Report of the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment (PTE/20/30) relating to the above White Paper, attached.
(Councillors Atkinson, Biederman, Connett, Dewhirst, Hannaford and Hodgson attended remotely in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 and spoke to this item).
The Cabinet considered the Report of the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment (PTE/20/30) relating to the above White Paper, circulated prior to the meeting in accordance with regulation 7(4) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.
The White Paper was the Government’s new vision for England’s planning System, however, the Council’s response had to be limited to those areas where there would be a direct impact on the planning functions, corporate goals and statutory responsibilities of the County Council.
The Planning for the Future White Paper consultation proposed reforms of the planning system to streamline and modernise, bring a new focus to design and sustainability, improve the system of developer contributions to infrastructure, and ensure more land was available for development where needed. A one-page summary of the White Paper was also available.
It identified a series of national challenges including shortage of high-quality homes; combating climate change; improving biodiversity; and, supporting sustainable growth and considered the current planning system adversely impacted on addressing the challenges. A number of issues had been identified, for example, the system was too complex, took too long to adopt a local plan and had lost public trust.
The paper then set out a series of ambitions for a new planning system such as ambition for the places created, moving democracy forward in the planning process, improve the user experience, support home ownership, increase the supply of land available, support innovative developers and promote the stewardship and improvement of the countryside and environment.
The key proposals were described in three pillars;
· Pillar 1 – planning for development;
· Pillar 2 – planning for beautiful and sustainable places; and
· Pillar 3 – planning for infrastructure and connected places
In terms of the Pillar One proposals these would impact on the Council’s planning functions in three specific ways, identification of Minerals and Waste Sites, Local Issues for Minerals and Waste Sites and Essential Infrastructure Issues and the Report explained these implications in more detail.
For Pillar Two (planning for beautiful and sustainable places), it was recognised that good design was key to providing development acceptable to local communities and specifically referenced its wider vision for cycling and walking. This was welcomed and the Council, in its role as transportation authority, would have an important role.
For Pillar three, the issues related to the funding of Essential Infrastructure and a Levy based on Final Value and again the Report explained the issues in more detail.
In summary, the White Paper raised several specific and technical issues which would have a direct impact on the planning functions, corporate goals and statutory responsibilities of the Council. The Report highlighted the five most significant issues, and it was therefore considered appropriate for officers, in consultation with the Leader, to submit a response to the Government consultation.
The Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment highlighted that some of the concerns of Members speaking under Standing Order 25 would form part of the response.
The Leader also stressed the importance of District Councils making appropriate representations to the consultation on the issues which most affected their respective organisations.
The matter having been debated and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, sustainability (including carbon impact), risk management, equality and legal considerations and Public Health impact) as set out in the Head of Service’s Report and referred to above having been considered:
it was MOVED by Councillor Hart, SECONDED by Councillor Davis, and
RESOLVED that the content of the Report be noted and the preparation of a detailed response to the White Paper questions be delegated to the Head of
Planning, Transportation and Environment in consultation with the Leader of the Council.