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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Remote Meeting - The public proceedings of the meeting will be broadcast live and recorded for playback on the Maidstone Borough Council website.

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Items
No. Item

192.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

193.

Notification of Substitute Members

Minutes:

Councillor Perry was present as Substitute Member for Councillor Spooner until Councillor Spooner’s arrival.

194.

Urgent Items

Minutes:

There were three urgent items which included a presentation to be given by the Head of Planning and Development under Item 14 – Council Response to the Government’s Proposed Planning Reforms: ‘Changes to the current planning system’ and ‘White Paper: Planning for the Future’.

 

Two urgent updates had been published prior to the meeting that included  an urgent update to Items 15 - Local Development Scheme 2020-2022 (September 2020 edition) and Maidstone Statement Community Involvement, in the form of updated report recommendations, and Item 16 – Report on the Local Plan Review Evidence Base in the form of an updated Air quality Assessment Technical Note and Summary Conclusions Excerpt.

195.

Notification of Visiting Members

Minutes:

Councillor Blackmore was present as a Visiting Member for Item 12 – Committee Work Programme.

 

Councillors Brindle, Perry and Kimmance were present as Visiting Members for Item 15 – Local Development Scheme 2020-2022 (September 2020 edition) and Maidstone Statement of Community Involvement September 2020.

 

Councillors Mrs Gooch, J Sams and T Sams were present as Visiting Members for Item 16 – Report on the Local Plan Review Evidence Base.

196.

Disclosures by Members and Officers

Minutes:

There were no disclosures by Members or Officers.

197.

Disclosures of Lobbying

Minutes:

All Members were lobbied on all items that related to the Local Plan Review.

 

198.

EXEMPT ITEMS

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That all items be taken in public as proposed.

199.

Minutes of the Meeting Held on 8 September 2020 pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the meeting held on 8 September 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed at a later date.

200.

Presentation of Petitions

Minutes:

There were no petitions.

201.

Question and Answer Session for Members of the Public

Minutes:

There were nine questions from members of the public.

 

Question from Ms Kate Hammond to the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee

 

The recent Stantec report highlights many of the difficulties and challenges that remain unknown with regards to the 'Heathlands' proposal. With particular regards to controlling the planning process and the risks to local finances, could this committee confirm that it would not submit a scheme into the consultation process that was patently uneconomic and full of as yet unknown outcomes?’

 

The Chairman responded to the question.

 

Question from Gail Duff to the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee

 

The stage 2 Stantec report for the Heathland's proposal critically appraises the travel to work patterns and assumptions that have been adopted. It states in this regard that 'we have concerns with this approach, and consider that it gives a misleading ‘picture’ of travel to work patterns in the immediate Heathlands area.' Given the complexity of the scheme, the number of unknowns and the many instances where Stantec report that they have not received any information, can this committee be certain that it has the full picture, that nothing is being held back, and it be confident that it is able to make a fully informed and balanced decision?'

 

The Chairman responded to the question.

 

Question from Ms Claudine Russell to the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee

 

‘Having waded through the evidence pack for this meeting I would just like to highlight a glaring omission in the "factual evidence".  Within the Marden garden community proposal, a WW2 gas pipeline PLUTO is mentioned.  This is an old oil pipeline and was decommissioned after the war.  There is however no mention anywhere of the high pressure 4ft diameter Transco gas pipeline that runs through the site, other than on page 51 of our Marden Planning Opposition Groups Technical Report from May 2019.  The route is not the same and the Transco pipeline is high pressure and a storage pipeline and would seem to cut across one of the areas marked as housing.  As this pipeline will have an impact on the proposed area for housing, why has this not been highlighted or even mentioned in the evidence pack by Stantec?’

 

The Chairman responded to the question.

Question from Ms Theresa Gibson to the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee

 

The Chairman read out the question on behalf of Ms Gibson.

 

‘I notice that on the Map of Marden in the Settlement Hierarchy Audit 2018 within your evidence pack, the housing development known as Highwood Green is again not shown.  This seems to be a feature with the "factual evidence" that emanates from Maidstone Borough Council.  I know that it exists as I live there, along with some nearly 300 other residents.  I moved in in Aug 2016. Why does it never feature on your maps or within your numbers, as surely without it you are not looking at the true  ...  view the full minutes text for item 201.

202.

Questions from Members to the Chairman

Minutes:

There were no questions from Members to the Chairman.

203.

Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Minutes:

It was noted that the 10 November 2020 meeting of the Committee had been moved forward to the 9 November 2020, in the event that an adjourned date was necessary. An additional meeting of the Committee had been scheduled for 18 November 2020.

 

A Member request was made to add a Revised Integrated Transport Strategy as an item on the Work Programme.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee Work Programme be noted.

 

204.

Reports of Outside Bodies

Minutes:

There were no reports of Outside Bodies.

205.

Council Response to the Government's Proposed Planning Reforms: 'Changes to the current planning system' and 'White Paper: Planning for the Future' pdf icon PDF 143 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Planning and Development provided a presentation to the Committee and noted that the ‘Changes to the current planning system’ consultation would close on 1 October 2020, whilst the ‘White Paper: Planning for the Future’ consultation would close on 29 October 2020. The draft responses for each consultation were shown in Appendices 1 and 2 of the report.

 

The ‘Changes to the current planning system’ consultation included four measures for implementation; a new standard methodology, that at least 25% first homes would be secured as affordable housing, an 18-month temporary increase in the small sites threshold from 10 to 40 or 50 and the extension of the current ‘Permission in Principle’ rule to major development. The new standard methodology would increase the government’s housing target from 300k to 337k across England whilst the increase in the small sites threshold aimed to support Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in recovering from the impacts of Covid-19.

 

With regard to the ‘Planning for the Future: White Paper’ consultation, the main five proposed changes were outlined.

 

The first was to streamline the planning process through increased democracy within the plan-making stage. This would occur through the categorisation of land into one of growth, renewal or protection areas, with allocation to growth areas having equated to an outline permission, with specific rule-based policies enforced within growth and renewal areas. General and strategic policies would be contained within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and digital engagement would be promoted. The duty to co-operate would be abolished, with the tests of soundness to be replaced with a single Sustainable Development Test. A time limit of 30 months would be enforced for the creation of Local Plans and the Reviews.

 

The second was to adopt a digital-first approach to modernise the planning process.

 

The third involved an increased focus on design and sustainability, of which proposals of ‘beautiful design’ would be fast-tracked. New energy efficiency standards would be set out within building regulations, and policies to achieve carbon neutral development would be outlined within the NPPF. The environmental assessments being conducted would be made simpler, with the responsibility to deliver within the design guidance placed with the planning authority.

 

The fourth proposal was that the Community Infrastructure Levy would be replaced by a Consolidated Infrastructure Levy (CIL) that included affordable housing, the removal of CIL exemptions and greater flexibility for Local Authorities in spending the monies.

 

The fifth would ensure that more land would be available for development, with housing requirements to be set nationally. Any Local Authority that failed to deliver the required housing figure would be faced with government penalties.

 

Reference was made to the financial and resources implications, increased centralisation, the lack of time for Local Authorities to respond, effect on house prices within Maidstone and the susceptibility of the amended CIL to fluctuations in house building.

 

The Committee expressed general support for the draft responses presented, with amendments suggested during the debate. There were concerns that the proposed increase to the small sites  ...  view the full minutes text for item 205.

206.

Local Development Scheme 2020-2022 (September 2020 edition) and Maidstone Statement of Community Involvement September 2020 pdf icon PDF 178 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Prior to the introduction of the report Ms Claudine Russell addressed the Committee.

 

The Planning Policy Officer introduced the report and referenced the urgent update that had been published in relation to the item. The report resulted from the Committee’s decision on the 8 September 2020 to update the Local Development Scheme (LDS) to include a streamlined Regulation 18b consultation to take place in December 202 and a Regulation 19 consultation to take place no later than June 2021. The updated LDS was shown in Appendix 1 of the report. The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) had to be updated to allow a reduced Regulation 18b consultation period and was shown in Appendix 2 of the report.

 

The Interim Local Plan Review Director reconfirmed that there was no definitive date for the new standard methodology’s implementation and referenced the four options presented to Members at the previous meeting of the Committee.

 

The Committee discussed the option previously chosen with several Members having expressed a preference to move straight to Regulation 19. The risk and impact of the Local Plan being deemed unsound by the Inspector during the submission process was mentioned, with reference made to several other Local Authorities that had experienced failure during their Local Plan Review process. The Committee showed support for a consultation period longer than 3 weeks if possible.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

1.  Full Council be recommended to approve the Local Development Scheme 2020-2022 (September 2020 edition);

 

2.  Full Council be recommended to approve the Maidstone Statement of Community Involvement (September 2020);

 

a.  The Statement of Community Involvement Covid-19 Temporary Addendum (May 2020) adopted by the Committee on 9 June 2020 forms an Addendum to the Statement of Community Involvement (September 2020), be agreed;

 

b.  The Head of Planning and Development be granted delegated powers to reverse the changes within the Maidstone Statement of Community Involvement Covid-19 Temporary Addendum (May 2020) adopted by the Committee on 9 June 2020 as soon as Covid-19 restrictions allow, and whilst this Addendum remains in place, the Council will endeavour to provide paper copies of consultation documents referred to in the Statement of Community Involvement (September 2020) to any resident when requested.

 

3.  The Head of Planning and Development be given delegated powers to make minor editorial and presentational adjustments to the Local Development Scheme and Statement of Community Involvement prior to publication; and

 

4.  As further details of the proposed changes to the planning system emerge, these will be reported to the Committee with any options/recommendations.

 

Councillor Garten requested that his vote against the first resolution be noted.

207.

Report on the Local Plan Review Evidence Base pdf icon PDF 181 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Prior to the introduction of the report, Ms Claudine Russell addressed the Committee. The Democratic and Electoral Services Manager then read a statement on behalf of Ms Caroline Highwood.

 

The Principal Planning Officer introduced the report and drew the published urgent update and appendices to the Committees attention.

 

The Committee acknowledged that the report was for noting, but emphasised that they would contact officers with questions on the evidence base to aid their understanding now that the information had been published.

 

RESOLVED: That the contents of the report be noted.

 

 

208.

DURATION OF MEETING

Minutes:

6.30 p.m. – 9.59 p.m.