Councillor Eddie Strengiel to Councillor Neil Murray, the Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth
Does the portfolio holder agree with me that all future developments should adhere to the ambitious environmental standards, as set out in the draft Central Lincolnshire Local Plan?
All planning applications were assessed against the national planning policy framework and the current development plan requirements, which for Lincoln was the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan, which had been adopted in 2016. The plan was in the process of being renewed, and as it progressed further through the system, the draft policies within it could be used as a reference point by applicants. However, the key document remained the adopted plan until such time as a new local plan was formally adopted. Once the next iteration of the plan had been adopted, which would follow further public consultation and examination by the Planning Inspector; and formal adoption by the Central Lincolnshire Joint Planning Committee, this would become the benchmark for any future applications.
What was the expected date for the adoption of the new local plan? If approved, the Western Growth Corridor would not be required to adhere to the ambitious standards in the draft Local Plan. Therefore, what additional steps would the City Council take to ensure that this development, if approved, was as environmentally friendly as possible; and that the development as a whole would achieve net zero, as the Council had previously claimed to be targeting?
Councillor Neil Murray stated that the new local plan would be adopted in September 2022. As regards the Western Growth Corridor, it was not appropriate to discuss it, given the advice within the report not to enter into a discussion, as it was a live planning application, and any discussion could adversely affect the planning committee process.
Councillor David Clarkson to Councillor Ric Metcalfe, the Leader of the Council
Following the Prime Minister's recent speech regarding devolution, ahead of the government white paper, can you outline your vision of devolution in Lincoln and in Lincolnshire?
Councillor Ric Metcalfe stated that it was encouraging to read the Prime Minister’s and the Secretary of State’s re-affirmation of their commitment to supporting strong local leadership and in turn the devolution of responsibilities to a local level.
Some members would recall that the City Council had voted in favour of a set of devolutionary powers from central government for Greater Lincolnshire in 2016/17. This would have included an annual dowry of £15 million over thirty years, along with other benefits. Unfortunately that devolution deal was not supported by the county council and one of the district councils, so after much grief and all work put into it, it came to nothing. However, the government appeared now to be in agreement that districts had a key role to play in devolution, so that it was not just about county councils and unitaries. This was welcomed.
The Council had always agreed with the notion of increasing local accountability, as there had been too much top-down form of government for many years across governments of various political control.
If there was an opportunity to have more influence to raise the aspirations of local communities, then the Council would certainly support moves on devolution.
Would the Leader of the Council ensure members were kept updated on progress with this matter, including any details of conversations with fellow council leaders across Lincolnshire?
Councillor Ric Metcalfe confirmed he would be happy to do so.
Councillor Tom Dyer to Councillor Ric Metcalfe, the Leader of the Council
As part of Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee next year, there will be the creation of new lord mayoralties. As one of the three oldest mayoralties in the country, I believe we have a very strong case to advance and continue our proud tradition. Does the Leader believe that Lincoln has a strong case to become a lord mayoralty?
Councillor Ric Metcalfe confirmed this was something all could agree on. Lord mayor status was an exceptional status and was conferred on the mayoralty of cites, which were usually long established and had a long history. There were some specific guidelines that strongly advised against paying for lobbyists in order to make the case to government for lord mayor status.
Any application would require information in particular categories: distinct identity; civic pride; cultural infrastructure; interesting heritage; history and tradition; vibrant and welcoming communities; a record of innovation; sound administration; some association with royalty; and any other distinctive features.
The initial assessment was that actually Lincoln excelled in every one of those categories. Based on what the government was seeking, this would form the basis of the case. Councillor Ric Metcalfe stated that there was an exceptional chance of success and he was given to understand that more than one award could be made on this occasion.
The Council would be liaising with partners across the city, various service areas, and various other stakeholders, to obtain widespread support. There had been discussions with the Lord Lieutenant and the Member of Parliament on this application.
Councillor Tom Dyer put on record the full support of the Conservative group to the making of an application.