Planning Committee – 26 October 2007 (Policy Meeting)

Chair: Councillor Collinson
Venue: Function Room 1, Pittwood House, Scunthorpe
Time: 2 pm


1. Substitutions.

2. Declarations of personal or personal and prejudicial interests (if any).

3. Yorkshire and Humber Plan – Proposed Changes

4. Housing Green Paper: Additional Growth Points

5. North Lincolnshire Local Plan – Saved Policies

6. Circulars 01/2006 and 04/2007 – Government guidance on the provision of sites for gypsies, travellers and travelling show people.

Any other items, which the chair decides are urgent, by reasons of special circumstances which must be specified.

Note: Reports are by the Head of Highways and Planning unless otherwise stated.


PRESENT: – Councillor Collinson (Chair).

Councillors Whiteley (vice–chair), Ali, Armitage, Barker, B Briggs, Bunyan, Carlile, Eckhardt, England, Grant, C Sherwood and Wardle.

The committee met at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe.

967 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – Councillors Grant and Whiteley declared personal interests in Minute 968 as members of the Regional Planning Board.

968 (42) THE YORKSHIRE AND HUMBER PLAN – DRAFT REVISED REGIONAL SPATIAL STRATEGY INCORPORATING THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S PROPOSED CHANGES – The Head Of Strategic Regeneration, Housing & Development submitted a report informing members of the Secretary of State’s proposed changes to the draft Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS).

The key proposed changes related to:

  • Scunthorpe being re-branded as a sub-regional city or town with Hull being re-designated as a regional city alongside Leeds and Sheffield
  • Increase in the projected level of job growth within the region, with an estimated 550 jobs per year being creating in North Lincolnshire
  • Continued requirement to safeguard land north west of Immingham for port related uses
  • Increased levels of housing development to take place in the region as a whole with North Lincolnshire expected to build 750 dwellings per year between 2008 and 2026 – a total of 13,500
  • Continued support to improve rail and road access to the South Humber Bank ports
  • Stronger protection for the internationally important sites for nature conservation in the Humber Estuary

The Draft Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for Yorkshire and the Humber had been the subject of an Examination in Public between 12 September and 27 October 2006. During this time a wide range of matters had been discussed. Officers had attended several of the examination sessions during this time and contributed fully to the discussion.

Following the close of the Examination in Public, the Panel had considered the evidence put forward and had subsequently prepared their report and recommendations. Following this, the Secretary of State had considered the recommendations as well as other relevant evidence, had published her Proposed Changes to Revised Draft Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) and made them available for public consultation until Friday 21 December 2007.

Resolved – (a) That the report be noted, and (b) that comments be forwarded to the Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber as set out in the “Analysis of Options” section of the report.

969 (43) HOUSING GREEN PAPER: ADDITIONAL GROWTH POINTS – The Head Of Strategic Regeneration, Housing & Development submitted a report informing members of the process and timetable involved in bidding for growth point status and seeking approval to submit such a bid.

In 2006 the Government had announced plans to increase housing supply as part of the response to the Barker Review on Housing. It had been highlighted that more houses were need to help first time buyers, address overcrowding and keep up with rising demand. People were living longer and more people were living alone. Affordability was a key issue with the proportion of 30 year old couples being able to afford to buy they own home expected to fall from 50 per cent to 30 per cent in 20 years time.

It was vital that new homes were built alongside jobs growth and infrastructure investment in order to deliver sustainable communities for the future. The Government had sought bids from Local Authorities from the south and Midlands regions for Growth Point Status that could assist in delivering an extra 100,000 homes above the 240,000 target set by the Housing Green Paper.

Twenty nine Growth Points had now been identified with the nearest to North Lincolnshire being Lincoln. The Government’s Department for Communities and Local Government was now expanding the scheme and was looking for bids for additional Growth Points from northern authorities that would deliver additional strategic housing growth which is additional to previous plans.

The bidding process was formal in nature and was for interested authorities to enter into a Partnership for Growth, a long-term relationship with the Government and its agencies to realise the potential for sustainable growth and meet additional housing needs with funding support and also where necessary conditions, relating to environmental and transport issues.

Scunthorpe was the only settlement within North Lincolnshire that might satisfy the selection criteria listed in the report. Scunthorpe’s case appeared to be reasonably strong as it could be tied in with the Lincolnshire Lakes proposal that when combined could deliver a number of the Council’s goals and objectives by achieving sustainable growth. The housing market within North Lincolnshire was buoyant and this was reflected within the Draft Revised RSS that increased the yearly housing requirement This tied with recent economic successes on the South Humber Bank and Scunthorpe showed an area that is thriving and that had the potential for further sustained growth.

It was also important to consider the potential impact of housing growth on the local and wider environment in and around Scunthorpe, as bid schemes would have to show that sustained growth could be achieved without major environmental, social and economic impacts. These were issues that would be partly addressed as part of the Lincolnshire Lakes Feasibility Study.

As part of a New Points bid transport issues would have to be examined in detail. It was possible that some of the transport work, already undertaken as part of the Lincolnshire Lakes could be incorporated into the initial bid. Members were aware of the traffic issues that currently impacted on Scunthorpe’s western edge. Growth Point Status might help to address localised traffic issues by examining the broader strategic highways network, with possible improvements.

Resolved – That a formal bid be submitted for Scunthorpe to become a New Growth Point based around the Lincolnshire Lakes Proposal.

970 (44) NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE LOCAL PLAN – SAVED POLICIES – The Head Of Strategic Regeneration, Housing & Development submitted a report informing members about the Secretary of State’s direction regarding saved North Lincolnshire Local Plan policies.

As part of the Planning & Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and associated transitional regulations, the policies of the adopted North Lincolnshire Local Plan (May 2003) had been “saved” for an initial period of three years after the commencement of the Act in September 2004.

As part of this process, the council had been required to prepare a list of those policies which were considered should be “saved” beyond 2007. This list was submitted to the Secretary of State for consideration in April 2007.

Following this the Secretary of State had issued a direction setting out which policies would be “saved” from September 2007. These Local Plan policies would continue to form the basis on which planning decisions were made until such time as they were replaced by new policies in the Local Development Framework.

The majority of the North Lincolnshire Local Plan policies (as adopted in May 2003) have been “saved” under the Secretary of State’s direction. However a number of policies had been deleted. A list of the deleted policies was attached as an appendix to the report. These policies had deleted for one or more of the following reasons:

  • They repeated planning policy set out at either a national or regional level. Accordingly, it was considered that there was sufficient planning policy coverage to allow decisions to be made;
  • The proposals which the policy relates to has been implemented; and
  • They have been superseded by more up to date national and regional planning policy.

The Secretary of State had deleted local plan policies relating to the provision of affordable housing. This was because Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 3: Housing provided more up to date policy guidance which together with an increased requirement in the Regional Spatial Strategy would enable the council to provide more affordable housing.

Resolved – That the report be noted.

971 (45) CIRCULARS 01/2006 AND 04/2007 – GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE ON THE PROVISION OF SITES FOR GYPSIES, TRAVELLERS AND TRAVELLING SHOWPEOPLE – The Head of Planning submitted a report informing members of the main provisions of the new planning circulars nos. 01/2006 and 04/2007 relating to gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople and the implications for North Lincolnshire.

In February 2006 ODPM Circular 01/2006 – Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites had been published following the introduction of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act in 2004. The main aims set out in the document included:

  • ensuring that gypsies and travellers had fair access to suitable accommodation, education and welfare provision
  • reducing the number of unauthorised encampments
  • increasing the number of sites and addressing under-provision over the next 3-5 years
  • the protection of the traditional travelling way of life of gypsies and travellers
  • underlining the importance of assessing accommodation need at different geographical scales
  • the promotion of private site provision
  • avoiding gypsies and travellers becoming homeless where eviction from unauthorised sites occurred when there was no alternative to move into

On 21 August 2007 the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Circular relating to travelling showpeople. (Circular No. 04/2007) had been published.

This Circular replaced DoE Circular 22/91. In the main it replicated the provisions set out in ODPM Circular 01/2006 relating to gypsies and travellers. It gave advice for local authorities that had already completed a gypsy and traveller accommodation needs assessment omitting travelling showpeople.

The Circular set out what the planning process should be in relation to the provision of new sites for showpeople which included:

  • Accommodation Assessments: The accommodation needs of this group was an important part of the assessment of general accommodation needs and these needs should be assessed as part of Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments (GTAAs).
  • Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS): The information from GTAAs on travelling showpeople’s needs for sites would, as with other housing needs, be a key component in the overall assessment of need which informed the housing policies in the RSS. The RSS should identify the number of plots required (but not their location) for each local authority, taking into account GTAAs and a strategic view of needs across the region.
  • Development Plan Documents (DPDs): The number of plots set out in the RSS must be translated into specific site allocations in one of the local planning authority’s DPDs that formed part of the Local Development Framework. The core strategy should set out criteria for the location of travelling showpeople sites which would be used to guide the allocation of sites in the relevant DPD. These criteria could be used in the determination of planning applications on unallocated sites that might come forward.
  • Community involvement: At an early stage in the preparation of RSSs and DPDs planning authorities should discuss travelling showpeople’s accommodation needs with travelling showpeople themselves, their representative bodies and local support groups.

In North Lincolnshire, existing site provision for both gypsies and travellers comprised three private sites: two in Brigg (Mill Lane) and the other near Kirton-in-Lindsey. The local authority-owned site at Normanby Road, Scunthorpe, which had provided transit accommodation for 20 pitches, had been closed for some time due to vandalism by travellers, but the site might be re-opening with minimum facilities as a temporary stop-gap.

There was currently one site for travelling showpeople at Manifold Road, Scunthorpe which housed local showpeople, many of whom have retired. There currently existed space for 24 vans.

There were regular unauthorised encampments of gypsies and travellers in and adjacent to the urban areas of Scunthorpe, Barton and Brigg.

The previous circulars (22/91 and 1/94), relating to gypsies and travelling showpeople respectively, had promoted the use of private sites but the new circulars put the responsibility firmly back with local authorities to deliver adequate sites for gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople.

Housing policies in the RSS would set the number of pitches required in the Yorkshire and Humber Region through an Accommodation Assessments Needs Survey. A firm of private consultants based at Salford University had recently been appointed by North East and North Lincolnshire Councils to carry out a joint Gypsy and Travellers Accommodation Needs Assessment for North and North East Lincolnshire areas which included travelling showpeople. This study was due to be completed in January 2008. It would be the responsibility of both authorities to identify specific sites in the emerging LDF development plan documents. Local authorities did not have a statutory duty to provide sites but should they decide to develop their own sites the Government had set aside £52 million nationally to help towards site provision and a 100 per cent grant would be available.

Resolved – That the report be noted.