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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 16/01/2007
Minutes




MINUTES of the MEETING of the ENVIRONMENT AND LEISURE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE held on 16th January 2007

(To be read in conjunction with the Agenda for the Meeting)

* Mr J R Sandy (Chairman) Mrs L S R Hodgson
*Mrs M V M Hunt (Vice Chairman)*Mrs S R Jacobs
*Mr M H W Band Mrs D M James
*Dr J F A Blowers *Mrs P N Mitchell
Mr M W Byham *Mr J M Savage
*Mr M A Edgington Mrs J A Slyfield
Mr R D FrostMs M Taylor
*Mr P D Harmer *Mr A E B Taylor-Smith
Mrs P Hibbert
*Present
Mrs P Ellis, Mr B A Ellis and Mrs A E Mansell attended as substitutes
[other members of Council also in attendance]


78. INFORMAL PUBLIC QUESTION TIME

There was an informal question from Zofia Lovell, Vice Chairman of South Farnham Residents’ Association. A written reply would be sent.

79. MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 27th November 2006 were confirmed and signed.

80. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

81. DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS

82. QUESTIONS BY MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC 83. EXECUTIVE FOUR MONTH ROLLING PROGRAMME (Agenda Item 6)
84. COMMITTEE WORK PROGRAMME (Agenda Item 7.1)

85. IN DEPTH REVIEWS (Agenda Item 7.2) 86. PERFORMANCE INDICATORS SUB COMMITTEE (Agenda Item 7.3)

87. SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL HIGHWAYS DEPARTMENT INPUT INTO DEVELOPMENT CONTROL DECISIONS The report referred to the Highway authority’s obligation to provide advice and only recommend refusal where it could demonstrate ‘real harm’ (Page 21). It was explained that this was not an exact science – technical guidance was used but there were grey areas;

If it was felt that safety would be compromised in terms of highways issues in an application, SCC would recommend refusal;

Phil Townsend, Senior Transportation Development Control Officer, SCC met with Waverley officers every Friday to discuss applications and to take away for further review those with perceived material impact;

The Highways Department had lost a third of staff over last few years; and

Cumulative impact of individual applications was a key issue – a formula was being developed to address small development and its cumulative impact. Q. If Members have a particular concern could they attend the weekly planning meeting referred to?

A. This would not be practical but Phil Townsend, Senior Transportation Development Control Officer, would have no objection to Members contacting him directly about any application he was dealing with. Q. Which sites does Surrey County Council visit?

A. Phil Townsend or a member of his team visits all sites for those applications he takes on, unless he has carried out a site inspection there recently. The team also makes use of computer applications such as Google Earth and GIS mapping systems. Q. It is important to take more note of what residents are saying, given that the volume of traffic has increased in some areas, it is quite possible that applications are granted where they should not be.

A. There are a few ‘rare’ cases where oversights have been made, but so far the system has ensured these are put right – in the context of the volume of applications received these are relatively few. Q. Every planning application Waverley receives is logged on to its website so would it be possible to add a box to the database to mark when Phil Townsend has reviewed the cases? Would it also be possible to split the weekly meeting in half so that Members could attend for the first part and the usual business continue in the second part?

A. Officers said that changes would require new resources which were not currently available. Mr Green said again that Members were welcome to approach Phil Townsend directly. Q. What can Members do to gather evidence to help in taking decisions, avoiding a scattergun approach?

A. SCC regularly received information from members of the public, Councillors and the police and felt that the current system worked adequately. Mike Green explained that Phil Townsend only covered Waverley for half of his time. Q. Could officers circulate the response to the informal question to all Committee Members?

A. Yes Q. Are Parish Councils’ views taken on board?

A. Yes, the process is responsive to comments along the way. Q. Can we have full details of the discussion at the meeting and can CDs be produced of the discussion?

A. Officers said there would be a full report of the discussion, and that the webcast recording would be available on line in due course. Q. How joined up is thinking within SCC? e.g. safe routes to school, off street parking etc?

A. Mr Green said he could reassure Members that there was consideration of all relevant policies within the Borough and Surrey CC policies and plans around highway safety, parking provision etc. Q. We are all aiming for quality of planning decisions so we need to pick up on any ‘oversights.’

A. This was agreed and targeting of cases was rational but there was always room for improvement.


Q. Members are concerned about the ‘drip drip’ cumulative effect of smaller planning applications.

A. This is a problem but there has not been a large increase in population in the Borough, rather than a change of demand. For instance, in future there may be new communities e.g. proposals for Dunsfold, which are a new feature. Q. Members have appreciated the session and it has given an understanding of Surrey’s constraints. It would be helpful to have a short paragraph of explanation on the planning application instead of the standard ‘no observations’.

A. On large applications, background information exists and in general, for most smaller applications a standard paragraph suffices.

The Committee made the following observations:

The Committee welcomed Mr Green’s background papers and attendance and convey committee’s thanks for explaining more fully the context and constraints on Surrey Highways;

Requests the Executive to propose to Surrey County Council that a brief explanation be given of the background to their decisions on a greater number of applications;

Asks for the Planning Department report on proposed section 106 tariff to be submitted to the next ELOS meeting in March;

Publicise that Ward members are able to contact PT by email phone letter etc to discuss detailed position if necessary;

Surrey officers give more weight to ward members local knowledge and the local knowledge of any objectors to an application and look at mechanisms for enabling Members to clarify highways matters;

To ask Surrey to look at ways of focusing objections through town and parish councils and give these additional weight;

All members should be sent a copy of the response to Mrs Lovell’s informal question.

To urge Surrey officers to look at other ways of taking cumulative impact into account when formulating their response.

RESOLVED: That the Committee, based on the observations above, finalise recommendations to the Joint Planning Management Committee and the Executive at its March meeting on ways of improving the service to people in the Borough, which may include requests to the County Council to improve its service.

88. REVIEW OF WAVERLEY’S ECONOMIC STRATEGY (Item 9) To make clear the significance of the Post Office Network for small businesses locally e.g. mail order firms

Identify the role of rural post offices which provide a service to the community, such as help with pension applications etc.

Significance of post offices in local shops which could mean that land values are lost, and lead to a domino effect;

Make reference to Disability Discrimination Act requirement concerns; and

Clarification on part time post offices’ position. That the priorities set out in section 2 should form the core of Waverley’s economic and community development strategy for the next five years with the addition of a reference to ‘aim towards sustainable green tourism wherever possible’.

The above observations be included in the Council’s response to the Government’s consultation paper on the Post Office Network. 90. CONTINUATION OF MEETING
91. PARKING SERVICES RESTRUCTURE (Item 10)
91. FINANCIAL STRATEGY 2007/8-2009/10 (Item 11)

Draft General Fund – Revenue Estimates 2007/8
Draft General Fund – Capital Programme 2007/8

Members noted the report which presented the proposals for the draft 2007/8 Capital Programme in respect of the General Fund services for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Committees during January. Observations would be reported to the Executive on 6th February with final approval of the Capital Programme being determined by the Council on 20th February. Members said they preferred the new format of the report presented to this meeting.

RESOLVED: to advise the Executive that the Committee had received the report on the draft Capital Programme for the services within its remit and had no specific comments to make.

92. SPONSORED ORGANISATIONS SCHEME (Item 12)

The Committee considered a report setting out the applications from the Sponsored Organisations Scheme for revenue funding in 2007/8 with assessment of applications against the approved Sponsored Organisations Scheme criteria and recommendations for funding.

Members had also received a supplementary report on Cranleigh Arts Centre (CAC) and a request for an additional 12,000 to enable The Maltings to provide a management service to the CAC. It was also requested that the Committee consider the employment of a funding officer for a limited period to boost the Haslemere Educational Museum’s capital and revenue resources to strengthen its long term position.

It was further agreed that the other items in the budget remain the same.


RESOLVED That the Committee agree:

the Sponsored Organisation Scheme applications within its remit as detailed in Annexe 1 and grant recommendations to assist the Executive in its consideration of all applications on 6th February 2007; and

the proposals to contribute to the Waverley Voluntary Grants Panel in 2007/8 at the level of 52, 410 being the 2006-7 level plus inflation; and

to support officers’ advice for an increase of 12,000 grant for the Cranleigh Arts Centre and;

to support officers’ advice that an application should be made by Haslemere Museum to the Community Partnerships Fund regarding the future employment of a funding officer.

The meeting concluded at 10.29 pm



bureau/comms/O&S3/2006/07.174.doc