Up to fifteen 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 Mr N.Bedford
The Council has undertaken at least two previous “Calls for Sites” and it remained open to the identification of new sites up until the submission of the Local Plan, as witnessed by the very late submission and allocation of Symondshyde after Regulation 18 consultation had been completed.
Can the Council now state, in clear terms, (1) whether or not the Council is actually aware of any potential new sites in the borough which have not been previously submitted to and/or considered and assessed by the Council and (2) where are those sites and what scale of housing delivery would be achieved on those sites?
A number of additional or amended sites have been promoted to the Council since the submission of the Draft Local Plan. They are at various locations across the borough, namely: Cuffley, Stanborough, Little Heath, Swanley Bar, Northaw, Oaklands and Mardley Heath, North Mymms, Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City. Delivery assessments have not yet been completed.
To clarify Symondshyde was submitted to the Council during and not after Regulation 18 consultation had been completed.
Question from Mr A.Perkins
At the CPPP meeting on 6 September 2018, Councillor Zukowskj specifically requested that the planning officers should inform the CPPP how many homes could be provided on sites which had already been identified by the Council, based on the ratings of “harm” to the Green Belt, as assessed in the LUC Green Belt report.
Councillor Zukowskj repeated his position in his statement to the Examination Stage 5 Hearing Session.
So far, that information has not been provided to the CPPP or to the Examination.
In the absence of the critical information concerning the existing land supply, CPPP is not sufficiently informed as to the need, purpose or potential harm caused by having a new Call for Sites.
The attached schedule contains the information requested by Councillor Zukowskj which demonstrates that sufficient unallocated land for approximately 3,000 new homes has already been identified and assessed by the Council which, in addition to its existing site allocations, would be sufficient to meet most, if not all, of its Full Objectively Assessed Housing Need without allocating any sites in the areas of Very High Harm to the Green Belt.
A new call for sites is unlikely to identify major sites in areas of lesser harm to the Green Belt. No such areas were identified by LUC in the Green Belt report.
CPPP should not support the recommendation for a new Call for Sites at Agenda
Item 7, paragraph 2.2 which will delay the Examination for up to one year and expose the Council to the risk of undesirable planning applications and planning appeals.
In order to assist the debate at the CPPP meeting, would the Chair please state whether or not the planning officers agree the information in the attached schedule is correct and please make the schedule available to members of the CPPP?
The schedule has been made available to members of the Panel.
Officers do not consider all of the information in the schedule is accurate. Nevertheless the general point Mr. Perkins is making relating to the potential to reach the Objective Assessment of Need from known sites is accepted. This equates to Approach 3 which was presented to Members at the meeting of this Panel on 6 September 2018. The disadvantage of Approach 3 is that it requires the release of further areas of high harm to the Green Belt.
Question from Mrs P.Perkins
At Agenda Item 7 paragraph 3.31 the planning officers set out a programme for the delay to the Local Plan Examination, caused by a further proposed Call for Sites.
Should the Council decide to proceed with a new Call for Sites, would the CPPP please confirm that the proposed work to be undertaken in the period January 2019 to Summer 2019 includes all of the statutory and regulatory requirements in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, the Localism Act 2011 and the Town and Country Planning Regulations 2012 including the necessary update to the Sustainability Appraisal and the Habitat Regulations Report, such that the progress of the Examination and the Council’s timetable for adoption of the new Local Plan in Spring 2020 is achieved without further delay in future?
The programme set out in the report is an ambitious one but does allow for carrying out the necessary regulatory processes. Meeting the programme will to a large extent depend on the number of sites that are promoted in response to the Call for Sites; the number of representations that are received in response to the consultation; and how many of them are submitted on-line.