The Committee discussed the Service Plan for Place (as previously circulated).
The Head of Place addressed the Committee and advised of the following additional information:
· The Authority had been provisionally approved for an award of £6.5 million from the Future High Street fund. The original application had been for £9.4 million and a reviewed budget plan had been requested to show how the reduced award amount would be spent. Over 100 Local Authorities had applied, of which 72 were successful and of those only 15 were awarded the amount they requested.
· The Five Year Land Supply was closely linked with the Joint Local Plan with Torridge District Council (TDC). It had been agreed that the two Authorities would continue to work together. A new framework document was being drawn up. Land owners and developers had been contacted to seek clarity regarding their plans and expected build-out dates. The Inspector, on appeal at TDC, had stated that the information previously obtained had not been robust, hence the additional work to re-examine those dates.
· Zoning issue had come about following the consultation and the Government’s decision was not yet known. The Government had already changed its calculations using an algorithm.
· The Economic Development plan had been put on hold due to Covid 19 and was being re-evaluated based on the new circumstances.
· The Ilfracombe Town Plan: work was being undertaken with Team Devon and the LEP on plans for a number of settlements across Devon. Ilfracombe was viewed as a priority.
· Environmental Management System – working to ISO guidelines/British standards to create a database.
· An updated Service Plan would include the Climate Action Team (CAT) group work.
In response to questions from the Committee, the Head of Place advised of the following:
· A first draft for the job specification for the Climate Change Officer post had been passed to TDC’s Climate Action Team for consideration. TDC had approved the recruitment of a full-time permanent officer whereas NDC had wanted the post to be temporary initially.
· It was not anticipated that the Authority would be required to provide financial ‘top-up’ the shortfall from the Future High Street award.
· The drawings published as part of the future High Street bid were artist’s impressions and not based on exact plans and any planning applications would still need to be submitted and (hopefully) approved as any other applications would. The Authority wished to see a variety of business sectors in any redeveloped areas and would adopt the role of curator for the areas. This included the Pannier Market and Butchers Row area.
· The current Local Plan had to be reviewed every five years but a system had been proposed which would result in this to be carried out every three years.
· The Authority continued to work with TDC as the areas combined and were integrated geographically and it ‘made sense’ economically. Although there was a Government White Paper which was reviewing boundaries in Somerset there was nothing relevant to Northern Devon.
· The Authority had an Infrastructure Funding Statement (IFS) which would be available shortly. The schedule would provide clarity regarding what was expected in each area, where Section 106 (s106) funds had been allocated and what had been delivered. The IFS was required to be submitted to the Government. It would first be presented to the Senior Management Team (SMT).
· The IFS was part of the CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) legislation.
· Work was ongoing by the Planning team to provide a facility by which Members could access s106 information.
· The Barnstaple in Bloom campaign had been well supported in the past by local traders and the community.
The Chief Executive confirmed that:
· The White Paper did cover Somerset and two other areas (not Northern Devon) and there were no other incentives to seeking re-organisation during the current Parliament.
· The Authority had not repaid any s106 payments back to a developer for five years.
· The post of Climate Action Officer would be shared with TDC as both Districts shared the same issues. The matter of whether the post would be permanent or temporary was to be resolved.