To consider the following Regeneration, Economy and Strategic Planning related reports scheduled for Cabinet consideration on 28 July 2021:
• BCP Local Plan Issues and Options Consultation
The O&S Board is asked to scrutinise the reports and make recommendations to Cabinet as appropriate.
Cabinet member invited to attend for this item: Councillor Philip Broadhead, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Economy and Strategic Planning
The Cabinet report for this item is included with the agenda for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Board.
BCP Local Plan – Issues and Options Consultation – The Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Economy and Strategic Planning introduced the report. A copy of which had been circulated to Board members and a copy of which appears at Appendix B to these minutes in the Minute Book. The Portfolio Holder outlined the key points from the report and the Board discussed a number of issues including:
· That the consultation was not an assessment on what the Council thought the local plan should be. The consultation was about asking the public for views on what should be done. Paragraph 10 of the report included detail on informing the local plan which would come next.
· A Board member asked about the consultation process and what was planned, it was felt that roadshows were a crucial tool in explaining issues to the public in a much easier way than purely online. It was suggested that plans should be made to allow roadshows to go ahead if further covid restrictions were introduced, outdoors if necessary. It was noted that a number of lessons could be learnt from other consultations and the consultation plan was being fully considered in conjunction with the Communication Team.
· Air quality was an issue specifically highlighted within the opening infographic but there was very little focus on this within the remainder of the paper. The Portfolio Holder noted that there could be a temptation to include wider issues within the consultation document, but the focus needed to be on issues directly related to the Local Plan. Air quality was a key consideration for the human population.
· Whether there had been any consideration given to asking Dorset to allocate land towards the renewable energy strategy. It was noted that the renewable energy strategy was a more corporate focused document which may address related issues.
· A number of Councillors had noted minor errors or typos within the document. Officers confirmed that the document would be fully reviewed prior to publication and these could be pocked up and worked on.
· A Councillor commented that some of the sites were listed in a way which may cause misunderstanding, for example the Christchurch Police station site. It was noted that these were due to specific planning consideration which may not be obvious to members of the public. However, the Planning Policy Manager advised that it was important that anything included within the document was accurate when it was issued and that any potential sites were clearly and accurately described for members of the public. This would be looked at further prior to publication.
· It was noted by one Board member that there was major gap in the document relating to creativity and culture. There was nothing related to the more general push to strengthen and establish more creative industries in the area. The Board member asked whether the Cultural Action Group had been consulted and whether anything on the specific cultural quarters in Bournemouth, Poole and Boscombe would be included. There was a lack of reference to creating new indoor community space. The Board was advised that there had been engagement with the Cultural Action Group, particularly with reference to the cultural and leisure strategy.
· A Board member suggested that the use of the wording regarding ‘military significance,’ to describe Poole could be amended to ‘artisan’. It was noted that the work space strategy would look at different industries within the area, particularly growth based industries. There was more work underway around this issue which would help inform the next iteration of the local plan.
· The Chairman agreed that there was a lack of focus in terms of infrastructure and local communities and requested that the Working Group look into those issues and whether certain enhancements could be applied. It was felt that it was worth checking to ensure focus in those areas. The Chairman suggested that Board members could contact the Chairman of the Working Group and Head of Planning Policy with specific issues.
· A Councillor commented that it was important to have public confidence on side in that their views would be taken into account. The Portfolio Holder assured the Board that if there was a strong view from public this would be taken into account.
RESOVLED: To recommend to Cabinet that the word “city” is removed from the document so that the vision states – “We aim for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole to be the UK’s newest region, brimming with prospects, positivity and pride.”
RESOLVED: To recommend to Cabinet that to Reflect the Portfolio Holder’s statement at Full Council on 22nd June 2021 in response to a question regarding the use of the Standard Method’s 2014 data, Cabinet should await the initial findings of the Housing Needs Assessment, which will then be considered at a further meeting of the Local Plan Working Group, before the Issues and Options document is put out to consultation. The HNA will provide vital information to feed into the consultation relating to housing need within BCP. The Cabinet will delegate any changes to the consultation to the Head of Planning and the Portfolio Holder, taking into account any recommendation from the Working Group once it has met to discuss the findings of the HNA.