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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 12 March 2018 and any matters arising therefrom.
That the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 12 March 2018 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
Appointment of Vice-Chairman
To appoint a Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the municipal year 2018/19.
The Chairman asked for nominations for the appointment of a Vice-Chairman for this municipal year, 2018/19, since the previous long-standing Vice-Chairman, Councillor S Jackman, had stood down at the last meeting in March 2018.
Councillor C C Pond, the Essex Association of Local Councils Epping Forest Branch Chairman, was duly elected Vice-Chairman for this municipal year.
Community Champions Programme
The Committee agreed to bring forward item 7 (i).
Members received a presentation on the Epping Forest Community Champions Programme from Community Health and Wellbeing Senior Community Engagement Officer, P Arnold, and Community and Grants Officer, L Walton.
The aim of the programme was to build on the skills and knowledge of local people to create positive cohesion in the District’s local communities. This could be achieved by developing partnerships with the local voluntary sector through the recruitment and training of community champions.
The Community Health and Wellbeing team were preferably looking for individuals, already well-connected in the local community, and who were:
· over 18 years old;
· passionate about where they lived;
· able to build strong community connections;
· happy to support and promote fun days and community events;
· willing to share information about local services within their area; and
· able to promote useful health improvement information with their community.
The Council’s Community Health and Wellbeing team would be able to provide extra support and information to these community champions. This would help them develop their skills, so they could help to deliver community programmes and provide feedback to the Community Health and Wellbeing team. One such annual community programme was the successful ‘stay well this winter’ campaign.
One of the challenges for the Health and Wellbeing team was to visit the various parishes within the District to promote health and wellbeing. Whereas the team might not return for another two years to a particular parish, the community champions would be ideally placed as an important local and focal point of contact. Currently four community champions had been recruited but more were being sought. It was hoped that both District and local councillors might know of suitable individuals within their wards and parishes.
A members question and answer session followed.
Councillor B Scruton asked how much time would a champion need to commit to this role? P Arnold replied that the commitment should last at least two years. Potential champions should quite naturally be doing this in their local community already, and so this should not be an arduous task to take on.
Councillor D Wixley remarked that he was not familiar with this programme and that parish councillors would probably be ideal candidates. Had the Health and Wellbeing team promoted this though local councils? P Arnold replied that champions were being sought if possible from outside the councillor environment and that publicity information and brochures would be distributed soon. Councillor E Webster added that District councillors had not received this publicity either.
Councillor C Feetham asked, was this a voluntary role? Also what times would champions be required to be available because if it was during evenings, then recruitment might prove to be more difficult. P Arnold replied that the first meeting would be held in October 2018 when the availability of those attending would be discussed. The support of the champions on other projects would also be discussed.
Councillor C C Pond referred to the ‘stay well ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
To discuss the following matter raised by the local councils:
(i) (Epping Forest District Council) To discuss changes to the planning delegations. (See letter from the Assistant Director (Governance) attached).
(i) Planning delegations
The Service Director (Governance and Member Services), S Hill, reported that planning delegations had been discussed at the Local Councils’ Liaison Committee in March 2018. The Constitution Working Group had considered this matter in depth, undertaken two consultations with members and local councils in April and May/June 2018 and, at its last meeting on 25 June 2018, made recommendations to Council. The Full Council on 31 July 2018 approved a number of changes to the delegation arrangements that would now apply to Development Management. The review of planning delegations had not sought a diminution of the role of parish councils. However, any increase in delegations would assist the Council in moving closer towards the Government’s national average target and also help create capacity for members to consider larger applications. The updated planning delegations for Development Management could be found in the Constitution (item 26), Part 3 Scheme of Delegation, Appendix 3 Delegation to Officers from Full Council – CLD 2). Local councils had been issued guidance on this on 21 August and advised that it was the intention of the Constitution Working Group to review the operation of these new arrangements after one year.
Delegations essentially fell into two categories.
· Category A for those that were delegated except in a number of circumstances where they were brought to District members to be determined either by call-in or as a result of consultations. The report detailed the types of applications under this category that would be determined by officers unless they met one of the circumstances that triggered a requirement for their determination to come before a planning committee; or
· Category B for those that were delegated to officers (unless the Service Director (Planning Services) considered it appropriate to be determined by members). The report listed the types of applications that were normally determined by officers for planning related applications and planning and related procedures. Furthermore, officers would normally determine whether enforcement action would be appropriate or if entry onto land by authorised officers was deemed necessary.
The Category A ‘triggers’ would probably be of most interest to local councils. It was noted that local councils would be counted in the five expressions of objections (3a). A local council objection supported by at least one non-councillor resident with material planning reasons would automatically go to committee. Also when an objection material to the planning merits was received from a local council (3c), that council would need to indicate its attendance and register to speak at the meeting at which the application would be determined. It was also clarified that when one of the triggers was met, the local council would be informed of the date of the planning meeting that the application would be determined. The agendas to the planning committees published advice to the public and speakers attending, including the requirement to register with Democratic Services by 4.00pm on the day before the meeting.
Local councils were asked to inform the Service Director (Governance and Member ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Epping Forest District Local Plan - Progress
(Epping Forest District Council) To verbally report to the Committee on the current position of the new Local Plan for the Epping Forest District.
The Service Director (Planning Services), N Richardson, reported that the Council restructure of senior management had officially started today and he was now responsible for the Local Plan (LP). A Judicial Review of the LP had prevented its submission to the Inspector. The claimant’s case had been dismissed but the developer had taken the case to the Court of Appeal, but the summer recess had caused a further delay. The injunction had remained in place preventing the Council from formally submitting the LP, which was very frustrating. In the meantime a second version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) had been published and in order for the Council to be assessed against the original version, the Government now required LPs to be submitted by 24 January 2019. If the Council missed this deadline, the Government could then impose a housing target in which the numbers could go up. This would therefore involve the Council in a lot more work.
The policies in the LP submission version were a material consideration in determining all planning applications now and an advice notice had been given to the planning officers. Officers now referred to both the current Adopted LP and the submission version of the LP in their reports. It upheld the presumption to protect green belt land (GBL) and further guidance on GBL was given in the NPPF version 2 and there were lots of issues around housing regarding the definition of housing numbers.
A Quality Review Panel (QRP) had been set up in April 2018, and a panel of experts appointed, which was new for this Council. This meant that for large scale sites the Council had an elite team of experts to critically start assessing large applications. As a result of advice from the QRP the developers of Gilston and Harlow Garden Town and some Council sites, such as Dowding Way, Waltham Abbey, had made amendments to their applications. It was the developers that paid for the critical assessments / services of the QRP. When an application came before a committee, any remarks made by the QRP would be included in the case officer’s report. Planning Services would also become involved in Development Management Forums to engage the developer and the public in early discussions on potential proposals, not to endorse but more to facilitate these discussions. The Service Director (Planning Services) had attended a forum on land at Dowding Way, Waltham Abbey and one last week, the ‘Quinn’ development in North Weald, which was very well attended.
On the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC), the Council would have to produce a mitigation strategy in partnership with Natural England and the Conservators of Epping Forest. This was to do with the recreational use of the Forest by visitors and air quality. The Council had joined with neighbouring authorities and established that, within 3.2 kilometres of the boundary of the SAC, developers would have to pay a contribution towards making improvements to the Forest and, on a District-wide ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Councillor C C Pond had expected a further report on air quality to be made at this meeting following on from the air quality presentations made to this Committee in September 2017. Instead members had been informed beforehand that, as there had not been any new developments, there would be no additional report. Since a press release had been issued earlier in the year about the Council being able to fine drivers of idling vehicles, especially near school gates, during the hot summer weather vehicles had also been left running to keep their air-conditioning on. He had thought the Committee might have received a report on how the effects of car pollution were being tackled by the Council’s Environmental Health enforcement officers and the number of fixed penalty notices that had been issued by them on this problem. The Service Director (Governance and Member Services) replied that he would ask for an update from the Service Director (Commercial and Regulatory Services), J Nolan, which could be relayed to local councils in due course.
Dates of Future Meetings
To note that the next meeting of the Committee will be held on 11 March 2019 at 7.30pm.
It was noted that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on 11 March 2019 at 7.30pm.