Agenda and minutes

Special, Cabinet
Thursday 30th January 2020 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6AE

Contact: Graham Seal 

Items
No. Item

91.

DECLARATION OF INTEREST BY MEMBER

To note declarations of Members’ disclosable pecuniary interests, non-disclosable pecuniary interests and non-pecuniary interests in respect of items on the Agenda.

Minutes:

Councillor S.Boulton declared a non-pecuniary interest in the item on the Agenda as a Member of Hertfordshire County Council.

92.

ITEM RELATING TO THE BUDGET AND POLICY FRAMEWORK FOR RECOMMENDATION TO THE COUNCIL

To consider the following items:-

 

Minutes:

The following item was considered:-

92a

Local Plan Proposed Alterations - Additional Sites (Forward Plan Reference FP933)

Recommendations from the meetings of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 23 and 29 January 2020 on new sites to be proposed to the Inspector for inclusion in the Local Plan (to be circulated separately).

 

Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel Document link - Thursday 23 January 2020

Minutes:

This Special Cabinet meeting had been convened to consider the recommendations from the meetings of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 23 and 29 January 2020 on new sites to be proposed to the Inspector for inclusion in the Local Plan.

93.

STATEMENT BY THE EXECUTIVE MEMBER (ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING)

Minutes:

“I bring before you tonight the result of a long and arduous process in formulating our Local Plan for the second time.

 

As Members and Officers know the first submission made to the inspector, while not being found unsound, was considered by him to have insufficient numbers to meet the objective assessment of need. That OAN was for between 12,600 and 13,430 houses, that is up to 707 houses per annum, whilst the submission was for 12,000 houses.

 

Subsequently the inspector has requested that we find the sites for 16,000 houses that is 800 per annum.

 

We carried out a call for new sites which produced a further 144 new and resubmitted sites and then consulted on those results. We received around 10,000 comments, the vast majority of which were objections to building on these sites.

 

Over the past weeks and months Officers together with Councillors have considered how to proceed, culminating in the proposals put before the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel last night.

 

We have tried to consider the needs and wishes of our people together with the aspirations of local land-owners and developers and this has not been easy. We appreciate all points of view and have sought to produce a plan which causes the least harm to the green belt whilst maximising possible development areas. This is especially difficult in a Borough which is 80% green belt and with two major conurbations in Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield.

 

The Cabinet Panel meeting last night was the second Cabinet Panel meeting to discuss the plan, the first being held last week. The two meetings totalled several hours of debate with sites being discussed and some sites removed.

 

The accepted proposal was to recommend a total of just over 14,000 houses in locations around the Borough, avoiding high harm sites and any new sites with a harmfulness greater than moderate.

 

This was passed by the Panel with five votes in favour, three against and three abstentions.

 

No other plan was proposed, seconded and voted upon.

 

This spatial strategy agreed by Members last night has not been subject to sustainability appraisal and will need to be before Members make a final decision. The sites have however all been appraised apart from PB1.

 

The numbers of houses recommended are nearly 2000 fewer that the inspector has suggested but it is considered that this is the maximum number that can be accommodated without significant harm to the green belt or harmful coalescence of rural villages.

 

Some may consider these numbers still too high but we live in an evolving Country and most of the housing in the Borough has been the result of significant development, certainly from 1920 when this Garden City was started but also in the 1930s, 1950s and post 1960. Indeed many of the villages within the green belt or excluded were speculatively developed at that time as can be seen by driving around the Borough.

 

Landowners and developers will say that the numbers are too few, especially  ...  view the full minutes text for item 93.

94.

PRESENTATION BY HEAD OF PLANNING

94a

Local Plan

Minutes:

Submitted Plan for 12,000 homes.

 

Inspector concerned it does not meet objective need.

 

Objective Assessment of Need (OAN) is 16,000 homes 2016-2036.

 

Green Belt Study Stage 3

 

Received 144 new and re-promoted to call-for-sites.

Received 10,200+ representations to call-for-sites consultation.

87% of comments were objections to sites.

 

Site Selection process = HELAA sieving + Site Selection Background Paper.

Sustainability Appraisal of various options.

 

Report presenting evidence, options and risks.

 

Preferred Strategy.

94b

Preferred Strategy

Minutes:

Virtually achieves OAN, good balance between housing and employment land, selects lowest harm green belt sites, does not select more sites than necessary.

 

Completions 2016-2019                                                                      1,446

Commitments (planning permissions)                                                1,268

Windfall assumption                                                                            1,304

 

Existing allocations in Submitted Local Plan                                      8,027

+ additional capacity from permissions/applications                          645

+ additional capacity from modifications                                            239

 

New sites                                                                                            3,004

Small sites (not in windfall)                                                                 19

 

Total 2016-2026                                                                                 15,952

94c

Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel Meeting on 29 January 2020- Planning Reasons Option Proposed by Conservatives

Minutes:

·           Remove HIGH sites from Submitted Plan

·           Reduce Gosling to 100 and prepare masterplan

·           Add extra 90 at Panshanger

·           Remove new MODERATE-HIGH sites

·           Remove village coalescence sites

·           Remove washed-over village sites

·           Add ~160 at PB1

 

Total of 14,206 homes

94d

Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel Meeting on 29 January 2020 - Option Proposed by Liberal Democrats

Minutes:

·           Remove Pea106

·           Reduce Gosling to 100 and prepare masterplan

·           Remove 75 at Panshanger

·           Remove Birchall Garden Suburb

·           Remove Symondshyde

·           Remove HAT11

·           Remove new sites at Welham Green

 

Total of 12,669 homes

94e

Windfall Options

Minutes:

Officers were asked to identify possible additional windfall opportunities:

 

Increase Gosling assumption to ~150

Increase PB1 to ~200

Wheat Quarter – pre-app discussions for extra 700-900 homes

Assume some acceptable brownfield redevelopments in green belt

Planning White Paper – growth around railway stations, new PD rights

Increase windfall assumption – historic 173 per year, now assume 100 per year

Increase density at Birchall and HAT1 by further 100 each

94f

Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel 29 January 2020 - Amended Option Proposed by Conservatives

Minutes:

·           Remove HIGH sites from Submitted Plan

·           Reduce Gosling to 100 and prepare masterplan

·           Add extra 90 at Panshanger

·           Remove new MODERATE-HIGH sites

·           Remove village coalescence sites

·           Remove washed-over village sites

·           Add ~160 at PB1

 

·           Remove Symondshyde

·           Add extra 949 to windfall assumption

 

Total of 14,025 homes

 

This was agreed: 5 for, 3 against, 3 abstain

94g

Planning Reasons

Minutes:

Remove Submitted HIGH sites – unacceptable level of harm to green belt.

 

Remove new MODERATE-HIGH sites – unacceptable level of harm to green belt.

 

Extra at WGC4 Panshanger – deliver as much housing as reasonably possible.

 

Keep HAT1 – opportunity for comprehensive development and infrastructure.

 

Remove sites that cause coalescence between existing villages.

 

Remove sites in washed-over villages with very few services.

 

Remove HAT15 Symondshyde – unsustainable location.

 

Increase windfall assumption to historic rate of 173 per year, as opportunities such as Wheat Quarter, brownfield sites in green belt and new policies in Planning White Paper are likely to sustain higher windfall rates in future.

94h

New Proposal

Minutes:

Completions 2016-2019

1,446

 

 

Commitments (planning permissions)

1,268

 

 

Windfall assumption

1,304 + 949

 

 

 

 

Existing allocations in Submitted Local Plan

8,027

 

 

+ additional capacity from permissions/applications

645

 

 

+ additional capacity from modifications

239

 

-remove HIGH sites

550

 

7,081

-reduce Gosling and prepare masterplan

150

 

 

-remove Symondshyde

1,130

 

 

 

 

 

 

New sites

3,023

 

 

+ extra at Panshanger

90

 

 

-remove new MODERATE-HIGH sites

985

 

1,977

-remove village coalescence sites

181

 

-remove washed-over village sites

130

 

 

+ PB1

~160

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total 2016-2036

14,025

 

 

 

The Head of Planning clarified that further checking of the figures set out above indicated that the precise total was likely to be 14,011 homes.

94i

Maps pdf icon PDF 12 MB

Minutes:

Show selected sites in Submitted Local Plan in purple

Show removed sites in Submitted Local Plan in yellow circle purple

Show promoted sites that passed HELAA Stage 2 in red

Show selected sites in red

Show removed sites in red

 

Identifies capacity of each site

 

·           Capacity based on best available information

·           Could increase or decrease at planning application stage

 

Identifies green belt harm rating of each site

94j

Rural Areas

Minutes:

Symondshyde = 1,130 dwellings MODERATE-HIGH in Submitted Local Plan

 

Barbaraville = 4 gypsy pitches VERY HIGH in Submitted Local Plan

 

Coopers Green Lane = removed from Plan as result of hearing

95.

STATEMENT BY THE LEADER OF THE COUNCIL

Minutes:

“Firstly a huge thanks to Officers for the hard work over the past years, especially the last few months investigating the large number of additional submitted sites as part of the call for sites process and particularly the last few days in dealing with our many enquires and suggested amendments.

 

As a Borough, we are very much constrained for space and with areas of important and valued green belt. Allocating this green belt is not popular with our residents.  I am sure those here and other Councillors have received many representations. As usual as an administration, we have listened to our communities, balanced with the need for growth. Not everything will be popular for both residents and developers but we have a sensible and acceptable plan to consult on, given the circumstances, based on planning grounds but taking onboard community feedback.

 

It is a shame that the previously submitted plan was not accepted by the inspector. I feel that we would be further down the line with providing additional housing now, with less time and money spent by Officers, giving all of us more time to focus on other things we can deliver for our residents as an ambitious and forward thinking Council.

 

Therefore, given all of this and with a positive and thorough discussion at the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel with many views put forward, I believe we are in a good position to get this plan out for consultation, again listening to our residents and then subsequently a plan that hopefully can pass inspection and be adopted by Councillors.

 

I therefore believe we are right to approve the Cabinet Panel’s recommendation tonight and try finally to move this Local Plan process to its conclusion.”

96.

CABINET DECISION

Minutes:

Following discussion it was

 

RESOLVED:

(UNANIMOUS)

 

That the recommendation from the meeting of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 29 January 2020 that the sites identified as Option 1 in the Site selection Background Paper (Appendix A) to the report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) to the Panel meeting in sections 10-24 be published for public consultation as sites to be added into the Local Plan or where capacity on sites already in the Local Plan is intended to increase, alongside the Sustainability Appraisal Addendum and Habitats Regulations Assessment which inform this option be approved.