Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Burys, Godalming. View directions
Contact: Fiona Cameron Democratic Services Officer
Welcome and Introductions
The Chairman welcomed Members and members of the public to the meeting.
The Chairman introduced the Officers attending, who would introduce the report and respond to Members’ questions:
Graeme Clark, Strategic Director
Elizabeth Sims, Head of Planning
Ian Motuel, Principal Planning Policy Officer
Gayle Wootton, Principal Planning Policy Officer
Daniel Bainbridge, Borough Solicitor
Lewis Jones, Planning Lawyer
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS
To receive apologies for absence and note substitutions.
Members who are unable to attend this meeting must submit apologies by the end of [ 4 clear working days ] to enable a substitute to be arranged, if applicable.
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Stephen Hill and Anna James.
Cllr Denis Leigh attended as a substitute.
DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS
To receive from Members declarations of interests in relation to any items included on the agenda for this meeting, in accordance with Waverley’s Code of Local Government.
There were no interests declared in relation to the items on the agenda.
Following the Examination of Local Plan Part 1: Strategic Policies and Sites, the Council has now received the final report from the Local Plan Inspector. Subject to some specific required modifications, the Inspector considers the Plan to be sound. The next step in the process is for the Council to formally adopt the new Local Plan. In order to do so, the Council must incorporate all the Main Modifications identified in the Inspector’s report. The purpose of this report is to update the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on this matter, particularly the findings of the Inspector, and for the Committee to forward any comments it has to the Executive.
That the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee considers the Inspector’s report and forwards any comments to the Executive.
Elizabeth Sims, Head of Planning, introduced the report that had been circulated to all Members with the agenda for the meeting.
Following a lengthy process, the Council had reached an important milestone in the development of Waverley’s Local Plan. The Inspector’s report on Local Plan Part 1, which sets out the overall strategy along with strategic planning policies and some strategic site allocations, had been received.
The Inspector had identified three main issues upon which the soundness of the Plan depended:
· Whether the Plan made adequate provision for new housing;
· Whether the spatial strategy was sound, including all its component parts; and
· Whether the development management policies of the Plan were clear, effective and consistent with statute, Government policy and guidance.
Subject to the inclusion of the Main Modifications, the Inspector had found the Plan to be ‘sound’. It was crucial to understand that without the Main Modifications, the Plan was not considered ‘sound’.
Adoption of the ‘sound’ Local Plan Part 1 by the Council would allow Local Plan Part 2 to progress, which would deal with other allocations of land as well as setting out the more day to day development management policies; and also Neighbourhood Plans that were being prepared across the Borough. The adopted Plan would be given full weight for the purposes of planning decision-making and would replace a number of the policies in the 2002 Local Plan. It would enable the Council to defend its position against speculative development proposals that were inconsistent with new Plan policies. It would also enable the Council to move forward with the adoption and implementation of the Community Infrastructure Levy.
There were clear risks to the Council if it decided not to adopt the Modified Plan. The lack of an up to date Plan would leave the Council vulnerable to more speculative development, and it would be more difficult for the Council to defend its 5-year housing supply position. Even if the Plan were not adopted, the Inspector’s report would be a material planning consideration that could be used by developers to strengthen their arguments against Waverley. In addition, the Council would lose the certainty that the Plan provided, it would be more difficult to progress the Community Infrastructure Levy, and Neighbourhood Plans, and Waverley would be vulnerable to potential Government intervention with reputational consequences.
Having regard to the Inspector’s findings and the benefits of having an up to date Plan in place, Officers strongly recommended that the Council adopt the Plan incorporating all the Modifications required by the Inspector to make it sound.
Before inviting the Environment Overview & Scrutiny Members to comment, the Chairman reminded all present that Officers represented the Council and Members represented the electorate, and it was important that the Committee carried out thorough scrutiny and reflected their concerns.
The Chairman informed the Committee that Cllr Paul Follows and Cllr Andy MacLeod had given notice that they wished to speak on this matter, and he invited them to address the Committee.
Cllr Follows had listened ... view the full minutes text for item 52.