Report of KRG Meeting of 24 April 2014

1.      Gerald Tanner, who will be moving to Sheffield next month, was thanked for acting as host for KRG Meetings over the last year at the Lees Chapel.  Those present wished him well in his new position.

 2.      It was reported that, at its Meeting on 23 April 2013, WDC approved the latest version of the Local Plan with 25 Councillors voting in favour, 11 against and 1 abstaining.  A summary of the WDC decision can be seen as the first document listed at Council meeting 23/04/2014.  It should be noted that the Local Plan was approved with two recommendations amended (see 4 below).

 3.      The approval of the Local Plan by WDC marks the end of the “preparation” stage and commences the “publication” stage.  In the latter stage there will be a further consultation period of six weeks commencing 12 May 2014 after which the Local Plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State in July/August for Independent Examination.  It should be noted that many Local Plans have been rejected at the Independent Examination stage.

 4.      It is understood that, in the further consultation, representations will have to be on the grounds of process rather than detail.  However, this understanding is clouded by the amended recommendations referred to in 2 above.  Amended Recommendation 2.5 refers to the Council delegating authority to the Chief Executive, following the six weeks’ consultation period, acting in consultation with Group Leaders and the Deputy Leader, to submit the Draft Local Plan for independent examination, together with a table of any proposed modifications, provided that only minor, non-material modifications are to be proposed.  However, Amended Recommendation 2.6 refers to Council delegating authority to the Executive to approve the submission of the Draft Local Plan for independent examination, together with a table of proposed modifications including material modifications, provided that such modifications do not require further statutory consultationThe implications of these two amendments are not clear and, hence, clarification will be sought from WDC.

 5.      The KRG will need to consider its position when clarification on the scope of the further consultation is obtained.  However, if representations are to be confined to matters of process it would seem that it will be WDC which will defend its processes.  Nevertheless it would seem prudent for the KRG to submit a representation supporting the Local Plan.  Such a representation will be drafted and circulated within the KRG for comment once the terms of reference of the consultation are clarified.

 6.      It was decided that, irrespective of the outcomes of the further consultation and the submission to the Secretary of State, the KRG should maintain its mailing list and its website.

 7.      It was considered that it would be helpful to provide evidence of the environmental, ecological and visual impact values of the fields to the east of Station Lane.  Symon Easton and Richard Forrester agreed to prepare appropriate postings for the website.