Decision Maker: Schools Forum
Made at meeting: 17/01/2024 - Schools Forum
Decision published: 14/02/2024
Effective from: 17/01/2024
The Forum received a report advising of the Dedicated Schools Grant funding for 2024-25. The indicative individual school budget allocations schedule was emailed to Representatives before the meeting.
This was announced on 19 December 2023, at £154.497m and was broken down as follows:
Central Schools Services Block
Early Years Block
High Needs Block
It was noted that this was an overall increase of £11,104m compared to the £143,393m allocated for 2023-24.
The report explained each of the Schools Blocks’ funding allocations and the National Funding Formula methods applied. It was noted that the High Needs and Early Years Block budgets would be presented at the February meeting of the Forum. Pupil numbers were highlighted as the primary sector had seen a reduction overall of 250 pupils, whilst the secondary sector had increased slightly by 16 pupils. Officers advised that the individual budgets and formulas presented today would be submitted to the ESFA for approval week commencing 22 January. Once approved the individual schools’ budgets would then be distributed to schools.
The Forum was requested to decide the level of Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) to be applied to the Schools Block Funding Formula for 2024-25. A level of 0.5% was agreed in principle at the October 2023 meeting and Officers advised that this was still the recommendation following the DSG settlement. The Forum confirmed its agreement with the recommendation of 0.5% MFG to be applied to the Schools Block funding formula for 2024-25.
The Forum was also requested to support the continuation of the National Funding Formula methods, principles and rules for mainstream primary and secondary schools funding allocations and de-delegations for 2024-25. This was agreed by the Forum.
The following was also discussed by Representatives:
· The contingency pot for redundancies – there was some doubt as to whether this was still available so it would be confirmed after the meeting;
· The reductions in primary pupil numbers was occurring in Runcorn and Widnes and consideration of this was being given by the Council;
· Speech and Language Services Chatterbug – the handing over of case notes to the new provider was completed but new referrals were currently on hold. HBC staff conducted weekly meetings with the new provider; any further concerns on the services were requested to go to the Operational Director, Jill Farrell;
· Further to a request for volunteers to sit on a sub-group meeting, Representatives Elaine Haver, Nigel Hunt and Angela Sheppard agreed; further information would follow.
RESOLVED: That Schools Forum
1) note the report;
2) support the continuation of the National Funding Formula methods, principles and rules for mainstream primary and secondary schools funding allocations and de-delegation for 2024-25; and
3) agree to an MFG level of 0.5% being applied to the Schools Block Funding Formula for 2024-25.
Decision Maker: Development Management Committee
Made at meeting: 15/01/2024 - Development Management Committee
Decision published: 06/02/2024
Effective from: 15/01/2024
The consultation procedure undertaken was outlined in the report together with background information in respect of the site.
The following updates were provided by the Case Officer:
· Heritage update – as presented in detail in the published AB Update List;
· Cheshire Police had not responded in relation to the request for further information and justification for their request for financial contributions;
· NHS Property Services letter sent to Members of the Committee on Friday – Officers were of the same position as set out in the Committee report, in that the request for financial contributions did not meet the relevant tests of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations and was not therefore proposed to be secured in a S106 Legal Agreement;
· There were minor changes to the list of conditions set out in the report – conditions 4 and 5 had been combined, conditions 12 and 13 had been combined and a condition had been added in relation to energy and sustainability;
· The Council’s Highway Authority had formally removed their objection; and
· The Council’s Highway’s Officer advised the Committee that following discussions with Arriva regarding bus provision into the site, a service diversion was currently cost prohibitive/operationally ineffective and an unreasonable ask of the developer given the amounts required. It was noted that the site accesses were designed to accommodate potential future bus services into the site, should a bus service become available in the future.
Mr Anderton, a resident of Halebank since birth and Parish Councillor for 6 years, addressed the Committee on behalf of local residents objecting to the proposals. He stated, inter alia, that:
· The Halebank community felt that the addition of 500 houses would impact greatly on the existing population;
· The infrastructure of the area was insufficient to cope with this number of additional houses;
· He referred to an Executive Board report from 2016 which raised concerns back then over the ‘pinch point’ on Ditton railway bridge;
· HBC should contact Network Rail to conduct a structural survey of the bridge;
· The application was non compliant;
· All local Ward Councillors were opposed to the application;
· Halebank Parish Council had been successful with 3 judicial reviews on planning approvals previously; and
· The application was not in accordance with the Delivery and Allocations Local Plan (DALP).
He concluded by urging the Committee to refuse the application or at least defer its decision to a later date.
The Committee was then addressed by Ms Landor, a Planning Consultant representing Halebank Parish Council. She commented, inter alia, that:
· 50% of the site was in the Green Belt so this was a departure;
· The owner of the site did not own all of it;
· There was policy conflict regarding the school (this was described) which was underplayed;
· Roads were not tree lined as required;
· The proposed open space provision was disjointed;
· The Highways Authority were unhappy with the proposal; and
· The scheme was not in accordance with policy and we disagree with the officer recommendations to approve.
Ms Smith, the Planning Agent for the applicant, then addressed the Committee and stated the following:
· The strategic site would ensure comprehensive development of an allocated site;
· It was noted that the primary school was shown in a different location but the quantum of the school site was the same;
· A safe off road path leading to the school was included;
· Key design principles had been included despite being an outline application;
· A comprehensive suite of technical assessments had been carried out;
· There had been no objections from statutory consultees;
· Off-site improvements would be secured by conditions;
· Financial contributions requests from the Police and NHS had not met the relevant tests;
· 106 Agreements were in place for school land and open space improvements;
· The application would bring affordable open market housing; and
· The application was wholly in compliance with planning policies.
Members discussed the application, highlighting concerns over the safety of Ditton railway bridge; the increase in population that would occur and the pressures that would be put on health services because of this; and the provision of outdoor sports facilities.
The Highways Officer responded that the Public Right of Way has a condition which ensures its consideration is integral in the design process and which could provide enhancements to it. Also, that other, off-site conditions would similarly ensure improvements for sustainable travel routes and connections to the site, including up to the Ditton railway bridge.
It was confirmed that the bridge was adopted, so HBC was the Highways Authority for the bridge. Officers clarified the ownership of the bridge and it was reported that Network Rail did not have any concerns about the safety of the bridge and had no objection to the proposed development.
It was commented that this application was an outline application, so matters relating to some issues listed by Hale Parish Council, health services provision and outdoor sports provision would be dealt with in detail in the full application, when this came forward.
One Member moved an amendment to the recommendation and requested a deferral, but this was not supported.
The original recommendations were then moved and seconded and the Committee voted, which resulted in 4 voting For and 4 voting Against; the Chair voted For, so the vote to approve the application was carried.
RESOLVED: That the application is approved subject to the following:
a) a Section 106 Agreement;
b) schedule of conditions set out below:
1. Standard outline conditions for the submission of reserved matters application;
2. Condition setting our parameters of the permission;
3. Condition for phasing plan;
4. Plans condition listing relevant drawings;
5. Implementation of access arrangement;
6. Site levels;
7. Public open space management plan;
8. Lighting scheme to protect ecology;
9. Hours of construction;
10. Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP);
11. Homeowners information pack;
12. Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) updated metric;
13. BNG Assessment;
14. Landscape and habitat management plan;
15. Breeding birds protection;
16. Arboricultural Impact Assessment and Arboricultural method Statement;
17. Scheme for cycle routes and footpath provision for Active Design;
18. Bus infrastructure provision;
19. Travel plan;
20. Site investigation, remediation and verification;
21. Noise mitigation scheme;
22. Site Waste Management Plan;
23. Archaeological works;
24. Landscape Ecological Management Plan (LEMP);
25. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS);
26. SuDS validation;
27. Waste water;
28. Hard and soft landscaping; and
29. Off-site highway works.
c) if the S106 Agreement is not signed within a reasonable period of time, authority is given to refuse this planning application.