Agenda item

Waste Collection Planning Guidance for Developers


The Assistant Director (Operations) provided Members with a copy of the draft Planning Guidance on Waste Collection Requirements for Gravesham Borough Council for consideration and adoption.


The Assistant Director (Operations) informed the Committee that a recommendation from the Service Review Process was to introduce a charging policy for developers to enable the council to recover the cost of installing wheeled bins in new developments. The anticipated annual saving from this recommendation was £6,400. To support the recommendation and to assist both the Council’s planning team and developers, a guidance document covering the waste and recycling collection requirements had been produced and attached at appendix 2.


The guidance document provided details of the size of the relevant containers so that sufficient and suitable storage areas can be provided within new developments. The guidance also provided information to ensure that due consideration was given to the dimensions of the collection vehicles so that appropriate access and vehicle manoeuvring information was included as part of an application. Additionally other aspects will be considered as part of the application such as the number of bins per flat, the drag distance for the bins to the refuse vehicle, secure bin communal area locks, slopes, dropped curbs and overall aesthetic design.


Guidance was also included on commercial waste.  Waste collection from commercial premises is not covered under the payment of business rates so it is essential that sufficient storage is provided especially in the town centre or a joint business/residential development..


The Assistant Director (Planning) further added that the document had been discussed for a long time as it enabled developers plenty of time to plan on where the waste for their developments would be stored, how it was stored and how waste collection vehicles would be able to access it.


Other local authorities have already adopted a similar guidance document including Medway Council although their guidance was more complicated than that being brought to Members. Gravesham’s waste collection guidance could be renamed as ‘standing advice’ as it is an informal guide only and not included under Gravesham’s core strategy planning policy framework.


The Assistant Director (Planning) responded to a Members question regarding enforceability under planning conditions advising that current HMO’s will not follow the guidance, as they wouldn’t have related conditions on their permissions, but all new applications to turn a property into a HMO will. The developer has to make sufficient provision for waste recycling and collection and as long as they have, it gives them a degree of flexibility as the guidance is not definitive. For instance, the guidance specifies that waste must be collected from the front of a property but with some residences it might only be possible to collect from the back of a property. There will be exceptions to the norm however previously some planning applications have been refused on the basis of insufficient waste provision as insufficient regard had been given to these issues by applicants.


The Assistant Director (Operations) explained that the Planning Team were very good at seeking advice on developments with his service regarding waste provision. A property on Parrock Street was planned to be converted into a HMO and it was agreed storage at the front of the property would not be keeping in line with the appearance of the area, so the refuse teams will collect the waste bins from back of the property. The Planning Team and the Waste Team will always work to a common solution if the guidance cannot be applied to certain properties.


Following further questions, the Assistant Director (Operations) and the Assistant Director (Planning) explained that:


  • The 4-8 weeks bin delivery time once payment has been received does not apply to commercial properties; they will receive their bins as soon as they sign a contract
  • If a developer doesn’t wish to pay for the bins then Planning couldn’t use it as a reason to change a decision to grant permission because that’s an issue outside of planning’s remit. However the Council can stipulate under the Environmental Protection Act what provision the Council wants. On larger developments, for example 400-500 properties, the cost of the bins is a big expense to the council so the money for the bins can be requested to be paid up front so that it is not a loss of money in the event a developer doesn’t pay upon delivery
  • There are limited planning powers to guide commercial developers for schemes other than new builds. Many applications relate to existing builds where opportunities to change refuse arrangements can be restricted. However if the nature or volume of the waste is likely to change significantly, this can be a key issue in the application’s determination and as such the information is required to be put up front
  • With regards to the refuse team, if an application comes through the planning process for new commercial development as much help as possible will be provided to them. Commercial premises are more difficult than domestic premises as each premises could have a different type of waste bins whereas domestic premises all use the same waste collection bins


The Chair thanked the officers for their time and reminded the Committee that he would be seeking out a training session at Brookvale for all Members to attend to view the new waste system and recycling.   


The Committee recommended that the draft Planning Guidance Waste Collection Requirements be adopted. 



Supporting documents: