Agenda item

To report, to the Planning Policy and Local Plan Committee, Essex County Council’s current Regulation 18 stage public consultation on its five-yearly review of the Essex Minerals Local Plan and to seek the Committee’s agreement to Tendring District Council’s response to that consultation


Earlier on in the meeting, as recorded under Minute 35 above, Councillor Fairley had declared for the public record, in relation to this item, that she was the Ward Member for Ardleigh.


Councillor Guglielmi declared for the public record that, in his role as a County Councillor, he was Chairman of Essex County Council’s (ECC) Development and Regulation Committee and also Chairman of ECC’s Liaison with Parish Councils Committee. He also declared that the majority of the 13 ‘candidate’ sites located within the District of Tendring lay within his Division.


Councillors Guglielmi and Fairley declared that they had attended a public meeting on this matter at Ardleigh.


Councillor Scott declared that he had attended public meetings on this matter at Alresford, Brightlingsea, Great Bentley and Thorrington.


Councillor Chapman declared that she had attended a public meeting on this matter at Brightlingsea.


Members were aware that ECC was the Authority responsible for producing and updating the Minerals Local Plan for the county and for determining planning applications relating to minerals extraction and waste. Minerals were the source of material for construction. However, minerals were a finite natural resource and could only be extracted from the ground where they were found.


The Committee recalled that the Minerals Local Plan set out how ECC would provide for the future of minerals needs through a series of policies and land allocations. The Minerals Local Plan sat alongside the Local Plans produced by District, City and Borough Councils as part of the overall statutory Development Plan.


Like this Council’s Local Plan, the County Council’s Minerals Local Plan had to be reviewed and kept up to date and that the review had to follow a series of stages, as set out in Government regulations. Public consultation was currently underway in line with Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012, with a closing date for any comments of 9th April 2024. ECC was consulting on the entire Minerals Local Plan, its evidence base, and a series of ‘candidate sites’. Those sites would not all be carried forward for allocation in the Minerals Local Plan, but would be considered in greater detail alongside representations submitted as part of this consultation.


Members were cognisant that the District of Tendring had a rich supply of sand and gravel, and there were 13 candidate sites located within the District – 7 in Ardleigh, 2 in Alresford, 3 near Frating and Great Bentley, and 1 in Thorrington. Detail about each of those sites was set out in the main body of the report (A.2).


It was reported that Officers had prepared a draft response to the consultation that highlighted a number of technical points as well as concerns that had been raised by local residents and District Councillors. With the Planning Policy and Local Plan Committee’s agreement, this response would be submitted to Essex County Council for its consideration in progressing to the next stage of the plan-making process.


The Director (Planning) and Senior Planning Policy Officer responded to Members’ questions on the following suggested additions to the Council’s draft response:-


1)     the negative impact on rural roads and especially those with weight restrictions;

2)     greater clarity as to the meaning of ‘active sites’ especially if they are merely extensions of existing sites or are sites previously approved but only recently opened or are sites with planning permission but are currently ‘dormant’;

3)     the availability of sufficient processing plants;

4)     the need for a much higher quality of consultation with Parish Councils going forward;

5)     the cumulative impact and its relationship with the ‘Duty to Co-operate’;

6)     the potential impact on agricultural land and farm security;

7)     the methodology used i.e. why do some of the proposed sites appear to be more efficient in terms of the expected yield per hectare;

8)     best economic use of the land; and

9)     the future uses of the land once it ceases to be a quarry.


At the invitation of the Chairman, the Housing & Planning Portfolio Holder (Councillor Baker) commented on the contents of the report A.2.


Having duly discussed this matter:-


It was moved by Councillor Bray, seconded by Councillor Scottand unanimously:-


RESOLVED that the Planning Policy and Local Plan Committee:


a)     notes the content of this report (A.2); and


b)     authorises the Director (Planning), in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee, to submit the recommended response, as set out in the appendix to the report (A.2), together with any agreed amendments, to Essex County Council before the end of the consultation period at 5.00pm on 9 April 2024.




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