Agenda item

Outcome of Reconsideration of Decision - Sale of Land at Glapwell.


Committee considered the response of the Director of Development following the reconsideration of the decision (DD/025/20/DC) regarding the sale of land at Glapwell.


On 5th May 2020, the Director of Development had made the decision (DD/025/20/DC) to dispose of the parcel of land on Park Avenue, Glapwell, on the terms as set out in the report.


The decision was called in by 3 Scrutiny Members and considered by Growth Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 10th June 2020, where it was resolved that the Director of Development be requested to reconsider the decision due to the following concerns;


1. The timing of this decision is called into question as there was no urgent need to make the decision and no urgent need to use delegated powers to do so.


2. Considering the impact on the local community of the decision to sell the land, the decision was not proportionate to what would be achieved by the sale.


3. The way in which the decision was taken was not fully open and transparent and further consultation should have taken place with Ward Members and the public.


4. The Director of Development is requested to seek further legal advice on the issue of whether the land is open space and to clarify the appropriate method of disposal, in line with the Council’s Joint Disposal and Acquisitions Policy.


The Director of Development had reviewed each of the four areas and the findings were set out in the response.


The outcome of the next steps would determine what happened with the sale of the land.  The land had been assessed as not being public open space.  However, to remove any future argument, the land would be advertised and due process followed. Since the meeting of Growth Scrutiny Committee on 10th June 2020, the land had been registered as an Asset of Community Value and any disposal would follow the restrictions set out on the disposal of listed assets.


Members raised the following questions and concerns and requested that these be put to the Director of Development for a response;


·         What consultation is now taking place?

·         How the public open space assessment was made.

·         Whether land being treated as public open space can still be considered to be surplus.

·         That the Public Questions to Council and the request from the MP for an independent review of the planning applications to be taken into account.

·         How the access was determined and what Highways evidence was considered.

·         On what basis did the Director of Development consider that local Members were aware of the land sale?

·         What will be the next stage following the public open space consultation?


A Member suggested that a recommendation be made that Standards Committee review whether delegated decisions taken by officers on reconsideration are reviewed by themselves or by another officer.


The Scrutiny & Elections Officer advised Members that as part of the Call In procedure rules, Members could ask for clarity in terms of the report that had been circulated, however, some elements were outside of the call in decision.  Members were aware of a press release and a potential consultation but as these were not part of the original call in and decision, they could not be challenged at present.  This was the same for queries that may be raised at Council on 25th November. Committee could, however, suggest that their considerations as above be taken into account.


The Senior Governance Officer added that the next process following the open space consultation, considering the registration of the land as an asset of community value, would be raised with the Monitoring Officer as a procedural issue.  With regard to the suggested recommendation to Standards Committee, Members were advised that this could be looked at under guidance and practice, however, legislation was that Scrutiny’s power was to refer a decision made but not yet implemented back to the decision maker.


Referring to the planning application, the Assistant Director of Development noted that only one letter had been received suggesting that the land was used by the community in any way, and although this wasn’t determinative, it was indicative.  When considering the sale of land proposal, officers had visited the site and had decided there was no real evidence that it was being used as community space and this was why it was determined not to be a public open space.  Subsequently, it had been accepted that the land would be treated as public open space, hence the Council’s advertisement for the possible disposal for public consultation for a 4 week period. 


With regard to access to the proposed development site, Derbyshire County Council (DCC) had raised no objections with Park Avenue, as an adopted road, being used as a safe and secure access – this meant in planning law, there was no requirement to look for an alternative access and to challenge this would be difficult.


The Senior Governance Officer confirmed that should the proposal to dispose of the land go ahead, as part of the Asset of Community Value process, community groups would have 6 weeks to register their intention to bid for the land.


A Member queried if the advertisement was appearing in a newspaper currently and if it were also advertised on the Council’s website.  She queried if DCC Highways had visited the site at all in relation to the planning application.  The Assistant Director of Development replied that he would enquire about the advertisement and inform Members and added that although he had no knowledge of DCC visiting the site, they had provided a good knowledge of the site further to the planning application.  The Scrutiny & Elections Officer reminded Members that this discussion should relate to the decision to sell the land and not stray into the planning decision.


A Member raised that in accordance with the disposals policy, now the land was recognized as open space, it was no longer surplus and did not need to be sold.  The Assistant Director of Development replied that the land was being advertised as public open space and the results of the consultation response would be considered as to the next steps.


Moved by Councillor James Watson and seconded by Councillor Jenny Wilson

RESOLVED that all Members’ questions and concerns raised at this meeting be provided to the Director of Development for a response to be presented to Members at the next meeting of Committee.

(Scrutiny & Elections Officer)


Councillor Chris Kane and the Assistant Director of Development left the meeting.


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