To consider report PES/367 of the Head of Economy and Planning.
The Commission considered report PES/367 of the Head of Economy and Planning. The report sought to recommend to Full Council to approve the submission draft Local Plan for Publication consultation, to approve the submission draft Local Plan for Submission to the Secretary of State for Examination by an independent Planning Inspector, (subject to minor amendments deemed necessary following consultation for the purposes of clarity) and the approval of the publication and submission of the supporting documents for the Local Plan.
During the discussion with the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development, Forward Planning Manager and the Policy Planning Manager the following comments were made:
· Confirmation that the advice sought through the Planning Inspectorate advisory service had been carried out previously as part of the process with the current adopted Local Plan. It allows areas of concern to be addressed prior to full inspection.
· Explanation was provided regarding the removal of S106 contribution requirements towards education which was a new proposal in the previous draft Plan consulted on in January. Instead this would continue to be met through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to respond to Viability evidence. The viability study assesses the economic viability of development proposed across the area covered by the Crawley Local Plan and the ability of these developments to make contributions to infrastructure through S106 and CIL. The education authority would put forward their projects and obtain their contributions via the CIL rather than S106.
· Concerns raised over the proposed allocation of the Gatwick Green employment area and whilst there was a need for employment provision within the borough, the location was questionable as the strategic gap between Crawley and Horley would be eroded. In response it was noted that it was understandable that some residents may be uncomfortable with the proposal within the Crawley Local Plan, however it was recognised that there was a balance of conflicting priorities and the Crawley Local Plan covered the needs of the community in terms of employment as well as safeguarding green space. The evidence showed that in order to support the creation of new jobs and support the local economy, Crawley needed approximately 24 hectares of employment floor space. The NPPF required the council to meet its development needs for employment purposes where possible. Due to the safeguarding requirements for a potential future southern runway at Gatwick Airport, it was felt this was the only area capable of accommodating a strategic employment location. However, the sensitive location had been recognised and the policy allocating the site had been carefully drafted, including many parameters the developer would need to address. The allocated site was much larger than the anticipated built area of any development scheme, to ensure it can accommodate sufficient infrastructure, landscaping and open space to provide an appropriate landscape buffer with the countryside and ensure the protection of the amenity of neighbouring properties. The proposed allocation of the site is one of the main reasons the Regulation 19 consultation was being repeated to give residents and businesses in the area the opportunity to make formal representations on the allocation and the details of the policy.
That the Commission notes the report and requests that the views expressed during the debate, are fed back to the Cabinet through the Commissions’ Comment Sheet.