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Paper 2 - 29 September 2000 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Annual Meeting of the Association held at Hampshire County Council on Friday 2 June 2000 at 11.00 am

Basingstoke and Deane

Councillor J Evans

Councillor B Gurden

Mrs K Sporle (Chief Executive)

East Hampshire

Councillor Mrs E Cartwright

Mrs J Hunter (Chief Executive)

Eastleigh

Councillor K House

Councillor Mrs M Kyrle OBE, JP

Mr C Tapp (Chief Executive)

Fareham

Councillor D Murray

Councillor S Woodward

Mr A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Councillor P Edgar

Mr M Crocker (Chief Executive)

Hampshire County Council

Councillor A Collett

Councillor A Rice

Councillor T Thornber

Councillor W Wheeler

Councillor M Roberts

Councillor M Woodhall

Mr P Robertson (Chief Executive)

Hart

Councillor P Hutcheson

Mr C James (Head of Strategy)

Havant

Councillor D Gillett (Chairman)

Councillor M Shorten

Mr R Smith (Chief Executive)

Isle of Wight

Councillor Mrs S Smart

Mr B Quoroll (Chief Executive)

New Forest

Councillor S Hayes

Councillor Mrs M Robinson

Mr D Yates (Chief Executive)

Portsmouth

Mr B Partridge (Head of Chief Executive’s Department)

Rushmoor

Councillor R Debenham

Councillor D Tucker

Mr A Lloyd (Chief Executive)

Test Valley

Councillor B Palmer

Councillor A Jackson

Ms E Gault (Policy Officer)

Winchester

Councillor A Mitchell

Councillor R Sabine

Mr D Cowan (Chief Executive)

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

Mrs J Pittfield

Mrs S Hudson (Director)

Isle of Wight Association of Parish and Town Councils

Mrs B Lawson

Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities

Mr N Goulder (Policy Manager)

Mrs D Allen (PA to Policy Manager)

Government Office for the South East

Mr C Byrne (Director, Hampshire and Isle of Wight)

Community Action Hampshire

Mr D Atwell

DETR

Ms A Atkinson

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor F Cowper (East Hampshire); Councillor R Jones (Hart); Councillor M Kendal (New Forest); Councillors Blair, Shaddock and Worley (Portsmouth); Mr A Jones (Hon. Secretary) and Chief Inspector J Ballard (Hampshire Constabulary).

30.00 WELCOME

Councillor K Thornber (Chairman of Hampshire County Council) welcomed all those present to the meeting.

The Chairman welcomed Councillor Mrs Shirley Smart (Leader, Isle of Wight Council), Mr David Yates (Chief Executive, New Forest), Mr Colin Byrne (Government Office for the South East) and Ms Avril Atkinson (DETR) to the meeting.

31.00 ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN

There were two nominations for the role of Chairman for the year 2000/2001: Councillor B Palmer (Test Valley) and Councillor D Gillett (Havant).

RESOLVED -

That Councillor D Gillett be elected Chairman of the Association for the year 2000/2001.

Councillor D Gillett took the Chair for the remainder of the meeting and expressed the Association’s appreciation to Councillor B Palmer for his Chairmanship.

32.00 ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIRMAN

There were two nominations for the role of Vice-Chairman for the year 2000/2001: Councillor A Jackson (Test Valley) and Councillor R Sabine (Winchester).

RESOLVED -

That Councillor A Jackson be elected Vice-Chairman for the year 2000/2001.

33.00 MINUTES

The Chairman signed the minutes of the meeting held on 24 March 2000 as a correct record.

Arising from the minutes, Councillor B Palmer reported that the motion submitted to the Local Government Association (LGA) Assembly regarding the Local Government Bill (minute 28.00) had been incorporated into the LGA’s lobbying strategy on the Local Government Bill. The LGA had written to the Association to say that:

"the issue raised in the motion from the Association formed a central part of the LGA lobbying strategy on the Local Government Bill. The LGA is seeking to produce a compromise solution before the Bill returns to the Lords which will enable authorities to work up so-called locally developed models and to be able to submit such models to the Secretary of State. As the Association is already taking action on this issue, the motion was not selected for debate at the General Assembly".

The LGA thanked the Association for submitting the motion.

34.00 BRIEFING FROM THE DETR ON THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BILL

The Chairman introduced Avril Atkinson who had been seconded from East Sussex County Council to the DETR Local Government Modernisation Team.

She gave details of her remit, and the role of the Modernisation Team. She updated those present on the Local Government Bill and spoke about two parts of the legislation, firstly, Part II, and then Part I.

On Part II, she reported that the "fourth option" was being seriously considered, but Ministers felt that there was enough flexibility within the proposed constitutions for the Government’s three options to cover most requirements. "Status quo" was not an option. All options would include an executive/scrutiny split. She had received substantial feedback from Local Authorities in Hampshire which she had passed on to the DETR.

On Part I of the Bill, she reported on the duty for Local Authorities to prepare Community Strategies and the power to promote economic, social and environmental well-being. Guidance on the preparation of Community Strategies had been kept as non-prescriptive as possible. There was no timetable for preparation of Community Strategies and may be no requirement specifically to prepare a Community Strategy document. She emphasised the importance of the Community Strategy process.

Ms Atkinson was asked about the timetable for introducing the new local authority constitutions. Authorities would be required to agree their new constitutions by June next year, and to implement them in 2002. Civil servants were still talking about the Bill receiving Royal Assent in July. Delay until October would not affect the overall timetable.

Members discussed the implications of the Bill. Whilst the new power was welcomed, the new constitutional requirements were seen as a retrograde step, involving extensive Whitehall interference. This was not seen as a route to greater local participation in democratic affairs.

The Chairman thanked Avril Atkinson for her presentation.

35.00 DRAFT REGIONAL PLANNING GUIDANCE FOR THE SOUTH EAST

Robin Smith, Chief Executive of Havant Borough Council, introduced his report on the Draft Regional Planning Guidance for the South East. He also circulated a resolution regarding housing provision which would be placed before the SERPLAN Conference on 12 June. He reported that many of the points already raised by the Association had been included in the latest draft RPG. He also stressed that not all aspects of RPG9 were bad - there were positive elements such as transport and employment.

Contained in the report were various key issues which had been suggested for a joint response for submission to the Government.

Consideration was given to an amendment from Hampshire County Council together with other amendments suggested by those present.

Discussion took place on the report and the various amendments and alterations to the submission.

RESOLVED -

That the report, together with amendments, be approved and that the joint response set out in the Annex to these minutes be submitted.

36.00 LEARNING AND SKILLS COUNCIL FOR HAMPSHIRE AND THE ISLE OF WIGHT

Andrew Lloyd, Chief Executive of Rushmoor Borough Council, introduced his report which outlined the proposals to set up a Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. This would take over responsibility currently held by the Education Funding Council, the Training and Enterprise Councils and some current local authority functions. The LSC would have significant local powers in relation to further education and training. Close collaboration with local authorities would be essential if the Government’s aims in this reorganisation were to be achieved.

The report drew attention to the fact that the Hampshire and the Isle of Wight LSC would be one of the largest in the country and would be one of only two LSCs with a local satellite base. This would be located in Newport, Isle of Wight.

Mr Lloyd encouraged local authority members to put themselves forward for representation on the LSC. The Isle of Wight Association of Parish and Town Councils expressed a wish for a fair representation from the Isle of Wight.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the importance of local authority collaboration with the new Learning and Skills Councils (LSCs) be recognised; and

(2) That Members consider the question of local authority participation on the local LSC.

37.00 THE ASSOCIATION’S ANNUAL REPORT 2000 AND REVIEW OF ACTION PLAN TO 2001

Consideration was given to the report of the Policy Manager which reviewed the work of the Association over the past year and gave a list of priorities for the coming year.

The Policy Manager drew attention to the importance of "adding value" to Association member meetings and asked for feedback on the Annual Report.

Winchester expressed concern on the lack of debate on health issues over the past year. This was felt to be an important issue. Mr Tapp, Chief Executive of Eastleigh Borough Council and lead officer on health, agreed to produce an update for members on health matters.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the Annual Report be published in the form of a Newsletter giving information about HIOW and its work; and

(2) That the review of the Action Plan be noted and priorities for the forthcoming year be approved.

38.00 APPOINTMENTS TO OUTSIDE BODIES

The Policy Manager introduced his report which gave District Council representatives on outside bodies and the arrangements for reporting-back. There were two vacancies.

After discussion and voting, Councillor D Gillett (Havant) was elected to serve on the Hampshire Economic Partnership and Councillor D Roach (Test Valley) was elected to serve as an ‘alternate’ on SERPLAN.

It was also agreed to replace Councillor S Hayes (New Forest) with Councillor A Jackson (Test Valley) on the Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the current District Council representatives who have been appointed over the last twelve months be confirmed in their positions on outside bodies with the exception of Councillor A Jackson replacing Councillor S Hayes on the Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils;

(2) That the new appointments made to vacant positions be approved; and

(3) That representatives be thanked for their work and asked to continue with regular reports-back.

39.00 THE ASSOCIATION’S BUDGET AND SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR 2000/2001

The Policy Manager introduced his report which set out details of the Association budget monitoring report and the level of subscriptions for the coming year.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the budget monitoring report for 1999/2000 be noted;

(2) That the budget for 2000/2001 be approved; and

(3) That the subscription unit of £2,200, agreed by the Association in January, be confirmed (representing a 2% reduction on last year).

40.00 SOCIAL AFFAIRS AND HEALTH EXECUTIVE MEETING 18 APRIL 2000

Consideration was given to a report from Councillor Mrs Maureen Robinson, New Forest District Council on a meeting of the LGA Social Affairs and Health Executive Meeting held on 18 April 2000. With regards to the formation of a joint task group to support the activities of the Drug Action Teams set out in paragraph 5 of the report, Councillor Mrs Robinson reported that Mr C Tapp, Chief Executive of Eastleigh Borough Council, and herself had been appointed to serve on that body.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

41.00 DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The Policy Manager reported that details of the Seminar on the Local Government Bill to be held in Andover on 21 July would be circulated shortly.

He recommended that in view of the lack of planned business, the meeting scheduled for 28 July be cancelled. This was agreed.

The Policy Manager circulated a note setting out details of a Local Authority/ Environment Agency Liaison meeting together with a short tour of the Whiteley development to be held on 28 July. The Environment Agency would circulate precise details in due course.

The next meeting of the Association would now be held on 29 September at Gosport Borough Council commencing at 10.00 am.

RESOLVED -

That the above arrangements be noted and agreed.

Response to RPG9 - Draft Regional Planning Guidance Consultation

This Association represents all the principal councils (County, Unitary and District) in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight with the current exception of Southampton. The Local Associations of Parish and Town Councils are also members.

The Association considered RPG9 on 2 June, in advance of SERPLAN's conference on 12 June. This letter constitutes the Association's approved response.

Core Strategy for the Region

The Association supports the core strategy and key development principles, which are essentially those drawn up by SERPLAN in consultation with ourselves and other partners.

Sub-Regional Strategies

We note that the section on the Blackwater Valley (12.56) suggests a joint study. The principle of such a study to help inform the preparation of development plans and other documents is supported. We submit that the responsibility for the preparation of the study should be a matter for the relevant local authorities.

In addition, we suggest that a strategy for the sub-region covering the PAER for South Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth (paragraph 12.8) needs to be prepared. Given the scale of co-operation required between the different authorities, the substantial size of the area compared to other PAERs and the complexity of the area, it will be most important that there is an effective grouping of all local authorities involved to carry forward this important sub-regional strategy.

We note that there were graphical errors within RPG9 in drawing the boundaries of the PAER for South Hampshire. We submit that the boundaries should be those proposed by SERP500, i.e. including the urban areas of Eastleigh and Havant in addition to those of Gosport and Fareham. In addition we stress the importance of the policies for the PAER to respect the integrity of the New Forest (to be designated a National Park).

Scale of Housing Development

The level of housing growth proposed for the region is not practical in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight because it relies on an increase in densities on the land identified by SERP500, and which could only be increased realistically in the final 10 years of the plan period because of developments which have already taken place and planning permissions already granted. Densities would have to increase to a level in small towns and villages to levels normally associated with the centres of metropolitan cities. If growth is not directed elsewhere (eg to the proposed growth areas in the South East) then, if the high densities are to be avoided, the new housing will take up an unacceptably large amount of greenfield space in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

The Association urges the Government to adopt the approach of a baseline provision plus reserve figure as used in the recently adopted Hampshire County Structure Plan (Review), as a pragmatic way forward dealing with housing in the region. The baseline and reserve figures should be in accordance with SERPLAN's proposals. This approach gives the opportunity of flexibility in accordance with the spirit of "plan, monitor and manage". It is particularly pertinent when considering the uncertainties that surround the availability of brownfield sites. For example, in Hampshire, because of the extensive amount of Ministry of Defence land, future land disposals could significantly affect the availability or otherwise of brownfield land.

In addition, the Association supports SERPLAN in rejecting any suggestion that the SERPLAN baseline distribution should be used for pro-rataing changes in housing allocation to each part of the region. The SERPLAN baseline distribution was never intended as a basis for such an exercise.

Regional Transport Strategy

The broad thrust of the draft regional transport strategy is welcomed. We do stress the need for investment in public transport if the strategy is to be implemented, and we look forward to the national proposals to be published by the Government.

Given the regional importance of the South Hampshire Rapid Transit proposals, this scheme should specifically be named in the detailed investment programme contained in the regional transport strategy.

The multi modal studies identified in the regional transport study are supported. It is disappointing that the commencement of the A34 north of Southampton study is not sooner than "after 2001". The A34 road and rail corridor provides access to important markets in the north and has been identified by the business community as important to the local regional and national economy. In view of this and the growing problems of congestion (road and rail) in the corridor, GOSE is urged to bring this particular study for early commencement.

Implementation

The main weakness in the consultation paper is its failure to address implementation. One example is the need for more specific measures to bring brownfield land into use, and to address the VAT anomalies between housing conversions, extensions and new build: there should be a tax advantage for brownfield development, not a tax disadvantage. The Association fully supports SERPLAN's representations on the need for some tougher implementation mechanisms. We are particularly asking the Regional Assembly to consider this issue.

Last update: 05/10/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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