Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document
Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 27/11/2006
MINUTES of the MEETING of the ENVIRONMENT AND LEISURE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE held
27TH NOVEMBER 2006
(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 Frost
Ms M Taylor
Mr P D Harmer
Mr A E B Taylor-Smith
Mrs P Hibbert
Mr W M Marshall attended as a substitute
[15 other members of Council also in attendance]
The Chairman welcomed members of the public to the meeting and explained that apart from informal public question time, they were only able to observe the debate. He stressed it was a committee meeting in public rather than a public meeting. He also announced that the meeting was being webcast.
INFORMAL PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
Informal questions were invited from six members of the public.
The minutes of the meeting held on 14th November were agreed subject to an amendment to confirm, under minute 62, that Mr Harmer had raised the issue of the Waverley Economic Strategy Review workshop. It had been agreed that the item be discussed at the 16th January meeting and included in the rolling programme.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Apologies for absence were received from Mrs M V M Hunt and Mrs P Hibbert. Mr W M Marshall attended as a substitute.
DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS
The following disclosures of interest were received:
Mr C C E Slyfield (Observer) Personal
Surrey Minerals Plan 2006
Member of Surrey CC
Mr P D Harmer Personal & Prejudicial
Surrey Minerals Plan 2006
As a Member of Surrey CC Executive – withdrew during consideration of this item.
Mr P Martin
Surrey Minerals Plan 2006
Member of Surrey CC
QUESTIONS BY MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
There was a formal question from Cathy Smith of Guildford & Godalming Friends of the Earth. The question was:
“There appears to have been some suggestion that all demand for the materials from Eashing will be destined to be used north of Godalming. This suggestion is being relied upon by the proposed operator in relation to access and highways issues. The suggestion seems to be that all HGVs will approach the site via the A3 from the north and leave to join the northbound carriageway of the A3 at Hurtmore.
Does Waverley Borough Council agree with Guildford and Godalming Friends of the Earth that any planning authority deciding on the merits of the development of a quarry at Eashing would not be able to impose any planning condition which controlled the location of customers buying materials excavated at Eashing (if the operator decided to enter into a contract with a customer to the west, east or south of the site it would be perfectly open to the operator to do that), and, does Waverley Borough Council think that any planning condition that sought to restrict the operators markets to a certain location would be anticompetitive and invalid?”
The Chairman replied:
‘The Minerals Plan states the following regarding access to the Eashing Farm site:
“Access could be achieved from the Hurtmore Road, provided that improvements are made to the visibility splays. Access improvements for HGVs joining the A3 to the north and exiting the A3 to the south are also required. Improvements have been agreed in principle with the Highway Authority and Highways Agency, but applications should address the impacts of these improvements in details.”
There is no mention in this section of the Minerals Plan, relating to Eashing Farm, of directing HGVs to the north of the site or trying to restrict the location of the operator’s markets. If the operator were to offer to restrict the markets to the north of the site only, this could not be enforced. However, a routing plan relating to the A3 and restricting HGVs to approaching the site from the north and leaving the site to join the northbound carriageway at Hurtmore could be feasible.’
SURREY MINERALS PLAN 2006
(Agenda Item 6)
[Wards Affected: Farnham Weybourne and Badshot Lea and Peperharow]
The Chairman welcomed Mr David Munro, Portfolio Holder for Environment at Surrey County Council.
Officers introduced the report that explained that a description of the proposed mineral extraction sites which included Monkton Lane, Farnham, extension to the Runfold South sandpit in Farnham and a new site at Eashing in Guildford Borough, had been submitted to the Executive in June. Waverley’s formal response to Surrey had expressed strong objections. It was explained that the preferred option in the Plan was being assessed and a final report was being prepared for submission to the Secretary of State. Officers circulated a briefing paper with key questions including the assumptions made about existing sites and their potential, the strategic justification for relying on new sites, the sustainability appraisal, impact of a buffer zone approach, measures taken to protect residents and potential for use of existing rail depots as depots. They also summarised Guildford Borough Council’s objection to the proposal.
Mr Munro said that Surrey had provisionally identified 18 sites across the County and needed to remain impartial about all of them. As the Minerals Planning Authority, Surrey needed to identify sites for which developers could submit planning applications for mineral extraction. He said that the majority of sand and gravel was to be found in the north of the county but that where it was extracted, effective measures could be taken to repair any damage. The Government had made an allocation to each county of a total amount of mineral extraction based on what was there, local constraints and the size of the county. He said that the number of responses objecting to the Eashing site were in excess of others and eventually the final decision on its inclusion in the Minerals Plan would be taken by elected councillors.
In response to the informal questions, Mr Munro confirmed that the Eashing site was adjacent to an SSSI and that whilst that was an important issue, other sites in Surrey might have similar constraints. In response to the questions about need for the quarry, Mr Munro said that before planning applications were made, the developer would need to make representations. Surrey would have no say in where the minerals were used although they were most likely to be transported north. In terms of listening to local opposition, he said Surrey was in touch with residents’ concerns and thanked members of the public for the responses which would be added to the database and replies sent out.
There were several questions and comments from Members of the Committee. There were concerns about traffic and access to the proposed sites. There were also questions about restoration of the site afterwards. Mr Munro said there could be various options including landfill, restoration of current contours or using the worked-out site for lakes etc.
Members also had some concerns about Surrey’s consultation process. Mr Munro apologised if the initial consultation was felt to be insufficient and said that there was good level of knowledge of proposals now and that everyone would have the opportunity to make their views known.
Members raised various environmental objections including the potential impact on the water table downstream of the site at Eashing, and in Farnham, the large number of people who could be affected. There were also concerns about potential blight and even if the sites were not approved in the current Plan there was no guarantee they would not be considered again at a future point. Mr Munro said there would be restrictions on developers and mitigation was key.
Ms Ferguson said more needed to be done to reduce Surrey’s minerals quota and that further representations should be made as a result of the meeting.
The Committee reaffirmed the objections set out in the letter dated 15th June, subject to the following additions:-
Representation 1 - the Committee commended the practice of Lancashire County Council in specifying a minimum buffer zone of 250 metres;
Representation 6 - add concerns on vehicle exhausts to pollution worries;
Representation 8 - add the wider Godalming area community to areas that felt that the initial consultation was inadequate.
RESOLVED That the Committee ask the Executive to support the following additional observations to Surrey County Council:-
1. that restoration of the site, if used for quarrying, should be given as much emphasis as the initial extraction, because of the potential for large numbers of vehicle movements;
2. the topography of the site needed careful consideration in any restoration plan;
3. to express unhappiness about uncertainty about any starting date for quarrying and its possible duration, because of the possibility of long term blight of properties in the area;
4. that the process for any application for extraction if the site is included in the minerals plan should be publicised, for example on Surrey’s website;
5. that the special planning protection for Monkton Lane should be given more weight, as should the unusually large numbers of schoolchildren in the vicinity; and
6. that Surrey be urged to make stronger representations on its allocation figure for minerals from Government as it is too high and above recent rates of extraction, and to ask Waverley to consider making similar representations to Government.
SPORT AND LEISURE FACILITY STRATEGY 2007- 2012
Presentations were received from the Head of Leisure Services, Mr Duncan Wood-Allum from Capita Symonds and the Assistant Director of Finance. The Head of Leisure Services set the scene and reminded members that, at this stage, the Council was considering the draft Strategy, as agreed by the Leisure Special Interest Group to agree on its preferred options for procurement, management and investment and to instruct officers accordingly. Officers would report back to members with more details at key stages and seek approvals when necessary.
Mr Wood-Allum outlined the work of the SIG over the last few months and summarised the conclusions that have been drawn, leading up to the agreement of the draft Strategy. This included the results of the needs analysis, the analysis of the alternative management and procurement routes and the detailed consideration of the various facilities options.
The Assistant Director of Finance concluded with an explanation of the capital and revenue financial implications included in the report. The revenue implications were included in the appendices to the report, held in the Members’ room. The key risks were also referred to, particularly those associated with the option to develop new facilities at Godalming with a commercial leisure operator. Finally, members were informed of the legal requirement to place a notice in the European Journal if the negotiated route is approved, notifying the market that this is the route that the Council is taking.
Following an in-depth discussion, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee made the following comments to assist the Executive in its consideration of the report:-
1. the role of leisure in the promotion of health, especially for less affluent residents, should be re-emphasised;
2. marketing of leisure facilities for young people should be improved;
3. the assumptions about accessibility of facilities across the Borough based on drive times was misleading because of the heavy traffic levels and parking problems in the Borough;
4. members were concerned about the terms of the lease on the proposed commercial fitness facility in Godalming;
5. the creation of opportunities for the public use at affordable prices all day in Godalming; and accordingly
6. the Executive should agree to progress investigations into Option 2b as well as 3b in parallel, because Option 2b offered better provision for Godalming, although the Committee recognised that it was more expensive.
RESOLVED That the Committee forward the above observations to the Executive.
The meeting concluded at 10.50 pm