This report asks Council to adopt the Innovation Park Medway Local Development Order, following initial consideration by the Cabinet on 15 December 2020. The Innovation Park Medway Local Development Order builds upon the masterplan to set principles for development to bring forward high quality development in the high-value technology, engineering, manufacturing and knowledge-intensive sectors.
Amendments have been made to the documentation following public consultation and the final documents are now being presented to Full Council for adoption.
This report provided details of the Innovation Park Medway Local Development Order (LDO) and recommended that the LDO be adopted, as recommended by the Cabinet on 15 December 2020.
The report explained that the LDO built upon the Innovation Park Medway Masterplan to set principles for development to bring forward high quality development in the high-value technology, engineering, manufacturing and knowledge-intensive sectors. The Cabinet had agreed to adopt the Masterplan at its meeting on 15 December 2020 (Cabinet decision 157/2020) refers.
The report described that an initial consultation on the LDO was undertaken from 7 June to 19 July 2019. Comments received were set out in the Consultation Statement, at Appendix D to the report. A number of further actions were required to address concerns regarding the transport assessment for Highways England, prior to the adoption of the LDO. In addition, Natural England also required several actions to address the impacts on the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the North Downs Special Area of Conservation (SAC). These related to landscape and visual impact on the AONB, noise and tranquillity impact on the AONB, and air quality impacts on the North Downs SAC.
Additional modelling was undertaken in consultation with Highways England and KCC Highways, to identify the traffic impacts from Innovation Park Medway, with consideration of the potential wider impacts from the Strategic Transport Assessment. Mitigation design and further modelling was then undertaken for the key local and strategic junctions to demonstrate how the impacts of the development could be mitigated satisfactorily.
Further work was also undertaken to address the concerns raised by Natural England and an addendum to the Environmental Statement was produced, including an additional chapter of the Design Code to reflect Natural England’s concerns regarding landscape and visual impact on the AONB.
The report stated that a second public consultation was then undertaken by Medway Council on the new information from 26 October to 27 November 2020. Additional comments were gathered from statutory and public consultees, which were set out at Appendix E to the report. Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council had conducted a separate consultation in parallel with a difference of three days to the start and end dates.
The report noted that the response from Natural England had been positive, recognising the additional work done to satisfy their concerns. Their comments provided a steer to some minor tweaks to the design code, which had been undertaken. The Kent Downs AONB Unit response was less positive. However, it did acknowledge the work done to date to further mitigate the impacts on the AONB, with input from both Natural England and the AONB unit.
The report also noted that officers had worked very closely with Highways England to reach agreement on the way forward. Further changes were made to the LDO to clarify the delivery of necessary mitigation measures at the right time and in the right place to be informed by a Monitor and Manage Mitigation Strategy. KCC Highways had also reached an agreed position whereby the Monitor and Manage Mitigation Strategy would consider the necessary trigger point for mitigation, particularly at Bridgewood Roundabout and the junction of Rochester Road/Laker Road, in consultation with KCC Highways and Highways England. On this basis KCC Highways had confirmed they did not wish to raise objection on highway grounds.
The report explained that once adopted, the LDO would allow future occupants and developers to submit proposals through a self-certification form, verifying their proposals against the criteria set out in the Local Development Order and Design Code. The process would be limited to 28 days following a 7-day validation, to help provide a swift response and allow development to come forward in a short timeframe. This timeframe included discharge of conditions and no further consultation was required prior to approval.
A Diversity Impact Assessment had been carried out during the consultation stage and was set out at Appendix G to the report.
The Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, Councillor Chitty, supported by the Portfolio Holder for Inward Investment, Strategic Regeneration and Partnerships, Councillor Rodney Chambers OBE, proposed the recommendation in the report.
Councillor Maple, supported by Councillor Murray, proposed the following amendment:
“Retain existing recommendations 9.1 – 9.2
Add new recommendation 9.3:
Full Council agrees to receive regular update reports on the progress of IPM. Those reports will include any use of delegated powers as laid out in 9.2.
Those reports will also be received by Cabinet and Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee. With the ongoing impacts associated with Coronavirus and Brexit Full Council agrees to receive the first update report on 22nd April.”
On being put to the vote, the amendment was lost.
(Councillors Curry, Howcroft-Scott, Hubbard, Johnson, Lloyd, Maple, McDonald, Murray, Osborne and Chrissy Stamp requested that their votes in favour of the amendment be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.)
The Council adopted the Local Development Order (LDO), as set out in Appendix A to the report, in line with paragraph 3.1 of the report.
The Council agreed to delegate authority to the Director of Place and Deputy Chief Executive in consultation with the Leader and the Portfolio Holder for Inward Investment, Strategic Regeneration and Partnerships and the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation to approve any necessary minor amendments to the LDO for the purposes of presentation, improving clarity, and consistency with Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council.
(Councillors Curry, Howcroft-Scott, Hubbard, Johnson, Lloyd, Maple, McDonald, Murray, Osborne and Chrissy Stamp requested that their votes in favour of the decision be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.)