27 September 2016 – Agenda
SUMMONS TO ATTEND A MEETING OF NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN CONTINUITY COMMITTEE
TO: All Members of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee
Cllrs B Austin (Chairman), D Bretherton (Deputy Chairman), P Cowell, D Dodds,
M Dyer, H Fickling, P Lambert, A Midwinter and M Stiles
Ex Officio (Voting) Members – L Emery (Town Mayor) and N Dixon (Deputy Mayor)
To all other Members for information
Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall
Tuesday 27 September 2016
7.30 pm (maximum two hours)
Clerk of the Council
Date: 21 September 2016
1 Apologies for Absence
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
To notify of any items that appear in the agenda in which there may be an interest that has not been recorded in the Member’s Register of Interest; and confirmation of any relevant dispensations.
3 Public Participation and Public Questions
To consider applications from members of the public to address the Committee (5 minutes maximum), in respect of any item of business included in the agenda. Applications to speak must have been received by the Town Clerk no later than 5pm on the last working day preceding the meeting.
To consider questions from members of the public (who live, work or run a business in the Parish). Written questions must have been received by the Town Clerk no later than 4pm on the last working day preceding the meeting.
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the Committee Meeting held on 9 August 2016.
5 Working Groups
To receive a verbal update from the chairmen of:
a) The NPCC Co-Ordination Working Group
b) The Infrastructure Delivery Plan Working Group
c) The Green Living Plan Working Group
d) The Town Centre Working Group
e) The Transport Plan Working Group
f) The Community Facilities Working Group
g) The Burial Space Working Group
6 Working Groups – Terms of Reference
To agree the amended Terms of Reference for all seven working groups, as discussed by the NPCC Co-Ordination Working Group on 24 August 2016.
7 South Oxfordshire District Local Plan
To note that Thame Town Council’s response, as attached was submitted on 19 August 2016. It is understood that SODC have received 8,500 responses.
8 Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan
To note that Thame Town Council’s response, as attached was submitted on 5 September 2016.
9 Developer Meetings
While the Local Plan consultation was underway, Thame Town Council declined to meet with any potential developers, so as not to give any sign that it may tolerate further housing in Thame beyond that defined in the adopted Neighbourhood Plan.
To resolve that given the clarity of Thame residents’ position on future development, this principle should be the starting point for each approach, while there remains uncertainty on the content of the Local Plan, but each approach will be considered on its merits.
10 Market Town Co-ordinator
To note there were 23 high quality applications for the post. Short-listing has taken place with 9 candidates selected for interview.
11 Neighbourhood Plan Monitoring and Delivery Report / Newsletter
To note that good progress has been made on drafting the required updates to the Neighbourhood Plan Monitoring and Delivery Report as last published in January 2016, but given the scale of change it is not yet ready for publication.
To note that given the elapsed time since last publication, it is now appropriate to simply re-publish the whole report, rather than an abbreviated newsletter.
To resolve that the report will be circulated to all Councillors for review as soon as reasonably practical with the NPCO authorised to publish once all comments have been processed.
12 Screening application for Land west of Thame Park Road P16/S2866/SCR
To note that a screening application is submitted to a planning authority for them to judge if an Environmental Impact Assessment is required. The planning authority will decide if the project will have significant effects on the environment. This involves the use of certain thresholds or criteria such as proximity to environmentally sensitive areas. They are not open to public consultation, although the planning authority can seek the views of stakeholders or experts where technical advice is needed.
The thresholds used mean we are likely to see screening opinions where development is above 1 ha for non-housing projects; or where the development is above 150 dwellings; or where the overall area of development is above 5 ha.
The significance of this application is that the developer is now seeking the area of 3.39 ha (net of open space, allotments and the rest of their site) to hold 195, rather than 114 dwellings. This would mean this area of land yielding dwellings at 57.3 rather than 33.5 dph and the site as a whole providing 256 dwellings rather than the allocated 175.
No specific comment is needed to the Planning Authority at this stage.
13 Land south of Wenman Road, Land West of Thame Road, Land north of Oxford Road (sites C, D and F) – multiple discharges of conditions
To note that an advisory letter was sent to SODC regarding multiple conditions across the three housing allocation sites. These were not subject to public consultation and our opinion was not sought. The Town Council’s planning consultant was charged with comparing these against earlier permitted proposals as part of our routine monitoring of the Thame Neighbourhood Plan allocation sites. It was decided that the items of particular importance to the vision and objectives of the Thame Neighbourhood Plan should be highlighted.
The items of most concern are the misalignment of pedestrian routes between sites C & D; insufficient details of links to existing footpaths; the lack of vehicle or pedestrian access to the burial ground; the “riverside” paths being too distant from the watercourse; surface water drainage plans inconsistently shown with earlier signed-off conditions; the swale on site D shown as re-positioned to such an extent it is suggested a new application is required.
The letter as submitted to the Planning Authority is attached.
14 Affordable Housing
To receive a verbal update on the work of the sub-group in relation to the actual allocation of affordable housing within Thame.
15 Government response to the public consultation to proposed amendments to Neighbourhood Planning procedures
To note that Government has proposed to adopt all the changes it proposed in Chapter 5 of the consultation document Technical consultation on implementation of planning changes, February 2016. It is stated the aim is to further encourage new NP groups and fora to come forward and to reduce the likelihood of new and existing groups from feeling frustrated by the NP process.
The changes will reduce the time it takes for Local Planning Authorities (LPA) to accept designations of neighbourhood areas and neighbourhood forums; and introduce a time limit for the LPA to decide if a referendum should be carried out. The referendum must then normally follow within 10 weeks unless certain circumstances apply; and the LPA must normally decide to “make” the NP within 8 weeks of the referendum.
A procedure will be introduced to cater for instances where the LPA decision differs from that of the examiner or where the Secretary of State (SoS) has intervened at the request of the NP group. Prescribed individuals and groups, initially consisting the NP group and those who made representations on the NP will be consulted for a period of 6 weeks. Any subsequent decision would then have to be taken within 5 weeks of the end of the consultation period, unless the LPA called for a further examination.
A change introduced through the Housing and Planning Act enables the SoS to intervene at the request of the NP group in cases where the LPA has failed to decide to call a referendum, failed to accept all of an examiner’s recommendations or has proposed amendments to a NP not recommended by the examiner. The consultation document suggested procedures for this process; a NP group must apply in writing, giving clear reasons for their request; and the application must reach the SoS within 6 weeks of the LPA’s decision. The SoS may in turn choose to appoint a planning inspector to make the decision on their behalf. Further procedures detail the type of information and further representations that will be required in cases of intervention.
There is no impact on the Town Council until such time as a new (or amended) Neighbourhood Plan is considered.
16 The Neighbourhood Planning Bill in relation to Neighbourhood Plan Amendments
To note the following:
There is no current mechanism in law for the amendment of a neighbourhood plan. The Committee submitted to Government recommendations for potential amendment powers. The Neighbourhood Planning Bill was introduced to Parliament in September 2016. It introduces amendments to a number of Acts of Parliament. One clause that might affect the TNP would permit the modification of the plan by the planning authority, but only with the consent of Thame Town Council. This is expected to allow for minor changes only.
A second clause sets out a process that would allow for the modification of policies in the TNP. These would be expected to be changes that do not substantially change the nature of the plan. The resulting new version of the plan would have to be examined and the planning authority must then accept the changed plan, together with any changes recommended by the examiner. Two further changes are proposed to streamline the modification process: The examination would only hold hearings in exceptional circumstances; and no referendum would be needed prior to the local planning authority “making” the plan.