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Apologies for Absence and Declarations of Interest
To receive apologies for absence and declarations of interest.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Lodge and Oliver.
Councillor Barker declared an interest as a member of Essex County Council.
Councillor Dean declared an interest because his wife was a volunteer at, and a member of, the Trustees of the Gardens of Easton Lodge.
Minutes of the Previous Meeting
To consider the minutes of the previous meeting.
The minutes of the meeting on 29 June 2017 were signed and approved as a correct record.
To consider the Uttlesford Local Plan Regulation 18 draft plan consultation responses from planning authorities and other public bodies.
The Planning Policy Team Leader introduced the report. The regulation 18 consultation on the Local Plan had received just under 6000 representations. The purpose had been to ask for the views of the community, and it was important to note the plan was not a finished document. Because of the small period of time officers had had to review representations made, the selection of representations being brought before the working group were those from statutory consultees and other public bodies. The remaining representations would be reported at the next meeting of the group.
The Planning Policy Consultant said the report summarised the responses by bodies listed in the Duty to Cooperate and gave an overview of the representations made.
The Chairman thanked those who had responded to the consultation.
In response to a statement by Jane Grey, the Chairman said there was cross-party support for the provision of sports facilities and they would be key features of planned garden communities. The Planning Policy Team Leader said work had been commissioned to address the concerns of Sport England that the draft plan lacked a robust evidence base.
In response to statements read out by Fiona Wilkinson, the Chairman said if planning on potential new developments did not meet garden city principles then they would not get planning permission. The Council would not be rushed, and would take as long as was necessary for the regulation 19 consultation and submission for inspection. Transport was a big issue. The local plan would help to mitigate traffic problems, including those outside the area, in South Cambridgeshire. The Council was in close contact with the relevant bodies. The published evidence base would be continually updated, and the potential impact of traffic over time would be taken into consideration. It was unfair to expect all new development to happen in South Uttlesford.
The Planning Policy Officer said the Council was looking to commission further work on subjects such as archaeology and heritage, with the aim of resolving issues raised by public bodies.
Councillor Dean said it was reassuring to know work was ongoing and that it was not necessary to have all the answers now.
The Planning Policy Officer said the regulation 18 local plan was not meant to result in a finished document, and undertaking further work prior to the next round of consultation was not unusual. Both the Council and the inspector had to be convinced the final plan was sound. Representations submitted had raised significant issues, but the additional work was looking to resolve these issues.
In response to a question from Councillor Loughlin regarding how unmet housing need in other areas might affect Uttlesford’s local plan, Councillor Barker said a paper responding to the government consultation on housing numbers was being put to Cabinet on 18 October. The draft Council response said the draft plan had been devised based on figures that the Council was advised to use, and that any alteration of these figures would require the Council to review its ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
To consider the West of Braintree Community Plan: Issues and Options report.
The Project Manager - Planning Policy said the report would be considered at Cabinet on 18 October, recommending approval to carry out a public consultation between November and January on a draft Issues and Options document for the proposed Garden Community. The document provided information on how the proposed new settlement would be developed around garden city principles. The Council would not accept poor quality design and was committed to achieve the principles. The result of the consultation would be reported back to the Working Group after consideration of representations on the Regulation 18 Local Plan. The consultation would in no way fetter the District Council on deciding its response to the Regulation 18 Local Plan, which was the primary planning document.
In response to a statement by Sandi Merrifield, the Project Manager – Planning Policy said it was important to get the document out for consultation. This was because Braintree District Council shared responsibility for the document, and it was important to the local plan process that consultation on the Issues and Options document had been completed before the start of the examination of the Braintree Local Plan which was expected in January 2018.
In response to a question by Councillor Dean, the Project Manager – Planning Policy said he would strengthen wording to make it clear that the Council currently only supported the proposed Garden Community in principle, and he would ensure page 202 of the agenda pack included the objective of safety.
In response to the statement by Sandi Merrifield, members agreed to recommend to Cabinet that the fourth bullet point in question 13, on page 239 of the agenda pack, be deleted.
Sandi Merrifield spoke on this item. A copy of this statement is appended to these minutes.