Agenda and minutes
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To receive any declarations of interest not included in the register of interest from Members in respect of items of business included on the agenda for this meeting
Councillor Mrs Morris advised that she did not have an interest in Agenda Item 2(a) (Minute 35 below). However, there appeared to be some public perception that she did, therefore she would remove herself from the room during consideration of this item and left the Chamber.
(a) Local Plan - Results of the Regulation 19 Local Plan Consultation, agreement to submit the proposed submission version for examination
Members’ attention was brought to a tabled replacement page 4 of the report, which set out the tabled information more clearly but provided no new information.
Councillor Fleming moved and Councillor Piper seconded the report which sought agreement to the submission of the Regulation 19 Proposed Submission version of the Local Plan for examination.
Before the commencement of the debate, the Chairman advised she would initially take any questions of factual clarification.
Cllr Clark asked that with reference to the report, whether officers had held meetings with the promoters of developments on the large sites in and around Ash, Fawkham and Hartley, including: MX52 & MX53 (Land at Corinthians Sports Club and Banckside, Hartley) MX61 (Land south of Redhill Road, Ash) and ST2 - 37 (New Ash Green Village Centre) and, if so, what the outcome was.
His second question was that, noting the overwhelming number of comments from individuals and statutory bodies which opposed the proposed development on the additional strategic site MX61 south of Redhill Road, Ash, what circumstances might persuade the Council to give favourable consideration to an application for inappropriate development on any part of this land.
Councillor Fleming replied that officers offered meetings to the promoters of all the Greenfield ‘exceptional circumstances’ sites listed in the draft version of the Local Plan. The purpose of the meetings had been to inform promoters of the procedural aspects of the examination, such as timetable, the examination process and next steps. Promoters had also been given an opportunity to inform officers on any updates to their proposals for information purposes, on the basis that there was no scope to make changes to the current version of the plan prior to submission. It was also noted that should the Planning Inspector decide on any main modifications to the plan after the hearing sessions, these would be subject to a further round of public consultation prior to adoption.
In response to the second question, he stated that the National Planning Policy Framework set out what should be regarded as inappropriate development in the Green Belt, and made clear that planning applications should not be approved except in very special circumstances. However the Framework did not define what those circumstances might be, so it was up to the decision maker to consider each application on its individual merits. As such, to set out now what those circumstances might be could well be considered to be predetermining the outcome of any future application, which would be unwise. It should be noted that this site was not included in the submission version of the Local Plan, and that the consultation was only to seek views of stakeholders/general public, so that the Council was better informed regarding the specifics of the site.
Cllr Edwards-Winser advised that he had concerns regarding the expansion of the Vestry Estate. He asked where the terminology for ‘Poorly ... view the full minutes text for item 35.