Agenda item

Use of Submission Development Control Policies

Report of the Strategic Director (Transformation).


The Principal Planning Policy Officer introduced his team to the Group.  There had been a few changes since the Environmental Planning Manager had left and the team now reported directly to the Development Services Manager.   James Stone was on secondment from Development Control and Jonathan Blathwayt would be leaving the authority at the end of the month.


The Planning Policy Officer then presented the report and gave a brief introduction to those Policies that could be given weight in determining planning applications.


Government Guidance in PPS 1 stated that when a development plan reached the submission stage more weight could be given to its policies, depending on any representations made against their soundness.


Assessments had been carried out on all the representations received and ten policies had been identified which had received only limited representation and could be used as material considerations.  They were:


DC1 – Amenity – Regard could be had to this policy


DC3 – Replacement Dwellings and Extensions in the Countryside – Considerable weight could be applied to this policy.


DC9 – Proposals for Town Centre Uses – Considerable weight could be applied to this policy.


DC10 – Telecommunications – Considerable weight could be applied to this policy.


A Member was concerned that no representations had been noted against this policy.  He had made a strong representation concerning test masts.  Currently there were no restrictions on developers erecting test masts and he felt some control was required.


It was confirmed that this had not formed part of the policy and that as the document had been submitted to the Inspector, no changes could be made. 


DC11 – Open Space – Because of an objection no weight could be applied to the maintenance part of this policy. 


Negotiations were on-going with Sport England concerning the standard.  If agreement could be reached with them, then it would be acceptable to start applying the principle of the policy.


A Member asked for clarification of the standard which referred to 2.4 hectares per 1000 people in the policy, but in the rest of the document contributions were measured against homes built.


It was pointed out that there was a table on page 94 of the Core Strategy which explained the number of people per house.


DC12 – Trees and Landscape – Weight could be applied to this policy.


A Member asked why DC13 – Flood Risk, had not been included in the list and was advised that a number of objections had been received which struck at the centre of what the policy was seeking to achieve and so the policy could not be used.  In the meantime PPS 25 would be used.


DC15 – Renewable Energy – Weight could be applied to this policy.


DC17 – Historic Environment – Weight could be applied to this policy.


DC19 - Community Facilities, Recreation and Leisure – Considerable weight could be applied to this policy.


DC23 – Conversion of Buildings in the Countryside – Weight could be applied to this policy.


It was clarified that these policies were still not part of the Development Plan until the Core Strategy had been adopted and were only material considerations to which weight could be applied.


A Member asked what legal weight this gave the policies and was told that Government guidance stated that all emerging policies were material considerations and as they progressed through the stages, more weight could be applied as long as no strong representations were made against them.


The Development Services Manager explained that for practical purposes reports to Committees would set out all the current policies and also advise on LDF policies as well.


The Chairman asked how applicants would be advised of these additional policies.


Publicity had already been given to the LDF and people interested in planning were already aware of it.  Agents had attended a Forum held to give them advance notice.  Members of the general public would be advised of the new policies during pre-application discussions.  The Council’s web pages would also be updated.  It was suggested that an article could be included in the June edition of the Breckland Voice.


It was generally felt that it would be useful to all Councillors and Town and Parish Councils if a guidance note could be issued.


RECOMMEND to the Overview & Scrutiny Commission to note the report and that a guidance note is issued to inform Members and Parish Councils of the weight that can be attributed to some of the submitted policies (ie as referred to above) of the Core Strategy and Development Control Policies document in the determination of planning applications.


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