Minutes of NDP Meeting: Monday 25th April 2016

Present: AB, DC, MH, LH, TK, JS; Absent: TF;  chairman’s Invitees: Colin Watney, Chris Sturgeon, Matthew Warne; Member of public, Joy Temple

  1. There was something of a free-for-all as the comments and questions swirled around the table. The agenda was largely abandoned, as we began with comments on what to say at Saturday’s first public meeting. Then TK explained to newcomers that we are at the start of the NDP process, while MH required us to focus on the core of what we have to do.
  2. Then TK reverted to item one on the agenda and spoke about consultants he had contacted  who have suggested a masterplan was needed with diagrams too. JS made it clear he felt that since losing the Gladman appeal, Sissinghurst was disengaged, not really interested in NDP. He spoke of his meeting with the minister, Greg Clark, who has suggested the NDP can be completed in one year, so that JS recommended a sense of urgency.  MH and TK endorsed this.
  3. At this point JT suggested that money was tainting decisions. Then the discussion reverted to the Saturday meeting. JS suggested a notice in the Courier. Someone referred to Emma Wood’s public website as a way of advertising the meeting. Another suggested the need to use social media, though most cllrs present were not on Facebook.
  4. Colin Watney suggested that the elderly do not use the internet but that we need their indispensable knowledge and argued that the young were economically active and have a longer stake in the results.
  5. JT asked how many houses are wanted in Ck and recommended distinct areas should be covered and endorsed LH’s suggestion that people get out with basic leaflets and involve as many people as possible. LH also suggested that no more than one hour would be necessary for the public meeting to impart the basic information, that is, what the NDP is, why the govt has encouraged it, what the process entails and its limitations, plus possible questions and answers. LH suggested it will not be a universal panacea to all our planning problems. We would have to ask for volunteers too to carry out surveys, to draw up the questions, etc.
  6. Then MH brought us back to central principles and spoke of the need for density of development to avoid suburban sprawl and recommended the Kent Design Guide in place of drawing up our own Design Manual. This would save time. LH supported the Kent Design Guide.
  7. Then TK returned to consultants, this time referring to his own requirement for a masterplan for 50 years ahead. LH pointed out that is not possible as changes in govt planning policy have to be catered for and Local Plans last only ten years before review. TK also suggested that there is a natural limit to settlements, which all agreed. MH argued good towns evolve organically and we need to allow time for detractors to be demolished. TK wanted an evolving design guide, which could be changed regularly. LH pointed out that years on the Planning Policy Working Party taught that this could not be accommodated, as the whole approach has to be relatively fixed so as to create certainty for developers who without such clear-cut guidelines would take TWBC to court.
  8. TK referred again to consultants who like Feria had 16 stages and each one would be costed.   MH argued that we are all learning how to do it, as NDPs are an entirely new venture, which is not yet tested as a process but that we all learn by doing it. Finally, a press release to the Courier was agreed while TK, MH, DC and JS decided to speak to the public on one of the four aspects mentioned earlier in paragraph 5.               

 Notes taken by LH, 25th April 2016

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