Agenda item

Development and Infrastructure

Report of the Director – Development and Economic Growth


The Chair reminded the Group that Councillor Clarke had submitted a Scrutiny Matrix topic ‘how the Borough works with partners to plan for the infrastructure required to support growth’ which was approved by the Corporate Overview Group to be discussed by the Growth and development Scrutiny Group.


The Planning Policy Manager delivered a presentation to explain how the Council works with infrastructure and service providers to identify and deliver infrastructure to support the delivery of new housing and growth.


The Group were advised that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that new development should be supported by appropriate infrastructure to deliver sustainable developments and that Local Plans need early ongoing and effective engagement between plan-makers and the infrastructure providers and operators.


The Group noted that new infrastructure is only justified to mitigate the impact of otherwise unacceptable development and is subject to three statutory tests:


necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms;

directly related to the development; and

fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development


The Planning Policy Manager explained that an Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) is a significant part of Local plan preparation as it identifies what infrastructure is required, when it’s required and how it will be funded and delivered to support a development. The Group were advised that an IDP involves extensive engagement with infrastructure providers/operators, including Nottinghamshire County Council, National Highways, healthcare providers and emergency services and in turn the IDP outcomes inform Local Plan policies and proposals.


In respect of planning applications and Section 106 agreements the Planning Policy Manager advised that there is extensive engagement with infrastructure providers and operators at the pre-application and planning application stages where required and the ‘what, when and how’ for new infrastructure is established in a Section 106 legal agreement between the developer and the Council.


With regard to Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), this was introduced in October 2019 and is a financial charge levied on most new developments above 100sqm and on new dwellings. CIL is used to fund certain pre-defined infrastructure requirements, for example off-site secondary education. The group were advised that when preparing CIL infrastructure providers and operators also engage with the Council.


A specific question was asked with regard to the rational of the CIL levy charges and zones as illustrated in the officer’s presentation. The Planning Policy Manager explained the charges were calculated on a sliding scale and takes into account land values and affordability. It was noted that the site at Fairham is not paying any CIL as this was approved before CIL had been adopted by the Council in October 2019.


The Group noted that a session specifically relating to CIL and S106 has been scheduled into the Councillor training program for 11 October 2023 and suggested more detailed explanations around CIL zones and charges and how these affect infrastructure improvements be covered in the training.


With regards to stakeholder engagement the Group asked whether Town and Parish Councils are contacted to provide their view on infrastructure needs, particularly when there has already been a large number of housing developments within a community and additional development comes forward creating a cumulative effect. Members of the Group expressed their frustrations at not having the understanding of infrastructure triggers, providing examples at Newton/Bingham and Cotgrave where variations to planning applications have been agreed with multiple developers and why a footbridge to connect the two communities at Bingham and Newton and one in Cotgrave over the canal have not been built or agreements changed.  The Group suggested a more transparent approach with some kind of tracking or enforcement process to ensure developers deliver the infrastructure required. The Planning Policy Manager explained that Parishes are consulted at the local plan stage, then more specific requirements are agreed at the planning application stage, with planning officers engaging with relevant bodies such as the highway authority. With regards to tracking and enforcement the Group were advised that the Council does already have a system in place which is monitored by the Officers.


The Chairman asked whether the Council’s current system had the flexibility to adapt to change, whereby some planning applications are approved so far in advance of the development being built that circumstances and community needs have change, for example housing developments outside the local plan or fluctuations in population/birth rates increasing pressure on local schools. The Planning Policy Manager explained that the process is responsive to change in accordance to what is in the Local Plan, providing an example at Radcliffe on Trent where the provision of a new primary school was identified but is now no longer required. The Planning Policy Manager advised that the Council is not aware of detailed schemes until an application is received or the timing of delivery of housing, adding that infrastructure, such as a new school would not be built until there is a potential number of pupils identified. 


The Group were advised that their comments would be fed back to planning officers for comment and a further item on infrastructure delivery be brought forward for a future meeting of the Growth and Development Scrutiny Group.


It was RESOLVED that the Growth and Development Scrutiny Group considered the contents of the report and whether there are further related matters that the Group wished to be considered at a future meeting.







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