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Apologies for Absence and Declarations of Interest
To receive any apologies and declarations of interest.
Councillors Freeman, Eke, Fairhurst, Asker, Coote and Light declared non-pecuniary interests in that they were members of Saffron Walden Town Council.
Councillor Barker declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of Essex County Council.
Councillor Day declared a non-pecuniary interest as his wife was a Treasurer of Stop Easton Park.
Councillor Dean declared a non-pecuniary interest in that his wife was on the Board of the Gardens of Easton Lodge.
Councillor Criscione declared a non-pecuniary interest in that he had held a meeting with Mr Thompson of Stop Easton Park.
Councillor Pepper declared a non-pecuniary interest in that she had been actively involved with Stop Easton Park.
Councillor Foley declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of the Campaign to Protect Rural Essex.
Councillors Armstrong and Jones declared non-pecuniary interests as members of Dunmow Town Council.
Councillor Bagnall declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of Takeley Parish Council.
Councillor Lemon declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of Hatfield Heath Parish Council.
Councillor Isham declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of Broxted Parish Council.
Councillor Merifield declared a non-pecuinary interest as a member of Stebbing Parish Council.
Councillor Evans declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of Stebbing Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.
Councillor Sell declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of Stansted Parish Council and Stansted Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.
Councillor Reeve declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of High Easter Parish Council.
Councillor Khan declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of Stansted Parish Council.
Councillor Hargreaves declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of Newport Parish Council and Newport and Quendon and Rickling Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.
To consider the report on the Local Plan – Decision Following Inspectors’ Letter.
Councillor Evans gave a summary of the report which recommended the withdrawal of the Local Plan following receipt of the Inspectors’ letter, and the preparation of a new Plan.
CouncillorCaton proposed the following amendment which was seconded by Councillor Dean.
To remove the recommendation in the report in full and replace with the following wording:
The Council recognises the deeply held and divergent views of members across the Council, which reflect personal principles and the range of views in our community.
The Council believes that in whatever future form (revised or new), our District's Local Plan should:
(1) Contribute to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy by ensuring that sufficient land of the right type is available in the right places and at the right time to support growth and innovation; and by identifying and coordinating development requirements, including the provision of infrastructure;
(2) Support strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by providing the supply of low/zero carbon housing of all types and costs, including truly affordable homes, required to meet the needs of present and future generations; and create a high quality, built environment, with accessible local services that reflect the community’s needs and support its health, social and cultural well-being; and
(3) Contribute to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment; and, as part of this, help to improve biodiversity, prudent use of natural resources, minimise waste and pollution, and mitigate and adapt to climate change, including moving to a low carbon economy, with the potential to create surplus energy.
The Council, however, is disappointed by the invidious position the current administration has placed our community in. In particular, it is concerned by:
(1) the distinct lack of public engagement and participation since January in the proposal to withdraw the current draft Local Plan;
(2) the estimated £1m spent by the administration on the Plan in the period since they declined to withdraw the draft plan when the Inspectors offered them that opportunity in the summer of 2019 and the likely £3m cost of developing a new plan;
(3) a lack of any indication of a revised spatial strategy before making a decision which indicates in broad terms where new housing will be allocated in any new plan and a readiness to rule out large Garden Communities as an option before any reconsideration; and
(4) the inevitability that the development of a new plan will require a two-fold increase in required housing under central government regulations, and
(5) that the district will increasingly be subjected to speculative applications for ad hoc developments without adequate infrastructure to address an even greater fiveyear land supply deficit.
Therefore, Council instructs the Cabinet Member for Planning and the Local Plan to refer consideration of the future direction of the Local Plan firstly to open and transparent discussion with Members and public participants within a forum such as the Planning Policy Working Group, or equivalent, before bringing back the matter to this Council with considered proposals.
Members arguing ... view the full minutes text for item 2.