Agenda and minutes

Venue: Gallery Bar, Watton Sports Centre, Dereham Road, Watton

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No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 1st April 2009.


The minutes of the meeting held on 1 April 2009 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.




To receive apologies for absence.


None received.



Urgent Business

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item of urgent business.





Chairman's Announcement


The Chairman outlined the process to be followed for this stage of the Local Development Framework.


The Core Strategy and Development Plan Documents had now been examined in public and the Inspectors’ decision on these was expected shortly.


The next stage in the process was the consultation on the Preferred Site Specific Policies and Proposals further to those as set out in the Issues and Options consultation document and as supplemented by the Additional Sites Consultation document which was issued earlier this year.


From this consultation process, recommendations would be made through the Overview and Scrutiny Commission to Cabinet on the draft Preferred Options document for submission for public consultation for a period of six weeks.


Cabinet would be asked to approve the final Submission Document for a further six week consultation period prior to its examination in public.


The Task and Finish Group was charged to review the document and to make recommendations from the consultations to date.


Ward Representatives and Town and Parish Council representatives were invited to address the meeting but the process did not allow for public speaking at these meetings for reasons of time and practicality.



Declaration of Interest

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests pertinent to the items on this 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 declarations were made:


  • Mr. D. Myers – Ward Member for Watton, personal interest as Governor of Wayland High School which has an interest in site W1 adjoining the school.

  • Mr. J.D. Rogers – County Councillor, personal interest as Governor of Wayland High School which has an interest in site W1 adjoining the school.


Non-Members wishing to address the meeting


The following Members were in attendance for agenda item 5:


  • Mr. W.P. Borrett, Executive Support Member for Planning & Regeneration
  • Lady Fisher, Executive Member for Environmental Well-Being and Customer Contact and Ward Member for Harling & Heathlands.
  • Mr. K.S. Gilbert, Ward Member for Watton
  • Mr. J.D. Rogers, County Councillor for Watton and District Ward Member for Templar ward.
  • Councillor Margaret Holmes, Mayor of Watton Town Council


31 members of the public were also present.



Breckland Local Development Framework: Site Specifics Policies and Proposals - Proposed Preferred Sites for Watton and East Harling pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.


It is proposed to present the report in three parts with the following approximate timings, to enable any non-members wishing to attend only for a particular area to do so:


2.00pm – 2.10pm – Introduction

2.10pm – 4.00pm – Proposals for Watton [pages 18 – 29 (Appendix B)]

4.00pm – 5.00pm – Proposals for East Harling [pages 30 – 35 (Appendix C)]



Members are kindly requested to bring to the meeting their copies of the Site Specific Policies and Proposals Issues and Options Consultation document (orange cover) and Additional Sites Consultation Spring 2009 (purple cover) for reference.

Additional documents:


The Principal Planning Policy Officer presented the report and outlined the methodology used in the process for selecting Preferred Sites and Reasonable Alternatives.


Unreasonable Sites (Appendix A)


Appendix A to the report set out those sites considered unreasonable for inclusion.  These had been tested against the criteria set out in the Core Strategy or for other fundamental reasons, such as flood risk, safe highways access or other environmental considerations.


A member felt that a lot of the reasons given appeared to be subjective.  The Principal Planning Policy Officer explained that the reasons for exclusion were based on detailed assessments and were informed by evidence documents such as the landscape character assessments, site visits and advice from stakeholders.


Questions were raised on the following specific sites in Appendix A and explanations were given:


  • Site Ref. [104]008 – It was confirmed that the Highways Authority had looked at all sites and submitted their assessment of their suitability or otherwise.  In this case, the Highways Authority considered that additional traffic gaining access on to the main road from this site was unacceptable.

    A member felt the site offered good access to the town but it was explained that vehicular access to the site from the highway was not achievable and the site was not suitable for two-way traffic.  The site had therefore been ruled out for those reasons.

    Other suggested options to the north-east or west of the site were also explained to be unsuitable.

  • Site Ref. [104]025 – The assessment of this site to the rear of Hunters Oak as remote from the town was queried.

    The Principal Planning Policy Officer advised that the initial Highways Authority advice indicated that access would be a problem.  However, on further review, it was now felt the site could be recommended for inclusion as a Reasonable Alternative provided access could be obtained through the existing residential development.  There were also other landscape issues affecting the site that would need to be resolved.




Subject to a review of site ref. [104]025 – Land to rear of Hunters Oak - for possible inclusion as a Reasonable Alternative, the list of Unreasonable Sites, as contained in Appendix A, is endorsed.


The Task and Finish Group then proceeded with an examination of the proposed allocations for preferred and reasonable alternative sites as follows (site references in brackets are those used in the Issues and Options and Additional Sites Consultation documents).  Details of each site are as contained in the appendices to the report:


Preferred Allocations in Watton (Appendix B)


Site W.1 (104/100):  Land to west of A1075 and adjacent Wayland High School


Mr. Gilbert, Ward Member, felt this site could be supported provided it could provide vehicular access to the High School.  This would benefit the area generally and would give a planning gain by relieving congestion on Merton Road serving the High School and would also help to meet future growth in the town.  A pedestrian access on its own would not suffice.  The provision of a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Future Meeting Dates

To consider dates for future meetings.


The following future meeting dates were noted and agreed:


  • 14 October 2009  - Venue Swaffham (To consider sites for Swaffham and Narborough)


  • 3 November 2009 – Venue Dereham (To consider sites for Shipdham and Swanton Morley)


  • 25 November 2009 – Venue Dereham (To consider Rural Settlement Boundaries)


Further meetings would be scheduled in December 2009, and mid- and late- January 2010 for continued consideration of the Rural Settlement Boundaries.