Planning and Transport Policy Committee
MINUTE of MEETING of the PLANNING AND TRANSPORT POLICY COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Thursday 7 March 2002 at 4.00 pm.
Present: Councillors DAVID SELFRIDGE, JOHN HENDERSON, ALEX KING, STEWART McGLYNN, IAN MACKINTOSH, ROBERT MYLES, GEORGE NORRIE MBE, HELEN OSWALD, KITTY RITCHIE, RICHARD SPEIRS and SANDY WEST.
Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN OBE and Councillor ALISTAIR GRAY.
Councillor SELFRIDGE, Convener, in the Chair.
1. EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS
The Committee resolved, in terms of Standing Order 27(2), that the public and press be excluded during consideration of item 2 below, so as to avoid the disclosure of information which was exempt in terms of Part 1 of Schedule 7A to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, paragraphs 6 and 8.
2. ANGUS TRANSPORT FORUM REQUEST FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
With reference to Article 9 of the minute of meeting of the Economic Development Committee of 28 February 2002, there was submitted Joint Report No 291/02 by the Chief Executive and the Director of Planning and Transport recommending that financial assistance be granted to the Angus Transport Forum in respect of the Demand Responsive Transport Pilot Project for the Angus Glens area.
The Report indicated that there was an urgent need to consider this matter arising from the rejection by the Scottish Executive of funding bids under the Rural Challenge Fund and the Rural Community Transport Initiative. It was considered that the pilot project provided an excellent opportunity to help overcome some of the transport barriers faced by rural residents in accessing employment and services while also addressing some elements of social exclusion.
The Committee agreed:-
- to homologate the decision of the Director of Planning and Transport, in consultation with the Convener of Planning and Transport Policy Committee, in respect of its financial contribution; and
- to note that in kind support was also being provided by the Planning and Transport Department, including assisting with digital mapping information for the pilot project.
3. ARBROATH ABBEY VISITORS CENTRE
Before continuing with the business of the meeting, the Convener indicated that the Planning and Transport Department had received a Scottish Award for "Quality in Planning Outstanding Performance and Quality of Design on the Ground" for the work it had undertaken with the Arbroath Abbey Partnership for the Arbroath Abbey Visitors Centre. On behalf of the Committee he commended the Director and his staff for their achievement, following which the Committee viewed a video of the Visitors Centre which formed part of the award submission.
4. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING
The minute of meeting of this Committee of 24 January 2002 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.
5. GRANT TOWARDS THE PURCHASE OF A WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE VEHICLE FOR OPERATION ON A NEW LOCAL BUS SERVICE TO BOTH STRACATHRO AND NINEWELLS HOSPITALS
There was submitted Report No 319/02 by the Director of Planning and Transport which advised members of a new service to be introduced on a commercial basis by M W Nicoll (Laurencekirk) Limited and of their request for a grant towards the purchase of a fully accessible vehicle to operate the service.
The Committee agreed to the request from M W Nicoll (Laurencekirk) Ltd for a financial contribution of £10,000 towards the purchase of a low-floor wheelchair accessible vehicle to be utilised on a new local bus service operating to both Stracathro and Ninewells Hospitals.
6. ARBROATH ABBEY TO HARBOUR TOWNSCAPE HERITAGE INITIATIVE
With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 20 April 1999, there was submitted Report No 312/02 by the Director of Planning and Transport which outlined the details of the proposed £1.810m regeneration project for the centre of Arbroath and requested authorisation to commence the project.
Having heard Councillor King welcome the Report, the Committee, for its interest, agreed:-
- to note the successful bid for match funding of £1.628m towards a project with a total budget of £1.810m;
- to authorise the Director of Planning and Transport to commence a five year "Townscape Heritage Initiative" for Arbroath, including the appointment of a Project Manager subject to legal examination of the HLF/Angus Council contract;
- to remit to the Director of Planning and Transport, in consultation with the Convener of the Planning and Transport Committee and Councillor King, the member for the Harbour Ward, to make appropriate arrangements for a Steering Group to oversee implementation of the initiative and a Project Support Group to further community awareness of the initiative; and
- to authorise the Director of Planning and Transport to consult on a review of the Arbroath No 1 Conservation Area on the basis of the proposed extensions cited in Section 7.1 of the Report, including an application to the Scottish Executive Development Department, for an Article 4 Direction as per Proposal ENV35 and Policy ENV40 of the Angus Local Plan (adopted November 2000) and to report back the findings to the Planning and Transport Policy Committee.
7. GETTING INVOLVED IN PLANNING CONSULTATION PAPER FROM THE SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE
There was submitted Report No 314/02 by the Director of Planning and Transport detailing the Council's proposed response to the Scottish Executive's Consultation Paper entitled "Getting Involved in Planning" which invited views and experiences on how people could be more effectively involved in the planning system in Scotland.
The Report summarised the scope for improvement and best practice highlighted in the Consultation Paper. A suggested response to the 32 questions was given in Appendix 2 to the Report which took full account of recent experience and current practice in consulting across a wide range of planning matters in Angus.
The Report concluded that the consultation paper raised issues on public involvement, consultation and participation across a wide range of land use planning matters and activities. Experience in Angus had confirmed that it was important to continue to pursue an open and innovative approach tailored to local circumstances and opportunities, including taking full account of land use planning requirements alongside corporate initiatives of the Council.
Whilst in respect of the development control procedures there were some good suggestions in the Consultation Paper and others worthy of further consideration, at a time when speed of processing was paramount with the Government, many of the suggestions would have the opposite effect. In many cases, additional staff and therefore additional costs, would be essential. There was also a risk of overly complicating the system and making it too costly for the user. The Executive must therefore balance the issues at the end of the day, or a poorer, not a better product, would be the outcome.
The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-
- to note the contents of the Consultation Paper published by the Scottish Executive on "Getting Involved in Planning";
- to note the proactive approach and wide ranging initiatives already adopted in Angus to consultation and involvement in land use planning, which extended beyond development planning and development control to also encompass building control, conservation and transport matters; and
- to forward a copy of the Report to the Scottish Executive as Angus Council's response to the Consultation Paper, drawing attention to the discussion in Part 4 of the Report and answers to specific questions set out in Appendix 2.
8. NATIONAL PLANNING POLICY GUIDELINE 2 (REVISED 2002): ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CONSULTATION DRAFT
There was submitted Report No 315/02 by the Director of Planning and Transport, in consultation with the Chief Executive, which reviewed the updated guidance contained in the consultative draft of National Planning Policy Guideline (NPPG2) (Revised 2002) Economic Development which, when finalised, would replace the existing NPPG2: Business and Industry which had been issued in 1993. The Report also summarised areas of particular relevance and interest to Angus.
The Report concluded that the draft NPPG reinforced the importance of the planning system to a successful economy. There was increased emphasis on dialogue and responsiveness and less on fixed allocations of employment land. Angus Council had already adopted this pro-active and flexible approach. The adopted Angus Local Plan stressed the need to respond to development opportunities where and as they arose in the rural area, whilst the finalised Dundee and Angus Structure Plan promoted a rolling system of land release and highlighted strategic employment development opportunity.
However, the Report pointed out that there was a lack of locational guidance or spatial national framework within the draft NPPG. Uncertainty regarding what comprised economic development, inconsistency in regional equality and emphasis in responding to the business community's perceived concerns about the planning system, made the draft NPPG less focused than its predecessor.
The draft NPPG itself recognised that the development plan system was subject to review and that changes to strategic (and therefore local planning) would likely require the current version to be modified.
The Committee agreed:-
- that Report No 315/02 be submitted to the Scottish Executive as the basis of Angus Council's response, highlighting:-
- land use planning matters outlined in paragraph 4.9 which required further clarification in the NPPG; and
- concerns arising from the absence of a locational framework providing spatial land use planning guidance at national and sub-national levels within the draft NPPG.
9. THE FUTURE FOR SCOTLAND'S WATERS PROPOSALS FOR LEGISLATION
With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 23 August 2001, there was submitted Report No 316/02 by the Director of Planning and Transport which commented on the provisions put forward by the Scottish Executive in their document "The Future for Scotland's Waters Proposals for Legislation" and formed the suggested basis for the Council's response to the consultation document. The Report considered and commented on areas of concern in the proposed provisions for legislation, concentrating on those elements relating to the land use planning process.
The Report indicated that the introduction of River Basin Management Planning (RBMP) was to be welcomed. The complex nature of the process and the need to integrate with a wide range of plans would necessitate partnership working and co-operation of a wide range of public authorities and other bodies. The document did little however to further clarify how things would operate in practice, and called in some instances for further investigation and consultation which was also to be welcomed. It was envisaged existing procedures would be used wherever appropriate and augmented if necessary. However, entirely new mechanisms would also be required which would inevitably have resource implications for those involved.
One major recommendation was the establishment of a network of consultative fora. These fora would be representative of all the interests in the water environment and were expected to act as standing consultative panels. The number of fora to be set up was not prescribed but it was anticipated one would be established for the Tay.
The Directive set out various deadlines by which various stages were to be achieved and, although the finalised plan was not due until the end of 2009, the deadline for characterisation of river basin districts, by the end of 2004, set a particular challenge and might involve considerable input by the Council.
One aspect of the Directive, which the Council had to continue to have regard to in this period before all the RBMP mechanisms were in place, was that no deterioration of the water status must be allowed through any activities the Council undertakes.
The Committee agreed:-
- to note the publication of the consultation document; and
- to approve the contents of the Report as forming the basis of a response to the Scottish Executive on their legislative intentions for the environmental component of the Water Environment and Water Services Bill to implement the European Water Framework Directive.
10. ACQUISITION OF LAND FOR EMPLOYMENT BARRY, CARNOUSTIE
With reference to Article 11 of the minute of meeting of the Economic Development Committee of 28 February 2002, there was submitted joint Report No 293/02 by the Chief Executive and the Director of Planning and Transport updating the Committee on the current position with regard to the acquisition of land for a business park in the Carnoustie area and seeking authority to abandon the proposed Compulsory Purchase Order of a site, south of Barry village, in view of severe technical difficulties.
The Report indicated that the ground investigation survey had concluded that there would be insufficient surplus material from the A92 contract to make development of the site economically viable. However, as there was a continuing demand for employment land in Carnoustie, it was proposed to identify a new site as part of the Local Plan review.
The Committee agreed that the provision of an alternative site for a business park development to serve Carnoustie and Monifieth be identified as part of the review and roll forward of the Angus Local Plan.
11. UPGRADING OF CAR PARK, LINKS PARADE, CARNOUSTIE
There was submitted Report No 317/02 by the Director of Planning and Transport which recommended that further upgrading works be undertaken to the car park at Links Parade, Carnoustie.
The Report indicated that, prior to Carnoustie hosting the Open Championship in 1999, a range of environmental improvements had been undertaken throughout the town. These had been aimed at presenting the best possible image of the town during the event with one of the improvement projects being the upgrading of the informal car park at Links Parade. This had involved the construction of a surfaced access road, the provision of surfaced parking bays, a footpath link with the seafront and landscaping. As part of a wider project, four banner column had been erected on the site.
The Report noted that the new access road into the car park was surfaced in bitmac but, in order to contain the works within the available budget, the parking bays had been constructed in hardcore. The surface was not standing up well to the level of usage and there was an ongoing maintenance problem. It was therefore suggested that the parking bays be resurfaced in bitmac.
The Committee agreed:-
- to undertake the upgrading works at the car park at Links Parade, Carnoustie as detailed in the Report and that the works be funded from the Local Capital Fund, Carnoustie Environmental Improvements, and
- to approve the removal of the banner columns.
12 PUBLIC TRANSPORT UPDATE
There was submitted Report No 318/02 by the Director of Planning and Transport which summarised recent changes to local bus services in Angus, updated public transport information provision, and outlined progress on various transport studies and projects.
The Committee agreed:-
- to note the recent and proposed changes to local bus service provision in Angus;
- to homologate the additional expenditure of £2340 per annum to extend Service 128 to serve the Brechin Road area of Kirriemuir;
- to the admission of John Petrie Minicoaches to Angus Council's Travel Concession Schemes;
- to note the publication of the 2002 editions of the Angus Public Transport Map and Guide, Days Out by Bus and Train leaflets and Guide to Community and Public Transport in Angus;
- to note the publication by Railtrack of Draft Route Plans for consultation as part of the preparation of the Network Management Statement for 2002; and
- to note progress on the Angus Rail Interchange Project, Tay Estuary Rail Study and Investigation of Transport Implications of Changes in Health Service Provision in Angus.
13. NATIONAL PUBLIC TRANSPORT TIMETABLE TRAVELINE SCOTLAND
With reference to Article 11 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 January 2001, there was submitted Report No 320/02 by the Director of Planning and Transport which outlined progress on the development of the single public transport information service for bus, coach, rail, ferry and air services in Scotland and provided a suggested response to the request from Scottish Ministers that local authorities formally join Traveline.
The Report noted that the development of Traveline was a "Programme for Government" commitment of the Scottish Executive and was intended to provide a collective service on behalf of both operators and Councils to enable them to meet the requirements of the Transport (Scotland) Act. Traveline was already in operation but was not yet providing fully detailed and accurate travel information. When fully operational, Traveline would provide bus information at the bus stop level and later also become an internet service.
The Scottish Executive wished to see local authorities formally joining the Traveline company as soon as possible and, although Angus Council had actively supported the development of the project, it shared the concerns of most other Councils over financial and other issues arising from formal Planning Minutes. It was therefore considered premature for Angus Council formally to join Traveline in advance of the common concerns being more fully addressed. However, it was proposed that at this stage, the Council should clearly signal its intent in principle to become a member, subject to the satisfactory resolution of these problems.
The Committee agreed:-
- to note progress on the development of the single public transport information service for bus, coach, rail, ferry and air services;
- to note the request from Scottish Ministers that individual local authorities indicate how each Council intended to support the Traveline project in Scotland;
- to delegate authority to the Director of Planning and Transport, in consultation with the Convener of the Planning and Transport Policy Committee, formally to join Traveline Scotland provided it could be demonstrated that this was in the Council's best interest and subject to clarification of various matters detailed in the Report; and
- to forward a copy of the Report to the Scottish Executive indicating the Council's position on the matter.
14. UTILISATION OF ROADS AND TRANSPORT RENEWAL AND REPAIRS FUND
With reference to Article 2 of the minute of meeting of the Roads Committee of 7 March 2002, the Committee agreed to note that the proposed utilisation of the Roads and Transport Renewal and Repairs Fund included provision of £25,000 for public transport infrastructure maintenance and replacement.