To consider a report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration seeking formal agreement of the scope, resourcing, timetable and governance arrangements for preparing a non-statutory Joint Strategy for East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon and Teignbridge Councils.
The Cabinet had before it a * report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration seeking formal agreement of the scope, resourcing, timetable and governance arrangements for preparing a non-statutory Joint Strategy for East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon and Teignbridge Councils.
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration outlined the contents of the report stating that there was a need for a decision following the change in direction of the four Councils from preparing the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) and previous decisions taken to support in principle the production of a joint non-statutory plan, to include joint strategy and infrastructure matters, for the Greater Exeter area.
The preparation of a Joint Strategy would provide an overarching framework that allowed strategic planning and delivery matters to be considered collaboratively. The Joint Strategy would not be a statutory plan and therefore would not set the planning policies of the four Councils. This would be the role of local plans and each Council was currently preparing its own local plan for its area.
He highlighted the fact that the Joint Strategy could also help fulfil the legal duty to cooperate requirements, which would demonstrate a commitment to continued joint working that was vital to help lever in funding to the area to support delivery and critical infrastructure, and would help establish a recognisable brand for the area. It was proposed that the Joint Strategy should not be a one-off document. Instead it could be updated over time and as necessary to reflect the content of local plans as they were adopted, or new strategic infrastructure priorities and projects as they emerged.
A range of options had been considered for resourcing progress on the Joint Strategy and these were set out in appendix A to the report. The option that was recommended was to engage a consultant to prepare the Joint Strategy on behalf of the four Councils, supported in a limited capacity by a group of officers. Appropriate governance arrangements were proposed as set out in appendix B. He emphasised that there would be opportunities for member engagement to help shape the Joint Strategy in its draft form and also following its public consultation before being finalised. Final decision making powers to agree the draft and final versions of the Joint Strategy would rest with the relevant committees of the four Councils.
He outlined the proposed timetable for preparing the Joint Strategy as set out in Section 4 to the report and stated that there were sufficient funds available in the GESP budget to take the Joint Strategy through the stages set out in the timetable, including public consultation.
Consideration was given to:
· The public consultation that would take place but without a public examination
· The timing of the engagement of a consultant
· There would be no additional staff resources and that the Forward Planning Team would progress this work alongside their own work plan
· Member engagement throughout the whole process through relevant forums.
It was therefore
(Proposed by Cllr R J Chesterton and seconded by Cllr B A Moore)
Reason for the decision – a recommendation to Council that Mid Devon District Council work collaboratively with neighbouring authorities on strategic planning matters as established by the 2011 Localism Act and the NPPF as part of the duty to cooperate with other local authorities to seek to address strategic planning matters.
Note: *Report previously circulated copy attached to minutes.