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The Leader of the Council submitted a report seeking the Executive’s support for the Goods Yard, Bishop’s Stortford Master Plan. The Executive was advised of the planning history of the site and the work undertaken in recent months by stakeholders with the landowners in developing the Master Plan now detailed. The Leader referred to the main issues raised by the potential development of the site as:
· the highways configuration and links;
· provision and management of residential and non-residential car parking;
· the design and appearance of the built form and uses;
· the layout and treatment of green spaces and the riverside; and
· the relationship with other strategic and policy objectives for the town.
The Leader concluded that the Master Plan document addressed these issues and set out a detailed framework within which a new planning application submission could be made.
In response to various Members’ comments and questions, the Head of Planning and Building Control commented that the master plan showed the provision of sufficient road space within the site to enable competing uses to be accommodated. This, along with the management of car parking, were not confirmed in the Master Plan, but could be resolved later with ongoing discussions through the submission of a planning application. The residential car parking ratios were discussed and, noting relevant issues, it was also confirmed that these would be revisited again as part of the second phase of the planning application process relating to the site. The Leader also commented on the sustainability of the town centre location and the need for some compromise given green travel plans, car clubs, etc.
In respect of the proposed height of some of the buildings, some Members acknowledged that whilst the Master Plan represented an improvement on the previous planning application, some concerns still existed. The Head referred to the background work undertaken by the neighbourhood plan group and the advice of the Neighbourhood Plan Examiner, resulting in a non-prescriptive policy on heights which indicated that they should fall away north to south on the site. He believed the proposed gradation set out in the Master Plan reflected the Neighbourhood Plan. Finally, the Head agreed that a 3D model of the site would assist in understanding the physical form and impact of the proposed development and he undertook to raise this with the landowners.
The Executive supported the recommendation now detailed.
RECOMMENDED – that the Master Plan for the Bishop’s Stortford Goods Yard site be endorsed and that it forms a material consideration for development management purposes.
The Leader welcomed the public to the meeting.
She referred to the Princess Alexandra Hospital and a motion approved by Harlow Council, which read:
“The Council recognises the conscientious commitment of staff at Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) and notes with extreme concern the current recruitment and physical infrastructure needs at PAH.
Staff shortages, including a nurse vacancy rate of 25 per cent, have left wards struggling with the amount of patients. The A & E Department struggles to deliver the national four-hour standard. Two other local hospitals have changed into Urgent Care Centres which only deal with minor injuries. This creates an additional demand for services on PAH which deals with major injuries, life threatening chest pains and head injuries as well as minor injuries.
Many parts of the physical infrastructure at PAH is beyond its designed life and is unable to accommodate patients in a manner appropriate for a 21st Century health facility. Indeed, water ingress and sewage egress in some vital areas presents real risks to the integrity of the hospital.
The Council believes that urgent investment is required to address the challenges faced by the hospital now and that a commitment needs to be given for the provision of a new hospital. A new hospital, as part of a health and wellbeing campus, that would provide services adequate to ensure that the residents of Harlow and its surrounding areas will benefit from emergency and GP services, physiotherapy units, social care, a new ambulance hub and a training centre for nursing and healthcare.
The Council resolves to urge the Government to:
(A) Ensure that the Princess Alexandra Hospital is treated as a priority case for investment to address its current physical infrastructure challenges.
(B) Support the hospital Trust in working with other public sector and private sector bodies to develop a business case for the investment necessary to achieve a new hospital as part of a health and wellbeing campus.
(C) To instruct NHS England and NHS Improvement to work positively with the health economy and with the Councils of West Essex and East Hertfordshire to deliver a plan to secure financially sustainable, appropriate and sufficient access to health services for the communities served by PAH and the West Essex CCG.”
The Leader believed East Herts Members would support this stance and she expressed her thanks and appreciation to Mark Prisk MP for his efforts in highlighting the urgency of the issue.
To receive apologies for absence.
An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of Councillor G Jones.
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 16 October 2017 (previously circulated in the Council Agenda of 18 October 2017)
RESOLVED – that the Minutes of the Executive meeting held on 16 October 2017, be approved as a correct record and signed by the Leader.