Agenda item

Public participation and Questions from Councillors

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public. This meeting is open to the public, who may ask a question or make a statement. Questions may also be asked by members of the Council.  Written notice of questions or statements should be given to Yamina Rhouati of Democratic Services by 12.00 noon on Thursday 4 February 2016. Anyone wishing to ask a question or make a statement should contact the officer named above.



The Leader drew the meeting’s attention to the responses, circulated in agenda supplement 2 to the public questions received and invited Mr Richard Hames and Mr Ian James to ask any supplementary questions.


Mr Hames asked to follow up on questions 2, 3, 4 and 5.


In response to a request for more clarity, Cllr Sturgis stated that if proposals on brownfield sites had permission and were deemed deliverable then they could be considered as counting towards meeting the housing target in the Chippenham area in the current plan period. He went on to state that the deliverability of brownfield sites was affected by factors such as cost, contamination, ownership and infrastructure.


In response to a request for more clarity, Cllr Sturgis stated that Core Policy 10 referred to sites within the immediate vicinity of Chippenham and should not be confused with the need for a five year land supply within the wider North & West Wiltshire Housing Market Area. He went on to state that developments in the other towns in that Housing Market Area would not reduce the housing requirement within the Chippenham area.


In response to a request for paper copies of plans, the Leader stated that the Council encouraged residents to access the information online and that such facilities were available at libraries or council offices’ reception; to produce extra paper copies of planning documentation was not, in her opinion, a good use of public money. In response to concerns regarding the tight timescale to respond to planning applications, Cllr Sturgis that any consultation response made after the deadline, but prior to the determination,  would be considered as part of any determination by the authority.


In response to a question in relation to whether the Council had committed to selling land to Chippenham 2020, the Leader asked that Mr Hames submit his supplementary question in writing so that it could receive a written response.


Mr James thanked Cllr Thomson for the comprehensive response on the matter of the Broadband roll-out.


In response to supplementary issues raised by Mr James, Cllr Thomson clarified that: 80,000 homes would be given the opportunity to access high speed broadband in phase one by the end of March 2016; that issues with regard to poor services were varied, and were often subject to issues with providers; that the Council did not have access to information on individual household speed, and should not become a portal for people’s problems with their providers; that additional homes would be reached in phase two; that as the service became more commercially viable, the Council would be rewarded with extra funding that could be used to reinvest in providing better access for harder to reach properties; that as the 4G network improved, it may be that some properties’ problems could be solved that way rather than through the physical network; that there was a voucher scheme of up to £350 for people to buy equipment to provide satellite solutions; that there was a large campaign, backed by MPs, to allow parish councils to assist in funding and, in some cases, doing the work required to get hard to reach properties access – this work had been hampered by state aid processes, and meetings were underway with Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) to try and circumvent these procedural problems.


Cllr Thomson confirmed that he was responsible, through a hard-working team of officers, for holding BT to account for performance. The Leader also mentioned that this was a priority area of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Economic Partnership.


In response to a matter raised by Cllr Hubbard, Cllr Thomson stated demand had been underestimated in some areas.


In response to a question raised by Mr James, Cllr Sturgis stated that he believed that the Scott-Wilson Report indicated that planning authorities should, by way of planning conditions on development, require long-term monitoring of the hydrological aspects of land so that better information on issues such as ground water levels could be fed into models for developing flood defences; this would be a condition of a planning decision, not a pre-application consideration.

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