Agenda and minutes

Strategic Planning & Environment Overview & Scrutiny
Tuesday, 10th October, 2017 7.30 pm

Venue: Conference Room 2 - The Forum. View directions

Contact: Katie Mogan  Member Support

No. Item



To agree the minutes of the previous meeting.


The minutes of the Strategic Planning and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 12 September 2017 were confirmed by the members present and signed by the Chairman.



Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillor S Hearn.



Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


There were no declarations of interest.



Public Participation


There was no public participation.



Consideration of any matter referred to the Committee in relation to Call-In




Development Management Update pdf icon PDF 90 KB


A Horner introduced the item and ran through the main highlights of the report.

-       The paperless transition with town and parish councils has gone well and there has been positive feedback at the bimonthly meeting with the hardware and software that has been provided.

-       There are still issues with the operation of the public website and its functionality. The department is aware of the issues concerning comments that have been submitted not appearing on the website but work is ongoing with the IT department and supplier to resolve this.

-       Members were assured that all documents were being received and officers have all the information available to them to take into account when making their decision. The function issue on the website is only affecting the public.

-       There has been a change to the scheme of delegation and the Development Management Committee has changed from a three week cycle to monthly. This change seems to be working well despite initial timing issues – these have been resolved through better agenda management and reordering the agenda prior to the meeting to allow all applications with speakers to go first.

-       Planning performance agreements have been introduced which allows for greater interaction with applicants and has increased income. This has helped to manage the overall processing of applications and if it is believed that the application may take longer than the statutory time, then officers agree a more realistic timetable with the applicants. This also protects the council from having to refund planning fees if the decision hasn’t been made in the time stated.

-       There is a positive trend in fee income. The government released a white paper which could potentially allow local authorities to increase their planning fees by 20%, this legislation should be before parliament very soon and hope it will be in place by the end of the financial year.

-       There has been a steady and sustained increase in planning applications – we are expecting the LA3 application to be submitted before Christmas which is expected to be 1100 homes and schools. This one of the biggest applications that Dacorum has ever dealt with and requires a large number of resources. A case officer can generally deal with about 30-40 small applications at one time, but officers dealing with major applications only have about 2-3 cases. The LA3 application has meant working with 3rd parties such as HCC and the CCG.

-       The Brownfield Land Register is currently in production which will identify sites for development. Some of these sites will be given permission in principle which gives the department a different method to authorise development.

-       The department is working with IT to find a replacement for Acolaid which will be a big project. It is an important opportunity to learn lessons from the previous system, look at how to improve efficiencies and have a better public interface. This process will take several months and currently soft market testing is underway to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 122.


Draft Two Waters Masterplan Guidance pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Additional documents:


J Doe introduced the item to members and said the purpose of the report was to report back on the results of the public consultation.

-       Regeneration work in the town started a few years ago mainly in the town centre. The north side of the town centre from the Civic Centre and onwards is next to be regenerated.

-       Two Waters is an area with sites that could help meet the housing need in the borough.

-       Previously, workshops were held for residents alongside facilitators and consultants to gain residents view on what type of regeneration they would like to see and this has influenced the current version of the draft masterplan guidance.

-       The draft masterplan guidance went out for consultation and it gained a mixture of support and opposition but it is hoped that the guidance will help steer and guide changes that will happen anyway for the better.

-       The masterplan guidance will be used as a Planning Statement for material consideration when assessing planning applications and will also help inform the new Local Plan. It is expected to be adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) once the new Local Plan is adopted.

-       Two Waters is a triangular area, including the area between the Plough roundabout and Hemel Hempstead and Apsley rail stations. It is hoped the vision for Two Waters will bring new residential led mixed use development and lift the environmental quality of the area and open up natural resources like the canal and the moor.

-       Part of the plan is to encourage additional improvements to infrastructure like the car park and transport interchange at Hemel Hempstead train station. The council doesn’t own this land but the masterplan creates a framework to respect the design of the local area as development comes forward.

-       There seemed to be a misunderstanding regarding site 4 and people thought that Sunnyside Rural Trust would be lost. The masterplan sets out land for development if and when it becomes available. The Council is committed to maintaining the facility and this has been reiterated in DBC’s response.  The council do own this site so they can take control of its future.

-       Next steps: Further studies will be needed. Planning applications have started to come forward and they will need to undertake their own detailed studies through the planning application process.

Councillor Birnie referred to J Doe’s point about environmental quality. He said there was no mention that Apsley has failed to meet air pollution targets and further development will surely only increase this. Secondly, he said he was appalled to hear that the proposals are for eight storey buildings around the station especially when the vast weight of public opinion was against this.

J Doe said they are not ignoring the consultation outcomes but this is not a rigid plan for the area. Future planning applications will have to be of a sensitive and careful design. The points about overlooking can be addressed once an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 123.


Work programme pdf icon PDF 105 KB


Councillor Timmis asked if rural crime could be included in the fly tipping report at the next meeting.

Councillor Anderson advised against this as this would stray into the Housing and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s remit. He advised Councillor Timmis that the best forum for this would be the Dacorum Community and Safety Partnership.

J Doe said the Dacorum Development Programme and the Parking Standards reports that were due to come to this meeting will be deferred to the January meeting.