(Report to follow)
The Head of Planning, Regeneration and Leisure Services presented the Adoption of land by Bromsgrove District Council and the Management of Commuted Sums for Off-Site Provision report.
Members were informed that when a new development was planned whichincluded open space provision, that open space would need to be managed appropriately by a developer or other management body in perpetuity. It was explained that there were various types of open space provision on a new development including sports pitches, equipped and unequipped open spaces and off-site open spaces.
The Head of Planning, Regeneration and Leisure Services clarified to Members of the Board that it was not compulsory for developers to offer any open space for adoption by the Council, or any other management body, and that they could choose to manage it themselves. However, it was noted that if the land was adopted by the Council the developer would have to provide the cost of on-going maintenance to the Council in perpetuity, which in this case would be for 30 years.
During a detailed discussion the Board agreed that this report was necessary in order to maintain open spaces now and in the future. Councillor R. Hunter noted that, although the policy was a good one, it needed to go further in order to provide clarity on the objectives of the Council in relation to this matter.
There was a robust discussion regarding whether it would be possible to use Council Tax collected from houses on new developments in order to provide the upkeep of any new open spaces. The Executive Director of Resources explained that although this would seem like a possibility, Council Tax was not all allocated to Bromsgrove District Council and that County Council received a high percentage of the Council Tax collected. It was also noted that it would not be good for financial sustainability for a Local Authority to commit to such long-term funding on a potentially variable or non-recurring income.
After a detailed debate Councillor R. Hunter proposed the following recommendation:
‘that the wording within the ‘Objectives’ section of the policy be amended, and that the word ‘preference’ be included to read ‘it is the preference and the intention of the Council’.
In addition to this Councillor. R. Hunter wished to include an additional paragraph in the main Officer report as follows:
‘Bromsgrove District Council believe that the optimal outcome for the residents and the wider community is for a local, democratically and publicly elected body to adopt the land.’
Although there was a general agreement from Members that these two recommendations would be useful in clarifying the Council’s position in this matter,the Board were reminded that, it was within the Officer’s gift to write their own report without it being amended and if an additional paragraph needed tobe added it should be within the policy not the officer’s report.
Therefore, the Board agreed that both recommendations, from Councillor R. Hunter be included in the ‘Objectives’ section of the policy.
Councillor J. Till suggested that it was important to reflect within the second recommendation that developers were not obliged to offer the land to the Council or any other party to manage. Therefore, it was agreed that ‘if offered’ be included at the end of the second recommendation.
On being put to the vote both recommendations were agreed.
The Chairman thanked Officers for a detailed presentation and noted that Councillor A. Kent had been invited to attend the Board meeting however, he had not been able to attend and had sent his apologies.
a) that the wording within the ‘Objectives’ section of the policy be amended, and that the word ‘preference’ be included to read ‘it is the preference and the intention of the Council’ and;
b) that an additional paragraph be included in the policy at the beginning of the ‘Objectives’ section which states the following: ‘Bromsgrove District Council believe that the optimal outcome for the residents and the wider community is for a local, democratically and publicly elected body to adopt the land, if offered’.