Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions
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This meeting is to be webcast. Members are reminded of the need to activate their microphones before speaking. The Chairman will read the following webcasting announcement:
"I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the Internet and will be capable of repeated viewing and copies of the recording could be made available for those that request it.
If you are seated in the lower public seating area it is likely that the recording cameras will capture your image and this will result in the possibility that your image will become part of the broadcast.
This may infringe your human and data protection rights and if any member of the public wishes to avoid this they should move to the upper public gallery".
The Chairman reminded everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the Internet, and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meetings.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 11 September 2017 and any matters arising therefrom.
That the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 11 September 2017 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record, subject to the following amendments raised by Councillor C C Pond, which were agreed:
(1) That to Min no 4, Local Air Quality, paragraph 9 – ‘traffic’ be replaced by ‘street’ to read, Councillor G Mohindra remarked that ECC was rolling out smart street lights…; and
(2) That to Min no 4, Local Air Quality, paragraph 7 – ‘SO2’ be replaced by ‘NO2’ to read, J Dagley said that mammals were similar to humans but amphibians would be affected by NO2.
Essex Police - Local Policing Arrangements
(Local Councils) To receive a presentation from Essex Police on arrangements for local policing across the Epping Forest District. The District Commander, Chief Inspector L. Basford, will be in attendance at the meeting. Chief Inspector Basford will be accompanied by Inspector T. Mitchell of Essex Police.
Members received a presentation on current policing and crime issues from Chief Inspector L Basford of Essex Police, the District Commander for the Brentwood and Epping Forest District area. He outlined police activity over the next twelve months, particularly as result of the Essex Police precept increase and officer increase.
There had been a number of police station closures. The local policing team at Loughton operated on a 24-hour basis, 7-day coverage and handled 999 emergency calls and 101 calls. This team dealt with local investigations and lower graded crimes, such as common assaults. The CID criminal investigation team also based in Loughton operated on a 24/7 basis and covered more serious crimes, such as burglaries and serious assaults. The Road Policing Unit off the M11 at Chigwell, was the main base for the whole of west Essex, and extended north to Stansted Airport and south to include Thurrock. The number of resources allocated across Essex by the police operational base headquarters at Boreham meant that the police had an armed response capability (ten marked vehicles) as well as an increase in the covert (unmarked) vehicles.
Specifically in the last two weeks there had been an escalation in burglaries across the District. He encouraged more reporting as it allowed greater access to the support of the Operations Support Group that had the tactical capability to investigate these more serious crimes. The Brentwood and Epping Forest District had used the motorcycle police unit more than any other area, specifically on the roads and rural network where anti-social behaviour could be dealt with more quickly by this unit. There was also access to the National Police Air Service (NPAS) based at North Weald Airfield and the Dog Section. Over the last 24 hours two arrests had been made in Chigwell by the Dog Section.
He hoped to make improvements next year to response times to members of the public and officers replying back. He encouraged local councils to use the Essex Police Twitter feed and email address if they had any questions. This did not replace police on the street but he was using the assets he had available to maintain a higher profile. Monthly reports would be issued via social media giving a snapshot of how many incidences had occurred, types of crime, and information on the ‘secure, protect and prevent campaign. These reports would be rolled out throughout the year on different topics. Also a quarter of all burglaries could be prevented so it was important to secure your home better.
Since January 2017 the Police had been more
proactive with licensed premises. This had resulted with amendments
being made to the licenses of Luxe nightclub and
Building Regulations 2010
(Local Councils) To receive a presentation from the Building Control Manager of Epping Forest District Council, on the functions and responsibilities of the Council’s Building Control Service, in relation to the construction and extension of buildings.
The Committee received a presentation from the Building Control Manager, J Dixon, who had worked for the Council for 32 years. He had a team of professionals and a technical support team. Building control (BC) was not planning and did not involve neighbour consultations, but was about how the structure was put together. Statutory legislation, the Building Act 1984, gave the Council the power to enforce minimum regulations, but it was not perfect. The building regulations in 1976 were contained in a small document until they were replaced in 2010 by a new set of regulations accompanied by a range of approved documents.
BC covered many areas including to ensure that the structure was sound, was waterproof and would not fall down. In addition to the planning requirements, it covered health and safety around buildings, the conservation of fuel, and the establishment of a disabled access. It was also to do with design features and would involve the developer or architect. The Council’s building surveyors assessed building structures but this could also include small alterations, such as load bearing roofs or door replacements. The onus was on the builder / developer to show BC how they were achieving compliance. The process would ideally involve BC at the outset with a set of plans that the structure should be built to, during construction and after. The issuing of a Building Notice was a formal exercise, charges were levied and the consultation might involve other authorities, such as Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. Within 48 hours of a BC submission, the application would be processed and most inspections were attended on the date requested.
The deregulation of the BC profession in 1985 allowed the establishment of private practices. The National House-Building Council (NHBC) was the first such practice to provide construction warranty and took much of the business, so market competition was intense. In response to this, local authorities formed the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) to deliver BC expertise through local authorities. The Council’s BC team had successfully grown its share of the business through partnership working, by using the LABC’s Partnership Agreement and had increased its partnerships from 6 to 60. This had been achieved through BC meeting and exceeding its targets, maintaining service delivery, and through dedicated training and development. The BC Manager was confident that his teams could maintain the Council’s current market share of 62 per cent. There was the potential for real growth in the BC area and the Council’s BC was a Centre of Excellence.
A question and answer session followed from members.
Councillor S Jackman asked about the Grenfell Tower disaster that seemed to be an example of lax BC, to which the BC Manager replied it was inadvisable of him to comment on this because the Grenfell Public Inquiry had yet to publish its report.
County Councillor V Metcalfe had found the BC presentation fascinating but asked how BC was enforced and how did individuals know they needed to apply for BC ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
(Local Councils) To receive a presentation from the Data Protection Officer of Epping Forest District Council, on the Council’s preparations for the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in May 2018.
Members received a presentation from S Tautz, the Data Protection Officer and Democratic Services Manager, on the Council’s preparations for the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May 2018. Brexit would have no impact on the GDPR. Most of the Data Protection Act 1998 properties were being carried forward into the GDPR, which was progressing through Parliament. The main difference between the Act and the GDPR was that organisations would have to be able to show compliance to the GDPR. This would incorporate the appointment of a Data Protection Officer (mandatory for a public authority), technical and organisational measures, maintaining records of processing activities and DP impact assessment and DP by design/default. We are all data subjects. New rights would strengthen existing ones, particularly over the loss of personal data.
The Data Protection Officer (DPO) advised local councils that they would need to be able to demonstrate compliance. They would need to look at their organisation’s security measures. For instance, here all the laptops / computers were encrypted, and staff would check for ‘tailgaters’ through security controlled doors. They would need to look at who they held information about and to actively communicate with those people. As data controllers, they would need to build in new processes, if a risk was identified.
There must be a lawful basis for the processing of personal data and the GDPR placed a higher threshold on the processing of data by consent. How consent was sought, obtained and recorded needed to be reviewed. Consent must be freely given with the individual’s agreement and consent must be specific, informed and unambiguous. The processing of data covered everything, including processing nothing. There was therefore a very high standard that would have to be met. The DP policies would require more information at the point of data collection. It must be very clear how the different data was kept and there would be a requirement / commitment to delete. All information provided must be concise, easy to understand and clear language used in all communications. Organisations were required to correct inaccuracies. Individuals could request information to be erased, the ‘right to be forgotten’, in certain circumstances,. If direct marketing was used, which this Council was not particularly active in, an individual must be able to seek intervention by a human being.
On subject access the rules would change. The compliance period for replying to a subject access request would be one calendar month instead of the current 40 days. The £10 charge currently levied under the DPA did have some deterrence, but this would change as usually no charges would apply under the GDPR. In certain circumstances subject access requests could be refused. However, if any requests were manifestly unfounded or excessive, charges could be levied. Authorities would need to demonstrate why there would be a fee, or why this request was being refused.
Procedures for data breaches were in place at this Council. Breach notification procedures were coming in, not for ... view the full minutes text for item 16.
Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017
(Local Councils) The Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017 required each local planning authority to have published a Brownfield Register of land suitable for residential development, by 31 December 2017.
The District Council will report to the Committee on the current position with regard to the preparation and publication of its Brownfield Register.
The Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017 required each local planning authority to have published a Brownfield Register of land suitable for residential development by 31 December 2017. The Assistant Director (Development Management) explained that the register provided publicly available information on brownfield land in the District that the Council considered was appropriate for residential development.
The Council had been working on the first part of a two-stage process. Just because sites were listed in the Brownfield Register did not mean that they had been granted planning permission, as the register was purely for housing or housing-led sites. The register included sites proposed for allocation in the Local Plan Submission Version 2017 and sites that had been granted planning permission. It would not include greenfield sites despite what was allocated in the LP.
Sites held within the Brownfield Register had to meet a set of criteria, which included a minimum of 0.25 hectares or land capable of at least 5 dwellings, the land needed to be available, i.e. that the owner would either sell or develop the land, and that development must start within 15 years of being listed in the Register.
The Council would publish the Brownfield Register shortly but the priority had been the submission of the LP to meet the March 2018 deadline. It would be available on the Council’s website at: http://www.efdclocalplan.org/planning-policy/brownfield-land-register/
Part 2 of the process would list sites that the Council had given permission for in principle but currently there were no such sites proposed.
North Weald Parish Councillor T Blanks asked about the status of North Weald Airfield (NWA). The Assistant Director (Development Management) replied that future development would have to be housing-led and that he would answer the councillor’s further questions soon after the meeting. Councillor G Mohindra said that in terms of the executive viewpoint, he thought the NWA was still identified as economic growth and business-led so he would be surprised if it ended up in the Brownfield Register. The Acting Chief Executive said that with regards to the NWA, it was all in the submission version of the LP. The masterplan for the area and its future potential was all in the public domain. Technically on whether it would fit in the register or not, the Council would provide some clarification following the meeting.
Chigwell Parish Council Clerk A Belgrave said that it was mentioned that the land in the Brownfield Register was not a register for which planning permission was a foregone conclusion, so in what circumstances would the Council envision planning permission not being granted to a brownfield site that was in this register. The Assistant Director (Development Management) replied that it would have to be listed in the part 2 element and it was the Council’s choice to move sites from part 1 to part 2, not the developer’s. However, a lot of assessment would need to be completed by the Council to move a site from part 1 to part 2. The ... view the full minutes text for item 17.
Planning Protocol & Procedures
(Local Councils) The Essex Association of Local Councils (Epping Forest Branch) understands that the District Council is currently undertaking a review of its Planning Protocol and associated procedures.
The Branch would like to be advised whether it is intended that consultation will be undertaken with local councils in respect of the following matters, which it is understood are part of the ongoing review, as it is concerned that these proposals appear contrary to the localism agenda:
(a) the possible disbanding of the existing framework of Area Plans Sub-Committees; and
(b) the possible removal of the existing provision for the automatic referral of planning applications to the Area Plans Sub-Committee, where applications have been objected to by parish and town councils.
The District Council will report to the Committee on the current position with regard to its ongoing review of the Planning Protocol and procedures.
The Assistant Director (Development Management) said that together with the Assistant Director of Governance, S Hill, the delegation of the review of the planning process was being carried out by the Constitution Working Group. It was looking at how the system was working and how it would be working with the implementation of the LP, as there would be a lot of development applications of LP sites. Therefore the Council’s work would increase and the review had also been looking at staffing resources. The Working Group was still looking into the current scheme of delegation to officers and the progress of applications through the planning committees. There could potentially be a new scheme of delegation. The intention was that this review would be brought back to the Working Group at the April 2018 meeting once redrafting of the report had been finalised. There were no current proposals by the Working Group to abandon planning committees. Once the new report had been produced, local councils would be consulted to give them an opportunity to comment on the proposals. He advised members to look at the Constitution Working Group agendas and minutes that were published on the Council’s website for more detailed information but was a work in progress at the moment.
Councillor D Stallan asked if the recommendation to consult with local councils could be taken back to the Constitution Working Group’s April meeting. Councillor M Sartin, who had chaired the last Working Group meeting, said that the Assistant Director (Development Management) had given a fairly clear view of where the Working Group was, which was not that far forward.
Epping Town Councillor T Church said he was concerned once a recommendation had come out it would be difficult to turn back, and would have preferred the Council to listen to local councils’ views at an earlier stage rather than at the end. Councillor D Stallan replied that as a member of the Working Group, these were suggestions and the members had gone through the options but could not agree, hence an extra meeting had been arranged. It had not been feasible to consult on every part of the review, only specific items, and that the recommendations made by the Constitution Working Group including the results of the consultation, would go to Council in June 2018. Councillor J Philip, also a member of the Working Group, said members were looking at the most efficient way to consult. It had not been the case that a report was ready for Council and they would be consulted on this. Members had wanted to make sure that there was a set of proposals and that there were options, then it would go out for consultation. North Weald Parish Council Clerk S De Luca said that at the EALC Epping Forest Branch meeting, attended by nine or ten local councils, the role of the planning committees had been discussed at length, and the word localism had come out of this. You could consult with local ... view the full minutes text for item 18.
Epping Forest District Local Plan
(Epping Forest District Council) The District Council will report to the Committee on the current position with regard to the preparation and publication of the new Local Plan for the Epping Forest District.
The Acting Chief Executive reported that the Extraordinary Council meeting held on 14 December 2017 had agreed on the submission version of the LP, which was published on 18 December 2017. A six-week representation period had followed, Regulation 19, and was in accordance with legislation. The Council had received over a 1,000 responses and these had ranged from landowners, private individuals, developers, authority partners and residents groups. All the responses had been logged for submission to the Inspector. There had been multiple responses received on Jessel Green in Debden. Not all responses had been validated if they had lacked a name and address. Names and addresses had been redacted from responses before being published on the Council’s website but the Inspector would see these personal details. The Council had appointed a project officer to support the Inspector during the public examination of the LP, who had previously worked for East Herts District Council in this capacity during its LP public examination. Another advantage was that East Herts was one of this Council’s strategic partners.
Moving from plan making to plan implementation there were the two developer forums that had been set up, one to deal with the strategic sites in and around Harlow, the Garden Town Forum, and the remaining sites in the corridors around Harlow. Back in December at Full Council, the resources for staffing that would be required were included in the budget for approval. There would be an implementation team, staffed by a panel of specialists that would bring forward the masterplan sites. The team was looking at developing planning performance agreements with developers to help them bring forward their plans. A Quality Review Panel had been set up and had appointed a pool of some sixteen external professionals. It was an independent advisory panel that would draw on their expertise, and advice would be sought from the Panel to ensure schemes submitted would be of the highest quality. The Harlow Gilston Garden Town project did include sites in Epping Forest for the area to the east, south and west side of Harlow. A project director had been appointed and would be based for part of the time at the Civic Offices. The project was looking at the sustainability of the transport corridor with strategic development to the north, south, east and west of Harlow. Councillor J Philip continued that work had been going on and that during the public examination of the LP, the Council would have to ensure that the housing delivery targets must be achievable.
Epping Town Councillor T Church said that strategic infrastructure certainly for Epping was an important consideration and would residents get new roads and parking etc. It should be the first consideration but always seemed to be the last. Councillor J Philip said that the details in masterplan sites would include specific infrastructure that was needed and how it would be funded. The masterplan sites around Harlow and the Garden Town were important in that the infrastructure that would be ... view the full minutes text for item 19.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
The Vice-Chairman, Councillor S Jackman, said that as the next meeting was not until September 2018 she would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of members, to thank Councillor D Stallan for chairing the meetings during 2017 /18.
The Chairman thanked members and said that on this Committee you could only ever chair two meetings.
Dates of Future Meetings
To note that future meetings of the Committee will be held at 7.30pm on the following dates:
10 September 2018; and
11 March 2019
It was noted that the future meetings of the Committee would be held at 7.30pm on:
· 10 September 2018; and
· 11 March 2019.