To consider the Cabinet report on the Draft EFDC Sustainability Guidance (report to follow).
A presentation was received from the Planning Policy Implementation Team Projects Officer, M Anil. The sustainability guidance was supported by several policies of the emerging Local Plan. It followed EFDC’s climate emergency declaration in September 2019 to become carbon zero by 2030, as data from 2017 showed that on road vehicles and residential housing contributed to some 80 per cent of all carbon emissions across the District. The draft guidance also expanded on the work done for the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town (HGGT) and aligned with other key documents, such as the Infrastructure Delivery Plan and Green Infrastructure Strategy. The document was split into two sections environmental sustainability and socio-economic sustainability. Its purpose was to support planning proposal considerations and provide practical and technical guidance on how relevant sustainability indicators and policies in the Local Plan would be applied to new residential and non-residential developments across the District. A suite of three sustainability documents covered Major Developments (10+ units), Minor Developments (1-9 units) and Extensions and Refurbishments. The Major Developments document was similar to HGGT, but there were changes to case studies, reference to specific policies and documents, air quality and its impact on the Epping Forest special area of conservation (SAC) as well as socio-economic sustainability, which was key for EFDC. Whilst the HGGT document focused on integration of new development with existing communities, key goals for EFDC were community resilience and social equity, especially in terms of access to facilities, health and wellbeing, public health etc.
Members had been briefed at a workshop in August, and the draft sustainability guidance would be submitted to Cabinet in October 2020 for approval for more formal public consultation. The six-week public consultation should be completed in November 2020. The final guidance draft for endorsement for material planning consideration (1) and the sustainability guidance for Extensions and Refurbishments (3) would be submitted to Cabinet by early 2021.
The Interim Assistant Director said that this was a good explanation of the work the Implementation Team had undertaken to produce the guidance and more information was given in the appendices. The report was waiting for Cabinet approval to agree formal consultation at the October meeting.
Councillor R Bassett commented that this was a very useful presentation, but a lot of technical terminology was used that needed experts to understand it and that a glossary might be helpful. Also, looking at the checklists, he wondered how developers, particularly small developers, would be able to answer all the questions.
Councillor S Heap said this was a good report. Working with heat pumps was good, delivery points for Amazon to avoid delivering to every house, more buses were required and a dedicated bus for Latton Priory was definitely needed. In the Quality Review Panel report regarding photovoltaics that solar panels would not provide enough benefit, but they would be a big enough benefit if every house had them and everyone worked together. Regarding a community park for the people and that the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was an example of this, a pub could also provide a community space. On the long-term delivery of sites for 25 to 30 years at the HGGT, was EFDC delivering 1000 homes by 2030? Lastly with reference to splitting up the information, yes, but all the information has to be available to everyone.
The Interim Assistant Director said that a glossary was a good idea and we should add this. There were 4,000 houses in EFDC in the plan period upto 2023 but a total of 23,000 in and around the HGGT. The Quality Review Panel was specifically reviewing the HGGT guidance and reference to HGGT developments. EFDC was looking to develop 11,400 homes over the plan period. In the EFDC part of Latton Priory, it was for 1,000 homes to be developed upto 2033, which was around 50 – 100 houses per year. Councillor R Bassett said that it was important that the infrastructure was in place at the start of the building especially in relation to the climate emergency and this guidance would give developers information on what the Council wanted.
Councillor N Bedford referred to bricks and how they could be reused when crushed to utilise in building foundations. It was about thinking ‘outside the box’ as developers would have to supply a list of the building materials that would be used or reused from the start of their building projects. Keeping a register of the building materials used could provide valuable information at a later date, if this was required, for example if legislation changed.
Councillor M Sartin remarked that the two documents had been produced side by side but wanted to confirm that there would not be any conflict between the two documents for the Latton Bush and Water Lane areas, which were in EFDC but within the HGGT? The Interim Assistant Director replied that was correct and that EFDC had used the HGGT version to give a bespoke approach for the District but a lot of it for the strategic sites was very similar to the Garden Town guidance. Councillor Sartin added that the bespoke areas would be around the air quality and the SAC.
That the following four recommendations in this report to Cabinet were noted and agreed:
(1) To agree that the Draft EFDC Sustainability Guidance documents (Major Developments and Minor Developments) and Draft HGGT Sustainability Guidance and Checklist (Strategic Sites) be approved for public consultation for a six-week period, and;
(2) To agree that the Planning Services Director, in consultation with the Planning and Sustainability Portfolio Holder be authorised to make minor amendments to the Draft EFDC Sustainability Guidance (Major Developments and Minor Developments) prior to the public consultation;
(3) To note that, following consultation, and any subsequent revisions to the documents, it is intended that the final EFDC Sustainability Guidance and Checklists (Major Developments and Minor Developments), will be considered by Cabinet for endorsement as a material planning consideration for the preparation of masterplans, pre-application advice, assessing planning applications and any other development management purposes within the District.
(4) To note that, following consultation, and any subsequent revisions to the documents, it is intended that the final HGGT Sustainability Guidance and Checklist, will be agreed as a material planning consideration for the preparation of masterplans, pre-application advice, assessing planning applications and any other development management purposes within the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town.