A procedural motion that, given the grounds of the requisition only made reference to the decision in respect of Hall Lane Pitch and Putt Course, that the debate and any subsequent vote on the requisition should relate to Hall Lane only. The procedural motion was proposed by Councillor Perry and seconded by Councillor Crowder.
The procedural motion was AGREED by 8 votes to 7.
Councillors Smith, Perry, Patel. Mylod, Misir, Crowder, Holt and C White voted in favour of the procedural motion.
Councillors Lawal, Summers, Williamson, Ford, Hawthorn, O’Sullivan and Mugglestone voted against the procedural motion.
Abstention – Councillor Wise.
That the debate and any subsequent vote on the requisition should relate to Hall Lane only.
The report before Members detailed the call-in of a Cabinet decision relating to land at Hall Lane Pitch and Putt Course, Upminster. A requisition signed by Councillors Ford and Morgon had called-in the Cabinet decision. The grounds for the call-in were as follows:
1. The Local Plan Map and Policy DC18 of the Core Strategy show the Hall Lane Pitch & Putt land being designated under the broad description of 'parks, open spaces, playing fields, allotments'.
2. The site has been excluded from the Playing Pitch Strategy and the 2016 Open Space Assessment. The site specific assessment by LUC (Oct 2016) identifies that there is a need and demand for a publicly accessible park and garden. It clearly states that the development of the site would be contrary to Policy 18 of the emerging Local Plan unless suitable equivalent or better quality provision is made in a suitable location. Why has the site been deliberately omitted and Policy 18 ignored?
3. As the site has not been declassified and the above applies. The land should have undergone a statutory consultation process to be disposed of as part of the draft Local Development Plan submission. Why has this not been undertaken?
4. The miniature pitch and putt site is surrounded by the Hall Lane Policy Area Zone B. Any development would impact on Policy Area Zone B. Why has this not been taken into consideration?
5. There has been no consideration or feasibility study of the retention of the site for public wellbeing. The nearest park is dedicated for sports activities. This site has other health benefits that have not been taken into consideration, for example social prescribing as part of Havering’s strategy towards health prevention. Why?
6. Land disposal requires tree surveys to be undertaken. A tree survey has been undertaken of the site as part of planning application P0.248.19. Why has this survey been ignored as part of the sale, as there is a requirement to consider TPO’s in accordance with the survey’s findings?
7. Policy 18 of the Local Plan sets out (criteria (i)) “that the Council will continue to protect the boroughs designated open spaces from development”. Why is this Policy not being adhered to?
8. No consideration has been given to Policy 30 Nature Conservation section iii with the commitment to preserving veteran trees. Why?
9. No consideration has been given to Policy 28 and the site as a heritage asset. Why?
10.No consideration has been given to Policy 29 protecting green infrastructure. Why?
11.No consideration has been given to Policies 33 on emissions. Why?
12.No consideration has been given to Policy 34 on air quality. Why?
13.Could you explain why there has been no public consultation on the sale of the land in respect to the residents gates leading onto the site, usage, rights of access without challenge from the local authority, afforded to them for over 20 years.
14.Contrary to planning application P0248.19 which suggests a percentage of the site to the front of the development would be retained for public open space, it is the intention for the site to be sold as a whole. Therefore planning application P0248.19 would not have any public open space, why?
15.The As part of application P0248.19, a land value statement was submitted. The BNP Paribas references the Council's CIL viability study for a greenfield classification of between £250,000 to £350,000 per hectare and they have used the mid-point of this range to generate a value of £1,066,000. This is the value the land would need to be offered for in order that the development can be viable. They go on to say that even at this level there is currently a projected deficit in value based on current returns and they are reliant on this area outperforming London trends, and on being able to minimise cost inflation, in order to return the payment in lieu of affordable housing. This is a significant area of risk. The land value figure is £7.3m per hectare for residential land in Havering as reported in the GLA Economic Evidence Base for London 2016. Why the huge difference in land value figures?
Response from officers:
No decision has been made on the disposal of the land .The Cabinet was recommended to:
(a) Agree, in principle, that the land referred to below is no longer required to be held for the purposes for which the Council presently holds it and that it should be appropriated to planning purposes with a view to its subsequent disposal in due course:
• Land at Gooshays Drive, Harold Hill
• Hall Lane Pitch & Putt Course, Upminster
(b)Authorise, for the purposes of (a) above and in accordance with section 122(2A) Local Government Act 1972 and section 233(4) Town and Country Planning Act 1990 that notices are placed in a local newspaper circulating in the area for two consecutive weeks expressing
(i) an intention to appropriate the land to planning purposes; and
(ii) an intention to dispose of the land following its appropriation.
(c)Consider any objections to the intended appropriation and/or disposal before a decision to appropriate or dispose is made.
(d)Agree, in principle, following its appropriation for planning purposes, to the disposal of the land referred to above subject to (b) and (c) above.
The Council’s intention therefore, is for the Cabinet to consider all of the objections made, both to the appropriation and the disposal at another meeting before a decision is made on whether or not to proceed with the disposal.
Points 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,14 and 15 relate to planning considerations, which will be considered in due course as part of the process to determine the planning application, which has been submitted. The report indicates that the Council intends to see the land used for development subject to securing planning and other relevant consents.
The Cabinet did not decide on the merits or demerits of the planning application or planning position of the site as is shown in the above recommended decisions (a) to (d). It is considered that all the above points will be dealt with under the process of determining the planning application.
With respect to point Number 5, the site is considered to offer little value in the delivery of the Council’s health and wellbeing policies. It is located in one of the least deprived wards of the borough where physical activity rates are much higher than most deprived wards in the north (Gooshays and Heaton and the south (South Hornchurch)
During the debate concern was expressed over the proposed loss of long standing green space and it was stated that the reference in appendix 2 of the report to Claremont Gardens should in fact read Holden Way.
Some Members felt that the maters raised in the grounds were relevant and did not simply relate to planning considerations.
The requisitioning Members felt that alternative uses of the land had not been considered and asked why a planning application had already been submitted. It was also felt by some Members that the proposal may be contrary to the Havering Local Development plan and section 123 of the Local Government Act 1972 which stated that land could not be disposed of for a level of consideration less than that which could be reasonably achieved.
In response, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Property stated that the call-in grounds were raising technical planning matters and that the Administration had sought to act in accordance with professional advice. The Council conducted a review every four years which sought to identify land holdings which were not being used appropriately.
A survey had found that the pitch and putt course was a poor asset, offering limited public access and was not viable as a golfing facility. This meant it did not meet the criteria for retention by the Council and Cabinet had therefore advised that the land should go forward for planning and consultation. An outline planning application was due for decision on 23 May and this would ;et residents know what was intended for the site.
The establishment of Mercury Land Holdings would allow the Council to ensure any development was in accordance with its intentions. The Cabinet Member added that the Council had never acknowledged any rights to access the land and that appropriation procedures overrode those rights in any case. It was accepted that the council was obliged to pay compensation if rights were overridden but this was unlikely to be a very high amount.
Officers added that the Cabinet decision was that of the landowner and that the site had been identified as being in surplus. The public would have the opportunity through the planning process to make any observations. The valuation of the land in the planning application would be assessed independently.
It was clarified that the ward covered by the decision was Cranham and that other options were not considered as no alternative use had been identified. It was clarified that the land was not a Green Belt site and that the Mayor of London wanted housing maximised in non-Green Belt locations such as this. It had not been necessary at this stage to undertake an Equalities Impact Assessment. It was also felt that the submission of an outline planning application allowed people to have more details of what was being proposed.
Legal advice had been that the advertisement should make reference to a period of two consecutive weeks for people to object to the appropriation but any consultation period could be longer in length. It was considered unlikely that the concurrent running of the periods to object to the land appropriation and disposal would be liable to be challenged legally.
Advice from equality officers was included within the Cabinet report and an Equalities Impact Assessment would be carried out in due course. The Cabinet Member added that housing on the site would be in keeping with the surrounding area, in line with the indicative planning application. A Member pointed out that 12 of the 48 properties were expected to be rental properties but the Cabinet Member emphasised that Mercury Land Holdings as the vehicle to ensure the intentions of developers were carried out. Affordable housing in the development could potentially be provided on a different site.
The Cabinet Member confirmed that a full statutory consultation period would take place and emphasised that any related planning issues wold go forward in the planning application. The site was not considered by the Council to be a formal open space. A Member pointed out that the site had been classified as public open space in the 2009 Local Development plan and in the draft of the current Local Development Plan.
Officers added that asset management was an ongoing process and that there may be opportunities to bring other assets forward for disposal in the future. At this point the Cabinet Member for Finance and Property and all other Cabinet Member present left the Chamber.
The Board voted to dismiss the reqisition by 8 votes to 7.
Councillors Smith, Perry, Patel, Mylod, Misir, Crowder, Holt and C White voted to dismiss the requisition.
Councillors Lawal, Summers, Williamson, Ford, Hawthorn, O’Sullivan and Mugglestone voted to uphold the requisition.
Abstention – Councillor Wise
That the requisition of the Cabinet Decision dated 13 March 2019 be dismissed.