Minutes

of the Meeting of the

Strategic Planning and

Economic Development Policy

and Scrutiny Panel

Monday, 19th May 2008

held at the Town Hall, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

 

Meeting Commenced:  3.30 p.m.   Meeting Concluded: 5.07 p.m.

 

Councillors:

 

P  Clive Webb (Chairman)

A David Pasley(Vice-Chairman)

 

A  Bob Cook  (substitute Marcia Pepperall)

P  Jill Iles 

P  Edward Keating 

P  Dr. Mike Kellaway-Marriott 

A  Keith Morris 

P  Tony Moulin 

P  Marcia Pepperall

 

 

 

P: Present

A: Apologies for absence submitted

 

SPE

1         

Declarations of Interest by Members

 

Councillor Tony Moulin declared a personal interest in any discussion that may arise on discussion of the Natural Environment Review (Minute SPE 6 refers) by virtue of being Chairman of the Yatton and Congresbury Action Group.

 

SPE

2         

Minutes of the Meeting held on 17th March 2008 (Agenda Item 4.1)

 

 

            Resolved: that the minutes of the meeting be approved as a correct record.

 

SPE

3         

Quarter 3 Finance and Performance Monitoring 2007/08 (Agenda Item 5.1)

 

            The Panel considered this reference from the Executive of 11th March 2008 (EXE 121 refers) on the financial and performance position at 31st December 2007.

 

            Members were informed that none of the areas of under-performance related to matters relating to the Panel’s remit.

            The representative of the Director of Development and Environment responded to Councillor Ed Keating’s queries regarding the scheme allowing free bus and coach travel throughout England for senior citizens. The Panel was informed that despite some teething problems, most of the 37,000 eligible people had received their passes. An allowance for a potential overspend had been made in the budget.

 

Concluded: that the reference be noted.

SPE

4         

The Panel’s Work Plan – Proposed Joint Working Group (Agenda Item 5.2)

           

            The Panel considered a request from the Environmental Services Policy and Scrutiny Panel of 3rd April 2008 (ENS 64 refers) to set up a joint working group to consider district-wide strategies for reducing the quantity of free plastic bags provided with goods sold by retailers.

 

            Discussion ensued with arguments put forward for and against this Panel’s involvement.

 

            Concluded: that the Environmental Services Policy and Scrutiny Panel be informed that Councillors Ed Keating, Jill Iles, Dr Mike Kellaway-Marriott and Tony Moulin wish to join the working group to consider district-wide strategies for reducing the quantity of free plastic bags provided with goods sold by retailers.

SPE

5         

Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document (Agenda Item 5.3)

 

            The Panel considered a reference from the Executive of 15th April 2008 (EXE 135 refers).

 

            The Panel considered as a matter of urgency, an updated copy of the officers’ responses to the issues on the Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document raised at the Executive, and prior to that meeting by outside organisations.

 

            The representatives of the Director of Development and Environment and the Director of Adult Social Services and Housing responded to members’ questions and queries. Members commented on the following matters –

 

            (1)     Central heating installation - consumption of electricity

 

            Members were advised that energy efficiency standards would apply.

 

            A Member cautioned that for safety reasons, immersion heaters must be of the type that did not boil water in the cylinder.

 

            (2)     Installation of letter boxes to front doors

 

            Officers were urged to ensure that letter boxes were not of a that snapped shut causing hand/finger injuries.

 

            (3)     Balance of social rented and intermediate (low cost home ownership provision)

 

            A Member considered that retaining the current 75 per cent/25 per cent intermediate balance was reasonable. However, the majority of Members considered that in respect of new developments, the balance should be 50/50.

 

            Members expressed disappointment that North Somerset did not have a policy on the provision of low cost affordable housing to key workers such as the police, nurses, fire fighters and teachers.  Officers acknowledged that this was a matter of great concern to Panel Members. They undertook to investigate this matter, and report back.

 

            A Member commented that affordable housing should be distributed across the district.

 

            (4)     Use of gross or net dwellings to be provided in any development when deciding whether a scheme reaches the 15-dwelling threshold at which a 30 per cent affordable contribution is required

 

            It was accepted that in line with most other authorities, the net number of proposed dwellings be considered.

 

Concluded: that the Executive be advised of the following –

 

            (1)     the Panel’s comments on the Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document as set out in the preamble above;

 

(2)    that the Panel was satisfied with the officer response to the issues raised at the Executive;

 

(3)     that specific issues with respect to design should form part of the “Design Codes” to accompany the Core Strategy.

SPE

6         

The Panel’s Work Plan (Agenda Item 6.1)

 

            (1)     Transport and Young People

 

            It was reported that Councillor Mrs Barber had met informally with representatives of the Youth Parliament and was keen to progress this topic. It was anticipated that matters would be progressed formally through with the Children and Young People’s Policy and Scrutiny Panel.

 

            (2)     Urban Extensions/Regional Spatial Strategy/Strategic Housing Land Availability

 

            It was proposed and agreed that an informal workshop be arranged and that all Members of Council be invited to attend (subsequently arranged for Monday, 30th June 2008 at 3.45 pm following the meeting of the Panel, the start time for which was brought forward to 2.00 pm).       

 

            (3)     Motorway Junctions

 

            The representative of the Director of Development and Environment advised on a briefing for Members to take place on 2nd July 2008 which would include aspects of improvements to motorway junctions. In the light of that briefing, the Panel could then decide on whether to invite the South West Director of Highways Agency to a future meeting to answer questions.

 

            (4)     Funding to Outside Organisations

 

            The representative of the Director of Development and Environment responded to concerns by Councillor Tony Moulin that further discussion of this matter was not overlooked. The Panel was informed that the matter would be brought back to the Panel for consideration in the context of the Natural Environment Review.

 

            (5)     Local Employment Opportunities

 

            It was hoped that the Panel addressed this topic as soon as possible.

 

            (6)     Sustainable Travel

 

            Councillor Dr Mike Kellaway-Marriott reiterated his concern that the quality of local transport provision was not good enough.

 

            (7)     Portishead Open Air Pool

 

            The Chairman advised was looking at this matter together with Councillor Tim Marter and the Executive Member for Strategic Planning, Transport and Economic Development, and that they would be briefing the working group.

 

Concluded: that the Work Plan be agreed and updated to reflect work in progress.

SPE

7         

Section 106 Monies Working Group (Agenda Item 7.1)

 

            The Panel at its last meeting had considered the response of the Executive Member for Strategic Planning and Transport and the Executive Member for

            Finance, Property and Human Resources to the recommendations of the Section 106 Monies Working Group.

 

            This Panel and the Finance and Performance Policy and Scrutiny Panel had asked the Section 106 Monies Working Group to meet again to consider in detail the response of the Executive Members and report back to the next meetings of the two Panels.

 

            In the absence of Councillor David Pasley, Chairman of the Working Group, Councillor Jill Iles presented the report.

 

            Councillor Iles commended the report. The Working Group wished. However, to set a target date for the implementation of the new database off September 2008, and not six months time. Other Panel Members commended the report.

 

            Concluded: that the conclusions and recommendations of the Section 106 Monies Working Group be endorsed and forwarded to the Executive Member for Strategic Planning and Transport and the Executive Member for Finance, Property and Human Resources, with the request that the Executive Members report back on the adoption of those conclusions and recommendations and that the Finance and Performance Policy and Scrutiny Panel be advised accordingly.

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                    ________________________________

                                                                                                                Chairman

                                                                                    ________________________________