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Contact: Jan McRobbie
Sederunt and Declaration of Members' Interests
The Chair asked Members if they had any interests to declare, in terms of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.
Cllr Cox declared an interest in Item 6, by virtue of friendship with the applicant’s parents and indicated he would leave the meeting, taking no part in the discussion or determination of the matter.
Consider, and if so desired, adopt the following resolution:-
(1) to have due regard to the need to:-
(a) eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
(b) advance equality of opportunity between those who share a protected characteristic and persons who do not share it; and
(c) foster good relations between those who share a protected characteristic and persons who do not share it; and
(2) where an Integrated Impact Assessment is provided, to consider its contents and take those into account when reaching a decision.
In taking decisions on the undernoted items of business, the Committee agreed, in terms of Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010:-
(1) To have due regard to the need to:-
(a) eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
(b) advance equality and opportunity between those who share a protected characteristic and persons who do not share it; and
(c) foster good relations between those who share a protected characteristic and persons who do not share it, and
(2) to consider, where an Integrated Impact Assessment has been provided, its contents and to take those into consideration when reaching a decision.
Consider, and if so decided, adopt the following resolution:- “That under Section 50A (4) and (5) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, as amended, the public and media representatives be excluded from the meeting for Item 9 of business below, on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information of the class described in the relevant paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 7A of the Act.”
The Committee agreed, in terms of Section 50A (4) and (5) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, to exclude the public from the meeting during consideration of the items specified below so as to avoid disclosure of exempt information of the classes described in the undernoted paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 7A of the Act.
Item No Paragraph No of Schedule 7A
Presented By / report author: Jan McRobbie, Area Committee Officer, Banff and Buchan
There had been circulated and was approved as a correct record the Minute of Meeting of Banff and Buchan Area Committee of 19 December 2023.
Presented By / report author: Author Jan McRobbie, Area Committee Officer, Banff and Buchan/ Angela Keith, Area Manager, Banff and Buchan
A report by the Banff and Buchan Area Manager was circulated detailing the items of outstanding business as at 23 January 2024.
The Committee agreed:-
(1) that Item 4, Housing Management Policy, Assisted Transfer Management Process and other Tenancy Management issues, be dismissed as assurances had been provided at an informal session on 16 January 2024; and
(2) in all other respects to note the items of outstanding business as at 30 January 2024.
Actions / services: Education and Children's Services
Presented By / report author: Author- Marie Higgins, Planner, Presented by Jim Martin, Senior Planner
There had been circulated a report dated 17 January 2024 by the Director of Environment and Infrastructure Services, requesting Members’ consideration of an application for Full Planning Permission for Alterations to Garage to form Ancillary Accommodation to Main Dwellinghouse at Oceanside Cottage, Inverboyndie, Banff, Aberdeenshire, recommended for refusal as contrary to Policy C4 of the Local Development Plan 2023 and the Policy 22 of National Planning Framework 4 in that the applicant had failed to demonstrate that the development would not be impacted by flood risks.
The Committee were advised that a request to speak had been made by Mr. Ritchie, agent, on behalf of the applicant and agreed to hear Mr. Ritchie.
Members heard from Mr. Martin, Senior Planner, of the proposal to alter and extend an existing garage to provide ancillary accommodation, with the installation of new doors and windows. While most consultation responses were acceptable, SEPA and the Council’s Flood Prevention Team had objected, as there was insufficient information to provide assurance. Efforts had been made to achieve this information but to no avail. Accordingly, if the Committee were minded to support the application, it would have to be referred to the Scottish Ministers as in breach of the recommendations of a statutory consultee.
The Committee heard from Mr. Ingram, Principal Solicitor, of the process which would be followed on any referral to the Scottish Ministers, who might revise or reverse any decision made by the Area Committee.
Questions were asked as to the weight which Members should give to consider up-to-date climate predictions, and how this might be evidenced, in support of NPF4 Flood policies. Assurance was given that each Councillor should independently make this decision, considering this in the context of all information provided. It was also noted that as national legislation, SEPA had taken cognisance of climate predictions when formulating their responses to planning application.
There being no further questions for officers, the Committee heard from Mr. Ritchie of the application for ancillary accommodation to be used for family and friends, acceptable in principle apart from an issue with flooding. He spoke of a former flood risk assessment undertaken by Cameron and Ross, updated and remodelled at some expense, which showed that the likelihood of flooding was not 1or 2 hundred year event. In addition, SEPA were now asking for an additional tolerance factor of 600mm, while the extension proposed would be 150mm above the current garage level 600m, again showed no flood issues when agreed freeboard. The change had come with NPF4, and Mr. Ritchie understood that SEPA and the Council’s Flood Team needed to accept and make recommendations on the current rules, not those in force when the application was being processed.
Questions were asked of Mr Ritchie of the definition of freeboard, being the level over and above that which flood risk assessment would require, agreed as an additional safety factor.
There being no further questions, Mr. Ritchie confirmed that he had had a fair hearing.
There was discussion of the ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Councillor Cox, having declared an interest in this item as a friend of the applicant’s parents, left the meeting and took no part in its discussion or determination.
There had been circulated a report dated 16 January 2024 by the Director of Environment and Infrastructure Services, requesting Members’ consideration of an application for Planning Permission in Principle for the Erection of a Dwellinghouse at Land Adjacent to Wester Dubford, Gamrie, Banff, Aberdeenshire, recommended for refusal as contrary to Policy R2: Development Proposals Elsewhere in the Countryside of the Local Development Plan 2023 and Policy 17: Rural homes of National Planning Framework 4.
The Committee were advised that a request to speak had been made by Mrs Tierney, of McWilliam Lippe, Architect, on behalf of the applicant and agreed to hear Mrs Tierney.
Members heard from Mr. Martin, Senior Planner, of the details of the application, on a greenfield site of agricultural land, where Planning Permission in Principle was sought for a single house. A previous application on the same land had been refused in March 2022, and its appeal to the Local Review Body dismisses in November 2023. There were no representations on the application; design could not be assessed at this stage, acceptable arrangements were proposed for public water supply and foul water, and all consultees content, subject to appropriate road conditions. The proposal met all the relevant technical matters but could not be recommended for approval as it did not comply with the acceptable criteria of building in an accessible rural area. Supporting arguments made related to the Remote Rural Area, and criteria seeking justification in terms of cluster did not apply as the site was 1 kilometre away from the Remote Rural Area boundary. The application was not acceptable in policy terms and was recommended for refusal.
Questions were asked of officers of the location of the Remote Rural Area related to the site; and the detail of the criteria which could support development in a Remote Rural Area.
There being no further questions for officers, the Committee heard from Mrs Tierney that a material consideration, in terms of Planning Legislation, was the planning history of the site. In 2022 the site lay well within the rural planning area and refusal was due to the changes made to remote and accessible rural areas. These changes had taken a few months to clarify, to the detriment of her clients. Mrs Tierney stressed that the supporting documents submitted demonstrated the correct distance from the boundary was a matter of metres, not a kilometre as detailed in the planning report and as described by the Senior Planner in his presentation.
Mrs Tierney suggested that the accessible rural area boundary appeared to follow roads, and whilst the applicant could relocate to the south to be in this area, this would be remote from the other houses. An application in Garioch, Western Harlaw, was cited as precedent as it had previously fallen into the remote rural area category. She spoke of the ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Presented By / report author: Author Marie Higgins, Planner and presented by Jim Martin, Senior Planner
There had been circulated a report dated 17 January 2024 by the Director of Environment and Infrastructure Services, requesting Members’ consideration of an application for Full Planning Permission for the Erection of Dwellinghouse at Land at Nether Cortes Farm, Fraserburgh, recommended for refusal as contrary to the Local Development Plan and National Planning Framework 4, as although the need for a retirement succession dwelling had been accepted, the site was considered to be remote from the established farm hub.
The Committee were advised that a request to speak had been made by Mr. Fyvie, of Baxter Design, on behalf of the applicant, and agreed to hear Mr. Fyvie
Members heard from Mr. Martin, Senior Planner, details of the proposal, on a greenfield site, agricultural land 340 metres west of the main farm hub, for a large 2 storey house, accessed from an existing track and on which there had been no representations. Public water and private drainage were to be provided, and the Roads Development had requested conditions, should the application be granted. The application did not conform with siting and design as the location proposed was remote from the farm hub, without any visible connection to the main farm hub. In addition, the proposed house was considered large and its location at a high point in the landscape, although currently mitigated by trees to its rear, if these were to be removed or fall, the house would be very visible.
Discussions had been held with the applicant about the potential relocation of the house to the vicinity of the existing farm hub, or a location visibly connected to the existing hub, but no alternative site had been submitted.
Questions were asked of officers, of where it would be appropriate to consider precedent when determining each application on its merit; the definition of remote and what would be deemed acceptable in terms of distance to the existing hub; the availability of alternative land in a more appropriate location; the potential to grant subject to conditions if the proposed dwellinghouse were relocated as compared to the requirement for a new application; and the current land use of the proposed location.
There being no further questions for officers, the Committee heard from Mr. Fyvie that as retiral home, accepted in principle, the sole issue was the location of the dwellinghouse. He felt the chosen site was justified as it supervised and overlooked six of the eight fields of the existing farm, on a sloping area of ground. This he considered to meet the requirement to be in the vicinity of the farm hub, with the 340 metre distance a three to five minute walk away for an able-bodied person.
Mr. Fyvie stated that the lack of visibility could be overcome by cutting down the tree hub, and that during winter months the entire hub would be visible. The applicant considered the site the best location, sitting in an extremely mature landscape and beside a tree belt, and at a safe distance ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
Presented By / report author: Author - Jan McRobbie, Area Committee Officer, Banff and Buchan/ Angela Keith, Area Manager, Banff and Buchan
There had been circulated a report dated January 2024 by the Director of Education & Children Services, requesting Members’ consideration, in terms of Part 4 of the Scheme of Governance, of a report providing updates on Scrutiny and Improvement in the Banff and Buchan area for the year 2023/24, including, inter alia, the formal approval of additional items of scrutiny work proposed for consideration in 2023/24, as identified at an informal session in November 2023.
Members heard from the Area Manager of additional updates provided by Services to update those in the appendix 1 to the report, and there was discussion of the updates and responses by Services on the proposed new areas of scrutiny.
The Committee, having considered the activities as detailed in the report, agreed:-
(1) in respect of the Item1, Appendix 1, on charging for services, to note the assurances given by the Chair of the Audit Committee that the issue was to be considered by Full Council as part of budget discussions in February 2024;
(2) in respect of Items 3 and 3b, Appendix 1, that urgent updates be sought from Landscape Services on the work on consideration of allotments and play areas and play parks, and the condition of playing fields and play parks in the context of the Pitch strategy;
(3) In respect of Item 5, Appendix 1 – Communications, that this now be considered at two separate issues, and (a) that Corporate Communications provide a further update on the coordination of services releases, and stress to all services the need to advise Members of local issues; and (b) that clarification sought on why “spokesperson” is rarely a local Member;
(4) in respect of Item 6, Appendix 1, to note the Service response on Progress of Common Good Funds Review, to be reported to Business Services Committee, as a factor for deferral of the topic but request as a matter of urgency (a) the provision of a reconciled balance sheet to demonstrate income and expenditure and (b) information on how the public can access funds;
(5) in respect of Item 11, Appendix 1, Economic Development: Organisational Structure and Cross-Agency coordination, than an Informal session be scheduled with Economic Development on developments planned and ongoing in the area, as there was a need for increased communication so Members may be more appraised of local matters;
(6) in all other respects, to confirm the items of scrutiny identified to date, arising from informal consideration, to be completed in 2023/2024, as detailed in Appendix 1, noting that some matters may need to be rolled over to the 2024/2025 year; and
(7) to note the work plan completed, and in place, for the remainder of 2023/24 as detailed in Appendix 2 to the report.
Arising from consideration of the above, the Committee further agreed that representatives from Landscape Services attend a meeting with Ward 3 Members on an urgent localised issue.
Actions / services: Education and Children's Services
Environment and Infrastructure Services 2024/2025 Procurement Plan
Presented By / report author: Author/ Presented by Gavin King, Business Support Leader - Performance & Strategy, Environment and Infrastructure Services
There had been circulated a report dated 10 January 2024 by the Director of Environment and Infrastructure Services, requesting Members’ consideration of Environment and Infrastructure Services related procurements with a contract value of £50,000 or more that are planned for 2024-2025, subject to budget approval, and which fall within the remit of Banff and Buchan AreaCommittee.
Having heard from Mr. King, Business Support Leader, of the detail of the proposals, there was discussion on the various projects.
The Committee,having considered the directorate procurement plan as detailed in Appendix 2, to the report, agreed:-
(1) to approve the items on the Procurement Plan identified as falling within the remit of the Committee, and
(2) that no item on the Procurement Plan where the value of the matter is between £50,000 and £1,000,000 be reserved to the Area Committee for approval of the Procurement Approval Form.
Actions / services: Environment and Infrastructure Services