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To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Local Development Plan Task Force meeting held on 21 January 2019.
Regarding the Overview of the Local Plan item in the minutes, Councillor Jefferies said he had been informed by residents that another Your Place, Your Voice consultation had taken place within his ward of Ockendon. However, he had seen no advertisements of this and was not aware. Andrew Millard, Assistant Director of Planning, Transportation and Public Protection, answered that he would look into how this had been advertised. Councillor Smith added that the Council had a Communications Team which could liaise with Ward Councillors and publicise the events to make residents aware. Ward Councillors should be notified of consultation events and be able to pass this type of information onto their residents.
The minutes of the Local Development Plan Task Force held on 21 January 2019 were approved as a correct record.
Items of Urgent Business
There were no items of urgent business.
Declaration of Interests
The Chair declared a non-pecuniary interest in that she was the Chair of the Bus User Group.
Before the presentations begun, Andrew Millard opened the item by introducing the three speakers:
· Katy Lock – Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA)
· Julia Foster – David Lock Associates (DLA)
· Matthew Lappin – DLA
The three speakers would be presenting interrelated subjects to Thurrock’s Local Plan. Andrew Millard stated that the borough was entering a period of unprecedented growth and that the Borough needed to see an improved quality of developments to ensure standards were of a transformational level and ensure new developments were more community driven and infrastructure led.
The first presentation – The Art of Building a Garden City: New Communities for the C21st was presented by Katy Lock. The presentation outlined:
· Garden City Principles – a guideline for local authorities (LAs) to adopt to ensure high standards of developments e.g. land value for communities; strong vision and community engagement.
· Government’s Garden Communities Programme – TCPA had been working with the government and local communities on this programme making it possible for government to set high standards of developments.
· Modernising new towns for garden communities.
· TCPA New Communities Group – currently included 23 LAs who developed according to Garden City Principles. Key delivery from this Group included political engagement and corporate leadership; community engagement.
The second presentation – Delivering Garden Communities was presented by Julia Foster. The presentation outlined:
· A change in government thinking on development which had previously been undertaken by the private sector but was now moving to LAs.
· One of the projects undertaken by DLA had been in Cranbrook, Devon which had been development on a large scale. The development had been private but with involvement from the LA as a stakeholder.
· Urban and Civic’s Master Developer Model – had high standards of quality in development through control of the development.
Noting the density of the homes plan in slide 26, the Chair said there was no greenery to enjoy. Councillor Smith agreed the layout of the homes shown was too dense and that the example of Alconbury Weald was similar to Chafford Hundred which was what Thurrock wanted to avoid a repeat of. Julia Foster answered that the houses shown in Alconbury Weald were of a high quality and was a bigger site than Chafford Hundred. She went on to mention that Milton Keynes was a good example of a big and successful development.
Regarding the presentations, Andrew Millard said these were to show examples of the different types and scales of development and not to promote any specific development typology within the presentations. Development plans would be drawn from the Issues and Options 2 (IO2) Consultation that was currently ongoing as each locality of Thurrock needed a locally derived approach. It was important for communities to link together and Garden City Principles could be integrated into Thurrock’s local communities thus linking them. Agreeing with Andrew Millard, the Chair added that Thurrock needed to consider other factors such as schools near new developments for young families and homes for elderly people.
Mentioning the ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
The report was introduced by Andrew Millard which set out the key issues of transport to be considered within the plan-making process.
The Chair said encouraging people to travel by buses instead of driving their cars was not an easy task. People with several bags would not wish to travel on a bus. As Thurrock had the river to one side of the borough, she noted that this was not mentioned and suggested using the river for ferry transport. Councillor Rice suggested the need for frequent transport services particularly in high density areas and referred to Arena Essex.
The Committee discussed the good facilities offered within Thurrock such as free parking in Lakeside. There were 7 railway stations within Thurrock which was healthy considering the size of the borough. River transport should also be considered as another method of transport.
The Committee also discussed the possibility of placing more lorry parks within Thurrock as there was an increasing number of lorries parking in laybys around Chafford Hundred, the old A13, Orsett Health, Dock Approach Road in Tilbury and the Manorway. Andrew Millard confirmed that the Local Plan had identified the need for 3 lorry parks and 1 was already fully operational which was London Gateway and had a 10 year permission to support with their growth. The location of the lorry parks had to be considered and finely balanced within the borough.
Councillor Smith informed the Committee that proceedings regarding the Lower Thames Crossing had stalled and Officers were currently analysing the delivery model.
Raising concerns on air quality, Councillor Anderson sought reassurance that air quality would be considered within the Local Plan. Referring back to Issues and Options Stage 1 Consultation, Andrew Millard said that air quality had been one of the issues raised from most residents’ feedback. There were 11 air quality management areas including congestion and traffic management. The health of Thurrock’s residents was fundamental and a key component within the Local Plan. There were a number of polluted areas within Thurrock and various interventions had been undertaken to improve air quality in those areas. The Chair added to this by saying that there were problems within the vicinity of schools and parents and children had been encouraged to walk to school where possible.
The Group discussed the style and type of houses that should be built within the borough. The example of Brandon Groves should be followed which was the last green site to be developed within Thurrock. The range of available sites needed to be increased as many were urban areas thus created smaller and denser types of development.
Andrew Millard suggested the following items to be added to the work programme for the next municipal year based on the comments of the Group:
· A site visit to Alconbury; and
· An extension of the DLA’s Health and Wellbeing presentation.