Agenda item

Councillor questions under Council Procedure Rule 4.5(k)

The deadline for Members questions is at least three clear working dates before the meeting - Wednesday 18 September 2019.


The Members’ questions and responses are attached to the minutes.


Members asked the following supplementary questions, the answer to some which would be provided in writing later in the week. [For ease of reference the answers are set out in square brackets below]:-


Further to his questions, Councillor Bullivant commented that the Council had zero debt when the current administration took over and refuted the claims of financial mis-management in the previous administration. He was disappointment with the lack of information in the responses to his questions.


The Portfolio Holder for Corporate Services referred to the Audit Scrutiny Committee 21 March 2019 minutes which stated Council’s net exposure to external borrowing in the four year period of 2019-2023, would be around £45 Million if all the proposed projects went into the Capital Programme.


Further to his questions, Councillor Connett asked supplementary questions with regards to what action the Council would take to improve the relationship with the Environment Agency, what action was being taken to bring the Environment Agency to account for the dumping of 10.000 tonnes of soil, and assurance to Whitstone residents if the Environment Agency do not enforce their own legislation.


[The Portfolio Holder for Planning thanked Councillor Connett for the supplementary questions. He had every sympathy with local residents on the subject of the threat of flooding from run off from this land, having witnessed at first-hand how rapidly water levels can rise in this area during adverse weather conditions. He would therefore very much hope that these supplementary questions and other questions can be properly resolved at the meeting arranged with Business Manager Strategic Place to which local residents and the Environment Agency have also been invited.]


Further to Councillor Bullivant’s supplementary question regarding the Fur Trade, the Portfolio Holder for Waste Management & Environmental Health commented that the notice of motion was to support the Market Inspectors and Trading and Standards.


Councillor Daws asked a supplementary question with regards to his three times asked question of why was it publicly stated in 2012 that the population forecasts in 2033 were 151k when the 2012 ONS forecasts were 138k. He had communication from the 18th December 2012 from APC that delivered these numbers to you and the rational that supported the fact that the housing numbers creating an oversupply. Something that is now apparent. 


[The Portfolio Holder for Planning responded that his answer to this was as noted in my earlier written response - but for the record, it was not possible to prepare this report until the Executive had considered whether an update of the 2013-2033 Local Plan was required at the 5-year review point. As has been pointed out since, due to the legal requirement under the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to comply with the Government’s increased housing need calculation of 760 houses per year, we continue to have a 5-year land supply, albeit with a reduced margin.


You are correct in saying the five year land supply is a live document in that it should assess our year-on-year housing completions (with windfalls) together with our unbuilt allocations. You are incorrect, I am sad to say, in continuing to refer to the 2012 figure of 620 houses per year in any workable sense. While you dispute this figure, I am sure you would acknowledge it was found sound by the Planning Inspector in 2014 - however the only number which any Planning Appeal Inspector would recognise today is the one with which we are now obliged to move forward in our review - the Government’s housing need calculation for our District of 760 houses per year.]


Councillor Daws asked a supplementary question to his second question, he commented that to halt the environmental disaster that is the current Local Plan, could the Council commit to a full and proper review of the Local Plan? One that looks at sites and housing numbers and balances these fully against an holistic zero carbon planning approach that puts the protection of the natural world at its centre. As Sir David Attenborough outlined recently, crimes against the natural environment will soon be seen as morally defensible as the slave trade. Can the council do everything it can to halt our currently flawed Local Plan and stop Teignbridge District Council being rolled out as worst practice in legal case law for decades to come. 


[The Portfolio Holder for Planning confirmed that the Council was committed to a full and proper review of the Local Plan, looking at all sites and the quantum of housing within them. This review will also be informed by those external and local organisations (such as ClientEarth and ACT) whereby best science can be encouraged and employed to help us towards our ambitious zero carbon 2025 target for our district.]


In response to Councillor Parker-Khan supplementary question, the Leader commented that he shared the Councillors concerns regarding the Devon and Somerset Fire Authorities consultation process and that they did not accept the Council’s invite to address Members.


In response to Councillor Parker-Khan supplementary to her second question, the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change Emergency and Housing commented that the Council was committed to look at all its services to address the climate change emergency and the appointment of a Climate Change Officer would support this commitment going forward. 


Councillor Mullone asked a supplementary question regarding the process of entering into Section 106 agreements before planning permissions were approved, was this pre-determination of planning applications and questioned the five year land supply and housing numbers.


The Portfolio Holder for Planning commented that in the case that mentioned that the Section 106 agreement was necessary to protect the Council should an application be determined at appeal.


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