Agenda and minutes

Venue: Norfolk Room, The Conference Suite, Dereham

Contact: Julie Britton 

No. Item


Vice-Chairman in the Chair.



Minutes (Agenda item 1) pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 20 March 2015.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 20 March 2015 were agreed as a correct record.



Apologies (Agenda item 2)

To receive any apologies for absence.


An apology for absence was received from the Chairman for the reason that he was on other Council business.



Declarations of Interest (Agenda item 3)

Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate in 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 that they have, in relation to an agenda item that supports the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.





Urgent Business (Agenda item 4)

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 5)

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


Councillors M Chapman-Allen, S Chapman-Allen, P Duigan, C Carter, A Joel, K Martin and F Sharpe.


Mr Roger Atterwill, the Chairman of Swanton Morley Parish Council, was also in attendance.



Chairman's Announcements (if any) (item 6)





Neighbourhood Plans (Standing Item) (Agenda item 7)


The Deputy Planning Manager provided Members with an update on the progress of Neighbourhood Plans for Croxton, Brettenham & Kilverstone, Kenninghall, Mattishall and Attleborough. 


As far as Attleborough was concerned, he had been in contact with the Attleborough Neighbourhood Plan Team and an update would be provided at the next Local Plan Working Group meeting.


An expression of interest had been received from Swanton Morley Parish Council.  It was explained that further information had been requested from the Parish in order to enable the notification process to commence and that this was expected imminently.


The recent changes to delegations would make the process of agreeing the Pan area much quicker.


Councillor Martin advised that Attleborough’s Neighbourhood Plan had come to a standstill and the reasons for this were explained.


Roger Atterwill asked if there had been any progress on the appointment of the Neighbourhood Plan Officer. Members were informed that the post would be advertised in the next few weeks. Referring to the expression of interest, Mr Atterwill advised that he had found the information required very tedious and he intended to attend these LPWG meetings in future to provide feedback from a Parish Council perspective. 



Duty to Cooperate (Standing item) (Agenda item 8)


The Deputy Planning Manager advised that a County wide Duty to Cooperate Forum had been set up to discuss strategic planning issues.  This Forum had not met since the last LPWG.  The next meeting was on 9 July 2015; therefore, a more detailed update would be provided next time.



Open Space Assessment (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Report by Feng Li, Senior Planning Policy Officer.


Due to its size, Appendix B is attached as a separate document.


Additional documents:


A short presentation was provided informing Members of the findings of the Open Space Study.  The full report had been included in the agenda pack together with the Open Space Assessment 2015 at Appendix A and the updated parish schedule at Appendix B. These would also be published on the Council’s web site in due course.


The Senior Planning Policy Officer provided the Group with a detailed overview on the methodology and findings of the Open Space Assessment so that the findings and recommendations could be used to develop relevant policies and provide evidence base to support the preparation of the emerging Local Plan.


The study sought to evaluate the quantity, quality and accessibility of open space and recreational land provision in Breckland and recommend standards and effective mechanisms in order for appropriate open space provision to be secured so that future needs could be met.  The study involved five key stages, which included:



·          Step 1 - Identifying local needs through reviewing the implication of existing strategies, existing policies/provision standards and consulting with local communities;

·          Step 2 - Audit local provision of both children’s play and outdoor sports pitches; 

·          Step 3 - Setting provision standards and determining quality, quantity and accessibility standards;

·          Step 4 - Application of Provision Standards to identify deficiencies or surplus in terms of accessibility, quality and quantity;

·          Step 5 - Applying and testing the effectiveness of the current policy to provide options and recommendations for the future provision of open space across the district.


The process had also integrated other important elements, such as assessing potential Local Green Space as highlighted at section 1.8 of the report, and providing a mechanism for off-site developer contributions in accordance with the provision standard.


The study had identified a total of 792 sites within the Breckland District which met the PPG17 typology criteria (which was still considered relevant in the absence of new guidance from the NPPF). This was an increase in the number of sites from 513 in the 2007 survey and 534 in the subsequent 2010 update, through a thorough identification process which involved a comprehensive desktop review and parish consultation. A Parish Schedule has been produced to record all open space provision across the district and as a result of the review, see Appendix B.


Breckland currently used the National Playing Field Association’s (NPFA, now known as Field in Trust) six acre standard, which recommended the provision of 2.4 hectares (6 acres) of open space per 1,000 population which comprised of 0.8 hectares of children’s play and 1.6 hectares of outdoor sports pitches.


Applying the Field in Trust (FIT) guidance and reflecting the rural nature of Breckland - the study had recommended a provision of 1.76 ha outdoor sports and 0.8 children’s play per 1,000 population. This constituted 2.56 hectares of open space provision per 1,000 population.


The assessment of open space provision had been based on three key criteria: quantity, quality and accessibility.


In terms of quantity, based on 2012 sub-national population projections, there  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27/14


Local Service Centres Topic Paper (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Report by Sarah Robertson, Planning Policy Officer.

Additional documents:


The Planning Policy Officer presented the report.  Members were reminded that Local Service Centres (LSCs) had been discussed at the previous meeting in March 2015. Through the Core Strategy, 14 Local Service Centres had been designated, four of which received a housing allocation. The remaining 10 had been designated for service protection and enhancement.


The Local Plan had the opportunity to review Local Service Centres and a topic paper had been provided at appendix A (starting at page 140 of the agenda pack). The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) allowed a greater degree of flexibility to define LSCs; however, any allocation needed to be considered in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development.


At the last Local Plan Working Group (LPWG) the way in which service centres had been defined was discussed. LSCs were previously defined based on a population of over 1000 and access to five services and facilities:


·        School

·        Employment Opportunity

·        Community Facility

·        Shop/Post Office

·        Public Transport


There had been support for this approach through the Issues and Options consultation with the removal of the population threshold. The last LPWG also requested consideration of health facilities and access to services and facilities located over Breckland’s borders. These had both been considered within the topic paper.


In relation to health – there were limited doctors’ surgeries within rural parishes. Nine out of 107 rural parishes include a doctor’s surgery each serving a very large area. The optimum patient size is 1,800 patients per full time GP. This was larger than the majority of villages. Details have been provided by NHS England looking into capacity of existing surgeries, through the issues and options consultation and also the cost of expansion.


In relation to access to services and facilities outside of the District, the work had focused around appropriate walking distances and taken into account guidance from the Institute of Highways and Transport. This sets the walking distance at 1,200m. It had also considered the ability to protect services and facilities from change of use.


The 14 LSCs which were designated previously had been recommended to be maintained as such. In addition, another 8 villages have been recommended for designation. This included Great Hockham; whilst it does not contain all the services and facilities to be classified as a service centre, the village had requested further growth and extensions to their settlement boundary through the Local Plan. The village already had a primary school, community facilities and public transport; however, only limited employment opportunities existed and it had no shop. Buses operated to Thetford and Watton which offered employment and shopping.


The Planning Policy Officer advised that she intended to send this information to Parish Councils and Ward Members following this meeting for verification.


The Chairman pointed out that on page 145 of the document it showed that Scarning did not have a community facility; this was incorrect.


Councillor Carter pointed out that Saham Toney had been listed as having a shop which again was incorrect and advised  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28/14


Local Plan Site Assessment Methodology (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Report by Iain Withington, Planning Policy Team Leader.

Additional documents:


The Planning Policy Team Leader presented the report.  The report had been included on page 209 of the agenda pack with the topic paper detailing the approach starting on page 216.


As part of the Local Plan process the Council had received 519 potential sites for assessment. The approach proposed to the assessment of these sites had been detailed in the topic paper. This topic paper would be used as part of the evidence base and was designed to be transparent.


Planning guidance tells us that the assessments should identify all sites (and broad locations) regardless of the amount of development needed. This would then enable an identification of sites and locations suitable for the required development and enable a consistent basis for comparison between sites based on evidence and evaluation.


The broad stages of the work done thus far and the proposed methodology had been set out in the topic paper appended and had been designed to be based on national planning principles, be transparent, be consistent and enable unsustainable sites to be filtered out.


In terms of residential the proposed methodology followed that advocated in the NPPF and planning practice guidance which advocates that Local Planning Authorities should prepare a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA).


It had been proposed that the 2014 SHLAA update be updated further to include all the new sites submitted from last year and through the Issues and Options consultation which could be supported by the emerging settlement strategy which Members provided a steer on at the March 2015 meeting. This process had already started.   The original SHLAA only focussed on the Core Strategy, the new approach was to therefore widen it to include the emerging settlements which was discussed in March and have just previously updated this Group in the previous agenda item.


Updating the SHLAA provides the maximum deliverable/developable housing within existing urban areas and the amount of development required outside of the existing settlement boundaries if the housing target was to be met. This target had not yet been set so there was an element of iteration involved in the entire process.


The SHLAA approach was to use a site threshold of 0.1 ha and above within and or adjacent to appropriate settlements. This was a lower threshold than that proposed in the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG). Page 225 of Appendix 1, states that sites of 0.25 ha and above should be assessed, though appropriate plan makers may wish to consider alternative thresholds. The smaller threshold was considered appropriate not only for consistency reasons but also reflects the rural nature and potentially allowing policy considerations to align with potential community aspirations.


Work was still on going in this area and so far 274 sites had been identified that could be suitable for development. The intention was that these sites would then go through further appraisals as reasonable alternatives. This included informal consultation with stakeholders such as utilities, education and highways as well as site visits/desktop analysis and Sustainability appraisals.  Site  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29/14