Contact: Gurdip Paddan
To note any substitution of Panel Members in accordance with Council Procedure Rules.
The follow substitution of Panel Member had been made in accordance with Council Procedure Rules:-
Councillor P. Smith for S. Kasumu.
An Apology for absence was received from Councillor S. Kasumu.
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 2 July 2020 (previously circulated).
The Minutes of the meeting held on 2 July 2020 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS BY MEMBERS
To note declarations of Members’ disclosable pecuniary interests, non-disclosable pecuniary interests and non-pecuniary interests in respect of items on this Agenda.
Councillors S. Boulton and P. Zukowskyj declared a non-pecuniary interest in items on the agenda as appropriate by virtue of being Members of Hertfordshire County Council.
PUBLIC QUESTION TIME AND PETITIONS
Up to thirty minutes will be made available for questions from members of the public on issues relating to the work of the Committee and to receive any petitions.
The following question was received and the Chairman responded:
Question from Councillor P. Hebden
Prior to the A4 consultation taking place representations were made that the whole of the Great North Rd Hatfield, between Hertford Rd and the junction with B197 French Horn Lane, and also the Old Hatfield conservation area should be included in the consultation. These representations were dismissed as these areas were considered not to be strategic to the Borough.
Old Hatfield is designated as a Neighbourhood Centre in planning policy SP5, requiring a mixed balance of offices, shops, cafes and other facilities. More conversion to flats would turn the area into a dormitory suburb instead of contributing to a mixed economy.
Located next to the mainline railway station, this is a strategic location for office development and Gascoyne Cecil Estates have found a good strong demand for office use and their proposed redevelopment of Salisbury Square will regenerate the area with a mixed development of offices, flats and retail units. There are few office blocks left in Old Hatfield with the majority having been converted to flats and further loss will hinder the regeneration.
Paragraph 3.9 on page 55 of your agenda pack notes the representations made. Can WHBC please clarify why Old Hatfield was not considered in the consultation, when and how “other areas” continue to be monitored and the expected timeframe for this to be brought back to Members?
Response from the Chairman
Article 4 Direction is not consultation in the traditional sense of gathering views and making a decision based on those views. Rather its purpose is for the Council to give forewarning to landowners that it is minded to remove permitted development rights and believes it has the justification to do so, in order that compensation claims can fall away after twelve months.
The boundaries of the four strategic areas that were recommended for inclusion in the Article 4 Direction largely match the boundaries of employment areas identified in Policy SADM10 of the Submitted Local Plan.
In drafting their original report to this Panel, officers did not consider that Old Hatfield had enough office stock to warrant being identified as a strategic location where permitted development rights should be removed. It is not identified as an employment area in Policy SADM10 of the Submitted Local Plan.
Old Hatfield was considered by officers when preparing the recommendations and as part of the Panel’s discussion and on balance Councillors agreed that only strategic sites with important levels of office stock should be included in the consultation.
If members of the Panel wish to reconsider this matter, it would be necessary to carry out a separate consultation and wait a further twelve months in order to apply an Article 4 Direction to Old Hatfield.
Point of clarification
On a point of clarification it was explained that this Panel will have the opportunity to consider the Old Hatfield area (shops being converted to residential) once a report is circulated, as per the motion passed at the ... view the full minutes text for item 79.
Reportof the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) on the Parking Strategy 2020-2030, which provides the Council’s policy framework for managing on and off-street parking across the Borough for the next 10 years. It sets out how parking issues are currently dealt with and identifies several objectives and proposed actions.
Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) on the Parking Strategy 2020-2030 for the borough of Welwyn Hatfield. The Parking Strategy has been developed to enhance traffic management and support the local community and its environment. It will guide Parking Services in their planned work for the next ten years. Nine core strands have been identified with several objectives and associated actions that will need to be explored in each of the following areas:
1. Traffic Management and Road Safety
2. Economic Vitality of Town Centres and Shopping Centres
4. Residential areas/On-street Parking
5. Resident Parking Permit Policy
7. Communications and Engagement
8. Business and Employment Areas
9. The Future
The Council will initially investigate electric car charging points alongside its regular parking programme. When the Parking Strategy is adopted, reports when required will be presented by Officers to the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel, which will provide updates on the objectives and progress in meeting the aims within the Strategy.
Members raised and discussed the following points:
· Members congratulated the Parking and Cemetery Services Manager on the report in terms of the readability and layout. A comment was made on point 3 above in terms of having the ‘Environment’ running throughout the report. It was confirmed that the strands listed above do interact with each other.
· The possibility of having electric charging points installed at all new developments. It was clarified that each new development would be assessed within its infrastructure layouts in terms of charging points. The need will be examined as in the future there may be more people working from home so less travel.
· Questions were raised on who will be paying for the installation and running costs of charging points. The Council would look to enable infrastructure being installed.
· Would be possible to have express charging points in the vicinity of block of flats, as normal electric charging can take up to 12 hours for a car to be fully charged? The Officer explained that this would be considered alongside other infrastructure deliberations.
· Most charging points will be installed in destination locations and the town centre will be avoided, as parking time limits may not be suitable. The impact on substations was debated. Clarification was provided on the term of ‘destination’ location – referring to car parks.
· Restrictions should meet the needs of an area, as some areas/roads require different parking restrictions due to commuter areas and/or schools. It was confirmed that residents are given options and the opportunity to consider the proposed restrictions and put forward their ideas before any decision is made. All new parking provisions are monitored to establish the take up and whether certain parking areas need to be revisited for residential parking limits/permits.
· As the government has been encouraging walking, cycling and use of public transport since 2016, it was felt that local authorities should work together to investigate this to make it workable. Also the take up of these amenities during bad ... view the full minutes text for item 80.
Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the Article 4 Direction – Employment sites, which would remove permitted development rights that allow offices to be converted to residential uses on four key employment sites in the Borough.
Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the Article 4 Direction which enables local planning authorities to remove permitted development rights, this means that if any such development is proposed, planning permission must be applied for in the normal way. This Panel had considered a report on this on 3 July 2019 and subsequently recommended to Cabinet than an Article 4 Direction which would remove permitted development rights allowing offices to be converted to residential use on four key employment sites within the Borough, should be consulted upon.
Appendix 1 attached to the report contained plans of the areas which are to be covered by the Article 4 Direction. Appendix 2 reports on the results of the consultation which was undertaken and following analysis of the results it has been proposed that the Article 4 Direction should be confirmed so that it can take effect on 12 October 2020.
It was noted though not in the report that the Government has introduced new statutory instruments (coming into effect in September 2020) further amending permitted development rights to include demolition of commercial buildings (dated prior 1990) and construction of new homes in their place. A report on this legislation will be presented to this Panel at the next meeting.
Members considered the following points:
· It was noted that with change of use through ‘permitted development’ you cannot secure S106 funds. There has been no affordable housing being delivered within the 400 new flats that have been created through this route and that there would be another 200 dwellings being created. Also these developments have not made any contributions to healthcare or open spaces that would normally be sought.
· Hertfordshire LEP carried out a study just over 18 months ago which has highlighted that there has been a loss of 400k sq. metres of office space across the County.
· It was noted that Officers had not considered the Old Hatfield area, as stated earlier under the public question item. The areas listed within the report had been consulted and 15 support the A4D and 3 in opposition. There was nothing significant to hinder the advancement of the A4D.
· Clarification was sought on the new permitted development recently announced by Government and it was advised that the rights apply to commercial buildings constructed prior to 1 January 1990 that have been entirely vacant for at least 6 months prior to the application for prior approval. If an application is presented for demolition and it meets the tests set, the Council will have to consider this along with other factors such as flooding, roads, contamination and impact of noise on future residents and allow redevelopment.
· Members can only consider the A4D, as it stands at present. There will be other changes to permitted development rights in September 2020 and Members will be presented with an opportunity to debate the changes.
1. That Cabinet notes the results of the public consultation which took place for six weeks in ... view the full minutes text for item 81.
Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance), which seeks agreement from the Panel that the CIL Draft Charging Schedule and associated Draft CIL Instalments Policy should be recommended to Cabinet for approval for it to be subject to an eight-week public consultation exercise, with a view to proceeding to independent examination of the Schedule and subsequent adoption.
Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the proposed consultation on Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) draft charging schedule, which is a locally set planning charge, first implemented nationally in 2010. This means that local planning authorities can choose to implement to raise contributions from new developments in their area towards the delivery of necessary supporting infrastructure.
A decision was made at the Council’s Cabinet meeting on 4 April 2017 to publish for consultation a Preliminary CIL Draft Charging Schedule (PDCS). The responses to that consultation were reported to Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 14 December 2017, when they were noted, and officers indicated that further advice from viability consultants BNPPRE would be sought to see if any changes to the schedule were justified. The Panel also agreed that the timetable for progressing the Welwyn Hatfield CIL should be developed to co-ordinate with the Local Plan timetable.
The report sought agreement from the Panel that the CIL Draft Charging Schedule and associated Draft CIL Instalments Policy should be recommended to Cabinet for approval for it to be subject to an eight-week public consultation exercise, with a view to proceeding to independent examination of the Schedule and subsequent adoption.
Following amendments to the CIL regulations (2010) in 2019, the Draft Charging Schedule is now the first and only statutory stage of consultation required in respect of CIL. Nevertheless, the previous consultation responses to the PDCS have informed the production of the DCS. The consultation on the DCS will set out the type of development which will be liable for CIL and the proposed charging rates.
It was noted that CIL contributions received by the Council can only be spent on infrastructure. The Council is required by recently amended CIL regulations to produce annually a list of all infrastructure projects and the S106 and CIL funding spent on them. This is called the Infrastructure Funding Statement (IFS).
The main advantage of CIL is that receipts can be used to help fund all sorts of strategic infrastructure – these include major road improvements and other sustainable transport projects such as those identified in the County’s Local Transport Plan. Strategic green infrastructure projects such as the Council’s emerging Green Corridor Masterplan could also be funded. These types of infrastructure would be difficult to fund through multiple Section 106 contributions.
The report noted that an updated study of development viability had been conducted on behalf of the Council by property consultants: BNP Paribas Real Estate (BNPPRE).
The following points were raised and discussed:
· Clarification was sought on the charging schedule relating £20 per sqm for Class C2 student accommodation and higher rates for Class C3 residential levy charges. Head of Planning explained the recommended levies were based entirely on viability evidence.
· Viability rates were considered and a question was asked how the Council had arrived at £20sqm rate for student accommodation? The yield and comparison to other rates for the Borough were discussed, together with how it matches our OAN. An ... view the full minutes text for item 82.