The report of the Chief Planning Officer provides Members with an update on the developing work programme for the Planning, Energy and Buildings Working Group which advises the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee (CEAC) and how this has key links with the work programme of DPP. The report provides background on the current national and local policy framework, largely provided by the Leeds Local Plan and sets out the work programme for how planning can help achieve the Council’s ambitious targets by 2030.
The report of the Chief Planning Officer provided the Panel with an update on the developing work programme for the Planning, Energy and Buildings Working Group, which advises the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee (CEAC), and how this links with the work programme of Development Plan Panel (DPP).
The Head of Strategic Planning presented the report, and explained that the report outlined the positive policy framework included in the Council’s current Local Plan, including use of brownfield land and a focus of development on the main urban area which reduced the distance people had to travel to work. The Panel were informed that the initial focus of the Planning, Emergency, and Building Working Group (PEBWG) is summarised in 5 objectives outlined in the report and including a Local Plan Review in due course to look at stronger climate change policies.
In responding to the objectives outlined in the submitted report, Members discussed the following:
Good practice for developers. Members raised Concern around the difficulty on changing the mind-set of those ‘bad practice’ developers in relation to environmental improvements. The Panel referred to the list of ‘good practice developers’ and the Chair highlighted that this would be particularly useful for lobbying purposes and providing a good example.
Place-making. Members identified an opportunity for additional weight be afforded to the endorsement of grass verges, hedgerows and trees in new developments. It was further requested that development decisions reference the availability of local amenities, in order to support walking.
Developer checklist for climate change. A Member supported the positive use of the checklist contained within the existing Building for Tomorrow Today guidance, specifically at the pre application planning stage. In addition to this, officers added that this checklist was in already place; sharpening the existing tools for better master planning, and seeking quality through development.
Tree planting. A Member requested additional information onIdentifying appropriate locations for tree planting. Members were informed that as part of the work being undertaken, officers will be looking at biodiversity net gains and identifying specific sites for offsetting purposes. The Chief Planning Officer explained that DEFRA will be running a consultation which sets out requirements around tree planting locations; a further training session on trees would be held for Members and an update on that particular matter would be provided.
Additionally, a Member sought further clarity on the review of the Biodiversity Action Plan and whether a Woodland and Forestry Strategy would be written. In responding, officers agreed to provide this information at a later date, and would report back to Members of the Panel.
Reviewing SPD’s. The Panel were informed that a number of SPD’s had already been removed following a review in 2019 and reported at the meeting on 16th April, and for future purposes it was intended to take stock of SPD’s to ensure they’re up to date.
Greenspace in densely developed areas. The Panel identified an opportunity to better enhance greenspace in alternative locations, and seek to encourage developers. Members heard that the policy framework in place sought to get a variety of benefits from greenspace, including biodiversity, and that the strategy further focused on providing better connectivity as well as enhancing greenspace in those areas.
a) To note the five objectives that form the initial focus of the Building, Energy and Planning Working Group as set out in the submitted report, and the contents of the discussions.
b) To request that the information outlined in discussions be actioned and provided to Panel Members.
(Councillor A. Carter vacated the meeting at 14:10, at the close of this item)