Agenda and draft minutes

Strategic Planning & Environment Overview & Scrutiny - Tuesday, 1st December, 2020 6.30 pm

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No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To agree the minutes of the previous meeting.

Additional documents:


The minutes from the previous meeting were agreed by the members present and will be signed by the Chairman at the next available opportunity.

There were some incomplete action points from the last meeting.
C Thorpe said officers were aware of the request from the committee to advise ward members if new trees were to be planted in their wards and an email would be distributed by the end of the week.
Councillor Timmis said she had not received an email about the powers of the Animal Welfare and Public Health Officer. J Deane said he would follow this up.



Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillor Barrett and Councillor Ransley.



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





Budget preparations 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 258 KB

Additional documents:


J Doe gave a presentation to members on the budget changes in his area mainly relating to Planning Performance Agreements.

Councillor Birnie referred to the estimate of £400k over the Medium Term Financial Strategy period (MTFS) and asked what the length of this period is and what the charge for the service is.

J Doe replied that the MTFS period was four years. The charges for the service are currently being reviewed and they need to be costed to adequately reflect the likely time taken by staff that need to be employed. It would be difficult to give an average charge as it would depend on the size and complexity of the issues involved from which staff will negotiate a final figure with developers.

Councillor Birnie highlighted that the presentation seemed to show this would only give an income of £70k a year and said this wasn’t a huge amount.

J Doe explained that the staffing has been costed at £110k a year on a three year projection and this will be kept under review. The estimate of £400k is a cautious one and the team will need to look at all the sites coming forward. The £400k represents 60% of the total sites coming forward. The staffing figure can be mitigated by the use of fixed term contracts so if the income does decrease, staffing can be reduced accordingly. The main pressure with new sites is in year 1 and 2 and predicting an income of £250k over that period and in years 3 and 4, the estimated excess in planning fee income will be £160k. These are cautious estimates of large sites coming forward. As a benchmark, the fee for LA3 in late 2018 for 1100 homes was £120k.

Councillor Birnie said the council already charge planning fees and this is an add on service. He said he did not think the figures would stack up in terms of resources required to fund the service.

Councillor Timmis said she felt this looks like the planning department are getting friendly with developers and there will be no need or point to any consultation with the public and parish councils which would just serve as a tick box exercise. She referred to the letter sent to the Secretary of State from the Leader about disagreeing with the housing figure targets.

J Doe said this engagement with developers was an increasing practice across councils and it is about officers working with developers to make sure they are following the council’s policies. The benefit of this is that it provides an opportunity through a structured timetable that developers will engage with the community in the early stages. The Leader of the Council has sent a letter today and the housing targets are being challenged. In Dacorum, the outcome will need to be factored into the next stage of the Local Plan.

S Whelan answered Councillor Birnie’s previous question about the charges for this service. She said this would be done on a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 150.


Hemel Garden Communities Spatial Vision pdf icon PDF 509 KB

Additional documents:


I Charie and N Bateman gave a presentation to the committee.

Councillor Timmis referred to page 40 of the report which states that if the spatial vision isn’t approved, it will present a risk to the town’s government supported garden town status. She asked officers to clarify what that meant.

I Charie explained that the council were awarded this status by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in 2019 which came with a grant split between Dacorum and St Albans. This is a government sponsored initiative and there are 49 across the country.

Councillor Timmis asked about the target number of houses for this project.

I Charie responded that there will be 11,000 homes split equally between Dacorum and St Albans and there will be 10,000 jobs created. Part of project is about how people will move around these new areas from their houses to their jobs without relying on traditional modes of transport.

Councillor Timmis commented that she felt this was a utopian vision and was concerned that there could be a lack of garden space in favour of communal outside space and the pandemic has shown how important individual outside space is. She was also concerned about the impact this would have on wildlife.

N Bateman said this was an ambitious vision and it needs to be in order to work out what we wanted from the plan. From previous member briefings, the key message has been that active and sustainable travel is key. The pictures in the presentation doesn’t represent the amount of parking or garden space and the aim was to try and put as many visual aids in as possible to illustrate things that are critical to local centres and neighbourhoods of the future. We know that gardens are key and there are great links to the countryside in Dacorum, the green network is to strengthen what is already present in the town.

Councillor Birnie referred the routes around the town on page 54 of the report. He asked what they consist of as some of it doesn’t exist at the moment.

N Bateman said the Chiltern Way link is via public rights of way, they do currently exist and there is signage but appreciate people will need to know it’s there. The Nicky Line loop is not currently connected all the way from the station to Harpenden. We need to plan to ensure the right public realm improvements are provided and navigational aids such as clear signage. The Nicky Line loop is to link up other potential routes along the River Ver, along the edges of St Albans and into Leverstock Green.

Councillor Birnie asked if they were all public rights of way.

N Bateman said there are some routes that will need to be strengthened to be delivered. The Hemel Garden Community loop involves some country lanes and will need to be improved.

Councillor Anderson said he would find it easier to support his Cabinet colleagues if one was to explain  ...  view the full minutes text for item 151.


Work programme pdf icon PDF 477 KB


Councillor Birnie reminded members to email him if there was anything they wished to add. He asked for a report to be added on the work programme on market undertaking. C Taylor said she could bring a report to committee in the new year.