Agenda item

Notice of Motion

A Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor James Browne for consideration by the Council is attached.

 

Minutes:

Members of the Council considered a Notice of Motion moved by J.W. Browne and seconded by A. Kelly.

 

The Notice of Motion was in the following terms:

 

‘Following the results of the recent Local Plan Consultation in which 85% of the respondents favoured Option 4, this Council calls upon the Administration to give a clear undertaking now to honour those results, particularly regarding Green Belt release, when formulating the new Draft Local Plan.’

 

In raising a point of order, Mrs. K. Randolph, Portfolio Holder for Planning advised that she was concerned that the Motion as moved could be considered to pre-determine the contents of the draft Local Plan. She invited J.W. Browne to withdraw the Motion and indicated that she would move an amendment in the event of it not being withdrawn.  J.W. Browne did not withdraw the proposed Motion and therefore Mrs. K. Randolph, seconded by Mrs. S.R. Kapadia, moved the following amendment:

 

‘That the Notice of Motion be amended to read:

 

‘Following the results of the recent Local Plan Consultation in which 85% of the respondents favoured option 4 which had no Green Belt release, the Council undertakes to do all it can to protect and defend the Green Belt when formulating the new Draft Local Plan.’’

 

B.J.F. Cheyne indicated that he wished to see the inclusion of the following words ‘to honour that result’ within the amendment. 

 

Advice was sought from the Head of Legal Services on the consideration of the proposed Motion and the amendment.  The Head of Legal Services advised that the first point to make was that the Notice of Motion had been accepted for inclusion on the agenda as it was within the terms of the Council Procedure Rules as set out within the Constitution. He further advised that the Council would not be making a decision on the option that it would choose as a result of the consultation.  That would not and could not be a result of the debate that evening.  Nor could any vote fetter the Council’s discretion on a strategic option. This was an iterative process, with the Council taking decisions at various points in the months to come after a repeated cycle of tests and assessments, whilst also applying NPPF guidance in all respects and at all times.  A final point of clarification was that the Option 4 preference expressed by residents wasn’t having the effect of being a referendum or vote on a particular choice for the Council to follow.  It was not legally possible to passport any particular option to the Local Plan as that was not how the Local Plan was formulated.  It was important and a factor to be given serious weight, and the Council was free to express its wish to protect the Green Belt but that it would not be taking a decision on which option it favoured.  That would require an evaluation of all the evidence and policy options set against all those considerations.  It was therefore lawful for the Notice of Motion and the amendment to be debated and voted upon.

 

J.W. Browne proposed the following amendment:

 

‘Following the results of the recent Local Plan Consultation in which 85% of the respondents favoured option 4 which had no Green Belt release, this Council, to honour that result, undertakes to do all it can to protect and defend the Green Belt when formulating the new Draft Local Plan.’

 

In response, the Portfolio Holder for Planning expressed her concern that by including the words ‘to honour that result’, it still implied a pre-determination of the matter and could put the Council at risk during Inspection.

 

Further advice was sought from the Head of Legal Services, who confirmed that it was for each individual Member of the Council to vote according to what they felt comfortable with.  The introduction of the words ‘to honour’ fell short, in his reasonable view, of a commitment to choose a particular option.  Whilst it was treading a fine line, it was considered that it would not be seen by an Inspector as pre-determining an outcome, but that it was for Members to consider the merits of that undertaking.

 

Following further discussion by Members, J.W. Browne agreed to withdraw his proposed amendment in the interests of unity across the Council and Members, by affirmation of the meeting, agreed the amendment as proposed by Mrs. K. Randolph and seconded by Mrs. S.R. Kapadia, which was in the following terms:

 

‘That the Notice of Motion be amended to read:

 

‘Following the results of the recent Local Plan Consultation in which 85% of the respondents favoured option 4 which had no Green Belt release, the Council undertakes to do all it can to protect and defend the Green Belt when formulating the new Draft Local Plan.’’

 

The Mayor, by affirmation of the meeting, declared the Notice of Motion, as amended, to be CARRIED.

 

Supporting documents: