Decisions

Use the search options below to find information regarding recent decisions that have been taken by the Cabinet, Cabinet Members and County Local Committees. Also included are key decisions by officers and decisions made by officers under the urgent action procedure. You can also find decisions taken by the full Council and decision-making committees.

Decisions published

05/05/2021 - Award of contract for Winter De-icing Salt OKD77 (20/21) ref: 1257    Recommendations Approved (subject to call-in)

The supply of de-icing salt is critical to ensuring the County Council can meet its statutory duty to maintain the highways and to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow or ice. The contracts awarded for these services in 2019, are due to end in April 2021, and new contracts are required.

 

In accordance with the Council’s Standing Orders on Procurement and Contracts and subject to the key decision made by the Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, the Director of Highways, Transport and Planning has concluded the procurement process for the provision of winter de-icing salt.

 

Decision Maker: Director of Highways, Transport and Planning

Decision published: 05/05/2021

Effective from: 15/05/2021

Decision:

The Director for Highways, Transport and Planning has approved the award and entry into a two-year (with an option for a two-year extension) contract for the provision of winter de-icing salt to ICL UK from 1 May 2021 as set out in section 2 of the report.

 

Divisions affected: (All Divisions);

Lead officer: Gary Rustell


02/02/2021 - Planning Application: Regulation 3 ref: 1255    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Planning and Rights of Way Committee

Made at meeting: 02/02/2021 - Planning and Rights of Way Committee

Decision published: 04/05/2021

Effective from: 02/02/2021

Decision:

5.1     In accordance with the Council’s Constitution on Planning and Probity on Planning and Rights of Way, Councillor Millson relinquished her seat as a member of Planning and Rights of Way Committee in order to speak on the application as the local member, County Councillor for Horsham Riverside.  Councillor Millson took no part in the debate and voting on the application.

 

5.2     The Committee considered a report by the Head of Planning Services, as amended by Agenda Update Sheet No. 2, which incorporated all previous updates listed in the original Agenda Update sheet (copies appended to the signed copy of the minutes).  The report was introduced by Edward Anderson, who gave a presentation on the proposals, details of the consultation and key issues in respect of the application.

 

5.3     Mrs Trudie Mitchell, Chairman, Horsham Denne Neighbourhood Council (HDNC) spoke on the application and raised some objections.  In general, HDNC supports the application and appreciates amendments made to reduce the overall size of building.  The gold coloured metal cladding on the Live Fire Training tower is building is too garish; the tower and proposed colour are completely out of character with the location and existing building materials, and because the building faces the setting sun there are safety concerns for traffic on the adjacent A24.  A more subdued colour should be considered.  Highwood roundabout presents problems for both motorists and pedestrians.  Confusing lane markings on the slip road approaching the roundabout means motorists switch lanes unexpectedly.  It is very difficult to access the only footpath to Broadbridge Heath due to poor sight lines at the crossing points and the 40mph speed limit means vehicles approach too quickly for safe crossing.  Problems will be exacerbated by the introduction of emergency vehicles and fire station traffic.  It was suggested that traffic signals should be installed during construction of the development.

 

5.4     Mr John Lacey, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS) spoke in support of the application.  Fire fighter training is mandatory and currently this is either undertaken at small fire stations or outside the county.  West Sussex has no purpose-built, specialist training facility. This would be the first new fire station in West Sussex since 1974.  Fire training has had to change to meet new risks and realistic training needs to be delivered, which needs to be done in a safe environment.  The development is designed to be a centre of excellence, using state of the art technology and training delivery methods.  The facility would also address some of the matters raised in the 2018 HMIC inspection by providing facilities that attract a more diverse workforce.  The site has been identified in planning policy for over a decade and was included in the outline planning permission for Highwood village.  WSRFS has engaged the community in plans for the site and will continue to do so during construction and operation.  The development has been adapted to make it more ascetically pleasing and to be environmentally sustainable.  The development is sited near the major road network to allow quick access to road traffic incidents, this saving time and lives.  The automated lights will reduce the need for the use of sirens.  Training outdoors will comply with noise emissions regulations and no outdoors training will take place between 22.00 and 07.00 hours; however, any changes to these times would not make the training centre viable.

 

5.5     Councillor Morwen Millson, County Councillor for Horsham Riverside spoke on the application as the local member.  Residents regularly raise concerns about the exit from Highwood development onto the roundabout and about the speed of traffic exiting the estate and also speed on the A24 slip road, which is often in excess of the 40mph limit.  Pedestrians and cyclists find it impossible to cross at this junction.  The Fire Station development may make the problem worse, although it is acknowledged that there would not be that many additional traffic movements.  The junction needs improving although the lack of money to do so is noted, but there may be enough community support to put forward a proposal for a Community Highways scheme.  The Risk Assessment recognises an increased safety risk, so this remains a concern.  The information provided in the Transport Assessment about likely car sharing, use of other modes of transport to the site and use of mini-buses for trainees needs to investigated.  A condition was proposed: that the applicant works closely with West Sussex Highways to solve the perceived safety issues at the junction between the Boulevard and roundabout with the A24 Slip road, and that ameliorative measures should be introduced during the construction period.  Otherwise, the condition recommended by Trudie Mitchell would be supported.

 

5.6     In response to points made by speakers, Planning Officers clarified that the Committee report provided details about highways capacity and road safety.  Pre-existing issues relating to the Highwood roundabout and the A24 do not arise out of the construction of the proposed development and so cannot be considered as material to determination of this application.  It would not be for the developer to resolve these issues.  A Highway Safety Audit has been submitted and has been considered as part of this application process and consultation with Highways and Horsham Environmental Health had shown no overriding concerns.

 

5.7     During the debate the Committee raised the points below and a response or clarification was provided by the Planning, Highways and Legal Officers, where applicable.

 

Cladding on the Live Fire Training Facility (LFTF)

 

Points raised – The reason for the choice of gold coloured cladding on the LFTF was queried.  The proposed gold cladding would be a distraction to motorists on the A24.  The proposed colour does not match the surrounding landscape or buildings.  It was suggested that the cladding colour should be a more muted colour; green or muted gold were suggested.  It was suggested that a new condition be added on the matter of cladding, for the purposes of visibility and consultation, and it was agreed by the Committee that the local member be consulted regarding the choice of cladding colour.  It was further suggested and agreed by the Committee that the Chairman and Vice-chairman of Planning and Rights of Way Committee should also be consulted.

 

Responses – The reason for the proposed gold colour for the mesh cladding on the LFTF is to obscure views of fire fighters training on the gantries.  The fire protective uniforms worn by the fire fighters is a buff/gold colour, and the similar colour of the cladding would help to minimise to distraction, particularly to motorists using the A24.  Horsham District Council’s Landscaping Officer noted that the colour could be seen as indicative of summer fields.  However, it was agreed the matter of choice of colour is subjective.  The Committee was encouraged to provide an indication of preferred choice of colour to give direction to the developer.  It was clarified that it was not possible to specify by condition that a particular colour of cladding be defined because the developer would need to consider the matter and provide options.  It was confirmed that the local member and the Chairman and Vice-chairman of Planning and Rights of Way Committee would be consulted on the choice of cladding colour should a condition be proposed and agreed by the Committee that would require details of the cladding material for the Live Fire Training Facility to be submitted to and approved by the Planning Authority.

 

Named contact for community engagement during construction

 

Point raised    It was noted that it is encouraging that the local community would be able to engage with the process and that there would be a named contact for anyone with concerns to raise, as per the Construction and Environmental Management Plan.

 

Response – None required.

 

Highways safety – A24 and Highwood Mill roundabout

 

Points raised – The existing issues regarding the A24 and the Highwood roundabout, as highlighted by Mrs Mitchell and Cllr Millson, were noted, and broad concerns were expressed about safety in this location.

 

Responses – Points regarding existing concerns about the A24 and Highwood roundabout are covered in minute 5.6 above.  It was confirmed that a road safety audit was undertaken at the time of planning permission for the wider Highwood/West of Horsham development; the design was based on the traffic assumptions for the development, which included provision for a fire station this proposed site.   The accident record for the Highwood interchange does not show a problem, although it is acknowledged that residents may have difficulties getting out of the junction from the Highwood Hill development.

 

Highways safety – A24 access to the Fire Station and Training Centre development

 

Points raised – Clarification was sought on the impact of fire tenders exiting and entering the site via access by the A24 slip road.  A query was raised about what is to prevent other vehicles using this entryway.  It was suggested that an angular approach on at this entryway would be helpful.

 

Responses – The use of the access via the A24 slipway would be controlled by wig-wags.  The positioning of the wig-wags is based on approach speeds, wo there would be sufficient sightlines.  The wig-wags would be activated via transponder from the cabs of the fire tenders.  The addition of high friction road surfacing would aid traffic in slowing and stopping safely. 

 

Highway capacity

 

Point raised – It was suggested that in relation to the Transport Assessment, an additional condition is required to ensure that there a Travel Plan for the development.

 

Response – The suggested amendment should be considered by the Committee.

 

Drainage

 

Point raised – Clarification was sought on how the ecology pond -  which is important for surface water drainage - would be secured (as shown within the blue-line boundary of the development).

 

Response – Provision of an ecology pond is part of the wider discharge of conditions for the Highwood Hill develop and the matter has, therefore, addressed.

 

Blue line boundary of the development / Ecological buffer zone

 

Points raised – Clarification was sought that the land shown as within the blue-line boundary of the development area is not scheduled for development.  Details of the ecological exclusion zone were sought.

 

Responses – The land edged in blue is an ecological buffer zone which has been established around the site to prevent the re-colonisation of Great Crested Newts, as outlined in the Ecological Mitigation Strategy.  No trees would be permitted to be removed, particularly on the eastern boundary.  The County Council Ecologist has raised no objections.

 

Landscaping

 

Point raised – It was suggested that condition 10 ‘Landscaping Scheme’ be amended to require a ten-year replanting scheme rather than the proposed five-years, so as to ensure long-term planting.

 

Response – The suggested amendment should be considered by the Committee.

 

Construction and Environmental Management Plan

 

Point raised – It was suggested that condition 5 ‘Construction and Environmental Management Plan’ be amended to include limitations on external lighting and also to cover waste management matters including prevention of the burning of waste and storage and also include provision for domestic waste and recycling.

 

Response – The suggested amendments should be considered by the Committee, but would be considered acceptable.

 

Community facilities

 

Point raised – Clarification was sought on the purpose for and likely use of the proposed community facilities at the development.

 

Response – The site was designated for use as a fire station in the Land West of  Horsham Masterplan.  The provision of community facilities is intended for anticipated school visits, Duke of Edinburgh scheme, Fire Break events, etc.  Community provision is welcomed.

 

Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) for double yellow lines on The Boulevard

 

Points raised – Clarification was sought on the position of the proposed double yellow lines outside the stretch of The Boulevard that includes the frontage of Highwood Mill Extra Care housing facility and around the corner of the road.  Clarification was also sought on whether WSFR are content that the proposals are a safe arrangement to allow access for the fire tenders.  Concern was raised that the TRO process is very slow and that the TRO might not be implemented in time.  It was suggested that a condition be added to ensure that the TRO is in place prior to commencement of operations at the site.  A further suggestion was made, that an Informative be added to clarify to the applicant the process that they must follow.

 

Responses – The plans showing the proposed double yellow lines is indicative and the exact position would be determined by the TRO.  However, the intention is that lines will be on both sides of the road outside Highwood Mill Extra Care housing facility, although on the south side where there are parking laybys the double yellow lines would only be between the bays.  It was confirmed that there are existing double yellow lines on the north side of The Boulevard that extend around corner, and it was explained that part of this road is already a rural clearway.  The TRO process lies outside the planning system, which states that conditions cannot be laid down where they are subject to another regulatory process.  Therefore, it would be unreasonable to include a requirement to ensure that a TRO is in place.  However, an additional Informative would be considered acceptable should the Committee wish to pursue this.

 

Informative b)

 

Point raised – An error in Informative b) was noted; reference to ‘Arun District Council’ should read ‘Horsham District Council’.

 

Response – Apologies were offered to the Committee regarding the error.

 

Informative c)

 

Point raised - An error within Informative c) was noted; reference to ‘condition 7’ should read ‘condition 10’.

 

Response – Apologies were offered to the Committee regarding the error.

 

5.8     Cllr Goldmith proposed the addition of a new condition regarding cladding materials, as follows:

 

Cladding

 

x.     Prior to construction above slab level of the Live Fire Training Facility, a sample and/or details including the colour of the cladding material of that building, shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the County Planning Authority.  The development shall be carried out in complete accordance with the approved details.

 

In all other aspects of the proposed development it shall be constructed in accordance with the approved external materials proposed within the approved Planning Statement and Elevation Plans.

 

Reason: To ensure a satisfactory development

 

The proposal was seconded by Cllr Atkins and was put to the Committee and approved unanimously.

 

5.9     Cllr S Oakley proposed that an additional condition requiring a Travel Plan for the development.  The form of wording of the condition was delegated to the Head of Planning Services.  The proposal was seconded by Cllr Atkins and was put to the Committee and approved unanimously.

 

5.10   Cllr S Oakley proposed an amendment to condition 5 – Construction and Environmental Management Plan (CEMP), requiring further measures to be added after the existing point 9 of the condition, as follows:.

 

Condition 5 – Construction and Environmental Management Plan (CEMP)

 

 

10.  Details of all proposed external lighting to be used during construction and measures used to limit the disturbance of any lighting required; lighting shall be used only for security and safety.

11.  Waste management including prohibition of burning at the scheme, and for the storage and disposal of waste providing maximum recycling opportunities and disposal and control of litter.

12.  Provision of temporary domestic waste and recycling bin collection points during construction.

 

 

The proposal was seconded by Cllr Atkins and was put to the Committee and approved unanimously.

 

5.11   Cllr S Oakley proposed an amendment to condition 10 – Landscape Scheme, requiring a ten-year maintenance programme, with changes to the condition, as follows:.

 

Condition 10 – Landscape Scheme

 

 

6.     A written five-year ten-year maintenance scheme

 

The approved scheme shall be implemented in full, with all planting carried out and completed by the end of the first planting season (November – March) following the commencement of the development.  Any seeding which fails, plants which die, are removed or become seriously damaged or diseased within the next five ten years shall be replaced in the next planting season in accordance with the approved details.

 

 

The proposal was seconded by Cllr Atkins and was put to the Committee and approved unanimously.

 

5.12   Cllr Burrett proposed that an additional Informative be included, which shall encourage the developer to ensure that double yellow lines are in place before the building is put into use; this would be via the Traffic Regulation Order process.  The form of wording of the condition was delegated to the Head of Planning Services.  The proposal was seconded by Cllr Atkins and was put to the Committee and approved unanimously.

 

5.13   The substantive recommendation including changes to Conditions and Informatives as set out in Appendix 1 and as amended by Agenda Update Sheet No. 2 and also as amended by the inclusion of new conditions and amendments to conditions, as approved by the Committee and noted in minutes 5.8 to 5.12 above, was proposed by Cllr Atkins.  The proposal was seconded by Cllr Barrett-Miles and approved unanimously.

 

5.14      Resolved – that planning permission be granted subject to the Conditions and Informatives as set out in Appendix 1 of the report and amended as agreed by the Committee.

 


02/03/2021 - Planning Application: Minerals ref: 1254    Refused

Decision Maker: Planning and Rights of Way Committee

Made at meeting: 02/03/2021 - Planning and Rights of Way Committee

Decision published: 04/05/2021

Effective from: 02/03/2021

Decision:

WSCC/045/20 – Temporary permission for exploration and appraisal comprising the removal of drilling fluids and subsequent engineering works with an extended well test for hydrocarbons along with site security fencing and site restoration.  Lower Stumble Exploration Site, London Road, Balcombe RH17 6JH.

 

10.1   The Committee recessed at 10.47 a.m. to allow all speakers to join the meeting and reconvened at 11.00 a.m.

 

10.2   The Committee considered a report by the Head of Planning Services, including changes to conditions as amended by Agenda Update Sheet (copy appended to the signed copy of the minutes).  The report was introduced by Chris Bartlett, Principal Planner, who gave a presentation on the proposals, details of the consultation and key issues in respect of the application.  21 further objections were received and considered following publication of the Committee report; these had not affected the recommendation before the Committee because the concerns raised were the same as those already outlined in other objections.

 

10.3   Mrs Sue Taylor, local resident and representative of Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association spoke in objection to the application.  The development represents major development in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  There are no exceptional circumstances and the proposed development would not be in the public interest and it is therefore contrary to Policies M7a and M13 of the West Sussex Joint Local Minerals Plan and paragraphs 170 and 172 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).  The applicant may have a PEDL license, but planning and environmental permissions still need to be considered.  The potential maximum of 300 barrels of oil per day would not contribute to UK energy security.  The UK could meet its oil needs with much reduced domestic production and it has access to diverse and politically stable oil imports.  It is not true that oil produced in the UK has a lower carbon footprint than overseas imports.  Some UK produced oil is exported.  The proposed development carries a real risk of economic, social and environmental damage to Sussex.  The flare would be on 24 hours per day during the full year of testing.

 

10.4   Mrs Rachel Hall, local resident, spoke in objection to the application.  The number and size of HGVs would have an impact on residents, including pupils at the school, users of the scout hut and the church.  The location of the school, which is below pavement level, the need for open windows due to COVID-19 and position of the play area near the road means there are concerns about children’s exposure to pollution.  This includes NOx, carbon monoxide and benzene.  Particulate matter stays in the body and can cause long term health problems; therefore the proposal would be in contrast to NPPF paragraph 205b regarding human health.  Noise from HGVs also disrupts lessons.  The development stands in opposition the school’s teachings on greener lifestyles and general public concerns about climate change.  The 2018 flow test caused an acrid, creosote/varnish-like smell; this proposal would mean this would be repeated for up to a year.  Local people do not want this development. 

 

10.5   Mr Jonathan Millbanks, Chairman of Balcombe Parish Council, spoke in objection to the application.  There are no material changes between this proposal and the previous WSCC/071/19 application made in 2019 that had been recommended for refusal before being withdrawn.  The proposal represents a major development in an AONB, and should not be permitted.  Oil consumption in the UK is declining.  The site would be likely to produce less than 0.005% the volume of Wytch Farm, which in turn produces less than 1% of the national daily consumption, therefore the potential contribution is so small as to be negligible to the overall national picture.  Potential local economic benefits have been hugely inflated and are based on untested assumptions.  The need for the development has not been correctly assessed.  Significant overweighting has been placed by Planning Officers on the site as an area that has potential strategic significance.  There has been insufficient articulation of any evidence that the site meets the ‘exceptional circumstance’ criteria.

 

10.6   Mr John Butcher, local resident, spoke in objection to the application.  The proposal does not meet the economic, social and environmental tests on sustainable development under the NPPF.  Economic benefits are vastly overstated, including business rate benefits.  The potential annual income is based on production, which is not relevant to this application.  Local economic benefits would likely be only around  11% of the stated aimed local spend.  Not all spend, including on staffing, would be made locally.  The community has been weakened and wearied by this site.  Emissions, which contain harmful pollutants, will blow to the village on the prevailing wind.  The additional HGVS will also increase air pollution.  The NPPF S.17, para 205b states there should be no adverse impacts on human health.  The proposal does not contribute to the natural, built and historic environment and is detrimental to all.  The tiny level of possible oil production would make no impact on foreign imports or national energy security.  The climate emergency is an exceptional circumstance for refusing the application and requires bold action to tackle it including a refusal of this planning application. 

 

10.7   Cllr Gary Marsh, Mid Sussex District Councillor for Ardingly and Balcombe and local resident, spoke in objection to the application.  Prior planning applications were correctly approved, based on material matters and the circumstances at the time of each application, although non-adherence to conditions has caused distress and distrust.  Before being withdrawn, planning application WSCC/071/19 was recommended for refusal on the basis of permanent looking structures and it being major development in the AONB.  AONBs hold the same status as national parks in terms of planning policy.  Why should the change from a proposal for 3 year to a 1 year extended well test make a difference to the earlier recommendation to refuse permission?  This proposal is against current government policy and thinking around the move away from use of fossil fuels.  The UK is only nine years away from the 2030 deadline to stop selling carbon fuelled cars and so the demand for oil will reduce; this is a material consideration.  Members were asked to consider if they would wish to live near the site throughout its operation.

 

10.8   Mr George Lucan,Chief Executive, Angus Energy plc, the applicant, spoke in support of the application.  Previous exploration and tests indicate a potential for commercial hydrocarbon development at this site.  The proposal is sensitive to its surroundings and is for the shortest time possible to allow for technical analysis.  Alternative options have been explored but the Balcombe site represents the best environmental option from which the target reservoir can be accessed.  The development proposal accords with relevant national and local planning policies.  The recent Government energy White Paper maintains that there is a need case for oil and gas into the future and it states that “the UK’s domestic oil and gas industry has a critical role in maintaining the country’s energy security and is a major contributor to our economy”.  The development will boost the local economic supply chain and could equate to local investment of over £800,000. 

 

10.9   Cllr Bill Acraman, County Councillor for Worth Forest, the local member, spoke on the application.  Alok Sharma was quoted on the need to tackle climate change being one of the most urgent shared endeavours of our lifetime; this should be overriding.  Government policy now looks to prevent climate change; oil applications go against that.  The previous application WSCC/071/19 implied there was a need for the development but the recommendation was for refusal.  The officer recommendation for this application states that the development should be permitted “on balance”.  Differences between the two applications include the shorter duration, which in reality is actually likely to be nearer 2 years.  Stated benefits to the local economy are unlikely to be realised, e.g. installation of a replacement membrane is a good thing, but it would probably be imported.  The amount of oil likely to be produced would have a minimal impact in terms of UK oil production, but the local effects of the development would be maximum on the local community.  There is strong local feeling against the application.  The County Council has an approved policy on climate change, and only the types applications that propose renewable energy should be supported.

 

10.10  The Committee debated the proposed planning application, as follows.

 

The Committee made the following points and sought clarification, where applicable, in relation to the differences between the previous 2019 planning application WSCC/071/19 and the proposal under consideration in the current application WSCC/045/20:

 

·        The proposal would be considered major development in the AONB and it had not been proved that there are any exceptional circumstances nor was public interest proved.  Therefore, the application is contrary to policies M7a and M13 of the JLMP and paragraphs 170 and 172 of the NPPF.

·        The reduced development timescales are not a sufficient reason to justify the change in recommendation to approval for this application.  It was questioned why the applicant now feels they could do the same amount of work in reduced timeframe.  And, clarification on the timescales of the proposal were sought. 

·        The potential pollution of the site was not raised in the previous application WSCC/071/19 and, so installation of a site wide impermeable membrane would not be a justification to approve this application.

·        There are no new material changes between this application and WSCC/071/19.  It was noted that  both the recommendations were “on balance”, so clarification was sought on the differences and reason for the change in recommendation.

·        References in the committee report regarding paragraph 124 of the PPG: Minerals, in relation to the need to take into account government energy policy, and the Annual Energy Statement 2013, as noted in paragraphs 6.31 of the committee report, were in existence prior to receipt of the previous planning application WSCC/071/19.  They were not considered as reasons not to refuse that application.

 

In response to matters raised in relation to the differences between the current proposal and planning application WSCC/071/19, Planning Officers provided the following responses:

 

·        The timescales and phases for the proposed development are shown in the table under paragraph 9.39 on pages 40 and 41 of the committee report.  The 12-month period refers only to Phase 3 the extended well test.  Timescales for all phases are outlined in the table and provide worse case scenarios.  No information has been provided by the applicant as to why the overall timeframe has reduced from that detailed in the previous planning application WSCC/071/19.

·        Paragraph. 3.8 of the committee report details the reasons that planning application WSCC/071/19 had been recommended for refusal before it was withdrawn.  In relation to the current application, additional supporting information and documents were provided, as noted in paragraph 4.25 which outlines the differences/changes; this information was not available for the previous application.

·        The committee report states that the application has the “potential” to increase noise and impact on air quality.  It is felt that this would certainly occur, in part due to the definite increase in HGV movements.

 

The Committee raised the following points regarding other matters, where no reply by Planning and Legal Officers was required:

 

·        The statistics on the benefit to the local economy, provided in the Socio-Economic Report, amount to four jobs.  Because they are specific to the oil industry they would be unlikely to provide employment to local people.

·        The potential benefits to the local economy were overstated at £1.7m originally.  It was noted that this had been queried and reduced to £815K.  The sums are negligible to the county’s gross value added per year.  The claimed “potential” benefits to the local economy would be temporary and would be insignificant when weighed against the adverse impacts on the local community of noise, HGV movements and air pollution.

·        The use of the quote “the UK’s domestic oil and gas industry has a critical role in maintaining the country’s energy security and is a major contributor to our economy”, taken from the government’s White Paper ‘Powering our Net Zero Future’, is misleading.  The document makes only a small mention of on-shore oil reserves compared with mention of off-shore sources.  The main focus being the transition to renewable energy sources.  There is no caution against oil or gas shortages in the report.  Since approval of planning application WSCC/040/17/BA in January 2018, public opinion and government policy on climate change has altered in line with the White Paper, with a commitment to move away from oil production and use of fossil fuels.  Climate change trumps all other considerations and there would need to be very exceptional circumstances to approve the current planning application.

·        It was disappointing that High Weald AONB Unit did not say more in their response to the application.

·        Issues around pollutants and air quality are better understood than they used to be.

·        The changes to proposed conditions, as outlined in the Agenda Update Sheet, were noted.  However, it was suggested for the future that matters pertaining to landscaping, the Construction Management Plan and hours of work need to be more carefully considered in advance.

 

The Committee sought clarification on the following matters and responses were provided by Planning and Legal Officers:

 

·        What is the situation in relation to meeting the needs for minerals in some other way?
Response – Paragraphs 9.26 and 9.27 address matters in relation to the need for the development in the current location.

·        When would an Environmental Impact Assessment be required? The committee report is not clear as paragraph 5.3 mentions a threshold of more than 0.5 hectares in area (Schedule 2, Part 2(e)) but, paragraph 5.5 states that for Part 2(e) the indicative thresholds refer to a development site of 10 hectares or more, or where production is expected to be more than 100,000 tonnes of petroleum per year.
Response – The thresholds referred to in the report address different legislative requirements.  As the proposed development was over 0.5 hectares, a screening assessment was required to determine whether an EIA may be necessary.  However, as the proposed development was not over 10 hectares or where production is expected to be more than 100,000 tonnes of petroleum per year, an EIA was not formally required.

·        In reference to toxicity of the hydrocarbons, are the the oil reserves at the site ‘sweet’ or ‘sour’?  This level of detail should be included in order for the Committee to make an informed decision.
Response – The terms ‘sweet’ or ‘sour’ refer to the level of sulphur present in hydrocarbons.  This is not known for this site.

·        To what degree would the site be able to contain a 1 in 100 plus 30% exceptional rainfall situation?  What are the arrangements for removal of excess surface water and regular maintenance?  How many HGV movements would this involve?
Response – Calculations have been made on the basis of a 1 in 100 plus 30% exceptional rainfall event.  Although this had not been considered in the Transport Assessment, it would be expected that the site operator would do everything necessary to remove excess water within the bounds of acceptable HGV movements.

·        What type of flare is proposed?
Response - The proposed flare would be enclosed and no flame would be visible.

·        What would be the process and outcomes of site restoration?  Would this include removal of fluids from the well?
Response – Conditions approved under planning application
WSCC/040/17/BA state that “prior to the commencement of development, a scheme of restoration and aftercare specifying the steps to be taken to manage restored land shall be submitted for approval”.  This means that details, including the removal of fluids, would need to be agreed by Planning Officers with the site operator.

 

10.11  The motion below was proposed by Cllr Patel and seconded by
Cllr Atkins:

 

That Planning and Rights of Way Committee refuses the application on the following grounds: the proposed development would represent major development in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, for which there are no exceptional circumstances, and which is not in the public interest.  There are alternative sources of hydrocarbon supply, both indigenous and imported, to meet the national need, there would be minimal benefit to the local economy from the development, and there is scope for meeting the need in some other way, outside of nationally designated landscapes.  It would therefore be contrary to Policies M7a and M13 of the West Sussex Joint Local Minerals Plan (2018) and paragraphs 170 and 172 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2019).

 

The proposal was put to the Committee and approved unanimously.

 

10.12    Resolved – that the Committee refuses planning application WSCC/045/20 for the reasons set out in minute 10.10 above.

 


04/05/2021 - Award of contract for Highway Maintenance Services - Lot 4.9 OKD76 (20/21) ref: 1256    Recommendations Approved

West Sussex County Council is a designated Highways Authority under the Highways Act 1980 and has a duty to maintain highways maintainable at public expense.

 

In December 2018, the Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure delegated authority to the Director of Highways and Transport to finalise the terms of and award the Highway Maintenance Term Contract or set of contracts.

 

In November 2019, the Director of Highways, Transport and Planning appointed contractors to a four-year Framework Agreement to commence 1 April 2020 for capital works for highways, including carriageway and footways resurfacing (Lot 4).

 

Further to the approval of the Highways and Transport Delivery Programme 2021/22 and the Capital Programme 2021/22 – 2025/26 by Full Council in February 2021, a procurement process has been completed.

 

Decision Maker: Director of Highways, Transport and Planning

Decision published: 04/05/2021

Effective from: 14/05/2021

Decision:

The Director of Highways, Transport and Planning has awarded a contract to Tarmac Trading Ltd to deliver works programme (Lot 4.9) for Highway Carriageway Resurfacing during 2021-22.

 

Divisions affected: (All Divisions);

Lead officer: Gary Rustell


30/04/2021 - Adult Social Care Infection Control and Testing Fund -OKD75 (20/21) ref: 1252    Recommendations Approved

Following an announcement in March 2021 of further funding for adult social care to support infection prevention and control and rapid testing, £6.688m has been allocated to West Sussex to reduce the rate of COVID-19 through infection prevention practices and to increase and implement rapid testing.

 

Funding has been paid to the Council on the 8th April and must be spent by the 30th June. 

 

As with previous grants for infection control and lateral flow testing the Council is required to comply with a number of conditions set out in the grant circular distributed by the Government and through associated guidance.

 

Since it is likely that further funding may be allocated to support the adult social care market during 2021/22, it also recommended that a revised approach for managing any such announcements is put in place to ensure that funding can be transferred to providers with maximum speed, which is reflected in recommendations 2 and 3.

Decision Maker: Executive Director Adults and Health

Decision published: 30/04/2021

Effective from: 30/04/2021

Decision:

(1)        The Executive Director of Adults and Health is asked to approve that the £6.688m funding be distributed in line with the proposals set out in section 2 of this report and in line with Government guidance, subject to Government grant conditions and the providers’ acceptance of the terms and conditions of the Council’s grant agreement.

 

(2)        The Executive Director of Adults and Health is asked to distribute any future funding allocated for the adult social care market during 2021/22 in line with the government guidance and conditions and in line with local need at the time of funding allocation.

 

(3)        For any funding allocations made in accordance with recommendation 2 to be reported through the Quarterly Performance Monitor.



With reference to the publication of; ‘OKD75 20/21 Adult Social Care Infection Control and Testing Fund’, it is confirmed that this decision requires Urgent Action. The urgency of this matter is due to the Department of Health and Social Care instruction that Local Authorities pay care homes within 20 working days of receiving the grant funding. This was received on the 8th April 2021. Providers also have limited period to spend the grant money (covers period from beginning of April to end June 2021).

 

The Chairman of the Health and Adults Social Care Scrutiny Committee has agreed with the rationale for the use of urgent action to enable the decision to be taken, without the usual call-in period, as provided under Standing Order 3.47.

 

Divisions affected: (All Divisions);

Lead officer: Juliette Garrett