Agenda item

Public Consultation for Draft Supplementary Planning Documents for Podsmead and Matson Estates Regeneration

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy seeking the approval to undertake a public consultation on the draft Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) produced by Gloucester City Homes (GCH).


149.1              Councillor Organ, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy, introduced the report. He outlined that the Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) had been written by Gloucester City Homes (GCH) with valuable input from Officers. He informed Members that the document would be amended and Council would be the final decision maker. Councillor Organ also advised that the consultation would begin on 18th March and conclude on 29th April.


149.2              Councillor Haigh, in her place as a Matson and Robinswood ward Member, shared her views on the proposed consultation and referred to a contribution she had circulated to Members in advance of the meeting which is attached. She advised that she had attended consultation events hosted by GCH and that she had visited other areas that had undergone regeneration, particularly Salford. She stated that there were fears that the area’s sense of community would be lost. She further stated that there was a need for more affordable housing and an increase in density but without damaging local green spaces.


149.3              Sarah, a Matson and Robinswood resident, shared her concern that the strong community spirit in the area could be lost. She stated that more housing was needed and that residents both want and need involvement in the consultation process.


149.4              Councillor Smith, in her place as a Podsmead ward Member, stated that the community make up of Podsmead was similar to that of Matson and Robinswood. She advised that she had attended and contributed to consultation events and one matter which had been raised by a number of residents was the need to maintain the area’s green spaces.


149.5              In response to a query from Councillor Wilson, Councillor Haigh informed members that, in other areas, a group of residents would drive the regeneration.


149.6              Councillor Organ stated that he was motivated by improving lives in Matson and Podsmead. He advised that planning was at a very early stage and that, as it stood, a framework was being drawn up. Councillor Organ also stated that such a project could take many years and he encouraged participation in the consultation.


149.7              In response to Councillor Pullen asking the residents present how they would conduct the consultation, Sarah stated that not everyone was technologically competent to the level which may be required through an online only consultation. She further stated that it was necessary to communicate with all organisation that were involved in the community. Lisa shared her view that residents needed to be consulted on a face-to-face basis. She advised that, during the GCH consultation, meetings were held in the mid-afternoon which made it difficult for many people. She suggested that meetings be held in the evening or on Saturday mornings.


149.8              With regard to the GCH element of the consultation, Councillor Smith stated that it was important that agencies go to residents rather than waiting for residents to approach them. Lisa noted that some may have been reluctant to engage as it was residents’ landlord conducting an element of the consultation. The Principal Planning Officer confirmed that the consultation would be varied and that questions were formulated with residents and partner organisations.


149.10            Councillor Lewis encouraged residents to set the process and to consider how they wanted the area to look. He also shared his view that parking was always an issue and that it was important that provision was sufficient.


149.11            Councillor Stephens thanked Councillor Organ for clarifying the decision making process. He stated that GCH was not a neutral party to proceedings and it was necessary to ensure there was independent advice for residents. Councillor Stephens further stated that the whole process, and not just the consultation, must be resident led.


149.12            Councillor Stephens advised a degree of caution and that no tenant should be forced to leave their home with no right to return and that there needed to be the right mix of housing stock with particular provision for homes for social rent.


149.13            The Principal Planning Officer advised that the rehousing strategy needed to be tailored to individuals and their needs. She also advised that officers recognised the duties incumbent upon them under the Equality Act 2010.


149.14            With regard to Councillor Stephen’s point on independent advice, Lisa informed Members that tenants’ representation was only available until the end of March 2019. She queried whether a clause could be inserted to provide for a mechanism to continue funding for independent representation throughout the process.


149.15            In response to a query from Councillor Morgan, Councillor Organ advised that, similar to the JCS, reviews were in built to the process.


149.16            Councillor Ryall asked how a resident led approach could be balanced with professional expertise and how decisions would then be communicated to residents.  Councillor Organ stated that he wanted residents to take ownership of the process. He also advised that such a consultation was governed by statutory regulations and that each response will receive comment. Councillor Organ advised that communication with residents was being considered.


149.17            Councillor Hilton queried how proper Member oversight would be ensured and stated that detailed discussions were required. Councillor Organ stated that the Planning Policy Working Group had been recently established and such matters would be considered by that group.


149.18            Councillor Stephens proposed the following recommendation:


                        Cabinet urgently examine provision for independent advice once funding for the tenancy advisory service ceases


                        This was agreed by the Committee


149.19            RESOLVED that: - The Overview and Scrutiny Committee RECOMMEND that Cabinet urgently examine provision for independent advice once funding for the tenancy advisory service ceases.


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