Lighting SPD and Voluntary Charter
A Member asked about the withdrawal of funding for the promoting of the Lighting SPD and Voluntary charter. The Chairman stated that the promotion of the Lighting SPD and Voluntary Charter was outside the remit of just Planning and Transportation. He stated that there was a desire to have a publicity campaign to promote that amongst existing buildings, encouraging them to turn their lights off. Whilst it was considered that the Corporation should lead the way and sign up, to achieve this, there was a requirement to understand the capital cost of doing so. This was currently being undertaken. It was considered that it would be premature to launch a marketing campaign until the Corporation was in a position to sign up. The Chairman stated that funding or the marketing campaign was not currently on the agenda, this was on the basis that the costs were better understood and that the Corporation wanted to promote the SPD and Voluntary Character. The Chairman stated that many organisations would be undertaking similar work to understand the capital cost of them signing up to the charter. He informed Members that understanding the cost was a responsible approach to fulfilling the policy.
In response to questions from Members on steps that could be taken to help residents who were keen to promote the Lighting SPD and Voluntary Charter to businesses, and if more could be done to help them, Officers stated that discussions had taken place with the City Property Association (CPA) and Business Improvement Districts could encourage their Members to switch their lights off. An Officer stated the work was currently light touch as it was resource intensive. The Officer also stated that discussions had taken place with residents who were keen to promote the charter and speak to businesses and they had been given background information. The Officer stated that in terms of the resources to further publicise the charter, this was dependent on additional funding which currently was not in place. The Officer also stated that any major schemes being granted planning permission, either by the Planning & Transportation Committee, or by delegated authority, now contained a lighting condition.
A Member suggested that there were environmental benefits which could be promoted to encourage organisations to sign up to the Voluntary Charter. Officers stated that they could speak to colleagues about the information that could be shared.
A Member asked if a list of open roof terraces could be circulated to Members of the Committee and sent to the Destination City team so that it could be included on the website. She also suggested that a leaflet containing the details of roof terraces plus QR codes so people could book. An Officer confirmed that a list could be circulated of all the consented, built and roof terraces in the pipeline as well as opening hours. He stated that Officers were working with the Destination City team on how to publicise these roof terraces.
At this point, the Chairman sought approval from the Committee to continue the meeting beyond two hours from the appointed time for the start of the meeting, in accordance with Standing Order 40, and this was agreed.
The City Plan
A Member asked whether the tracked changes version of the plan in the Officer report had the approval of the Local Plans Sub-Committee and could be used by Members as a working draft. The Officer stated that the Sub-Committee had effectively approved the plan to be submitted to the Planning and Transportation Committee and it could be shared on that basis.
The Member also asked about the timetable. The Officer stated that the decision to withdraw the item from the agenda, would result in an expected delay of about two months. He stated that there was a need to continue rapid progress with the City Plan and it was hoped that some of the delay could be made up later in the overall timescale for the project. It was expected that the submission of the plan might be delayed by a month in the summer, but that would be within a reasonable timeframe and long in advance of the June 2025 deadline for submissions of local plans under the current planning system. Officers would consider whether or not the local development scheme needed to be updated as part of this work. The Officer added that if there was a need to deviate from this plan a report would be submitted to the Committee.
A Member raised concern about the late withdrawal of the item from the agenda and stated that members of the public might have been in attendance for this item and would not have been aware it would be withdrawn. She stated she had many points she wanted to raise on the Local Plan. The Member also suggested that the City Plan should be considered at a meeting where that was the only item on the agenda. She asked if it was expected that the document would be substantially changed and asked for Members to be provided with the background material that informed the plan.
The Chairman stated that Officers were open to receiving comments and suggestions on the City Plan and these could be sent to Officers. An Officer stated that following the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill becoming an Act at the end of October 2023, imminent changes and updates to the National Planning Policy Framework were expected and therefore the item had been withdrawn from the agenda. He informed Members that the City Plan had to be in accordance with national policy. Officers would ensure the Committee had full background material in advance of the Committee consideration of the City Plan and would send documents to Members once they were published. Members were informed that a substantial major rewrite of this City Plan was not envisaged and the plan had been informed by extensive engagement, through the Local Plans Sub-Committee.
A Member asked that the City Plan be considered at a meeting where it was the only agenda item. She asked that the background information be publicly available in a library section on the websites with the plan so anyone reviewing the plan could see the data. She also asked for a message to be put on the website explaining the delay, outlining the new timetable, and how the background information could be accessed. An Officer stated that the website would be updated following the meeting and information would be as easily accessible as possible. The Chairman confirmed that a special meeting would be arranged to consider the City Plan as a single item.