Council-Led Garden Community Update
- Meeting of Policy and Resources Committee, Wednesday 16th December, 2020 6.30 pm (Item 103.)
- View the background to item 103.
Mr Steve Heeley addressed the Committee on behalf of the Save Our Heathlands Action Group.
The Director of Regeneration and Place introduced the report and highlighted that as Land Promoter, the Council should submit representations to the current Regulation 18 preferred approaches document public consultation and sustainability appraisal, in which the proposal was included. Further work would be conducted with the Local Planning Authority, Kent County Council, in submitting a third stage submission. This had to occur in the last quarter of the financial year.
The collaboration agreement proposed would include the actions to be undertaken by the Council over the next five years; policy and design code formation and the submission of planning applications, with continued promotion of the scheme through the Local Plan Review. The £3 million allocated for the scheme would then be shared with Homes England. The agreement would outline how the Council and Homes England would work on the delivery phase of the project, with the options outlined in the report having been examined by the Corporate Leadership Team.
Several Members of the Committee did not feel that enough information had been provided on the proposal’s finances, nature of the collaboration agreement with Homes England and wastewater and mineral treatment sites. Concerns over the lack of a motorway junction within the proposal was reiterated. The Director of Regeneration and Place highlighted that the £3 million allocated for the proposal had been previously agreed by the Committee, with further restricted financial information provided for the July 2020 meeting of the Committee. The Council’s input into the design and place-making of the proposal over the next five years was reiterated, in response to concerns over the Council’s control of the proposal. The status and experience of Homes England was highlighted.
The Local Plan Review timeline would not be impacted by the Committee receiving a report on a proposed collaboration agreement, prior to its agreement.
1. The Council continue to pursue a collaboration agreement with Homes England for the purposes set out in the report, and for this agreement to reflect Option 2B; the Council to co-fund the circa £3m (Council share circa £1.5m) required to continue to promote Heathlands through the Local Plan Review, secure planning consent and the land options with the principal landowners and landowners north of the railway line (Land Option(s)) but limit financial exposure to this phase, and recover this investment through a ‘Share of Planning Uplift’ over the duration of the circa 25-year delivery phase, with any profits realised to be reinvested within the new community itself, be agreed;
2. The collaboration agreement provide both officer and Member input both in the pre and post delivery phases, with those Members of the Committee;
3. The Director of Regeneration and Place be given delegated authority to submit representations to the Regulation 18 consultation of the Local Plan Review in consultation with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Committee; and
4. The Director of Regeneration and Place be given delegated authority to make a third stage submission on the Heathlands proposal by the end of the financial year to the Local Planning Authority in consultation with the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of the Committee.
Note: Councillor Brice exited the meeting during the item’s consideration.