A period of 30 minutes has been set aside for members of the public to ask questions on matters considered at the last meeting and set out in the minutes or on the agenda for tonight’s meeting.
Question one: Taken the Places For Everyone plan is before the council, over the next 3 years exactly how many social and affordable to rent homes will the council be building on brownfield land/sites owned by the council, either as the master developer or under a joint venture with an external social and affordable to rent housing developer?
Supplementary question: As the leader of the council has previously stated that the council would enter into joint ventures for the development of social and affordable to rent homes in the borough, exactly how many joint ventures regarding social and affordable to rent homes are the council exploring as of today, and will these new social and affordable to rent homes be constructed to the Passivhaus Standard?
In response Councillor O’Brien, Leader of the Council reported there are a number of Council owned brownfield sites coming forward for development, including land at School Street in Radcliffe, the Wheatfield site in Whitefield and William Kemp Heaton and Fletcher Fold Road in Bury, all of which will be expected to provide at least 25% affordable housing, and some of these are likely to be developed for 100% affordable housing, including affordable rent and shared ownership.
The Leader reported we are also exploring opportunities
There is a clear ambition from Government, both through planning policy and Affordable Homes Programme funding to increase opportunities for affordable home ownership, including shared ownership and discount sale.
The Housing Strategy proposes the development of a Bury Eco Standard which will reflect a fully retrofitted home with a renewable energy source. In order to meet the targets for all new homes to be carbon neutral by 2028 and all existing homes by 2038, a significant step change is needed. This will require high standards to be achieved and Passivhaus is seen as the level we need to be aiming for. In developing the Bury Eco standard all options including Passivhaus will be considered and we will certainly include the principles of quality installation which Passivhaus embodies.
Question Two: The Council's Climate Strategy and Plan contain several statements and actions which are in conflict with elements of Places for Everyone (PfE). How will the Overview and Scrutiny Committee ensure Bury Council brings PfE in line with its zero carbon aims and similar aims across Greater Manchester?
Supplementary question Would it be appropriate to form an Environment Scrutiny Committee to be the vehicle for ensuring that this climate change is given the necessary priority?
Councillor Bernstein in his role as Chair of the Scrutiny Committee reported that the Council recently reviewed the scrutiny function, following this review, Full Council agreed to establish a Children and Young Peoples Scrutiny Committee. Councillor Bernstein reported that there is sufficient capacity to ensure effective scrutiny of environmental matters under the current arrangements without the necessity to establish an additional scrutiny committee.
The Leader reported that climate change is a key theme running throughout PfE and it is only through a combination of actions that it can be properly addressed. The PfE, in particular sets out:
· Methods to de-carbonise the city region through new and existing development, effective land management and through the provision of infrastructure and new technologies;
· The aim of delivering a carbon neutral Greater Manchester no later than 2038, with a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, including measures to ensure that all new homes and commercial/industrial buildings achieve net zero carbon by 2028;
· The delivery of renewable and low carbon energy schemes through heat and energy networks;
· Measures that will be taken in Greater Manchester to future proof the city region by mitigating and making it more resilient to environmental challenges, including climate change;
· Water based measures, such as reducing flood risk, to adapt and reduce the impacts of climate change; and
· Measures to support improvements in air quality.
The PfE, if adopted, will form part of the Council’s statutory development plan and will allow the Council to require certain standards within new development to ensure that the climate change targets are achieved. This will include ensuring that new housing is carbon neutral and encouraging active travel – road layouts to prioritise walking and cycling, improved cycling infrastructure, integrated EV charge point infrastructure etc
Without a statutory plan in place, it will be very difficult to refuse planning applications which don’t meet these requirements.
Question three - Clean Air – What funding will be available to support the taxi trade? Mr S Raja
The Leader placed on record his thanks for the crucial and important key work that taxi drivers undertake and reported that the Council has provided a variety of support to them during the pandemic. Additional monies have been made available to support the Clean Air plan and this will help to support and encourage taxi drivers to retrofit and replace their vehicles.
Cllr Quinn Cabinet Member, Environment, Climate Change and Operations reported that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority are under a ministerial directive to deliver the Clean Air Plan and additional monies have been agreed from central government for a;
Ten million pounds has been made available which will enable more electric charging points and a try before you buy electric fund, as well as an extension period for taxi driver compliance.
The TfGM Representative reported that there is support available to upgrade vehicles to complaint diesel and petrol vehicles.
Funding available will include:
Replacement funding for Hackney Carriages up £10k
Hackney Carriages Retrofit up to £5k
Private Hire replacement funding up to 6k
Private Hire replacement funding up to 5k.