Agenda and draft minutes
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Apologies for Absence
No apologies for absence were received.
No apologies for absence were received.
Declarations of Interest
The minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Environment Cabinet Committee held on Monday, 25 September 2023 were signed by the Chair.
The Committee was provided with a report that gave them an update on Design for Gravesham, tabling the emerging draft document that would soon go to public consultation. Following the consultation, the final version of the document together with consultation responses would be presented to a future meeting of the Cabinet for approval.
The Assistant Director (Inclusive Growth) directed Members to appendix one which held a draft version of the Design for Gravesham design code and gave Members a summary of the whole document. This version of the code would go to public consultation, subject to the consideration of comments made by Members at tonight’s Committee.
The Assistant Director (Inclusive Growth) appreciated that Members may not have had enough time to review the document as it was very large and advised that comments could be provided tonight, in the near future or during the public consultation.
Concern was raised by a Member that some of the points made at the previous Committee meeting had not been addressed:
In response to the concerns raised, the Assistant Director (Inclusive Growth) advised that:
· The diagram (pg. 48) had been updated with the annotation ‘culture/community/ faith.’ The ADIG noted that he would raise this point again with Levitt Bernstein (LB) and ask that they annotate culture, community and faith buildings separately.
· He accepted the comment around lack of reference to beauty in the document and advised that he would ask LB to further consider/reference.
· With regards to the ‘London lens’, the previous comments had been taken on board and the code makes references to Gravesham throughout. However, the comment will be reaffirmed with LB to see if further local/regional examples of best practice regeneration can be added. The ADIG noted that comprehensive community engagement had also been undertaken. Resident’s comments have shaped the vision and objectives for the code and comments are referenced throughout.
· There are a mix of housing typologies illustrated in the code, including lower density projects – this will be reviewed and strengthened.
· The Chair added that each development would be contextual to the area where it was being developed.
In further response to the ‘London lens’ comment, the Chair stated that he held similar concerns, and he would be explicit with the architects regarding the need ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
The Committee was presented with an initial draft of the Developer Contributions Guide for discussion and comment.
The Head of Planning advised that the purpose of the document was to provide advice and information to applicants and their advisers when their development had given rise to the need for the Council, acting in its role as the Local Planning Authority to secure mitigation through a section 106 legal agreement or unilateral undertaking. It was also intended to provide the wider public clarity in terms of the Council’s role in that regard. In certain circumstances, there were other means of securing planning benefits such as through the imposition of conditions. However, the document concerned mitigation secured through a section 106 legal agreement or unilateral undertaking.
The Chair stated that guide was at its earliest stage and Members comments were being sought; other Councils had similar guides and it helped to codify expectations and set out how the Council wanted section 106 contributions to be spent in the Borough.
In response to a Members question concerning governance, the Chair responded that the document was in its earliest form and only comments were being sought as well as Member engagement. A strategic document would then be created, considered and asked to be ratified at the next meeting of Strategic Environment Committee; as the document was strategic it set the direction of the Council.
The Head of Planning fielded questions from Members and explained that:
The Chair thanked Members for their feedback.
The Committee was presented with an initial draft of “Planning in Gravesham – The Gravesham Borough Council Planning Service Strategy 2023-2028” for discussion and comment.
The Head of Planning advised that Planning in Gravesham, set out the Council’s vision and strategic aims and objectives for the planning service in Gravesham to 2028. With the overriding aim of ensuring that a professional, courteous, consistent, and fair service was provided to all users, whilst stiving to maintain high standards.
The Chair stated that the document was in a finished state unless something substantial came up at this meeting.
In response to a Members question around the Planning departments readiness to fulfil the requirements set out within the document, the Chair provided an example of recent changes that had been made. The Chair was confident that principles and practices in Planning had changed for the better and the document was meant for the public as well as developers. Planning applications not filled out correctly would not be accepted and support would be given to people when it was needed.
Several Members raised the following points regarding the document: