Agenda and minutes
Planning, Transport and Environment Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel
Tuesday, 6th December, 2011 2.00 pm
Venue: Council Chamber - Guildhall, Bath. View directions
Contact: Mark Durnford 01225 394458
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.
EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURE
The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 6.
The Chairman drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Councillor June Player had intended to speak at the meeting on Agenda Item 7 (Article 4 Direction) but was unwell so had sent her apologies to the Panel.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST UNDER THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972
Members who have an interest to declare are asked to:
a) State the Item Number in which they have the interest
b) The nature of the interest
c) Whether the interest is personal, or personal and prejudicial
Any Member who is unsure about the above should seek advice from the Monitoring Officer prior to the meeting in order to expedite matters at the meeting itself.
There were none.
TO ANNOUNCE ANY URGENT BUSINESS AGREED BY THE CHAIRMAN
There was none.
ITEMS FROM THE PUBLIC OR COUNCILLORS - TO RECEIVE DEPUTATIONS, STATEMENTS, PETITIONS OR QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE BUSINESS OF THIS MEETING
At the time of publication no notifications had been received.
David Redgewell made a statement to the Panel on a variety of transport matters.
He called upon the Council to protect the budget associated with the Supported Bus Services as he had heard that Somerset County Council had planned a reduction in its budget of £1.4m.
He wished to make them aware that three months of intensive work lay ahead of the West of England with regard to agreeing a new rail franchise. He suggested that a specialist officer should be put in place to oversee this work on behalf of the four unitary authorities. He also called for there to be no loss of carriages across the network.
He stated that he hoped that Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) would take place prior to any new bus tendering and asked that low floor vehicles remain a priority.
Finally, he spoke of the need for the integration of the train and bus station to be honoured by the developer.
The Strategic Director for Service Delivery replied that there were no plans to cut the revenue of Supported Bus Services, but said that some routes may need to be assessed.
On the matter of the rail franchise he said that he would be in discussions with other West of England colleagues.
He assured Mr Redgewell that EIA’s would take place prior to any new bus tendering and added that a high proportion of the current vehicles do have low floors.
The Chairman thanked him for his statement on behalf of the Panel.
A study into the options and implications of implementing an Article 4 Direction to restrict the future growth of Houses in Multiple Occupation has been undertaken. The recommendations from the draft study are presented here for consideration, in advance of consideration of the issue by the Development Control Committee and Cabinet in March 2012. The suggested options relate not only to planning controls but also to HMO Licencing by Housing Services and other management tools.
The Divisional Director for Planning & Transport Services introduced this item to the Panel. He explained that in June 2011 the Cabinet requested that an Article 4 Direction be implemented in order to exert greater planning controls over the spread and increase in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Bath. He added that Arup were appointed to support the Planning Service in gathering the evidence and formulating the options for action.
He stated that it is the officer’s recommendation that option 3 of the Consultant’s report should be pursued (subject to greater clarity on cost implications) and that the implementation of an Article 4 Direction should be preceded by a 12 month notice period to avoid third party compensation claims.
Councillor Geoff Ward commented that he had met with Councillor June Player and saw the problems she faces within her ward. He asked how long the option of introducing an Article 4 Direction had been available.
The Divisional Director for Planning & Transport Services replied that it had been available for as long as permitted development rights had existed. He added that the current Government had actively reminded Councils of the option.
Councillor Geoff Ward asked if any other Council had implemented one.
The Divisional Director for Planning & Transport Services replied that most who were considering it were in the early stages and some were in the process of consultation.
Councillor Geoff Ward asked if there would be any cost implications if an Article 4 Direction were to be implemented.
The Divisional Director for Planning & Transport Services replied that no charge could be levied against a planning application where it has had its permitted development rights removed. He added what work was on-going to establish the potential loss of income. He felt that this would likely lead to an increase in enforcement activity.
Councillor Malcolm Hanney also wished to thank Councillor June Player for showing him the problems that exist within her ward. He stated that he felt a balance of communities was required and anticipated that many recent house purchases in areas with an already high HMO figure would have been bought for that purpose.
He urged officers to act with caution on any enforcement activity.
The Divisional Director for Planning & Transport Services replied that the quality of some properties had concerned us for a while and that additional licensing would give a measure of control on properties.
Councillor David Martin asked if the Article 4 Direction can be applied retrospectively.
The Divisional Director for Planning & Transport Services replied that it could not.
Councillor David Martin asked what the officers perceived as the main problems associated with HMOs.
The Divisional Director for Planning & Transport Services replied there were significant issues over parking, the impact that they have on neighbourhood amenities and property value. He added that following a recent workshop it had been identified that concern exists within the community over the summer period when the majority of HMOs are empty.
Councillor Ben Stevens addressed the Panel. He stated he was ... view the full minutes text for item 47.
The draft Service Delivery Medium Term Service & Resource Plan (MTSRP) is presented for consideration by the Panel.
Henry Brown, Chairman of the Federation of Bath Residents' Associations (FoBRA) addressed the Panel. He raised a number of points from within the report which are summarised below. A full copy of his submission can be found on the Panel’s Minute Book.
Pages 1 & 35 - Will the Council be consulting with residents on its new Corporate Plan in 2012?
Page 3 - Consultations with the public to be proportionate – does this mean less consultation?
Page 3 - Partnership working / encouragement of volunteers - Please involve us. In particular, residents ready to act as eyes & ears on enforcement.
Page 11 - Community management of assets – please discuss with FoBRA.
Page 12 - Why can’t Public Protection look for new charging opportunities, eg in the licensing regime, for tables & chairs on the pavement, and for A-boards?
Page 12 - Park & Ride shortfall. Need to promote a culture of using P&R. Three changes would encourage usage:
• Higher charges for parking in Bath city centre.
• Operate P&R on Sunday and evenings.
• Create Eastern P&R.
Page 19 - Redesigned residents parking - Could zones be simplified and rationalised (eg residents-only bays in central area)? Please consult residents.
Page 20 - Reduced footway maintenance - Broken pavements already hazardous in Bath. FoBRA totally opposed to any cut.
Page 22 - Why cut back maintenance in Heritage Services as they are one of Council’s top earners? Income from Heritage Services should be ploughed back into the World Heritage Site. Does the Council have any principles to govern the use of this income?
Page 34 – Under the Localism Bill, we hope the Council is making provision to support Neighbourhood Forums and Neighbourhood Planning. Essential that implementation is not left to the whim of property developers.
The Strategic Director for Service Delivery responded to the points raised as follows.
He felt sure a consultation on the Corporate Plan would take place.
He replied that proportionate consultation would simply mean consulting with the right people at the right time.
On the issue of partnership working he said it was the intention to build a community capacity and that talks will take place with partners and similar organisations.
As part of the Localism Bill there will be legislation referred to as ‘Community right to buy’ and this may lead to public management of some of our assets.
He stated that he felt the Licensing Dept were doing as much they possibly could over the management of tables & chairs on the pavement, and A-boards.
He replied on the issue of Park & Ride by saying that the patronage patterns had changed and that usage had risen slightly. He added that further capacity was required, but any thoughts on an increase to parking charges should be treated with caution. Use of the service is always under review and a real demand would need to be shown for it to be opened on a Sunday. Alternative sites are currently being ... view the full minutes text for item 48.