Notification of an Urgent Decision - North West Leicestershire Local Plan - Partial Review
Report of the Strategic Director of Place
Presented by the Leader
Cllr Ashman presented the report. He advised that at its meeting on the16 July 2019 Cabinet agreed to undertake the preparation of both a Partial Review and a Substantive Review of the Local Plan. He stated that the Partial Review would focus solely upon the wording of Policy S1 in the adopted Local Plan with the only change being a revised date by which a wider, substantive review would be submitted.
He informed Members that the Local Plan Committee considered a report at its meeting on 2 October 2019, which sought approval to begin consultation on that basis. The committee passed an amendment to the recommendations, which also sought to make changes to policies S3 and Ec2(2}.
He advised that the Local Plan Committee did not have the authority to make changes to documents and that instead, it is required to instruct Cabinet, as the Executive, to reconsider documents. That was done at the meeting of Cabinet on 29 November 2019 where it was decided to not agree to the amendment supported by the Local Plan Committee. He highlighted that the Partial Review must be submitted by 20 February 2020 to ensure that the plan does not become out-of-date, adding that it was a tight timetable and so it was not possible for the matter to be considered by Scrutiny, as well as then undertaking consultation and considering any comments received. He noted that therefore, the Chairman of the Council agreed to waiver the Council's normal call-in process for Cabinet decisions.
Councillor R Ashman informed the Council that if the plan were to become out-of-date, it would prejudice the Council's ability to resist planning applications, which it would have otherwise regarded as being inappropriate, and that it was important that the authority retains control over planning in the district. He added that he knew members did not want the plan to be regarded as being out-of-date as the Council had been there before. He stated that it was for that reason that the steps had to be taken.
It was noted that the Local Plan Committee had met again on 13 November 2019 and that they supported the recommendation to begin consultation on the partial review, which started on 20 November 2019 and will run until 8 January 2020.
Councillor D Bigby stated that as the mover of amendment at Local Plan Committee that led to the current situation, a short explanation was required. He advised that the amendment was carried by 5 votes to 2 cross party. He advised that there were 2 parts to the amendment, the first sought to delete or modify policy EC2 part 2, in order to avoid further erosion of countryside. This followed the HEADNA report identifying a shortfall in employment land and, rather than designating sites, the policy opened the floodgates to allow employment anywhere in countryside. He highlighted the requirement that had been stated and advised that the requirement would be met with applications that had been or were due to be submitted. He stated that given the urgency of review, it was accepted that the review must proceed, however, it was essential that the employment land issue was addressed as part of full review and that the Council must obtain new and accurate figures and find suitable site.
Councillor M Hay stated that as a ward member for Castle Donington and a resident, planning was a big subject there. He stated that he would be supporting the review but only as he had been backed into a corner to do so. He felt that the debate had come late and was not going to the correct meetings. He urged Members not to accept the report before them as business as usual and that was not to happen again.
Councillor J Legrys accepted that the issue had been debated at Local Plan twice and again debated when he had spoken at Cabinet. In relation to the procedural issues before them items 2 and 3 talk about the urgency of the issue and that the Monitoring Officer had treated it as an urgent matter with the waiver of call-in. He stated that the authority had a team professional planners working through the plan with their hands tied and that Councillor R Ashman had already spoken about the uncertainty of what could be achieved in the year, along with the uncertainty of the County’s economic strategy. He informed Members that colleagues would accept the paper, however they had been put between a rock and a hard place as, if the review was not carried out the Council would be in a far worse position with an out of date Local Plan. He felt that there should be better cross party working to enable the best outcomes for the residents of the District and that lessons should be learnt so that a decent Local Plan could be delivered for North West Leicestershire.
Councillor R Ashman noted the comments made by Members and was pleased to hear the support.
It was moved by Councillor R Ashman, seconded by Councillor R Blunt and
The report be noted
- Notification of an Urgent Decision - North West Leicestershire Local Plan - Partial Review Council Report, item 54. PDF 290 KB