Minutes of the on-line Planning Committee Meeting held on

Thursday 6th August 2020 at 6.30 p.m.

Present:

Councillors:

B Smith (Chairman)

J Chapman (Vice Chairman)

M Barry, J Carr, J Howard, M Judson and G Steady

025. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:  None received.

026. CONFIRMATION OF THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 23RD JULY 2020:

The Minutes of the meeting held on the 23rd July 2020 were approved as a true record of the meeting.

027. DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS:

The Chairman reminded Members to declare interests when necessary.

028. TO MAKE RECOMMENDAIONS IN RESPECT OF PLANNING APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED TO TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL UP TO AND INCLUDING 6TH AUGUST 2020:

The following applications had been received by Tendring District Council:

Application No: 20/00769/FUL – Continued use of an agricultural building and associated land as a workshop – Lower Farm, Lower Farm Lane, Brightlingsea

  Object Support   Neutral

Reason for comment:

Makes observations on the application – Previous working time regulations to be adhered to.

  No comment on the application

  No objection to the application

  Objects to application

Supports application

Application No: 20/00895/FUL – Proposed single storey rear and side extension – 63 Regent Road, Brightlingsea

  Object Support   Neutral

Reason for comment:

  Makes observations on the application

  No comment on the application

  No objection to the application

  Objects to application

Supports application

029. DRAFT UPDATE OF TOWN PLAN:

A discussion took place on the paper submitted by the Chairman, he agreed fully with the comments, and agreed to produce a paper to take to the next full council meeting.

030. CLOSE OF MEETING:

There being no further business to discuss the Meeting closed at 7.20 p.m.    

Received by Council on:   Approved by Committee on: 

Signed by Chair: Signed by Chair:

 

DRAFT PAPER FOR COUNCIL

UPDATING TOWN PLAN OR COMMENCING NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN

At the last planning meeting on Thursday 6th August members of the committee discussed the attached paper (appendix A).   A decision now needs to be taken on whether to proceed with a new Neighbourhood Plan for Brightlingsea or simply update the existing Town Plan.

Before coming on to the advantages and disadvantages of these two options there is some preliminary work to be done which in my opinion would be beneficial to either option.  The first is to have a plan of all land and buildings owned by BTC and to combine this with an up to date footpaths map.  A copy, within a Perspex vandal proof frame, would be attached to the side of the Parish Hall.  It would convey to the public exactly what was the responsibility of BTC and obviously what was not.  There would be a disclaimer with regard to the accuracy of the footpaths insofar as any discrepancies should be referred to ECC and their Definitive Map.

Secondly, this would then give us the opportunity of commissioning a professional town planner/surveyor to look at development opportunities in relation to our land and buildings.

Thirdly, whatever option is chosen, it would be beneficial for the Council to have at least 2 ‘shovel ready’ schemes which would be carried out/implemented immediately finance became available.  Preferably one large and one small scheme.

I now turn to a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of the two options starting with a Revised Town Plan.  The main advantage is that it would be easy to do.  Furthermore we could do it basically in any form we wished with as much survey/consultation information as we thought appropriate.  The timescale would be a few months.  The main disadvantage is that it could not be used in the actual planning process.  In other words it would have no ‘clout’.

Conversely, the main advantage of a Brightlingsea Neighbourhood Plan is that once completed and adopted by TDC it would have considerable ‘clout’.  Planning applications within Brightlingsea would need to conform to both the TDC Local Plan and the BTC Neighbourhood Plan.  A grant of up to £10,000 would be available, subject to certain criteria, for professional help and if we commissioned a professional planning practice for the work outlined above we could further commission the same practice for this work.  The main disadvantage is that a Neighbourhood Plan is a mammoth task!  It could take 3 years and a Steering Committee of 30 people.  We would have to follow a ‘prescriptive route’ which is stipulated in government guidelines.  Unfortunately the Neighbourhood Plan has no power until it is completely finished.  (There is nothing like ‘patent pending’!) Furthermore, on the day the Planning Committee discussed the attached paper the government brought out proposals for major changes to the planning system. These can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-future

It does raise the question of whether the timing is right to embark on a Neighbourhood Plan for Brightlingsea.

RECOMMENDATION

  1. To proceed with a combined BTC Assets Plan/Footpaths map as outlined above.  To invite quotations from registered Town Planning Practices for an assessment of development opportunities on our land and buildings.  To work up 2  ‘shovel ready’  projects as soon as possible.
  2. To decide whether to update the existing Town Plan or commence work on a Brightlingsea Neighbourhood Plan.

 

Discussion Document :

BRIGHTLINGSEA TOWN PLAN AND POSSIBILITY OF A BRIGHTLINGSEA NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN

The Brightlingsea Town Plan was launched in 2009.  It took 2 years to produce and a considerable amount of work, carried out by both Councillors and residents, went into its production. After nearly 10 years it is now out of date particularly the survey information.  Brightlingsea has changed a lot since 2011 and clearly there is an opportunity to update the plan. Our Environmental Policy, which has been adopted by the Council, does highlight the requirement to update it in such a way that would facilitate the commencement of a Neighbourhood Plan. The Town Plan was nevertheless a useful document in its time particularly for the Council and organisations in the town, the Police and the District Council.

However, the Localism Act brought in a different approach which was Neighbourhood Planning.  This specified a process whereby a ‘neighbourhood’ could have a real say in planning matters as opposed to our current position which is simply to comment on planning applications from the District Council and on rare occasions the County Council.  It is important to point out that a Neighbourhood Plan is not a tool to stop development or change proposals already included in the Core Strategy/Local Plan.  (On this note it will be interesting to see how the recently adopted Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan ‘works’ with the new proposals of the Garden Community Development – see http://www.handsoffwivenhoe.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Wivenhoe-GardenCommunityA5.pdf for more on this).  So in summary the main reason to have a Neighbourhood Plan is for communities to play a greater role in determining the future of their area.

The stages of a Neighbourhood Plan are as follows (This table has been taken from Neighbourhood Planning Guidance produced by RCCE in partnership with the Essex  Planning Officers Association and the Essex Community Led Planning Officer Network.)

It is usual for the local Council to initiate the process although some areas have used a ‘neighbourhood forum’. Obviously it would be necessary to involve the wider community – residents, businesses, local groups, landowners and developers.  It is essential that TDC is involved throughout the process and they would organise the referendum were we to achieve finalization of the plan.  Professional help from a Town Planning Practice would be available for up to £10,000 in the form of a grant subject to certain criteria.  It may also be appropriate to use the same planning practice to look at development opportunities on land and buildings that the Council own.  (Although it would probably be necessary for the Council to pay separately for such advice).  It would also be appropriate, irrespective of whether the Neighbourhood Plan is proceeded with, to have at least 2 ‘shovel ready’ schemes that could proceed should finance become available.  Such schemes may or may not require planning permission.

It is important to stress that going forward with a Neighbourhood Plan is a huge commitment!  The recently adopted Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Plan took 3 years and 30 people!  Nearby Alresford  started their Plan in 2016 and it is only now reaching its final stages.  Also the Neighbourhood Plan would last approximately 5 years.  At the end of that period it would need to be reviewed.

It is hoped that the above information gives Members of the Planning Committee enough basic information to help them decide on whether to recommend to full Council that it is an appropriate time for the Council to initiate a Brightlingsea Neighbourhood Plan.

Cllr Ben Smith

2nd August 2020

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