- There was 1 public question from Ms
J Armstrong with relation to Agenda Item 11 - Local Plan Submission
Modifications (Policies) re Policy HC2, proposed modification
- The PPM responded to the public
question and suggested that the proposed modification be left as an
issue for the Planning Inspector to consider through the
examination process, clarifying that the public representation had
been made in writing and would be supplied to the Inspector. He
stated that the Council had appraised the area and were satisfied
that it met the qualifying criteria and contributed to openness,
and further commented that Members were in a difficult position to
make a judgement on this matter without seeing the land.
He cautioned Members against applying weight
to the Examiners comments put forward in the report regarding the
emerging Blakeney Neighbourhood Plan referenced by the Public
Speaker, stating that the Examiner’s final decision had not
yet been reached.
The PPM noted a couple of issues raised in the
submission and commented that there was no requirement for open
land areas to be publically accessible, this was therefore not a
consideration, nor would Officers rely upon the fact that a site is
located within a conservation area or AONB, as they were separate
designations made for different considerations. The PPM stated that
the determining factor for this matter was whether the parcel of
land contributed towards the openness of that part of Blakeney.
- The public speaker was granted a
supplementary question and asked for evidence cases which related
to the garden.
- The PPM advised that Officers had
appraised all existing open land areas of the core strategy,
undertaken site visits and assessed whether the existing boundaries
should be retained or not. He stated that the criteria for
designation required subjective assessment.
The PPM noted the conflicting assessments from
two different Inspectors, one with regard to a Planning Appeal and
the other in relation to the emerging Blakeney Neighbourhood Plan,
forming two opposing views as to whether the land should be
designated. He concluded that the Planning Inspector for the Local
Plan would be best placed to make a decision through the
- Cllr J Toye agreed with the course
of action set out by the PPM and questioned if Members were
sufficiently qualified to make a judgement and stated that the
Inspector for the Local Plan would be a specialist sitting above
opinions and would consider all representations submitted through
the examination process.
- Cllr V Gay noted this would be a
third Inspectors decision, and there was grounds to consider that a
third decision would be decisive. She asked whether there had been
other gardens in the District treated in the same manner as this
parcel of land.
- The PPM advised other land had been
treated in the same manner, and reiterated the qualifying criteria
was whether a piece of land contributes to openness of this part of
the settlement in a positive meaningful way, irrespective of its
use. He confirmed it was a subjective opinions based assessment of
the quality of space, and not its function. The PPM noted the
historic nature of the site, being one of openness as part of the
larger pastures, which had subsequently changed with the land owner
forming boundaries around the curtilage of their property, altering
the character of that area from the date of its original
designation under the core strategy. He
advised that Officers have since specifically reviewed each
designated open land area and had formed the opinion that the land
continued to deserve designation, and concluded that the fairest
approach would be for the Local Plan Inspector to come to a
decision as part of the examination process.
- Cllr N Dixon considered that he was
not sufficiently well informed of both arguments, including pros
and cons to make a decision either way, and stated he was content
to accept the PPM’s recommendation.
- The PPM noted that the public
speaker’s representation was contained within a later item,
and should Members accept the Officers recommendations, the
modification would not be accepted and would be put before the
Local Plan Inspector for consideration.
The PPM advised that all written
representations made at the Regulation-19 (Reg-19) stage would be
presented to the Local Plan Inspector, along with working party
papers, minutes, transcripts of the meetings and others. He further
added that, as part of the process it was often the case that the
Inspector invited individuals to make representations at hearing
sessions. It was at the Inspector’s discretion to allow
representations, with the PPM advising these were public meetings
which anyone was able to view.