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Paper 2 - 28 January 2000 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Minutes of the Association meeting held at Winchester City Council on 26 November 1999 at 10.00 am.

Basingstoke and Deane

Councillor J Evans
Councillor B Gurden
Mr G Holdcroft (Deputy Chief Executive)

East Hampshire

Councillor Mrs E Cartwright
Miss J Hunter (Chief Executive)
Mr S Olivant (Head of Development Services)

Eastleigh

Councillor K House
Councillor G Fraser
Mr C Reed (Deputy Chief Executive)
Mr B Barker (Environmental Co-ordinator)

Fareham

Councillor F Miller
Councillor S Woodward
Mr A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Mr M Crocker (Chief Executive)

Hampshire

Councillor M Woodhall
Councillor B Wheeler
Councillor B Dash
Mr P Robertson (Chief Executive)
Mr J Wilkinson (Head of the Corporate Unit for Early Education and Childcare)

Hart

Councillor P Hutcheson
Councillor R Jones
Councillor Mrs S Band
Councillor D Simpson
Mr G Jelbart (Chief Executive)

Havant

Councillor D Gillett
Councillor D West
Mr R Smith (Chief Executive)

Isle of Wight

Mr B Quoroll (Chief Executive)

New Forest

Councillor S Hayes
Councillor Mrs M Robinson
Mr R Hodgson (Chief Executive)

Portsmouth

Councillor T Blair
Councillor J Patey
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 B Palmer (Chairman)
Mr A Jones (Chief Executive and Hon Secretary of the Association)
Ms E Gault (Policy Officer)

Winchester

Councillor D Atwell

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

Councillor Mrs J Pittfield

Isle of Wight Association of Parish and Town Councils

Mr R Craven (Secretary)

Community Action Hampshire

Ms H Horton

Committee for Rural Hampshire

Ms R Rutt

Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities

Mr N Goulder (Policy Manager)
Mrs D Allen (PA to Policy Manager)

Also in attendance: Councillor M Roberts, Rushmoor.

83.99 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mrs M Kyrle and Mr C Tapp (Eastleigh); Councillor J Venning (East Hampshire); Councillor K Thornber and Councillor A Collett (Hampshire); Councillor I Gibson (Portsmouth); Councillor J Steel and Mr D Cowan (Winchester); Councillor B Smith (New Forest); Councillor M Morgan-Huws (Isle of Wight); Councillor S Cully (Gosport); Councillor B Clements and Mr J Brooks (Poole).

84.99 MINUTES

The minutes of the meeting held on 24 September 1999 were agreed as a correct record, subject to the inclusion of the Havant representative (Mr Frank Campbell), omitted from the list of those present.

85.99 NEW POLITICAL MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS

The Honorary Secretary introduced the report and led the debate on this matter. He invited each authority to let those present know their views on the suggested new arrangements.

Several issues arose from the debate -

Some authorities felt that the committee system had strengths and saw no reason to change.

Other authorities felt that new systems were needed to speed up decisions and give the public more confidence in local government.

All authorities were prepared to implement any necessary changes by the end of 2000. Some authorities had local area committees in place, some would be changing to this system, and it appeared that these could be incorporated.

The majority of those present were in favour of the Leader/Cabinet option although it was agreed that if public opinion wished it, then they would look at the Elected Mayor option.

Most felt that the changes would do little to raise more public interest in attending Council meetings or voting at local elections. Members felt that the public were mainly interested in the quality of services provided and already knew who to contact if they were experiencing problems. It was felt that Best Value would have more impact in this respect.

The Honorary Secretary shared with the meeting the discussions he had had with representatives of Andover's twin towns in France and Germany who already had similar systems in place to those being proposed by the Government.

The Chair thanked all those present for a good debate. It was apparent that all Local Authorities were willing to try to embrace the changes.

RESOLVED -

That a joint workshop be arranged for Members to consider the implementation aspects of the legislation as it emerges.

86.99 REGIONAL PLANNING GUIDANCE

Robin Smith introduced the report of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight SERPLAN Co-ordination Group.

Many concerns were raised about the Crow report, including:-

The proposed rate of housing growth in the South East from now until 2016.

The lack of brownfield sites and the inevitable consequence for the countryside.

The size and type of housing to be provided and need for more smaller, affordable houses either to rent or buy.

The need to protect the New Forest from expansion of Southampton docks.

The importance of the commercial ferry port and docks at Portsmouth.

Attention was drawn to the National Housing Federation research, recently published, which calls for significant increases in the quantity of subsidised housing in the South East. (A copy of the research summary has been sent to all authorities and is available from the Association on request).

RESOLVED

That the Association,

(1) Calls for a constructive debate on housing need for the South-East;

(2) Rejects the approach taken to housing proposals in the Crow Report;

(3) Endorses the approach taken by SERPLAN to RPG for the period to 2016, and

(4) Urges the Secretary of State to publish a draft RPG which recognises the need for local authorities to have greater ability, through Local Plans, to determine the balance of housing provision by density, size and tenure.

and that a letter be sent from the Association to the Secretary of State to include the reference to the ports of Portsmouth and Southampton.

87.99 STRATEGIC DEFENCE REVIEW

Peter Robertson introduced a joint report produced by Hampshire County Council and Gosport Borough Council on this subject which set out by district or unitary area the impact of the implementation of the Review to-date, as well as some general comments on the cross- cutting issues raised.

Implementation of the recommendations in the Review had begun and in most respects was following the proposed timetable. However, since July 1998, certain issues had emerged which had altered the detail. These included decisions on:-

The use of training areas.

The restructuring of the Territorial Army.

English Heritage and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport guidelines for the disposal of historic buildings.

The changing international situation.

RESOLVED

(1) That the Association continues to maintain a watching brief on the Strategic Defence Review as the issues and principles set out in the paper are clarified as the Review is implemented.

(2) That, where appropriate, the Association lends support to individual Authorities where decisions flowing from the Review continue to affect particular localities.

(3) That the Association recognises and continues to support the work of Member Authorities, Hampshire Economic Partnership, the Training and Enterprise Council, and Business Link in supporting defence dependant firms and encouraging diversification into other areas.

(4) That the Association continues to highlight the fact that the needs of the defence sector are effectively dealt with in the emerging SEEDA Regional Economic Strategy.

88.99 IMPLEMENTING THE EARLY YEARS AND CHILDCARE DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP

John Wilkinson, the Head of the Corporate Unit for Early Education and Childcare of Hampshire County Council introduced his report on this matter.

Since his last report to the Association, the Government had given full approval and support funding for the Plan. It was now being implemented by the Partnership with assistance from the newly established corporate unit for early education and childcare. Similar partnerships were being developed in Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight.

The scale of the task was very significant. On average, about 20 new childcare groups were needed each year in each district council area. It was felt that if real progress was to be made there should be full liaison between the County and District Councils. Funding allocations within the Plan allowed for a contribution from the Partnership towards the cost of development work. Agreements had now been reached by the Partnership with some district councils. Member approval was being sought and negotiations were being conducted with others. However, further efforts needed to be made with a few.

In addition to support in local development work for childcare, member authorities could be of great help during the planning stages for new housing in recognising the need and encouraging the provision of community childcare facilities in such developments. Similarly, assistance in continuing to make readily available existing community provision for early education and childcare was of great benefit.

The appointment of two officers to serve on the Early Years Childcare Development Partnership would be dealt with by the Chief Executives' Group.

The appointment of a member to serve on the Families and Children Joint Sub-Committee would be dealt with later on the agenda.

The Chairman thanked Mr Wilkinson for his report.

RESOLVED

(1) That the Association welcomes the inclusion of member authorities as active partners within Early Years Development and Childcare Plans.

(2) That the Association supports and encourages commitment from member authorities in the development of childcare initiatives.

89.99 CENTRAL-LOCAL INFORMATION PARTNERSHIP (CLIP) "QUALITY OF LIFE" INDICATORS PROJECT

Brian Barker, Environmental Co-ordinator at Eastleigh Borough Council, introduced this report prepared jointly with Portsmouth City Council.

Eastleigh Borough Council and Portsmouth City Council were two of thirty authorities in a national pilot project developing "quality of life" indicators. The indicators were relevant to work on Local Agenda 21, Community Plans and Best Value.

The LGA, IDeA, Audit Commission and DETR had been working together over several years through the Central-Local Information Partnership to develop indicators as measures of progress towards sustainable development. They aim to promote these types of indicators and to create a balance between consistent reporting nationally and the need for local flexibility. The timetable for the pilot project was very tight as the DETR would like to publish draft guidance at the end of March 2000.

The report set out the different approaches of Eastleigh and Portsmouth to the project, and asked for guidance on networking the results of the pilot.

The Honorary Secretary suggested that this work could be taken forward by the Hampshire Environmental Co-ordinators' Group in relation to LA21 and Community Planning, and by the Best Value Network in relation to the implications for Best Value.

RESOLVED

That the work on quality of life indicators be encouraged and the existing officer groups be used to share experience gained from the Pilots.

90.99 TELECOMMUNICATIONS TRANSMISSION DEVICES - PLANNING AND HEALTH

Councillor David Simpson (Hart) introduced a report prepared by Grahame Jelbart, the Chief Executive of Hart District Council.

Many of those present expressed their concerns, as did the report, as to the possible harmful effects especially to children, of the emissions from telecommunications masts. Councillor Simpson pointed out that under the Maastricht Treaty, it was within Local Authorities' power to refuse planning permission for telecommunications masts if public objections were strong enough. Those present were advised to bring this to the attention of their planning officers.

The report set out a suggested local code of practice which councils could draw up with the telecommunications industry.

RESOLVED

(1) That Member Councils be recommended to adopt a policy that no telecommunications equipment be permitted on their property within 200 metres of residential dwellings, schools and hospitals/health centres.

(2) That all schools within the County and Cities be requested to apply the precautionary principle with regard to the siting of additional telecommunications equipment on their property.

(3) That Health Authorities and health facilities within the County and Cities be requested to apply the precautionary principle with regard to the siting of additional telecommunications equipment on their property.

(4) That Councils be advised to ensure that HSE is consulted on all planning applications for telecommunications equipment and alerted to all prior approval notifications.

(5) That Councils be advised to draw up a local code of practice with the telecommunications industry, as detailed in the report.

(6) That the Association lobbies to get the planning system changed with regard to telecommunications, particularly with a view to getting the precautionary principle enshrined in the planning process.

(7) That Councils be advised it would not be feasible to make an Article 4 direction to remove permitted development rights for telecommunications transmission devices within 200 metres of any school, hospital/health centre or residential dwelling because the Secretary of State is unlikely to give his prior approval.

91.99 FUNDING FOR FLOOD DEFENCES

Grahame Jelbart, Chief Executive of Hart District Council, introduced his report which sought support from Association members in its bid to obtain more funding from the Government for flood defence activities. It also objected to the way Government departments attempt to direct local authorities.

During the debate it was pointed out that flood defence was a matter of real concern to all local authorities in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight as the effects of global warming would start to affect the area in years to come.

The Policy Manager advised that a representative from the Environment Agency had been invited to make a presentation to the Association meeting in March 2000.

RESOLVED

(1) That the Association notes with concern the increasing attempts by Government and its agencies to direct local authorities.

(2) Representations be made to the Environment Agency that all authorities be equitably funded to meet flood defence targets.

(3) That the officers consider the impact of the funding arrangements for flood defence on Member Authorities in advance of the meeting with the Environment Agency scheduled to take place in March 2000.

92.99 PROGRAMME OF MEETINGS 2000/2001

The meeting considered a report of the Honorary Secretary listing meeting dates and venues for Association meetings for the years 2000-2001.

RESOLVED

That the dates for meetings in 2000/2001 as set out in the report be approved.

93.99 APPOINTMENT OF DISTRICT COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES

(a) SERPLAN

RESOLVED

That Councillors J Morgan (Test Valley) and R Jones (Hart) be appointed to serve as deputy district council representatives on SERPLAN.

(b) Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust

RESOLVED

That Councillor J Murray (Fareham) be re-appointed to serve as a district council representative on the Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust.

Councillor D Atwell (Winchester) pointed out that although not wishing to be re-elected, he would be prepared to continue as a district council representative until a replacement was found.

(c) Hampshire County Council's Families and Children Joint Sub-Committee

RESOLVED

That Councillor M Roberts (Rushmoor) be appointed to represent district councils on the Families and Children Joint Sub-Committee.

94.99 CHANGES IN FARMING - PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS

The meeting received a presentation from Councillor S Band (Hart) and Councillor A Jackson (Test Valley) on this subject.

They raised various issues of concern including the fact that changes in British farming had increased in recent years and would not stop, the fact that it was important to improve communication between farmers and local authorities (especially with regards to planning) and other agencies to foster greater understanding. They stressed that British farming competes in a tough European and global market and needed to link diversified farming to preservation of local landscapes.

Councillor Band suggested some practical solutions such as councils, the farming community and the public sharing knowledge and planning ahead. Many rural buildings could have new beneficial non-farming uses, providing local acceptability of schemes which meet local needs with high quality design.

Councillor Jackson concluded by asking whether councils had considered how to help local farming meet inevitable change. Councils would have to consider how to ensure continued prosperity and social inclusion in their rural areas and aim to encourage farming diversification. They should aim to prevent countryside degradation by being alive to the need for farming to adapt and cross-subsidise its activities in new ways while channelling the changes to the benefit of the local and general public and protect and enhance our much-loved Hampshire landscapes.

The Chairman thanked Councillors Band and Jackson for their presentation.

95.99 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND REGIONAL ASSEMBLY

SEERA had considered the Regional Planning Guidance and the Crow Report. Councillor Keith House (Chair of SEERA) would prepare a written report on other issues for the next Association meeting.

96.99 LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION (LGA) EXECUTIVES

(a) HIOW Membership on LGA Executives

The meeting noted this report which set out HIOW's membership on LGA Executives. Councillor Keith House (Eastleigh) commented that the Conservative Party in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight was under-represented on the LGA Executive Committees. He asked that more Conservative members put their names forward for nomination to LGA Executives.

(b) LGA Social Affairs and Health Executive

The meeting received and noted a report-back prepared by Councillor Maureen Robinson (New Forest). The Chairman thanked Councillor Robinson for her report.

97.99 WORK OF THE REGIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ADVISORY COMMITTEE (REPAC).

The meeting received and noted a report-back prepared by Councillor Brenda Smith (New Forest) on the work of REPAC. Councillor Mrs Smith was thanked for her report.

98.99 DATE OF NEXT MEETING

It was noted that the next meeting would be held on 28 January 2000 at New Forest District Council.

Last update: 25/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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