Agenda and minutes
Planning, Transport and Environment Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel
Tuesday, 15th May, 2012 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 Caroline Roberts and Councillor Neil Butters had sent their apologies to the Panel. Councillor Ian Gilchrist was present as a substitute for Councillor Neil Butters for the duration of the meeting.
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
The Chairman announced that agenda item 12 (Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD): Preferred Options consultation paper) would move up the running order and be debated as item 8.
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.
A number of public statements were made in relation to agenda item 12 (Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD): Preferred Options consultation paper). These statements were all heard directly before the Panel debated the item. A copy of the statements can be found on the Panel’s Minute Book.
The Panel confirmed the minutes of the previous meeting as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chairman.
Cabinet Member Update
This item gives the Panel an opportunity to ask questions to the Cabinet Members and for them to update the Panel on any current issues.
No Cabinet Member was able to be in attendance on this occasion. Councillor Roger Symonds, Cabinet Member for Transport issued a written report to the Panel.
This report sets out the procedure for assessing and designating Sites of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCIs) and Regionally Important Geological Sites (RIGS), collectively known as "Local Sites" using an objective process and criteria.
The Ecologist introduced this item to the Panel. She informed them that the adoption of this criteria-based and objective process for the designation of Local Sites within the District will bring the Council in line with the current guidance, increase the robustness and defensibility of the system, raise standards and improve consistency of approach.
Councillor Malcolm Hanney asked if the key stakeholders were happy with the procedure.
The Ecologist replied that it had been agreed by all.
Councillor David Martin asked if the figure of 300 Local Sites was likely to change greatly by adopting this procedure.
The Ecologist replied that no, it would not.
The Panel RESOLVED to commend the proposal to the Cabinet for the procedure as detailed in Appendix 1 to be followed for designation of Local Sites in Bath & North East Somerset.
Core Strategy Update
The Panel will receive a presentation from the Divisional Director of Planning and Transport on this item.
The Policy & Environment Manager introduced this item to the Panel. He explained that the strategy is a key Council strategy that sets out the overarching development requirements & policy framework. It is central to achieving objectives such as economic growth, protecting the environment, education & housing. The strategy focuses on brownfield urban regeneration & seeks to avoid greenfield urban extensions.
The strategy is undergoing an examination by an independent Inspector and his report is expected in the next few months, but this depends on when the examination is closed. Full Council will need to respond to the Inspector’s report.
In meantime, work is underway on; Placemaking Plan, Community Infrastructure Levy, Gypsies & Travellers Sites Plan, Supplementary Planning Documents and Neighbourhood Planning
Councillor David Martin asked if the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) would come into effect if the inspector finds any fault with the strategy.
The Policy & Environment Manager replied that the NPPF was already in place and had been from March.
Councillor Geoff Ward asked how Neighbourhood Plans would interact with the Core Strategy.
The Policy & Environment Manager replied that they should look to compliment the Core Strategy.
The Chairman thanked him for his presentation.
A Sustainable Construction & Retrofitting Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) has been prepared and was approved by Cabinet on 14th March 2012 for public consultation. This guidance will support the Council’s Core Strategy policies on these issues. The guidance within this SPD is aimed at householders and small scale house builders and includes practical advice, tips and information including planning, building control and historic buildings advice.
The Planning Policy Team Leader and Corporate Sustainability Officer introduced this item to the Panel.
The Planning Policy Team Leader informed them that the Sustainable Construction & Retrofitting Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) had been prepared and was approved by Cabinet on 14th March 2012 for public consultation. The guidance will support the Council’s Core Strategy policies on these issues. He added that the guidance within the SPD was aimed at householders and small scale house builders and includes practical advice, tips and information including planning, building control and historic buildings advice.
Councillor Ian Gilchrist asked if they had any first thoughts on some of the comments received through the consultation.
The Planning Policy Team Leader confirmed that the comments received so far were still being analysed and that some areas for improvement of the SPD had been identified, including greater clarity and detail on retrofitting Listed Buildings. The Corporate Sustainability Officer replied that they had received around 50 comments and around 600 people had visited the Fit for the Future exhibition. She added that many of the comments were of a detailed and technical nature.
Councillor Geoff Ward asked for clarification on how Cavity Wall Insulation would be carried out on certain properties as he would not want to see the buildings suffer unduly.
The Corporate Sustainability Officer replied that they would clarify that detail as part of the next stage of the process.
Councillor David Martin commented that he had been following this subject matter from its inception and believed the document to be well written. He felt though that the Planning Process section should be expanded, including links to Neighbourhood Planning. He also thought links should be included to the Green Deal, Listed Building Consent section should be clearer and information on Low Cost / High Impact measures should be included up-front in the document.
The Planning Policy Team Leader thanked the Panel for their comments.
The Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD) is a formal planning document being prepared by the Council which will allocate land for the development of authorised Gypsy and Traveller pitches across the District. The Preferred Options document is the second stage of consultation, following on from the Issues and Options consultation that took place between November 2011 and January 2012.
Judith Chubb-Whittle, Chair of Stanton Drew Parish Council addressed the Panel (a full copy of the statement is available on the Panel’s Minute Book, a summary is set out below). She spoke of the overwhelming opposition that had been voiced by the residents of Stanton Wick hamlet and Stanton Drew, at their Parish Council public meeting on 2nd May. The parish council vehemently opposes the proposal on the following grounds:
The scoring matrix defies logic.
How can a site that was scored 17th out of 23 sites becomes one of the preferred top 7 sites, when alternative sites demonstrated superior access to amenities?
The proposed 15 permanent & 5 transient pitches will totally dominate the hamlet of 26 dwellings i.e. approx. 60 people, contravening Planning Policy for Traveller Site, March 2012.
Based on Designing Gypsy and Traveller Sites document, a pitch comprises of an average 1.7 caravans but the DPD states 3 caravans. This could mean an influx of 50 to 100 people into the hamlet putting significant pressure on the local community utilities and services, especially the already faltering mains water supply.
The DPD states that amenities should be accessible by foot, cycle & public transport within 1500m. The local shop in Pensford is due to close in 5 months’ time, it has been on the market for over 2 years. The next shop & dentist are over 3 miles away. The doctors’ surgery is 5 miles away. No public transport runs to this site.
2011 Filers Coaches [next door to the proposed site] applied for retrospective parking for 8 coaches, which was refused on the grounds of
• ‘inappropriate use of Green Belt’
It is a Site of Nature Conservation.
• ‘vehicle parked…would detract from the openness & rural character of this area’
• ‘local road system, is unsuitable in width, & alignment at junctions.
• ‘location is remote from services & public transport…
• Benefits …clearly do not outweigh the harm by reason of appropriateness
Have Highways been consulted?
• 2005 B&NES Economic Development Dept turned down an application on the Old Colliery buildings site as
• ‘…not in a sustainable location for a significant employment use...particularly unsuitable for HGV traffic.’
• Contamination report during winter 2009/10 for the landowner, reported arsenic concentrations exceeding Residential SGV, stating that;
‘certain areas are unsuitable for use in garden & landscape areas…600mm of Made ground would need to be removed & replaced’. Thus creating many HGV movements during remediation works.
We fully understand that B&NES needs to provide authorised sites but location of unauthorised sites over the past 10 years indicates that travelling communities prefer to be near urban areas.
Is it fair on the travellers to put them in an unhealthy, unsafe remote ghetto that will put significant pressure on them and existing inhabitants?
Liz Richardson, Stanton Wick Action Group addressed the Panel (a full copy of the statement is available on the Panel’s Minute Book, a summary is set out below). She wished to emphasise certain planning related issues around the proposed Gypsy ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
At its meeting on 13th March 2012, the panel considered an update report on the draft MoD site Concept Statements. Since then the Cabinet has agreed the draft Concept Statements for the redevelopment of the MoD sites at Ensleigh, Foxhill and Warminster Road in Bath. The Panel also considered the proposals for public consultation. The Concept Statements are now undergoing a broad public consultation exercise and the Panel is now being asked for its views on the Concept Statements before they are reported back to Cabinet for endorsement in July.
The Senior Planning Policy Officer introduced this item to the Panel. He informed them that two public events had been held with regard to the Foxhill site and that the documents had been well received. He added that the key issues coming forward were that Combe Down Primary School were wishing to have a split site for the school and the question as to whether a local shop was required on the site. He also mentioned that public events in relation to the Warminster Road site were due to take place later this week on Thursday and Saturday.
The Chairman asked if aspects of this report should be seen by the Early Years, Children & Youth Panel.
The Senior Planning Policy Officer replied that he would be happy to do that if required.
Councillor Ian Gilchrist asked if he had personally visited the pathway known locally as ‘Blind Lane’ as he was informed by a resident that it was not suitable for pedestrians or cyclists.
The Senior Planning Policy Officer replied that he had discussed the matter with a number of residents and visited the route on a number of occasions. He added that it would not necessarily become a cycle route.
Councillor David Martin spoke with regard to the Warminster Road site. He spoke of the need for a school and local shop on the site and called for the site to be sustainable. He asked if the sale of the sites had been through the Placemaking Plan process.
The Senior Planning Policy Officer replied that they all have to be taken through the rigorous Placemaking Plan process.
Councillor Malcolm Hanney suggested that the Council looks closely at what elements of the New Homes Bonus might be allocated to support overall sustainability of the developments and linkages with relevant communities i.e. beyond the funding we should reasonably expect to come from the developments directly.
The Senior Planning Policy Officer replied that he would report that back to the Cabinet.
Councillor Charles Gerrish asked if Sport England had been engaged with regarding the playing fields at Kingswood School as he believed they were in the ownership of the Methodist Church and not the School.
The Senior Planning Policy Officer replied that the Council’s Business Development Manager had been in contact with Sport England regarding this matter.
The Chairman asked if the MoD sites were ever considered as a possible solution for any of the Gypsies & Travellers sites.
The Policy & Environment Manager replied that the Council had already made a decision on the MoD sites through the Core Strategy process and allocated these sites to cater for its general needs Housing allocation to avoid the loss of Green Belt land.
The Chairman asked what building materials would be used in the construction of the new homes.
The Senior Planning Policy Officer replied that all homes are due to be built to the Code Level 4 standard and will attempt to incorporate elements of Code Level 5 & 6.
The Chairman asked what the ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
This report presents the latest workplan for the Panel (Appendix 1).
The Chairman introduced this item to the Panel. She stated that she would work together with the Vice-Chair and the Strategic Director of the Panel in order to formulate the workplan so that it would take into account the upcoming decisions of the Cabinet until the end of 2012.
Councillor Ian Gilchrist requested that the Panel receives an update on 20mph zones at its September meeting.
Councillor Douglas Nicol informed the Panel that he had still not received a response to his question relating to Victoria Bridge that he posed in December 2011.
The Chairman requested that an email be sent on behalf of the Panel in order to seek a response.
The Panel RESOLVED to approve all of the above proposals.