To receive questions from members for the Executive and committee chairmen.
Councillor Sell thanked Councillor S Barker for the work now being carried out by the Waste Strategy Panel. Regarding his motion on the consultation on library services in Uttlesford, he said he understood a date was yet to be arranged for Councillor Rolfe to visit Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council.
Councillor Rolfe said a date to attend Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council would indeed be arranged, at which he would be joined by Councillor Felton.
Councillor Dean said he had a question for Councillor Ryles as the Portfolio Holder for Economic Development. In Councillor Ryles’ absence, he asked the Leader to respond. He wished to know the position regarding a commercial building which was to be built as part of the development at Walpole Meadows in Stansted. He asked for an update on the proposed use for this building, for example, could it be used for start-up businesses?
Councillor Rolfe said the building was part of the section 106 money for Walpole Farm, and was an investment opportunity. He took note of the point regarding use for start-up units, and said he would write to Councillor Dean.
Councillor Lodge asked about a report commissioned in relation to the Local Plan Regulation 19 submission, and questioned whether proper process had been followed. He referred to the recent meeting of the Planning Policy Working Group, at which he said Councillor Rolfe had stated he had not been aware of the commissioning of this report. He asked whether option 3 of that report was to be followed, and whether adequate legal advice had been obtained.
Councillor Rolfe said the Council, as part of the North Essex Councils, had commissioned a sustainability appraisal, on which the Inspector had commented. In light of the comments of the Inspector, officers had advised that the Council should review its sustainability appraisal, and legal advice had been taken. He confirmed the option to be followed was the third option in the report, and, in response to further questions, said he had become aware of the report on 26 October, that the work had been reported to the PPWG, and a reasonable process had been followed.
Councillor Lodge asked on a point of order whether the account which had been given matched up with the timings reported as to when officers had commissioned the sustainability appraisal report.
The Chief Executive said as soon as the first Inspector’s letter had been issued, officers had worked quickly so as to enable the recommendation to the Council meeting of 19 June to take place. Thereafter, all issues were being looked at in broad terms. The piece of work on the sustainability appraisal had been commissioned at the end of August. She apologised that the PPWG had not been made aware of this work. The legal advice taken had not been in the form of a legal opinion, but was in the format of exchanges of correspondence, which would be provided to PPWG members. She took responsibility for the fact that extra work had been carried out, and said she would provide the chronology of events.
The Chairman said that as the time for questions had exceeded the 15 minutes allowed, she would take only one more question.
Councillor Oliver asked whether the Business Improvement District company was entitled to payment of the whole levy amount where a business owner was about to retire and where the landlord of that business owner’s premises was going to sell the property.
Councillor Rolfe said he would come back to Councillor Oliver on that question. He took the opportunity to congratulate the BID team, and said the activity of business in Saffron Walden around Christmas was good.