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Disclosures of Interest & Whipping Declarations
In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, Councillors of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to declare interests where appropriate.
Councillors must also declare if they are subject to their party group whip in relation to any items under consideration.
No disclosures of whipping declarations were made.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Climate Change Scrutiny Panel held on 27 February 2020.
The minutes of the meeting of the Climate Change Scrutiny Panel held on 27 February 2020 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
The Panel has invited witnesses to help inform their investigation.
Elizabeth Brigden (Planning Policy Manager – CBC) and Richard Mosinghi (Planning Officer – CBC) have been invited to offer views on the establishment of green infrastructure within the town, with particular reference to the relevant policies within the Crawley Borough Local Plan 2015-2030 and the Green Infrastructure SPD.
Kate Wilson (Head of Community Services – CBC) and Karen Rham (Neighbourhood Services Manager – CBC) have been invited to offer views on community green and blue infrastructure within the town, with particular reference to green and open spaces, the management and maintenance of these spaces, trees and streetscene in relation to climate change.
Views from officers are also sought on understanding the challenges faced – now and in the future, as well as with the provision of support currently being provided.
Councillor Gurinder Jhans as the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, together with Councillor Chris Mullins as the Cabinet Member for Wellbeing have also been invited.
Whilst the individuals named above identifies those witnesses anticipated to speak at the meeting, this may change subject to availability and, at the discretion of the Chair. Further witnesses may be called in addition or instead of those listed above should they be unavailable.
The Chair provided some background information on the Panel then witnesses were asked to offer views on Community & Green/Blue infrastructure and to understand the challenges currently faced – now and in the future, together with the provision of support currently being provided.
Elizabeth Brigden, Planning Policy Manager (CBC), Richard Mosinghi, Planning Officer (CBC), Kate Wilson, Head of Community Services (CBC), Karen Rham, Neighbourhood Services Manager (CBC), together with Councillor Jhans (Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability) and Councillor Mullins (Cabinet Member for Wellbeing) updated the Panel as follows:
· The Environment Bill currently progressing through Parliament requires development to conserve and enhance the natural environment to a higher level than that previously determined.
· There was a balancing act across local authorities which sought to determine developments which were important, necessary and beneficial to each local area.
· The Local Plan must be followed in accordance with government legislation. This encourages tree planting in accordance with policy CH6. Landscape proposals for residential development should contribute to the character and appearance of the town by including at least one new tree for each new dwelling, of an appropriate species and planted in an appropriate location. Where development proposals would result in the loss of trees, applicants must identify which trees are to be removed and replaced in order to mitigate for the visual impact resulting from the loss of the trees. It was confirmed that the additional, replacement tree planting requirements (including maintenance for a certain period of time) would normally be expected to be met within the development site. But where the local planning authority agrees that this is not feasible or desirable, commuted sums will be sought in lieu on a per tree basis, taking account of constraints to planting. This would usually be determined through the Development Control process when considering spending the Section 106 monies or a wider strategy if deemed set up through that agreed process.
· In terms of tree species it was confirmed that UK trees were the preference and there may be a requirement for drought resistance trees in some areas but the inclination would be to opt for UK native trees for the purposes of biodiversity and these were determined on a site by site basis.
· The Green Infrastructure SPD supports the local planning policy, national legislation, policy and guidance, whilst providing a greater level of detail to explain how they can successfully be implemented. There is a priority focus of protecting biodiversity sites and securing a net gain on new sites. It was acknowledged that securing a net gain in biodiversity was a new requirement for national planning policy. There was a critical balance between green infrastructure and development, yet it was recognised that any biodiversity issues would be undertaken throughout the planning application process.
· It was confirmed that as part of the evidence to support the emerging Local Plan there was currently 3 studies being undertaken; Indoor Built Strategy, Playing Pitch Strategy, Open Space, Sport and Recreation Assessment. The Indoor Built ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
General Updates & Information
a) To receive any relevant updates/information from Panel Members and Officers.
b) To confirm dates for further meetings (Please bring diaries to the meeting).
It was hoped that the previously cancelled meetings (March and April) could be re-scheduled:
Commercial & Business
Proposed witnesses – Councillor Peter Smith, Steve Sawyer (MRBD), Graham Rowe (CBC), Nigel Sheehan (CBC)
Domestic Buildings - Residential
Proposed witnesses – Councillor Irvine, Tim Honess (CBC), Russell Allison (CBC)
The Chair updated Panel Members that the previously cancelled meetings could be rescheduled.
March - commercial and business
April - domestic buildings/residential
It was proposed that the next two meetings be scheduled for 6.30pm.
Thursday 10 September
Monday 12 October
These would be dependent on officer and witness availability.