Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Dereham
Contact: Julie Britton
To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 29 October 2013.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 29 October 2013 were agreed as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest (Agenda Item 3)
Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate and must leave the room, for the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest.
In the interests of transparency, Members may also wish to declare any other interests they have in relation to an agenda item, that support the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.
Councillor Cowen made his usual declaration concerning his employment as an Architect in the district.
Non Members wishing to address the meeting (Agenda Item 5)
To note the names of any non-members who wish to address the meeting.
Councillors G Bambridge, T Carter, P Cowen, P Duigan, A Joel, K Martin, J North and A Stasiak were in attendance.
Report of the Planning Policy Officers.
A presentation will also be provided by the Consultants at the meeting.
Members are asked to note that due to its size, Appendix A to this report is attached as a separate document.
Councillor Kiddle-Morris said that the previous Employment Land Review had been carried out in 2006 and was significantly out of date. Fresh evidence was needed for the Local Plan.
The Planning Policy Officer introduced the report. The study had focussed on two areas; to demonstrate that the Council had an appropriate level of employment growth; and to identify broad locations within the District for potential economic growth. The study would supersede the previous Employment Land Review.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which had replaced old guidance, placed a high importance on employment growth. To be sound the Local Plan would have to demonstrate that the business needs and the economic market within the District and how it would change over the 20 years of the Plan were understood. The long term protection of sites which had failed to come forward for development needed to be avoided and the appropriateness of existing sites needed to be rechecked.
Before introducing Ciaran Gunne-Jones from Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners who was to give a presentation, the Planning Policy Officer advised Members that the Employment Growth Study went hand in hand with the next item on the Agenda, the Localised Housing Targets and both needed to be considered together.
Mr Gunne-Jones then gave a PowerPoint presentation on Appendix A to the report which had been issued as a Supplement to the Agenda.
The Study, which covered the period up to 2031, considered a range of sectors but particularly focused on the B Use-Classes. It sought to establish the future floorspace/land requirements and where they should be located.
The methodology of the Study was split into three stages: 1) to take stock of existing economic trends and existing sites; 2) to assess future requirements; and 3) to draw the two together to assess the suitability of the sites to meet the identified needs.
Historically there had been strong levels of growth but the numbers of industrial jobs had remained steady with office based jobs increasing steadily. The main areas of decline were in agriculture.
The labour force had a below average skills profile with people employed in higher skilled jobs usually commuting out of the District. Breckland was a net exporter of labour but it also imported labour from adjacent local authorities. About 8% of people in the District worked from home.
Breckland had the second largest employment space in the area after Kings Lynn & West Norfolk. That space was mostly located in key centres such as Attleborough, Dereham and Thetford. Rural areas were also an important source of small scale office and commercial employment areas.
Information gathered from interviews with property agents identified that greatest demand was for small to medium sized industrial and distribution space focussed on Thetford with the strongest demand along the A11 corridor. The dualling of the A11 was an important driver of future demand.
The information from the agents had also identified issues with outdated stock due to lack of investment. The low rental levels were not ... view the full minutes text for item 32.
Report by Iain Withington, Planning Policy Officer.
The Planning Policy Officer introduced the report and advised that the NPPF required the Local Planning Authority to meet the need for affordable housing in full. The paper had been produced to set local housing targets using a range of interim figures and different scenarios and demographic projections.
The Senior Planning Policy Officer pointed out a mistake on the addendum sheet which had been tabled. In the penultimate column (Scenario G) the figure for Jobs should read 6168 (not +380). He then gave a short presentation.
The two key elements for strategy setting were growth and housing. The NPPF included a requirement to set housing targets. The current target of 780 per annum was not being delivered and the Council only had a 2.8 year housing land supply.
The report had been prepared in stages. Evidence had been gathered and a baseline set. Then demographic modelling had been used. The next stage had looked at demand side issues, not influenced by other factors to provide an objective assessment of housing need and supply factors including housing land availability and environmental constraints including infrastructure needs in the future.
The outcome of the various scenarios tested was that between 634 and 770 dwellings were needed. Guidance suggested that the higher figure should be adopted.
The next stage would be to investigate further supply side evidence by undertaking wider stakeholder involvement, addressing cross boundary issues and seeking Members’ views. A visioning session would be arranged to receive Member input and then an issues and options strategy would be set out.
The Chairman thanked the officers for a fascinating report. He noted that according to the graph on page 38 most inward migration to the District was from within the UK.
Councillor Kiddle-Morris was concerned about formulating policies. The report said that housing provision should match job requirements but many people commuted out of the District for work. He also wanted new housing to be where people wanted it which was in rural areas, not in large conurbations. Finally he was concerned about the duty to co-operate with neighbouring authorities. Breckland was ahead of the game and no-one else was ready to discuss their plans. A cohesive cross-border plan was needed.
Councillor Cowen referred to the upper and lower limits and said that the table on page 49 showed the number of completions. There were in excess of 2000 extant permissions and it would be interesting to know how many would be delivered. It seemed there were only windfall sites coming forward. Allocated sites were not being delivered because people did not want to live in the allocated areas. He was concerned about how the Council would deliver any new housing – let alone 700 per annum for the next 20 years.
With regard to the number of new jobs per annum he asked whether the numbers might be affected by people moving to the area to retire. There were lots of issues and the figures needed to be understood. If the figures ... view the full minutes text for item 33.
Attleborough Neighbourhood Plan (Standing Item)
The Deputy Planning Manager informed Members that there had been no further meetings concerning the Attleborough Neighbourhood Plan since the last LPWG. The next meeting would be in the New Year and feedback would be provided.
For information, he advised Members that he had received an application from Croxton Parish for a designated Neighbourhood Plan that morning.
Councillor Kiddle-Morris noted that a large part of the Thetford Sustainable Urban Extension was in Croxton.