Local Development Framework Working Group Minutes

Local Development Framework Working Group Minutes

Date:
Monday 30 July 2012
Time:
3:00 p.m.
Place:
Oberhausen Room,Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor Rooney (Chair) Councillors J Brunton, Councillor D Budd, Councillor B Thompson, Councillor N J Walker
Officers:
B Carr, P Clarke, F Reeve and K Whitwell.
Apologies for absence:
Councillor J G Cole
Declarations of interest:

There were no declarations of interest made at this point of the meeting.

Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
12/1 INTRODUCTION TO THE LDF REVIEW AND ROLE OF THE GROUP

The Planning Services Manager presented a report which provided a background to the LDF Review and the role of the Working Group.

 

The Council as Local Planning Authority was required to prepare a development plan for Middlesbrough covering a 15 year period. The Middlesbrough Local Development Framework (LDF) was the spatial planning framework for the Town and replaced the Middlesbrough Local Plan.

 

Reference was made to the LDF Core Strategy which had been adopted in 2008 and the Regeneration Development Plan (DPD) document in 2009 the housing elements of which were to be reviewed over the next two years. Since the preparation and adoption of such documents the economic climate had had a significant detrimental impact on the housing market, in particular the funding available to developers to build housing and that available for mortgages affecting the ability of developers to both build and sell housing.

 

It was also noted that new Government policy in relation to planning and changes in local government finances had seen a reduction in regeneration funding impacting on the Council’s ability to deliver its regeneration priorities or the timescales originally envisaged.

 

It was acknowledged that it was critical to the economic and social welfare of the Town that it met its development needs and provided land for housing that was economically viable for development to assist in ensuring that the base from which the Council could collect Council Tax was not significantly reduced impacting on the financial resources available to the Council. If Middlesbrough did not address its own needs then residents seeking a new property may move elsewhere adding to the trend for out migration.

 

The Working Group was advised that all of the above factors had resulted in many sites that had been allocated within the Regeneration DPD were not coming forward for development as they were no longer economically viable. An adequate supply of good quality houses was needed if the Town was to meet the economic challenges ahead.

 

If Middlesbrough, as the major location for employment in the Tees Valley and also for service provision, did not provide for sufficient housing to meet needs then it was likely to result in development needs being met in a less environmentally sustainable manner. By meeting its housing needs residents were likely to have more accessibility choices and therefore result in a more sustainable form of development.

 

The LDF Annual Monitoring report 2010/2011 had identified that Middlesbrough did not have a demonstrable five year supply of housing sites as required by The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Such an assessment had to demonstrate that sites that were available for new housing were likely to be built within the five-year period.

 

As a consequence of the impact of the economic downturn and the lack of a five-year land supply the Council had taken a decision to commence a review of the housing elements of the LDF Core Strategy and the Regeneration DPD. It was highlighted that the review was essential in order for the town to provide an adequate supply of housing and reduce out migration. Members were advised that although it would present a challenge it was still a priority for the authority to focus development on brownfield and regeneration sites.

 

NOTED

12/2 ISSUES AND OPTIONS CONSULTATION RESPONSES

In order to undertake the review, an Issues and Options report had been prepared, a copy of which had been attached to the report submitted. The Issues and the Options report had been the subject of consultation between 21 May and 2 July 2012 and focussed on a series of six questions in relation to housing issues including the following:-

 

(a) Issue 1 - Housing requirements - how should the housing requirements for Middlesbrough be identified;

(b) Issue 2 - Housing aspirations - the priority that should be given to different types of housing to meet housing needs and provide a more balanced housing stock;

(c) Issue 3 - Spatial strategy - where should development be located in Middlesbrough;

(d) Issue 4 - Delivery of regeneration sites - how can the delivery of regeneration sites be secured;

(e) Issue 5 - Affordable housing - how should affordable housing be delivered; and

(f) Issue 6 - Gypsies and Travellers - if further need is identified how should the Council provide gypsy and traveller accommodation.

 

A total of 81 representations had been received in response to the consultation and of these, 25 were received from organisations including the Highways Agency, Environment Agency and house builders and the remainder were received from individuals and community organisations. It was highlighted that not all of the respondents provided answers to all of the questions.

 

In terms of the location of the individual respondents, 35 were received from Coulby Newham, 13 from Nunthorpe, 6 from Marton, and 1 from Acklam, Brookfield and Gresham respectively. Members were advised of the outcome of the consultation process with regard to the Issues and the Options report:-

  •  Issue 1 - a total number of 69 responses had been received and the majority had indicated that their preferred option was to plan for houses based on a stable population;
  • Issue 2 - 69 responses were received and the majority of respondents thought that older people and affordable housing should be a priority;
  • Issue 3 - 69 responses had been received and the majority of respondents indicated that development should be focused on regeneration sites;
  • Issue 4 - attracted a total of 66 responses and the majority chose the option of linking the development of an economically viable site to the regeneration of the wider area;
  • Issue 5 - 64 responses were received and the majority indicated that affordable housing should be focused in the areas where there was most need; and
  • Issue 6 - attracted 60 responses and the view of respondents was split with a third opting to extend existing sites and two thirds opting to work with an adjoining local authority to provide a joint site.

It was confirmed that the role of the Member Working Group would be to guide the review of the housing elements of the LDF Core Strategy and Regeneration DPD being involved at each stage of the LDF preparation, considering public consultation responses and developing future policy.

 

In terms of future meetings it was proposed that at the next meeting of the Working Group, the focus of attention should be on ‘Why do we need new housing and how much?’ taking into account:-

 

(i) population projections, the number of households and proposed housing numbers;

(ii) the types of housing needed in Middlesbrough including affordable housing;

(iii) regeneration sites and how they can be delivered in the current economic climate;

(iv) options for going forward - how to progress the Preferred Option.

 

It was intended that at a subsequent meeting there would be a presentation of the preferred options and alternative strategies for consideration following which a Preferred Options document would be prepared for public consultation in the Autumn 2012.

 

Members were advised that work was currently underway developing different scenarios for population projections and household with Tees Valley Unlimited and progress would be reported back to the next meeting of the Working Group.

 

It was highlighted that some of the information required to analyse the responses in respect of the preferred options and alternatives strategies was not likely to have been received by the date of the next scheduled meeting (31 August 2012) and as a consequence it was suggested that the date of the next meeting be postponed for two weeks.

 

Members were invited to put forward suggestions for the Group to consider. The following issues were suggested as possible areas for the Group to explore:-

 

1. The trend in relation to how many new housing units had been delivered in the last 5 years.

 

2. To examine why the Authority's population had reduced, to look at the number of demolitions and to consider other neighbouring authorities to compare trends in populations and the reasons for those trends.

 

3. The duty to co-operate with other neighbouring authorities and North Yorkshire on strategic issues and to look in particular at housing numbers, capacity to build and outward migration.

 

4. To consider the type of housing required in particular whether there was a greater demand for 1 bedroom properties as a result of the changes to the benefits system and the challenges in terms of allocation of space within such accommodation.


Members were advised that in terms of identifying the future housing provision for Middlesbrough it was likely that initially the Council would proceed based on the figures published in the recent census with a view to revising the figures if the Government made any amendments to the numbers. It was highlighted that the figures needed to be simple, robust and easy to understand otherwise the Council could be open to challenges from the house builders if the figures were too low and the public if the figures were too high.

 

AGREED as follows:-

 

1. That at the next meeting of the Working Group, the focus of attention should be on ‘Why do we need new housing and how much?’.

 

2. That the next meeting of the Local Development Framework Working Group which was scheduled to take place on 31 August 2012 be postponed for two weeks.

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