Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel
Wednesday 15th September 2021 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Campus East, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6AE. View directions

Contact: Jonah Anthony 

Media

Items
No. Item

16.

SUBSTITUTIONS

To note any substitution of Panel Members in accordance with Council Procedure Rules.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following substitution of Committee Members had been made in accordance with Council Procedure Rule:

 

Councillor F. Wachuku for Councillor G. Michaelides

17.

APOLOGIES

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies of absence was received from Councillor G. Michaelides

18.

MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 19 August 2021 (previously circulated).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 19th August 2021 were approved as a correct record.

 

In response to a question raised at the previous meeting, Councillor Boulton confirmed that the suggestion that different parking rates be available to NHS employees had been taken to Cabinet and will be considered as part of the next spending round ahead of the 2021/22 budget.

19.

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.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors S. Boulton and S. Thusu declared a non-pecuniary interest in items on the agenda as appropriate by virtue of being a Member of Hertfordshire County Council.

20.

LOCAL PLAN INSPECTOR'S REPORT pdf icon PDF 358 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) setting out the Inspector’s conclusions on the Full Objective Assessment of Housing Need (FOAHN), the soundness of additional sites, the revised windfall assessment, and the treatment of Green belt boundaries. His supplementary report addresses concerns about selection of sites and provides guidance on the way forward.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) setting out the Inspector’s conclusions on the Full Objective Assessment of Housing Need (FOAHN), the soundness of additional sites, the revised windfall assessment, and the treatment of Green belt boundaries. His supplementary report addressed concerns about selection of sites and provided guidance on the way forward.

 

Officers made members aware of an error in Table 1, confirming that BrP7 should only appear in table 2 of the appendix.

 

Officers set out the key points of the letter from the Planning Inspector which showed the modifications they thought would be required to make the Local Plan sound. The letter did set out a timeline for revising the Local Plan.  However, Officers wrote to the Inspector and confirmed that the timeline proposed could not be met, and instead proposed an alternative timetable. This was noted by the Members 

 

The Inspector’s letter explained that whilst they found the Plan to be unsound, this could change with a revised FOAHN.

 

Officers informed members that the FOAHN was informed by the latest evidence and would be updated every two years. The Inspectors report reviewed whether there has been a “meaningful change” in the data. Members were informed that the only “meaningful change” was natural change. This assessment resulted in a higher uplift than the Turley Assessment with 15,200 dwellings. This was lower than the previous OAN. It was made clear that the Plan would need to have a 5-year land supply with proportionate distribution and sustainability of settlements.

 

Furthermore, it was made clear by the Inspector that more sites would be needed to meet the FOAHN, and the range of sites will need to take into account the Inspectors test to make the Plan sound.  Officers confirmed that the next meeting of the Panel in October would go into greater detail on specific sites and options.

 

During the debate the following points were raised and discussed:

 

1)    Member asked for clarification as to whether the sites listed in Table 3 (sites capable of being found sound) should be considered before the site listed in Table 2 (Sites Found Sound but could be replaced by other sites). Officers clarified that whilst some of the sites in Table 3 would be as sustainable however, not all sites would be sustainable.

2)    Members asked for clarification on what determined the local need. Officers stated that the local need arose from birth and death rates.

3)    Members noted the constraints on the Council to amend and shape the Local Plan. Officers confirmed that the Council cannot take sites out of the plan without withdrawing the whole Plan, However, modifications of sites was possible, and Officers had asked the Inspector to see what modifications could be made to the Plan to make deem it sound.

4)    In response to a Member’s request. Officers agreed to produce a table of sites which had been ruled out of the Local Plan.

5)    Members expressed a concern that young people were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

LAND AT VINEYARDS ROAD ARTICLE 4 DIRECTION pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Report of the corporate director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on serving an immediate Article 4 Direction on the parcel of land on the west side of Vineyards Road to remove nationally permitted development rights.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on serving an immediate Article 4 Direction on the parcel of land on the west side of Vineyards Road which would remove nationally permitted development rights.

 

A parcel of Green Belt land in Northaw had been auctioned as nine individual plots, in which three had been sold. There was opportunity for the erection of gates, fences, walls and other means of enclosure. The Council served an immediate Article 4 Direction on the parcel of land on 7 April which would last until 7 October 2021.

 

During a consultation process there was an extremely high majority in favour of continuing the Article 4 as Officers consider that a threat remained. Officers recommended to the Panel a permanent Article 4 Direction on the land and if unanimously agreed to be taken as an Executive Member Decision Notice by the appropriate Portfolio Holder.

 

The following points were raised and discussed:

1)    Member raised a question regarding objections and planning permission on the sites. Officers stated that the Article 4 Direction would not stop planning applications being put forward.  Should any application be put forward the Council would be able to assess the impact on a case-by-case basis.

2)    Members felt there was agreement amongst themselves to agree with the Officer’s recommendation.

 

RESOLVED:

          (Unanimous)

 

That Cabinet Planning and Parking agree with the Officer’s recommendation of serving an Article 4 direction.

22.

EMPLOYMENT AREAS ARTICLE 4 DIRECTION pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Report of The Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on replacing the Article 4 Direction when it expires to prevent the loss of employment space within the borough through nationally permitted development (PD) rights.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of The Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on replacing the Article 4 Direction when it expired to prevent the loss of employment space within the borough through nationally permitted development (PD) rights.

 

Article 4 Directions enable local planning authorities to remove specific permitted development rights on identified sites, which means that if any such development was proposed, planning permission must be applied for in the normal way

 

The Council had previously confirmed an Article 4 Direction to remove the permitted development right enabling offices to be converted into residential uses on the four most significant employment sites in the borough. This Article 4 came into effect on 12 October 2020.

 

Recent changes by the Government to both Planning Use Classes and further changes to Permitted Development rights mean that the Article 4 Direction restricting conversions that came into effect in October 2020 will cease to have effect in July 2022. The updated NPPF states that Article 4 Directions should be limited when dealing with housing and needs to be based on robust evidence. It was felt that the extension of the current Article 4 Direction met the criteria set out.

 

Officers recommend extending the Article 4 Direction with immediate effect, and if unanimously agreed to be taken as an Executive Member Decision Notice by the appropriate Portfolio Holder. 

 

The following points were raised and discussed:

1)    Members noted that the loss of the current Article 4 Direction could result in a loss of primary retail and office space.

2)    Members discussed the size of the areas under the Article 4 Direction. Officers assured members that the areas identified were employment sites within the borough.

3)    Members queried whether changes in working habits since the start of the pandemic had been included e. Officers confirmed that the Article 4 Direction does not stop planning permission being sought to convert employment space into residential areas, but any application could be assessed for impact on a case-by-case basis.

4)    Member asked whether this Article 4 Direction would prevent other infrastructure such as telecoms masks. Officers stated that the Article 4 Direction was limited to the removal of the right to convert office space to residential.

 

RESOLVED:

          (Unanimous)

 

Cabinet Planning and Parking agree with the officer’s recommendation of continuing the Article 4 direction with immediate effect.