(2) each of the Partnerships had been reviewed using the Scrutiny of Partnerships process with the outcomes as shown in the table above.
Note: Cllr Burden spoke with leave of the Chair on this item.
Gravesham LDF: Growth Scenarios and Core Strategy Consultation
Principal Planners Wendy Lane and Tony Chadwick will be present to answer Member’s questions on this process. Please refer to the document ‘Have Your Say on the Future October 2011’ previously circulated. This document can also be found on the following link.
The Principal Planner (Policy) gave the Committee a presentation on the Core Strategy which set out a vision for the area to 2031 and the strategic policies to deliver that vision. Links will be sent to Members of the Committee to the key documents and a PDF of the presentation is being circulated with these minutes. (See Minute Items 21 and 22).
The impending abolition by the coalition government of the South East Plan which had a target of 9,300 homes to be built in the period from 2006 to 2026 means that the authority has the opportunity to decide how many dwellings it needs and where they would be built based on local factors. The strategy goes on to outline the options. Lower growth options would mean a potential shortfall of between 320 and 920 dwellings.
Brownfield sites, as currently assessed, cannot provide all the homes so some greenfield and/or green belt land may be needed. This topic has generated and great deal of interest and response.
In response to questions further detail was provided on the derivation of the current SE Plan requirement, viability model, the basis of the population projections, Ebbsfleet, Northfleet Embankment, Town Centre and Green Belt issues. The ageing nature of the population was explained and the issues this would raise into the future.
Members were concerned that the leaflets giving details of the consultation and how to respond were not being received by all residents. Officers were aware of this from the public meetings. Members were assured that 43,000 leaflets had been sent out for distribution by the Royal Mail. Only a few had been returned and these had been resent addressed to ‘the occupier’ rather than a named individual.
The Council had arranged one event in the Woodville Halls which was well attended but Planning Officers had attended other meetings such as Neighbourhood Forums, Parish Council meetings, and with interest groups at which the strategy and the consultation were discussed. The publicity for these meetings, apart from the event at Woodville Halls, had been the responsibility of the meeting organiser and it was recognised that this varied in extent.
The Committee felt that more emphasis should be made that the strategy was for jobs as well as housing. However, the borough was short of development land, including for smaller business units. Developers were reluctant to build larger units without a pre-let agreement being in place. The need to plan for people as well as buildings in the town centre was raised as an issue for further consideration as it was suggested that this can enhance the attractiveness of the centre.
The Chair and the Committee expressed their thanks for the efforts of officers in attending meetings across the borough to explain and answer questions on the strategy and consultation process, and all the support work by the policy team that was necessary.
Note: Cllr Leadley spoke with leave of the Chair on this item.
Note: Cllr Burden spoke with leave of the chair ... view the full minutes text for item 18.