Prior to the Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management presenting his report Councillor Mike Allen called a point of order with a request to change the order of the agenda items to discuss item 10 first so that the Committee could have an opportunity to vote whether to delay the draft Local Plan in order that it could be modified as a two stage process which would allow a proper consultation with town and parish councils prior to the public consultation. The Chair advised that in his opinion he could see no justification to why the agenda items should be changed in order to defer an item for later discussion. He reminded Members that the public were watching online and would expect the Committee to follow the published order of items. A discussion then followed between the Chair and Councillor Allen and in response to that discussion the Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised it had been listed in the particular way to follow a logical order as there was a need to discuss the new community first as it was a key component to what goes into the draft Local Plan and the HELAA which was a key evidence document would also need to be discussed before the draft Local Plan.
The Chair took the decision to adjourn the meeting for lunch.
The meeting resumed and the Chair sought clarification from Councillor Mike Allen as to whether he wanted to move forward with his proposal to change the order of the items. In response Councillor Allen advised that he no longer wished to proceed with his proposal.
The Committee considered the report that updated Members on the summary of work undertaken by consultants to assess the 3 options obtained from the Call for Sites for a new community that would form part of the spatial strategy for the new Local Plan.
The 3 options were:
· Option 1 – land between the A3052 and A30, around the Hill Barton Business Park and up to Exeter Airport
· Option 2 – spans the A3052 and the southern part of option 1 and the east of Crealy and Greendale Business Park
· Option 3 – South of the A3052 north east of Clyst St George
The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management acknowledged some key issues raised from the morning’s presentations including landscape impact for Greendale Business Park, sewage capacity and its implications and highways capacity, which he advised, had all been addressed in the assessment work.
The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management highlighted that out of the 3 options identified it had been officer’s opinion that options 1 and 3 had scored higher, with option 1 slightly ahead. As both options scored very closely it was considered appropriate to consult on both of these options although only one of them would be allocated.
Councillor Skinner briefly addressed the Committee and then left the room. He did not take part in the debate or vote.
The Chair addressed the Committee advising he would like to do each recommendation separately and welcomed comments from Members on recommendation 1 – agree in principle of a new community forming a key element of a strategy for growth in the new Local Plan.
· Prime agricultural land needs protecting and this is where the new community is proposed – cannot support.
· Sadly these are the only options to fulfil the housing requirement. We are in this position as we are below the Government’s national requirement;
· Still have concerns with infrastructure, this should not be an afterthought;
· Do not support development on vast areas of greenfields;
· Houses should be built to the best standard to help tackle the climate emergency and less damage to the environment;
· Agree in principle to the proposed new town as it would be close to employment opportunities which would help to reduce the need to commute;
· Government targets are forcing us to make a decision we do not want to. A suggestion was made to show the council’s reluctance in a form of words in the recommendation as follows:
“in order to meet Government’s housing targets the Council agrees to the principle of a new community forming a key element of a strategy for growth in the new Local Plan”;
Agree in principle to the new community as this will help reduce development in every area in East Devon;
· The new town is needed if we are going to think about the future. This could be an opportunity to build an excellent new community
1. In order to meet the required Government’s housing targets Members agreed to the principle of a new community forming a key element of a strategy for growth in the new Local Plan;
The Chair welcomed comments on recommendation 2 – views are sought on the vision statement for the new community included within this report.
· Clarification sought on an implementation of a revolving infrastructure fund. The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management saw the infrastructure fund as a means of delivering infrastructure as part of the delivery vehicle which should emphasise the key point of a timely delivery ahead of development;
· The need for aspirations for the climate emergency;
· Support high income expectation as its close to Exeter Airport and the Science Park;
· It was suggested that the following wording to be included in the Strategic Objectives under Section 7 “a timely delivery of infrastructure at the first opportunity”;
· It was suggested that the second sentence should read “delivering up to 8,000 high-quality equitable homes with an equitable range of tenures” to ensure everyone in the community can find a suitable house;
· This is no detail on low energy homes. It should be part of the vision that these homes should be very low demand on energy resources. The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised that as zero carbon was a key policy it would be automatically translated into the new community but acknowledged it was a good point to capture for the new community.
Councillor Dan Ledger proposed, seconded by Councillor Ben Ingham that the vision statement for the new community should include the following:
· zero carbon;
· timely delivery of infrastructure at the first opportunity, and
· delivering up to 8,000 high-quality equitable homes with an equitable range of tenures.
Members agreed that:
· “zero carbon” be included in the proposed version of the vision statement;
· amend the second sentence to read “delivering up to 8,000 high-quality equitable homes with an equitable range of tenures”;
· under the heading Strategic Objectives/Design Principles No. 7 A truly sustainable self-sufficient settlement incorporating homes, local employment, shops, community amenities, public realm and open space include the words “a timely delivery of infrastructure at the first opportunity.”
The Chair welcomed comments on recommendation 3 – agree to consult on a proposed new community with option 1 identified as the preferred approach and option 3 as an alternative option for consultation. Option 2 would be identified in the consultation but as an option that has been discounted at this stage.
· Clarification sought on option 2 and whether the harm outweighs the development value or would the option return after the consultation as a sub section. The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised option 2 would fall away unless the consultation shows we need to look at the option again. He addressed the significant issues identified in option 2 referring to page 61 in the report.
· Clarification sought on the rationale for officers not supporting option 2. It was advised it had been assessed on a traffic light system consistent to previous assessments;
· Clarification sought on the expectation about when the Committee would see a draft of the Water Cycle Study. It was advised it would be brought to Strategic Planning Committee by the end of the year;
· All 3 options have the same highways issues. It was advised the key issue was that option 1 spans between the A3052 and the A30 which would provide a link road between the two major roads and potentially alleviate traffic on the Clyst St Mary roundabout
· Option 3 includes the industrial estate which is noisy and smelly and is not suitable for families;
· What does utilities mean? This means utilities such as gas, sewage, network and broadband connections
· Clarification sought about why the assessments were not done on a weighting system. As there were pro’s and con’s with a weighting system it was decided to focus on how each site scored on an equal basis.
· How can we make a difference when there is so little difference with the scoring? A suggestion was made for both options to go out to consultation. The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised it was their intention for the public to be consulted on the first and second choice options.
· The Chair sought clarification whether options 1 and 3 could go out on an equal basis. There was no reason why both options could not go out on an equal basis
· Reference was made to the scoring matrix and how the margins for options 1 and 3 were so close;
· Suggestion to include option 2 as a consideration as this would fit within the council’s climate emergency strategy;
· Evidence shows that option 3 is significantly better than option 2 as half of option 2 is within option 1;
The following recommendation was proposed by Councillor Ingham and seconded by Councillor Moulding.
“That Strategic Planning Committee consider option 1 as the preferred option and options 2 and 3 as alternative options”
To agree to consult on a proposed new community with option 1 identified as the preferred option and options 2 and 3 as alternative options for consultation.