Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Regeneration Minutes

Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Regeneration Minutes

Friday 28 April 2017
10:00 a.m.
Oberhausen Room,Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

Councillor C M Rooney
P Clarke, A. Darby and G Moore
Item Number Item/Resolution

The Head of Planning submitted a report that detailed the proposed changes to be introduced by Government to raise the planning fees nationally by 20% with effect from 1st July 2017.


On 7 February 2017 the Government published the Housing White Paper entitled 'Fixing our broken housing market'. One of the measures it proposed in the White Paper was to increase planning fees for submitting planning applications. This was split into two elements:

  1. An initial 20% increase from July 2017 for all authorities nationally provided they commit to invest the additional fee income in their planning departments; and;
  2. A further 20% increase where local authorities are delivering the homes their communities need.

The Government wrote to all local authorities seeking a commitment from them to accept the fee increase. The Council's response was appended to the submitted report. The response accepted the proposed 20% increase in planning application fees and confirmed that the amount raised through those higher fees would be spent entirely on planning functions.


The 20% increase would raise the Planning Service’s fee income from planning applications from £462,500 to £555,000 for a full year, an increase of £92,500.


To assist with ensuring that the costs of submitting a planning application were kept manageable and did not deter investment, the Planning Service offered free pre-application planning advice. Many authorities now charged for such a service (and such costs could be quite high).


The increase in fees would enable the Service to maintain and build on its current service levels, and also enable it to provide a strong focus on the delivery of housing, of the right quality, in support of the Medium Term Financial Plan.


Discussions with other Tees Valley local authorities had indicated that they were also seeking to increase their fees by 20%. As such accepting the increase in the fee levels would not put Middlesbrough at a disadvantage with its neighbours.




There were two options:

  1. To accept the fee increase; or,
  2. Not to accept the fee increase.

Option 2 was not considered appropriate. Planning fees had not be increased since 2012 despite the costs of delivering the service increasing due to inflation and other increases to costs. The impacts had been that the Service was not in a position to respond effectively to the challenges being presented to meet the demands of increasing housing delivery.




That the proposed increase in fees be endorsed.




It would help the Council to resource the Planning Service to ensure that it delivered a more effective and efficient service to meet the needs of housing growth and provide an improved service to the public.


The Head of Planning submitted a report that sought approval to consult on the Middlesbrough Housing Strategy - Public Consultation Draft.


The Mayor’s Vision and the Council’s Strategic Plan included a number of housing related priorities. Perhaps the most significant was the preparation of the statutory Local Plan.


It was imperative that the Local Plan was informed and supported by an agreed strategic housing vision and priorities. The fact that the Council did not have an up to date Housing Strategy to inform the current Housing Local Plan was highlighted as a significant concern during the Planning Inspector’s examination in 2014, and it was considered critical to the successful examination and adoption of the Middlesbrough Local Plan that this matter was addressed.


The draft Housing Strategy was appended to the submitted report at Appendix 1. The strategy aimed to deliver investment in new and existing homes and neighbourhoods in order to meet the diverse needs and aspirations of Middlesbrough’s communities, help people live healthier and happier lives, drive and support economic growth and mitigate public service challenges and costs.


The proposed draft strategy had three key objectives:

  • Meet the housing needs and aspirations of a growing population.
  • Improve the life opportunities of residents in areas of poor quality housing and deprivation.
  • Address the pressures of an ageing population and support vulnerable people to live independent lives for as long as possible.

A six-week public consultation was proposed which would commence following Executive Member approval of the draft.


Following the consultation, the comments received would be taken into consideration in finalising the Housing Strategy, which would be brought to a future meeting of the Executive for adoption.




Option 1 - Prepare the Middlesbrough Housing Strategy - Public Consultation Draft
Preparation of the Housing Strategy allowed the Council to clearly set out its vision and priorities for housing for the period 2017 - 2020. The Pubic Consultation Draft provided the opportunity for residents and stakeholders to provide their comments on the document.


Option 2 - Do not prepare the Middlesbrough Housing Strategy - Public Consultation Draft
If the Housing Strategy was not prepared, then the Council’s vision and priorities for housing would not be set out in a document or subject to public consultation.




That, for consultation, the Middlesbrough Housing Strategy - Public Consultation Draft be approved.




The Middlesbrough Housing Strategy would be an important policy document that sets out the housing vision and priorities of the Council. The Public Consultation Draft provided the opportunity for residents and stakeholders to make comments on the strategy.

The decision(s) will come into force after five working days following the day the decision(s) was published unless the decision becomes subject to the call in procedures.
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