Agenda item

Site Specific Policies & Proposals Development Plan Document 2001-2026 - Proposed Submission Document (Agenda item 8)

Please see Agenda item 7 above.

 

Members are asked to bring their copy of the Special Council Agenda to the meeting as it will have the revised final documentation attached.

 

Report of the Executive Member for the Planning, Health & Housing Portfolio (Paul Claussen).

Minutes:

The report sought Members’ approval to publish then submit the Site Specific Polices and Proposals Document including any Cabinet recommendations and those changes required to satisfy Habitats Regulations.  Publication and submission represented the last stage of document production and effectively represented the final opportunity for Breckland Council to shape the documents before it was considered at an examination in Public by a Government Inspector.  Following consultation earlier in 2010 on a detailed Site Specifics document, the proposed submission version of the document had been further updated for consideration by Cabinet, to reflect those changes which were necessary as a result of previous responses received.  During preparation of the document there had been 8 public meetings of the Council’s LDF Task & Finish Group (T&F) and 2 meetings of Cabinet.  This level of scrutiny, together with the considerable public consultation and evidence base which underpinned the document, meant that the Council could publish and submit a sound document which would help manage development in the market towns and rural parts of Breckland for the next 15-16 years.

 

The Principal Planning Policy Officer advised that the Minutes of the LDF Task & Finish Group held on 15 December 2010 were pertinent to this debate.  He explained that the Site Specifics document had been referred to the Cabinet meeting on 30 November 2010 for discussion where representations had been received from East Tuddenham Parish Council outlining concerns that previously agreed changes to the Settlement Boundary for the village had not been carried forward into the final document.  Additional concerns to the same effect had also been raised by non-Executive Members in attendance at Cabinet.  In response to these concerns, Cabinet had agreed that the document be deferred for a one-off meeting of the LDF Task & Finish Group to discuss apparent discrepancies within the document.  Cabinet had further requested that the document be referred back to a future meeting as expediently as possible in order to minimise delays to the publication of the document.  The LDF Task & Finish Group then met on the 15th December and the agenda included discussions on the proposed allocations in Dereham, Shipdham and Watton and 14 rural settlement boundaries where further changes were being proposed and new Officer recommendations were being made. 

 

Attached at Appendix A of the report was a table setting out the items reported to the LDF T&F Group and the recommendations to Cabinet.  It had been recommended that the proposed allocation for D4 at Dereham (Nurseries, Shipdham Road, Toftwood) be removed and the settlement boundaries for Cockley Cley, Foxley, Guist, Ickburgh, Little Cressingham, Sparham, Stanfield, Stow Bedon and Tittleshall be re-instated.  For East Tuddenham, the changes to the settlement boundary had been supported, subject to the inclusion of additional land north of Mattishall Road at the Baynings.  In Shipdham, the Thomas Bullock Playing Field site was no longer proposed as a preferred option and there would now be only one allocation site for 85 dwellings on site SH.1 (the Coal Yard); however, the allocation for Shipdham would now be reduced to 85 houses to take into account the recent planning permission granted in Shipdham at the Development Control Committee held on 5 January 2011.

 

Members were pleased to note that even with all the aforementioned amendments it still left the Council with a sound document.

 

The process for publication and submission was explained.

 

The Opposition Leader, and one of his colleague’s who represented Dereham Central, did support the reduction in the allocation on site D2 in Dereham but still had reservations about the concept of joining Greenfields and Wheatcroft Way together by a through road.  There had been a lot of public concern from residents that if the estate roads were interconnected it would create a rat-run.   Members were informed that significant consultation had been carried out and the Highways Authority had been satisfied and comfortable with the proposal to provide two safe points of access onto Norwich Road.  The Opposition Leader asked that it be noted that this concern had been raised. 

 

It was further noted that another access could be achieved on land at the former Maltings on the Norwich Road.  The Development Services Manager advised that if the Maltings site did come forward, the Highways Authority would almost insist on another access but the proposal would be tied up with a formal planning application.

 

The Vice-Chairman stated that he had been asked by the residents of Beeston that the settlement boundary be looked at again as the proposal, as it stood, offered no protection to the local shop.  The Chairman felt that the point raised by the Vice-Chairman was not just about Beeston but was about the protection of all rural pubs and shops.  He felt that village shops should be safeguarded and asked if there was a policy in place.  If there was, it should stipulate that if a shop had to be removed to make way for new development another shop in the village should be provided.  The Development Services Manager advised that there were two policies in the Core Strategy namely CP14 and DC18; however, these policies could not prevent shops from closing but would, through this process, be more robust.  He reminded Members that all anomalies had been picked up through the LDF T&F Group and Beeston at that time had not been mentioned.  The Principal Planning Policy Officer explained that Beeston had been looked upon favourably as there would only be a small scale of development to support the industry in the village.  This proposal had been supported by the Parish Council and the only option to Cabinet at this stage was for the site to be taken out.  The Chairman felt that if the Parish Council had given evidence of their support then the existing decision should remain.  In respect of the shop, he hoped that this would be safeguarded through policies as part of any future development going forward.  Members were reminded that the policy did require the applicant to go through quite a strenuous marketing exercise to demonstrate and prove that the shop was no longer required, and would then have to go through to the Development Control Committee for a decision.

 

A proposal to move the settlement boundary back was put forward but the proposal was lost and the original decision remained.

 

 

Option A

 

Members agree that the Council publishes the Site Specific Policies and Proposals document, including any Cabinet recommendations and any amendments necessary for appropriate assessment for a period of at least 6 weeks.  Members further agree to submit the Site Specific Policies and Proposals document to the Secretary of State for an Examination in Public by a Government appointed Inspector whose report will be binding on the authority unless comments received during the 6 weeks of pre-submission publication indicate that the document is unsound and should be withdrawn.

 

Option B

 

Members do not agree that the Council publishes the Site Specific Policies and Proposals document, including amendments.  Members also not agree to submit the Site Specifics Policies and Proposals document to the Secretary of State for an Examination in Public by a Government appointed Inspector.

 

Reasons

 

Members are asked to approve Option A in order to allow the timely progression of a sound development framework for the market towns, Local Service Centres and villages.

 

RESOLVED that the recommendations made by the LDF Task & Finish Group meeting on 15 December 2010 be noted and agreed.

 

RECOMMEND to Council that the Site Specific Policies and Proposals document be adopted and published for a period of at least six weeks prior to submission to the Secretary of State for an Examination in Public by a Government appointed Inspector whose report will be binding on the authority unless comments received during the 6 week of pre-submission publication indicates that the document is unsound and should be withdrawn.