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Receipt of 'Call-In' - Relevant Procedure (Kent Minerals and Waste Plan Review - MBC Response)
- Meeting of Overview & Scrutiny Committee, Tuesday 19th September, 2023 6.30 pm (Item 81.)
- View the background to item 81.
Sandra Manser and Rachel Rodwell addressed the Committee as Local Residents.
The Principal Democratic Services Officer introduced the report, with the Committee asked to consider the call-in request received against the decision made by the Cabinet Member for Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development, shown respectively at Appendices 1 and 2 to the report. The options available to the Committee were outlined, alongside the urgent update provided.
Councillors Jeffery and Jones outlined their reasoning for calling-in the decision. The issues raised were that:
· The matter had been debated at the Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Policy Advisory Committee (PIED PAC), with a recommendation to withdraw the original draft submission, and re-submit a new letter, outlining that the proposal could not be supported; after having considered the irreplaceable loss of ancient woodland soil, the use of the quarried materials in construction and restoration, and the applicability of the exceptional circumstances as contained within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF);
· The additional information submitted by the Cabinet Member did not represent the PIED PAC’s views on the matter, and requested that should the proposal proceed, evidence of its exceptional circumstances should be provided, alongside maximum mitigation and the site’s restoration. It was stated that it was not possible to restore ancient woodland and soil;
· The submission of the additional information, as opposed to the actions recommended by the PIED PAC, created a negative impression of the Council’s governance arrangements to the public, press and relevant organisations, such as the Woodland Trust;
· There were concerns that the effects of the proposal had not been understood by Kent County Council (KCC) Councillors; and
· The matter was an issue of national importance and involved a higher loss of ancient woodland than the HS2 and Lower Thames Crossing proposals combined.
The preferred option was to refer the matter to full Council for reconsideration.
The Cabinet Member was invited to address the Committee, and stated that:
· The consultation on the Kent Minerals and Waste Plan Review (KMWPR) had since closed, with the responses having been published and discussed by KCC’s Environment Committee. Given the objections received, another call for sites process would take place to see if an alternative site was put forward. If none were put forward, the Council and individuals would be able to respond to the Regulation 19 consultation.
Any further responses submitted to the closed consultation to strengthen the Council’s position would not be taken into consideration by KCC.
· The proposal was not to extend the overall mining capacity of the quarry, but to extend the area able to be quarried as the site’s exiting planning permission would expire; the conditions included that 1% of the material produced had to be directed to heritage buildings;
· A contributing factor to the original response’s submission was the 180 jobs in the area, which would be impacted if the proposal was not taken forward.
The environmental harm that would be caused by transporting materials from an alternative site, or from permission being given to build another quarry elsewhere, was reiterated.
In response to questions, the Cabinet Member stated that:
· The KMWP would have to be approved by the full Council (at KCC), and that the KCC Cabinet Member had stated that they intended to proceed with a second call for sites process; and
· KCC had a duty to co-operate with the Council, and a Statement of Common Ground would be produced for the KMWP, with ongoing dialogue between Members and Officers at both authorities. Whilst the consultation had closed, the matter could still be discussed with KCC moving forwards.
The procedural considerations in submitting further representations to KCC were briefly discussed.
During the debate, support was expressed for referring the matter to full Council for further consideration. It was stated that the matter could still be influenced and that this should be taken forward, with the issue being of national importance and that Councillors were responsible for voicing residents’ concerns; cross-party support had been given to the PIED PAC’s recommendation and the views expressed should be represented within the consultation response; that KCC were the decision-maker and a final decision had not yet been made and the Council’s position on the matter should be outlined for consideration; that alternative mines could be considered and that the second call for sites process demonstrated a lack of confidence in the existing proposal.
Some Members expressed that no further action should be taken, referencing that the consultation was now closed, with KCC being the decision maker on the matter, and that referring the matter for reconsideration by the full Council would be a waste of time. The topic could be debated at full council through other means, with it stated that the initial response could have been stronger in its sentiment. A second call for sites process was being carried out, which would provide another opportunity to submit a response taking into account the views expressed. KCC Members could be lobbied by the Council’s Members and to express their views ahead of a decision being taken. The PIED PAC’s recommendation was advisory only.
Reference was made to the impact of Climate Change.
Consideration was given to referring the matter to full Council to review the decision made, and the submission of further representations to the relevant bodies at KCC, including the Environment Committee, ahead of its November 2023 meeting as the original consultation had closed. Overall, it was agreed that no further action be taken.
RESOLVED: That option 1 of the report, to agree that no further action is required, be approved.
- Receipt of 'Call-In' - Relevant Procedure (KMWP), item 81. PDF 181 KB View as HTML (81./1) 73 KB
- Appendix 1 - Call In Request, item 81. PDF 80 KB View as HTML (81./2) 13 KB
- Appendix 2 - Record of Decision (Cabinet Member), item 81. PDF 246 KB View as HTML (81./3) 26 KB
- Appendix 3a - Report provided to the Cabinet Member, item 81. PDF 338 KB View as HTML (81./4) 71 KB
- Appendix 3b - Submitted response, original information, item 81. PDF 158 KB View as HTML (81./5) 5 KB
- Appendix 3b - Submitted response, additional information, item 81. PDF 157 KB View as HTML (81./6) 6 KB
- URGENT UPDATE - Appendix 4 - Excerpt from the Minutes of the Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Policy Advisory Committee Meeting held on 6 September 2023, item 81. PDF 119 KB View as HTML (81./7) 10 KB