To consider a report from the Executive Member for Economy and Regeneration.
1) That progress made in respect of the Places for Everyone Plan (PfE) be noted.
2) That the PfE modifications (Main, Additional and those relating to the policies map), and associated supporting background documents be approved and be subject to a period of representations for a period of 8 weeks commencing no earlier than 9th October 2023.
3) That the next steps for the production of the PfE Plan detailed in section 11 of the report be approved.
The Executive Member for Economy and Regeneration informed the Committee of an email received from Councillor Evans regarding issues he had identified within the report relating to evidence used within the process. The Executive Member read out a briefing note that had been prepared in response to Councillor Evans which was to be circulated following the meeting.
The Executive Member for Economy and Regeneration then introduced the report which contained elements relating to changes that would impact development across the borough including the future of the area’s green spaces, as well as laying the groundwork for the Council’s New Local Plan by outlining the Council’s Commitments to development, sustainability, and Community. The Executive Member for Economy and Regeneration spoke to the robustness of the process and the depth of work carried out by officers to ensure the plan was in the best interests of the area and its residents. The report included details of further work required to ensure that sites were suitable for proposed further development including peat and hydrological surveys.
The Executive Member for Economy and Regeneration informed the Committee of the difficulties in waying up the differing priorities when developing the plan. The Committee were told of the feedback received by green belt activists and were provided with assurance that the concerns of those groups had been considered at length before the final proposals were put forward.
The Leader thanked the Executive Member for Economy and Regeneration for the detailed introduction and their hard work. The Leader also thanked the officers for their hard work in getting Places for Everyone to this stage.
The Executive Member for Climate Change spoke in favour of the report noting that while Places for Everyone would impact the green belt it also highlighted included plans to develop of one of the largest brown field sites.
The Executive Member for Housing and Advice welcomed the report and stated that action was required to tackle the housing crisis within the borough and the actions outlined in Places for Everyone would save areas of green belt when compared with the alternative options.
The Leader then opened the floor to all Members in attendance for questions and comments.
Councillors from all of the three opposition parties raised a series of questions to the Executive Member for Economy and regeneration. The questions were concerned with the levels of affordable housing detailed within the plans, the development of Turn Moss, plans for Carrington Moss, provision of sites for Travellers, the Councils water management plan, consultation around Places for Everyone, ecological surveys, and job creation. The Executive Member for Economy and Regeneration and the Corporate Director of Place provided detailed answers addressing the questions and concerns raised by Councillors. Those in attendance were informed that many of the changes within Places for Everyone were to avoid duplication throughout the document rather than to remove elements from the plan. All were assured that ecological surveys and affordable housing assessments would need to be conducted for each development before they proceeded and that the impact of Covid upon the proposed developments and demand had been considered.
Councillor Duncan raised a question as to the number of jobs were expected to be produced by the plans. The Corporate Director of Place was unable to provide a response at the meeting but agreed to contact Councillor Duncan with the information afterwards.
Following the discussions, the Leader summed up the item and reminded the Committee that the decision was to agreement to move Places for Everyone onto the next phase and what that entailed. The Leader then read out the recommendations of the report which were approved.
1) That the report be noted.
2) That progress made in respect of the Places for Everyone Plan (PfE) be noted.
3) That the PfE modifications (Main, Additional and those relating to the policies map), and associated supporting background documents be approved and be subject to a period of representations for a period of 8 weeks commencing no earlier than 9th October 2023.
4) That the next steps for the production of the PfE Plan detailed in section 11 of the report be approved.