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:
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 also confirmed that the Consultation on Environment Outcomes Reports also ends on 9th June 2023