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Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest reported.
The minutes of the meeting held on 25 August 2020 were approved.
The report of the Executive Manager – Transformation is attached.
Abbey Road Development
The Executive Manager – Transformation advised the Group that the contract with the developer for Abbey Road had not exchanged and, it would therefore not be appropriate for the developer to come to this meeting and the item would be carried forward to the next meeting of Growth and Development Scrutiny in January.
The Executive Manager – Transformation delivered a presentation on the crematorium and provided the Group with the background from a feasibility study completed in 2017/18, which highlighted a strong level of need in Rushcliffe, along with a financially viable acquisition of an appropriate site identified at Stragglethorpe, Cotgrave.
The Executive Manager – Transformation advised the Group that Cabinet at its meeting in November 2018 had supported the principle of a new provision and planning permission was secured in September 2019. In December 2019 Cabinet approved the land purchase and in September 2020 the Council appointed a project management and design team.
The Executive Manager – Transformation provided information on how the scheme was progressing and highlighted some of the key features as follows:
· Strong focus on green credentials and a modern facility
· Sympathetic to the landscape
· Focus on user experience
· A single storey building, with a single chapel and a capacity for 120 mourners, including potential overflow space
· Potential for a viewing/committal space, in response to cultural shifts
· Car parking for 90 vehicles
· Potential for electric, rather than gas cremator, to support the Councils’ carbon neutral target
· Potential for the chapel garden to be visible from within the chapel and is proposed to include a reflective water feature
· Memorial gardens
· Natural landscaping design to blend in with the surroundings
In response to the proposal for an electric cremator rather than gas, the Executive Manager – Transformation explained this would be one of the first electric cremators in the UK, it could run on a full green renewable tariff and would mean that no gas supply was required for the building, producing 90% less CO2 and 50% less NOx emissions with a catalytic reduction.
The Executive Manager – Transformation provided the Group with a number of photographs and architectural visuals of modern crematoria buildings and advised the Group that the appointed architect Benchmark have designed multiple crematoria buildings throughout the UK, including more recently as examples, Hinckley and Bosworth and Netherhouse Farm in Waltham Abbey.
The Executive Manager – Transformation explained the crematorium will be operated on an in house model, as this is the most financially beneficial option for the Council and would enable the Council to maintain control of quality of service to residents, the primary focus being on user experience. In supporting this decision the Executive Manager – Transformation advised the Group that officers have been in communication with stakeholders including the City Council, Wilford Hill and Bramcote crematoria and local funeral directors within the Borough and are working on plans for some further community engagement with local residents and businesses.
In concluding the Executive Manager – Transformation provided a ... view the full minutes text for item 25.
The report of the Executive Manager – Communities is attached.
The Service Manager – Communities presented the Group with the Planning Enforcement Policy Report Part 2, which had been amended to reflect the comments made by members at the previous meeting of the Growth and Development Scrutiny Group held on 25 August 2020. The report sets out the regulatory framework within the enforcement function that the Borough operates. Details of workload and resources within the team and performance statistics together with details of the emerging policy.
The main changes to the policy are as follows:
· Amendments to the prioritisation of enquiries;
· Minor changes to content to ensure clarity to the reader;
· The range of enforcement powers are set out in an appendix rather than in the main body of the policy with additional detail on each power;
· Information on Proactive Development Monitoring has been expanded; and
· Signposting to relevant bodies for non-planning issues.
The Service Manager – Communities highlighted the level of resources available to deliver the enforcement function had been raised by the Group as an area of concern. The Service Manager – Communities added, the Council has engaged consultants to undertake a health check on the planning service generally involving an assessment of workload, resources and capacity within the team, adding that the final report from the consultation is due shortly.
In addition, the Service Manager – Communities reminded members that the Government is currently undertaking a consultation on the ‘Planning for the Future’ white paper, which in respect of enforcement invites responses on proposals to strengthen enforcement powers and sanctions. Depending on the outcome of this consultation, any potential changes to the Council’s planning system may have implications for resources, particularly in relation to the enforcement function.
The Chairman welcomed the changes adding that the policy was a powerful document to stop developers building off plan. The Chairman asked a specific question relating to the section titled ‘What is a breach of planning control?’ and asked whether some extra wording on the lines of ‘not in accordance with approved plans’ could be added to strengthen the enforcement. The Service Manager – Communities suggested adding some additional text after point b) under ‘What is a breach of planning control?’
It was RESOLVED that:
a) The updated Planning Enforcement Policy is referred to Cabinet for approval highlighting that the White Paper, ‘Planning for the Future’ may lead to a further review of the policy.
b) The initial findings of the external consultants in relation to the level of dedicated enforcement resources was noted
The report of the Executive Manager – Finance and Cprporate Services is attached.
The Group considered its Work Programme and made the following suggestions for future scrutiny.
20 January 2021
· Abbey Road Development
· Management of Open Spaces on New Developments – Part 2
12 April 2021
· Cycling Networks
ACTIONS – 14 October 2020