To consider the call in of the decision made by the Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Lead for Planning, Regeneration and Communities relating to the Hayling Island Transport Assessment Addendum.
The Chairman invited Councillor Keast to sit as a guest of the Board. His knowledge and experience of planning matters could help inform the Board and encourage discussion. She explained to Members that whilst he could speak and inform the debate he could not vote.
Following an outline of the process for the call-in meeting, and the possible outcomes, the Board received deputations from Mr Dave Parham and Professor Nick Hounsell. Mr Parham objected to the Hayling Island Transport Assessment Addendum on the grounds that:
a) Hayling Island was a unique and vulnerable island and therefore should be treated as such;
b) there was no way to determine the flow capacity of the single access road and therefore the resultant impact on the island of allowing more traffic to run through it;
c) the proposed mitigation did not satisfy the requirements of the flood risk strategy and therefore did not allow for sustainable infrastructure.
Professor Nick Hounsell objected to the Hayling Island Transport Assessment Addendum on the grounds that:
i) there were no alternative routes to and from the mainland on the island besides the single access bridge;
ii) whilst the government guidelines for the traffic simulation model were for it to fall on the average normal term time day, Hayling Island’s situation was unique in that the Summer and weekend traffic was more significant to record;
iii) a range of scenarios should be forecasted in order to get the most accurate data result, such as the effects of windfall, summer traffic and the best and worst outcomes measured up in order to justify the decision either way.
The Chairman invited Councillors Satchwell, Robinson, Scott and Thomas to present their reasons for the call in and the alternative action requested.
Councillors Satchwell and Thomas set out their reasons for the call-in. The main points raised in the call-in were:
· the capacity of the single access road on and off Hayling Island was unknown and therefore the full impact of mitigation could not be known;
· lack of clarity as to where funding for the mitigation packages would be found and how it would be achieved in time for implementation of each stage;
· the yet to be determined viability of the Hayling Billy Line whilst being included as an area for potential mitigation could lend to further issues;
· the data used for the mitigation packages coming from the 2011 Census which is close to becoming out-dated;
· the microsimulation model did not include data from the Summer months at peak times when anecdotally traffic was at its worst, or projected data considering windfall developments;
· areas concerned with flood management were included in the mitigation package when in reality they were areas at risk;
· the decision had not yet been through a Scrutiny process beyond its formulation.
They requested that the Board refer the decision back to Cabinet.
In response to a question by the Board concerning their preferred amendments to the addendum, Councillor Satchwell explained that they had a belief in community involvement and transparency as a Councillor, and they felt that residents’ concerns and comments about the Transport Assessment Addendum had been overlooked in previous meetings of the Hayling Island Infrastructure Advisory Group. They also felt that the Addendum was a difficult document to fully understand due to its technical nature, but their main points for concern were the population increase the Transport Assessment Addendum may facilitate, flood risks across the island and the wider borough, and unsustainable development.
The Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Lead for Planning, Regeneration and Communities, Councillor Pike, responded to the call-in. He thanked the officers for their work and explained that he was confident he had received the best advice in order to make such an important decision. He reminded the Board that Planning Policy was not an independent area of the council and must reflect national protocols and methodology. If they did not conform to these protocols, then any decision could be overturned by the Inspectorate. He explained that Cabinet had used public scrutiny multiple times by allowing residents’ groups to join the debate and deliver their thoughts. He explained that it was a once in a lifetime decision for the council to make and whilst they could not correct the mistakes of the past, they were able to help the future. As the council was the master planning authority for Hayling Island, they needed to ensure all aspects and resultant effects of the Addendum were considered, such as environmental benefits, safety, community severance and more consistent journey times. He reiterated that improvements were expected to be funded through development and that he was confident the funding could match the work in the order in which it was needed.
The supporting officers then gave a presentation providing clarity to the decision.
In response to questions by Members, the Deputy Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Lead for Planning, Regeneration and Communities explained that:
1) the Hayling Billy Trail needed feasibility studies to determine what purpose it could hold, the funding of which was secured at the February Council meeting when the Community Infrastructure Levy was agreed;
2) some improvements to the A3023 would take place before any new dwellings were built and some would take place whilst dwellings were built, but it was better to get much of the funding prior to mitigation implementation;
3) the Hayling Island Transport Assessment Addendum had gone above and beyond the normal requirements to allow development to take place, and whilst improvements to the road network were not necessary to allow development to take place, it was deemed desirable for residents and visitors to make such improvements;
4) development on Hayling Island was determined by the Local Plan, not by the Transport Assessment.
In response to questions by Members, the officers responded that:
a. the simulation model was commissioned for the 2036 Local Plan and as such it was designed to only mitigate development within that plan;
b. the Transport Assessment Addendum had shown that developing all mitigation packages could only take place with the funding provided by developers, and therefore development was crucial;
c. there were two separate assessments - one for the mainland and one for the island – because they were intended to perform two different functions;
d. the areas allocated for friction reduction measures were all within public control;
e. the purpose of the Hayling Island Transport Assessment Addendum was to provide a possible solution to the transport issues the island faced and would face, not the complete and full guaranteed solution;
f. the transport model was run according to guidance that it should be modelled on regular days considering normal conditions, not on abnormal events such as Summer peak times;
g. the severe impact is measured by impact on more than car drivers; the mitigation proposed is to improve connectivity, safety, road-user observation, and more. There is no quantifiable measure of “severe”, but all mitigation measures should have a positive impact on all aspects of travel;
h. all models are for an imagined future, and as it is not impacted by development which could take place after 2036 they cannot alter the present without the decision coming to appeal;
i. the model was taken via Bluetooth and collected data between 7am-10am, 11am-2pm, 4pm-7pm. Video cameras on the dashboard were used to help measure this and the data was collected in the Summer months.
j. the Sinah Lane development would provide approx. £700,000 worth of funding for mitigation, which was proportionate given the size and scale of the development;
k. windfall sites on Hayling Island were difficult to predict but if the council were to try to do this then it would threaten deliverability;
l. there is no finite capacity of a road as it is a dynamic stretch;
m. whilst the planning policy team did not compare Hayling Island to other areas in looking at the Hayling Island Transport Assessment mitigation, they did follow national policy guidelines, and areas such as flood risk mitigation would be looked at later, on a case by case basis.
Councillor Satchwell as the primary Call-In Councillor gave a final statement.
Councillor Pike as the decision maker gave a final statement.
The Board then debated whether the call-in of the decision was necessary. The Board were unanimous in their response that the decision call-in was necessary at this time.
Board Members then debated their actions in response to the call-in.
Concerns by Members included the feasibility of the Hayling Billy Trail for mitigation measures; the reliability of phased funding; issues around flooding on the island and how that would interrupt mitigation; and the desire to use updated data which took into consideration windfall development and more current population statistics.
A vote was taken and it was AGREED THAT the decision be referred back to the Decision Maker for reconsideration on that grounds that they should consider:
1. including a document to include a phased funding timeline with trigger points;
2. further research in respect of flooding and how this might affect the mitigation measures proposed;
3. waiting until the feasibility of the Hayling Billy mitigation measure was determined; and
4. altering the addendum and mitigation measures to include data that the Council holds since the 2011 census, including windfall development.
The meeting was adjourned at 19:50