Consultation on the Draft Brent Local Plan
The report details progress with the development of the council’s new Local Plan and provides access to the results of initial public consultations. It sets out the plans for further consultation.
The Chair advised that in preparation for the current meeting members of the committee had met with officers to discuss the Brent Local Plan. The meeting had been very useful and the issues discussed expansive. At the invitation of the Chair, Councillor Tatler (Lead Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning) introduced the report to the committee, which provided an overview of the development of the council’s new Local Plan, the results of initial public consultation and plans for further consultation. Members were advised that Alice Lester (Head of Planning, Transport and Licensing), Paul Lewin (Team Leader, Plan Making) and Rob Krzysowski (Spatial Planning Manager) were also present to discuss the report and address members’ questions.
The report detailed that Brent’s Local Plan needed to be updated to reflect changes to national policy, the London Plan and Brent’s latest aspirations. This process had commenced in summer 2017 and thus far there had been three separate phases of consultation: 1) pre-issue of Brent Local Plan Issues and Options during 2017; 2) Brent Local Plan Issues and Options Feb 2018; and 3) Brent Local Plan Preferred Options Nov 2018. This latter consultation had closed on 3 January 2019. There had been a good response to the consultations in terms of number and quality. The plan’s content was extensive and as such the responses diverse. The next stages of consultation were anticipated to be publication in summer 2019 (a statutory stage required for a minimum of six weeks) and examination in autumn 2019 including proposed modifications arising from representations made during the previous consultation stage and the Inspectors feedback.
In the subsequent discussion the committee questioned whether the Plan anticipated future trends regarding employment and skills shortages and how it supported the provision of high value jobs for Brent residents. With regard to the Carbon Offset Fund, members questioned what opportunities there would be to achieve carbon offsetting in Brent. Queries were raised regarding inter-departmental consultation in the development of the Local Plan. Members welcomed the focus on design and place-making to reduce poverty and social exclusion and questioned whether organisations such as Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and more widely, wildlife and environmental organisations, had been engaged. Members further queried whether officers would pursue themed consultations with regard to environmental issues and sustainable transport. It was queried how the council’s key partners would be engaged to have ownership in supporting the delivery of the Local Plan.
Responding to the queries raised, Councillor Tatler explained that the new London Plan had identified Brent as a borough that should seek to provide further industrial capacity. One of the ways in which this would be achieved would be through developments with mixed use, including residential, commercial and open spaces. Highstreets and Town Centres would be supported and digital connectivity would be improved across the borough. Rob Kryzsowski added that helping start-up businesses in affordable workspace, working with the colleges and improving and promoting the borough’s good links to Park Royal, Heathrow and via the proposed West London Orbital would all contribute to supporting a high-skills sector in Brent. Councillor Tatler further explained that the council was working together with neighbouring boroughs to attract some of the large high-tech employers, recognising that bringing those jobs to the region more widely would provide opportunities for Brent residents.
Paul Lewin advised that places that had introduced a carbon offset fund had used it in a variety of ways, including tree planting and home insulation in existing properties, which also benefitted in reducing fuel poverty. Moving forward, members would be consulted in the development of a strategy to determine how such funds would be directed. Alice Lester confirmed that there had been a number of different ways that colleagues across the council had been consulted on the draft Plan, including via senior managers groups, Forward Together sessions and various staff workshops. Councillor Tatler emphasised that the team had been very good at engaging a myriad of different groups within the community, including Brent Youth Parliament and developers working in Brent.
Rob Kryzsowski advised that the council was very in tune with the TCPA’s Planning Out Poverty guide and other best practice and emphasised that social inclusion underpinned all of the work of the Local Plan. Paul Lewin confirmed that the Local Pan was subject to sustainability assessments, health impact assessments and equalities assessments. External agencies were also involved including the Environment Agency, Thames 21 and Brent Clinical Commissioning Group. Furthermore, at a London level there were many policies that were quite detailed with regard to issues such as biodiversity. It was confirmed that themed consultations or focus groups could be held as proposed by the committee to further support the development of the Local Plan. Private sector partners were already being engaged and the council clearly communicated its expectations of developers. The subsequent draft publication version would be circulated to key stakeholders, from both the public and private sectors as part of the usual consultation process.
The Chair thanked the lead member and officers for their contribution to the meeting.
i) That the Strategic Director, Regeneration and Environment and Lead Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning hold a themed consultation or focus group on the Brent Local Plan with a range of ‘green’ (environmental) organisations.
ii) That the Strategic Director, Regeneration and Environment and Lead Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning hold a themed consultation or focus group on sustainable transport, to consider together both active transport and public transport.
iii) The committee commended officers for their work on the Brent Local Plan.