Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Michaela Gay  01225 394411


No. Item



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The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.




The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 6.


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The Chair drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.




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Councillor Wills sent his apologies and was substituted by Councillor Stephenson-McGall.



At this point in the meeting declarations of interest are received from Members in any of the agenda items under consideration at the meeting. Members are asked to indicate:


(a) The agenda item number in which they have an interest to declare.

(b) The nature of their interest.

(c) Whether their interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an other interest, (as defined in Part 4.4 Appendix B of the Code of Conduct and Rules for Registration of Interests)


Any Member who needs to clarify any matters relating to the declaration of interests is recommended to seek advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officeror a member of his staff before the meeting to expedite dealing with the item during the meeting.


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There were none.



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There was none.



At the time of publication no notifications had been received.


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Councillor Hirst made a statement on public transport/buses. A copy of the statement is attached to the minutes.


Councillor Warren, Cabinet Member for Climate and Sustainable Travel, made a statement. She explained that she had recently met with mayor Norris and there was a plan to use the WECA Planning Board more proactively going forwards, rather than as a rubber stamp. She thanked the mayor for these effective discussions.


Statement Cllr Hirst pdf icon PDF 109 KB


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 313 KB

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The Panel confirmed the minutes of the previous meeting as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chairman.


WECA Scrutiny - Public Transport pdf icon PDF 235 KB

A briefing document is attached which gives an update on bus usage; challenges facing bus operators; Government and Local Authority funding for bus services and BANES role in public transport.


Representatives from WECA have been invited to attend.

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The Chair introduced the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) Mayor Dan Norris.


Mayor Norris thanked the Panel. He explained that there are some fundamental challenges regarding bus services - a major issue being the shortage of drivers which was made worse when the Government invited bus drivers to become HGV drivers during the pandemic. There is a need to identify, recruit, train and retain 200-300 drivers. The mayor stated that we need to think differently to find a solution such as changing shift patterns so that more women (who can often have more child and elder care responsibilities) could become drivers. He invited BANES to join in the recruitment drive and help to come up with initiatives and ideas. He stated that the other pressing issue is inflation which effects transport etc. cost of fuel. He explained that the most pressing issue at the moment is the lack of drivers. He stated that the number 12 service would continue until April 2023 and that he was constantly trying to patch up the system and do the best he can. He stated that people describe the problems well but what is needed is solutions. He went on to speak about bus stops – he stated the funds had been identified to improve bus stops and appealed for Councillors to urge their officers to remove any impediments to these improvements so that the money can be used. He stated that there is an option for him to take control of the bus stops so that they can all be brought up to a standard. He added that Bristol City Council had done this.


Panel members made the following points and asked the following questions:


Councillor Crossley stated that he was glad the number 12 service had been extended to April 2023. He asked about flexibility in the bus service, for example a bus goes to the station and then changes number/service and goes back out – he asked if the mayor was looking at merging fragile routes. Mayor Norris stated that flexibility is exactly what is needed.


Councillor Crossley asked why we can’t work in partnership regarding bus stops rather than handing responsibility to WECA. The mayor stated that if WECA controlled the bus stops, there could be economies of scale.


Councillor O Brien asked if Town Councils can approach the mayor’s office direct regarding bus stops. The mayor agreed and stated that they would need to know if there are any issue such as planning/wiring/lighting.


Councillor O Brien stated that some local Parish Council’s run a Dial and Ride service, they do not get funding from BANES – can they approach the mayor’s office direct regarding funding for vehicles. The mayor explained that a ‘Community Innovation Fund Prospectus’ will be coming in – the WECA office would need to see the plan/case for funding requests.


In response to a query on Parish and Town Council precepts from Councillor Walker, the mayor responded that if there is money, it must be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.


Planning Performance pdf icon PDF 600 KB

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Simon De Beer, Head of Planning, introduced the item.


Panel members made the following points and asked the following questions:


Councillor Walker asked how the costs were made up with regard to planning appeals. The officer explained that he could provide more detail for the panel but explained that costs would generally be made up of legal advice and external expert advice.


Councillor Hirst asked if the SPD in January 2021 had been effective with regard to having a balance between homes for families and HMO’s. The officer explained that the SPD introduced new criteria with regard to family properties being sandwiched by HMO’s. He stated that there had been some success in this area. He stated that there were also other requirements in the policy regarding energy performance and room size and that this was having an effect too.


In response to a query from Councillor Hirst regarding the way the data is presented, the officer stated he would take this back.


Councillor Johnson asked if there is a register regarding 106 agreements in terms of completion and fulfilment. He asked about information regarding an access point to housing in Paulton. The officer stated that an officer monitors 106 agreements, she explained that developers are bound by the agreements, and they can be followed up.  She further explained that there are different types of 106 agreement. She agreed to check to see if this information would be available for Councillors. She stated that if there is a case of concern that is brought to officers’ attention it can be followed up.


Councillor Walker asked if 106 agreements are amended/reduced with a new planning application on the same site for reduced properties. The officer confirmed that the 106 agreement is renegotiated.


Councillor Bromley stated that she acknowledged the staffing issues and high case load for the team and congratulated them on their work.


Councillor O Brien asked about an application in Keynsham which had not been approved but after an appeal had been given a year to complete the enforcement. The officer explained that the system builds in steps in order to complete the process – it would not be expedient to take enforcement action while an appeal is in process.


Councillor Crossley referenced the successful move, in 2007, from 4 planning committees to one. He asked about the planning appeal statistics for 2021. The officer explained that generally appeal statistics are good but they are expressed as a percentage so if there is a low number, this can make the results seem negative.


Councillor Malloy asked if it was in local or Government control to set fees for listed building applications and that for trees. The officer explained that fees for statutory services are set nationally. The Council has control over discretionary fees such as pre application advice.


The Chair thanked the officers.





Cabinet Member update

The Cabinet Member will update the Panel on any relevant issues. Panel members may ask questions on the update provided.


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There was no Cabinet Member update.


Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 169 KB

This report presents the latest workplan for the Panel. Any suggestions for further items or amendments to the current programme will be logged and scheduled in consultation with the Panel’s Chair and supporting senior officers.

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The Panel noted the future workplan