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Paper 2 - 26 November 1999 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Minutes of the Association meeting held at Eastleigh Borough Council on 24 September 1999 at 10.00 am.

Basingstoke and Deane

Councillor J Evans
Councillor B GurdenMrs K Sporle (Chief Executive)

East Hampshire

Councillor Mrs E Cartwright
Mrs J Hunter (Chief Executive)

Eastleigh

Councillor Mrs M Kyrle OBE, JP
Councillor P Wall
Mr C Tapp (Chief Executive)

Fareham

Councillor H Pritchard
Councillor S Woodward
Mr A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Mr M Crocker (Chief Executive)

Hampshire

Councillor B Dash
Councillor K Thornber
Councillor W Wheeler
Mr P Robertson (Chief Executive)
Mrs Y Le Brun (Community Manager, Social Services)
Mr T Greenwood (County Planning Officer)
Mr D Tarrant (Deputy County Surveyor)

Hart

Councillor P Hutcheson
Councillor R Jones
Mr G Jelbart (Chief Executive)

Isle of Wight

Councillor G Kendall
Mr B Quoroll (Chief Executive)

New Forest

Councillor Mrs M Robinson
Mr I Mackintosh (Chief Executive)

Portsmouth

Councillor T Blair
Mr B Partridge (Head of Chief Executive's Department)

Rushmoor

Councillor A Straker
Councillor G Woolger (Vice-Chairman)
Mr A Lloyd (Chief Executive)

Test Valley

Councillor A Jackson
Councillor J Morgan
Councillor B Palmer (Chairman)
Mr A Jones (Chief Executive and Honorary Secretary of the Association)
Mr J Crabb (Transport Strategist)
Ms E Gault (Policy Officer)

Winchester

Councillor D Atwell
Councillor J Steel
Mr D Cowan (Chief Executive)

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

Mrs S Hudson (Director)

Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities

Mr N Goulder (Policy Manager)

67.99 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mrs P Baker (Basingstoke and Deane); Councillor K House (Eastleigh); Councillors S Cully and A Hayward (Gosport); Councillors A Collett, A Rice and M Roberts and Mr T Butler (Hampshire County Council); Councillor M Morgan-Huws (Isle of Wight); Councillors S Hayes and M Kendal (New Forest); Councillor I Gibson (Portsmouth); Councillor Mrs J Pittfield (HAPTC); Ms H Horton (CAH); Mrs B Lawson (IoWAPTC) and Mrs D Allen (HIOW).

68.99 WELCOME

Councillor Mrs Margaret Kyrle OBE, JP (Eastleigh) welcomed all present to the meeting.

69.99 MINUTES

The minutes of the meeting held on 23 July 1999 were agreed as a correct record.

Arising under minute 59.99 (The Association's Budget and Subscriptions for 1999/2000) the Chairman reported on the meeting that he and the Honorary Secretary had attended on 15 September with Southampton City Council's Leader and Chief Executive to encourage Southampton to join the Association. Southampton believed that their authority was already well represented through a number of existing external links. While recognising the need to minimise duplication of effort, the Chairman and Honorary Secretary had urged Southampton, both at the meeting and afterwards in written correspondence, to consider becoming an Associate member in order to add value to the work of their Authority and to the Association.

70.99 REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND LOCAL DISCRETION

The Association's Policy Manager, Nick Goulder, introduced his report on:-

- the Regional Economic Strategy (RES) Building a World-Class Region published for consultation by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA);

- the White Paper Learning to Succeed published for consultation by the Department for Education and Employment; and

- a consultation paper proposing the establishment of a Small Business Service by the Department of Trade and Industry.

The Policy Manager provided a brief overview of initial responses to the consultation papers which had been generally well-received, although specific concerns had arisen. Particularly welcome was the consultative approach adopted by SEEDA in drafting the RES and the recognition within the strategy of the diversity that exists in the Hampshire and Isle of Wight area.

Members of the Association were invited to compare their own authorities' responses to the consultation paper and to exchange views on the issues.

Regional Economic Strategy

The consultative approach adopted in drafting the strategy and the resulting document had been generally well received. There was some concern, however, as to whether the vision of becoming a world class region could realistically be achieved without some measure of physical expansion and the associated inward pressures on housing, transport etc. The need for clarity on the relationship between the RES and regional planning guidance was emphasised.

Other key issues raised:

- Mr A Lloyd presented the Hampshire Economic Partnership (HEP) response to SEEDA. HEP had suggested that the effectiveness of the strategy might be increased by addressing more fully issues such as social exclusion, European and regional funding and the need for cross-boundary linkages with adjoining regional development agencies.

- Subject to these concerns, the Partnership welcomed the strategy and had endorsed SEEDA's commitment to working in partnership with HEP and others despite time pressures in publishing the document. It was noted that the strict timescale to which SEEDA had worked had meant that the resulting strategy was a framework document that would be reliant upon an effective Action Plan for delivery of its overall aims and objectives.

- The Isle of Wight proposed that European or Government funding should be made available through SEEDA to address the priority needs of the region, particularly in attracting inward investment. The Isle of Wight Council was invited to put forward proposals.

Learning to Succeed

The proposals for post 16 education and training had been welcomed for cohesiveness but raised some general concerns such as the accountability of the new Learning and Skills Councils (LSC) to democratic structures and local discretion as well as funding issues.

- New Forest wondered whether responsibility for the educational needs of people with learning difficulties would be accommodated within the education budget or would become the responsibility of Social Services. Hampshire County Council believed that any decision to place this responsibility on Social Services would place an unacceptable burden on the Service.

- The County Council also believed that the proposals could lead to the fragmentation of services with a resulting loss in economies of scale.

- HEP pointed to the need for clarity on the relationship between the Local Skills Councils and the new Lifelong Learning Partnerships.

Small Business Service

Greater priority to interests of small businesses in government welcomed.

- HEP would be seeking a definition of the full range of services to be provided by the new Service. The Partnership also wished to see some recognition of the interests of medium and larger businesses in recognition of the associations that exist between all types of businesses. Again, issues of social exclusion required to be addressed in relation to business.

- New Forest highlighted the failure to recognise the regulatory function of local authorities and their role in supporting local business needs.

The Chairman thanked all the speakers for their contributions.

RESOLVED -

That the consultations papers on the Regional Economic Strategy; the Review of Post 16 Learning and the Small Business Service be noted.

71.99 PUBLIC HEALTH WHITE PAPER

The Community Manager (Social Services, Hampshire) introduced a report by the joint HIOW health leads on the White Paper Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation and Action Plan Reducing Health Inequalities. The White Paper set out the government's strategy for improving health and reducing inequalities over the next 10 years.

National priorities and local priorities for each health authority, including the challenges for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight area, are highlighted. While not experiencing extremes, significant pockets of deprivation have been identified within the Hampshire and Isle of Wight area, with clear health implications.

The Paper recognises the role of local authorities in addressing the wider influences on ill health such as poor housing and environment, poverty and unemployment. A key element in tackling these issues is the new duty of partnership between Health Authorities and others including local authorities.

A consultation exercise to seek the views of all local authorities across Hampshire indicated that the White Paper has been broadly seen as an opportunity for local authorities to develop a new role in the formulation of health strategy.

Members considered the report alongside the report considered on 4 June about Health Improvement Programmes.

Contributions to the discussion included:

- Eastleigh encouraged members to take the opportunity to influence the health agenda and highlighted the Health Improvement Programme set out in appendix 3 to the report as a vehicle for taking forward partnership working with the health authorities.

- The Isle of Wight endorsed the approach taken in the White Paper to working in partnership and provided examples of effective partnership working in the Isle of Wight.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the White Paper should be welcomed as an opportunity to develop a new role in the formulation of health strategy, where the role of local authorities is clearly identified;

(2) That the various planning mechanisms must have clear links to ensure gaps do not develop, nor that there is overlap and duplication of effort; and

(3) That the complex issues on implementation should be reported back to the Association at a future date, once a clearer picture has emerged.

72.99 LOCAL TRANSPORT PLAN 2000

Mr David Tarrant introduced a report of the County Surveyor, Hampshire, outlining the County Council's proposed submission of a Local Transport Plan (LTP) for Hampshire. The LTP would be a comprehensive five year programme of transport works and initiatives which would seek to integrate spending on transport facilities, to integrate with other policy areas especially land use policies and would to involve all relevant agencies including District Councils and transport operators.

Bids for the five year capital programmes required to be submitted by July 2000. Mr Tarrant outlined the County's approach to preparing the LTP, which placed emphasis on integration between all levels of local authorities and between transport and land use planning. A Joint Steering Group of County and District officers had been established as well as cross-border meetings with neighbouring highway authorities, including Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils.

It was clear that the government placed a high priority on effective public involvement in the local transport policy as a means of raising awareness of, and influencing travel behaviour. Formal consultations on the LTP and targets to reduce the level of road traffic or rate of growth in Hampshire would take place during the period from Autumn 1999 to Spring 2000 and the County would be working with local authorities on arrangements for consultation.

- Basingstoke endorsed the holistic approach to developing an LTP as a major step forward and welcomed the increased emphasis on partnership working.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the report be noted, including the joint working between the County and District Councils; and

(2) That a further report be presented to the Association at a future date on cross- border issues.

73.99 REVIEW OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT POLICIES IN HAMPSHIRE

The County Surveyor reported on arrangements for the forthcoming review of the County Council's policies on public transport. The current public transport policies related primarily to deregulation and did not accord with changes in government policy to reduce car dependency and promote public transport alternatives.

In accordance with best value and the direction provided by the Transport White Paper and Local Transport Plan, the County Council would adopt an inclusive approach in reviewing public transport policies . An opportunity for District Councils and others to have input into the County Council's public transport framework would be provided through the establishment of an Officer Working Party. The conclusions of the Officer Group would be reported to the Association in due course. Key stakeholders would also be invited to participate in a wider public consultation exercise. The timescale for the review would ensure that the revised public transport policy objectives would be finalised in time for inclusion with the Local Transport Plan submission in July 2000.

During the discussion the following points were raised:-

- Eastleigh referred to the commitment to cross-boundary working in relation to preparing the Local Transport Plan and queried whether the two city unitary authorities would have an opportunity to influence public transport policies within Hampshire. David Tarrant assured members that the unitary councils would be consulted and provided current examples of cross-border linkages with Southampton and Portsmouth City Councils.

- Winchester welcomed the initiatives and highlighted the importance of an integrated approach to transportation for rural areas.

- Portsmouth anxious to work with County on transport, particularly on integrated approach.

- New Forest merit in encouraging stakeholders to promote green transport policies. Chair agreed and gave example of this approach in Test Valley.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the approach to the development of revised public transport policies be endorsed; and

(2) That a report be presented to the Association on the findings of the Officer Working Group.

74.99 HAMPSHIRE COUNTY STRUCTURE PLAN 1996-2011: RESPONSE TO THE PROPOSED MODIFICATIONS

Consideration was given to a report of the County Planning Officer on responses to the proposed modifications to the County Structure Plan 1996-2011 published on 14 May 1999. The County Planning Officer reported that a meeting of the Hampshire Strategic Planning Joint Advisory Panel (JAP) would take place that afternoon to discuss how to respond to the comments made on the Structure Plan, particularly those of the Secretary of State for the Environment relating to housing provision. The approach agreed by the County's Planning and Transportation Committee was to continue to promote a 'base-line plus addition' approach to housing provision, ie baseline figure of 42,000 additional dwellings 2001-2011 and accept an additional provision of up to 14,000 dwellings (including its distribution). Ensure distribution based on strategy which accords greatest support to measures to revitalise towns and cities and protects the countryside from unnecessary development.

The County urged favourable consideration in order to move forward to adoption of the Plan.

In a response from Fareham regarding the period of time after which the additional housing would be released the County Planning Officer advised that the new regional planning guidance expected in the early part of next year would be the key determinant of the need to release some, or all, of the additional housing.

Test Valley highlighted the weakness of the current planning system which, due to the time required to adopt the Structure Plan, failed to provide the guidance necessary for the review of Local Plans. On this basis the Borough Council had urged the Secretary of State to conduct a review of the planning system. The Borough Council had wanted to urge the County Council to adopt the Structure Plan as soon as possible, but following discussion agreed to withdraw a motion to this effect.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

75.99 GOVERNMENT POLICY ON SHOPPING DEVELOPMENT

The Honorary Secretary introduced a report prepared jointly with Test Valley Head of Planning giving consideration to the national policy on retail development. Whilst current government planning guidance and the policies of most local authorities promoted the vitality of existing town centres, recent events such as the possible entry of Wal-mart into the UK and indications that the Department of Trade and Industry favoured a relaxation in planning policies to encourage competition, suggested that there might be a weakening of support for the current shopping policy.

The Honorary Secretary highlighted the need to apply policies such as PPG6 (Shopping) and PPG13 (Transport) consistently over a period of time in order to achieve the objective of directing new retail investment into town centres and preserving the green areas.

Given the apparent tensions between the DETR and DTI on this issue, the report proposed that recommendations be made to the government urging steadfastness of existing policy.

To this proposal, the County Planning Officer added a recommendation that the government be requested that in the light of recent developments in Hampshire, action be taken to close the loopholes in planning legislation that allow mezzanine floors to be added to out of town stores and out of town factory outlet schemes to be developed from district centre proposals, both without the need for planning permission thus undermining the principles of encouraging retail development in city and town centres.

- Winchester reported that, at a recent LGA conference on rural issues, it was clear that out of town shopping conflicted with the aim of re-inventing the market town. Therefore Winchester supported the recommendation.

- Eastleigh welcomes closing off loophole from which it had been particularly affected.

RESOLVED -

That the Prime Minister, deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Planning and the Regions be informed that the Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities:

(a) wishes to maintain the vitality and viability of the town centres in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and to protect the quality of the surrounding countryside;

(b) re-affirms its support for the underlying principles of PPG6 (Town Centres and Retail Development) and PPG13 (Transport);

(c) considers that these policies must endure and be applied consistently if they are to achieve, over time, their objectives of directing new retail investment to town centres and preventing developments in locations that would harm them;

(d) urges them to resist pressure for relaxation of planning controls by supermarket companies or prospective purchasers and adhere to PPG6 and PPG13; and

(e) that in the light of recent developments in Hampshire, action be taken to close the loopholes in planning legislation that allow mezzanine floors to be added to out of town stores and out of town factory outlet schemes to be developed from district centre proposals, both without the need for planning permission thus undermining the principles of encouraging retail development in city and town centres.

76.99 CLOSING THE ACCOUNTS FOR 1998/99

Members noted a report by the Policy Manager, providing details of the budget for 1998/99 and subscription costs. The accounts showed a continuing underspend justifying the decision at the Annual Meeting in June 1999 to reduce subscriptions for the current year. Expenditure continued to be well within budget and a further reduction in subscriptions would be considered at a future date.

A full breakdown of costs was set out in the report.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the Statement of Accounts for 1998/99 be approved subject to the report by the Honorary Auditor;

(2) That a full monitoring report be presented to the Association in January 2000; and

(3) That the staff of the Honorary Treasurer be thanked for their work on behalf of the Association.

77.99 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND REGIONAL ASSEMBLY (SEERA)

Members received a written report by Councillor House (Eastleigh) detailing the key activities of the Regional Assembly Executive since the Annual Meeting in July. The Assembly had taken a full role in SEEDA's consultation programme on the draft RES and a Special Assembly would meet on 12 October to consider the Assembly's response to the RES. The meeting would also consider a 'vision' statement for the Assembly's role and purpose for the South East and would receive a presentation from SEEDA on their corporate plan.

Other activities of the Assembly included responding to proposals for Learning and Skills Councils and the Small Business Service, working on the co-location of the region's Brussels representatives and work on a communications plan.

A future meeting in November would give consideration to transport issues as well as the working arrangements for the Assembly.

The report also included details of staffing and accommodation. Paul Bevan had been appointed Director and Susan Traver appointed Head of Secretariat and the Assembly now had permanent office accommodation at GOSE.

78.99 SEEDA URBAN RENAISSANCE CONFERENCE

The County Planning Officer reported back verbally from a conference addressed by Lord Rogers, Chairman of the Urban Task Force, which had recently reported. Dealing with the means by which an urban renaissance could be achieved, Lord Rogers called for a design-led approach to the development or urban areas that would be capable of supporting urban living within compact areas of mixed usage. Local government was encouraged to lead on the urban agenda through policies designed to promote initiatives such as home zones and trams and by discouraging out of town shopping developments. It was hoped that these and other issues would be included in the forthcoming White Paper.

A written note on these points by the County Planning Officer are attached to these minutes.

79.99 THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION (LGA) AND REGIONAL GROUPINGS

The Policy Manager reported that, under the revised Member Structure for the LGA, there would be a Regional Forum to represent regional groupings such as HIOW. The Association had taken a lead in gaining agreement from local authorities in the south east region that Member appointments to the LGA should be through a 'six county confederation' comprising Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Surrey, Sussex and Kent.

RESOLVED -

That the developing relationship between the LGA and regional groupings such as HIOW be noted.

80.99 LGA PLANNING EXECUTIVE

Members received a written report on the work of the LGA Planning Executive from Councillor House (Eastleigh), Chair of the Planning Executive. Key areas of work for the coming year had been agreed by the Planning Executive to include policy work on sustainable regeneration and urban design and work on processes, focusing on how planning fits into the new political structures and how performance can be improved and the planning process streamlined.

The Planning Executive would also work to develop its involvement with local and regional groupings by establishing a dialogue with lead Planning councillors and senior local authority staff through regional meetings, possibly to include a meeting with the Association.

81.99 THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION (LGA) - WORKING TOGETHER BETTER

The Policy Manager presented a proposal from the Environment Agency on improving joint working with local authorities. The Environment Agency and LGA were seeking 'joined up' government at national, regional and local levels and had produced a five year plan governing the relationship between the Agency and Local Authorities.

To develop this locally, the relevant HIOW professional groups are being asked to consider proposals to improve joint working and a number of events had been planned locally to raise awareness of the work of the Agency.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted, including the proposal to invite a representative of the Environment Agency to attend a future meeting of the Association.

82.99 DATE OF NEXT MEETING

It was noted that the next meeting would be held on Friday 26 November at Winchester City Council.

Link to ANNEX

Last update: 12/10/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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