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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Swale House. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services, 01795 417330 

No. Item


Fire Evacuation Procedure

The Chairman will advise the meeting of the evacuation procedures to follow in the event of an emergency. This is particularly important for visitors and members of the public who will be unfamiliar with the building and procedures.


The Chairman will inform the meeting whether there is a planned evacuation drill due to take place, what the alarm sounds like (i.e. ringing bells), where the closest emergency exit route is, and where the second closest emergency exit route is, in the event that the closest exit or route is blocked.


The Chairman will inform the meeting that:


(a) in the event of the alarm sounding, everybody must leave the building via the nearest safe available exit and gather at the Assembly points at the far side of the Car Park. Nobody must leave the assembly point until everybody can be accounted for and nobody must return to the building until the Chairman has informed them that it is safe to do so; and


(b) the lifts must not be used in the event of an evacuation.


Any officers present at the meeting will aid with the evacuation.


It is important that the Chairman is informed of any person attending who is disabled or unable to use the stairs, so that suitable arrangements may be made in the event of an emergency.



The Chairman outlined the emergency evacuation procedure.



To approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 20 September 2018 (Minute Nos. 221 - 227) as a correct record.



The Minutes of the Meeting held on 20 September 2018 (Minute Nos. 221 – 227) were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.


Declarations of Interest

Councillors should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves or their spouse, civil partner or person with whom they are living with as a spouse or civil partner.  They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.


The Chairman will ask Members if they have any interests to declare in respect of items on this agenda, under the following headings:


(a)          Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI) under the Localism Act 2011.  The nature as well as the existence of any such interest must be declared.  After declaring a DPI, the Member must leave the meeting and not take part in the discussion or vote.  This applies even if there is provision for public speaking.


(b)          Disclosable Non Pecuniary (DNPI) under the Code of Conduct adopted by the Council in May 2012.  The nature as well as the existence of any such interest must be declared.  After declaring a DNPI interest, the Member may stay, speak and vote on the matter.


(c)          Where it is possible that a fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts would conclude that there was a real possibility that the Member might be predetermined or biased the Member should declare their predetermination or bias and then leave the room while that item is considered.


Advice to Members:  If any Councillor has any doubt about the existence or nature of any DPI or DNPI which he/she may have in any item on this agenda, he/she should seek advice from the Monitoring Officer, the Head of Legal or from other Solicitors in Legal Services as early as possible, and in advance of the Meeting.




Councillor Monique Bonney declared a non-pecuniary interest as she was Chairman of the Five Parishes Group.



Responses to 'Looking Ahead' consultation pdf icon PDF 288 KB

Additional documents:


The Principal Planner introduced the report which set-out the results of the ‘Looking Ahead’ consultation, and included representations from the accompanying quick questionnaire.  The Principal Planner explained that Members were being asked to note the comments that had been received, plus there were some cases where officers sought steers from Members on whether to commission further supporting evidence.


The Principal Planner provided an overview of the various sections within the report.  The first section gave the headline about the consultation, and he considered the level of responses had been relatively good for this stage of the process, with responses from local residents, particularly in Sittingbourne and the surrounding area.  He referred to page 5 of the report which outlined the ‘big’ themes which had come out through the consultation process.  These had centred on concerns with the housing growth, and that infrastructure and environmental resources were stretched.  There had been a strong view that more was needed to be done to protect the environment.  The Principal Planner drew Members’ attention to the appendices within the report, and explained that a number of them had been available for Members to view in the Members’ Room.  Appendix I provided a summary of the responses, and an indication of any actions to take forward.  Appendix II showed pie charts which indicated results from the quick questionnaire and the top preference and overall preferences.  Appendix III set-out meeting notes from four workshops that had been held during the consultation.


The Principal Planner welcomed a steer from Members and whether they considered any additional evidential work needed to be commissioned.


The Chairman proposed the recommendations in the report, including the proposals outlined on page 33 of the report, and this was seconded.


In response to issues raised by Members the Principal Planner explained that  consideration of different types of housing, such as for the disabled/elderly would be taken into account in any case within the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), another key piece of evidence to be reported in 2019.  He also explained that issues were mainly considered Borough-wide, and neighbourhood areas were often more difficult to focus on, as this involved more ‘drilling-down’ of the data to small area level.  However, this would be looked into as part of the SHMA work.


A Member considered the consultation response rate had been ‘appalling’.  The Principal Planning Officer gave an example of a response rate of 6% at another Local Authority, and the Member estimated that the response rate in Swale for this consultation had been 0.28%.  The Member explained that she was unhappy in the way the consultation had been presented to the public, it had been very complicated, there was a lack of paper copies of the consultation, the online portal had been a ‘nightmare’, and the pie chart data had not added much clarity to the responses.


In response, the Principal Planner explained the methodology around the data provided by the pie charts, as indicated on page 188 of the report, and at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 291.


Revised National Planning Policy Framework and implications for the Swale adopted Local Plan and the emerging Local Plan review pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Additional documents:


The Chairman thanked officers for the report and welcomed Jill Peet, Principal Planning Officer, to the meeting.


The Principal Planning Officer introduced the report which set-out a brief overview of the revised NPPF following its revision published on 24 July 2018.  She advised that the revised NPPF only applied to local plans submitted for examination after 24 January 2019, and so the local plan review for Swale would be assessed against the revised NPPF.


There was some discussion on whether the housing target needed to increase in the Borough.  The Principal Planning Officer explained that this was outlined in paragraph 59 of the revised NPPF ‘Delivering a sufficient supply of homes’.  She stated that a SHMA would be carried out in accordance with the NPPF new standard methodology, to establish overall housing targets and the type and tenure of houses needed within that total.


In response to a question, the Spatial Planning Manager explained that the minimum number of housing was already set, through the NPPF and accompanying Practice Guidance on standard methodology, published on 25 October 2018.  This advised that the starting point for establishing the housing target was based for now on 2014 housing projections and this would not be going down.  She added that any plans submitted to the Secretary of State after January 2019 would be subject to using the standard methodology.  Local Plan Reviews were mandatory every five years; and should the housing target no longer be in accordance with the relevant Office for National Statistics household projections and standard methodology, then a Local Plan would be out-of-date and not NPPF compliant.  Actioning these findings through reviewing targets and land allocations was then imperative.  In response to a further question, the Spatial Planning Manager explained that the recently released 2016 based ONS household projections had shown a downward trend nationally.  Adhering to these to set new local plan housing targets would not enable the Government’s national target of 300,000 dwellings annually to be met.  The latest Planning Practice Guidance had therefore advised that local planning authorities continued to use the 2014 based projections until further notice.  In Swale’s case there was very little difference between 2014 and 2016 based projections, so the target estimate of around 1,050 dwellings in the Looking Ahead consultation was not likely to change significantly.


The Chairman proposed the recommendations in the report and this was seconded.




(1)          That the content of the report and the implications of the revised National Planning Policy Framework and Practice Guidance for the emerging local plan review; and adopted Local Plan policy be noted.


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