Agenda and minutes

Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel - Wednesday 18th November, 2020 10.30 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Susan Lightwing 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


There were no declarations of interest received at this point in the meeting.


Minutes - Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel - 7 October 2020 pdf icon PDF 162 KB


The minutes of the meeting of the Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel held on 7 October 2020 were taken as read and approved as a correct record.


Parking On Grass Verges pdf icon PDF 958 KB

The Environment Services Manager and the Head of Stronger Communities will be in attendance to provide information in relation to parking and associated damage to grass verges

Recommendation: for Panel to determine whether further information is required


The Environment Services Manager and the Head of Stronger Communities were in attendance at the meeting to provide information in relation to parking on grass verges. Parking on, and vehicular damage to, grass verges was a persistent problem throughout the town. Levels of car ownership had increased and many households owned two or more vehicles, which in turn led to greater demands and competition for available parking space. Many older housing estates had narrow access roads and a significant number of amenity areas. Houses in these areas often fronted onto large grassed areas rather than direct road frontages.


Narrow roads could result in drivers parking on verges in an effort to avoid obstructing the road for through traffic and, in particular, emergency services vehicles, refuse collection vehicles and removal/delivery vans. Traffic calming features could often displace vehicles from the carriageway onto adjacent verges and footways.


Parking on verges could cause structural and environmental damage and reduce verges to an unsightly state, presenting a potential hazard to the public through deep rutting. In addition it made them more difficult and expensive to maintain, and could cause damage to trees, roots and underground infrastructure. It could also cause a danger to pedestrians and other road users, particularly at junctions or pedestrian crossing places, by blocking visibility. Maintenance operations such as grass cutting and street cleanings could be impeded. There was also the potential for conflict between residents who wished to park on the verges and those who wanted them protected.


Whilst residents were generally aware that they should not be parking on the verge there were several reasons why they persisted including:


·         front door access - parked as close to their property as physically possible.

·         fear that the vehicle would be vandalised if parked too far away from their property.

·         concern about damage to wing mirrors and the vehicle.

·         lack the alternative facility of in curtilage parking.

·         choose to park on the grass verge because it is available and involves less effort than parking on driveway.

The Council received complaints from a variety of sources relating to: obstruction, damage, access difficulties, road safety issues, neighbour disputes and general annoyance. Complaints were often associated with requests for verge hardening, provision of new or additional parking facilities, bollards or knee rail in the verge, or new or additional parking restrictions.


In October 2012, the Council’s Executive formally approved a methodology and systematic approach for dealing with requests for parking interventions and to address problems concerning road safety, accessibility for emergency services, buses and areas of damage to either grass verges or footways as a result of the regular occurrence of parked vehicles.


The decision-making process implemented recommended one of three outcomes: prevention, accommodation or no action.


Options for prevention included:

·         Introduce new waiting restrictions.

·         Report to local neighbourhood policing team.

·         Introduce local pavement parking ban.

·         Provide Pavement crossing.

·         Edge Treatment - bollards, knee rail, barriers, planting.

·         Advisory road markings.

·         Mediation.

It was highlighted that consideration needed to be given to the impact of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/21


Update on the Local Plan

The Head of Planning will be in attendance to provide an update on the Local Plan

Recommendation: Panel to determine whether further information is required


The Head of Planning was in attendance and provided an update on Middlesbrough Council’s Local Plan. The Housing Local Plan was adopted in November 2014. There was a requirement to review the Local Plan every five years, however the Council decided to review that Plan in 2016 since certain parts of the Development Plan at that time still dated back to 1999.


In October 2018 the reviewed Local Plan reached publication stage. The Council approved the Plan and it went out to consultation in December 2018. A significant number of objections were raised, particularly from members of the public, and also from several statutory bodies including Historic England, Sport England and the Environment Agency. The Planning Advisory Service (PAS) were also consulted to look at the Plan to see whether there were any gaps in it prior to submission to the Secretary of State for approval. The Local Plan was due to be submitted in June 2019, following the Local Elections.


The PAS review also took into account the changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which were introduced in May 2019 and post-dated the publication of the draft Plan. The PAS reviewed noted that there were gaps in the evidence base and additional work needed to be completed prior to submission. There were also some policy gaps in the Plan primarily due to the change in the NPPF in 2019, in relation to affordable housing, strategic policy, effective use of land and the Plan period. The NPPF changes also included that the Local Plan had to cover 15 years beyond the adoption date. The Council had two options- to either continue with the submission or put it on hold.


Following the Local Elections in May 2019, and the subsequent changes in administration, the Publication Draft of the Local Plan was formally withdrawn in July 2019. The impact of withdrawing the Local Plan was not that significant since, as identified by PAS, there was additional work to be undertaken. One of the key concerns was the impact on the Council’s ability to stop Developers dictating where house building would take place. The key test was whether Middlesbrough had a five year supply of land for house building and delivery. Middlesbrough still had around a seven year supply of housing land and the delivery test was also met. The Council did still need to have a new Local Plan in place to enable it to tackle its priorities.


The Council then had to the review the evidence base on which the Local Plan was based and had therefore reviewed the following elements:


·         Retail/Town centre.

·         Housing Needs Study.

·         Gypsies/Travelling show people assessment.

·         Employment Land Review.

·         Green Blue Infrastructure Strategy.

·         Transport Study.

·         Playing Pitch Strategy.


The revised timetable for adoption of the revised Local Plan was set out in the presentation and had anticipated adoption in Spring 2021. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there had been a number of impacts on the timetable including engagement with communities, consultants and key  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/22


Middlesbrough Regeneration Post Covid-19 Scrutiny Review

The Head of Planning will be in attendance to provide information in relation to Planning Reforms

Recommendation: Panel to determine whether further information is required


The Head of Planning provided a presentation in relation to planning reforms and proposals in the recent Government White Paper.


Two key changes had been made in respect of Permitted Development Rights. For single storey dwellings there were now permitted development rights to add one storey and for two storey dwellings and discrete blocks of flats, an additional two storeys could be added. There were however a number of restrictions in place and prior approval from the Local Authority was required. Secondly, discreet offices and business buildings could be demolished and rebuilt as residential development or apartment blocks without the need for formal planning permission. Again similar restrictions applied and they could be limited to a maximum size of property that replaced them. Design was another prior approval issue that could be taken into consideration.


The Government had also introduced new use classes under the Use Classes Order. Class E for commercial business and service uses and Class F for local community and learning. Class E had been split down into 11 categories and it was possible to limit a use to within those use classes. It was not clear yet what the permitted development rights would be changing between each. At this moment in time the permitted development rights which were in existence before that new use class still applied. Hot food takeaways had been put into what was called 'sui generis' meaning that any change of use from, or to, a hot food takeaway would require planning permission and there were no associated permitted development rights. The importance of Class F, which was split into F1 - learning and non residential institutions and F2 - local community, was that the provision of local facilities was very important and key in developments. This provided a specific use class for such local facilities.


There were five key areas in the Planning Reform White Paper as follows:


Streamline the planning process with more democracy taking place more effectively at the plan-making stage, and replacing the entire corpus of plan-making law.

·         Take a radical, digital-first approach to modernise the planning process, moving from a process based on documents to a process driven by data.

·         To bring a new focus on design and sustainability.

·         Improve infrastructure delivery and ensure developers play their part, through reform of developer contributions.

·         To ensure more land is available for the homes and development people and communities need, and to support renewal of town and city centres.

The white paper was broken down into three pillars:


Pillar One: Planning for Development,  had ten proposals:

1. Simplifying local plans.
2. Development management policies set at national level.
3. Local Plan subject to a single statutory ‘sustainable development’ test.
4. Standard method for establishing housing requirement figures.
5. Automatic planning permission for areas of growth.
6. Decision making should be faster.
7. Local Plans should be visual, map-based, and standardised.
8. Statutory timetable for preparing Local Plans.
9. Neighbourhood plans to be retained.
10. Stronger emphasis  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/23


Overview and Scrutiny Board Update

The Chair will provide a verbal update on matters considered at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 5 November 2020


The Chair provided a verbal update on items considered at the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 5 November 2020.


Date of Next Meeting - Wednesday 16 December 2020 - 10.30 am


Any other urgent items which in the opinion of the Chair, may be considered