To note the reports presented to the Local Plan Leadership Group.
The Chair made the point, as stated in the report at paragraph 9, that the Scrutiny Committee’s role in this process was to ensure that the Local Plan was robust and moving at the appropriate pace, and that it should avoid duplicating the policy development role of the LPLG. He asked Councillor Evans to introduce the report to the Committee.
Councillor Evans said the suite of documents before Members were to be considered by the LPLG but the White Paper had delayed such consideration. It was for the LPLG to provide comment on the reports before the Group’s recommendations were forwarded to Cabinet for determination.
The Chair opened the item for debate and asked Members to comment on whether the Local Plan was robust and moving at the appropriate pace.
CouncillorCriscione said the documentation showed the Administration’s commitment to securing a Local Plan, although the progress made did not match the timetable in the reports. He asked what plans were in place to ensure such documentation was kept up to date.
In response, Councillor Evans said the Project Initiation Document should be a “living” document and updated to reflect reality.
Members discussed the governance arrangements surrounding the Local Plan process and the Chair highlighted the importance of the Organogram that set out the decision making process. He said it was this Committee’s role to hold such arrangements to account and to ensure that the structure was working as published.
Councillor Evans said he would report back at the next meeting to update Members on how the structure was working in practice.
In response to a question form Councillor Driscoll, Councillor Evans said he was unsure if Transport for London was a statutory consultee but he felt that a wider consultation would make for a better process.
Councillor Sell said he would like to see Councillor Storah at future meetings to allow greater collaboration between the LPLG and the Local Plan Scrutiny Committee. In general terms, each group should work together on the Local Plan to add value to the process.
CouncillorCriscione praised the Statement of Community Involvement document but noted there had only been minor changes to the way in which planning applications were carried out. He asked whether this was an opportunity to modify the process moving forward, for instance in relation to digital consultations. He added that if the LPLG was looking at this document, they needed to be aware that some of its content fell outside of Local Plan processes.
Councillor Evans concluded by thanking officers of their work on this document. He reminded Members that the Planning Policy Team Leader was present and whether the Committee had any questions for him.
The Chair thanked the Planning Policy Team Leader for his attendance but said the issue of housing numbers had now moved on so no statement was required.
The Chair thanked Councillor Evans for attending the meeting and answering the Committee’s questions. He said it reflected well on both Councillor Evans and the Administration that they had readily made themselves available for scrutiny.
The meeting ended at 9.00pm.