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Paper 2 - 25 September 1998 Meeting 

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Minutes of the Association meeting held at the Isle of Wight on Friday 24 July 1998 at 10.30 am.

Present:

Basingstoke and Deane

Councillor Mrs P Baker

Councillor J Evans

Councillor B Gurden

Mr D Pitt (Deputy Chief Executive)

Mrs D Wells (Head of Strategic Development)

East Hampshire

Councillor A Ludlow

Miss J Hunter (Chief Executive)

Eastleigh

Councillor K House (Chair)

Councillor Mrs M Kyrle

Mr C Tapp (Chief Executive and Honorary Secretary)

Mrs E Hill (Committee Officer)

Fareham

Councillor R Price

Mr A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Councillor P Edgar

Mr M Crocker (Chief Executive)

Hampshire

Councillor W Blackett

Councillor A Rice

Mr P Robertson (Chief Executive)

Mr J Ekins (County Surveyor)

Mr T Greenwood (County Planning Officer)

Hart

Councillor P Hutcheson

Mr C James (Head of Strategy)

Havant

Councillor R Bellinger

Councillor K Moss

Mr R Smith (Chief Executive)

Mr B Neilson (Planning Officer)

Isle of Wight

Councillor R Mazillius

Councillor A Rees

Mr P Airey (Planning Officer)

Mr J Bentley (Economic Development Officer)

New Forest

Councillor J Coles

Mr I Mackintosh (Managing Director)

Portsmouth

Councillor Mrs E Baker

Councillor J Patey

Councillor S Rapson MP

Mr B Partridge (Corporate Projects Manager)

Rushmoor

Councillor M Roberts

Councillor A Thame

Mr P Gardner (Director of Resources)

Test Valley

Councillor B Palmer

Councillor J Morgan

Mr B Sully (Director of Services)

Winchester

Councillor Mrs J Martin

Mr S Bee (Chief Planning Officer)

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

Councillor Mrs J Pittfield

Mrs S Hudson (Director)

Isle of Wight Association of Parish and Town Councils

Councillor Mrs B Lawson

Dorset Councils Association

Councillor B Clements (Leader, Poole Borough Council)

Mr J Brooks (Chief Executive, Poole Borough Council)

Also in attendance Mr N Goulder (Policy Officer).

44.98 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Gibson (Portsmouth), Councillors F Emery-Wallis, A Collett and W Wheeler (Hampshire), Mrs K Sporle (Basingstoke), Councillor D Clark (East Hampshire), Councillor Mrs M Robinson (New Forest), Mr D Cowan (Winchester), Mr A Lloyd (Rushmoor), Mr G R Jelbart (Hart) and Councillor M Hook (Gosport).

45.98 WELCOME

Councillor Mrs Foster, Vice-Chair of the Isle of Wight Council, welcomed members to the Island. The Chair responded and in turn welcomed the two observer representatives from the Dorset Councils Association.

46.98 MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 29 MAY 1998

The minutes of the meeting held on 29 May 1998 were agreed with the following amendments:

(1) That Councillor Price (Fareham) be taken off the attendance list; and

(2) That the spelling of Councillor Mazillius' (Isle of Wight) name be corrected under minute 27.98.

Regarding minute 36.98, Tim Greenwood (Hampshire) provided an update on the Structure Plan. The County Council had confirmed its commitment to a figure of 42,000 homes. At a recent meeting of Planning Committee Chairmen it had been agreed that a way forward could be the publication in the autumn of the separate modification proposals of (1) the County Council and (2) Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils for public comment. The distribution of the 42,000 homes across the County had yet to be agreed.

Councillor Roberts (Rushmoor) expressed his concern at the slow progress on this issue, and the lack of consensus between the three strategic planning authorities. Peter Robertson (Hampshire) explained that the timing of the process was not unusual, and as 90% of the issues had already been agreed, he felt it was realistic to expect that a conclusion would be reached which would prove satisfactory to all those involved. Councillor Palmer (Test Valley) requested that the Structure Plan Review be a standard item on Association agendas, and it was agreed that the issue would be added to the agenda for the meeting on 25 September.

47.98 A NEW DEAL FOR TRANSPORT - GOVERNMENT WHITE PAPER

John Ekins (Hampshire) gave a presentation summarising the key issues in the Government's recently issued White Paper. He explained that the Paper, which had been broadly welcomed by the County Council, built on the policy direction member authorities were already moving towards, but with a sharper focus. He stressed the need for a balanced approach, in order to ensure that the way forward was beneficial for all Councils and their existing transport strategies. The emphasis was on building quality partnerships between authorities and transport providers.

The Paper supported bus travel, cycle routes and public transport. Mr Ekins expressed a concern regarding charges for private, non-residential parking which did not include out-of-town shopping centres, and was therefore contrary to the objective of protecting town centres. He pointed out that new policies involving charges of any kind would require legislation. The immediate task of member authorities would be to produce a Local Transport Plan which would become a statutory document in 1999. One of the main themes of the Paper was to successfully integrate planning, transport and land-use. The role of the Highways Agency would be reviewed to enable it to become more focussed on network management (funding was suggested mainly for trunk roads rather than local networks). Mr Ekins stressed the need to ensure this lack of local funding did not in any way usurp the role of local democracy.

A summary of the Paper was being produced by GOSE, and this could be circulated to members. Mr Ekins said that a presentation from Professor Michael McDonald (Southampton University) had been arranged for the next meeting of the Association in order to provide more detail on the Paper, its policies and the effect those policies would have on local authorities.

In a brief debate Councillors expressed concern over some of the more controversial issues in the Paper; however, it was agreed that detailed discussions should be deferred to the next meeting.

RESOLVED -

That John Ekins be thanked for his presentation.

48.98 SERPLAN DRAFT REGIONAL GUIDANCE: A SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY FOR THE SOUTH EAST

Robin Smith (Havant) gave a presentation on the progress of the SERPLAN Co-ordination Group in relation to the Draft Regional Strategy. The Group had been set up by the Association following its meeting on 30 January 1998. At the following meeting, on 27 March 1998, the Association considered the Group's recommendations on a pre-consultation draft "Sustainable Development Strategy for the South East".

The purpose of the Strategy was to provide a framework for decisions of Government Departments and Agencies; to provide a regional overview for structure plans, unitary development plans and local plans, and any strategic decisions made by local authorities; and to influence where possible a wide range of other organisations. The timetable for the submission of the Strategy had changed - the consultation period was now ending and it would have to be submitted to the Secretary of State by the end of the year. An examination in public would take place in May of 1999 and the Government's Regional Guidance would be issued at the end of that year.

The key issues of the Draft Strategy were as follows: urban renaissance; better passenger transport; protection of the countryside; fairer distribution of employment opportunities around the region; a spatial strategy built around the renewal and regeneration of less favoured areas; the concentration of development in urban areas; and sustainable transport.

The Association's response to the draft strategy supported urban renaissance, stressed the need for a clearer regional perspective and a sub-regional dimension and suggested that central Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and the New Forest be recognised as countryside areas of regional significance. The Association supported the broad approach to housing provision, pointing out the need for more research on how best to meet housing need. On transport, the Association stressed the need for a better indication of the transport infrastructure needs and priorities, including the recognition of the importance of maintaining the long-term vitality of the seaports of Southampton and Portsmouth; clearer and more positive guidance on development of national and regional airports; specific advice on how and when car parking standards should be applied across the region; and the need for Government partnership in implementation.

Mr Smith circulated a supplementary paper which set out a revised draft response and map of the "infrastructure needs and priorities". On the map an area to the north of the county had been designated as an "Area of Economic Consolidation", and Councillor Mrs Baker (Basingstoke and Deane) confirmed that her Council would want to be included in this area for the purpose of this response.

He recommended that members agree the draft response to the public consultation, as set out in the supplementary paper. He reminded the Association that local authorities would need to bear in mind Europe's transport strategies for road and rail when addressing these issues. He felt the Association should stand firm in its stance that roads and railways should not always be designed to lead towards capital cities, but should be designed to create an infrastructure that meets sub-regional needs.

The Chair added that due to the nature of the document, the Co-ordination Group had to decide exactly how much detail to include in the response. He felt that the Group had achieved its goal of identifying the key priorities for the area, whilst maintaining a regional perspective.

During the discussion the following points were raised:

(i) More emphasis should be placed on the opportunity to commute by water between Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight and Southampton.

(ii) The Isle of Wight were keen to reduce the Island's insularity, and reported that a feasibility study was being prepared by the Isle of Wight's Regeneration Board to address this issue.

(iii) It was agreed that Item 9 (iv) of the response be amended to read; "A feasibility study of future transport links to and within the Isle of Wight".

(iv) It was agreed that the reference to rail link improvement should be strengthened, including a suggestion for a 24 hour service in areas with significant levels of tourism.

(v) Representatives from the Dorset Councils Association expressed their desire to maintain support between the South East and South West areas due to common interests such as rail, sea ports, and airports.

(vi) It was agreed that continental ferries should be included on the infrastructure map.

(vii) It was agreed to include a reference to countryside issues in the response.

(viii) It was agreed that a reference to local housing need issues be added to Item 7 of the response.

(ix) It was agreed that Item 4 of the response be amended to make reference to the Area of Economic Consolidation in North East Hampshire.

(x) It was agreed that Item 8 of the response should include a reference to the need to make better use of existing housing stock.

RESOLVED -

(1) that the Draft Response set out in the supplementary paper be agreed subject to any changes identified during the discussion;

(2) that a copy of the response be sent to member authorities for information; and

(3) that Robin Smith and the officer team be thanked for their work.

49.98 THE ASSOCIATION'S PERFORMANCE INDICATORS AND WORK PROGRAMME

Consideration was given to a report of the Policy Officer which provided an analysis of the Association's performance over the last year, and the work programme for the coming year. He explained that the Chief Executives' Group managed the work programme in order to implement the Action Plan approved by members. The Association's annual report would be published in the form of a newsletter in September. The coming year's programme included five main areas of focus:- regional issues; sustainable development and integrated transport; improving democracy/modernising local government; developing Best Value, Community Safety, Health and Social Exclusion; and the review of other issues already addressed (eg Welfare to Work).

RESOLVED -

That the performance indicators be noted and the work programme approved.

50.98 REPORT BACK ON THE SOUTH EAST REGIONAL FORUM CONFERENCE

The Chair gave members an update on the Forum meeting held on 17th July. An announcement was expected within the next few weeks regarding the appointment of Chair to the Regional Development Agency (RDA) Board. The composition of the Board would be decided in the autumn. Consultation was now completed on the regional chamber, and a further conference would be held on 18 September with partner organisations to provide more detail. A South East Regional Forum (SERF) executive meeting would be held on 15 September, preceded by political party group briefing sessions. The Forum was currently working on a draft economic statement for the south east, which would be sent out to local authorities for consultation. Councillor Morgan (Test Valley) congratulated the Chair on the work he had accomplished as Chair of SERF.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

51.98 COMMUNITY SAFETY - REPORT BACK FROM THE INAUGURAL SEMINAR OF THE STANDING CONFERENCE ON CRIME, DISORDER AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION HELD ON 17 JUNE, AND THE CRIME AND DISORDER ACT AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION SEMINAR HELD ON 6 JULY

Members received summary notes on the Conference and Seminar, which also included a useful list of answers to the questions asked by members at the events. It was suggested that the focus should be kept on community partnerships.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

52.98 LGA - REPRESENTATION FROM THE SOUTH CENTRAL ELECTORAL COLLEGE

Consideration was given to a report of the Policy Officer regarding appointments to the LGA for the coming year. A representative of each political group had been asked to co-ordinate the agreement of a fair representation for the Association.

RESOLVED -

That the current year's representatives be re-nominated, subject to a change for the Isle of Wight.

53.98 IMPROVING LOCAL GOVERNANCE STEERING GROUP (HAMPSHIRE) - REPORT BACK FROM THE MEETING OF THE STEERING GROUP HELD ON 24 JUNE 1998

The minutes of the meeting were not yet available and would therefore be presented to the next meeting of the Association, when a full update would be provided.

54.98 LGA ECONOMIC REGENERATION COMMITTEE

A meeting of the Committee had been held on 22 April 1998 and a summary was provided by Councillor Price (Fareham). The items discussed at the meeting included Community Enterprise; Business Support; Regionalism; the Work of English Partnerships; Inward Investment; Welfare to Work; a new Commitment to Regeneration; a Review of Structural Funding; and Training and Enterprise Councils. It was noted that the next Economic Regeneration Conference would be held on 16-18 November 1998.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

55.98 LGA PLANNING COMMITTEE

Councillor Ludlow (East Hampshire) had provided a written report back on the most recent Planning Committee meeting. His report gave a summary of progress on the Committee's four policy priority areas for the past year (Regional Planning, Household Growth, Changes to the Planning System, and Good Planning Practice) and indicated the new areas of priority for the coming year (Planning and the Better Local Government Agenda, Integrated Planning and Transport, Changes in Planning Policy, and Implementation Mechanisms).

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

56.98 LOCAL GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE

Consideration was given to a joint report of the County Librarian and the Policy Officer, which endeavoured to bring the Information Service to the attention of local authorities, particularly as a resource for members and senior management. The Service could provide information on current affairs; deal with enquiries; gain access to a database of reports on local issues and trends; place book requests; and help with the setting up of departmental libraries. It was noted that the Isle of Wight provided a similar service.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

57.98 DATE OF NEXT MEETING

It was noted that the next meeting would be held on Friday 25 September 1998 at Hart Leisure Centre, Fleet.

58.98 ANY OTHER BUSINESS

The Chair paid tribute to Felix Hetherington (Isle of Wight) who was retiring after more than 20 years with the Council.

Last update: 18/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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