Here are some short bullet points covering the September cycle of E&E Borough Council meetings. In addition the photo shows the murals on the ex-toilets, now car-wash unit at the Upper High Street car park. Many thanks to the Glyn School pupils for their creative work.
Planning: The new Martial Arts Centre building for Alexandra Recreation Ground comes to the Planning Committee at their 5th October meeting. Proposals for the Aldi foodstore at the Church Road junction are still being discussed between the applicants and the council planning officers. It's not likely to come to the Planning Committee before December at the earliest.
Licensing & Planning Policy Committee: They discussed a recommendation to "unpause" the Local Plan. [The Local Plan is a large document which covers a 20 year period, is required by central government and which must detail how our council is going to comply with housing targets set by central government, design, environmental and other diktat]. It also contains our LOCAL planning policies, with which we can defend inappropriate development proposals so it's quite important! Progress on this Plan was stopped in March because of protests about the council's proposals to use some Green Belt land to meet the housing requirements. Unpausing the Plan would allow further work to be done which could redefine how many dwellings our council can build, where and on which sites. A meeting of the full Council is required to unpause work on the Local Plan and that is planned for 24 October.
Financial Strategy Panel: This became rather a muddled affair. It was apparently not clear if the meeting should be transmitted online or via Youtube, so proceedings were paused while that was sorted out. None of EEBC's Panel meetings are transmitted online. One councillor left the meeting as they were not clear the meeting was constitutionally sound! Then there was an issue as to whether or not the meeting remained quorate. It was. Finally items for next year's Capital Programme were discussed: some excellent news about environmental projects such as funding solar panels on some council buildings. But there's very little money available and a potential budget gap looming in 2024/25.
Audit & Scrutiny: Our councillors are pressing for more information about how widespread the practise is of developers making cash contributions to the council's own programme of providing housing, rather than meeting affordable housing requirements themselves, and how these funds are actually being used by the council. We are also continuing to seek greater transparency in how complaints are managed.
Crime and Disorder: The interesting parts were in the private session that we can’t share. When there is useful information to disseminate that we can, we will!
As always, please contact any of our councillors for more information, and follow us on Facebook here.