To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration.
The Committee had before it and NOTED a *report of the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration who gave Members an overview of the areas within his portfolio. He explained that the report detailed a large area and specific projects including:
· Town centre regeneration schemes
· Town centre masterplanning
· Garden Village at Cullompton
· Ongoing Housing Infrastructure Schemes
· Tiverton Eastern Urban Extension
· The Local Plan
· Greater Exeter Strategic Plan
· Building Control and Regulation
In response to questions about the Hydro Mills Project he informed Members that a business case was being brought before the Economy PDG and would then be presented to the Cabinet.
The Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration explained that applications have been made to the Environment Agency after long standing discussions with regards to ecology and flood issues.
There was a general discussion with regard to the use of consultants for masterplanning and Members were informed that consideration on the use of consultants was based on specialist skills available, the duration of the work required and the capacity within the Council to deal with the work internally.
In response to a question about using officers from other authorities the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration explained that the Council’s planning officers regularly liaised with their counterparts and were aware of the skill sets of officers in other authorities but everyone was working at or close to capacity and there was currently no usable resource that could be utilised.
Consideration was given to:
· Crediton Town Masterplan timings
· The need for the employment of a Tiverton Town Centre Manager now that the Tiverton Town Centre Partnership had been reformed
· Garden Village Project and how this would be funded in the future
· Details of the current Housing Infrastructure Fund projects
Members expressed concerns with regard to the recent Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) that they were not being given enough time to look at the emerging policies.
It was explained to Members that the Planning Policy Advisory Group were scrutinising the policies one by one and making suggestions for changes. Members were reminded that any Member who was not a member of the Planning Policy Advisory Group was welcome to attend and contribute to the discussions.
Members questioned the benefits of MDDC being part of the GESP and the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration explained that MDDC had to provide a 5 year land supply which was mandated by Government. The options available were to do this on our own or in consort with other authorities. He explained that by working alongside neighbouring authorities there would be a joined up approach to infrastructure, leisure and tourism.
The Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration explained that MDDC had a duty to co-operate with other authorities and that there were a lot of cross boundary issues that would be easier to look at strategically as a group of authorities rather than stand alone, including climate change. Planning across larger GESP area rather than within individual council boundaries would also mean greater engagement with the Government over funding and infrastructure provision.
Members discussed the need to provide social housing for larger households.
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration thanked officers for producing his comprehensive report.
Note: *report previously circulated and attached to the minutes