Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Daventry District Council

Contact: Email:  01604 837722

No. Item


Apologies For Absence


Apologies were received from Councillor Irving-Swift (substituted by Councillor Millar) and Councillor Capstick (observer).




The Chair asked Officers to introduce themselves and explained that the purpose of the meeting was to ratify the decision of the Committee from its meeting on 16 December 2013 following the discovery of a procedural flaw after the meeting, on the advice of Queen’s Counsel.  The Chair indicated that five members of the public had been registered to speak at the meeting and the addresses should be confined to whether the Committee should ratify its decision made at its meeting on 16 December 2013.


It was proposed by Councillor Larratt, seconded by Councillor de Savage “That under Supplementary Procedure Rule 3.1.13 Supplementary Procedure Rule 2.7 be suspended to allow all members of the public present to address the meeting.”


The voting on the proposal was tied (6 voting in favour and 6 voting against) and was lost on the Chair’s casting vote.


Councillor de Savage stated that a large number of people had been prevented from speaking at the meeting and excluded from the meeting by virtue of the size of the meeting venue.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 101 KB

(Copy attached)


The minutes of the meeting held on 16 December 2013 were agreed and signed by the Chair.


Declarations of Interest

  • Personal
  • Disclosable Pecuniary


Councillor Hadland declared a personal, non-pecuniary interest in item 6 (minute 7) – Proposed Main Modifications to the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy as Submitted – Ratification of Decision of 16 December 2013 - as he had advised a former client regarding a site in Brackley.  Councillor Hadland stated that he would leave the room if there was any discussion on that site.


Matters of Urgency

To consider any issues that the Chairman is of the opinion are Matters of Urgency.


There were none.


Public Participation (if any)


The following speakers addressed the Committee on item 6 – Proposed Main Modifications to the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy as Submitted – Ratification of Decision of 16 December 2013.


Mr Patrick Cross on behalf of Whitehills and Spring Park Residents Association (WASPRA) referred to paragraph 6.1 of the report and stated that two aspects were critical - the plan and its positive management.  The plan had risks, which must be assessed by identifying the factors that jeopardise its success, relating to healthcare (particularly in relation to an aging and growing population and in terms of hospital and health provision, with risks to health and life), flooding (concreting over acres of land would fill flood plains faster, the loss of two lives in flooding in Northampton in 1998, the current flooding in Somerset which Mr Cross stated could also have occurred locally and global climate change; he stated that the fact the Environment Agency had found no major issues with the plan did not reduce the high risk of flooding); traffic (overdependence on traffic predictions by developers and local authorities, assumptions of high module shift and flexible working hours, and a high toxic risk of very serious traffic congestion in Northampton).  Mr Cross stated that the plan did not include sound methods of positively managing these issues.  He stated that the County was nearly flooded and that infrastructure, including roads, hospitals and schools, was overloaded and Northampton would meltdown without sound solutions to mitigate the problems.  He stated that the Main Modifications seemed to provide little fundamental change and that the plan was still unsound and unmanageable.  WASPRA would be submitting representations during the consultation period ending on 25 February 2014.  He stated that the plan ran the risk of being a case study of town planning failure.


Mr David Ballard on behalf of Harpole Parish Council stated his view that the Committee should consider the procedural flaw related to the meeting of 16 December 2013.  He stated that from the comments made it was obvious that half the Committee had considered the whole plan was flawed and unsuitable for its intended purpose.  He stated that the proposer of the motion had commended the plan for its existence, not its efficacy.  He asked that the decision not be ratified but that efforts be made to reach a consensus plan.  He stated that using South View and Sandy Lane as a corner stone of the enlarged Norwood SUE was in contravention of the NPPF’s green belt policy and would effectively join Harpole to Northampton.  Mr Ballard referred to a map which showed that as the area had previously been identified by South Northamptonshire Council as of significant landscape value and an important local gap and it was acknowledged that the land had potential issues of instability the suitability of the development was brought into question and he suggested that the original Norwood Farm application be reinstated.  He also stated that the Strategic Employment Site at M1 junction 16 was not freely  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


The Chair inadvertently called the first member of the public registered to address the Committee to speak before the administrative items 1-4 on the agenda had been disposed of.


Proposed Main Modifications to the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy as submitted - Ratification of Decision of 16 December 2013 pdf icon PDF 88 KB

(Report attached)

Additional documents:


Kevin Lane, as Lead Monitoring Officer for the West Northamptonshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee, stated that the purpose of the meeting was to rectify a procedural flaw which had been discovered at the previous meeting of the Committee on 16 December 2013 which made that decision susceptible to the risk of legal challenge.  Ratifying the decision at this meeting would eliminate the risk of legal challenge.  The procedural flaw was that the member substituted at that meeting had not provided at least 24 hours’ notice in writing of the substitution to the Chair, although the Chair had been aware of the possible substitution for a number of days prior to the meeting.  The lead Monitoring Officer stated that the Committee was only meeting to consider this issue and that it would be unlawful to consider the Proposed Main Modifications to the Joint Core Strategy itself at this meeting as that was not the subject of the officer report.  If the decision of 16 December 2013 was not ratified the decision in fact remained valid unless a legal challenge was made and the decision was overturned.  Ratification would remove the risk of such a challenge being successfully pursued.  If the Committee decided not to ratify its decision the option, as set out in the report, would be to re-visit the merits of the proposed modifications at a future date.


The supplementary advice received from Queen’s Counsel was that provided the Committee’s decision of 16 December 2013 was ratified before the Proposed Main Modifications to the Joint Core Strategy were presented to the Inspector for further examination it was perfectly valid for the public consultation, which began on 14 January and would conclude on 25 February 2014, to continue.


Councillor Chantler proposed, Councillor Breese seconded that ”The decision made by the Committee at its meeting of 16 December 2013, as set out at paragraph 1.1 of the report, be ratified.”


Councillor Chantler stated that he found Queen’s Counsel’s (QC) advice comforting.  He stated that some people considered that any decision with which they disagreed was undemocratic.


Councillor Larratt spoke against the proposal.  He stated that the meeting held on 16 December 2013 had been a “shambles” and not been open and honest, and that members of the public had not been able to speak and engage in the decision making.  He stated that not all QC’s advice had been published and that it stated that to ratify the Committee’s decision was not risk free and that the safest option was for the Committee to re-consider its decision of 16 December 2013.  He stated that the Government had established the Joint Strategic Planning Committee to seek a consensus for West Northamptonshire but it had not proved possible to reach that consensus.  He did not consider that the process complied with the rules and regulations established for the process and was against the wishes of the people of Northampton.  He hoped that the Inspector would not accept the plan as proposed.


Councillor Michael Clarke  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.