MAIDSTONE BOROUGH COUNCIL
Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee
Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 13 September 2016
Councillor D Burton (Chairman), and English, Mrs Grigg, D Mortimer, Munford, Prendergast, Mrs Ring, Springett and Wilby
Councillors Perry and Willis
54. Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Councillor de Wiggondene.
55. Notification of Substitute Members
It was noted that Councillor Ring was in attendance as a substitute for Councillor de Wiggondene.
56. Urgent Items
The Chairman stated that, in his opinion, the update report of the Head of Planning for item 17 – Authority Monitoring Report, should be taken as an urgent item as it contained further information relating to the report.
57. Notification of Visiting Members
Councillor Willis was in attendance to speak on Item 18 – Integrated Transport Strategy and Walking and Cycling Strategy.
Councillor Perry was in attendance to speak on Item 15 – Staplehurst Neighbourhood Plan Examination.
The Legal representative provided information on reserving rights to speak on all agenda items. Members were advised that the Constitution states they can talk on particular items on an agenda but it did imply they should specify which ones they would like to speak on at the beginning of the meeting.
58. Disclosures by Members and Officers
There were no disclosures by Members of Officers.
59. Disclosures of Lobbying
It was noted that all Members present had been lobbied, over the time of its production, on matters relating to the Integrated Transport Strategy and the Walking and Cycling Strategy.
It was noted that Councillor Burton and Councillor English had been lobbied on the Staplehurst Neighbourhood Plan.
60. Minutes of the meeting held on 6 July 2016
That the minutes of the meeting held on 6 July 2016 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
61. Minutes of the meeting held on 12 July 2016
That the minutes of the meeting held on 12 July 2016 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
62. Presentation of Petitions (if any)
There were no Petitions.
63. Questions and answer session for members of the public
There were no questions from members of the public.
64. Exempt items
That items on the agenda be taken in public as proposed.
65. Committee Work Programme
It was noted that a date should to be confirmed in February or March 2017 for the report on the Reformation of the Transport Operators Group.
It was noted that all Members of the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transport (SPST) Committee would be invited to attend the Planning Committee’s workshop on Enforcement scheduled for 25 October 2016, 6:00pm at the Town Hall. A further, more detailed workshop, would be arranged for SPST Committee Members in January 2016. This workshop would focus on issues such as how many actions were taken and the details of the policy on retrospective planning permission and enforcement. This would enable Members to prepare their questions for a formal report to come to the Committee in 2017.
66. Report of the Head of Policy and Communications - Strategic Plan Performance Update Q1 for SPST
The Policy and Information Manager introduced the report and explained this particular report had already been to the Policy and Resources (P&R) Committee. However, future reports would come to this Committee prior to it being reported to the P&R Committee.
The Committee were informed that Housing performance figures, although managed by the Communities, Environment and Housing Committee, were included to provide context.
The Director of Regeneration and Place noted the comments regarding the lack of identification of cross cutting issues relating to, for example, Environmental/Sustainable Development and Equality Impact Needs Assessment on page 20 of the agenda. He would respond to the Committee at the next meeting.
· That the update report of the Head of Policy and Resources on the Strategic Plan Key Performance Indicators for Q1 2016/17 and corporate strategies and plans be noted.
· That it be noted where complete data was not available in respect of the Strategic Plan Key Performance Indicators for Q1 2016/17.
67. Report of the Director of Finance and Business Improvement - First Quarter Budget Monitoring 2016/17
The Director of Finance and Business Improvement presented the report and informed the Committee that the SPST Committee were within budget and within their remit.
It was pointed out that Parking Services were a projected surplus of £250k and other services were within budget.
It was noted that the budget for the Development Management Section would be overspent due to costs of agency staff, but there was funding available to support this.
It was noted that the low budget spend for Development Control Enforcement did not reflect a lack of work being carried out on Enforcement issues. This particular budget was for ‘one off’ costs. Costs for enforcement’s day to day costs, including salaries and ongoing work, were provided by a separate budget.
That the revenue position at the end of the first quarter, and the actions being taken or proposed to improve the position where significant variances have been identified, be noted.
68. Report of the Head of Planning and Development - Staplehurst Neighbourhood Plan Examination
The Project Manager – Local Plan presented the report and explained the findings of the Examiner were set out within it.
It was reported that, since the publication of the agenda, Staplehurst Parish Council had accepted the Examiner’s recommendations.
If the plan was agreed by the Committee a local referendum would take place on 3 November 2016. A report would come back to this Committee on 8 November 2016 with the results for the Committee to make a recommendation to Council to make the plan.
The Project Manager – Local Plan congratulated Staplehurst Parish Council on their hard work in getting their Neighbourhood Plan to this stage and confirmed the Council would continue to support them through the next steps and beyond, if necessary.
Councillor Perry addressed the Committee as a visiting Member and thanked officers for their assistance with the Neighbourhood Plan.
Thanks to Councillor Perry were also noted.
The Committee were informed that the Local Plan examination starts on 4 October 2016. The referendum for the Staplehurst Neighbourhood Plan would be on 3 November 2016, in the middle of the examination. If the Neighbourhood Plan passed the referendum, the Council would have to take account of the Examiner’s recommendations, in the Local Plan, regarding the land at Lodge Road, Staplehurst and its development as a mixed use allocation.
1. That the findings of the Examiner in relation to the Neighbourhood Development Plan for Staplehurst, as set out in appendix 1 to the report of the Head of Planning and Development, be noted.
2. That the modifications as set out in the Examiner’s report made to the Staplehurst Neighbourhood Plan as submitted for examination be agreed.
3. That it be agreed that the Staplehurst Neighbourhood Plan be taken forward, as amended, to a local referendum.
Voting: For – 9 Against – 0 Abstentions – 0
69. Report of the Head of Planning and Development - Local Plan Examination Update
The Project Manager – Local Plan introduced the report and explained it was for information on the progress of the Local Plan Examination programme.
The Committee heard that the Hearings Programme had now been updated to Version F which was available on the Council’s web site.
Matters, Issues and Questions from the Examiner were being dealt with by officers and would be finalised by 15 September 2016 and published on the Council’s web site with public responses.
The Committee were informed there was a media campaign planned to provide positive messages throughout the process.
The Committee acknowledged the amount of work put in to getting the Local Plan to this stage and wished officers luck with the process.
That the update provided in relation to the forthcoming Local Plan examination hearings be noted.
70. Report of the Head of Planning and Development - Authority Monitoring Report
The Planning Officer, Spatial Planning presented the highlights of the report and Urgent Update.
The Committee heard this was the first Authority Monitoring Report for three years, which was different to previous reports because it had taken into account the gap of three years and the Local Plan work that had been undertaken.
The Committee discussed the need for the report to provide a more detailed level of analysis in order to gain value from it. It was felt the report was not capturing the latest issues in the borough. This was noted and would be taken into consideration for future reports.
Concern was raised regarding the impact of achieving the target for Gypsy and Traveller sites 10 years ahead of the plan. The concern was whether this would mean no sites would be provided for the remaining 7 years.
It was explained this may result in the Council having to allocate more sites. However, after three calls for sites, no more sites came forward.
It was agreed the report was useful and necessary and had identified a need to work with other areas in future to make the information more useful.
That the Authority Monitoring Report 2015/16, attached as appendix 1 to the report of the Head of Planning and Development, as amended by the urgent update report, be approved for publication on the Council’s website.
Voting: For – 9 Against – 0 Abstentions – 0
71. Report of the Head of Planning and Development - Integrated Transport Strategy and Walking & Cycling Strategy
The Head of Planning and Development presented the report and the amended Appendices on the Amended Agenda dated 7 September 2016.
The Committee heard the amended appendices contained the revisions decided by the Committee at their meeting on 6 July 2016 and the recommendations from the Maidstone Joint Transport Board at their meeting on 13 July 2016.
The amended Integrated Transport Strategy (ITS) and the Walking and Cycling Strategy (W&CS) were offered to the JTB at their meeting on 13 July 2016. However, the JTB did not take the documents, but did receive a joint report by Kent County Council’s (KCC) Head of Transportation and the Council’s Head of Planning and Development.
The Committee heard that KCC would not agree the documents as joint documents for reasons outlined in letters from KCC. KCC Highways broadly agreed with the contents of the documents up to 2022. After this date transport issues became more severe, particularly in South East Maidstone, where additional mitigation in the ITS and W&CS came in to play.
The Committee were asked to approve the ITS and W&CS with the amendments from the meeting on 6 July 2016 and the recommendation of the JTB from 13 July 2016, to form part of the evidence for the Local Plan Examination.
Councillor Willis addressed the Committee and asked for clarification and asked for his disappointment with KCC to be recorded.
1. That the recommendations of the Maidstone Joint Transport Board of 13 July 2016 relating to the Maidstone Integrated Transport Strategy be approved.
2. That the Integrated Transport Strategy attached to the Second Amended Agenda, dated 9 September 2016, be adopted.
3. That the Walking and Cycling Strategy attached to the Second Amended Agenda, dated 9 September 2016, be adopted.
Voting: For – 7 Against – 0 Abstentions – 2
72. Report of the Head of Planning and Development - The Housing and Planning Act 2016
The Planning Policy Manager presented the report and explained the Housing and Planning Act 2016 had received Royal Assention on 12 May 2016.
The Committee’s attention was drawn to the introduction of starter homes in 2017 which will make up the first 20% of the 35% of meeting Affordable Housing.
The Committee discussed their concerns and the implications of the Act but welcomed a workshop when the details of secondary legislation were available.
1. That the Assent of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, its provisions and the need for regulations and secondary legislation before it fully came into effect be noted.
2. That a workshop for Councillors be held when the details of the secondary legislation were available.
73. Duration of meeting
6:30pm to 7:45pm