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Agenda item

Pre-Submission Draft Wiltshire Core Strategy Development Plan Document

Report by the Service Director for Economy and Enterprise.

 

The Wiltshire Core Strategy is enclosed separately for members of the Council and available on the Council’s website.

 

Minutes:

Public Participation

 

The Chairman reported receipt of questions from Mr David Scane, on behalf of Curtin & Co, acting on behalf of Bloor Homes as circulated along with responses from Cllr Fleur de Rhé-Philipe, Cabinet member for Economic Development and Strategic Planning – question and response attached as Appendix A.

 

Mr Scane asked the following supplementary question:

 

What evidence exists to show that the strategic sites put forward in the draft Strategy within Chippenham are better equipped than Hunters Moon to deliver ‘other benefits’ to the town, other than meeting the strategic housing requirement, and what further evidence exists to show that these sites can start to be delivered in the short term?”

 

Cllr de Rhé-Philipe explained that the evidence was in the documentation which would be published alongside the Core Strategy for the forthcoming consultation. The Council’s priority as reflected in the draft Core Strategy, was to promote economic development to secure employment opportunities and this was also confirmed by the Leader of the Council.

 

The Chairman reported receipt of separate statements from Mr Michael Orr, Director of CSJ Planning Ltd on behalf of Chippenham 2020 and Ms Clare Ward, a Chippenham resident.

 

Mr Duncan Hames MP for the Chippenham Constituency addressed Council on this item in the main, objecting to the scale of development around Chippenham.

 

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Councillors’ questions

 

The Chairman reported receipt of questions from Cllrs Chris Caswill and Judy Rooke which were circulated along with responses from Cllr de Rhé-Philipe – attached as Appendix B.

 

As a supplementary question, Cllr Caswill sought information on what  measures would mitigate the Rawlings Farm development. Cllr de Rhé-Philipe undertook to provide him with the latest information she had on this particular issue. Cllr Caswill welcomed the changes made at the Cabinet meeting on 17 January 2012 and the commitment reflected in the draft Strategy to ensure it was employment rather than housing led.

 

Cllr Judy Rooke emphasised the point made in her question over the allocation of green fields and agricultural land around Rowden and Patterdown in Chippenham for housing. She reiterated her point that green field sites should only be used when brown field sites were not available and that this view was supported by the Highways Agency. Cllr Rooke sought further clarification of the response given to her second question and Cllr de Rhé-Philipe agreed to provide this.

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In introducing this item, the Chairman explained that Council was being asked to consider the draft Pre-Submission Draft Wiltshire Core Strategy Development Plan Document (draft Strategy) with a view to approving it for public consultation.

 

The Chairman explained that following consultation, the draft Strategy along with an analysis of responses to the consultation would come back to Council with a view to its adoption. The Chairman advised that an extraordinary meeting of Council was being arranged for Tuesday 26 June 2012 for this purpose.

 

The Chairman advised on how he proposed to structure the debate on this item in order to go through the document systematically. This would also enable those Councillors who had declared a prejudicial interest to be able to leave the meeting at the appropriate time, but not disenfranchise them from being able to participate in the debate on other parts of the document.

 

At the Chairman’s invitation, Cllr de Rhé-Philipe presented a report for Council’s consideration along with the draft Strategy.

 

The report invited Council to consider the views of Cabinet which had considered the draft Strategy at its meeting on 17 January 2012 and recommended Council to approve it for the purposes of consultation. It was noted that Cabinet had agreed a number of minor amendments to correct drafting errors, improve clarity and/or to strengthen the document which had been incorporated into the document before Council. Details of these amendments together with the relevant extract of the Cabinet minutes were presented. A further schedule of changes required was circulated at this meeting.

 

Cllr de Rhé-Philipe moved the recommendations of Cabinet together with the further changes proposed and this was duly seconded. Cllr de Rhé-Philipe  also clarified that this also included deletion of the last bullet point on page 61. Following queries raised on this deletion, it was confirmed that this bullet point had not formed part of the proposals as considered and therefore recommended by Cabinet and had been included inadvertently. Cllr Caswill moved an amendment to retain this bullet point and this was duly seconded. On being put to the vote, the amendment was LOST.

 

During debate, a number of Councillors spoke on the draft Strategy making general points and specific points relating to their respective electoral division areas to which Cllr de Rhé-Philipe responded.

 

Cllr Jon Hubbard expressed concern that the 400 homes provided for in the Strategy for Melksham when not coupled with a strategic site allocation could result in Melksham being at the mercy of speculative planning applications. Cllr de Rhé-Philipe explained that this was not the case as this Strategy, together with national policy, sets out a clear framework for these to be delivered either through community-led planning policy documents, including neighbourhood plans or a site allocations Development Plan Document (DPD).

 

Cllr John Thomson, Cabinet member for Adult Care, Communities and Housing moved changes to the wording as shown below as a variation to the Cabinet recommendation and this was seconded by Cllr Bill Douglas:

 

Paragraph 6.47 – page 186

 

The policy has regard to the practicalities of provision on small sites. While developments of 5 units and above will be expected to make provision on-site. Where the policy generates a requirement which does not equate to a whole unit the calculation will be rounded to the nearest whole affordable housing unit. For sites of 4 dwellings or fewer, a financial contribution will be sought. This could be for on-site or off-site delivery. The level of financial contribution for sites of 4 dwellings or fewer will be set within detailed guidance to be produced by the council.

 

Core Policy 43 – page 187

 

Provision

 

Affordable housing provision of 40% (net) will be provided on sites of 5 or more dwellings. Only in exceptional circumstances, where it can be proven that on-site delivery is not possible, will a commuted sum be considered. On sites of 4 dwellings or fewer a financial contribution will be sought towards the provision of affordable housing.

 

There was general support for the above changes and for the avoidance of doubt, Cllr de Rhé-Philipe agreed to incorporate these changes as part of her motion to approve the draft Strategy for the purposes of consultation.

 

Cllr George Jeans having declared a prejudicial interest in this part of the draft Strategy, withdrew from the meeting for the duration of the debate on this matter and was not present when the vote was taken.

 

An amendment was proposed by Cllr Chris Caswill and seconded by Cllr Jon Hubbard as follows:

 

(That following recommendation by Cabinet at its meeting on 17 January 2012, Council:)

 

Insert:

(i)                    welcomes the opportunity for further consultation, challenge and improvementto the current draft, and the forecast changes to the draft National Policy Planning Framework.

 

On being put to the vote, the above amendment was LOST.

 

A further amendment was proposed by Cllr Chris Caswill and seconded by Cllr Jon Hubbard as follows:

 

(ii)          approves the Draft Wiltshire Core Strategy for publication for a final ten week statutory consultation period commencing on or around 20 February 2012 to allow account to be taken of the revised National Planning Policy Framework.

 

On being put to the vote, the above amendment was LOST.

 

Following debate and Cllr de Rhé-Philipe responding to points made, it was

 

Resolved:

 

That following recommendation by Cabinet at its meeting on 17 January 2012, Council:

 

(i)  approves the Draft Wiltshire Core Strategy as amended to incorporate the changes agreed at this meeting as detailed in  Appendix C to these minutes, for publication for a final six week statutory consultation period commencing on or around 20 February 2012

 

(ii)  authorises the Service Director for Economy and Enterprise, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Economic Development  and Strategic Planning to make any necessary changes to the Draft Core Strategy in the interests of clarity and accuracy before it is published, and to make arrangements for consultation.

 

Cllr de Rhé-Philipe thanked officers, in particular, Alistair Cunningham – Service Director for Economy and Enterprise and Georgina Clampitt-Dix – Head of Spatial Planning for the considerable work undertaken to reach this stage.  In agreeing, Councillors also paid tribute to Cllr de Rhé-Philipe for the exemplary manner in which she had dealt with presenting all three items on this agenda.

 

Declarations of Interest

 

Please refer to minute no. 2 abovefor details of interests declared in this item.

 

Cllrs Tony Deane, George Jeans and Judy Rooke, having declared prejudicial interests as recorded at minute no. 2above withdrew from the meeting when their respective areas of interest were under discussion and did not vote or in the case of Cllr Rooke, had left the meeting before voting took place.

 

(Meeting adjourned at 1.00pm – 1.45pm for lunch following consideration of items recorded at minute no. 7 and 8 and then again during consideration of the item recorded at minute no. 9 between 3.55pm and 4.10pm)

Supporting documents:

 

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