Agenda item

The Task Group will receive a presentation to explain the stages, demonstration of the Borough Council Consultation Portal.



Click here to view a recording of this item on You Tube.


The Task Group received a presentation from the Local Plan Manager on the Local Plan Review:  Pre-submission / Publication / Submission and Examination.


The Planning Policy Manager responded to questions, a summary of which are listed below:


·         Did the Planning Inspector have any time constraints in conducting the examination?


·         At what stage did the emerging Local Plan become a material planning consideration.  It was explained that this would not happen until the Inspectors report had been received and the Council moved to adoption. The Planning Committee would be trained on any changes to the Local Plan. 


·         The Planning Inspector would have a Programme Officer for the duration of the examination to help with the organisation of the examination process.


·         The Planning Policy Manager also updated the Task Group in relation to Green Infrastructure Recreation Avoidance Mitigation Study.


·         In relation to a site for a new hospital, it was explained that the Borough Council was totally in support of a new hospital but there did not need to have specific mention of it within the Local Plan. There was a policy within the Local Plan Review that covered community infrastructure, which acknowledged that things needed to support the increase in population.  The NHS would come forward with their plans and help and support would be given at that time.


A step by step guide on how to make representations on the Plan was given to the Task Group.  Copies of the presentation would be sent out to the Task Group after the meeting.  The slides would also be attached to the update emails and published on the website.


The Task Group made the following comments / suggestions, summarised below:


The Chair suggested that a simple video be produced and posted on the website explaining how to navigate the consultation portal and how to make representations.  The Planning Policy Manager explained that work was taking place with the Communications Department on this.


Also, the Chair suggested that a short cut which took people directly to the correct page be investigated. 


In relation to the wording on the portal, it was explained that the wording and format used was guidance from the Planning Inspectorate and was designed to help and inform the Planning Inspector.  The process was there to help the Inspector understand what people did / did not like about the Plan.  People found different ways to submit their comments and the Inspector would take these into account.


The Chair added that he wanted as many people as possible to comment on the Plan and did not want them being put off by technology.  It was explained that from past experience, people would print off the form, write a letter or send an email to make their views known. 


In accordance with Standing Order 34, Councillor Joyce addressed the Task Group and supported the idea of producing a video.


The Planning Policy Manager explained what work the Task Group would be involved with over the coming months.  It was agreed to keep meetings scheduled in diaries for every other month, where they could be cancelled if necessary.  An item for future consideration would be the Government Planning Reform Bill changes and how this could impact the Task Group and Planning System.


In accordance with Standing Order 34, Councillor Joyce made reference to an email he had sent on 14 April, suggesting some wording for LP18.  Cllr Parish and Cllr Bubb had supported the wording.  He read out the wording as follows:


All new homes across all tenures will meet as a minimum the Government’s nationally described space standard.


He explained that for it to be enforceable it needed to be included within the Local Plan.


The Planning Policy Manager stated that he recalled that it was discussed at a Task Group meeting and he had explained the process of being able to use those space standards depended on the Borough Council carrying out a survey to say why they wanted and needed to do that.  It was discussed at the time whether the Council had the resources to do that in the time available, and his conclusion was that the resources were not available to do that.  He referred to Breckland’s Local Plan where they had a similar policy and they had a vast amount of background material on why they wanted to use those standards, which the Council did not and were not able to prepare that to go into the plan.


There was a policy encouraging people to do that but there was not an insistence requirement through the Local Plan.


The Chair added that he would like this as a future agenda item to consider what research would be required to do that.  He also added that a representation could be made to the Inspector and it would be up to them to decide whether the Council needed to take that further.




(1)  That an explainer video be made and posted on the website to help people complete the forms on the consultation portal.


(2)  That a link / short cut could to the consultation portal be created on the home page.


(3)  That the Task Group has the opportunity, before it is launched, to go through the document again after 19th July 2021.


(4)  That the updated final version of the Plan, which was to be sent out, be sent to the Task Group.


(5)  That copies of the presentation given at the meeting be sent out to the Task Group.