Sean Nethercott, Strategic Lead of Strategic Services, summarised some the steps the Council proposed to take to prepare the Local Plan over the next two years. This included the technical work that needed to be undertaken, and the assessment of options leading to the production of a preferred spatial strategy. This work would be undertaken with the community and community engagement would be built in at an early stage. The Council were working with scheme providers and their agents on the master planning of new development and infrastructure planning work.
Councillor Kerin questioned whether these plans had been based on the assumption of the current Lower Thames Crossing route. Sean Nethercott stated that broadly yes but there had been some alignment changes.
Councillor Rice raised concerns that the east of the borough were calling out for new homes and this should be included within the proposal to build 32,000 new homes in the borough. Sean Nethercott stated that the proposed 32,000 new homes would include a cross section of homes across the borough and these options would be included in the Local Plan.
Councillor Rice questioned whether retirement villages had been considered as part of the Local Plan.
Councillor Rice stated that more council homes should be considered on a bigger scale. Sean Nethercott stated the Housing Needs Strategy would identify community needs including specialist housing needs such as the elderly and to look at what support and infrastructure was required. Members agreed that this was a key piece of work to bring back to the group to include infrastructure study on today’s needs v. future needs and what the costs would be.
Councillor Kerin questioned the waiting lists for social housing as part of the Housing Needs Strategy. Sean Nethercott confirmed that this was the approach across all local authorities and would be based on need.
Councillor Redsell stated it was good to see the wider transport plan would include river taxis which would take traffic off roads.
Councillor Redsell questioned why paragraph 3.4 of the report had no mention of residents or members. Sean Nethercott stated the context was for the technical production of the plan and not a community or member engagement.
Councillor Rice questioned when the correct provisions of the partial plan would be in place to meet the development needs of the borough and specifically mentioned when the plans would be in place for a relief road in Chadwell to ease the traffic at the Cross Keys Junction. Sean Nethercott stated it would take 24 months to draft the technical plan, followed by a 6 to 8 week consultation period, and then a further 12 to 16 month period before a Regulation 19 Local Plan would be consulted upon and submitted to the Secretary of State, Following examination and the Plan would then be formally adopted by the Council in 2024.
Councillor Rice asked when the draft Local Plan would be presented at Council for sign off. Sean Nethercott stated that after a period of continuous Member engagement a draft plan would be presented to Council in approximately 24 months’ time.
Councillor Redsell stated site specifics from the Local Plan Technical Works would need to be brought back to the meeting for comment.
Councillor Rice questioned the assessments undertaken on the Thurrock Gypsy and Travellers Sites Study in respect of the Lower Thames Crossing to which Councillor Redsell stated that more work would need to be undertaken.
Members thanked Officers for the report.