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Apologies for absence and declarations of interest
To receive any apologies and declarations of interest.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Light and Freeman.
To consider the minutes of the previous meeting.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
To consider the Planning for the Future report.
The Chair explained that the deadline for the consultation response to the White Paper was Thursday 29th October at midnight. The meeting should therefore only consider anything still to be addressed and the implications of the response.
A discussion was held and the following points were highlighted:-
Members were impressed with the report and the responses.
Lois Bowser, Principal Planning Officer, New Settlements attended the meeting and had compiled the document with the Planning Policy team.
Cllr Lees noted that some questions had no response. The Assistant Director, Planning and Principal Planning Officer, New Settlements explained that this related to generic questions not aimed at Local Authorities. These could be added if members wanted to, however it was decided this was not necessary but needed to be clarified.
Cllr Caton was pleased that the report was now more focused on residents who have modest incomes. He raised two points:-
· The inconsistency with previous discussions, as the report now seemed to imply that infrastructure would be set on a national basis as opposed to a local basis.
· Asked for a reference to social housing in addition to the term ‘affordable’ housing, in question 4, point 3 to be added.
Cllr Evans said he would take the points made to a meeting being held the following day so that issues could be addressed and dealt with before the deadline.
In reply to a question from Cllr Bagnall, he said it was not known which Town and Parish Councils had responded to the consultation.A copy of the Uttlesford District Council draft response had been circulated.
Cllr Tayler asked for the definition of sustainability to be reconsidered (question 16) to include the additional factors of the retention of landscape and views; the retention of farmland and the setting of heritage costs. Cllr Evans agreed to review the definition.
Additionally Cllr Reeve asked for both aspects of sustainability in planning terms to be reviewed so that both employment and social factors were included.
In response to Cllr Reeves’ concern, which related to the timescale of a national design guide, Cllr Evans said there was an Essex design guide in place, which could be built on. The Assistant Director, Planning said this related to question 17 and the response had stated that the national design guide code should be an advisory element only.
Cllr Merifield was pleased that the issue of Land Banking was raised in the report which she felt was a very important issue, as well as the need for the threshold on affordable housing being kept at 40%.
The Chair asked for a timescale for the report to be implemented. The Assistant Director, Planning said it was unlikely that all items would be completed. Some items could be carried out within six months but it was difficult to tell with other competing priorities for the Government.
Cllr Bagnall asked for clarification regarding the nearly automatic path to permission for developers under the zoning system. The proposals needed to be clearer ... view the full minutes text for item 3.