At the Council Meeting on 30 April 2008
, it was agreed that a Select Committee should be established to examine the proposals for an Eco-Town at Ford and to report back to the Council on a proposed response to the consultation currently being undertaken by the Department of Communities and Local Government.
The consultation period closes June 30th and the Council has been given special dispensation to forward the response shortly after this date. The questions that the Select Committee have to answer are:
Is development of an ’eco-town’ at Ford (comprising at least 5,000 homes and associated employment, social and community infrastructure) sustainable, viable and deliverable?
What long term impacts might such a scheme have on the rest of the District?
What is a Select Committee?
The term Select Committee is one taken from the UK Government process where Select Committees examine matters of Government policy and performance. In that context they are selected from backbench MPs of all political parties. In local government terms, Select Committees are usually described as Overview and Scrutiny Committees and, again, their purpose is primarily to look at the policies and the performance of the decision making part of the organisation, i.e. the Executive (Cabinet).
Arun is using its own laid down procedures in its Constitution for this scrutiny process to be used to examine the merits and demerits of the Government proposal for an eco-town at Ford.[back to top]
Method of Working
Prior to the examination
The Select Committee will meet prior to the opening of the public examination in order to:
Review the content of the two Eco Town proposals
Discuss with the independent planning advisor and agree a list of topics to be examined in public and the questions flowing from these topics that the SC intend to probe at the examination
Agree a timetable for the event
Receive factual briefing papers on important topics from Arun Officers
Each session will be opened by the Chairman and the topic introduced for the particular session.
At the beginning of each session there will be an opportunity for members of the public to pose additional questions. Each speaker is allowed 3 minutes and depending on the time available between 15 and 30 minutes will be set aside for this purpose.
The Airfield Vision Group/Ford Enterprise Hub will be invited to present their proposals on the issue and any supporting evidence
The invited participants for that session will then have the opportunity to respond and introduce evidence of their own. There will then follow a discussion managed by the Chairman when other members of the Committee, the planning advisor and others can ask questions. The Chairman will then close that session and move on to the next topic. [back to top]
At the end of proceedings the Chairman, along with the Committee members and the independent planning advisor will meet as often as they require and draft a report.
The report will contain a mixture of facts, conclusions on matters that could be resolved, and a list of concerns that remain in the view of the Select Committee unresolved.
The report will be accompanied by a formal recommendation from the Select Committee to Full Council as to what the Committee recommends be the Council’s response to Government in relation to the Eco Town proposals.
The report will be presented by the Chairman to Full Council on the 30 June 2008. [back to top]
The Membership of this Committee has been very carefully selected to ensure the most open, professional and unbiased investigation. Criteria for selection included:
Member does not sit on Cabinet
Member does not sit on Development Control Committee
Member does not sit on Local Development Framework Sub-Committee
Member does not live in, or represent, an affected ward.
Member has no professional or personal interest in the eco-town proposal
The inquiry was held between Tuesday 27th and 4th June 2008.
The public Select Committee inquiry is now closed. The Select Committee will now work with the independent planning consultant, Jim Redwood, on producing a report of their findings to be presented at a public meeting of the committee on Tuesday 17 June at 6.00pm at the Civic Centre in Littlehampton.
Their report will then be presented to Full Council on Monday 30 June and agreement reached by Full Council as to the comments to be submitted to the Housing Minister, Caroline Flint.
If you have any written submissions to make it is not too late. All submissions made up until Friday 13 June will be considered by the Select Committee before they submit their findings.[back to top]
The Select Committee meetings were held in the Council Chamber, Arun District Council Civic Offices, Littlehampton with the final day held at Yapton Parish Hall. [back to top]