Venue: Council Chamber
Contact: J Bayley Democratic Services Officer
Apologies and named substitutes
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Chalk and Clayton.
Declarations of interest and of Party Whip
To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and / or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests, and any Party Whip.
Councillor Kane declared that she had previously expressed clear and publicised views on the proposals to be discussed under Minute Item No. 85 (Pre-Decision Scrutiny – Appropriation of Land off Ipsley Church Lane for Planning Purposes) and as such her participation in the discussion and vote on this matter could be construed as predetermination. Councillor Kane indicated that she would not be taking part in the rest of the meeting.
Councillor Kane subsequently left the room and took no further part in the meeting.
The Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on Thursday 20th October 2022 will be considered at this meeting and will be published in an Additional Papers pack.
The minutes from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on Thursday 20th October 2022 were submitted for Members’ consideration.
the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Meeting held on Thursday 20th October 2022 be approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Chair.
To invite members of the public who have registered in advance of the meeting to speak to the Committee. Please note that the deadline to register to speak at this meeting is 12 noon on Tuesday 6th December 2022.
The Chair introduced the public speaking item and explained to the Committee that several public speakers had registered to speak either in person or had prepared statements to be read out before the Committee.
The Chair explained to Members that a written statement had been received from Ms. J. Lovell, made on behalf of herself and two other residents, Dr. E. Soady and Mr. I. Soady. Therefore, nine minutes would be allocated for this statement to be read out by the Democratic Services Officer present. Her statement was delivered as follows:
“I make this statement on behalf of myself, Mr and Dr. Soady and we represent the hundreds of people, including their children, who can’t be here but will be detrimentally impacted should this appropriation go ahead to allow what is a BUILD DEVELOPMENT.
Talk to anyone on social media, on the street, in the park, in the meadow, they will all say “IT’S A DONE DEAL “. And yes, it is as far as the ruling incumbent councillors are concerned. That is evidenced in their committees in pursuit and it’s no secret this is the site they want, and this is the site they shall have.
So, the officer seems to me to be saying that apart from the loss of open space no other argument is valid because they have planning permission. [ By the way that’s OUTLINE planning permission.] So as a cemetery is a topology of open space there won’t be any loss, end of.
Let us be absolutely clear on this. Let’s talk about the reality.
This is for a BUILD DEVELOPMENT of a new from scratch forever expanding operational cemetery. Entrance gates running into a large carpark area. Lanes off to accommodate the hurst. Ancillary buildings to accommodate the digging/maintenance equipment and toilets. And once it’s began other buildings associated with burials will no doubt be granted permission. The continuation of digging up of graves, with or without headstones, headstones up or down. No time to elaborate more but you will have the reality of a cemetery in your focus tonight.
Let’s be absolutely clear of what this land is now here today. A UNIQUE part of Arrow Valley Park South, part of the park given over in trust by Redditch Newtown Development Corporation for pleasure. It is an established, well-loved, and used semi natural area close to our urban homes. This has been acknowledged by a council solicitor in a response to my complaint.
As committed members of Overview and Scrutiny you will have outsourced that the high value and use of this piece of parkland for enjoyment of recreational pursuits is proven and weighted heavily.
From as high as the national government policies, including Public Heath England, and National Planning Policy Framework. Even the Inspector of State declared the council could not allocate Arrow Valley Park as land for the development of plan because of its great importance for recreational needs. Down to Worcestershire Green Infrastructure Framework to your own policies. ... view the full minutes text for item 84.
This report will follow in an Additional Papers pack, once the report has been published for consideration of the Executive Committee.
The Chair introduced this item and explained that it was not possible for Officers to provide the Committee with the copies of all 60 letters of objection on the grounds of the loss of recreational space due to time and resource constraints. The Bereavement Services Manager clarified that a sample of the objections would be read out in the course of the Officer presentation.
The Bereavement Services Manager presented a report on the appropriation of Land off Ipsley Church Lane and explained that this report was due to be considered by the Executive Committee on the 13th December 2022, which would decide whether to proceed with the appropriation of land off Ipsley Church Lane for planning purposes under section 122 (2A) of the Local Government Act 1972.
It was explained that the planning decision notice dated 26th April 2022 provided for a change of use and entrance subject to various conditions. This permission was to create a modern cemetery using the open space and biodiversity in such a way as to ensure the wider ecology would be enhanced.
The land in question was designated primary open space and remained so even with the change of use permission. Therefore, appropriation of the land for planning purposes was required and the authority had the power to do this under section 122 of the Local Government Act 1972. As the land was open space this power fell under sub-section 2a of section 122 of the Act due to its recreational use.
The Bereavement Services Manager clarified the steps that the Council had taken thus far to lawfully proceed with the process of appropriation proposal. The Council was required to advertise its intention to appropriate in a newspaper with circulation in the local area. The adverts were placed on 16th, 23rd and 30th of September – the third date was added as in the first week an incorrect email address had been included in the advert. This satisfied the minimum requirements for advertising the intention to appropriate.
The Council also had to consider any objections to the proposed appropriation. To discharge this requirement there was a period of six weeks allocated for making representations, from 16th September to 28th October 2022.
It was highlighted that, following this process, should the Council decide to appropriate this land it was released from any trust for the enjoyment of the public imposed by section 164 of the Public Health Act 1875 or the Open Spaces Act 1906.
The Bereavement Services Manager explained that the report before the Committee detailed the planning designations of open space and primarily open space used within the change of use application.
The details of the objections received were summarised and it was noted that 69 people objected to the appropriation, of whom 68 objected by email and 1 person objected by letter. The objections were categorised into 14 categories, with categories 2-14 having been dealt with via the planning application of 13th October ... view the full minutes text for item 85.