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Thurrock Council's planning committee meeting
This live event has finished
- Meeting starts at 7pm
- Lakeside's exciting leisure plans move a step closer after receiving council backing
- Cllr Kent says plans "will play significant part in delivering regional centre vision"
- Still to come: discussion over big extension proposal for Little Thurrock Primary School
And that brings us to the end of the meeting.
Thank you very much for following our live feed tonight.
Among the highlights:
-The Lakeside proposals move a step closer, with various interesting talking points on how to manage traffic thrown up.
-Then we have had approval granted for a former landfill site to be turned into sports pitches.
Check back tomorrow for the reports and reaction.
Alternatively, pick up a copy of next week's Thurrock Gazette.
We're on to the last application now. It's one of the council's highways officers, Nathan Drover, who is seeking to turn part of his garden into an additional parking space.
This is a very minor application which has been approved!
It's a fairly minor change to the roof which has been approved.
And now we're onto the Little Thurrock Primary School application. It's a revised application from one that was passed in 2013.
Cllr Liddiard commends the Academy on turning land that is currently a "community liability" and "toxic" into something that will benefit children and the community.
Martin Healy said on this application: "I'm struggling to come up with enough superlatives to describe this. I'm thrilled.
"This is a big message from the people running Ockendon Academy to the residents that 'we are here for your health and wellbeing'."
Interesting point being made now, that this is a former landfill site.
The officer has just said the site was "historically restored" to a poor standard. An improved restoration is currently being carried out. There are very low concentrations of gas and there will be two metres of material to cover the landfill waste.
This is deemed acceptable as Cllr Anderson asks whether the site is safe.
It seems that the plan is for the school to use the facilities in school hours and community to use it outside of those hours. Which happens all over the place.
Ockendon Academy hope this plan will reduce a sports facility deficit in the area.
This is green belt land. But officers deem this to be "appropriate" use of green belt land.
This is land to the north of Eriff Drive.
Now we are onto an application submitted by the Ockendon Academy to put in two adult sized football pitches, one youth pitch, an under 10 football pitch, a rugby pitch, a cricket pitch and an astro-turf surface. The proposal includes a new building with changing rooms (for 12 teams!) and a kitchen or cafe bar.
The general consensus seems to be that councillors are sympathetic to the family's situation. But the application has been refused.
Cllr Hipsey: "Unfortunately, there are policies we need to abide by."
One of the "conditions" that the family want to change is that anyone can live there. A current condition means only the Anderson family can live there.
This request isn't going down to well with the committee - Cllr Anderson is saying he would encourage a different type of application on this site.
This site is just off Park Gate Road in Corringham. Just one family live there. The application is recommended for refusal.
The committee are now looking at an application to make a travellers site (comprising one mobile home) permanent. It has had temporary consent since 2011. That expired in August.
The council has already issued a statement on Lakeside plans receiving its backing.
Council leader John Kent said: "This will play a significant part in delivering our vision and the Town Square will provide a major new focal point for the whole of the Lakeside Basin.
“Intu Lakeside already plays a crucial role in the local economy – it is one of the largest employers in Essex with over 6,000 direct permanent jobs in the local economy plus around 1,250 seasonal jobs.
“This development represents a major new capital investment of £100 million and will create up to 1,400 permanent new jobs across the leisure, hospitality and retail sectors; a further 1,060 spin-off jobs indirectly supported elsewhere in the region through wage and supplier spending; and around 330 jobs on site per year during the two year construction phase.
“It will also provide new infrastructure to help secure the wider transformation of the basin as part of a package of planning benefits as well as delivering economic growth and generating significant new employment opportunities.”
The committee are now discussing granting planning permission for a data centre at 41a Jodrell Way, West Thurrock.
Cllr Phil Anderson said: "This is a really strong, positive move in the right direction on all fronts."
Committee chairman Terry Hipsey said: "Thurrock is going to be the place to be."
Lots of positivity. And the outline application is passed with every councillor voting in favour - which is quite rare.
In debate, Cllr Tunde Ojetola has just said: "I hope people no longer say they are going to Bas Vegas but that they are going to Bas Lakeside." How about that for a quote?
Unsurprisingly, Mr Lanaster is against introducing parking charges. He said he would rather see emphasis placed on encouraging people to use public transport in the first place.
Mr Lancaster said the plans "will enable us to compete with Bluewater and Westfield Stratford." On top of the construction jobs and direct jobs, Lakeside anticipate that a further 500 indirect jobs will be created for Thurrock businesses.
He said: "The development will include a diverse mix of leisure for all ages, with the Lakeside town square acting as a focal point that can host events and markets."
He added: "We're absolutely committed to the future of Lakeside and Thurrock. For 25 years we've been part of the community which is why we've taken great care in developing our plans."
We've just heard from Intu's regional centre director Paul Lancaster...
Mr Healy is now calling for a commitment that in five to ten years, Lakeside do not allow trees and shrubs - which form an important part of the town square elements of this development - do not die and must be cared for.
The planning officer suggests this site will be too important to Intu.
I should add, you can get involved in tonight's coverage.
You can comment below or tweet me! I'm @GazetteMatt, I can insert your tweets, thoughts and views on these proposals into our live feed.
@GazetteMatt This would make them uncompetitive. Better bus access with bus priorities in/around Lakeside may help— @EnsignbusCo 16 January 2014
Cllr Martin Healy has just suggested that Lakeside is looking a bit dated and that these plans are a "refresher". Do you agree? Does Lakeside seem dated? It's been open 22 years.
@GazetteMatt It would help but they also need to show local traffic information such as if there are problems on the Dartford Crossing— @EnsignbusCo 16 January 2014
A Vehicle Messaging System has been suggested as part of the development, too. This will be electronic signs on key roundabouts (Treacle Mine, Fenner Lane, Lancaster Roundabout, Arena Essex) to let shoppers know if there are or are not parking spaces. Is that something Lakeside is lacking at the moment?
The report of the planning application states:
"This development proposal reduces the overall level of car parking. Notwithstanding this, if the Policy requirement for parking charging is not going to be pursued as part of this development, it will need to be demonstrated that adequate non-car measures are secured."
So, if parking charging is not introduced, other measures to reduce traffic will need to be introduced.
We're now talking about "modal shift". I think this refers to trying to change the mode by which people travel to Lakeside. Mr Speight is asking the questions. But the suggestion seems to be that parking charges could be brought in to encourage people to travel to the centre by public transport.
The planning officer has said that other firms within the Lakeside basin are considering introducing parking charges.
A decent aerial view of the new proposal
An image of the proposed town square
I've found some pictures!
The committee has been shown these (and more, which I don't have, sadly)...
Questions from Cllr Richard Speight now on Lakeside's intention to use "reasonable endeavours" to ensure the contractor employs people from the local area. Mr Speight wants assurances that this is going to be monitored, if that's possible.
The planning officer says there will need to be a "dialogue" to ensure this happens.
1400 permanent jobs could be created and the council are keen to turn the Lakeside "basin" into a new regional centre.
The new hotel will be tallest building of the new development. It will be seven stories high.
A new waterfront will also be created as part of the development.
Councillors are being shown the plans on TV screens now.
The new public spaces which are proposed - three squares and a new street - are being pointed out to members.
The development is intended to go on the open-air car parks which currently serve Vue and Marks and Spencer.
So as this Lakeside proposal is an "outline" planning application (at this stage), it means that more details - such as access plans - will be submitted at a later date.
If you click here, you can find out a little more about the councillors who sit on the planning committee.
There are also more details on all of the planning applications being discussed today.
As declarations of interest are made, you can view a "fly through" of what the proposed £100million Lakeside development will look like by clicking here.
The committee chairman Cllr Terry Hipsey gets us underway.
We're just about to begin here. The Lakeside plans are first on the agenda.
Full permission won't be granted to Intu tonight, but the plans - which we should hear more about - could move a step closer.
Tonight a "resolution to grant" could (and is expected to be reached) with full permission likely to be granted in April.
We'll hear any concerns with the proposals tonight, however.
You can read more about wht Lakeside are proposing by clicking here.
I am at Civic Offices, all set up and ready for what should be an interesting planning meeting.
Lakeside's proposal for a huge new leisure centre is just one item on tonight's agenda.
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