Agenda and minutes

Lichfield District Parish Forum - Tuesday, 25th June, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Wendy Johnson 

No. Item


Introduction and Welcome


Councillor Salter (Chairman) introduced himself and welcomed everyone to the first Lichfield District Parish Forum meeting of the new municipal year.


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Barnett (Lichfield District Council), Harrison (Mavesyn Ridware Parish Council), Marshall (Lichfield District Council and Armitage with Handsacre Parish Council), Place (Burntwood Town Council and Hammerwich Parish Council), Silvester-Hall (Lichfield District Council), Thompson (Shenstone Parish Council) and Warburton (Lichfield District Council and Fradley & Streethay Parish Council).


To receive the Minutes of the Previous Meeting held on Monday 22 October 2018 pdf icon PDF 61 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 22  October 2018 as circulated were received and signed a s a correct record.


Neighbourhood Planning

Presentation by Ashley Baldwin, Spatial Policy & Delivery Manager, Lichfield District Council


Mr Ashley Baldwin, Spatial Policy & Delivery Manager at Lichfield District Council introduced himself and presented a power point presentation entitled “Neighbourhood Plans & Planning Policy”.  Mr Baldwin assured all attendees that the presentation would be circulated to all parish clerks for onward transmission.


Mr Baldwin said he and his team would also be willing to visit any parish council should they feel it helpful and said the first point of contact if anyone was interested in achieving a neighbourhood plan was his colleague, Mr Patrick Jervis.  Mr Baldwin advised that there were already 11 neighbourhood plans in place and if any other parish was thinking of going through the process he would suggest they engage with these other parishes that have achieved theirs i.e. Little Aston and Stonnall/Alrewas as they would have good lessons to share, however, if any one was considering beginning their neighbourhood plan or even considering a review of a current one he asked that they look at the Lichfield District Council Local Plan timetable because Lichfield District Council has a requirement to keep their Local Plan up to date and there is an open consultation on it at the moment which is due to end in November 2019 which went to last week’s  Economic Growth, Environment & Development (Overview & Scrutiny) Committee meeting for discussion.


The following questions were asked:-


Q – As you say a neighbourhood plan is to be reviewed every 5 years – does this mean the whole process needs to be repeated?


A – No, not necessarily – it must be fit for purpose – A review might be about looking at a specific component and focusing on reviewing that aspect.  If the parish look at it in the context that if the local plan changes the implications for the Neighbourhood Plan i.e. there are going to be significant conflicts with the then yes, will have to go through the whole process.  This will be a decision for the parish.


Q - What growth is needed for Birmingham?


A - Birmingham went through with their plan and managed to get it signed off by an Inspector even though there was circa 60,000 dwellings shortfall inclusive of other areas including the Black Country.  Lichfield have been working with Birmingham and the wider housing market area to reduce that figure down to a much more negligible figure, however, there will be a need for the Authority to accommodate some cross-border growth.


Q – What might this look like and how does it compare to the current Plan?


A – The current Local Plan has a housing figure of just over 10,000 dwellings.  The Birmingham shortfall is to be addressed through the Plan Review.  Government have identified a standard method for calculating housing needs.  For Lichfield District this identifies a Plan Review requirement of 6,600 or 330 per annum.  However, this is considered the baseline.  In the last consultation the Council identified accommodating an additional 3,000 – 4,500 on top of its baseline need.


Q -  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


An Introduction to Planning and Making Decisions on Planning Applications

Presentation by Claire Billings, Planning Development Manager, Lichfield District Council



Mrs Claire Billings, Planning Development Manager at Lichfield District Council introduced herself and presented a power point presentation entitled “An Introduction to Planning & Making Decisions on Planning Applications”.  (Presentation to be circulated to all parish clerks for onward transmission after the meeting as requested).


The following questions were asked:-


Q – Query relating to abandoned hedges - Whose responsibility?


A - If a hedge is an important part of a development site then often a condition would be included on the decision requiring retention and maintenance, but the maintenance period may be limited to up to 5 years. The developer or subsequent landowner is responsible to conform to the condition.  However, if not a condition matter/related to a particular development, then maintenance would be a private civil matter between neighbours/landowners. 


Q - Can a Parish Council call-in a planning application?


A – No, but if there are significant planning objections received from the Parish Council or a statutory consultee and officers are minded to approve then this will be considered.  Only a Ward Councillor can call-in an application for consideration by Planning Committee.


Q – As presentation said when planning application comes in for local authority owned land it always goes to Planning Committee, is this the same with Certificate of Lawfulness applications?


A – No, Certificates of Lawfulness for Existing Development are dealt with differently – there is no call-in process regarding these types of applications, as it is not about the planning balance it is whether there is evidence or not to prove the development or use has been there for a certain length of time.


Q – If a Parish Council supports an application but other statutory consultees have objected then will it definitely go to a Planning Committee meeting?


A – Yes, if the Planning Officer is minded to recommend approval and a statutory consultee has objected.









Update on Lichfield Policing (including Q&A session)

Mr Mark Smith, Chief Inspector will be in attendance and give a verbal update.


Chief Inspector Mark Smith attended the meeting and gave a verbal update on Lichfield Policing to the forum.


Due to financial constraints Mr Smith advised that over 800 officers had left the police force over the last 10 years and, as a consequence, the Chief Constable, quite rightly, had said things had to change and introduced the new target operating model.  They were now operating from two sides: - one side was the uniformed police – 24/7 – police immediate response unit which used to be provided from Lichfield, Tamworth & Burton but now they come from Burton only but he assured all that there are always 2 response cars in Lichfield at all times.  And the other side was the Neighbourhood team – his responsibility – he is responsible for 20 Police Officers and approximately 20 PCSO’s; split down in to four shifts.  There is also a small team - County Lines - who look at organised crime.  Mr Smith confirmed the PCSO’s are ward aligned with the Police Officers.


Mr Smith summarised the issues and priorities for Lichfield which included car crime particularly as this was still an issue for Lichfield.  He said last year’s rise was now stabilising and hoped we would be looking at a down ward dip now as 18 offenders had been convicted and serving custodial sentences.  He said there were two types of car crime either forced entry to a property to steal the keys from the house and keyless theft – where thieves use a relay device which communicates to the house to the keys and, of course, a lot of cars are keyless now.  The best evidence which helps with these crimes are CCTV, forensics and witnesses/neighbours in the street along with ANPR.


Anti-social behaviour was another focus – Mr Smith confirmed that the PCSO’s focus on repeat locations, victims and offenders and hoped everyone saw some PCSO focus in certain areas.


Vulnerabilities/Domestic abuse was another focus – there is a harm reduction hub within the neighbourhood and they meet every day to overview all cases which have come in over the night and fast track options available.  Mr Smith said some progress had been made with this but there was still a lot more to do.  He said there was a series of programmes for victims and offenders available through the providers NEW ERA.


Mr Smith advised that the new office on Eastern Avenue homed 50 detectives also so there was additional capacity nearby as well as a Priorities Team which is there too which focuses on the car crime in Lichfield.


Mr Smith said there were many challenges in the next 12 months but wanted to reassure the community that there is some good work taking place – County Lines is very prevalent in Burntwood and have recently eradicated fairly swiftly a major drug operation.  He said he does not tolerate any drug activity as these only bring a series of other crimes along with them.




·         Mental Health and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Best Practice/Shared Practice


The Chairman explained that this item had been added on to tonight’s agenda with the intention of having a short brainstorming exercise to share best practice.  However, due to the lateness following such well received agenda topics, the subject would be deferred to another meeting.  He said the idea had stemmed from the fact all Parish Clerks are invited to attend SLCC (Society of Local Council Clerks) meetings where they are given an opportunity to share best practice and discuss initiatives and, after receiving a couple of ideas for tonight’s meeting, he had felt it may be a beneficial platform to discuss ideas at this meeting.  For example, in Shenstone, because of the cuts in the provision of maintenance from higher tiers, the parish council now employs a lengths man two days a week.  He said the Shenstone Parish Clerk, Shirley O’Mara, and he would be happy to discuss this with anyone if they were interested in doing the same.





The Future of the Lichfield District Parish Forum


The Chairman appealed for any ideas for future Lichfield District Parish Forum meetings as it was noted that tonight had been very successful and engaging.  He said it was good to see such a good attendance as previous meetings had not been so well attended.


Ms Christie Tims, Head of Corporate Services, said this forum was meant to foster relations between the district and the parishes yet very little agenda items ever came forward.  She said it would only continue if there was engagement as the coordination of this meeting was very time consuming and dependent on officer resources.  Ms Tims asked if members felt it was useful and asked for outcomes of what members were looking to achieve from this meeting – should it now be done differently.  Perhaps through discussion forums/newsletters/in a more timely way?  Ms Tims appealed for ideas ahead of September’s scheduled meeting and agreed that it had been a valuable night tonight with two sets of training as well as a verbal update from the Chief Inspector, Mark Smith, but asked for members to consider the future.



Any Other Business


The Chairman introduced Lichfield City Councillor Jayne Marks as she had asked if an agenda item on the “waste management of the district” could be included in the future as an agenda item.  She felt it would be beneficial to receive an update on this and the importance of still using the brown and blue bins.  Councillor Marks also asked if there could be an opportunity to offer a trip to a recycling centre for which she would be happy to pay up to £20 for and this was noted for the next meeting. 


The Chairman introduced Lichfield City Councillor David Dundas who had asked what LDC’s policy on the maintenance of street furniture was as the results of the Lichfield survey of 70 streets in the city conducted by the U3A was imminent but early indications suggested that a lot of maintenance had been neglected over the last decade making the city untidy and unkempt – even the planters around the city were untidy.


Ms Christie Tims, Head of Corporate Services, replied to say that there was no published policy on street furniture in the Lichfield district and she would be very interested to receive the results of the survey.  Ms Tims said that after initial investigations, the only remit for the Operational Services Manager at Lichfield District Council were the street litter bins and most of these had been replaced over the past few years.  Discussions took place around planters, benches, notice boards and road signs and it was queried if the parishes were responsible for the notice boards and perhaps Staffordshire County Council for the road signs and/or perhaps BID had some responsibility? It was agreed to circulate the results of the survey and set up a meeting to discuss this further.





Date of Next Meeting


The date of the next meeting is Tuesday 17 September 2019 at 7pm in the Council Chamber, Frog Lane, Lichfield, Staffordshire.