In accordance with paragraph 1.32 of the Council Procedure Rules and Appendix 7 to the rules, a total period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to speak at the Council meeting on the items of business on the agenda only. Individual members of the public may speak for up to 2 minutes, but the Chairman will have discretion to vary this requirement where they consider it appropriate.
Members of the public wishing to ask a question or make a statement at the meeting should provide at least three clear working days’ notice in writing and should include the question with that notice. This will enable an informed answer to be given.
Ken Edwards asked that the SADPD be referred back to the Strategic Planning Board indicating that it was flawed. The Strategic Planning Board had previously asked Cabinet to provide robust evidence that there were still special circumstances justifying the taking of additional safeguarded land from local service centres. This, in his view, has not been done. On behalf of Bollington Civic Society and residents of Bollington he asked the Council to recognise that it was not more housing that was needed but more open space within towns for leisure and recreation and asked for the SADPD to referred back for further detailed consideration on the safeguarded land issue.
Michael Burdekin stated that the proposal to allocate eight greenbelt sites in local service centres did not satisfy the NPPF requirements for exceptional circumstances and indicated that there was legal advice which concluded that policy's PG 3 and PG 4 required the Council to determine whether or not it was necessary to release further land from the greenbelt to be designed at safeguarded. He stated it appeared the council had not carried out any assessment within this version of the SADAP. The SADAP therefore required modification to make it legally compliant.
Nicole Roberts Morris, chair of Save Bollington Greenbelt group, referred to the sites in Bollington removed from the greenbelt for safeguarded land and indicated that the Council had not demonstrated the exceptional circumstance required by the NPPF. She stated that the sites chosen were unsuitable and the proposals were not legally compliant.
Alan Morris referred to the amount of safeguarded land and stated that its removal from the greenbelt on the basis of exceptional circumstances was completely unfounded. There was, in his opinion, no consideration of the need for safeguarded land included in the SAPDP; that there were no policy requirements to exceed the 36,000 dwellings housing requirement; and that policy PG12 should be deleted to make the SADPD legally complaint.
Robert BoSmith stated that was clear that council planners and officer had no intention of listening and responding to the view of communities from the SADPD consultation exercise, in his view. He stated that they had ignored the comments from residents, and they had ignored the spirit of the local neighbourhood plan. He stated that the community objected strongly to the taking of the greenbelt land in Bollington. The sites were, in his view, unsuitable for development and that these sites had been acquired over 40 years ago by speculative developers who had repeatedly put planning applications in which had been rejected due to being in the greenbelt and land contamination. The land formed a natural green break between the original historical parts of Bollington and was situated on the edge of the conservation area. He asked that the proposals for safeguarding land in Bollington be withdrawn.
Lillian Burns, on behalf Prestbury Parish Council, referred to the removal of additional greenbelt land for development and to a legal opinion obtained by three parish councils which had concluded that there was no definitive reference to the removal of 200 hectares of land and that policies do not prejudge the evidence of need. In her view, no definitive proof had been offered in the SADPD that any of the exceptional circumstances existed for the greenbelt to be removed.
Simon Tappenden stated he was concerned about the environmental impact of development on the sites in Bollington. Bollington had already seen an increase in development which had led to increased traffic, runoff issues at the development of Hall Hill. He raised concerns about the destruction of wildlife sites if the greenbelt land was developed.
Judy Snowball asked that the SADPD be referred back to the Strategic Planning Board. She was concerned that the SADPD was being pushed through without any proper scrutiny of the legal implications. Last October when the Strategic Planning Board had considered the SADPD, it had asked for matters raised by public speakers to be considered by Cabinet. These included the proposal for removing greenbelt to become safeguarding land begin unnecessary and did not comply with the requirements of the NPPF for exceptional circumstances and this this be fully evidenced and the need for development demonstrated in the SADPD but no detailed consideration was given to these matters at the Cabinet meeting.