Agenda item

Article 4 Direction for Local Centres in Reigate and Banstead

To be proposed by Councillor Khan and seconded by Councillor McKenna.

Minutes:

The motion on an Article 4 Direction for Local Centres in Reigate and Banstead was proposed by Councillor Khan:

·         The Council had made a Member endorsed response to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities which objected to the expansion of Permitted Development Rights as these were undermining economic and employment opportunities and the ability of local communities to shape the places they use and in which they live.

·         Other Councils were applying an Article 4 Direction on their town centres to prohibit Permitted Development Rights, in affect removing the prior approval and requiring Planning approval.

·         A lack of an Article 4 Direction in Reigate & Banstead meant that local shopping centres were at risk throughout the Borough.

·         Called on the Council to go further and faster in order to specifically save the shopping parade in Merstham.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor McKenna:

·         Called on local centres to be protected for the benefit of the social economic health of the Borough and for a clear message to be sent that the Council was against the expansion of Permitted Development Rights.

·         Highlighted the potential negative impact on environmental sustainability by forcing further journeys to out-of-town shopping centres.

 

In accordance with Procedure Rule 2.17.3, the Mayor gave notice that it was convenient and conducive to the conduct of business to allow the Motion to be addressed at the meeting. 

 

Councillor Michalowski, the Executive Member for Place, Planning and Regulatory Services responded to the Motion on behalf of the Executive:

·         Confirmed that the Council had consistently objected to the expansion of Permitted Development Rights which removed the authority’s control of valued commercial units.

·         Assurances had already been given that an Article 4 Direction would be considered to provide protection to the Borough’s shops and local centres.

·         However, an Article 4 Direction was not easily approved by the Secretary of State. It had therefore been advised to carefully consider the outcomes of a retail needs assessment to provide the evidence needed to justify taking this approach.

·         Applying an Article 4 Direction without sufficient justification would not be value for money for residents. This was demonstrated by the fact that only a handful of local authorities had been successful in securing an Article 4 Direction, with none having been secured previously in Surrey.

·         Procurement of a retail needs assessment had commenced as part of the development of the new Local Plan. It was intended to pursue an Article 4 Direction to add protection to the Borough’s local and town centres.

 

One Member, Councillor Kelly, had registered to speak on the Motion:

·         Recalled a local array of shops which had been slowly removed over the years. Although it was noted that landlords were acting lawfully.

·         Called on Members to support the Motion.

 

In accordance with Procedure Rule 2.19.22, Councillor Biggs, the Leader of the Council, was given the opportunity to respond to the Motion:

·         The Council would continue to refute Planning rules from Central Government that it thought not suitable.

·         Officers were thanked for their work on pursing an Article 4 Direction and putting in place a strong evidence base.

·         Expressed thanks and support for Councillor Khan’s motion.

 

RESOLVED: to support the Motion to

1.    Bring forward the new ‘Retail Needs Survey’ required as part of its local plan to gather evidence to support this, as soon as is practicable, for the Council to identify where there is the potential for an Article 4 Direction over the four Town Centres and 27 Local Centres designated in the Development Management Plan (Policy RET 3) and to restrict Permitted Development Rights PDR in these key locations; and,

2.    Subject to the outcome of the Retail Needs Survey, to then consult on a potential Article 4 Direction to add protection to our Town Centres and Local Centres.

Supporting documents: