Glastonbury Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group held on 25th May 2016 in the Council Chamber at Glastonbury Town Hall at 7pm.
PRESENT: Gerard Tucker (Neighbourhood Planning Officer), Cllr Emma George, Cllr John Brunsdon, Cllr Jon Cousins, Cllr Alyson Black, Cllr Lindsay MacDougall, Cllr Steve Henderson. Kevin Redpath, Malcolm Higgins, Paul Lund
APOLOGIES: Cllr John Keery, Theo Wilson, Helen Moore, Paul Manning
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
Each person present provided a brief synopsis of their involvement in Glastonbury in addition to an introduction of themselves.
Gerard provided an overview of the purpose of a Neighbourhood Plan, The detail of the process was explained, which included the benefits, timescales and costs likely to be incurred. He further explained that the Neighbourhood Plan should not be confused with a Community Plan and the differences were explained. The plan, on completion is presented firstly to Mendip District Council for their comment and input before being presented to an independent examiner. Should the plan and proposed policies be considered robust enough, then it is presented to the entire population of Glastonbury for their vote and hopefully endorsement at a referendum. Only at this stage do the policies local to Glastonbury become statute in planning law.
The anticipated time-scale for delivery of the Plan is two years. Gerard informed that the formal processes at either end of the plan will take up approximately six months of this time. He further informed that the bulk of the community engagement required will take place between September 2016 and April 2017.
TERMS OF REFERENCE
A draft Terms of Reference was presented to the meeting. The following was agreed: There is a requirement that the Steering Group will meet a minimum of six times per year. The Steering Group will consist of no more than sixteen members, of which there will be an equal number of councillors to non-councillors represented. The group will be quorate when there is a minimum of six people present, of which no more than 50% of the representation are councillors. (This is to ensure that the plan is driven by the wider community and not an extension of the Town Council, even though they have commissioned the plan and are the accountable party). The Terms of Reference have included a requirement for reference to the Town Councils Code of Conduct, which will be made available on request for those who wish to see the detail. Similarly, there will be a standing item on future agendas for Declarations of Interest.
Two points of order were raised. 1) Two of those attending who are considering becoming members of the Steering Group are District Councillors and sit on the MDC Planning Committee. Will this be permitted or will they have to regularly declare an interest to both the Glastonbury NHP and Mendip District Council? 2) Jon Cousins is employed by Locality who promote Community and Neighbourhood Planning. Will he have to declare an interest and be permitted to vote on items raised by the group? Gerard agreed to seek answers to both of these questions through his contact at Mendip District Council and will report to the next meeting of the group.
APPOINTMENT OF THE STEERING GROUP
At this point, those present were asked if they were clear on the expectations of a Neighbourhood Plan, particularly the processes and commitment involved to help it come to fruition. The opportunity was then provided for anyone present who considered that involvement was not for them, to stand down! Thankfully everyone present indicated their willingness to continue.
Discussion continued on the groups participants and the following had indicated to Gerard their willingness to stand on the Steering Group: Councillors: Alyson Black, John Brunsdon, Jon Cousins, Emma George, Steve Henderson, John Keery, Lindsay MacDougall (Cllr Avalon had indicated a willingness to involve, yet was neither present or sent apologies). Community representation: Malcolm Higgins, Paul Lund, Paul Manning, Heather Moore, Kevin Redpath, Theo Wilson. Two additional people were suggested and an approach would be made to them both to see if they are willing to stand.
APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN, DEPUTY CHAIRMAN AND SECRETARY
Jon Cousins was proposed and seconded as Chairman. As there were no other nominations, he was duly appointed. Both Kevin Redpath and Emma George were proposed as Deputy Chairman. Emma informed that she felt it more appropriate that a community representative took this role and she stood down. Kevin Redpath was duly elected. Gerard Tucker informed that he was prepared to take on the role of Secretary, which was agreed.
DESIGNATED BOUNDARY OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN
A plan of the municipal boundary of Glastonbury was passed around. Gerard informed that if an additional area was added to Glastonbury’s Neighbourhood Plan, or an area not included, the process of registration and consultation would take longer. There would also need be a good reason provided as to why the municipal boundary was not the boundary for the plan. It was proposed and seconded that the municipal boundary of Glastonbury be submitted to Mendip District Council as the designated Neighbourhood Plan area.
Length of term the plan is expected to serve. After an interesting discussion, it was proposed that the plan should serve a period of time to 2028, which conforms with the refresh of the Local Plan. Agreed.
DESCRIBING THE CONSULTATION PROCESS AND WHAT IS INVOLVED
Gerard informed the group that there may possibly be sources of funding to assist with the preparation and delivery of the Neighbourhood Plan. He informed that there is likely to be a requirement to undertake a Housing Needs Assessment, which to be conducted fully and professionally may require external input. It was agreed at the next meeting to try and get someone from the Rural Community Council to attend and inform of their possible involvement with a housing needs survey.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan will be held on Wednesday 6th July at 7.00pm in The Town Hall. The next meeting following this one is scheduled for Tuesday 6th September.
The meeting closed at 8.35pm