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Declaration of Interests.
(Where a Councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest the Councillor must declare the interest to the meeting and leave the room without participating in any discussion or making a statement on the item, except where a Councillor is permitted to remain as a result of a grant of dispensation.)
The Corporate Director informed the meeting that ‘twin-hatted members’ did not need to declare an interest in respect of County Council-owned land, as they were present to discharge their role as members of the ‘Joint Committee’, and not as landowners. All could remain and vote on matters affecting County Council-owned land.
Councillor Brookes declared himself to be a trustee of several charities in the Swineshead area that had landowning interests in the village and that land in front of his house was the subject of proposals. He would therefore leave the Council Chamber during discussions relating to Swineshead.
Councillor Austin declared herself to be a member of the Wyberton Parochial Church Council and also a managing trustee for part of a proposed allocated site in Wyberton. Accordingly, she would leave the meeting during any discussions on matters affecting her church interests.
Councillor Alcock declared a pecuniary interest in a parcel of land in Crowland that had been promoted for development, and would therefore leave the meeting during discussions on the town.
To sign as a correct record the notes of the meeting of the South East Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee meeting held on 24 June 2016 (copy enclosed).
Councillor Brookes asked for the minutes of 24 June 2016 to be amended in accordance with the following:
· under the Sutterton heading on page 7, the second paragraph should read: ‘Discussion took place around how housing capacity of the site would be reduced if the necessary service provision for the development were to be provided on-site….’; and
· on page 8, the first paragraph should read: ‘Councillor Brooks concluded his query by stating his acknowledgement of the situation.’
That the minutes be amended accordingly.
To seek approval for the approach taken in considering consultation responses to the three public consultation stages held in May 2013, January 2016 and July 2016 (report of the Deputy Joint Policy Unit Manager enclosed)
The Deputy Joint Policy Unit Manager explained that his report concerned the need to formally consider all the public consultation representations and officer responses relating to the three previous consultation exercises, as in the last two cases, emphasis had been placed on discussing only the key issues arising from them in order to expedite the Local Plan’s preparation.
He reminded members that, in addition to the electronic versions of the public consultation databases that formed appendices to his report, hard copies of the January/February 2016 and July/August 2016 databases were available in the respective Members’ Rooms.
He stated that a full database relating to the first public consultation exercise conducted in May/June 2013 had been considered by meetings of the Joint Committee held in late 2013. However, as the Local Plan had evolved from the preparation of a Strategy and Policies Development Plan Document (DPD), which would be followed by one or more other DPDs, to a full Local Plan, a significant number of the officer responses and recommendations had had to be revisited to take account of this. For example, because the Strategy and Policies DPD didn’t address the allocation of sites for development, some of the officer responses to site-specific comments had been ‘representations to be addressed in the preparation of the Site Allocations DPD’; but now that the current emerging Local Plan included proposed allocations, such comments needed to be the subject of a considered response.
The Deputy Joint Policy Unit Manager noted that the second round of consultation, held in early 2016, related to the document titled ‘Draft for Public Consultation (including site options for development)’, which included a full set of draft policies and also a large number of site options for housing and other types of development, the locations of which were influenced by the emerging spatial strategy. The outcomes from this consultation exercise were discussed at a meeting of the Joint Committee on 22 April 2016, which considered a comprehensive summary of the material comments made on the contents of the document and approved a number of key issues to guide further work on the Local Plan. This led to a series of ‘Local Plan Steering Group’ meetings which gave more detailed consideration to site-specific matters and concluded in the selection of a number of ‘preferred sites’ for housing and other types of development.
He then noted that this work led to the Joint Committee, at its meeting on 24 June 2016, approving a document titled ‘Preferred Sites for Development’ for the purpose of a third round of public consultation’. This took place over a period of four weeks in the summer of 2016, following which further Steering Group meetings were held to consider public comments on the settlement hierarchy and preferred sites, and, following the completion of outstanding evidence gathering (e.g. the Whole Plan Viability Study), redrafted policies.
The Deputy Joint Policy Unit Manager concluded his introduction by stating that undertaking proper assessment of the responses to three rounds of public consultation ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
To consider the contents of the Publication Draft Local Plan, receive information with regard to the statutory public consultation stage, and approve the delegation of the Submission of the Plan to the Secretary of State (report of the Deputy Joint Policy Unit Manager enclosed).
The Deputy Joint Policy Unit Manager introduced his report by listing its main headings. The first of these concerned the three ‘Key Issues’ that the ‘Publication Draft’ sought to address. He provided some background to each of the following issues: meeting objectively-assessed housing needs; meeting the arising infrastructure needs; and meeting the challenges of flood risk.
He then summarised the contents of the Publication Draft by providing a brief background to each of the thirty-one policies.
In respect of Policy 16: Rural Exception Sites, Councillor Gambba-Jones raised concerns relating to the ‘viability card’ being played. He suggested that an application for housing under this policy could be submitted and approved, but then followed by a request to reduce the affordable housing element of the scheme because of an updated assessment of viability.
The Deputy Joint Policy Unit Manager responded by saying he thought such a situation would be unlikely given the detailed consideration that would have informed the original decision, but if it were to arise then he considered that the whole proposal would have to be revisited.
Councillor Alcock enquired as to whether there was any guidance on how such a matter could be progressed to a satisfactory conclusion, to which the Deputy Joint Policy Unit Manager responded by suggesting suitable local guidance could be incorporated into the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan.
Councillor Austin expressed disappointment at the absence of a policy governing the implementation of agricultural-occupancy conditions. The Deputy Joint Policy Unit Manager responded that this matter had been addressed in the Draft for Public Consultation document but following a review it was decided to delete this policy on the basis that the issues were adequately addressed in the National Planning Policy Framework.
Councillor Alcock expressed some disappointment that the only additional retail floor space proposed in the Publication Draft was at Springfields, and wondered why additional sites had not been promoted. The Deputy Joint Policy Unit Manager responded that other sites had been investigated, including with Spalding town centre, but were deemed to be unsuitable. He reaffirmed the officer view that the Springfields proposal was currently the most appropriate way forward in the circumstances.
The Executive Manager for Growth considered that evidence to support the promotion of other sites that would aid the regeneration of Spalding should be forthcoming at some point in the future, but recognised the need to be more proactive in this regard.
Councillor Alcock mentioned that internet shopping did help to create additional commercial floor space in the long run as distribution sites would be required.
Councillor Austin enquired as to whether there was any specific policy provision concerning the development of solar panel schemes in the countryside. The Deputy Joint Policy Unit Manager accepted that such proposals could prove controversial and that whilst there was no detailed policy provision regarding this matter in the Publication Draft, there was Government Planning Practice Guidance on this subject to assist decision making.
The Forward Planning Officer advised that Policy 27 (section B, point ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent.
Note: No other business is permitted unless by reason of special circumstances, which shall be specified in the minutes, the Chairman is of the opinion that the item(s) should be considered as a matter of urgency.
There were none.