Agenda item

Motion submitted by Councillor Watson

Minutes:

The Motion, as printed in the Agenda was proposed by Councillor Watson and seconded by Councillor Gledhill. The Motion read as follows:

 

This Council notes with concern the Government proposals to change planning law. This Council believes planning works best when developers and the local community work together to shape local areas and deliver necessary new homes; and, therefore, the Council resolves to write to our local members of parliament asking them to protect the right of communities to object to individual planning applications legislation.

 

A proposed amendment to the Motion had been submitted by Councillor Gledhill. The amended Motion read as follows:

 

This Council notes the Government proposals to change planning law.

This Council believes planning works best when developers and the local community work together to shape local areas and deliver necessary new homes; and, therefore, the Council resolves to write to our local members of parliament asking them to protect the right of communities to object to individual planning applications in the forthcoming legislation.

 

Councillor Watson presented her motion by agreeing to the amendments and stated the Government had published a controversial proposal to reform the planning system and a concern of Councillor Watson and others was the proposal to remove local resident’s right to object to individual planning applications in their own neighbourhoods if that area had been zoned for growth or renewal. These reforms would endanger affordable and social housing and would allow developers to build bad quality homes, high density as well as not enough affordable house for the borough. In the new reform the Council would have some say in the designated areas of growth, renewal or protection for some of the zones but after that residents and members would be almost powerless to influence development in growth areas. That development proposals would be automatically granted for outline planning permission with detailed plans being delegated to planning officers. In regards to new areas there would be an expectation in favour of developments with some types of developments receiving an automatic planning consent. Councillor Watson asked all Members to accept the amended motion.

 

Councillor Gledhill thanked Councillor Watson for accepting the amendments to the motion and hoped to see a swift unanimous support across the whole chamber. Councillor Gledhill stated that the points made by Councillor Watson were valid and well made. There had been for decades a call for planning reform and this Government had been clear in its intention to deliver that. The current system where residents were allowed at the last minute of an application to have a say needed to be changed. That as part of the local plan it would introduce the engagement with communities long before the application would be put to local residents, their needs taken from this and understood with the standards being set for developers to follow on upcoming developments. That the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government had announced the formation of the new office of place that outlined plans which were being looked at to be introduced through the office. To make beauty and place a strategic theme for the framework, set out the expectation that local authorities produce their own design codes and guides setting out development principles which new developers in that area should reflect, that all new streets are tree lined, improve diversity and access to nature through design, improving design and refusing poor quality schemes. That the voice of residents would not be taken away and still listened to before applications were being considered by developers by ensuring the local plan was robust that took into account residents thoughts and needs within the local community. Councillor Gledhill stated if the motion was fully supported this evening he would write to MPs on behalf of all elected Thurrock members and ask them to carry on ensuring that residents do have the voice on planning as new emerging legislation comes forward.

 

Councillor Coxshall stated these designs would not take the power away from local residents, they would put the residents before the planning application and it would go be through the local planning process. This would bring power to the communities before the planning applications and would bring the plans into the 21st century to bring residents involved with these projects.

 

Councillor Polley stated it was great to hear that we would still be engaging with the community and would be supporting the amended motion and urged every Member to get involved in the local plan as this would be the masterplan being worked to and to encourage their residents to also get involved.

 

Councillor Watson summed by thanking Members for their support.

 

Members voted unanimously in favour of this Motion to which the Mayor announced the Motion carried.

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