Agenda item

Questions from members of the public

The Chair, or his nominee, to answer any questions raised by members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 40.


Note: the deadline for questions to be considered at this meeting is 5pm on Tuesday, 1 March 2022.



Three questions were received from members of the public:


Question 1 - Kath Sanders:


“Please could you let residents know when they can expect an update regarding the Local Green Space consultation which took place at the end of last year.


If the work has been completed, please could you also say whether there is a proposed increase or decrease in Local Green Space (in total area) versus the area covered by land previously designated as Protected Urban Open Space and what the total area is proposed to be which is designated as LGS.”


Response from Cllr Ian Beardsmore, Chair of Environment and Sustainability Committee:


“The Local Plan Task Group reviewed the proposed designations for Local Green Space at a meeting on 27 January 2022. Officers have since been working on incorporating comments from the meeting into the draft proposals to send back to the Task Group for its agreement to proceed as part of the Local Plan. As such, it is not yet complete and I am unable to advise at this stage on the difference between the land area to be designated as Local Green Space and that under the existing Protected Urban Open Space designation.  It has to be remembered that LGS is a national standard and any space incorporated into it must have met those national criteria.”



Question 2 – Nigel Rowe, OBE


“The Environment & Sustainability Committee response to the draft Surrey 2050 Place Ambition includes a paragraph on ‘Community Engagement’ with the very welcome specific reference to “the need to work effectively with local communities both in bringing this Place Ambition forward and in its delivery”.


Arising from this:

a) Can we please be assured that Spelthorne Borough Council intends to consult with residents on key issues before decisions are taken rather than as a post-decision presentation of a fait accompli?

b) Is it the Committee’s intention to consult with residents on other major elements of the Staines Development Framework and related Infrastructure Development Framework before rather than after decisions have been taken?”


Response from Cllr Ian Beardsmore, Chair of Environment and Sustainability Committee:


“It is currently understood that there will be a further round of consultation on any revised draft (but this is subject to formal agreement by the Surrey Futures Board at a future meeting). There is currently no date that the Council are aware of. However, the webpage will be updated with information when it becomes publicly available.


Assuming this second round of consultation does happen, the intention is that the Borough Council will consult with residents in the same way as it did for the current draft. 


As stated at E&S Committee on 18 January 2022, the Council will put a report back to committee for councillors to decide whether they wish to formally endorse/sign up to the final document. On the point of ‘fait accompli’ it was made clear at the E&S committee meeting and in a detailed note which is on the Council website that the Place Ambition is pulling together work that is being done by the districts and boroughs across the County. It sits with us as Spelthorne to implement any actions and to challenge if we do not agree with any elements.


With reference to the Staines Development Framework, the Environment & Sustainability Committee will be asked to agree to publish both the draft Local Plan and the draft Staines Development Framework for public consultation. This meeting is currently scheduled for 26 April 2022. The Local Plan will then be at the ‘Regulation 19’ stage, which means comments from the consultation will be submitted with the draft plan for consideration by the Planning Inspector and will be addressed through the examination process, including potential for those who made comments to speak at the public hearings. The Staines Development Framework, as a supplementary planning document, does not have a formal Regulation 19 stage but will be submitted with the Local Plan as the two are intrinsically linked. There will be the opportunity for amendments to be made to the draft Framework prior to submission. Following examination and if the Inspector agrees the documents are ‘sound’ and comply with national policy, the Council will then decide whether or not to adopt the Local Plan and the Staines Development Framework.


With regard to the Infrastructure Delivery Plan, the draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan was due for consideration by the Local Plan Task Group at the end of February but officers were still awaiting some data from healthcare and education providers. The meeting has therefore been rescheduled to later in March when we are confident we will have received it. It will be not be presented as a fait accompli but it is important to stress this is evidence rather than policy as it is for the infrastructure providers to inform us of their additional needs over the plan period to accommodate housing growth, although we do scrutinise their assumptions and are provided with the mechanisms they have used to calculate these needs. The IDP will form part of the evidence base to support the Local Plan so it will be available to view as part of the Regulation 19 consultation and comments will be welcome from those who wish to make representations on it as part of that process.”


Question 3 – Nigel Rowe, OBE


“Reference Agenda item 15 (Staines Development Framework Task Group): Residents in Staines had been greatly encouraged to learn of the intention to introduce zoning arrangements to limit the height of new developments in sensitive areas (eg the riverfront, Conservation Area, and immediately adjacent to existing residential areas). We note with some alarm that you will discuss on 8 March the possibility of allowing exceptions to this for schemes “that deliver significant benefits”. The Riverside Car Park is mentioned in this context. Can you please

a) explain how you define “significant benefits”,

b) indicate what other sites may be similarly affected, and

c) indicate whether you plan to consult with residents before deciding which sites will be affected?


Response from Cllr Ian Beardsmore, Chair of Environment and Sustainability Committee:


“These issues are still under discussion as the Framework progresses to the draft stage of its production. The draft will then be the subject of a public consultation alongside the Local Plan, where the zoning proposals will be included for members of the public and stakeholders to comment on. This feedback will then inform the final submission version of the Framework. It is common for exceptions to policies to be made where benefits outweigh the harm, such as for development in the Green Belt, even when such an exception is not directly expressed in the policy. By including reference to exceptions, it would allow the Council to give examples of what could constitute ‘significant benefits’ to aid developers and decision-makers, although each application would be considered on its merits as the planning system requires.”


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