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Paper 3 - 22 March 2002 meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Minutes of the Association meeting held at Eastleigh Borough Council on 25 January 2002 at 10.00 am.

Present:

Basingstoke and Deane

Mrs K Sporle (Chief Executive)
Mr T Curtis (Director of Planning and Transport)

East Hampshire

Councillor Mrs E Cartwright
Mr P Burton (Chief Executive)

Eastleigh

Councillor K House
Mr C Tapp (Chief Executive)

Fareham

Councillor R Price
Councillor S Woodward
Mr A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Councillor P Edgar
Mr M Crocker (Chief Executive)
Mr D Ottley (Chief Planning Officer)

Hampshire

Councillor K Thornber
Councillor A Rice
Councillor M Woodhall
Mr P Robertson (Chief Executive)
Mr T Greenwood (County Planning Officer)

Hart

Councillor P Hutcheson
Councillor D Simpson
Mr C James (Acting Chief Executive)

Havant

Mr F Campbell (Acting Head of Paid Service)

Isle of Wight

Councillor Mrs B Lawson
Councillor H Rees

New Forest

Councillor Mrs M Holding
Mr D Yates (Chief Executive)

Portsmouth

Councillor R Pettigrew
Mr N Gurney (Chief Executive)
Mr P Newbold (City Planning Officer)

Rushmoor

Councillor J Marsh
Mr A Lloyd (Chief Executive)

Test Valley

Councillor A Jackson (Vice-Chairman)
Councillor B Palmer
Mr A Jones (Chief Executive and Honorary Secretary of the Association)
Ms M Winter (Head of Planning)

Winchester

Councillor S Campbell
Councillor C Sutton
Mr D Cowan (Chief Executive)

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

Councillor Mrs J Pittfield
Mrs S Hudson (Director)

Isle of Wight Association of Parish and Town Councils

Mrs B Lawson

Community Action Hampshire

Mr R Tulloch (Chief Executive)

Eastleigh Community Services

Mr K Dufton

Local Government Association

Councillor Mrs M Robinson (Social Affairs and Health Committee)

Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities

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

Also in attendance:

Hampshire Constabulary

Chief Inspector J Campbell

Hampshire Fire and Rescue

Mr J Bonney (Deputy Chief Fire Officer)

Government Office for the South East

Mr C Byrne

DTLR Modernisation Team

Mr J Haward

1.02 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from the Chairman, Councillor D Gillett (Havant); Councillor B Gurden (Basingstoke and Deane); Councillor S James (East Hampshire); Councillor Mrs M Kyrle (Eastleigh); Councillor B Wheeler (Hampshire); Councillor K Moss (Havant); Councillor Mrs S Smart and Mr A Kaye (Isle of Wight); Councillor P Moyle (Rushmoor), and Councillor R Sabine (Winchester).

2.02 MINUTES

The minutes of the meeting held on 30 November 2001 were signed by the Vice-Chairman as a correct record.

With regard to item 59.01 (Travel Concessions for the Blind and Partially Sighted), Isle of Wight reported that it was considering putting concessions for the blind in place.

On item 56.01 (presentation by Alan Whitehead MP) it was noted that for some authorities the RSG settlement had been far from "reasonable".

With regard to item 60.01 (Response to the Government’s Consultation on the Proposal to Establish A New Health Authority for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight) Councillor Maureen Robinson reported that the public consultation paper on health scrutiny had now been published. Mr Tapp (Eastleigh); confirmed that this issue would be on the agenda for the next Association meeting in March.

The Policy Manager reported that Councillor Virginia Wilson-Smith had been appointed to the South East England Regional Cultural Consortium (item 63.01).

3.02 "DELIVERING A FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE" - THE GOVERNMENT’S PLANNING GREEN PAPER

Alan Jones introduced this report and commented on the content of the Green Paper. He set out five suggested points for discussion:

ˇ How do we achieve a "simpler to understand" system?

ˇ How do we improve the speed, efficiency and predictability of the process?

ˇ What is the most appropriate level for strategic plans?

ˇ How do we make local planning more relevant to the local community?

ˇ How do we make development control more responsive to our customers?

The Chairman introduced Mr Paul Newbold, Chair of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Planning Officers’ Group and Mr Tim Greenwood, County Planning Officer.

Mr Newbold felt that whilst there was a lot to be commended in the Green Paper, there were also many "gaps". He raised specific concerns of Planning professionals which the Government needed to address.

Mr Greenwood, County Planning Officer accepted that change was necessary but felt that the changes proposed here were not based on rigorous survey and analysis. The problems of contradictory Government advice and increasing legal challenge were not addressed.

On forward planning, Mr Greenwood argued that there was an overwhelming case for a statutory County involvement in the proposed new arrangements to give spatial expression to the County community strategies which were to be prepared, secure integration with transport planning, integrated with the service planning of County functions and other major service providers, to give spatial expression to matters identified in regional plans and to deal with minerals, waste and other natural resource planning.

On development control he argued that whilst the Green Paper’s aim of a flexible and criteria-based system was laudable, he felt it would not deliver difficult decisions.

During discussion the following points arose:

ˇ Fareham pointed out the cost and public input to the local plan, only to find significant development taking place on appeal

ˇ the Isle of Wight felt that change was being forced through with undue haste

ˇ Councillor Keith House (Eastleigh and Chair of LGA Planning Executive) argued that this was a genuine consultation, leading straight to legislation without an intervening White Paper. The LGA were encouraging authorities to give it full and proper consideration, responding toward the end of the consultation period

ˇ the Regional Spatial Strategy was genuinely new and not intended to replace local authority plans

ˇ Members recognised the pressure to change the planning system and reduce the "levels" of planning. The role of the County Council was acknowledged. The Local Development Framework should be prepared jointly, retaining the integrity of the County planning service

ˇ East Hampshire expressed concern at the potential "chasm" between regional and local plans. Members also stressed the importance of enforcement

ˇ the voluntary sector expressed concern about major speculative planning applications, and there was general approval for increased charges and fees for pre-application advice

ˇ the County Council complained that the proposals were dominated by the issue of housing, and stressed the lack of regional identity in the South East

ˇ the Government Office pointed out that Ministers were aware of the tension between speed and predictability on the one hand and open-ness and involvement on the other. The Government was seeking a compromise and authorities should try and help achieve one. Many of the details were still to be worked out and the Government would welcome proposals for how the objectives set out in the Green Paper could be achieved.

Colin Byrne answered some of the points and promised to report back to DTLR and GOSE.

The Chairman thanked Paul Newbold, Tim Greenwood and Colin Byrne for their input.

4.02 "STRONG LOCAL LEADERSHIP -QUALITY PUBLIC SERVICES" - THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT WHITE PAPER

The Chairman introduced Mr John Haward of the DTLR Modernisation Team to the meeting.

Mr Haward outlined the work of the DTLR Team in the production of the White Paper. He spoke about the historic view of central government in relation to local government. He felt that the content of the present White Paper on balance was very positive.

The "acid tests" for the White Paper would be:

ˇ the extent to which "ring-fencing" is reduced

ˇ the nature of the freedoms for higher performing councils

ˇ the nature of the performance indicators and their management.

Members expressed support for the intentions of the White Paper, but concerns about the levels of control and potential funding problems. There was strong support for retention of the Area Cost Adjustment.

Mr Gurney referred to the Audit Commission’s intention to base the comprehensive assessment framework on self-assessment. This could be very positive for local government.

The Chairman thanked Mr Haward for his presentation, and Mr Haward agreed to report back to DTLR.

5.02 POLICE REFORM: INTEGRATION OF CRIME AND DISORDER REDUCTION PARTNERSHIPS AND DRUG ACTION TEAMS

Mr Gurney drew attention to the report by Mr Alan Higgins, Chief Environmental Health and Trading Standards Officer at Portsmouth City Council, which gave details of the Government’s consultation process on the proposed integration of Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships and Drug Action Teams. The report also highlighted the problems which this planned merger could produce.

RESOLVED

(1) That the Association does not support the integration of Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships and Drug Action Teams because of the difficulties in integrating the structures and the need to maintain clear focus on the issues; and

(2) That the Association supports the need for the Drug Action Teams to be placed on a similar statutory footing to the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships and to work in the context of the Local Strategic Partnerships and build on the role of locality Drug Reference Groups.

6.02 COMMUNITY STRATEGY FOR HAMPSHIRE: CROSS-COUNTY ARRANGEMENTS

Consideration was given to a joint report by the Chief Executive of Hampshire County Council and the Policy Manager which sought approval to the appointment of two representatives from the HIOW Association to participate in a meeting to be convened by Hampshire County Council for 12 March 2002 to consider the development of a county level partnership to deliver a county community strategy. Three nominations had been received.

Councillor K Thornber (Hampshire) suggested that one representative be sought from authorities in the north of Hampshire and one from the south. It was also suggested that the representatives be appointed to serve initially until June 2004 at which time this would be reviewed. After discussion, Councillor Mrs Cartwright (East Hampshire) withdrew her nomination.

RESOLVED

That Councillors Sean Woodward (Leader, Fareham) and Councillor Peter Moyle (Deputy Leader, Rushmoor) be appointed to represent the Association on the County Local Strategic Partnership.

7.02 APPOINTMENTS TO OUTSIDE BODIES

South East Rural Forum

This Forum would be a "regional sounding board" to represent a wide range of rural interests including local authorities. The proposals from the Government Office for the South East sought one Unitary; one District and one County representative. The six local authority associations in the South East, had been asked to find three such representatives. Provisionally, it had been agreed that the Thames Valley Association would appoint a Unitary member; Sussex and HIOW would appoint a District member and Kent/Surrey would appoint a County member.

Members did not agree with the suggested template. Instead it was suggested that the South East County Council Leaders should appoint a County Council member, the Unitary Authorities in the South East should appoint a Unitary Council member and the South East District Councils appoint a District representative. It was also suggested that the various authorities take it in turns to appoint representatives. The other alternative was to allow the South East England Regional Assembly to make the appointments.

RESOLVED

That the names of Councillors Chris Butler (East Hampshire) and Councillor Tony Jackson (Test Valley) be put forward as District Council representatives.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Area Sports Board

This Board had been established to "promote and develop sporting activity in the area". Two names were put forward to represent District Councils on this body - Councillor Alan Ferrier (Rushmoor) and Councillor Graeme Smith (Eastleigh).

RESOLVED

That Councillor Alan Farrier be appointed to serve on the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Area Sports Board.

8.02 BUDGET AND SUBSCRIPTIONS 2002/2003

Consideration was given to a joint report by the Honorary Treasurer and the Policy Manager which set out the Association’s Monitoring Report for 2001/2002 and gave details of the Association’s budget. The report also recommended that the subscription unit be increased in line with inflation to £2,250 for 2002/2003.

Councillor Brian Palmer (Test Valley) welcomed the reduction in the Association’s reserves.

RESOLVED-

(1) That the monitoring report for 2001/2002 be noted;

(2) That the budget for 2002/2003 be approved; and

(3) That the Association’s membership subscription unit be increased in line with inflation to £2,250.

9.02 NEXT MEETING

It was noted that the next meeting would be held on Friday 22 March at Winchester City Council.

Last update: 12/03/2002
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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