Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Extraordinary, Environment and Sustainability Committee - Tuesday, 13 July 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Knowle Green, Staines-upon-Thames TW18 1XB

Contact: Chris Curtis  Email: c.curtis@spelthorne.gov.uk

Link: Members of the public may hear the proceedings by tuning into the Council's YouTube channel

Items
No. Item

225.

Disclosures of Interest

To receive any disclosures of interest from councillors in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct for members.

Minutes:

There were none.

 

226.

Local Plan Strategy

To consider a revised strategy for the new Local Plan.

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Committee resolved:

 

1.    To agree the revised strategy for the new Local Plan to meet our housing need by releasing a small amount of Green Belt, reducing the impact on Staines by not including an additional allocation, including opportunities to reduce some building heights in Staines if this is the outcome of the Staines Development Framework consultation and allow for more family homes with gardens to be built.

 

2.    That they would benefit from independent support and advice on the formulation of a strategic vision for the borough.

 

a)    To undertake an exercise of member engagement focused on developing a shared understanding and/or their role in formulating the Local Plan.

 

b)    To develop a shared vision for the borough that is endorsed by a majority of members.

 

c)    To appoint a suitably qualified external advisor to facilitate members in formulating the vision.

 

d)    To incorporate the vision into the Local Plan documentation by no later than the end of October 2021.

 

e)    Once the vision has been agreed it will be used to review existing policies and inform future ones.

 

3.    That 1 and 2 above would run in parallel to avoid any further delay to the formulation of the new Local Plan.

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

The Chair introduced the subject for discussion and advised the Committee that whilst the priority was to strongly challenge the government’s housing figures allocation for the borough, it was also necessary to plan an alternative strategy in tandem with this.

 

The report for consideration proposed a revised strategy for the new Local Plan to meet the borough’s housing need by releasing a small amount of green belt, thus reducing the impact on Staines. 

 

Cllr Sexton proposed and Cllr Siva seconded an alternative option for the Committee’s consideration:

 

“The Committee notes:

Members believe that they would benefit from independent support and advice on the formulation of a strategic vision for the borough.

 

The Committee is asked to agree:

a)    To undertake an exercise of member engagement focused on developing a shared understanding and/or their role in formulating the Local Plan.

b)    To develop a shared vision for the borough that is endorsed by a majority of members.

c)    To appoint a suitably qualified external advisor to facilitate members in formulating the vision.

d)    To incorporate the vision into the Local Plan documentation by no later than the end of October 2021.

e)    Once the vision has been agreed it will be used to review existing policies and inform future ones.”

 

Ann Biggs, Strategic Planning Officer, was invited to respond to the proposal.

 

Ann advised the Committee that officers could support work on the vision to run concurrently alongside the proposed strategy, however she could not recommend it as an alternative approach. To complete the vision first and then incorporate that into the strategy at a later date would take several months, thus pushing the Local Development Scheme timetable further back.  Whilst officers could support work on the vision, other factors had to be taken into consideration: the time to procure and appoint an external advisor; work on the feedback from the public consultation on the Staines Development Framework (SDF) would have to be paused and could not be considered until the vision had been completed or progressed by the Local Plan Task Group (LPTG).  Ann also considered that the delay put the borough at risk from speculative developers; local plan policies and the SDF were required to be in place as a priority as a guide to where and how development takes place.  

 

Ann then outlined some of the background information to her report, setting out the reason for the proposed strategy.   The previous LPTG had spent considerable time reviewing the strategy and considering only brownfield sites but had been unable to reduce the deficit beyond an overall figure of 625, equating to a shortfall of 42 homes per year over a 15-year period.  The appendix to the report included a list of potential indicative green belt sites which met set criteria and were considered the least bad option. 

 

The proposed strategy had previously been informally agreed by the former Local Plan Task Group and formalisation was sought from the Committee to enable progress on the site detail and policies. If  ...  view the full minutes text for item 226.