Agenda, decisions and minutes
Venue: Video-conference via Zoom meeting software
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Graham Oakes, Wes Read, and Gina Seaton.
Declarations of Interest
In accordance with the Council's current Code of Conduct (as amended 26 February 2015), which includes all the provisions relating to Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI), personal and prejudicial interests, Members are asked to declare any DPI and also any personal interests (and whether or not such personal interests are also "prejudicial") in relation to any matter on the Agenda for this meeting.
Members are reminded that they need to declare the fact that they are also a member of a County, Town or Parish Council as a Personal Interest. Where you are also a member of Somerset County Council and/or a Town or Parish Council within South Somerset you must declare a prejudicial interest in any business on the agenda where there is a financial benefit or gain or advantage to Somerset County Council and/or a Town or Parish Council which would be at the cost or to the financial disadvantage of South Somerset District Council.
Planning Applications Referred to the District Council’s Regulation Committee
The following members of this Committee are also members of the Council's Regulation Committee:
Councillors Peter Gubbins, Tony Lock, David Recardo and Andy Soughton.
Where planning applications are referred by this Committee to the Regulation Committee for determination, Members of the Regulation Committee can participate and vote on these items at the Area Committee and at Regulation Committee. In these cases the Council's decision-making process is not complete until the application is determined by the Regulation Committee. Members of the Regulation Committee retain an open mind and will not finalise their position until the Regulation Committee. They will also consider the matter at Regulation Committee as Members of that Committee and not as representatives of the Area Committee.
There were no declarations of interest made.
Public Question Time
There were no questions from members of the public.
The Chairman noted that this was the first Council meeting using virtual meeting technology and he asked for Members, officers and the public’s patience during the meeting. He advised that voting would be taken by a named vote. He reminded all that the meeting was a consultative meeting, as agreed at Council on 19th March and the recommendations of the Committee would be communicated to the Chief Executive for final confirmation.
(Voting: 12 in favour, 1 against, 2 abstentions)
The Lead Specialist for Development Management advised that since writing his report concerns had been raised by the local MP regarding conducting council business at this time however, he said the Government had urged councils to continue decision making functions which had an economic benefit to the community. The Lead Specialist said in granting planning permissions now, developers could start on-site as soon as the current restrictions eased. He said concern had also been raised about the notice given for the meeting but the agenda had been published on the requisite date. A statement from Councillor Gina Seaton, and, a joint statement from East Coker and Barwick and Stoford Parish Councils and a resident of East Coker had been received, which he summarised.
He noted that a decision on the Keyford planning application had already been made at a meeting in December 2019 and so that decision could not be re-visited. The additional information requested at that meeting related to the Quicksilver roundabout improvements, and the cycle path improvements between Dorchester Road, Lovers Lane and Horsey Roundabout. He explained the proposed roundabout improvements and new cycle path route and the Highway Authority support for them.
In response to questions from Members, the Lead Specialist for Development Management advised:-
· The proposed cycle path from Lovers Lane to Southwoods curved downwards to deal with the gradient to the hill.
· The trigger points for the Highway elements of the scheme were at certain points in the development and would be scheduled in order of necessity as the development progressed.
· Although the Section 106 agreement was legally binding, it was always open for negotiation with the developer.
· Bringing forward infrastructure prior to a development commencing did present some practical issues of cash flow for the developer and necessity, but some highway work was essential, however, there had not been any discussion on this yet.
· There were no road improvements planned for Lovers Lane; only the cycleway.
· All Highway aspects would be subject to an audit process and safety concerns would be re-visited.
The Committee were then addressed by representatives of Barwick and Stoford Parish Council and East Coker Parish Council. Their comments included:-
· The method of discussion by an on-line meeting marginalised some people’s ability to attend the meeting and potentially, 15 major developments could be granted permission in this way during the pandemic. What was the urgency to take the decision?
· The recommendation suggested that more meetings were required to finalise the development.
· The latest flow data at the Quicksilver Mail roundabout was only released 48 hours previously and did not specify the date of the week it was collected on and so was questionable.
· The Keyford development would generate 900 cars and the use of public transport was falling so most cars would be on the local road network making them busier.
· Statistics show that cycling is falling in the UK – only 2% of all trips made. Had any cycle statistics been collected in Yeovil? The money spent on the cyclepath ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
The Economic Development Specialist advised that he was involved in the iAero meetings with Somerset County Council, the Local Enterprise Partnership and Leonardo and strong progress was being made. The centre was currently under construction on the Leonardo Airfield and the project was led by Somerset County Council. SSDC were not funding partners but had an interest in its success for the business community. The centre would provide space for innovation in the aerospace industry, including office space and light industrial use so projects could be developed and tested. Completion was expected in summer 2020 and although current restrictions may affect this, it should be fully open early 2021. Best practice was being shared with the Exeter Science Park and other aerospace specific organisations. He concluded that further reports on the progress of the project would follow.
Councillor John Clark, as Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, said the project was important to the Council’s Economic Development Strategy although SSDC were not a funding partner. Innovation in the aerospace sector was key to the area.
There were no questions from Members and the Chairman thanked the Economic Development Specialist for attending and providing the update.
RESOLVED: That the report by NOTED.
It was noted that some reports on the Forward Plan would be delayed due to the current coronavirus restrictions.
It was requested that the following be brought forward to the next meeting:-
· Update on the SSDC response to the coronavirus
· Area Committees discuss the support they could offer to their communities and Parish Councils during the current virus restrictions
· The Article 4 Direction for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s)
Members noted the Forward Plan.
Members noted the Planning Appeals.