Agenda and draft minutes

Local Plan Project Advisory Group
Wednesday, 11th April, 2018 10.45 am

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  • Venue: Council Offices

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    No. Item



    To receive any apologies for absence.


    It was noted that an apology for absence had been received from Councillor D P Murphy.



    Appointment of Substitute Members

    To note appointments of Substitute Members.


    It was noted that there were no substitute members appointed.



    Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 37 KB

    To receive any declarations of interest from Members in respect of business to be transacted on the agenda.


    It was noted that there were no declarations of interest.



    Notes pdf icon PDF 61 KB

    To approve the attached Notes of the meeting of the Group held on 25 July 2017.


    The notes of the meeting of the Group held on 25 July 2017 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



    Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 51 KB

    The Project Advisory Group’s Terms of Reference are attached for information.


    The Group’s Terms of Reference were noted.



    Local Plan - Programme of Works Update

    To receive a briefing on the following:


    ?   New Dover District Local Plan

    ?   Dover Waterfront Area Action Plan


    The Policy and Projects Manager (PPM) advised the Group that reports on the Local Development Scheme and the Statement of Community Involvement would be presented to Cabinet in May.  The former set out some changes to the programme for the review of the Local Plan. 


    It was agreed that the amended Local Development Scheme timetable and the Statement of Community Involvement would be circulated to all Members.    





    Gypsy, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople Accommodation Assessment

    To receive a presentation from Arc4.


    The Senior Planner (Policy) introduced Mr Michael Bullock from the consultants, Arc4, which had been commissioned to undertake an accommodation assessment in relation to gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople (GTTS), and invited to present to the Group the study’s initial findings. 


    Mr Bullock advised that the definition of GTTS had changed in August 2015.  Under the new definition, fewer people were classed as travellers than those who identified as such, for example, children and the elderly who did not travel due to school, ill health, etc.  The assessors had looked at existing and potential sites which could be permanent, temporary or unauthorised.  They had also looked at sub-dividing existing sites to accommodate more (or in some cases fewer) people.  Interviews had been carried out with site residents, from which it was evident that the uptake amongst the community for such sites was high.  Generally speaking, it was more commonplace for GTTS to move from sites to permanent dwellings than the other way around.   


    The assessment had identified that there was little unauthorised encampment in the Dover district, and currently no record of any travelling showpeople.   There were 38 authorised pitches in the district and, in turn, a minimum requirement of 18 pitches over the Plan period had been identified.  However, Members were advised that there were options for the Council to consider as part of the Local Plan review to meet this identified need.  In particular, it was recommended that the need could potentially be addressed by considering the expansion of capacity at existing permitted sites and by reviewing unauthorised encampment activity as a potential source of supply.  Several Members expressed concerns about the latter approach which would be very unpopular with the wider community.  Mr Bullock advised that several appeals against the refusal of planning permission for such sites had been upheld by the Planning Inspectorate.  Councillor F J W Scales commented that, given the shortfall in pitch provision, the Planning Committee would be obliged to give such applications careful consideration.


    Mr Bullock clarified that the definition had been changed in 2015 so as to focus on those who were still travelling.  The draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) recognised two groups, but failed to give clear guidance on how to deal with them.   The PPM clarified that the report to Cabinet would make recommendations, but it was ultimately for Cabinet to decide which option it wished to pursue.              


    In response to Mr Richard Ralph, Mr Bullock advised that, whilst there was likely to be a steady flow of GTTS over the Local Plan period into the Dover district, a big influx was not expected. This was due to an ageing population which meant that 20/30% of the existing community were unlikely to be around by the end of the Plan period.  It was also relevant that it was predominantly gypsies of English/Romany heritage living in the district who tended to have fewer children than those of Irish origin.  He clarified that the NPPF set out a number  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


    Evidence Base Update

    To receive a briefing.


    The PPM reported that the Local Plan was underpinned by an evidence base.  To inform the evidence base, a number of studies were being undertaken, utilising consultants and in-house resources.  These included a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, and the North Deal Study which would link with the Dover Transportation Study.   An open space/play area strategy, linked to the Green Infrastructure Strategy, would also be undertaken.  The intention was that sites put forward for development would be tested against these and other plans to establish whether there was the infrastructure and viability to deliver them.  The Senior Planner (Policy) added that there would be a review of the Council’s Heritage Strategy, and it was anticipated that the findings from a retail and town centre needs assessment would be ready by May.  Members were advised that a Sustainability Appraisal and a Habitats Regulations Assessment of the Local Plan were being undertaken.  A scoping report had already been completed and the key findings of this would be presented to the Group. 


    Mr Pat Sherratt referred to the major retail changes taking place in Dover, and whether the Local Plan would deal with issues such as over-intensification and flat conversions.  The Senior Planner (Policy) confirmed that retail and leisure policies would be reviewed, with an expectation that they would be incorporated into the Local Plan.  In response to Councillor Scales, the PPM advised that developing stand-alone flat conversion guidelines was not in the team’s current work programme as part of the Local Plan review.  The Council would need to consider whether it wished to adopt the Government’s national space standards.  It was recognised that there were gaps in the Council’s development management policies.  These would be explored through workshops to which stakeholders/interested parties would be invited.  


    In response to a query about Neighbourhood Plans (NP), the Head of Regeneration and Development advised that they were a useful tool to understanding the planning issues for local communities.  While these could be dealt with through the Local Plan process, the Council would support those towns and parishes that wanted to take a lead role by developing their own NPs.  It should be borne in mind that the Council was required to include a housing allocation for each community in the Local Plan, and there would therefore be an expectation that local communities would ‘offer’ such allocations in their NPs. 


    Councillor N S Kenton questioned whether communities should bother to refresh existing NPs given that the rationale for doing them had been to gain funding through Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) legislation.  The PPM advised that it was worth refreshing existing NPs.   There was no clarity on the CIL as the government kept changing its mind.  The current evidence was that the Section 106 system continued to work well, and there was no impetus to introduce the CIL due to disparities between northern and southern land values.  The Brownfield Register was currently on the internet and would be looked at in parallel with the ‘call for sites’ exercise.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


    Revised National Planning Policy Framework Consultation

    To receive a briefing.


    The Senior Planner (Policy) advised that consultation on a revised NPPF was due to end on 10 May.  The draft version indicated that local authorities would be required to define their strategic priorities within their Local Plans.  There would also be a requirement to review Local Plan policies every five years.  Local authorities would be required to provide tighter evidence and a new statement of common ground.   In addition, there would be a new housing delivery test.  In response to Councillor Kenton, the Senior Planner confirmed that the Council would have to give due weight to the higher figure of 594 houses per year.  It was clarified that this figure was defined as net additions and not existing households.  Councillor Scales commented that future Planning Committee decisions were likely to be based on sustainability appraisals, and suggested that the Local Plan should therefore include a tool to facilitate this.  It was agreed that this idea should be explored in the workshop. 


    It was agreed that the presentation be noted.



    Future Meetings

    To consider the following dates for future meetings:


    Tuesday 5 June at 10.00am

    Tuesday 14 August at 10.00am

    Thursday 11 October at 10.00am

    Wednesday 16 January 2019 at 10.00am


    It was anticipated that the next meeting would be held on 5 June, by which time the evidence base should have been completed.


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