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to approve as a true and correct record the minutes of the Joint Meeting held on 23 January 2020;
The minutes of the Joint Meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel and Development Management Committee held on 23 January 2020 were confirmed as a true and correct record.
Declarations of Interest
Members are invited to declare any personal or disclosable pecuniary interests, including the nature and extent of such interests they may have in any items to be considered at this meeting;
Members and officers were invited to declare any interests in the items of business to be considered during the course of the meeting but there were none made.
A period of up to 15 minutes is available to deal with issues raised by the public;
In accordance with the Public Forum Procedure Rules, the Chairman informed that one question had been received for consideration during the agenda item.
1. Question from the South Hams Society
Can the District Council please confirm when negotiations with Baker Estates over the Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) began? And do they recognise the reputational risk of doing this with a Developer which, amongst other controversies, has caused the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to fail to comply with planning law in relation to its plans for the K5 site?
In reply, Cllr Pearce made the following statement:
‘While ostensibly about the Planning Performance Agreement that the Council has entered into with the Baker Estates, the question is founded upon a number of misconceptions. The principal misconception being that the Council is failing to comply with planning law and the Court Order.
Based on a proper understanding of the facts, I can confidently say that the Council is acting within the law and the terms of the Court Order.
On 27 July 2015 outline planning permission was granted for the erection of up to 60 dwellings, 0.5 hectares of employment land, 2 vehicular accesses, open space, play provision and drainage on the land known as K5, West Alvington Hill, Kingsbridge. Under Condition 3 of the 2015 Outline Planning Permission Baker Estates was required to submit an application for reserved matters before 27 July 2018. Baker Estates submitted an application for reserved matters approval on 23 July 2018. In making the reserved matters application when it did, Baker Estates complied with Condition 3. So, the Outline Planning Permission did not expire as the questioner suggests. The Council refused reserved matters approval on 31 July 2019 and that decision was quashed by the High Court on 2 October 2019. The effect of the Order quashing the decision was to require the Council to re-consider the application afresh. Importantly, as will be apparent from the quote from the Order in the question, the Council was to consider the application and any further submissions.
At the time that the Council issued its decision it was awaiting further details to be submitted. As the questioner is aware, applications evolve throughout the decision-making process in response to representations and in an attempt to overcome objections. This is particularly so in the context of an outline planning permission, where the permission might simply comprise a description and a plan with the site outlined in red. In the case of the K5 Development, the Council requested further details so that the outline development could be defined with greater precision and the likely impacts assessed fully before any decision was made as to whether reserved matters approval should be granted or not. As is quite proper, the further details have been publicised and representations sought. All as it should be while complying with planning law and the Court Order.
It is both lawful and common practice for local planning authorities to enter into planning performance agreements with developers. Indeed, it ... view the full minutes text for item OSDM.3/20
The Joint Meeting was presented with the most recently published Executive Forward Plan.
In accordance with the Procedure Rules, advanced notice had been given by Cllr Pannell for the following two questions to be raised:
1. The Executive Forward Plan (EFP) refers, under Enterprise, to the proposal for the commercial development of a supermarket in Ivybridge. Are officers content this will be allowed under the category of regeneration?
2. The EFP also refers, under Enterprise, to an update to the Council on any commercial investment opportunities. Why are we continuing with this programme if it is apparently about to be banned?
In combining her response to both questions, the Leader informed that the Council was content that this proposal would be allowed under the category of regeneration. The Leader proceeded to make the point that the entire programme was focused on regeneration in that purchases could only be made within the South Hams and they must have both employment and wellbeing benefits to the District. Finally, the Leader confirmed that, moving forward, it was her wish for the focus of the programme to now be on ‘regeneration’ as opposed to ‘commercial investment’.
The Joint Meeting was presented with a report that summarised the work undertaken by the Council in delivering a highly effective response to the challenges of the Covid-19 Pandemic. In addition, the report also outlined some initial thoughts with regard to the challenges that the Council would face and provided an initial opportunity for Members to input into the way forward.
At this point, the Chairman informed that it was his intention for the meeting to first consider the Response element of the agenda item before then providing some initial thoughts on the draft Renewal and Recovery Plan.
In discussion, particular reference was made to:-
(i) the work of officers in response to the Pandemic. A number of Members wished to thank and pay tribute to the work undertaken by officers since the start of the Pandemic. In particular, special praise was extended to the Deputy Chief Executive and his Senior and Extended Leadership Team colleagues.
Some Members also felt that it would be remiss if the Meeting did not recognise the excellent work that was being carried out by Town and Parish Councils and local community groups. As a result, it was felt that this should be recognised in the recommendation that was to be put forward to the Executive meeting to be held on 18 June 2020;
(ii) the lessons learned exercise. At the time when the exercise was to be carried out, some Members requested that consideration should be given to the belief that all Members should be engaged right from the offset;
(iii) the role undertaken by the Community Response Team that had been formed in response to the Pandemic. Members found the initiative to have been very useful and a model that could be adapted in the draft Renewal and Recovery Plan;
(iv) the latest financial position. The Section 151 Officer provided an update on the financial position and made specific reference to:
a. the decision-making cycle for an amended Budget for 2020/21. Members were informed of the intention for a draft Budget setting Workshop to be held during August, before a draft amended Budget was then considered by:
§ another Joint Meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel and Development Management Committee to be held on 3 September 2020;
§ the Executive meeting to be held on 17 September 2020; and
§ the Full Council meeting to be held on 24 September 2020;
b. Central Government listening to the financial plight being faced by District Councils and the latest information being that a comprehensive package was to be announced imminently; and
c. the latest financial situation for the Council being set out in the Budget Monitoring Report that was to be presented to the Executive meeting to be held on 18 June 2020.
(v) Business Rates Grants. Members recognised that the Council had responded as soon as was practically possible to distribute grant funding to local businesses. In the likely event of the Business Rates Grant Fund being over-subscribed, officers confirmed ... view the full minutes text for item OSDM.5/20