The Cabinet Member with the Economy Portfolio introduced the report of the Chief Executive (previously circulated) requesting that consideration be given to the parkland restoration plan (also previously circulated).
The submitted report stated that approval of the plan would enable a planning application to be submitted for the proposals contained therein and for new housing development on site 403, as shown circled in red on the plan (also previously circulated); it was intended to sell site 403 to the Council’s Joint Venture vehicle; and that a further Cabinet report would be prepared for Members identifying the net capital receipt for the Council and seeking final approval to establish the new Joint Venture Company and to funding arrangements, for the housing development and the parkland restoration plan.
It was reported that approval was obtained on 22 June 2022 (Minute C147/Jun/22 refers) for the disposal of circa. 5.2 Hectares (13 acres) of land, with the intention that a new Joint Venture company would develop it; approval was also obtained for the funding of feasibility work to develop plans for a parkland restoration scheme and to engage the services of Esh Homes Limited to develop appropriate plans and designs for a planning application; feasibility work and plans for the parkland restoration scheme had now been completed; it was proposed that the new Joint Venture company would be responsible for delivering the parkland restoration plan; the restoration works would be funded from the sale of site 403; and that once the costs had been finalised this would be included in a subsequent Cabinet report for approval.
It was proposed that a planning application be submitted for site 403 and the parkland and that through the planning process, the public and residents would be able to comment in the normal manner. Initial engagement with local Members and interest groups had commenced with favourable feedback and it was anticipated that local Members would arrange further engagement exercises with residents.
Members of the public in attendance at the meeting addressed Cabinet in respect of the proposals and in doing so referred to a number of positives, including: - the wide range of views and expertise gained through the process; the reversal of biodiversity loss; tree management; footpaths and access; restoration of the pond; provision of interpretations boards; and the natural assets on the site.
Particular references were made to the planning processes and timescales for submission of the planning application; what further consultation and engagement would take place; whether there was a need to demolish the carriage shed; when would the Joint Venture Company become responsible for the site; could the entrance to the site from Grange Road be moved; and where the footpaths would be located as there were concerns around anti-social behaviour if they were too close to the houses on Upsall Drive. The Leader, Cabinet Member with the Economy Portfolio, Cabinet Member with the Stronger Communities Portfolio, Chief Executive and Group Director of Services responded thereon.
RESOLVED – (a) That the submission of the parkland restoration plan and new housing on site 403, within a planning application, as detailed at Appendix 1 of the submitted report, be supported.
(b) That the principle and intention that site 403 would be sold to a new Joint Venture company on the terms and conditions, as outlined in Appendix 3 of the submitted report, be noted, which would be subject to a further Cabinet report on funding once all costs had been determined.
(c) That the Chief Executive be given delegated authority to prepare the terms of the disposal, in consultation with the Portfolio Holders, the details to be reported back in due course.
(d) That the Assistant Director – Law and Governance be authorised to execute the necessary documents to facilitate future development.
REASONS – (a) To contribute to the delivery of new housing to satisfy the Borough’s housing need and to provide for restoration of the parkland area.
(b) To enhance a public space for the benefit of residents and wildlife.
(c) To achieve a capital receipt for the Council and increased Council Tax receipts from new executive homes.