Greenwich Council

Agenda item

Cabinet Member Report

To receive an update on progress with the delivery of the key priorities for the portfolio - Regeneration and Sustainability

Minutes:

Councillor Danny Thorpe, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainability presented the report to the Panel, highlighting performance on priorities specific to his portfolio.  The Cabinet Member was assisted by the Director of the Department of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills (DRES).

 

The Panel noted the report.

 

In response to questions raised, the Cabinet Member gave an assurance to the Panel that although the portfolio was wide-ranging and challenging, the targets were achievable.  It was stated that objectives were monitored and supported by action plans to ensure outcomes for the benefit of those who work, live in, and visit the Royal Borough of Greenwich (Royal Borough).  Thus, the accelerated programme of repairs and improvement to local roads and pavement was not unrealistic, and the delivery of the public realm areas in Eltham was nearing completion.

 

The Cabinet Member continued by reiterating to the Panel that in addition to improvements the in Kidbrooke area, plans were underway to develop the Eltham cinema site, and the Cruise Linder Terminal in Greenwich.  The delivery programme in the Peninsula area was continuing, and a housing zone had been established in Abbeywood and Theamsmead.  Specific to Woolwich, work had commenced to draft a new masterplan for the area, which would include the requirements of Crossrail, a new leisure centre, and the proposed development work at Spray Street.  The Cabinet Member further advised that an assessment of findings at the conclusion of consultation relating to the Charlton Masterplan had commenced.

 

Commenting on the latter response, the Panel enquired about application of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), highlighting that there had been no mention about regeneration of the Plumstead area.  In response, the Cabinet Member stated that given the location of Plumstead, it was unrealistic to suggest that residents in that area would not benefit from the wider regeneration of the Royal Borough.  However, there was no reason for the Council not to consider reasonable suggestions for development improvements specific to Plumstead.

 

The Cabinet Member continued responding to questions raised, advising the Panel that plans to further reduce carbon emissions across the Royal Borough were being developed against priorities in the Greener Greenwich Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan.  It was stated that the Council was working with residents, agencies and other organisations on matters relating to solar insulation, battery storage, highways, planning and related matter.  However, any attempt to acquire additional green spaces for housing development would have to be weighed against community expectations, and in light of areas already identified as ‘Metropolitan Open Land’.

 

The Panel also noted clarification by the Director of DRES that examples of what might be deemed harmful in planning terms under the permitted development rights could include elements of the housing stock that pertained to incremental changes which could degrade an environment.  It was stated that any developments that would significantly change the character and appearance of a conservation would also be considered as harmful.  However, enforcement against breaches had been difficult because the Council’s current position was to support and encourage residents and developers to meet the provisions under Article 4 directions.  Notwithstanding that, residents were encouraged to report what could be perceived as harmful developments in their neighbourhood, for investigation, and that had resulted in the Council’s allocating specific resources to clamp down on illegal churches.

 

Continuing with its discussion, the Panel expressed a concern about breaches of Section106 Agreements by developers, and suggested that it might perhaps be useful to introduce an integrated planning enforcement policy.  In response, the Director stated that such a policy would be difficult to implement because each planning application should be considered on its own merit, but the Council would be recruiting two officers on a temporary contract to assess the scale the workload.

 

The Panel suggested that a seminar should be organised, with a view to enlighten Members on Section106 Agreements, and the delivery of CIL within the Royal Borough.

 

Action: Snr. Corp Dev. Officer/

Director of DRES

 

Resolved –

 

That updates on key priorities in regard to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainability portfolio, be noted.

Supporting documents: