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Apologies for Absence and Substitutions
The Committee is asked to note any apologies for absence and substitutions received from Members.
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Broderick, I J Henderson and Porter (with Councillor Davis substituting).
To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee, held on 20 November 2017.
It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on 20 November 2017, be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors are invited to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Personal Interest, and the nature of it, in relation to any item on the agenda.
Councillor Bush declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in item A.2 of the Report of the Head of Planning (Updated Housing Supply Positon and Housing Trajectory) insofar as he owned land that was the subject of Planning Applications 15/00987/OUT and 18/01766/DISCON. The land that was subject to those planning applications was referred to in Appendices 1 and 4 to that report.
Councillors Stock and G V Guglielmi each declared a personal interest in item A.1 of the Report of the Head of Planning (Local Plan Examination – Inspector’s Findings and Next Steps) insofar as they were, respective a Director and an alternate Director of the NEGC Ltd Board.
Questions on Notice pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 37
Subject to providing two working days’ notice, a Member of the Committee may ask the Chairman of the Committee a question on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties which affect the Tendring District and which falls within the terms of reference of the Committee.
There were none on this occasion.
The Council’s Public Speaking Scheme for the Local Plan Committee gives the opportunity for members of the public and other interested parties/stakeholders to speak to the Council’s elected members on the Local Plan Committee on any specific agenda item to be considered at that public meeting.
The Chairman invited the following persons to address the Committee:
Bill Marshall, a resident of the District, made a statement relating to item A.1 of the Report of the Head of Planning in which he expressed his concern that the Garden Communities Scheme had not recently been fully debated with local residents and that there had been very little input from the Councils to the residents recently. He also expressed his concern that the Council’s decision to pursue Option 2 (do more work to fill in the gaps in the evidence now but delay the examination of Section 2 of the Local Plan until the Inspector was satisfied that the Garden Communities were deliverable and that Section 1 of the Plan was sound) had been taken by the Chairman of the Committee rather than by the Committee as a whole. He stated his belief that the letter submitted to the Inspector on 19 October 2018 was late in the day and that Braintree, Colchester and Tendring Councils could have been a lot further down the road I progress with the Garden Communities if those Councils had collaborated together and produced one joint Local Plan. He expressed his hope that there would not be too many problems with the resubmitted Section 1 of the Local Plan but was further concerned that Section 2 of Tendring’s Local Plan would be in disarray if Section 1 was not approved by the Inquiry Inspector. This would then lead to speculative development all over the District. He therefore felt that to pursue Option 2 was a gamble.
Carol Bannister, a resident of Weeley, made a statement relating to item A.2 of the Report of the Head of Planning in which she raised her objections to the inclusion of the words: “All issues raised in objections have been resolved” in the “Other Comments” section relating to Site Code SAMU5 (‘Barleyfields’, land to the rear of the Council Offices, Thorpe Road, Weeley – Barley Fields Phase 2) as detailed in Appendix 3 to the report. She felt that this was inaccurate and that the residents’ objections were still outstanding and valid pending the result of the Public Inquiry and that therefore those words should be removed from the appendix.
Councillor Everett made a statement relating to items A.2 and A.3 of the Report of the Head of Planning in which he expressed his concern that Planning Officers were, too often, conceding the point of a ‘presumption in favour of development’ at Planning Appeals in their evidence and ‘Statements of Common Ground’. They were conceding this point when they did not in fact need to do so because policies QL1 and EN2 were deemed to be ‘out of date’. However, the NPPF stated that just because a policy was out of date it did not necessarily follow that a presumption in favour of development would then apply. Paragraph 11 of the NPPF was quite clear in stating that there were exceptions by using the word ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To update the Local Plan Committee on how the examination of the Local Plan is progressing; to report the Planning Inspector’s findings in respect of Section 1; and to advise as to the next steps of the process.
Earlier in the meeting Councillors Stock and G V Guglielmi had each declared a personal interest in this item insofar as they were, respectively, a Director and an alternate Director of the NEGC Board.
The Committee had before it a detailed report of the Head of Planning (A.1), which updated it on how the examination of the Local Plan was progressing; reported the Planning Inspector’s findings in respect of Section 1; and advised it as to the next steps of the process.
Members were aware that, following a series of hearing sessions held at Colchester’s Community Stadium in January 2018 followed by a further session in May 2018, the Inspector had issued his findings in respect of Section 1 of the Local Plan and had concluded that whilst the Plan met with legal and procedural requirements, additional work would need to be carried out in order to demonstrate that it met the tests of soundness. This meant that Section 1 of the Local Plan which was common to Tendring, Braintree and Colchester Councils (“the Councils”) could not yet be adopted by those Councils and the examination could not progress to dealing with Section 2 of the Local Plan, which included policies and proposals specific to the District of Tendring.
The Committee was informed that the Inspector had identified additional evidence that he required in order to help him determine whether Section 1 of the Plan could be considered to be sound. Whilst the Inspector was happy with the concept of Garden Communities, he had requested further evidence - 1) justifying the choice of Garden Communities over other possible development options; 2) to demonstrate their practical deliverability and viability within the timescales of the Local Plan and beyond 2033; and 3) the cost and timescales for delivering important public transport and road improvements.
Importantly however, the Inspector had endorsed the Councils’ Objectively Assessed Housing Needs (OAN) figures including Tendring’s figure of 550 homes a year which was critical to the soundness of Section 2 of the Local Plan and this Council’s ability to demonstrate an ongoing five-year supply of deliverable housing sites. The Inspector had also indicated that some modifications to certain policies would be required to bring them in line with the tests of soundness and that those would need to be the subject of consultation in their own right before the Plan could be adopted.
It was reported that in order to address his questions about Garden Communities, the Inspector had given the Councils three options to consider, namely:
1) Remove Garden Communities from the Local Plan (for now) and proceed with the examination of Section 2, so long as the Local Plan was reviewed again within 2-3 years (at which point the evidence in support of Garden Communities might be stronger);
2) Do more work to fill in the gaps in the evidence now but delay the examination of Section 2 until the Inspector was satisfied that the Garden Communities were deliverable and that Section 1 ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
To report to the Local Plan Committee:
· the number of new homes built in Tendring during the 2017/18 financial year;
· the current housing land supply position (the ‘five-year’ supply);
· the updated year-by-year trajectory for building new homes over the remainder of the new Local Plan period up to 2033.
Earlier in the meeting Councillor Bush had declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in this item insofar as he owned land that was the subject of Planning Applications 15/00987/OUT and and 18/01766/DISCON. The land that was subject to those planning applications was referred to in Appendices 1 and 4 to that report.
The Committee had before it a comprehensive report of the Head of Planning (A.2), which reported to it –
It was reported that in the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, 565 new homes had been completed in Tendring. This meant that the housebuilding target for the District had been achieved for a second year in succession.
Five Year Supply
The Committee was informed that the Council could demonstrate a 5.66 year supply of deliverable housing sites. This reflected the Local Plan Inspector’s recommendation that the housing requirement for Tendring should remain at 550 homes a year and also took into account recent appeal decisions and changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
Members were made aware that the Council could also demonstrate that the requirement of 11,000 new homes between 2013 and 2033 could be met and comfortably exceeded. This was through a combination of homes already completed since April 2013, development on large sites with planning permission, sites allocated for development in the plan and small ‘windfall’ sites.
In response to a question asked by the Chairman in relation to the concerns raised by Carol Bannister in her statement made earlier in the meeting, the Planning Manager (Gary Guiver) stated that he had some sympathy with those concerns and that he would not be adverse to the requested amendment to Appendix 3 of the report being made.
It was thereupon moved by Councillor Bray, seconded by Councillor Turner and unanimously:-
RESOLVED that the words “All issues raised in objections have been resolved” contained in the “Other Comments” section relating to Site Code SAMU5 (‘Barleyfields’, land to the rear of the Council Offices, Thorpe Road, Weeley – Barley Fields Phase 2) as detailed in Appendix 3 to item A.2 of the Report of the Head of Planning be deleted.
Having discussed the information provided, it was moved by Councillor Bray, seconded by Councillor G V Guglielmi and unanimously:
RESOLVED that -
(a) the Committee endorses the contents of the report as evidence to demonstrate an up-to-date five year housing land supply (taking into account any changes arising from the latest demographic information) and for the purposes of determining planning applications and contesting planning appeals; and
(b) this Committee believes that, as the Council can demonstrate in excess of a five year housing land supply, the ‘Presumption of Favour of Development’ therefore should ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
To inform the Local Plan Committee of the implications of the Government’s new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
The Committee had before it a report of the Head of Planning (A.3), which informed it of the implications of the Government’s new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
Members were informed that the revised NPPF had been published on 24 July 2018 and that the document set out the Government’s planning policies for England and how those were expected to be applied. This revised Framework replaced the previous NPPF published in March 2012 and implemented approximately 85 reforms announced previously in the Housing White Paper, “Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places” consultation and the draft revised NPPF Policy consultation.
The Committee was made aware that at the time of issuing the new NPPF, the Government had also published the following documents:
· the Government’s response to the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework consultation, setting out its summary of the consultation responses and the Government’s proposed changes;
· an updated Planning Practice Guidance on housing and economic development needs assessments;
· an updated Planning Practice Guidance on viability;
· the Housing Delivery Test Measurement Book showing the methodology for calculating housing deliver; and
· James Brokenshire MP’s Ministerial Statement entitled ‘Housing Policy’.
It was reported that the key alterations and changes in Government policy related to the following:-
(a) Policies to encourage the delivery of new Housing
(1) Strategic Plans;
(2) Introduction of a new standardised method of calculating Housing Need;
(3) Maintaining Supply;
(4) Annual Position Statement;
(5) Housing Delivery Test;
(6) Revised definition of a deliverable site;
(7) Affordable Housing;
(8) Small Sites Policy;
(9) Entry Level Exception Sites;
(10) Delivery of larger sites; and
(b) Policies to improve Plan Making
(2) Test of Soundness;
(3) Viability; and
(4) Neighbourhood Plans.
(c) Making more effective use of land
(1) Avoiding low density development.
(1) Considering development proposals; and
(2) Parking Standards.
(1) Importance of design standards emphasised; and
(2) Pre-application discussions.
(f) Town Centres
(1) More positive and flexible approach.
(g) Other Issues
(1) Health and Public Safety;
(3) Environmental Standards;
(4) Storage and Distribution; and
Having discussed all of the information provided, it was moved by Councillor G V Guglielmi, seconded by Councillor Platt and unanimously:
RESOLVED that the contents of the report and the introduction of the new National Planning Policy Framework be noted.