Agenda and draft minutes

Local Development Plan Task Force - Thursday, 23rd March, 2023 6.30 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL

Contact: Rhiannon Whiteley, Senior Democratic Services Officer 


No. Item


Items of Urgent Business

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There were no items of urgent business.


Declaration of Interests

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No interests were declared.


Strategic Housing Market Assessment Presentation pdf icon PDF 530 KB

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The Chair agreed to hear item 5 on the Strategic Housing Market Assessment before item 4. The Principal Planning Officer provided a presentation to the Committee on the South Essex Housing Needs Assessment and the slides can be found on the following link:


(Public Pack)South Essex Housing Needs Assessment Presentation Agenda Supplement for Local Development Plan Task Force, 23/03/2023 18:30 (


The Principal Planning Officer confirmed that the assessment outlines that around 1181 homes are needed annually in Thurrock.


The Chair commented that she doesn’t like the word ‘affordable’ as it is only affordable if you can afford it. The Chair stated that there are 8000 people on the Council list, perhaps we should be looking at doing more to encourage people to own a home themselves. We should also be looking at Thurrock people being able to stay in Thurrock so families can stay near each other. There are lots of 3 or 4 bedroom houses with just one person in them as there are no bungalows available. More bungalows are needed. None of this is covered in the assessment.


The Principal Planning Officer agreed that the assessment contained a lot of data but confirmed that it does set out the need for different types of housing such as bungalows, flats and houses. The Principal Planning Officer stated that the affordable rent is normally calculated at 80% of the market rent but when market rents are high that isn’t affordable for many and therefore we might need to look at a lower figure like 60%. The Principal Planning Officer confirmed that First Homes came into place in 2020 and looks at affordable home ownership. It provides for a 30% discount off the market price of a house. We would need to look at whether this is affordable for our residents and if it will allow young adults to be able to purchase homes in the borough.


Councillor Worrall responded that she had not heard of First Homes before and requested more information on it as it seemed like quite an attractive offer.


The Principal Planning Officer stated that it is a new project and there has been some pilots. It replaces Starter Homes which was promoted a few years ago. The idea is that a housing developer will build homes and as part of the affordable housing percentage they will sell them at a minimum of 30 % discount. The discount could be higher than 30%. They can also be marketed on a first refusal basis to those who have a connection to Thurrock for say a period of 3 months and then after that it could be marketed more widely to those who live outside Thurrock. There is a price cap and it is limited to homes not worth more than £250,000 so it is more likely to apply to flats and small houses in Thurrock.  The Principal Planning Officer confirmed that they do need to speak to developers more about this, she commented that she is not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.


Local Plan Update Presentation pdf icon PDF 4 MB

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Councillor Watson queried if there is any way we can accelerate the local plan.


The Local Plan Manager responded that the current timescales are already very ambitious.


The Committee discussed whether this item could be delayed to the next meeting due to the time constraints. The presentation slides can be found on the following link:


(Public Pack)Local Plan Update Presentation Agenda Supplement for Local Development Plan Task Force, 23/03/2023 18:30 (


The Local Plan Manager responded that she would just like to inform the meeting of two consultations due to end on the 9th June 2023.


The Local Plan Manager confirmed that the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill: reforms to National Planning Policy consultation began on the 22nd December 2022 and ended on the 2nd March 2023. Thurrock Council did not prepare a response as we had only a few minor concerns. One of the key things to come out of this is some additional wording regarding the green belt and whether to release green belt. The Planning Department at the Council have always been clear that if we are looking at green belt release it needs to do more than just deliver homes and therefore we are hoping the new proposed wording will give us more leverage to ensure that more is being delivered to meet local area needs such as improving infrastructure to ensure developments provide a lasting legacy.


The Local Plan manager stated that she wanted to highlight today the proposed new Infrastructure levy which in intended to replace the current S106 and Community Infrastructure Levy. The amount developers pay will now look at the final amount the land will be worth to make sure Council’s benefit from increases in land value. The Local Plan Manager confirmed that further information on this is covered in the presentation slides. The new system would be phased in over 10 years and they are looking for pilot authorities. The Local Plan Manager confirmed that the department are still getting to grips with what this might mean. They are proposing a 3 step payment process once the levy is in place, a provisional payment will be made, a valuation assessment will take place and at the end there will be a final payment. The new levy would be more flexible than S106. It is also proposed that the money could be spent on non-infrastructure matters such as social care.


The Chair queried what happens to S106 money now as if it is not used it goes back to the contractor.


The Assistant Director for Planning and Growth confirmed that S106 money is attributed to projects. A list is sent to Members on this and he agreed to circulate it to members again.

The Local Plan Manager stated that here will also be a requirement for an Infrastructure delivery Strategy and the Infrastructure Delivery Plan currently being completed will be a key tool going forward. The current consultation closes on the 9th June 2023.


The Local Plan Manager  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 72 KB

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The task force discussed the work programme for the next municipal year and members noted that flooding and water needed to come back.


The Chair thanked Officers and Members for their contributions over the last municipal year.