Consideration was given to a report that sought the formal adoption of the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan (JLP).
The Strategic Planning Manager (Joint Local Plan) was invited to outline the three further changes that had been added by the Inspector to the Main Modifications that were previously consulted upon between October and December 2018. These changes were summarised as follows:
1. There being no need for a specific policy that dealt with the process of designating Local Green Space designations;
2. It had been noted that Policy PLY61 incorrectly included a reference to ‘Western Park and Ride’ that was located in Cornwall; and
3. Amendments to Main Modification 52 that related to Policy ‘DEV29 – Green and Play Space’.
In the ensuing discussion, the following points were raised:-
(a) A number of Members paid tribute to the extensive work undertaken by those officers, Joint Steering Group Members and the Leaders of the three partner local authorities who had been so instrumental and visionary in reaching this significant milestone;
(b) A Member asked that the Deputy Monitoring Officer provide a ruling on whether or not the Council could proceed to determine this matter despite the fact that the documents (in their entirety) were only available on the Plymouth City Council website. In reply, the Deputy Monitoring Officer acknowledged that the timeframe was tight but advised that she was satisfied that the Council could take a decision at this meeting for reasons that included:
- all relevant papers were publically available;
- the Council had considered the main modifications at length at its meeting on 17 May 2018 (Minute 15/18 refers);
- officers had set out the three changes since the main modifications had been presented and were in attendance to respond to Member questions at this meeting; and
- a direct link to the Plymouth City Council webpage had been included with the notification email that had been sent to all Members at the point when the agenda report and appendices had been published (on Tuesday, 19 March 2019);
(c) The local Ward Member for Dartington and Staverton provided a statement to the meeting that reflected the deep levels of concern and upset over the extent of the proposed development in Dartington.
During her submission, a motion was PROPOSED and SECONDED to suspend Council Procedure Rule 12.4 to enable the Member to speak for more than the five minutes time limit.
When put to the vote, the motion was declared LOST;
(d) An amendment was PROPOSED and SECONDED as follows:
‘That consideration of the adoption of the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan be deferred for a period of five clear working days (i.e. Friday, 29 March 2019) to enable Members time to consider the agenda papers and consult with their constituents before formally reconsidering the decision.’
In support of the amendment, the proposer and seconder highlighted that the other two partner authorities were not considering this agenda item until Tuesday, 26 March 2019 and felt that Members should be given at least the same amount of time to digest these documents as their colleagues. In addition, the Members emphasised the significance of this agenda item and felt that an officer briefing would be beneficial prior to the matter being determined.
Another Member pointed out that, regardless of whether or not fellow Members supported the conclusions made by the Inspector, the Councils were required to accept them or they would not be able to adopt the Plan.
Whilst a request was made for a Recorded Vote to be taken on the amendment, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 15.5, less than the required five Members in attendance at the meeting demanded it.
When put to the vote, the amendment was declared LOST;
(e) A Member was concerned at the proposed number of houses that were to be built in the South Hams area and was of the view that the infrastructure to support such development was wholly inadequate;
(f) In opposition to the principle of Starter Homes, a Member informed that he could not support reference to them within Policy DEV9;
(g) With regard to the reference to villages that were located within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Member welcomed the increased emphasis to providing a robust defence to the preservation of these areas;
(h) Whilst a Member expressed her sympathy to the communities of Ivybridge, Totnes and Dartington, unfortunately there were a distinct lack of viable alternative options that were considered able to absorb such development in the South Hams;
(i) Some Members made the point that, without an adopted Plan, the Council would be in a far worse position than it would be if this version was approved by each of the three partner authorities.
It was then:
1. That the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan and Policies Map be adopted; and
2. That approval be given to the establishment of the Joint Local Plan Partnership Board in accordance with the Joint Local Plan Governance arrangements set out in the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan – Delivery and Governance Paper.
(NOTE: in accordance with Council Procedure 15.6, Cllr M F Saltern asked that his abstention from the vote on this proposal be formally recorded).