Before the presentations begun, Andrew Millard opened the item by introducing the three speakers:
· Katy Lock – Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA)
· Julia Foster – David Lock Associates (DLA)
· Matthew Lappin – DLA
The three speakers would be presenting interrelated subjects to Thurrock’s Local Plan. Andrew Millard stated that the borough was entering a period of unprecedented growth and that the Borough needed to see an improved quality of developments to ensure standards were of a transformational level and ensure new developments were more community driven and infrastructure led.
The first presentation – The Art of Building a Garden City: New Communities for the C21st was presented by Katy Lock. The presentation outlined:
· Garden City Principles – a guideline for local authorities (LAs) to adopt to ensure high standards of developments e.g. land value for communities; strong vision and community engagement.
· Government’s Garden Communities Programme – TCPA had been working with the government and local communities on this programme making it possible for government to set high standards of developments.
· Modernising new towns for garden communities.
· TCPA New Communities Group – currently included 23 LAs who developed according to Garden City Principles. Key delivery from this Group included political engagement and corporate leadership; community engagement.
The second presentation – Delivering Garden Communities was presented by Julia Foster. The presentation outlined:
· A change in government thinking on development which had previously been undertaken by the private sector but was now moving to LAs.
· One of the projects undertaken by DLA had been in Cranbrook, Devon which had been development on a large scale. The development had been private but with involvement from the LA as a stakeholder.
· Urban and Civic’s Master Developer Model – had high standards of quality in development through control of the development.
Noting the density of the homes plan in slide 26, the Chair said there was no greenery to enjoy. Councillor Smith agreed the layout of the homes shown was too dense and that the example of Alconbury Weald was similar to Chafford Hundred which was what Thurrock wanted to avoid a repeat of. Julia Foster answered that the houses shown in Alconbury Weald were of a high quality and was a bigger site than Chafford Hundred. She went on to mention that Milton Keynes was a good example of a big and successful development.
Regarding the presentations, Andrew Millard said these were to show examples of the different types and scales of development and not to promote any specific development typology within the presentations. Development plans would be drawn from the Issues and Options 2 (IO2) Consultation that was currently ongoing as each locality of Thurrock needed a locally derived approach. It was important for communities to link together and Garden City Principles could be integrated into Thurrock’s local communities thus linking them. Agreeing with Andrew Millard, the Chair added that Thurrock needed to consider other factors such as schools near new developments for young families and homes for elderly people.
Mentioning the possibility of a new development on Arena Essex, Councillor Rice said the idea of building 2,500 homes in a 122 acre space was great but the Council had to ensure the new town would be fully integrated into the community and not separated as was the case with Chafford Hundred. Provisions needed to be made for bungalows for the elderly for accessibility because not everyone needed 3/4 bedroom homes or flats. Adding to this, the Chair said the bungalows should be spaced out around the community to ensure the elderly were integrated into the local community. Councillor Smith also mentioned the possible developments of Purfleet and said that developments had to be of a high quality. He wished to see homes that were of a 21st century model and not the high density model as was shown in the presentation.
The third presentation – Planning for Health and Wellbeing: Active Design, Healthy New Towns Initiative was presented by Matthew Lappin. The presentation outlined:
The Chair understood the negative impacts within health and wellbeing and said that positive impacts should also be shown to indicate the benefits of planning developments around health. Julia Foster said that Sport England was putting together a few projects into towns to analyse if these would have a positive effect on people’s health and lifestyles. Continuing on, the Chair said that residents within her ward had worked together to create a sporting community. For future developments, there needed to be greenery included to enable people to enjoy on walks. The Chair asked that the DLA come back to the Task Force Group in the future with more information on the healthy towns initiative.
The Committee suggested a site visit to the Alconbury development to analyse the structure.