Agenda and minutes
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The Committee to consider whether all items on the agenda should be webcast
RESOLVED: That all items on the agenda be webcast.
It was noted that apologies for absence had been received from Councillors:
· Willis, and;
Notification of Substitute Members
The following substitute members were noted:
· Councillor Vizzard for Councillor Chittenden, and;
· Councillor B Mortimer for Councillor Willis.
Notification of Visiting Members
Councillor Perry, Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services was in attendance to present item 8.
Councillor Burton, Cabinet Member for Planning, Transport and Development was in attendance for item 9.
Councillor Sargeant was in attendance for items 8 and 9.
Disclosures by Members and Officers
There were no disclosures by Members of Officers.
To consider whether any items should be taken in private because of the possible disclosure of exempt information
RESOLVED: That the items on the agenda be taken in public as proposed.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 30 September 2014 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
The Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services to provide an update following his initial response to the SCRAIP (reference number CEH.140715.20b) issued by the Community, Environment and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee at their meeting of 15 July 2014.
Councillor Perry, Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services gave the Committee a verbal update of the progress of the refresh of the Parish Charter.
Councillor Perry informed the Committee that his key priorities were:
· Re-establishing relationships with parish councils by visiting as many as possible and attending Kent Association of Local Councils meetings, and;
· A Parish Charter framework update.
To date Councillor Perry had attended parish council meetings at:
· Sutton Valance;
· Staplehurst, and;
· Boughton Monchelsea.
Version five of the charter was making progress and had involved input from Maidstone Borough Councillors and parish councillors. Councillor Perry stressed the importance of the two tiers of authority working together.
The new charter would include key principles around:
· Information sharing – two way;
· Learning and Development – allowing parish councils access to Maidstone Borough Council’s resources;
· Service delivery and policy;
· Strong commitment to Localism.
Councillor Perry outlined plans for two aims of the charter:
1. Financial arrangements – a clear statement of commitments refreshed each year;
2. Planning – a clear statement of the relationship between Neighbourhood Plans and the Local Plan.
During discussions the following points were discussed:
A planning policy for the distribution of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funds should be with input from parish councils. It was agreed the CIL could be shared among parishes. However, parish councils would need to have a Neighbourhood Plan with an infrastructure list that had been co-ordinated from an early stage for this to happen.
Planning Officers were asked to listen to the concerns of parish councils regarding planning policies and planning applications.
Councillors asked to see the full draft of the Parish Charter before it was adopted.
Councillors welcomed the plans for the Parish Charter and thanked Councillor Perry for his work to date.
1. The Planning, Transport and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee note the verbal update given by the Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services;
2. That the Cabinet Member of Community and Leisure Services be recommended to include in the new Parish Charter:
a. Consultation procedures for planning policy, and;
b. A mechanism for disbursing Community Infrastructure Levy funds.
3. That the Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services be recommended to present the final draft of the Parish Charter to the Planning, Transport and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee at a meeting early in 2015.
An update from Sarah Anderton, Principal Planning Officer, Spatial Planning on the progress being made with Neighbourhood Plans in the borough and the measures being put in place to improve the support being given to parish councils and neighbourhood plan groups by the Council.
The Chairman introduced the purpose of this item and explained the item was solely focussed on the progress of the Neighbourhood Plans received by Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) to date. It was noted that land allocations in the Draft Local Plan would not be discussed.
The Chairman also explained that parish councillors in attendance would be permitted to make representation to the committee once the committees’ discussions were completed, provided the point had not already been made.
Jillian Barr, Principal Planning Officer, Spatial Policy presented the report in the absence of Sue Whiteside, Team Leader, Spatial Policy Team.
Also present for this agenda item were Rob Jarman, Head of Planning and Development, Rachel Elliott, Planning Officer, Spatial Planning and Tony Fullwood, Planning Consultant, Spatial Planning.
The committee agreed there needed to be a step included in the Neighbourhood Plan decision making framework, that allowed the council to make a formal response to plans submitted at a formal stage. This would inform the examiner if the council, as the local planning authority, was in agreement or not with the plan as it had been submitted or if the council recommended changes.
During lengthy discussion the committee made the following points:
· All parish councils were aware of the progress of their Neighbourhood Plan as detailed in Appendix A of the report.
· Neighbourhood Plans did not need to have the same sites included in them as the Local Plan. However, parish councils would need to provide sufficient evidence to back up their plans.
· Emerging Neighbourhood Plans were taken into account when determining planning applications. The degree of weight given was dependent on how far advanced the plan was, the extent of objections to the plan and its consistency with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
· Parish councils wanting to benefit from the financial support in developing their Neighbourhood Plans should make their application in writing to the MBC Planning Team to ensure there was a proper audit trail.
· Extensive Borough wide evidence was available to all parish councils to use on the MBC web site, Neighbourhood Plan pages. Parish councils were advised to familiarise themselves with this evidence base for the Local Plan. When Neighbourhood Plans went before the Inspector parish councils would be expected to justify their position if the evidence based used conflicted with that underpinning the Local Plan.
· Documents such as the Infrastructure Delivery Plan, Integrated Transport Strategy and the Local Plan were all evolving documents and parish councils were further advised to keep abreast of changes to these documents when developing their Neighbourhood Plans.
· The Landscape Quality Survey was close to completion as was the Agriculture Lane Survey. Both would be freely available for parish councils to access. As further evidence became available this would be published on the web site.
· Any new pieces of evidence found in the Landscape Quality Survey would be reported to the committee at their meeting of 20 January 2015.
· MBC Planning officers were on hand to meet with parish councils ... view the full minutes text for item 93.
Duration of meeting
18:30 to 20:59