Agenda item



  1. 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 reference LPS252.


  1. 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.


  1. The public speaker was granted a supplementary question and asked for evidence cases which related to the garden.


  1. 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 examination process.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.