Agenda and minutes

Stronger Place Select Committee - Tuesday 22nd June 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Conference Suite - Civic Offices. View directions

Contact: Laura Kirman  Email:


No. Item


Webcasting Introduction

The Chairman will read the following announcement:


 “This meeting will be webcast live to the Internet (or filmed) and will be capable of repeated viewing (or another use by such third parties).


 Therefore, by entering the Conference Suite and using the seating area you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings for webcasting and/or training purposes.”

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The Chairman reminded everyone present that this meeting would be broadcast live to the Internet, and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meetings.




Substitute Members

To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.

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Councillor J H Whitehouse as substitute for Councillor C McCredie;


Declarations of Interest

To declare interests in any item on the agenda.

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Cllr Bassett declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of the Qualis Board.


There were no other declarations of interest pursuant to the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct.




Notes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 138 KB

To agree the notes of the meeting of the Select Committee held on 29 March 2021.

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That the minutes of the meeting held on  29 March 2021 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.




Terms of Reference & Work Programme pdf icon PDF 22 KB

(Chairman/Lead Officer) The Overview and Scrutiny Committee has agreed the Terms of Reference and the previous years work programme for this Select Committee. Members are invited at each meeting to review both documents and to consider the  work programme for 2021/22


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The Chairman, asked members to consider the terms of reference and work programme. He suggested that the terms of reference were generic and that a definition of what was included in Place would be beneficial. He detailed the definition of Stronger Place from the 2018 Corporate Plan:

Delivering effective core services that people want:

·            Keeping the district clean and green

·            Improving the district housing offer

A district with planned development:

·            Planning development priorities

·            Ensuring infrastructure supports growth

An environment where new and existing businesses thrive:

·            Supporting business enterprise and attracting investment

·            People develop skills to maximise their employment potential

·            Promoting retail, tourism and the visitor economy


He advised that there would be discussion with the Chairmen of the other Select Committees and felt that it was important to get input from Members of the Committee and asked for comments, suggestions or proposals for areas that should be scrutinised either from the floor or in writing after the meeting.

Cllr Hadley suggested that there was some overlap between Stronger Communities and Stronger Place, and suggested that Place related to infrastructure and physical things. He suggested a number of areas that should fall in the remit of the committee:  the implementation plan after the adoption of the Local Plan; Public Transport within the scope of the district; electric scooters, flooding; tree preservation, climate change and the clean air strategy.


Cllr Whitehouse reminded the Committee that she had raised the lack of correlation of the Scrutiny Panels to the corporate objective at Overview and Scrutiny Committee. She suggested that all members should have the opportunity to put forward areas for scrutiny, this process had been hindered as members did not know what scrutiny was covering and scrutiny had become officer led. She asked which Portfolio Holders and which services were aligned to each Committee.  Mr Dawe (Chief Operating Officer) responded that Cllr Avey, Environment and Technical Portfolio covered waste, parking, sustainable drainage; Cllr Patel, Community and Regulatory, covered North Weald, and the employment land and the Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) and countryside development was expected to be scrutinised; Cllr H Whitbread, Housing , the physical build of the programme, with improvements and digital. Cllr Philip, Finance, covered the Town Centre Plans  which centred on economic activity, digital and other infrastructure issues; and Cllr Bedford, Planning and Sustainability, covered planning, climate change and sustainable travel, these all aligned with Stronger Place. He advised that The  Climate Change Strategy and North Weald Master Plan consultation would take place in autumn if the Committee wanted to consider inclusion in the work programme.


Cllr Whitehouse commented that there were many interesting ideas, but only three meetings per year. She suggested small focussed task and finish groups for half or single day sessions for focused areas of scrutiny.


Cllr Bassett suggested that there could be alignment between The Utilities 5 year plans and the Council’s development plan, and questioned where healthcare, the new junction 7a on the M11 and Qualis should be scrutinised due to their cross  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Local Plan Update

To receive a verbal update on the Local Plan.

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Natalie Blaken (Interim Planning Policy Manager) provided an update on the Local Plan and reminded members of the process and consultation that had occurred to date, culminating in the Inspector’s advice in August 2019.  The Local Plan had reached an advanced stage and had significant weight for planning decisions and appeals. The Council has carried out further work to address the comments made by the Inspector in August 2021, when she advised what was required to make the Local Plan sound. 

There was one round of statutory consultation on the main modifications. It was important to note that the main modifications did not change the spatial data. The Council were working with the Inspector to produce a schedule of the main modifications, this would be published with supporting documents on the Local Plan website and be made available at local libraries and the Council Offices. The statutory consultation period of six weeks, which should start the week commencing 5 July 2021, had been extended to mid-September to account for the holiday period.  A briefing had been arranged for all members on 28 June 2021, everyone on the consultation database would be contacted, there would be a developers’ forum and Town and Parish Councils would be briefed. All the responses would be provided to the Inspector for consideration before she produced her final report and recommendation. The Local Plan could then be adopted by the Council, if it chose to make the main modifications recommended by the Inspector.


Cllr Lion what asked what was expected to come out of the consultation. He was advised that the focus would be, if the main modifications were appropriate and sound. Three groups of responses were anticipated: developers and landowners; Statutory Consultees and Parish and Town Councils; and a large volume of public responses.


Cllr Janet Whitehouse suggested that written reports were required for scrutiny and asked why officers could attend by zoom and members couldn’t.  The Service Director for Planning Development, Nigel Richardson, advised that a verbal information report was provided as dates for consultation had just been agreed and that working practices in relation to Covid safety and the distance the officer needed to travel had led to the decision to present in a virtual manner. The Chairman confirmed that he had accepted this verbal update but that future reports to the Committee would be written.


Cllr Bassett asked what would happen when the local plan had been adopted, as sites allocations, offices of national statistics, and housing and employment data would all be 10 years old. Would an early review be planned and what would be the ongoing process. The Committee were advised that when the Local Plan was adopted it would be a statutory development plan and decision must be taken in accordance with that plan unless there were material considerations. At this time there was no indication that the Inspector would require an early review, but this could be in Inspector’s final report, although clear reasons for the review would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Dates of Future Meetings

To note that the next meeting of the Select Committee will be held at 7.00pm on 23 September 2021.

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The Committee noted that the date of the next meeting was 23 September 2021.