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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual Meetings - This meeting will be held virtually. Details of how to access the meeting on YouTube are contained in the meeting page, along with the agenda and papers.. View directions

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Note: This meeting may be viewed on YouTube by highlighting and opening the following link: https://youtu.be/TtKdkBTLLS8 

Items
No. Item

129.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Ben Moussa, Brown, Jones, Oguntope and Mrs Ozog.

 

An apology for lateness was submitted on behalf of Councillor Sandhu.

130.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or Strategic Director (Internal Services).

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests. Councillor Sandhu confirmed that he had no interests to declare after joining the meeting after it had started.

131.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 342 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the General Assembly of the Council held on 14 December 2020 as an accurate record.

Minutes:

          RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the General Assembly of the Council held on 14 December 2020 be confirmed as an accurate record.

132.

Urgent Items

The Mayor will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

133.

Recruitment of Directors pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To advise Members of the outcome of the recruitment process for the posts of Director of Housing & Public Protection and Director of Growth & Community and to recommend the appointment of the successful candidates, subject to satisfactory references .

Minutes:

The General Assembly of the Council considered a report which advised Members of the outcome of the recruitment process for the posts of Director of Housing & Public Protection and the Director of Growth & Community following the Council’s approval of a new organisational structure at its meeting on 12 October 2020. The report outlined the recruitment process that had been followed and the appointments being recommended to the Council following the interviews of shortlisted candidates by the Statutory Officer Advisory Panel on 15th January 2021.

 

The Leader of the Council reminded Members of the context behind the proposed recruitment of two new Directors, namely the passing of the former Managing Director, Graham Harris, in summer 2020 and the subsequent decision of the Strategic Director (External Services), Mrs Sheri Green, to retire in Spring 2021. The Leader explained the huge loss in experience arising from this as well as the opportunity to restructure the organisation and to introduce a flatter senior officer structure. He paid tribute to the accomplishments of Mr Harris, and the ongoing feelings of loss that this had caused, and also to the work carried out by Mrs Green throughout her 34 year career in Dartford. He wished her a long, happy and well deserved retirement. These sentiments were echoed by other Members who thanked Mrs Green for her work and support.

 

The Leader explained that, following interviews by the Statutory Officer Advisory Panel, Members were being asked to agree the appointment of the preferred candidates for each of the two new Director posts. Members would be aware of the work of Peter Dosad, the Council’s current Head of Housing Services, over many years in transforming local housing services, who was being recommended for appointment to the post of Director of Housing & Public Protection. The Council was being asked to approve the appointment of Caroline Hicks as Director of Growth & Community.

 

          RESOLVED:

 

1.    That Peter Dosad be appointed to the post of Director of Housing & Public Protection, subject to a satisfactory reference; and

 

2.    That Caroline Hicks be appointed to the post of Director of Growth & Community, subject to a satisfactory reference.

134.

The Dartford Borough Council (46-56 Lowfield Street) Compulsory Purchase Order 2021 - Making of the Order pdf icon PDF 256 KB

To seek authority to the making of The Dartford Borough Council (46-56 Lowfield Street) Compulsory Purchase Order 2021 to enable land at 46-56 Lowfield Street to be developed comprehensively as part of the Lowfield Street Opportunity Site identified in the Core Strategy, to achieve the comprehensive redevelopment of Lowfield Street, Dartford.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The General Assembly of the Council (GAC) considered a report, which sought authority to make The Dartford Borough Council (46-56 Lowfield Street) Compulsory Purchase Order 2021 to enable land at 46-56 Lowfield Street to be developed comprehensively as part of the Lowfield Street Opportunity Site identified in the Core Strategy, to achieve the comprehensive redevelopment of Lowfield Street, Dartford. Members were reminded that the GAC had given in-principle approval to using compulsory purchase powers in July 2020, subject to the provision of a suitable costs indemnity by the developer, Bellway, which had now been forthcoming.

 

The Leader of the Council reminded Members that it was very unusual, and rare, for the Council to use its compulsory acquisition powers and that he would have preferred that the land be acquired through private treaty. There was still an opportunity for the current landowner to do so through ongoing negotiations. However, it was essential that the land be made available in order to be able to deliver the comprehensive redevelopment of the entire Lowfield Street site. Planning permission had been granted for development on the land surrounding the site and Bellway were pressing ahead with redevelopment, with the first occupants expected in summer 2021 to the south of the Order Land. The buildings on the site to be acquired were in poor condition and elevations previously hidden would soon be opened up to public view as a result of the adjacent development. The land was central to the redevelopment. The building was being used as a church by the current owner, but without planning permission, although this was subject to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

 

The Lead Member for Equalities, Cohesion & Societies asked what information the Council had on the demography of the current users of the church and asked whether the fact that the current owners had other premises nearby that they could use as a church amounted to mitigation in planning terms. The Head of Planning Services confirmed that the Council had refused planning permission for the use of the building as a church and that the owner had appealed to the Planning Inspectorate. She explained that the Council did not have a lot of demographic data on the worshippers themselves and that certain assumptions had been factored-into the assessment. She confirmed that Bellway, with assistance from the Council, had been discussing alternative sites with the owners. The Lead Member for Equalities, Cohesion & Societies asked what impact there would be if the site owner won its appeal and where this would leave the Council. The Head of Planning Services advised that if there was an appeal against the CPO it was likely to be considered concurrently with the planning appeal and that this would be one of the factors taken into account.

 

A Member asked what legal and financial recourse there would be if the Council made the CPO but the developer failed to develop the land within the agreed timescales.  The Head of Legal Services explained that the development of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 134.

135.

Publication of the Draft Dartford Local Plan pdf icon PDF 357 KB

To consider the publication of the draft Dartford Local Plan to 2037 and supporting reports and documents.

 

 

Appendix A - Dartford Local Plan to 2037 - Publication document (pages 89-296)

 

Appendix B - Dartford Local Plan to 2037 - Publication Consultation Statement (pages 296 –436)

 

Appendix C – Policies Map information (pages 437-466)

 

Appendix D – draft SustainabilityAppraisal (SA)of theDartford LocalPlan to 2037 (pages 467-642)

 

Appendix E – Habitats RegulationsAssessment ofthe DartfordLocal Planto 2037 (pages 643-714)

 

Appendix F – Customer Access Review Full Assessment (pages 715-724)

 

Appendix G – Local Development Scheme 2021(pages 725-736)

 

Appendix H – Statement of Community Involvement (pages 737-764)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The General Assembly of the Council considered a report that sought confirmation of the draft Dartford Local Plan to 2037 as being a ‘sound’ plan for planning purposes and to authorise its publication on that basis. The current iteration of the Plan had taken evidence and matters raised during previous consultation exercises into account, and would allow final representations to be made on the full draft Plan which would inform the ‘Public Examination’ by the Planning Inspectorate. Members were also asked to approve the supporting statutory reports and documents attached to the report, and the revised supporting documents subsequently circulated to Members electronically. An updated Plan was essential to maximise local influence over the future of the Borough through planning applications, and investment and infrastructure decisions.

 

       Members were advised that the Plan would not normally be expected to change after this point prior to Examination, unless fresh issues of significance arose which would lead the Council to review its position. The report outlined the steps and issues that needed to be addressed to move towards reporting the Local Plan to the Council for the adoption, after Examination by the Planning Inspectorate.  It was anticipated that the new Local Plan would be adopted and take full statutory force in 2022. 

 

       The Leader of the Council stressed the importance for the Council of having a robust and up-to-date Local Plan and the problems that could be caused if this was deficient. He cited difficulties being experienced by a neighbouring authority in this respect. It was important to have a Local Plan to manage growth in the borough, which was an area where people and businesses wanted to be, and to manage the needs of an expanding population whilst respecting existing communities and local characteristics. He reminded Members that the revised Local Plan was the product of considerable work by officers and the cross-party Member Local Plan Working Group.

 

       The Chairman of the Local Plan Working Group explained the work carried out with officers to produce a revised Local Plan, which respected the needs of residents and developers, and built upon the existing Local Plan, which had generally served the Council well. This was shown by the Council’s good track record with planning appeals. However, there were some aspects where the Local Plan had been deficient or could be improved and these had been addressed in the revised Plan, which he commended to the General Assembly of the Council as a ‘sound’ plan for planning purposes.

 

       The following issues were raised by Members during debate on the proposed draft Local Plan:

 

·         Affordable/social housing  - the revised Plan set a target of having 35% of affordable/social housing but Members raised concerns that the current affordable housing target was often not achieved and that developers were increasingly able to reduce the affordable element of their schemes on the basis of viability. Examples of schemes approved by the Development Control Board with much lower levels of affordable housing were cited along with risks listed in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 135.