Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Extraordinary (LOCAL PLAN), Council - Tuesday, 8th November, 2022 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, District Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth

Contact: Committee Services - 01462 474655  Email: Committee.Services@north-herts.gov.uk

Note: TO CONSIDER THE LOCAL PLAN 

Media

Items
No. Item

153.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Decision:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Kay Tart, Terry Tyler, Tony Hunter, Raj Bhakar, Nigel Mason and Faye Frost.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 1 minute 39 seconds

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Kay Tart, Terry Tyler, Tony Hunter, Raj Bhakar, Nigel Mason and Faye Frost.

 

Councillors Juan Cowell and Michael Weeks were absent.

154.

NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS

Members should notify the Chair of other business which they wish to be discussed at the end of either Part I or Part II business set out in the agenda. They must state the circumstances which they consider justify the business being considered as a matter of urgency.

 

The Chair will decide whether any item(s) raised will be considered.

Decision:

There was no other business notified.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 2 minutes 28 seconds

 

There was no other business notified.

155.

CHAIR'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Climate Emergency

The Council has declared a climate emergency and is committed to achieving a target of zero carbon emissions by 2030 and helping local people and businesses to reduce their own carbon emissions.

 

A Cabinet Panel on the Environment has been established to engage with local people on matters relating to the climate emergency and advise the council on how to achieve these climate change objectives. A Climate Change Implementation group of councillors and council officers meets regularly to produce plans and monitor progress. Actions taken or currently underway include switching to green energy, incentives for low emission taxis, expanding tree planting and working to cut food waste.

 

In addition the council is a member of the Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership, working with other councils across Hertfordshire to reduce the county’s carbon emissions and climate impact.

 

The Council’s dedicated webpage on Climate Change includes details of the council’s climate change strategy, the work of the Cabinet Panel on the Environment and a monthly briefing on progress.

 

Declarations of Interest

Members are reminded that any declarations of interest in respect of any business set out in the agenda, should be declared as either a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or Declarable Interest and are required to notify the Chair of the nature of any interest declared at the commencement of the relevant item on the agenda. Members declaring a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest must withdraw from the meeting for the duration of the item. Members declaring a Declarable Interest, wishing to exercise a ‘Councillor Speaking Right’, must declare this at the same time as the interest, move to the public area before speaking to the item and then must leave the room before the debate and vote. Following declarations Members must inform the committee of any dispensations granted to them by the Monitoring Officer.

Decision:

(1)        The Chair advised that, in accordance with Council Policy, the meeting would be audio recorded;

 

(2)        Members were reminded that this Council had declared a Climate Emergency. This was a serious decision and meant that, as this was an emergency, all of us, officers and Members had that in mind as we carried out our various roles and tasks for the benefit of our District.

 

(3)        The Chair drew attention to the item on the agenda front pages regarding Declarations of Interest and reminded Members that, in line with the Code of Conduct, any Declarations of Interest needed to be declared immediately prior to the item in question. The Monitoring Officer provided an overview of advice given and dispensations provided, and following this Members made their declarations.

 

(4)        The Chair clarified the rules of debate for Members.

 

(5)        The Chair advised of the procedure in the event of a disturbance during the meeting.

 

(6)        The Chair advised that a comfort break would be taken following the Public Participation item, as well as later in the meeting if proceedings continued at length.

 

(7)        The Chair advised Members that the Boundary Review draft recommendations had been received and that all Members had been invited to submit their comments on this by 21 November 2022.

 

Minutes:

Audio recording – 2 minutes 36 seconds

 

(1)       The Chair advised that, in accordance with Council Policy, the meeting would be audio recorded.

 

(2)       Members were reminded that this Council had declared a Climate Emergency. This was a serious decision and meant that, as this was an emergency, all of us, officers and Members had that in mind as we carried out our various roles and tasks for the benefit of our District.

 

(At this point of the meeting Councillor Sam Collins entered the Chamber at 19.34)

 

(3)       The Chair drew attention to the item on the agenda front pages regarding Declarations of Interest and reminded Members that, in line with the Code of Conduct, any Declarations of Interest needed to be declared immediately prior to the item in question.

 

The Monitoring Officer provided an overview of advice given and dispensations provided. There was general dispensation given to all District Councillors regarding the Council’s own interests in certain sites, County Councillors and, for example, to Councillors who sat on outside bodies, such as the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation (LGCHF), and the following Members advised they had been granted dispensation for this item:

 

·         Councillor Judi Billing – County Councillor

·         Councillor Jean Green – property interest

·         Councillor Adem Ruggiero-Cakir – partner works for the Council, however had not been involved in the Plan process or estates

·         Councillor Ian Mantle – LGCHF

·         Councillor Terry Hone – County Councillor and LGCHF Board Member

·         Councillor David Barnard – County Councillor and family affected by the east of Luton site, but stated he would not vote for or against

·         Councillor Michael Muir – County Councillor

·         Councillor Richard Thake – County Councillor

·         Councillor Chris Hinchliff – Employed by national charity CPRE, but not involved with CPRE Hertfordshire.

 

(4)       The Chair clarified the rules of debate for Members.

 

(5)       The Chair advised of the procedure in the event of a disturbance during the meeting.

 

(6)       The Chair advised that a comfort break would be taken following the Public Participation item, as well as later in the meeting if proceedings continued at length.

 

(7)       The Chair advised Members that the Boundary Review draft recommendations had been received and that all Members had been invited to submit their comments on this by 21 November 2022.

 

(At this point of the meeting Councillor Phil Weeder entered the Chamber at 19.40)

156.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

To receive petitions, comments and questions from the public.

Decision:

The Chair clarified the procedure for public participants and ensured that all registered speakers were in attendance.

 

The registered speakers were, in turn, invited to provide the meeting with their verbal presentation.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 14 minutes 29 seconds

 

The Chair clarified the procedure for public participants and ensured that all registered speakers were in attendance.

 

The Chair invited Mr Kevin Hinton to provide Council with a verbal presentation. Mr Hinton thanked the Chair for the opportunity and raised the following points:

 

·         Representing Norton Action Group, with over 800 supporters across the County.

·         Many of the concerns are safety, amenities and the preservation of Croft Lane which is within the conservation area of Letchworth. Many of the houses on Croft Lane date to the founding of the Garden City.

·         Provision of housing is not an issue, but the accuracy and judgement regarding LG10 is an issue and fails to acknowledge the special and historic position of the Garden City.

·         The development is not deemed to increase traffic and movements, but this cannot be true.

·         The report states that local drivers are aware of the danger, but there is an increasing number of non-local drivers.

·         Norton Action Group had consulted with a KC on this and had been advised that there was substance to their views. 

 

There were no points of clarification from Members and the Chair thanked Mr Hinton for his presentation.

 

The Chair invited Ms Nikki Hamilton to provide Council with a verbal presentation. Ms Hamilton thanked the Chair for the opportunity and raised the following points:

 

·         This policy was going against the government policy of building on brownfield sites first.

·         This would see a significant increase of building on the greenbelt, which is a vital space to support the physical and mental wellbeing of residents.

·         This goes against the NHDC policy to promote health communities.

·         Greenbelt land is meant to be consistent and accessible, but the developments would force people to commute to reach outdoor spaces.

·         Some of the sites identified would require significant work before they could provide housing and there were already pressures on the services in towns and villages.

·         A new Garden City would have alleviated this issue and many residents who supported this were never able to give their preferred view.

·         The developments proposed would decimate local wildlife and would be contrary to the Climate Emergency declared by the Council.

·         In certain areas, the proposals would be of a huge cost to NHDC, and at the current size and location it would contravene the law and legal action could be taken.

·         NHDC can work with local communities to find answers and compromises.

·         If proposed developments go ahead in Letchworth, Stotfold and Arlesey there would be one field separating the three communities.

 

There were no points of clarification from Members and the Chair thanked Ms Hamilton for her presentation.

 

The Chair invited Mr Wilfred Aspinall to provide Council with a verbal presentation. Mr Aspinall thanked the Chair for the opportunity and raised the following points:

 

·         Needed to adopt a climate of growth, to encourage small, custom and self-builds, which would encourage more home ownership.

·         The Plan did not address the growth in population or propose schemes to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 156.

157.

REPORT AND REFERRAL FROM CABINET ON NORTH HERTFORDSHIRE LOCAL PLAN 2011-2031 pdf icon PDF 131 KB

REPORT OF THE SERVICE DIRECTOR – REGULATORY

 

To consider the Report and Referral from Cabinet on the Local Plan.

 

The Report being considered is the same as that considered by Cabinet at the Extraordinary Meeting on Wednesday 2 November 2022 and the report can be accessed here: 

 

Agenda for Cabinet on Wednesday, 2nd November, 2022, 7.30 pm | North Herts Council (north-herts.gov.uk)

 

The referral sheet from Cabinet will be published as a supplementary agenda as soon as it is available.

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

(1)   That the outcomes of the examination set out in the Inspector’s Report (IR), attached as Appendix 1, along with his recommended Main Modifications to the Plan, attached as Appendix 2, were noted.

 

(2)   That the final version of the North Hertfordshire Local Plan 2011-2031 (‘the Local Plan’), attached at Appendix 3, incorporating both the Inspector’s Main Modifications and the proposed Additional Modifications, attached at Appendix 4, was adopted as part of the statutory Development Plan for the District.

 

(3)   That the Policies Map, illustrated by Appendices 5a to 5g, was adopted in order to give geographical effect to the policies of the Local Plan.

 

(4)   That the updated Local Development Scheme, attached at Appendix 6, was approved.

 

(5)   That delegated authority was granted to the Service Director – Regulatory in consultation with the Executive Member for Planning and Transport to make any minor non-material corrections (including but not limited to cosmetic additions or presentational alterations) to the adopted Local Plan or the adopted Policies Map as considered necessary for their publication and publicity in accordance with the relevant regulations.

 

 

REASON FOR DECISION: To provide the District with an up-to-date Local Plan in accordance with the requirements  of national legislation and policy.

 

Minutes:

Audio recording – 94 minutes 35 seconds

 

The Chair invited the Executive Member for Planning and Transport, Councillor Ruth Brown, to present the report entitled ‘North Hertfordshire Local Plan 2011-2031’ and advised Members of the following:

 

·         Thanked Members and Officers who had worked on the Plan and been involved in the process since 2011.

·         All Members had attended sessions and drop-ins to ensure they understood the proposals before them in the Plan.

·         Consultation had been ongoing and considerations had been taken and, with the inclusion of the Inspectors modifications, the Plan was sound.

·         It was not ideal that the greenbelt land was being lost, but the Inspector retained this in the interest of sustainability.

·         There was a proposed 4000 hectares of greenbelt to be made around the district within the Plan.

·         Greenbelt status alone does not protect the land and this has been evidenced in recent decisions with the rejection of a previous application at the Planning Control Committee, which was successful on appeal.

·         The Plan would give the Council more control over developments, especially regarding biodiversity and affordability.

·         It was important that infrastructure was developed early around new housing developments.

·         The Local Development Scheme proposed would allow for the Council to update certain aspects of the Local Plan, and a review was due to start by December 2023.

·         The Council was required to have a Plan in place by December 2023 and it was better to have an adopted Plan than not.

·         No change could be made to individual sites through amendments or conditions as this would be deemed a material change.

·         Sites allocated would still require permission for development and would be brought to the Planning Control Committee for approval.

 

Councillor Brown proposed and Councillor Ian Mantle seconded and reserved his right to speak.

 

Following this, the Chair began the debate and the following Members took part and asked questions:

 

·         Councillor Richard Thake

·         Councillor David Barnard

·         Councillor Chris Lucas

·         Councillor Alistair Willoughby

·         Councillor Gerald Morris

·         Councillor Judi Billing

·         Councillor Keith Hoskins

·         Councillor Tom Plater

·         Councillor George Davies

·         Councillor Ian Mantle

·         Councillor Michael Muir

·         Councillor Sam Collins

·         Councillor Chris Hinchliff

·         Councillor Tom Tyson

·         Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg

·         Councillor Sean Nolan

·         Councillor Ralph Muncer

·         Councillor Ian Albert

·         Councillor Lisa Nash

·         Councillor Claire Strong

·         Councillor Adam Compton

·         Councillor James Denselow

·         Councillor David Levett

·         Councillor Steve Jarvis

·         Councillor Sean Prendergast

 

During the debate at 22.15 there was a short adjournment to allow for a comfort break and the meeting recommenced at 22.23.

 

Points raised in the debate included:

 

·         The unmet housing need of Luton Borough Council had been met and there were still developments ongoing, with further land available in Central Beds.

·         There were parts of the Plan that were not desired, but there were limited choices available and it was important to have protection against developers.

·         The Plan would increase the Council’s ability to secure affordable homes within developments.

·         Much of the Plan required building on greenbelt land, and while further greenbelt land was proposed the damage will have already been done.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 157.