Agenda and minutes

Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel
Thursday 29th October 2020 7.30 pm

Contact: Gurdip Paddan 


No. Item



To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2020 (previously circulated).

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The Minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2020 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.




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


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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.




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.

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Question from Mr John Gardner, Chair Save Symondshyde


Please could the CPPP answer the following question?


I am a Welwyn Hatfield resident.


The Local Plan Update report to the CPPP meeting on 10th September states, in paragraph 3.13, that:


At the taking stock session on 27 August 2020 the inspector stated that he would write an interim report for late September / early October and the Council confirmed that it would find suitable dates for CPPP and Cabinet meetings in October/November, leading up to Full Council on 23 November 2020.  At these meetings officers will present all relevant Local Plan material, including the OAN update, a summary of the consultation responses, the inspector’s interim report, site update information and sustainability appraisal update information.


Why has the Council not yet released the following information that was promised?


  • the summary of the responses to the Proposed Changes consultation which ended on 1st May 2020;
  • site update information;
  • the Sustainability Appraisal update, taking into account responses to the Addendum to the Sustainability Appraisal 2020 consultation (section 20 of the Proposed Changes consultation); and
  • the Inspector's Interim Report, assuming the Inspector has issued such a report in late September/ early October as promised. "


Response from the Chairman


In order to allow sufficient time for the Inspector to write his interim report and for the Council to consider its contents, it was agreed that special meetings would be arranged of Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel and Cabinet prior to a meeting of Full Council on 23rd November.


The dates are as follows:


·         Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on Thursday 12th November

·         Cabinet on Wednesday 18th November, and

·         Full Council on Monday 23rd November


The papers for these meetings will be published 5 working days before the meeting of Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel.


These papers will include a summary of the responses raised in the consultation and a proposed response.  They will also include updated site information.


The Inspector’s interim report has just been received and is now published on the examination pages of the Council’s website.


The detailed responses to the consultation have been available for viewing for several months now.




Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the Article 4 Direction on new permitted development rights. These rights were considered by this Panel at its meeting on 10 September 2020. 



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Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the merits of Article 4 Direction for new permitted development rights that have recently been introduced to help kick-start construction and speed-up development as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic. 


The report noted that this Panel had deliberated this item at its meeting on 10 September 2020.  The Panel had asked the Head of Planning to consider whether there was evidence to indicate that any of these rights would prejudice the proper planning of the area and constitute a threat to the amenities of the area.


The following points were noted:


·         The loss of office space in the Borough since 2013.  This has caused a reduction in office space which has had a negative effect on businesses.

·         The Direction will come into formal existence in October 2020.

·         The new permitted development right allows commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced by a block of flats or single detached houses.  This somewhat represents a threat to the supply of local office space and an ongoing economic affluence of the Borough.

·         There were two options for the Council; a) an immediate direction which has already been consulted on for a similar direction for those areas but this posed a risk of compensation costs. b) a non-immediate direction as it would be different to the previous direction but this would take a year to come into effect. This option would be best for the Council.

·         Controlling the upward expansion of building and current HMO, A4D that already exists for Hatfield.  If a permitted development right was exercised for an upward expansion to a dwelling for a flat, this would be controlled by the current A4D in place covering the Hatfield area.

·         Hatfield House and the park that falls under the Grade I listing was considered in terms on tall building being allowed within short distance and the skyline.  It was noted that having taller building within the vicinity could have a negative impact on character of the House and its grounds. With this evidence it would be advantageous to have an A4D to restrain blocks of flats being extended upwards.  Maps within the report had been viewed.  Recommendation from the Head of Planning was to have non-immediate direction; whereby a six week consultation with a year to confirm the decision.

·         Extending houses upwards may result in substandard dwellings with natural light restrictions. The Government has advised that such expansions will have to meet national standards, as there has been some substandard extensions within the new permitted development rights.  Planning Officers will consider these at the time of the application review.

·         There had been a suggestion from a Member whether it would be possible to forgo an A4D due to timescales and create conservation areas, as permitted development rights do not often exist in conservation areas; Members were advised that this would not be workable.




1.    That the decision be made via Cabinet for these proposed Article 4 Directions.


2.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 93.



Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the Article 4 Direction on land at Digswell Park Road.  The two land parcels are on either side of Digswell Park Road and have been agreed for sale and one of these has been auctioned as seven split plots.



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Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the Article 4 Direction on land at Digswell Park Road.  It was noted that in June 2020 the Council became aware of two land parcels of land on either side of Digswell Park Road had been agreed for sale and one of those had been auctioned as seven split plots.


The land parcels are designated as Metropolitan Green Belt in the adopted District Plan.  The land parcels are not proposed for release from the Metropolitan Green Belt in the Submitted Local Plan 2016 and nor do they form part of the recent new sites consultation exercise in January 2020.  The land is within the setting of the Grade II* listed Digswell/Welwyn railway viaduct. At that time was likely that the new landowner may erect gates/walls to enclose land parcels and it was felt that use of the land would be prejudicial to the proper   planning of the area and create a threat to the amenities of that area.  For this reason the Council considered it appropriate to serve an immediate Article 4 Direction (A4D) on the land parcels to remove these nationally permitted development rights.


Officers had consulted with the land owner and comments had been listed within the report.  The comments support an A4D and its continuation.  Residents have asked when this A4D will be implemented. There was a petition in support showing over 4300 signatures. An A4D has to be put into place by 26 December 2020, as the immediate direction only lasts for six months.  Although threat remains, as not all of the land has been sold by auction. There are further plot remain and there has been no sign of development on site.


Members commended the Planning Team for their work associated with this area and taking action to put into place a temporary A4D in the first instance and now taking steps for a permanent A4D.





That the Panel recommends a permanent Article 4 Direction on land at Digswell Park Road to remove nationally permitted development rights for gates, fences, walls and other means of enclosure, access and the temporary use of the land.  The decision to be made via an Executive Member Decision Notice. It would come into effect on 26 December 2020 by replacing the immediate Article 4 Direction that already applies to the land.  It would be advertised in accordance with Article 4 Direction regulations.




Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the 2020 Brownfield Land Register.  This report sets out details of the sites included in the Council’s 2020 Brownfield Land Register. No sites have been included on Part 2 of the Register again this year, meaning that ‘Permission in Principle’ has not been granted for any proposals on any site.


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Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the Brownfield Land Register.  The report noted that in early 2017, the Government introduced new legislation which required planning authorities to prepare and maintain a Brownfield Land Register. The first register was published in December 2017 and required to be reviewed at least once a year. This report set out details of the sites included in the Council’s 2020 Brownfield Land Register. No sites have been included on Part 2 of the Register again this year, meaning that ‘Permission in Principle’ has not been granted for any proposals on any site.


The 2020 Brownfield Land Register included 64 sites with a total dwelling capacity of 3,987. This compared with a dwelling capacity of 3,234 across 60 sites in the 2019 Brownfield Land Register. There was also the opportunity where applicable, to provide an upper range to of dwelling for each site.  For the former Shredded Wheat site and the Bio-Park, the potential for increased capacity was indicated in representations to the 2020 consultation, however these higher figures have not yet been tested through the development management process and so on this occasion upper figures had not been included for these sites.

The Officer explained that majority of site on this year’s Register had some form of planning permission, making up 59% of the total dwelling capacity.  The remainder was mostly Local Plan allocations or HELAA 2019 sites, when combined these amounted to 33% of the dwelling capacity. A high proportion of dwellings on the register were located in Welwyn Garden City (80%), with Hatfield accounting for a much smaller proportion (16%). However, this is largely a result of one site with a high capacity (Broadwater Road West SPD site), and in terms of the number of sites, the proportion in Welwyn Garden City is lower (47%).

A question was raised in relation to number of sites that have come off the Register because these have been built out? The number of dwellings on certain sites was considered especially for larger Brownfield sites. Unfortunately the information was not available at the meeting but would be made available to Members.  Further discussion ensued on the use of Brownfield sites and their viability.  A question was raised in terms of ratio of houses to flats that have been built. As it was felt and supported that families needed houses with a garden for their children. The Officer explained that the information requested would be available within the Annual Monitoring Report, which will be made available to this Panel at the December 2020 meeting or at the January 2021 meeting.




That the Panel notes the sites and dwelling capacity on the 2020 Brownfield Land Register, and that the Register will now be published on the Council’s website.




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The Chairman was asked about an update in respect of the Turleys OAN report (Minute number 86 refers from 10 September meeting). Members were advised that a response had been provided via an email to Councillor J. Quinton in respect of the matter being raised.  It was clarified that no update would be presented at this meeting, as this was not the appropriate time. The Member felt that six weeks had passed and that the report should be available and shared. No further discussion was held on the raised Any Other Business item and some Members were not content with the response provided.


It was noted that the original Turleys report was on the website and the Head of Planning advised that they were still working with Turleys, as at the last meeting there was some disagreement of numbers and various suggestions were made. No firm recommendation was made at that meeting.  The Inspector has also requested the update/report.  Members will receive an update on 12 November together with all the other relevant material and the Inspector’s interim report to enable them to make a decision on a way forward.


The Chairman and Head of Planning felt that a discussion on such matters was not recommended as there will be an opportunity to consider this item, which will be on the agenda for 12 November 2020. Members were advised that Turleys would be present at the all-party briefing scheduled for Monday 2 November 2020, this will provide an opportunity for everyone to question the representatives.