To consider any business which, by reason of special circumstances, the Chairman proposed to accept as urgent under Section 100(b)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.
Called In Item – Norfolk County Council Minerals and Waste Local Plan review – Preferred Options Consultation
The Chair thanked the members of public for attending to observe the debate on the called in item and outlined the procedure that would be followed. The proposer and supporters of the call in would be allocated five minutes each to address the Panel. It was noted that a written submission had been received from Councillor Rust, which had been included in the Agenda.
The Chair invited Councillor Hipperson to present the call in of Cabinet Members Delegated Decision – Norfolk County Council Minerals and Waste Local Plan Review – Preferred Options Consultation.
Councillor Hipperson addressed the Panel and outlined the reasons for the call in of the Cabinet Decision as set out in Appendix 2 of the report and concluded by stating that Shouldham Warren should not be included in the allocation.
The Chair invited Councillor Howland to address the Panel.
Councillor Howland addressed the Panel and concurred with the comments made by Councillor Hipperson and added that he was supporting the call in as both Councillor Hipperson and himself share the same ward and had issues of wider and greater concern. The Panel was informed that inclusion of the site would lead to potential increased traffic congestion and carbon footprint and was not acceptable.
The Chair invited Councillor de Whalley to address the Panel.
Councillor de Whalley addressed the Panel and outlined his reasons for the call in as set out in Appendix 2 making specific reference to Policies WP10 and MW4b) and site SIL01. In conclusion, Councillor de Whalley supported the exclusion of Shouldham Warrant in NCC’s allocation.
The Chair invited Councillor Kemp to address the Panel.
Councillor Kemp addressed the Panel and outlined her reasons for the call in as set out in Appendix 2. Councillor Kemp referred to Policy !0 in the preferred options plan at page 56 of the NCC document and highlighted that this placed West Norfolk at risk. In conclusion, Councillor Kemp stated that the Borough Council’s response should state:
· That the plan must state the incineration as a form of residual waste facility was not acceptable in West Norfolk where 65,000 residents voted against incineration in the Borough Poll.
· The borough council’s response does not mention material considerations of the risks relevant to West Norfolk of fracking and should say that the plan should exclude fracking certainly in West Norfolk.
After emphasing the above two comments, Councillor Kemp stated that if required she would attend the examination and advise the Inspector accordingly.
The Chair invited Councillor Ryves to address the Panel.
Councillor Ryves addressed the Panel and concurred with the comments made by Councillor Hipperson and outlined the reasons why he had called in the decision as set out in Appendix 2 make specific reference to Policies WP10, WP3, MW2 and MIN74, 77 and 206 and the threat posed to Shouldham Warren.
The Chair invited Councillor Middleton to address the Panel under Standing Order 34.
Councillor Middleton declared an interest as a County Councillor and addressed the Panel, a summary of which is set out below:
Councillor Middleton reported that he had undertaken research and had assisted Liz Truss MP in the Shouldham Warren campaign. Reference was made to Campaign against two silica sites (CATSS) and the part they had played. Those present were given an overview and result of the first consultation and Councillor Middleton outlined the objections raised by the MOD on SIL02 due to the close proximity to RAF Marham and that it had been removed from the allocation. Councillor Middleton outlined the objections as to why Shouldham Warren should not be included as an allocation and made reference to the Motion adopted by Norfolk County Council on 25 November 2019. In conclusion, Councillor Middleton stated that the borough council should play a part in supporting the residents to exclude Shouldham Warren from being a site for sand extraction purposes.
The Chair invited the Portfolio Holder for Development, Councillor Blunt to address the Panel.
Councillor Blunt advised that the Planning Policy Manager was in attendance to answer any questions from the Panel. He explained that he would place focus on the real issues that the majority of Councillors were concerned about, i.e. the inclusion of the area of search for silica sand extraction at Shouldham Warren.
Councillor Blunt explained that it was a Norfolk County Council Policy and reminded Councillors of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Section 17 Facilitating the sustainable use of Minerals sub section (f) as set out below:
f) set out criteria or requirements to ensure that permitted and proposed operations do not have unacceptable adverse impacts on the natural and historic environment or human health, taking into account the cumulative effects of multiple impacts from individual sites and/or a number of sites in a locality.
Councillor Blunt reported that there was a need to identify designated areas of search. The NPPF stated that mineral planning authorities should plan for the steady and adequate supply of minerals in one or more the following ways: designating specific sites, designating a preferred area and designating areas of search.
Councillor Blunt advised that Norfolk County Council had to find sites and explained that on 25 November 2019, Norfolk County Council decided to adopt a motion to plant one million trees over the next four years across Norfolk. So it appeared strange to consider on the one hand destroying wood land to facilitate Silica Sand Extraction and on the other to plant more trees.
The Panel was informed that in addition to the Norfolk County Council Silica sand requirement and shortfall document there was a strategic policy MP2: Spatial Strategy for mineral extraction, an extract is set out below:
Policy MP2: Spatial Strategy for mineral extraction – STRATEGIC POLICY Within the resource areas identified on the key diagram, specific sites for sand and gravel or carstone extraction should be located within five miles of one of Norfolk’s urban areas or three miles of one of the main towns (detailed in the supporting text) and/or be well-related to one of Norfolk’s urban areas or main towns via appropriate transport infrastructure. Within the resource areas identified on the key diagram, specific sites or preferred areas for silica sand extraction should preferably be located where they are able to access the existing processing plant and railhead at Leziate via conveyor, pipeline or off-public highway routes. Areas of Search for silica sand extraction, of at least 20 hectares in size, will be defined from within the Leziate Beds silica sand resource, excluding the following planning constraints: a. Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty b. ancient woodland sites and 250 metres around them c. SSSIs and 250 metres around them d. 1km around The Wash SSSI e. The hydrological catchment around Roydon Common SSSI and Dersingham Bog SSSI f. Registered Common Land g. Designated heritage assets (Listed Buildings, Scheduled Monuments, registered historic parks and gardens, Conservation Areas) and 250 metres around each heritage asset h. Sensitive receptors to amenity impacts (residential dwellings, educational facilities, workplaces, healthcare and leisure facilities) and 250 metres around each sensitive receptor i. Agricultural land grades 1 and 2 j. Allocated, current and restored mineral extraction sites The designated areas of search for silica sand extraction will be those parts of the silica sand resource which are least constrained based on the above criteria; where a suitable future planning application for silica sand extraction may be approved.
Councillor Blunt suggested that in Section b – ancient woodland be amended to “woodland site” and explained that in order to achieve this he would instruct officers to create a section in the report supporting his argument and suggest that if the MP2 policy were amended as suggested taking into account the adoption of the motion to plant more trees in Norfolk that Shouldham Warren should not be included in the area search.
Councillor Blunt and officers responded to questions in relation to:
· Areas of search and an overview of the Norfolk County Council hierarchy in relation to the NPPF guidelines.
· The need for additional areas of search.
· Mechanism to bring forward areas of search.
· SILO1 and Roydon Common and measures put in the plan to safeguard such areas.
· MP2 Spatial Strategy for Mineral Extraction Sites.
· SIL02 and issues raised by Councillor Middleton relating to the areas of search, biodiversity, etc and explained that there were safeguards within the policy.
The Chair invited the Panel to debate the call in in accordance with the call in procedure set out in Standing Orders 15.33 and 15.34 and to consider the amendment to the Delegated Decision as outlined by Councillor Blunt.
Following a comment from a member of the Panel on a recommendation to request that the Plan be looked at again in light of the motion adopted by Norfolk County Council on 25 November 2019, Councillor Blunt expressed concern that this would delay the process and reiterated the proposal to amend the delegated decision as soon as possible, which would be subject to the call in procedure. Councillor Humphrey sought clarification on the call in procedure.
It was clarified that if the Panel determined to uphold the call in in may then take one of three courses of action:
(a) report to Council, Cabinet or the relevant Portfolio Holder requesting that they amend or substitute the recommendations or decision; or
(b) if the issue is considered urgent or straightforward, formulate a counter-recommendation or amendment; or
(c) investigate the matter further at another meeting within thirty working days beginning with the day after the issue of the notification of the call in and then follow the same process as set out in paragraphs 5.2 and 5.3.
Councillor Moriarty proposed that the Panel uphold the call in and request that the Portfolio Holder for Development amend the delegated decision as outlined. The proposal was seconded by Councillor Rose. The Panel then voted on the proposal which was carried.
The Portfolio Holder, Development undertook to look at other aspects of the call in in more detail after the meeting.
RESOLVED: The Panel upheld the call in and requested that the Portfolio Holder for Development amend the delegated decision as outlined above, which would be subject to the call in process.
The Chair thanked the members of the public for attending to observe the debate of the call in and for Members’ input.
The Panel adjourned at 6.57 pm and reconvened at 7.08 pm.