Agenda item

Any Other Business

Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, together with paragraphs 6 and 25 of the Council Procedure Rules contained in the Constitution require that the permission of the Chairman be obtained, after prior notice to the Chief Executive, before urgent business not specified in the agenda (including a supplementary agenda of which the statutory period of notice has been given) may be transacted.


In accordance with Operational Standing Order 6 (non-executive bodies), any item raised by a non-member shall require the support of a member of the Committee concerned and the Chairman of that Committee. Two weeks’ notice of non-urgent items is required.


Councillor D Wixley referred to the minutes of the last meeting on page 8, where it said:


 “Councillor D Wixley advised that part of Burney Drive was in his Ward and he would like to know where the site was as he could not envisage a scheme going ahead in that area.”


Initially in the previous meeting Burney Drive was referred to as Burney Close and that confused him and he could not think of a garage site in Burney Drive, to which he has now remembered so has therefore answered his question.


On the agenda another site had been referred to in Castell Road which was also in his Ward and earlier in the meeting the Officer had said that they would be moving away from garage sites, therefore, what other sites were Officers looking at.


R Hoyte advised that there were a number of other identified land opportunities within the Local Plan and the Council wished to target some of those larger pieces of land. The garage sites could normally only facilitate 3-5 units and it was expensive to build on such a small scale. Therefore, in order to meet the target of units that were needed to build, the Council would have to start looking at sites that gave an opportunity to build more units, which would make it more cost effective, to which the garage sites don’t always provide that opportunity. She stated that they would still be looking to develop garage sites but needed to broaden what was being looked at.


Councillor Wixley asked if that meant that some of the garage sites would not be used as he was concerned with a particular garage site in his Ward as it was used for fly tipping.


R Hoyte advised that the Council were not going to abandon the garage sites in terms of looking at them, but the Council needed to consider building on larger sites, to meet housing targets and to reduce the cost per unit and also think about being carbon neutral which was a more expensive process.


Councillor Wixley asked if nuisance garage sites were not going to be built on were there any other ideas of what could be done to prevent these sites being used for fly tipping and anti-social behaviour.


R Hoyte advised that talks were ongoing, for instance where garages were still being used they could be refurbished and made more fit for purpose, as the current garage sites were built so many years ago when cars where much smaller and therefore many cars of today would not fit in them. Hopefully by refurbishing the sites this would mean they would be more widely used and therefore help towards stopping the anti-social behaviour. Each garage site would have to be assessed on a case by case basis.


R Hoyte advised that the supplementary agenda concerned Phase 5 of the Council House Building Programme and she would now be looking to book meetings with the Ward Members to discuss what has been proposed and decide where we go from here and take the next steps if we think the sites were not suitable. We would also like to give the opportunity to residents to be able to comment as well.


Councillor Philip asked for indicative costing to be provided as that would be helpful to decide on the site viability.


Councillor A Patel asked how the mix of dwellings was determined for the amount of people that would live in the properties for example 2 bedroom unit for 3 people and 2 bedroom unit for 4 people also what about the need for 3 and 4 bedroom houses.


R Hoyte stated that there was a mixed guidance which was used and was based on the area so that would determine what guidance we would give to the architects of the mix of dwellings for that area. The key thing was to be demonstrating that we were providing the size of units that were needed within the district. Therefore, at Planning Committees, we can demonstrate why we have chosen the size of units we have done and was purely to make sure that it was the correct fit in each area. The need for 3 and 4 bedroom houses across the district was less than 5 per cent, the biggest need for housing across the district was a 1-bedroom and then a 2-bedroom property. For example a 2-bedroom unit for 3 people meant a double bedroom and a single bedroom and a 2-bedroom unit for 4 people would be slightly larger with two double bedrooms.


Councillor S Heap stated that the garage site know as Hornbeam A, Cascade Close, Buckhurst Hill was a vexatious issue as it had gone from two houses and a reduction in the parking ability for the residents to potentially 14 flats with 18 parking spaces, none of which would be for any other resident. Therefore, if these flats were two bedroom and someone had a friend to stay that would immediately throw the parking pressure onto everyone else. Hornbeam A has 11 garages which are in use with cars chosen to fit the garages, if they were to get moved out of there and have to go back to parking in Cascade Close, Cascade Close is being denied the opportunity to alter their road layout to help themselves with their own situation, therefore, he believed this to be a bad idea but looked forward to the meetings regarding the garage sites.


The Chairman stated that she knew by previous Council House Building Cabinet Committees that Hornbeam A had been a contentious issue and was sure that a solution would be resolved once the meetings took place.