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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 Davies, Dean, Harris, Lodge and Loughlin.
Councillor Barker declared a personal interest in relation to all items on the agenda as the County Council member for Dunmow.
Neil Gregory made a statement, a summary of which is appended to these minutes.
In response to Mr Gregory, the Chairman said points he had raised would be addressed later in the meeting when the reports were considered. He said costs for the Local Plan were similar to those of other Local Plan authorities. The money had been spent to enable the Council to carry out the work. He had raised with the Secretary of State the issue of the significant costs burden for the authority.
The Chairman asked the Planning Policy Team Leader to explain the position around the new household projections.
The Planning Policy Team leader apologised for the publication of the papers on Monday, and explained that this was to coincide with publication of papers for Full Council. He said representations would be welcomed on the focussed changes and on other parts of the plan where representations arose from new information contained in the addendum, or newly published evidence base.
To consider the minutes of the previous meeting.
The minutes of the previous meeting were received and signed by the Chairman as an accurate record of the meeting.
To receive the Housing Supply and 5-Year Supply Statement 2018 report.
Members considered a report on the Housing Supply and 5-Year Supply Statement 2018. The report set out the Housing Trajectory and 5-Year land supply statement 2018, and concluded that the Council could not demonstrate a 5 year supply of housing.
The Planning Policy Team Leader highlighted the main points of the report. He drew attention to the exceptional number of residential completions in the year April 2017 to March 2018. In this year there were 966 residential completions, which was a third higher than last year, which itself was previously the highest ever number of completions in the District. This brought the total number of homes built between 2011 and 2018 to 4,156. It was estimated that at least 2,496 more would be built over the next 5 years. Those completions and commitments had fed into the Council’s trajectory and 5-year supply calculation.
The Planning Policy Team Leader said a further new input into the calculations was the new government standardised methodology for calculating housing need, which linked to the new household projections that were released on 20 September 2018. Further detail on the new household projections and how they related to the Local Plan would be explained in the introduction into the next report on the agenda.
The Planning Policy Team Leader said the calculation of need using the standardised methodology indicated a need of 633 homes a year (or 13,922 over 22 years). When comparing this need with the supply, officers identified a 5 year supply of 3.46 years if new allocations from the draft plan were excluded; or 4.45 years if new allocations form the draft plan were included. Table 5 in the report showed these figures, however, it should be noted that there was an error in the two paragraphs preceding the table, in that at paragraphs 17 and 18, the figures referred to should reflect those in Table 5.
The Planning Policy Team Leader said the impact on the update in supply was that for the purposes of the Local Plan, 5.1 years of supply could be identified, and that the difference was primarily to the ‘stepped trajectory’ contained in the Local Plan. This methodology needed to be tested through the Local Plan and could not be used for the purposes of development management.
The Chairman invited questions from Members at this point. There were no questions. He then asked the Planning Policy Team Leader to explain the impact on the Local Plan of the updated projections.
The Planning Policy Team Leader explained the potential impact of the new household projections on the Local Plan. On 20 September the Office for National Statistics had released new household projections, which for Uttlesford indicated lower household growth of 10,070 from 2011 to 2033. These projections compared with household projections of 11,430 in the previous data set. The figure was therefore around 1,400 lower. The Planning Policy Team Leader added that there was an error in the report at paragraph 13 on page 38 of the document pack, ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
To consider the Addendum of Focussed Changes to the Local Plan Regulation 19 Pre-Submission document.
Members considered a report setting out further detail around an addendum of focussed changes to the Regulation 19 Local Plan.
The Chairman invited the Planning Policy Team Leader to introduce the report.
The Planning Policy Team Leader said the report recommended an Addendum of Focused Changes to the Regulation 19 Local Plan. The Addendum contained changes to the plan covering three different issues. In summary the issues were the elevated level of risk around the delivery of West of Braintree Garden Community following the letters from the Inspector at the North Essex Authorities examination, and the measures the Council would take if there were delivery issues around this site; the strategic policies for the purposes of Neighbourhood Planning; and further detail on the policy protection of European protected sites.
The Planning Policy Team Leader highlighted briefly the changes relating to West of Braintree. He said officers recommended the plan should reflect an elevated level of risk around the delivery of this site, but were not recommending removing the site from the plan and allocating alternative sites in its place. It was still considered a sustainable location for major development with a reasonable prospect of delivery on the site.
The Planning Policy Team Leader continued to speak to the report. He said it was also recommended that if at a point in the future it became apparent West of Braintree was significantly delayed or was not deliverable, and that restricted the Council’s ability to meet its housing requirements, then an early review of the Local Plan should be taken.
At the request of the Chairman, the Director – Public Services gave an outline of the QC’s advice which the Council had obtained, and on which the focussed changes were based.
The Chairman said he was aware that Stebbing Parish Council representatives were present at this meeting, and that they had met with the Planning Policy Team Leader, and had found the explanation of Counsel’s advice on West of Braintree to be helpful.
The Planning Policy Team Leader said a paper had been tabled with an additional amendment to SP5, including reference to developers entering into a ‘Quality and Collaboration Partnership’ if there was a privately led arrangement.
He said in addition to the Addendum of Focussed Changes the report also noted the publication of two updates to the evidence base. The first was an update to the Spatial Strategy Background Paper, to build upon the document that had been published in June. The second was a review of the employment policies in the Regulation 19 Local Plan. The review of employment policies included a number of suggested amendments to the plan. Officers were not recommending these changes were incorporated, as they did not go to the soundness of the plan and would dilute the focus of the document.
At the request of the Chairman, the Planning Policy Team Leader explained why it was not possible to incorporate the new household projections into an update of the SHMA and Local Plan and ... view the full minutes text for item 4.