The Head of Planning, Regeneration and Leisure Services presented a report on the subject of the Adoption of Land by Bromsgrove District Council and the Management of Commuted Sums for Off-Site Provision.
Members were informed that developers could opt to provide open space land to the Council to manage on behalf of the community. However, other options were available to developers, including the potential to request that Parish Councils managed open spaces or for open space land to remain privately owned. The policy that had been developed related to land that was adopted by the Council.
Reference was made to the report and policy and it was noted that inconsistencies had been identified in the report in terms of the length of time which would apply to the maintenance period under the terms of the policy. Officers confirmed that this would be a period of 30 years. Members requested that report authors clearly check the content of their reports in future to ensure that correct information was included in policy documents.
During consideration of this item, the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Board, Councillor C. Hotham, outlined the Board’s conclusions in respect of the report, which had been pre-scrutinised at a meeting held on 13th September 2021. Members were advised that the Board had unanimously agreed a recommendation which proposed changes to the wording in the Objectives section of the policy. In proposing this recommendation, the Board had identified the need for clarity on the objectives of the Council in relation to this matter, in terms of the Council’s preferred approach to managing open spaces. The Board’s second recommendation proposed changes to the policy in order to recognise that another body, such as a Parish Council, might manage open spaces, not just Bromsgrove District Council. The Board had concluded that it would be preferable for a local democratic and publicly elected body to adopt open space land, if offered the opportunity.
Cabinet discussed the recommendations that had been made by the Overview and Scrutiny Board on this subject. In doing so, it was noted that the Council did not necessarily have a particular preference in relation to adopting and managing open spaces, which could have financial implications for the authority. In addition, concerns were raised that the proposal with respect to a preference for the authority had not been investigated in detail prior to the Cabinet meeting and there might be wider implications which had not yet been identified. The Council could adopt and manage land but this needed to be on the basis of a satisfactory agreement having been reached. Members noted that landlords could not be required to involve the Council in the adoption of open space land, though policy clarified that the authority would enter into discussions with developers where appropriate funding would be available. Finally, concerns were raised that some Parish Councils would not have sufficient funds to enable them to assume responsibility for managing open space land and therefore an expectation that this ... view the full minutes text for item 14