The following questions were received and the Chairman responded:
1. Pauline Perkins
Our Planning Consultant (Deloitte) has been informed by the Programme Officer that the updated LUC Stage 3 Green Belt report is scheduled to be made available for publication by the Council in the second week of March.
Would the CPPP please confirm on what date the updated LUC report will be made available on the Council’s website?
Our Consultants LUC have advised that the updated report will be available for forwarding to the Programme Officer on 18 March 2019. Once the Inspector has authorised it for publication on the examination web pages it will be published.
2. Alan Perkins
Paragraph 1.2 of Agenda item 7 informs the CPPP that the Council has received 66 new sites in the Borough in response to its most recent Call for Sites. However, there is no indication of the location, scale, capacity, suitability or sustainability of any of these site, individually or collectively.
Can the CPPP please provide a list of these sites and state how many of these new sites are within or adjoining a settlement excluded from the Green Belt (as described in the HELAA) and, based on 25 or 30 dph, how many new homes would be achieved if all of the sites, which are within or adjoining an excluded settlement, are allocated?
The information required to answer this question, in principle, for the benefit of Members of the CPPP and the public at this meeting should be within the knowledge or judgment of the Council’s planning officers at this time.
Consultation on the sites will not take place until after the local elections has taken place it would therefore be premature to publish a list of sites now as this will form part of the consultation.
As indicated in the programme it will be several months before the HELAA has been completed and an assessment of site suitability and capacity has taken place.
3. Neil Bedford
The Council has received tenders from consultants to carry out a Green Wedge study and a Landscape Sensitivity study. This has not been reported to the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel in advance.
What is the purpose and methodology of this Green Wedge and Landscape Sensitivity study and when will the details of that methodology be made available to this Panel and the public with the name of the appointed consultants?
The purpose of the commission is:
Firstly, to undertake a robust comparative assessment of landscape sensitivity to built development within Welwyn Hatfield. A strategic level assessment is required which considers both landscape and visual aspects of sensitivity. This will ensure that the Council is able to assess sites on a consistent basis as the current landscape sensitivity work is not comprehensive.
Secondly, to review land in the Borough between settlements and examine the case for designating green wedges to keep land open. The study will need to assess the sensitivity of land between settlements to development and set out recommendations for which land (if any) should be kept open via a green wedge designation. This was referred to by the Inspector in his summing up at the end of the Green Belt hearing sessions when he expressed concern at the local green belt purpose and suggested instead that the Council might wish to consider a green wedge approach. Thirdly, to develop detailed proposals for the Welwyn Hatfield Green Corridor in the form of a Stage 2 Framework Report which builds on the existing Stage 1 Report.This will provide more detailed guidance on the delivery of the green corridor and is referred to in the submitted Local Plan.
The methodology will be published in the final report and will be taken into account by the Panel when decisions are made on what changes to the Plan, the Panel wishes to propose. Land Use Consultants have now been appointed to carry out this work
4. Mrs D Baker
This Council is appointing consultants to carry out a Green Wedge study and another Landscape Sensitivity study which is expected to take up to six months.
This will most probably result in changes to the way forward and timetable for progressing the Local Plan that this Panel is being asked to agree tonight.
What is the reason, the purpose and the programme of this new work not being fully reported to Members of this Panel tonight, in advance of that appointment?
The report being considered tonight relates to the overall programme for taking the Local Plan forward it does not seek approval for the appointment of consultants. The programme for the Landscape Sensitivity Study has already been incorporated into the programme set out in the Appendix to this report and will not take six months to complete. The appointment has now taken place.