Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Function Room, Watton Sports Centre, Dereham Road, Watton

Contact: Julie Britton 

No. Item




The Acting Chairman, Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen welcomed everyone to the meeting.  He explained that the purpose of the meeting was to allow the community to raise concerns and put forward their views in relation to this new emerging Local Plan.  He stressed that the Local Plan Working Group was not a decision making panel it had been set up to note everyone’s views and take any recommendations to the Cabinet meeting on 30 August 2016.  This would then be followed by a six week draft public consultation which he encouraged everybody to engage in.


Following introductions the meeting commenced.



Apologies (Agenda item 1)

To receive any apologies for absence.


The Chairman, Councillor Charles Carter.



Declarations of Interest (Agenda item 2)

The duties to register, disclose and not to participate for the entire consideration of the matter, in respect of any matter in which a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set out in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011.  Members are also required to withdraw from the meeting room as stated in the Standing Orders of this Council.






Urgent Business (Agenda item 3)

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.





Non Members wishing to address the meeting (Agenda item 4)

To note the names of any non-members who wish to address the meeting.


Councillors Marion Chapman-Allen, Phil Cowen, Keith Gilbert and Frank Sharpe.



Chairman's Announcements (if any) (Agenda item 5)





Preferred Sites (Agenda item 6)


The Chairman asked if anyone had any issues to raise.


Mr Childerhouse of Great Hockham Parish Council had found a number of mistakes in the paper relating to his Parish.


Mr Leighton of Ashill Parish Council was unsure whether the village was coming forward as a Local Service Centre or having its settlement boundary removed.  He wanted to know where this Plan put the Parish.


Mr Hayward of Stow Bedon Parish Council had an objection from the Parish Council and the Resident’s Association about the settlement boundary being removed.  Mr Gibson representing Stow Bedon and Saham Toney Parish Councils shared the thoughts of Mr Childerhouse in relation to the parish of Stow Bedon and he hoped that Saham Toney would be removed as a Local Service Centre although he had nothing against the housing allocation.


Councillor Cowen, Ward Member for All Saints & Wayland which covered many of the areas being discussed raised issues in relation to the accuracy of the document.


The Chairman reminded everyone that this meeting was a fact finding exercise and any inaccuracies would be rectified. 



Ashill pdf icon PDF 434 KB

Additional documents:


Stephen Otterwell (SO), Director of Planning and Building Control, Capita, explained that Ashill had been discussed at the informal Local Plan Working Group on 11 July 2016.  The initial element of the meeting looked at the Locational Strategy PD03.


Originally 22 Local Service Centres (LSC) had been proposed, but following previous consultation and Member steer it was now proposed that only those villages which met the qualifying criteria (listed at paragraph 1.6 of the report) should be designated as a LSC.


The consequence of that re-assessment was that Ashill had been elevated to become a LSC as it fulfilled the necessary criteria.


Mr Leighton, from Ashill Parish Council, referred to the audit documentation at Appendix 1 of the Local Strategy, Level and Location of Growth and Rural Areas report, copies of which had been made available at the meeting.  He wanted to know where the 22 businesses were as he could only find five or six that actually employed people and the school was at maximum capacity.  He had no qualms about having small scale development in the village but the three sites already planned would mean an 18% increase in population.  He felt that Ashill would be swamped and he had grave concerns about the main road through the village not being able to cope with all the extra vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The sewer regularly backed up (once a fortnight in fact) and there was no Doctors surgery within six miles.  Big numbers were not sustainable and he implored the Councillors that if all this development went ahead that any S106 monies came to Ashill for extra facilities, play equipment etc.


SO advised that the information on employment figures had been gathered from the Inter-Departmental Business Register; however, this meeting provided an ideal opportunity for Members to receive the highest quality information as only genuine employment opportunities applied.


The Vice-Chairman of Ashill Parish Council pointed out that the largest employer in the village which employed 90% of the workforce was likely to be moving as it could not expand.  The houses already being built would only add to the sewage/drainage problem as it was up to maximum capacity and Anglian Water did not know when the sewers would be upgraded.  The Chairman advised that Anglian Water was carrying out a huge rollout of major improvement works to the sewer systems in East Anglia.  The same comments had been echoed across all communities.


Councillor Frank Sharpe, the Ward Member for Ashill, said that his idea of a Local Service Centre was that it allowed for an increase in development in the area on sustainability grounds.  According to Appendix 2 of the report mentioned above, Ashill had a total allocation of 90 dwellings until 2036; there were two applications in at the moment totalling 68 dwellings therefore, in his opinion, Ashill had already exceeded and gone beyond its allocation plus development would have already commenced before this Local Plan had even started and felt that it must be treated with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41/14a


Watton pdf icon PDF 1 MB

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Watton had a revised interim allocation of 400 units this revised allocation was due to the delivery of the sustainable urban extension (SUE) in Attleborough and Thetford.  This was very important in regards to sites already identified and the number of sites with planning permission awaiting S106 Agreements.  No additional preferred sites were being identified for Watton; however, a number of alternatives had. SO provided more detail on the sites hatched in red that were awaiting S106 Agreements, these provided a total of 380 units against a target of 400.


Councillor Gilbert, a Ward Member for Watton was pleased to hear that no further sites were being recommended.  He felt that the town had been swamped with dwellings over the years and the recent floods had affected the whole of the town.  Anglian Water had to take these issues into account.


Councillor Cowen stated that he had been approached by representatives of Hingham Parish Council who were tearing their hair out in terms of the growth in Watton.  Many people used the road from Watton, through to Hingham into Norwich and Breckland Council must realise the detrimental effect on other communities outside of the Breckland area.  Consultation needed to happen more widely with neighbouring authorities as public transport in these areas was not good so cars had to be used.  Councillor Gilbert supported the aforementioned comments.


AGREED that the preferred site for Watton be endorsed and the four alternative sites be noted.


The Chairman thanked everyone for their comments.


Settlement Boundaries - Please refer to the Settlement Boundaries and Preferred Sites Report as mentioned at the beginning of the agenda (Agenda item 7)

·         Watton

·         Little Cressingham

·         North Pickenham

·         Ashill

·         Bradenham

·         Saham Toney

·         Carbrooke

·         Griston

·         Thompson

·         Stow Bedon

·         Hockham

·         Wretham


It was noted that the settlement boundaries for Watton and Ashill would remain as they were with the exception of incorporating the proposed allocation or existing planning permissions within the boundary.  An Ashill representative drew attention to the preferred site which was clearly outside the settlement boundary.  SO explained that preferred sites that had been identified would be incorporated into the settlement boundary.  Councillor Sharpe said that between now and then, Ashill could have an additional 22 houses north of the settlement boundary in which case the boundary would need to be altered again and he asked that when the settlement boundary lines were eventually drawn all planning applications should be reflected.  Mr Gibson compared the settlement boundary to a balloon – in other words, the settlement boundary would expand as more housing was included.  The meeting was informed that only those sites within the settlement boundary would be incorporated into the Local Plan until 2036.  Mr Gibson thought that this had been the case in the Local Development Framework (LDF).  SO advised that Breckland Council was only preparing one Local Plan to incorporate the shift in National Policy.  The Chairman pointed out that the Council was now working to the current Policy that had been thrusted to local authorities by Central Government.  The Local Plan would become the only document and would be more stringent moving forward.  Councillor Cowen said that he had been working on Local Plans ever since he had been elected and Members did not have a desire to go through all this again - it was Central Government.  He pointed out that the LDF had been trumpeted even though local authorities were told that it was a live document that could be tweaked; however, when the Government changed this stance Breckland had to learn to do things differently and had no choice otherwise, as a planning authority, it would have had to suffer the consequences.  Hopefully, the way the Local Plan was being framed at the moment would last more than five years.  Councillor Bambridge informed the meeting that when this Local Plan went through at the end of the year it would be more robust than the LDF.  This meeting was the fourth meeting of its kind and the housing would spread throughout the District that would solve our five year land supply.


SO was asked to highlight Policies PD05(A) and (B).  He referred everyone to section 1.8 of the Settlement Boundary report that had been made available at the meeting.


Little Cressingham

Councillor Sharpe spoke on behalf of the village as there were no other representatives in attendance.  He stated that the Plan was going to last 20 years and he asked the Local Plan Working Group to retain the existing Settlement Boundary to keep the village alive.  Councillor Bambridge explained that PD05(B) would allow for small scale development within the community and the village would not be limited to the ‘red line’.    Councillor Sharpe pointed out that there was employment in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42/14


Next Meeting (Agenda item 8)

The next Local Plan Working Group meeting will be held on Friday, 22 July at 9.30am at the Town Hall, Queen’s Square, Attleborough.


The arrangements for the next meeting at 9.30am at the Town Hall in Attleborough were noted.


The Chairman thanked everyone for attending the meeting and once again reminded the Parish Councils to work with the Planning Policy Team on any concerns, evidence etc.