Venue: Council Chamber, King's House, King Street, Thetford
Contact: Committee Services Tel 01362 656870
To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 24 July 2007.
The minutes of the meeting held on 24 July 2007 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Mrs L. Turner and Mr K. Martin.
Declaration of Interest
Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests that they may have in any of the following items on the agenda. The Members' Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a personal or prejudicial interest.
The following personal interests were declared:
Non-Members Wishing to Address the Meeting
To note the names of any non-members wishing to address the meeting.
Presentation by Nick Vass Bowen and Natalie Beal the Thetford Growth Point Team.
A presentation was given by the Environmental Planning Manager and the Senior Planning Policy Officer (Growth Point) to update members on the progress of the Thetford Growth Point project.
The presentation explained the background to the Thetford Growth Point Status (what it is, what it means), the relationship with the Regional Spatial Strategy, headline figures, an overview of the work under way and the links to the Local Development Framework.
A copy of the presentation slides is appended to these minutes for members’ information.
With regard to the links to the Local Development Framework (LDF), it was explained that development of the Thetford Area Action Plan would incorporate detailed policies, including the allocation of land specific to Thetford, work on which was scheduled to start in early 2008. It was emphasised that there would be three opportunities for widespread public consultation and input into this document.
It was also explained that the Regional Spatial Strategy was a planning document covering the whole of the East of England region produced by the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA). It was a broad strategy which identified where development should take place and identified a number of areas where growth would take place. Thetford had been identified for 6000 homes growth. It was stressed that this was not a Breckland document but was something to which the Council’s LDF needed to conform.
The Chairman also pointed out that once the Council had submitted its final LDF to the Government, its approval and/or amendment would be made by the Government’s Inspector and neither the Council nor the public would be able to make further alterations after that point.
Concern was raised that the Thetford Growth Framework and Green Infrastructure Study were stated as being evidence based documents.
The Environmental Planning Manager replied that both Studies had been commissioned from an independent specialist company and that their report contained their professional judgements. However, it would be for the Council to consider and decide how to deal with their findings through the Thetford Area Action Plan. It would be up to the Council to determine whether or not it agreed with the Consultants’ conclusions and then to make its own decisions on the way forward.
It was also pointed out that the document was still in its draft stage only at present. A member added that even as a draft document, there was concern that it should not have included certain names. The point was acknowledged and it was stated that there were potentially some changes to be made to the draft report.
In answer to a question about the delivery of the 6000 houses proposed to be built between 2001 and 2021, it was explained that 900 had so far been built.
A further question related to the issue of ‘regeneration’ in relation to the town centre and, bearing in mind that the existing study was based on the town as it existed, there was concern about the position in regard to the latest growth ... view the full minutes text for item 52.
Report of the Operations Manager – Environment.
A copy of the County Council’s public consultation paper is enclosed as a separate document for members of the Panel. The information can also be accessed online at http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/A47toA1067link
The Principal Planning Policy Officer presented the report, which informed members of the content of a public consultation being made by the Norfolk County Council on route options for an improved link between the A47 and A1067. The options indicated improving links between Hockering at the A47 and Lenwade at the A1067. The southern half of any proposed link would be in Breckland. A copy of the consultation document had been circulated to members of the Panel and was otherwise available on line at http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/A47toA1067link
From the officers’ analysis of the various route options, options 4 and 5 were strongly not supported on grounds of cost and impact.
The remaining options 1, 2 and 3 were considered acceptable, with option 2 being considered to offer the best combination of improving access and beneficial cost.
Mr S.G. Bambridge, one of the local ward members, had submitted written representations supporting option 1 as the preferred option.
In answer to a question from a member, the Principal Planning Policy Officer explained that a sixth option had been promoted locally, which would constitute a bypass for Weston Longville. This option would have involved construction of a considerable length of new road across the countryside, although it was not known if this was still being pursued locally as a realistic option.
The local ward member present drew attention to the fact that the Norfolk County Council’s project for the improved link was fully funded. While the sixth option that had been put forward at the local level was by far the shortest route, it would be a virgin road at a much greater cost (£15m compared to the County Council’s fully funded project cost of £9m) and was not something that could be done in phases. It was also pointed out that this sixth option had been excluded as an option several years ago as part of consultation around a proposed northern distributor road for Norwich.
In answer to a question, it was agreed that clarification was needed on the projected traffic movement figures and whether these were based on whether the northern distributor route was completed or not. It was considered that, should the northern distributor route be built, the current projection on traffic figures was under-estimated.
It was noted that the emphasis of the scheme had shifted and that it was now a more local scheme of travel to address vehicle movements from the A1067 Fakenham road to the A47. From figures currently available, there appeared to be very little movement in the opposite direction from Dereham to the north-west of Norwich.
It was agreed it would be very useful to seek greater clarification from the County Council on whether traffic movements from Dereham had been factored in.
A member was of the view that if the northern distributor route was built, it would be likely to increase use from Dereham.
Another member raised the need for awareness of the impact of increased lorry movements (some 60 vehicles per day) from ... view the full minutes text for item 53.
Work Programme (Agenda Item 8)
Members are invited to consider any additional items or topics for inclusion on the future work programme.
Items currently listed in the Panel’s programme were confirmed as:
30th August 2007
Update on progress of Thetford Growth Point project in relation to
development of the LDF.
Representatives of Thetford Town Council and Norfolk County Council
(as members of Moving Thetford Forward and associated Member
Groups) are invited to attend for discussions.
18th September 2007
o Snetterton Electricity Supply project (part of REV project) – Update on progress requested.
In regard to the proposed report to the next meeting on the Snetterton Utilities Supply Project (as part of the REV Project), a member drew attention to the fact that there was to be a meeting the following week with Winchester Council to discuss central heating power options, which he felt needed to be taken into account. The Scrutiny Officer undertook to liaise with the Business Support Officer on this point.
It was noted that a report on Village Service Centres would be made to the next meeting.
The Panel also asked that periodic updates be given to future meetings on progress of the Thetford Growth Point project and on the A47-A1067 link improvements proposals.
To note the date of the next meeting to be held on Tuesday, 18 September 2007 at 10.00 a.m. in the Anglia Room, Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham.
Arrangements for the next meeting on 18 September 2007 were noted.