Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms 1 & 2 - Deanes. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services Team 

Link: Video recording

Items
No. Item

26/18

Apologies for absence and substitutions

Minutes:

There were apologies from Cllr Watts.

 

Councillor Frost was replaced by Councillor Miller

Councillor Parker was replaced by Councillor James

Councillor Leeks was replaced by Councillor Capon

27/18

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

28/18

Urgent matters

To consider any items of business, other than those shown on this agenda and which, by reason of special circumstances to be stated at the meeting, in the opinion of the Chairman, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency.

 

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

29/18

Minutes of the meeting held on 1 November pdf icon PDF 248 KB

The Chair will move that the minutes of the meeting be signed as a correct record. The only part of the minutes that can be discussed is their accuracy.

Minutes:

It was noted that a suggestion for the council tax department to write to new owners of listed buildings informing them of planning restrictions relating to their property was outstanding.

 

The Chair commented that he had contacted the Chair of Scrutiny Committee to discuss the most appropriate format and manner to review the work of the LEP, and would feed back in due course.

 

The Chair agreed to chase up distribution of the ‘local list’ in relation to conservation areas.

 

The minutes of the meeting held on 1st November were confirmed as a correct record and signed by Chair.

30/18

Exploring New Opportunities to Provide Homes Council Motion

Referral of a motion

It was resolved at a full Council meeting held on 13th December 2018, to refer the following motion to the Economic, Planning and Housing committee for consideration:-

Basingstoke is a growing town at a time when central government has recognised that there is a national shortage of housing. By announcing that the cap on local authorities borrowing to fund housing developments is to be lifted, the Prime minister has in effect challenged all councils to do more. Even those for whom borrowing is not an issue.

 

This Council could examine whether there are further opportunities to build or invest, directly or indirectly, in housing for rent or sale; particularly the affordable and social housing needed by those struggling to get on the housing ladder. Without research and evidence, we could miss opportunities to meet the housing needs of our communities, to generate revenue to support services and to improve our green performance. Are there opportunities to develop new initiatives rather than relying on developers to match housing needs and availability?

 

The recent report to the Scrutiny Committee, for the year ending March 2018, sounded a positive note with a 23% increase in vacancies on the Council’s “Choice Based Lettings” system exceeding the 22% increase in the number of households on the register. This is to be welcomed, but we must ask if we can do more. The report noted that difficulties exist in matching housing needs to the available stock of affordable or social housing. For example, there are issues facing single people, particularly those under the age of 35 years, where the number of applicants considerably outweighs vacancies.

 

Having a place to call home is a basic human right. An affordable home is vital for people, for families, for key workers who cannot afford to rent privately let alone buy their own home.

 

This motion requests that the Council undertakes work to explore opportunities and to provide a base of evidence for future policy consideration. To rise to the challenge of the nation’s housing crisis.

 

Minutes:

The Chair reported that the Portfolio Holder for Housing, Regeneration, Arts & Heritage had volunteered to establish a member’s advisory panel to examine and investigate the motion.

 

It was suggested that the topic was broad ranging and would require contribution from a number of Portfolio Holders and departments.

 

Councillors G James, Harvey and Phillimore volunteered to join the member’s panel. Councillor David Potter was volunteered by Cllr Harvey.

 

Invitation to be circulated to all members.

31/18

Action on Empty Houses Council Motion

Referral of a motion

It was resolved at a full Council meeting held on 13th December 2018, to refer the following motion to the Economic, Planning and Housing committee for consideration:-

 

 

1)  Empty homes can be a blight on local communities and are a valuable resource that could be used to help meet local housing need.

 

2)  We currently have 457 empty homes in the borough. This figure does not include many other empty homes which are exempt from Council Tax, of which, for example, there are 26 in Norden.

 

3)  In its 2018 report, the charity, Empty Homes, made several recommendations for Central Government and local authorities including that:

 

·      Local authorities should have an empty homes strategy for their area, with the aspiration to reduce the number of long-term empty homes;

 

·      Local authorities should take a casework approach with owners of long-term empty properties to encourage, advise and support them to bring homes back into housing use.

 

4)  This Council has no empty homes strategy. Furthermore there is no reference to a strategy or KPIs in relation to empty homes work in its Homelessness and Housing Strategy 2016 to 2020, or its Private Sector Renewal Policy.

 

Council requests that;

 

1)    This Council places a higher priority in tackling empty homes to bring them back into use.

 

2)    A report outlining this Council’s current approach to dealing with empty homes and including recommendations for a future strategy including KPIs is brought forward to the Economic, Planning and Housing Committee for further discussion at the earliest opportunity.

 

 

Minutes:

The Chair reported that the Portfolio Holder for Housing, Regeneration, Arts & Heritage had commissioned a report due later in the year in relation to the subject and was happy to engage further with any interested member.

 

It was suggested and agreed that an appropriate member’s advisory panel be set up to examine the issue and to aid and support the anticipated report.

 

Councillors Harvey, L James, and Rhatigan volunteered to join the member’s panel. Councillor Carolyn Wooldridge was volunteered Cllr Harvey. 

 

Invitation to be circulated to all members.

32/18

Horizon 2050: The journey to 2050 pdf icon PDF 827 KB

Contact Officer: Sally Boxall

 

The report presents the outcome of the work on Horizon 2050, which was presented to Community, Environment and Partnerships (CEP) Committee on 19 December 2018 and is presented to Economic, Planning and Environment (EPH) Committee on 10 January 2019 for comment and endorsement. The presentation to CEP and EPH follows an appearance at EPH on 28 September 2017 and follows an extensive period of engagement activities.

 

The report is for noting and to provide comment on the emerging version of Horizon 2050 prior to consideration by Cabinet.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Horizon 2050: The journey to 2050 was introduced by the Leader of the Council. It was noted that the report had been written by the Basingstoke Area Strategic Partnership (BASP), in conjunction with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC). It was clarified that the document was neither a strategy nor policy document, but was intended as a framework of desired outcomes to inform policy making in the future. 

 

It is intended that the final document will be presented to Cabinet in early February, and recommended for adoption by the Council on 28 February and by the BASP in March.

 

The committee made a range of comments and observations.

 

Homes & Housing vision

It was suggested that there should be some expectation management in relation to the assertion that ‘where possible, new development will take place on brown field sites in preference to green field sites’. The number of available brown field sites was acknowledged to be reducing.

 

It was further suggested that the term ‘previously developed land’ be added to the ‘brown field sites’ term.

 

It was felt that the vision lacked the element of ‘place making’ and may benefit from including garden village principles.

 

Surprise was expressed that there was no mention of a desire for additional council housing. It was clarified that there was lots of discussion relating to affordable housing, with affordability deemed more desirable than sustainability.  

 

It was felt that section 9.2 should be strengthened and enhanced to adequately reflect the strong desire for more council housing and housing provision for the elderly.

 

It was queried how representative the workshops were when some of them were self-selecting. It was confirmed that both the Over 55 forum and Disability forum were included within the engagement activities.

 

It was requested that regeneration, specifically relating to housing, be included more fully within the vision.

 

Health, safety and inclusive communities vision

The disparity of health provision generally was noted.

 

Whilst it was acknowledged that residents generally felt safe it was felt that there needed to be reference to a high profile policing element in the future to continue ensuring such community safety. It was further suggested that whilst the borough was a safe place, there were underlying issues in the form of drug and alcohol misuse that still needed to be addressed.

 

A full breakdown in the profile percentages of people interviewed was requested and is available within Appendix A of the telephone sample survey report.

 

There was a request to more fully reference inequality within the vision, particularly in relation to child poverty.

 

It was suggested that ‘accessibility’ in terms of transport and affordability should be incorporated within the vision.

 

Environment

It was noted that there was a strength of feeling throughout the borough in terms of the importance of sustainability and environment.

 

It was suggested that there should be a reference to climate change.

 

It was noted that incorporating the vision into ongoing building projects throughout the borough was particularly important, especially in terms of Town and Country Planning  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32/18

33/18

Economic Growth Strategy pdf icon PDF 897 KB

Contact Officer: Daniel Garnier

 

To receive the report and to provide views:-

·         on the overall approach to economic growth outlined in the draft economic growth strategy; and

·         on the priorities and areas of focus described in the draft economic growth strategy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Economic Growth Strategy was introduced by the Leader of the Council. It was noted that the report outlined a strategic approach to support the economic development of the borough, whilst aiming to respond to the aspirations and ambitions for the borough as set out by Horizon 2050.

 

It was clarified that the document was solely a BDBC report.

 

The committee commended the report and made a range of observations.

 

An observation was voiced that economic poverty within the borough should be dealt with more robustly in the strategy.

 

In response to a query the Economy and Culture Manager suggested that the document identified three areas of specific importance, notably:

·         Enabling the right environment for start-ups, in relation to low rent accommodation and networking support;

·         Supporting the existing workforce with opportunities to upskill; and

·         Ensuring that there is no shortage of commercial stock in the future. 

 

It was clarified that Basingstoke start-up performance compared well with other boroughs and that survival rates after 5 years were amongst the highest.

 

It was queried whether conversations had been held with Urban&Civic in relation to skills training. This had not taken place to date but was a subject that would be addressed.

 

It was envisioned that the council would be a facilitator and enabler to upskilling and further education, rather than direct provider. Discussions had already been held with four existing universities within the area with a view to future collaboration.

 

It was suggested that in relation to a further education culture there should be a change in focus from employer to student perspective. 

 

Priority 1: Growing talent

It was acknowledged that as a borough council with no direct responsibility for education, the role was not to try and replicate university towns but to facilitate and promote educational opportunities within the locality.  

 

Priority 2: Supporting entrepreneurs

It was confirmed that the borough offered a fertile and thriving environment both for start-up and ongoing growth, with competitive rates and good transport links.

 

Core Pillars 1 & 2

It was queried whether there was the potential to become a centre for agricultural excellence. It was commented that given there was one of the best agricultural colleges in the country less than 15 minutes travel away, there would be little point in trying to compete.

 

Core Pillar 3

It was queried why Basingstoke was losing jobs to Reading, given that Reading was a more deprived area. It was explained that there was no direct correlation between the two and that the statistics may have been distorted as Reading was a small borough to which a number of other borough residents commuted.

 

It was also explained that AWE, situated just inside the border of West Berkshire, employs approximately 3,500 residents of Basingstoke which impacts the percentage number commuting out of the borough.

 

It was queried whether there was any follow up with business’ that had chosen to leave the borough. It was confirmed that discussions did take place and generally decisions to move were not linked with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33/18

34/18

Authority Monitoring Report for Planning 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 571 KB

Contact Officer: Jo Brombley

 

To receive the 2018 Authority Monitoring Report (AMR), for Planning.

 

The AMR was published in December 2018 and provides monitoring information and statistical data for the borough for the period from 1 April 2017 to the 31 March 2018. The purpose of the AMR is to monitor progress with the production of planning policy documents and consider the effectiveness of the council’s planning policies against relevant performance indicators.  The document is published annually in accordance with the requirements set out in Regulation 34 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.  This is the second report to be published since the adoption of the Local Plan in May 2016. 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Authority Monitoring Report for Planning 2017/18 was introduced by the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Infrastructure.

 

It was highlighted that the housing target of 850 new homes was close to being met (with 828 net homes having been built), and that the council’s housing trajectory indicated that this target would be met in future monitoring years.

 

Progress with planning documents

There was praise for the number of neighbourhood plans in force.

 

There was a query in relation to powers offered by a plan as a defence against speculative development. The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Infrastructure explained that neighbourhood plans were part of the development plan and would strengthen the LPA’s position in resisting such planning applications.

 

It was clarified by the Planning Policy Manager that neighbourhood plans were required to be in general conformity with the policies in the Local Plan. It was suggested and agreed that any future review of the Local Plan would need to include engagement with the neighbourhood plan groups at the outset. The Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) was informed by a call for sites, and would be used to inform future plans.

 

It was explained that all parishes had been encouraged to develop neighbourhood plans. Where there was no appetite to do so, but additional new housing was required by Local Plan Policy, BDBC would need to consider allocating sites on that area’s behalf. 

 

Housing policies

It was queried that whilst the report stated that the council was taking a pro-active approach, the number of extant sites was also rising. The Planning Policy Manager explained that there was no clear evidence of land banking in the borough, and that the council was working with developers and other stakeholders to overcome specific barriers to delivery.

 

It was noted that the percentage of new dwellings on previously developed land had decreased in the past year. It was explained that this was as a result of more development on green field sites allocated in the Local Plan. It was anticipated that this trend would continue as more Local Plan allocations came forward. 

 

Concern was voiced that of the 828 new homes built, 311 were delivered through windfall. The Planning Policy Manager explained that the relatively high number of completions on windfall sites reflected the building out of sites that had received consent before the adoption of the Local Plan. Members noted that some delivery on windfall sites was positive, particularly for smaller sites, which could make efficient use of land in the urban area. Concern was raised about permitted development office conversions, in particular the fact that they did not provide affordable housing or community infrastructure.

 

It was clarified that the high figure for the previous and current year was due to the stage that had been reached in the Local Plan process and that expectation was for the numbers to drop in the forthcoming couple of years. It was further explained that the 50 units a year target for windfall was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34/18

35/18

Review of work programme pdf icon PDF 186 KB

The Committee is asked to note and review its Work Programme and to receive updates from the Lead Members of Task and Finish Groups.

 

Minutes:

The Committee reviewed its work programme and made the following comments:

 

·         It was noted that HCC Education department who were due to attend in March, were uncomfortable attending a meeting in a public forum. Chair to discuss likely attendance and availability of officers with HCC’s Portfolio Holder for Education;

·         It was agreed to abandon pursuance of a meeting with the AA and Abstract;

·         It was agreed that another meeting of the SS9 task and finish group would be arranged;

·         Chair to discuss the scrutiny of risk assessment and equality impact assessment with other Chairs;

·         A briefing note was being prepared by the Supporting People member’s advisory panel to be reviewed at either the next or following meeting; and

·         Topic suggestion forms to be submitted in relation to Older Persons Accommodation and Permitted Development reviews.