South East England Regional Assembly by leader6

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									                                 South East England Regional Assembly
                                            Plenary Meeting
                                                21 July 2004
                                          Le Meridien, Gatwick


Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Good morning and welcome to the South East England Regional Assembly Plenary
Meeting and AGM. A few housekeeping notes. The fire exits are clearly shown, there
are a number of them here, and instructions are to assemble in the car park in the
event of the alarm going.

Moving to the agenda, item no. 1. I would like to welcome Michael Coughlin, Chief
Executive of Crawley Borough Council, and our host authority for today, and who is
also Returning Officer for the South East England Region. Welcome.

Michael Coughlin
Chief Executive, Crawley Borough Council

Good morning. Thank you Chair. Welcome to Crawley.

What I am going to take you through now is just a process for the election of the
Chair of the Assembly, and the Deputy Chair, at the Annual Meeting today. You
should have been provided with ballot papers, one orange and one white for both
positions, and can I ask you to confirm by raising your hand if you have not received
both ballot papers? I can confirm that the nominations received for the positions are
as follows: For the position of Chair, candidate Cllr Nick Skellett is the only
nomination and I thereby declare that Cllr Nick Skellett will be the Chair of the
Assembly for the forthcoming year.

The nominations for your white ballot paper for the position of Deputy Chair are as
follows, and you may want to make a note of these against the candidates a, b, c.
Candidate a - Mr. Ian Chisnall, candidate b - Cllr Cec Tallack, and candidate c - Cllr
Don Turner. Having clarified that for you, I would invite you to complete the ballot
paper which will be collected from you over the next few moments. Please note that
your preferences should be indicated using a 1, 2 and 3 and not just a tick. You do not
have to use all your preferences. If you have no preference after no. 1 or 2, you do
not have to use 3. The candidates have the right to address the Assembly for three
minutes each should they wish. Can I ask each of the candidates if they wish to do so.
Mr. Ian Chisnall? Yes. Cllr Cec Tallack? Yes. And Cllr Don Turner? Yes. If I may invite
firstly Mr. Ian Chisnall to address the Assembly. Thank you.

Mr. Ian Chisnall
Social & Environmental Partners

Thank you. I just wanted to say that I feel that I have a great deal to bring to this
Assembly. I have been a member for two years. A member of the Social &
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Environmental Partners representing the faith communities, and I feel that it is really
vital that those who perhaps don't carry the same understanding, the same grasp of
political life, nevertheless have the opportunity to bring the understanding perhaps
from the ground up, as it were, into a Regional Assembly. One of the exciting things is
the opportunity for us all to contribute to decision making about really vital things like
roads, housing, transport, and I feel that I do have an understanding of a lot of those
issues. I really look forward to the opportunity to work with the other Vice Chairs,
and if I get elected as Deputy Chair, work with Nick Skellett. Thank you.

Cllr Cec Tallack
Milton Keynes Council

Thank you. This is my third year on the Assembly, but I have been involved in regional
issues for considerably longer than that. The reason that I am putting my name
forward as Deputy Chair on this occasion is that I am leader of the Liberal Democrat
group on the Assembly, and the Chair from that group.

My view is that there is a considerable democratic deficit growing because of all the
powers that regions have, growing both in terms of things that the Assembly does, but
more importantly in terms of quite a lot of quangos that we are supposed to be
monitoring. I think it is important that those are democratically accountable and
therefore I think it is important that, although it is an indirect system, people who are
elected ought to take on a responsible position. Certainly for that reason we
supported Nick Skellett's appointment this year because Nick is quite clearly Chair as
leader of the largest political group throughout the South East. The reason that I think
I would be an appropriate person to be the Deputy Chair is firstly, I am an elected
member, and as I said I think that is important, but secondly the Liberal Democrats are
quite considerably now the second party in the South East. That is not only shown
through the fact that we have more than twice as many members as any other group
on this Assembly other than the Conservative group, but the fact, if you look at all the
results of the local elections, and the Councillors who send us here, we are the
second group by some quite considerable way. I therefore think it would be
appropriate, firstly as I said that the Deputy Chair be an elected member, and secondly
that the Deputy Chair should be a member of the second group on the Assembly, and
as leader of the Liberal Democrat group I hope you will support me in this contest.
Thank you.

Cllr Don Turner
Brighton & Hove Council

Yes I would just like to say that I have been a member of the Assembly since its
inception, and over the past year I have been ...……………… (who have had a very
successful year). I hope that when I have been able to stand in for the Chair that I
would behave responsibly, and represent the Regional Assembly rather than a political
group. Frankly I think we have done very well over the past year. If it ain't broke,
don't fix it, please support me for another year.

Michael Coughlin
Chief Executive of Crawley Borough Council

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Thank you to the three candidates. As I mentioned previously, if you could express
your preferences using ones, twos and threes on the ballot papers before you. Once
they are collected from you the count will take place in a separate room and Assembly
members are invited to join us to observe the count, as that takes place. The result of
the election will be announced as soon as possible after that as convenient for your
agenda today. Thank you very much.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Ladies and Gentlemen, if I may have your attention please. First of all I would like to
say thank you very much for electing me as your Chair for the coming year. It is
indeed an honour. I feel very privileged and although it is sometimes difficult I enjoy
the job, particularly in a Plenary session such as this which is quite exciting. I will do
my best, as I promised last year, for the region, and continue to work with my
colleagues whoever they may be.

If we may continue with the Chairman's report, item 3 on agenda, this has been
circulated. I do not intend to read it but would make two points.

First of all I believe that the Assembly has kept to its core businesses which are first of
all, acting as an efficient and effective regional planning body, secondly monitoring and
working with the regional development agency, thirdly representing South East
interests to national government and the nation generally including the media, and
lastly extending, where it would be of value, our monitoring and co-operative work
with other agencies in the region.

We are the largest region in England, and the budget, although we complain about it
now and then is actually relatively quite small. I may remind you that in the
government paper on regions it is anticipated that the expenditure would be a
minimum of £25m for regions for doing what it appears to be duties and services,
which are not enormously different from what we are doing at the moment. And
whereas the White Paper suggested that the budget would be £25m for the elected
Assembly here, we are getting between £3m and £4m on critical and important jobs
such as regional planning. As we are the largest region with over 8 million people
there are several issues, such as consultation, which are difficult. How do you consult
8m people, from I suppose 4m households. And not so much as an apology, I think
that the officers and the secretariat do the best they can, but they have to make
pragmatic and practical decisions, for expenditure allows consultation to a certain
point. It is then up to us, the representatives, the local authorities and other
organisations to carry that consultation further. So in all our work we have to be
pragmatic and practical, and focus on the main issues, and by way of an apology to the
public, if you feel that the consultation has not gone deep enough, it is partly because
of the ridiculous timetable we have been set to do this enormous job by central
government. However we continue to listen and accommodate ideas and suggestions
on these issues of consultation in such a huge region.

I would also like to thank Douglas Horner for his chairmanship of the Select
Committee on Enterprise Hubs and Gateways and Michael Thrower on his
chairmanship of the Select Committee on Learning and Workforce Skills. I think that
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we have produced some really good recommendations for the Regional Development
Agency.

We have continued to grow closer to the Regional Development Agency, particularly
through the Board Liaison Meeting where we have had dialogues across a range of
issues. I have found those particularly helpful at a personal level and a strategic level,
and I would like to thank Jim Brathwaite, Chair of SEEDA and his colleagues for
continuing that with us. I think it has been extremely productive.

Standing up for the South East has been of critical importance to me and many of you
in the Assembly, and we have tried to concentrate on this, and particularly working
with Jim Brathwaite and the Regional Development Agency in order to improve our
representation to Central Government. The meeting that we had with Andrew Smith
recently with many representatives from the business, academic and local government
sector, I think, was extremely useful and I understand Andrew wishes to continue
those meetings, which gives us an excellent platform for the problems of the South
East and our aspirations.

Paragraph 6.3 in the report referred to TFL, Transport for London and the problems
we are having there. Although we responded to Ken Livingstone's request for London
to take a greater role in the rail network in our area, we responded by saying no - that
we wished to do this ourselves, and didn't look forward to his enlarged empire. As
you know from the White Paper - the Future of Rail - there will be a consultation on
the possibility of TFL extending its rail network remit beyond the Greater London
Authority boundaries. We have got to be extremely careful there, that we end up
with a representation for the South East, which leads me to the key point. We have a
beautiful region here. It is the most economically successful region in the country, but
it remains attractive in many ways, and we have a hell of a fight on our hands to keep it
that way, to continue its success, supporting the vulnerable, remaining an attractive
region with beautiful countryside.

Promoting the South East, looking after the South East, I feel very passionate about,
and I hope you share that aspiration with me. It is going to be difficult, and the White
Paper on the future of rail and its references to the possibility of extending TFL's remit
is clearly another danger that we will have to address and deal with. Of course we
have got to work with London and of course we have got to work with the other
regions, but in those arrangements we must ensure that the interests of our region, of
our residents, are to the fore and promoted as well as we possibly can.

Finally, I would like to refer to the perceptions survey by MORI. I find it interesting, it
was referred to in Paul Bevan's last report to the Executive Committee. Apparently
the awareness amongst the public of the Assembly has increased from 24% to 29%.
Stakeholders say that the work of the Assembly now has much more focus and there
is praise for the professionalism of officers. In recent research by English Region’s
Network, 61% think the Assembly is effective in informing its members on how to get
involved, and only 24% think that members are rubberstamping officers’
recommendations. 65% think that the way that the Assembly works is inclusive, and
62% think that it is transparent, and 81% that it is efficient. Well, that's good.

Once again many thanks for electing me as your Chairman, I will do my best in the
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coming year. Are there any questions on my report?

Chris Corrigan
Social & Environmental Partners

I have just got a question on item 4 Chairman.

The South East Summit, which is clearly a very important case for regional advocacy.
My only question was it looks very economically focused and I would be interested
just to get a handle on how the environmental and social issues of the region were put
across at that meeting as well as the economic ones.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Chris as you know, a lot of our work reflects our environmental concerns and the
need to protect the region. This particular meeting, because it was arranged in
partnership with the Regional Development Agency, I think had a business focus, yes.
That was one of its purposes, but as you know from the rest of the business of the
Assembly, environmental issues and the points you raised are I think well addressed.
This was a summit following on from the Regional Emphasis Document which we
submitted and it naturally had a business/financial emphasis, trying to point out to
government that if they wished us to continue as the most prosperous region
contributing more than any other region in net taxes to the government that we had
to be supported and our infrastructure maintained. That was the flavour of the
meeting and SEEDA and ourselves felt that it was important to involve as many
business people there, but on other occasions, as you know, environmental issues are
well to the fore.

Ian Hepburn
Social & Environment Partners

I would just like to reflect on a couple of issues in relation to the point 7 in your
report on the region and framework. I think this [the IRF] is a fabulously important
and extremely well developed extension and evolution of the sustainable regional
development framework. Just a couple of points. One is a point of accuracy, I think in
7.1 it implies that the Executive Committee actually signed off the final document, and
I understand from my colleagues on the Executive that wasn't quite the case. They
signed off the process, but didn't see the final document, as good as it is, in the final
product. The second one is perhaps more important, which is in your paragraph 7.2,
and this is a point of perception rather than one of accuracy. I think probably that we
should actually perceive it more than just as a reflection on the indicators of quality of
life, and much more of something that provides the vision, and provides the objectives
which are effectively the basis for sustainable development in the region. I would
recommend everybody to read the introduction and Chapter One in order to get the
full flavour of that. It is much more than just a target and indicator document.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

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I think in your first question you are correct. We have agreed the process but didn't
actually sign it off, but having said that and as you implied the document is an
extremely useful piece of work and will inform the work of the Assembly in many
areas, and not just the Assembly but also Regional Development Agencies and other
regional agencies as well. As you say it is a very important and helpful document.

I now have the results of the vote for the Deputy Chairmanship of the Assembly. Cllr
Don Turner will continue to be the Deputy Chair of this Assembly for the coming
year.

We now move to item 4. The annual report from SEEDA, and I would like to
welcome James Brathwaite, Chairman of SEEDA, who will introduce their report.
Welcome James.

James Brathwaite
Chairman SEEDA

Good morning everybody. I am very pleased to be here again, this is my second time
delivering a state of the region report. I am pleased to say that I can now look out on
a sea of faces and recognise some of you, and I hope that you can recognise me. I am
joined by Pam Alexander, Chief Executive of SEEDA, and she will provide further facts
and figures which I know that you all look forward to.

Throughout this year I have been struck by the opportunities that we must all take to
work with business, to drive forward the economic development in the region, in a
sustainable way. We need to capture the needs and concerns and contributions of
business in delivering the Regional Economic Strategy, and we need to understand the
business issues in making the region's case to the government as we did recently with
the Regional Emphasis Document that you, GOSE and ourselves jointly put to the
Treasury as part of the spending review.

More recently, as you heard the Chairman mention, we held a very successful joint
South East conference at which our only South East Cabinet member, Andrew Smith,
who is the now unofficial member for the whole of the South East region, presided
and he heard many of the concerns that business has at first hand. I was struck by
your question Chris about that conference. I think we do intend it to be very
inclusive, not just to be economic in its base and I think as we go on we will get more
sophisticated about making sure that the audience is right. We will improve on that. I
will return to some of these things a bit later in the rest of the presentation.

Now I want to apologise for starting my report with SEEDA enterprise hubs. This is
now an internationally recognised success for SEEDA and goes from strength to
strength with a major impact on the small (??) technology knowledge based business
that are truly our future. With 18 hubs (I think that is now 20 from this week, as at
Farnborough on Monday, I launched another one for the aerospace and defence
industry) and now 6 of our new gateways right across the region, you can see them
mapped out on the presentation. We are impacting on over 1300 companies with a
real potential to succeed, and this means thousands of new jobs have been created
through this initiative. In fact this is now so successful we have had delegations from
Japan, China, in fact the Chinese have visited Sussex. They looked at the enterprise
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hub there, and they have built one nearly ten times the size in YingYung University. So
it really is working well.

Our aim by 2008 is to be supporting through the initiative, 35% of all the small
knowledge based companies in the region, and we see many of them growing
providing the wealth and jobs of the future. We welcome the SEERA scrutiny of this
initiative which was led by Douglas Horner. It has come up with fine leads and
recommendations that make a very creative contribution to the future of the hubs,
and we will be using a lot of the fine links there.

Also under your scrutiny was our work on inward investment, an investigation which
was led by Nigel Horton Baker. Again the report was welcome and useful and
recognises the ways we have to work with business internationally. In an era of
globalisation, developing networks and the two way links will portray investments and
transfer of technology and the knowledge is the way forward. Our global regions
initiative is making good progress, with a network of representatives around the world
tapping new sources of investment into the region. You can see there the various
global networks which we have around the world, everywhere from Australia to the
west coast of America, Washington, Japan, Korea and China. Often the initial
investments that are made are very small, but we want the Ciscos and the Microsofts
of the future to make their first international move into our region and to grow up
here.

I am encouraged by our results with 40 inward investments, successes due to our
efforts, a rise of over two-thirds over the previous year. As your scrutiny emphasised
we have to work closely with sub-regional and local partners to create the conditions
for this success. SEEDA is working to get ever closer to the business organisations,
the CBI, the FSB, Chambers of Commerce, the IOD and others which represent
business and to involve them as well as individual businesses, in our policy
development. They make a vital contribution to our board committees and other
partnership activities. And I very much welcome the representation of some of these
organisations on the Assembly not least because of the responsibility you have to lead
in issues that we know are crucial to the concerns of business, namely housing and
transport.

I think for the first time in my visits around to the various businesses that I see housing
has become an issue, not just the talk of affordable housing, but housing in general, and
that is a new phenomena for business to be concerned with housing. I am well aware
that the issue of housing and business, especially the Barker recommendations, is
controversial and difficult for some members of the Assembly. But let me be clear,
SEEDA's position is that you would need to decide on this in a way which ensures that
the South East Plan supports the growth we are all agreed on for the Regional
Economic Strategy. SEEDA will continue to work with you on the development of the
South East Plan and in the debate about numbers I know that we will all agree that we
must not forget about quality and the need to create a truly sustainable community.

Transport is the other issue for business. I have appointed one of our board members
from business, John Peel, who I think might be known to many of you in the room, to
represent SEEDA on the new pilot regional transport board. This is something which
the RDAs as a collective have fought for, to try to get some of the decision making a
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lot closer to home on some of our major transport projects. John will be working
with the Assembly and other representatives to use this opportunity to drive regional
transport planning, priorities and above all delivery.

We must make real progress on transport to support both the successful South East
economy and the needs of our deprived areas. I am very fond of saying that without
that activity some of the areas of deprivation, particularly around our coasts will
continue and we must work hard to make sure that that happens.

I think we will have to look carefully at the government's announcements yesterday
including the extra resources for transport. I hope that they will make real progress
for us, but we must make sure that we grab our share from that national pot and we
will be working hard with the Assembly to do that.

In discussing our engagement with business one other issue is at the forefront of my
thinking - that is of responsible businesses. The success of SEEDA's annual Sustainable
Business Awards clearly demonstrates that productivity and profitability are not the
only measures of a firm’s success. All the winners of the award share one theme, they
have performed well in terms of environmental management and social responsibility.
I want SEEDA to encourage this sort of responsibility and awareness in companies big
and small, so that we are all treating the world as if we intend to stay.

So in a country that is beginning to think that business can make a difference, I am sure
that in the South East business is our difference. Thank you very much.

Pam Alexander
Chief Executive SEEDA

Thank you very much indeed Chairman and good morning everybody. And a thank
you to all of you who have welcomed me so warmly into the region over the last six
months. I hope I have met quite a few of you, I certainly recognise a few faces.

I am thoroughly enjoying what is an enormously broad ranging job and am looking
forward to where we are going to take it into in the future. And I very much
welcome this opportunity, as indeed the other opportunities that I have had both at
the meetings of the Executive Committee and at the Board Liaison Meetings, which we
now have regularly with the Chairman and other members to address how SEEDA is
performing for the benefit of the region.

I want to be a bit selective today because I don't want to take a tick box approach and
try and make sure I mention every bit of the region and every piece of work that we
do, I don't think that would be particularly productive. I want to try and look at the
big picture and give you some examples of our work which I think show the direction
that we are taking for the future.

I want to talk about how we are moving forward in partnership and how we are doing
so to achieve both sustainable economic growth and sustainable communities and
what sort of opportunities and challenges are going to be arising over the next few
years now that we have the results of the 2004 spending review.

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So what I would like to talk about first is what I believe is possibly our greatest
achievement in the last year and that is transforming the way in which we are working
as a Regional Development Agency. From looking at pilot projects and individual
programmes where we ask people to compete for money to developing strategic
relationships, where we are really working with our partners to lever the very big
money from the major players with mainstream funding in the region. I want to talk
about how we are achieving a working sustainable development of communities and
sustainable economic success and then, as I have said, look forward.

I believe it has been a very good year for the region. In terms of our position in the
global regions league table we have gone from 34th to 31st in terms of gross domestic
product per head, and from 11th to 2nd in terms of employment levels. And that
means that more than 7,000 adults have come off income support. It is not just
success for the very successful, it is also success for those looking for opportunities.

We have also spent a considerable amount of time this year making the case for the
South East. You have heard the Chairman talk about the South East Summit and I
think that was a really important opportunity to talk to the heart of government about
why investing in the South East is good for them and for us. We have also been
involved in the Regional Emphasis Document which, we believe from the feedback we
have had, was one of the most influential of all the Regional Emphasis Documents in
shaping the response to the spending round this year.

We have got a hugely encouraging growth of 3%, which is considerably above the
national average, and some very positive trends in our manufacturing industry and in
inward investment, and we have also found that broadband which we thought we
were going to have fund ourselves is going to roll out rather more effectively now that
BT have taken the decision to enable nearly the whole of the region themselves.

We are looking at leveraging in mainstream funding. These are the big three issues
which the Regional Economic Strategy sets out of housing, transport and skills which
Jim has already referred to, and also into our work in supporting effective and
competitive businesses across the region.

So we have been working to pull in money not just from UK mainstream programmes
but also from the European Union. Transport is one of the big three issues and there
are some exciting issues going on in the region. We anticipate that by 2006 we will
have brought £1.2bn into the region through Interreg, the transport programme, the
European Social Fund programmes and research programmes which are supporting
the work that we are doing in the region with our partners.

It has been a good year for SEEDA too, working in partnership across the regions.
We have got some good results, I hope you will agree, and we are here to talk about
them. The Annual Report which has just come hot off the press is a document we
have to place first before Parliament but we are actually discussing it with you first and
that is as it should be. We have got twice as many businesses who have benefited
from our advice in the last year - 24,000 businesses. We have got an extra 20% of
people who have had learning opportunities which have been funded with support
from SEEDA and that is a great development too.

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We have been achieving better performance against higher targets as this graph shows.
The grey line at the top is our actual performance in the last year against the target,
the white line, and the green line which is the index of the targets for the previous
year. So there has been some extremely good performance there, and some
substantial improvements on previous achievements in terms of new businesses
supported, created and sustained, opportunities for learning, brownfield development,
land brought to market and made viable for the future, and jobs attracted through
inward investment and in total. These are results which I hope you feel we can be
proud of.

It has also been a year when we have taken stock as a Regional Development Agency
with the other eight, of the fact that we have come of age. We are 5 years old, we are
no longer trying to find pilot projects and programmes which will meet the needs of
the region. We have a very full pipeline of those. Our job now is to evaluate which
ones are working best, which ones you feel are adding value to the region, which ones
we should be focusing on for the future, and how we could be working with you to
make sure that we are catalysing much bigger efforts than we can bring with our small
budget. A very good example I think is computer clubs for girls. A really exciting
initiative in 124 schools across the region which is engaging 13 and 14 year girls with
digital technology through some software which addresses the things that they enjoy.
It has been an important programme for us because we think it has been a really
successful pilot. Over 80% of the girls say they are now interested in working in IT in
the future and these girls who were likely, the statistics show, to have got rather
bored by 15 or 16 with what they saw as boys’ toys. So that is a great pilot, but what
is much more exciting is that showing it to Charles Clarke just 6 weeks ago was a
morning well spent, because in the spending round he announced a £13m programme
to roll that project out across the whole country, so we will be able to spread it
across the South East. And that is the sort of leverage that we are looking for in the
work that we are doing.

I want to talk about the two angles of our work which absolutely must work together,
sustainable communities and supporting economic success. I believe profoundly, as I
guess you might expect from my background, that you can't have one without the
other. We will not have sustainable economic growth unless we have sustainable
communities in this region that people want to live and work in. And we won't have
sustainable communities unless we can bring skills and jobs to those communities. So
we address the two together.

Let me take first the work that we have been doing in the region this year to bring a
new approach to how we are funding the development of sustainable communities.
We have spent £40m through the single regeneration budget in 2003/2004 and it has
supported many very important community projects in the priority regeneration areas
in particular. We have developed four area teams who are enabling us to focus on the
whole needs of particular sub regions. And we have developed, as you know, ten area
investment partnerships which have produced strategic frameworks to deal not just
with the small amount of devolved investment that we can put into those priority
areas, but to look at how comprehensively all of the public funding, and the private
resources available, and the voluntary and community effort which is so vital to make
communities live, can be harnessed together to achieve comprehensive local
development which is agreed by all of those different sectors working together. Not
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competition for individual projects, but a prioritisation in commissioning of all the
investment going into an area. These are very early days, but we believe that the AIFs
are beginning to work very well, are beginning to relate to other important
partnerships in those areas like the Local Strategic Partnerships. They are engaging in
looking at all the funding coming into an area and not just individual little projects and
programmes. They are moving through exciting projects which can be about anything
from healthy living to development of key skills, which are in short supply, to the
development of crucial environmental projects as well as business support to create a
comprehensive approach to the development of those areas. In fact it is going so well
that we have some protests from non AIF areas looking not simply for the money that
we might bring, but actually rather more importantly to roll that model out. For
example in West Kent, we are developing the model without the focus that was
brought through the SRB funding, but simply as a really good way of making
partnership work more effectively to lever in not just the money that we have in the
region, but the money that we can attract to local areas through mainstream national
programmes.

Sustainable communities are about what a place feels like to live in and work in, the
quality of the place, the connectivity where the people can walk to work, to the shops,
to the hospital, whether we have sustainable transport, whether we have mixed
incomes in the communities that we are creating, not exclusive or indeed deprived
ghettos. Whether we are using natural resources effectively. I was delighted that one
of the very first things I did on arriving in region was to go to the launch of ECOSE,
the new piloted scheme which the Environment Agency and ourselves are working on
together to ensure that new housing built in the region addresses environmental
standards and produces energy efficient homes for the future. The sustainable
checklist which we launched last year is an important step forward in achieving that.
We also need to be addressing this awful word `liveability' which I apologise for having
on the slide, but it does seem to be current, what it means is places we want to live in,
with attractive green spaces and culture and public art.

Change of tape some of speech unrecorded

regeneration takes, it is one of SEEDA's flagship projects but it has been going on for
literally decades. And it is an important place for us because it demonstrates quality of
design, and quality of approach, which is not just about putting housing down in the
middle of nowhere. It is about creating good quality, energy efficient homes and also
linking it to skills and education. The multi-university campus at Medway is a really
important pilot of an approach which we are working on with the higher education
funding council to make much more prominent in the future, and I will be coming back
to that in a few moments.

We have been making progress in the growth areas of the Thames Gateway, Ashford
and Milton Keynes and Aylesbury, but the Sustainable Communities Plan is about very
much more than the growth areas. The slide before showed you the Rope Tackle
development in Shoreham, which is turning a very long derelict piece of land into a
new mixed used community with offices shown there in the model and a mixed
income housing community. At Chatham we are also looking to produce mixed uses,
retail development as well as university development, homes for social renting and key
workers, as well as owner occupation.
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And a new project that we have recently got involved with at Cowes on the Isle of
Wight, is the waterfront project, where we are building on the long heritage of yacht
racing and ship building in that part of the region, to develop a new community which
will be a mixed use community, on what could otherwise have been another long-
standing derelict site.

Quality is important in everything we do. Unless we produce quality in housing it
won't be acceptable to existing communities and it won't be attractive to new
communities, so I am very privileged to have joined a Regional Development Agency
that put this at the heart of what they were doing right from the beginning. We have a
design panel. We are delighted to have 76 design champions out of the ...
representing 55 of the local authorities in the local authority design champions club.
We have design codes which are increasingly being used as part of master planning.
And we put the quality of new development right at the heart of what we are doing
when we are master planning for any brownfield site for the future.

We also feel very strongly that we will only develop acceptable new housing if we do it
with the communities, and we have two projects funded with the Prince’s Foundation
which were developed last year, at Aylesham and the East Kent Coalfield and at Lee
Park in Havant, where we have been working with the community to develop the
future of their place. In Aylesham the plans are to double the size of that small town,
and it is the community that will drive that and design it in the future. This is what
urban renaissance is truly all about.

Let me then turn to sustainable economic growth in the region. And the work that
we are doing to develop and support businesses. We were very grateful for the
scrutiny lead by Michael Thrower on developing skills and I believe we have made
some transformational changes in this year in the way in which we are approaching
skills training in the workforce. This was very greatly helped by the regionalisation of
the local learning skills councils. There is to me, coming new to this agenda, an
alphabet soup of new acronyms standing for all sorts of new partnerships, but I think
we really believe that these partnerships will make a change in the way in which
funding is brought to the education and skills that we can provide in this region.

The framework for regional employment and skills action has enabled us to produce
one of the first regional skills for productivity alliance action plans, which bring
together not just the Learning and Skills Council, but also Jobs Centre plus and the
Business Links in looking at how workplace training can be built into the funding and
targets of mainstream government programmes as well as what we can do in the
region and locally. And this will be truly transformational, and it is a word I am going
to go on using, in bringing into the region real power and control to achieve the
aspirations and the objectives of local people using national programmes and funding.

This is something which we have been doing in Hastings and that is the background
picture to this slide, with the university centre for Hastings, because we won't be able
to regenerate Hastings unless we can increase the aspirations as well as the skills of
the young people who live there now. We find in many of the south coastal towns a
gap in the age structure of people between 15 and 34 who simply leave because there
is nothing for them to do, there are no jobs for them. We need to be growing our
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own graduates of the future in those places, we know the trends are for young people
to want to stay at home when they go to university, we know that the trends for
young people to work or want to work where they leave university. So we need to
bring universities to the young people. And University Centre Hastings is a really new
combination of further education and higher education funding and courses which
offers a completely new menu to the young people of Hastings. It has involved quite a
degree of arm twisting to get national agencies to recognise that they can put their
money in without knowing absolutely that it is going to fund a university degree, but a
building that will enable university degrees in bringing together the Kent Institute of
Art & Design in this case, with the University of Brighton, enabled really exciting new
opportunities for the young people in that area.

Our core business you might say is supporting business. And we have had some
important achievements over the last year with our partners across that supporting
businesses community. We have been investing in successful businesses, our very
important hubs and gateways programme, and again we were extremely grateful for
the scrutiny that has recently been delivered on that. We were delighted that it was
seen as being a very valuable programme for the future. I think it describes the lean
way of delivering really sustainable success, and it is certainly something on which we
are building for the future.

Funding is critical to the small business who will grow, and grow into global businesses
without becoming medium and large ones first. That is the new paradigm, and that is
what we are trying to achieve in the hubs and gateways  international and global
networking for tiny businesses which are still in their infancy. Funding is crucial and
Finance South East has developed important new approaches this year. The
accelerator fund has just been announced, and we have also been working with
Finance South East on funds for community development institutions and finance
institutions to bring finance to social enterprise as well as business.

We have been involved also in looking with you at our work, on international
investment and the scrutiny on inward investment is a valuable one indeed. We
believe that that is absolutely right in pointing a direction, in joining up our efforts, and
we have also been developing our own investment managers, which is what that IDM
acronym stands for. There is so much after care work with foreign business that do
come into this region, because we don't just want them to attract them, we want to
make sure that they stay here. And we have been emphasising to government the
importance of our programmes for enhancing business competitiveness. We have
taken the lead, as RDAs do, with different Whitehall policy departments. Our lead is
on science and innovation, and that has been an area of great development over the
last nine months, with some substantial new emphasis coming, and the opportunity to
draw in yet further new funding to the science, engineering and technology base of the
region.

We have been developing work with the government’s ten year science and
innovation strategy, not just on the science end of it, though there is, and has been
very important funding coming through on new research to bring to the market the
best of the innovative ideas in the new technologies. ……. such as money (??)
technology which was first stream of funding to come towards us on this. We have
also been working to set up Science and Industry Councils who can identify what
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employers’ needs are in this area. They are not just for the technicians of the future,
the scientists of the future, and the support staff of the future, to go with the ideas of
the future, they are also about the leaders and the business managers to take those
ideas and make them happen, the sales and the marketing managers to take them to
market. And we need to be working on all of those if we are going to helping our
businesses to be as competitive as possible in that very fast moving world.

We are delighted that the spending round has brought support for the Manufacturing
Advisory Service which has already been very effective in this region in helping
businesses to save money and increase their own productivity. And we believe that
that is something which is a really important programme for the future, so we are
pleased to see that there is continuation funding for that in the spending round that
has just been announced.

Finally then, if I could look forward. We want to develop a much clearer focus on our
programmes, which are delivering, and the ones which add the most value. And we
want to ensure that where we are directly involved in funding it is adding the most
value with the most synergy with the other funding that is going on. We want to
develop those synergies at the local level, at the regional level and at the national level.
The spending round builds on what we are already doing and gives us some new tasks
with, we hope, and we certainly will fight to ensure, the funding to go with those new
programmes. For example following the Haskins Review we will be taking over the
Countryside Agency’s grants to rural communities, and that will enable us to build on
the market towns programme which we announced last year, £7m into small rural
towns to help with their development.

We will also be taking over the six Businesses Links whom we will be contracting with
directly from next April and that will give us a direct line into 80,000 businesses across
the region with whom they have contact. We are taking forward the innovation and
science agenda, and we are delighted to be tasked to do that, but more than a little
disappointed that there doesn't seem to be any funding to go along with it, so we will
be working very hard with government to identify how we can draw their funding into
the region for that agenda. And we will also, of course, be involved next year, in
reviewing the Regional Economic Strategy, in the context of the South East Plan with
which we have already been very much engaged in the stages of consultation leading
up to the first draft.

We have other new responsibilities out of the spending round. First of all a very much
greater emphasis on Regional Development Agencies being involved in national policy
making to drive it from the bottom up, bringing what we know of what is going on
locally and regionally to influence what might work in national programmes. And we
have had some really quite constructive discussions about how much better some
policies might have been if they had been driven with bottom up knowledge of what
really happens on the ground.

We have also been very closely involved, and Marianne Neville Rolfe who is here
today, has been leading the work on this, in trying to ensure that the targetary
framework for government that comes out of the spending round, addresses the
objectives of the region and of the local authorities and the local partners in the
region. We do believe that actually we will see some better alignment of targets in the
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future. If, for example, we have broken the very difficult triangle where education
funding follows qualifications, because that is where the targets are, we will have done
a very important job for the employers of this region in trying to ensure that
workforce training, which tends to be about skills rather than qualifications, can be
given the funding it deserves.

And we have been tasked in the spending round with making much more flexible use
of our resources, something which we made very clear within the Regional Emphasis
Document, because we believe with the Regional Assembly and the Government
Office, we could use our funds much better if they weren't so constrained by different
lines, and we have been told that for the future we will have that flexibility which is
very welcome.

And finally we have been given a pretty challenging task in terms of the efficiencies that
SEEDA itself is going to have to deliver, in order to take our programmes forward, and
we will be looking for efficiency savings not simply in our own organisations, but
where we can partner with other agencies in Guildford, in the region, to ensure that
we are using all our administrative back-up as effectively as possible to support the
front line teams who are working with partners across the region.

We hope that there will be new funds for mainstream programmes too, not just for
the innovation agenda which I have already talked about, but also through ODPM for
the Sustainable Communities Plan. I have been talking this morning with ODPM about
how we can make sure that the new money, which is a pretty big success for them, is
brought to the needs of sustainable communities in this region, in a way which is
driven by people in the region, rather than having them imposed on us. There is a dual
key approach to some of the mainstream funding into the future, and this seems to be
a new term which I expect will become currency for the future. What it means is that
the Learning and Skills Councils money and UK trade and investment money will in
future be planned and strategies agreed in liaison with Regional Development
Agencies, and we very much welcome that as another way of driving those agendas
from the bottom up.

And finally the strategic commissioning, which we have begun to develop across the
region in the sub regional areas, is something which will help us to harness those funds
from the top down.

So in conclusion it is becoming a bit of a cliché to say that everything we do we do in
partnership, but actually I do believe that what we have seen in the last couple of years
is a major shift from competitive working to collaborative working, and that that is the
way of the future. So I am very pleased to be here today to talk to you about how we
are collaborating to bring benefits to the South East of England. Thank you.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Thank you Pam, and thank you Jim. We have time for a few questions.


Cllr Jeremy Birch
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Hastings Borough Council

Can I thank both the Chair and the Chief Executive of SEEDA generally for the
support they are giving the Hastings Area, and for the regeneration of our community.
And I know Jim Brathwaite has made a point to us about taking the [poorest] 119
wards in the South East and the most deprived 20% out of that position in the course
of the next ten years. Now I understand that in an annual report it is not possible to
give progress on 119 wards because regeneration and revitalisation takes a lot longer
than a year, but I think it will be interesting in annual reports to see, and not just to
see the hard outputs that SEEDA is delivering, but the outcomes that they are part of,
with regard to the regeneration of our most deprived communities.

But I can just add one question to Jim and to Pam, which is I hope that with Area
Investment Framework funding it will still be possible, as it was under SRB, to fund a
number of initiatives which are quite soft in terms of the outputs you will get, because
to get people with quite chaotic lifestyles, or people with very low aspirations, or
people with mental health needs, or whatever, employable, takes a lot of support, and
backing. Rather than all of us ensuring that the employment opportunities are there, I
hope together that with Area Investment Framework, we can be equally flexible in our
understanding of employability as we were able to be with under SRB, and make sure
we have social and economic inclusion going together, because I think that is the only
way we will deal with some of the problems in those 119 wards.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Thank you Jeremy.

James Brathwaite
Chairman, SEEDA

I think that you have got a bit of a hint about what we are doing about our deprived
areas in Pam's address. We were talking about the number of jobs and how the
economy was going. I think we are beginning not just to talk about the hotspots of
northern Hampshire and the Thames Valley and where we are sitting here in Crawley,
but also we are talking about trying to bring that development into places like
Hastings, into places like Thanet, and I think we are doing a very good job, I am very
pleased with the way that is going. In fact I am personally suffering from the work that
you are doing down in Hastings, because I have lost one of my workers in very well to
do Burgess Hill, who has decided to go and work in Hastings - there is work in
Hastings and there is cheaper housing, so it is beginning to spread its way.

But I think the point you are making is very valid, I hope the Area Investment
Frameworks feel that they are empowered to use the money that has been given to
them to support some of the issues that you have mentioned with regard to the soft
touch, but it is economic development that we are very keen to see. That is what
alleviates poverty, that is what creates opportunity and I make no excuses for the
driving on that, that is what we see as economic inclusion  the primary thing that we
are trying to drive forward.

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Pam Alexander
Chief Executive SEEDA

If I could just make a couple of comments on outcomes.

I absolutely agree and it is one of the reasons that I used some outcomes at the
beginning on our improvements on Gross Domestic Value (GDV) and employment
levels. It is a bit frustrating that the government has changed the way it collates its
statistics so we don't have the 20% most deprived wards any more, we have
something called Super Output Areas. There are 228 or so.

(An interruption) - Super Output Areas.

I think the fact there are 228 of them does not mean things have got worse, but I
absolutely agree with you we need to know whether things are getting better. And I
would just like to make one other point on the?? spending, I think what I was trying to
say, and we certainly feel it is really important is that the Area Investment Frameworks
provide the opportunity to look at every single funding scheme coming into an area, so
that certainly includes all of those that can address the social and economic inclusion
as well as the hard economic matters.

Cllr Gordon Keymer
Tandridge District Council

What do you feel the implications of the new round of structural funds are for the
South East from 2006?

Cllr David Rogers
Lewes District Council

My question is about the enterprise gateway initiative on page 31 on the Annual
Report.

At the top of the page you say that six are now operational with directors in posts and
you list those. Further down you talk about an innovative approach to deliver
premises and about the appointment of development companies. I understand that
this is the third possible way of delivering the physical premises relating to those
enterprise gateways that has been considered by SEEDA over the last four or five
years. So what I am really asking is for a timescale on that, the progress that is being
made and when we can expect to see, particularly in my area, the building that will be
the physical manifestation of the progress of that enterprise gateway.

Cllr Tim Hall
Mole Valley District Council

Going back to the spending review, it is a very interesting description of some new
money. But that is not quite my reading of some of the things which appear. Am I not
right in that RDAs generally are losing over £100m in one of those back appendices of
the review? And also do our friends from SEEDA realise that we, as local authorities,
are in severe difficulties in the future looking at some of the figures. The road
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maintenance figures for instance, 2½% increase next year, and no money for the
following two years, and also to actually get anything like the council tax figure which is
quoted is a 3% saving minimum before you start, and in somewhere like District
Councils we also have virtually no increase in any grant at all.

James Brathwaite
Chairman, SEEDA

I do sympathise with that last comment and I hope that SEEDA will be able to work
with the Local Government Association to put the case for the South East. We have
got some powerful voices sitting at the top of that organisation now which I hope will
work for us. As far as the RDAs are concerned, we have been given an extra £300m
to spend, so because the spend next year will exceed £2bn by the RDAs, what share
of that comes to the South East, is still in debate, and we will be doing our best to do
something about that.

As far as the enterprise gateways are concerned, there is a new way of bringing that
forward. At Gosport - a couple of weeks ago I opened a new enterprise gateway
there which was co-developed with a developer, it looks very good. We are looking,
and we are being approached by the private sector now to do these things on our
behalf. So I don't think it will be long before we spread the good work over to the
Lewes area. The Newhaven site should be open pretty soon.

Pam Alexander
Chief Executive SEEDA


Thanks a lot, I saw Marianne put her hand up and I know she has been working on it,
so she might want to address that with more detail than I can be able so.

Marianne Neville Rolfe
SEEDA

Just quickly to say that obviously this is an area where we have been working very
closely with the Assembly, and trying to put forward the message for the future of the
structural funds, that there are continuing needs in the South East, and also that there
are opportunities, and that regional policy in Europe should not just be about
addressing the needs of poorest, but also about ensuring competitiveness of the whole
of the union. And that I think is the message that is being had by the commission and
some of their proposals are encouraging from that point of view, but an awful lot is
going to turn on what the budgetary envelope is at the end of the negotiations. So we
have to hang in there I think and keep pushing our points at the moment. But I don't
think I would want to encourage huge confidence about the outcome at this stage.
There is a long way to go.

James Brathwaite
Chairman SEEDA

What we are going to do is to get more flexibility over that type of spending here in
the UK, and we would like to see a lot of those decisions being made locally so that
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the Treasury could fund areas that they thought needed help without having to jump
through all the hoops and hurdles that we do feel - it is early days on that. Gordon
Brown is very keen to see some of those decisions brought back to the UK.

Cllr Mrs Carole Paternoster
Aylesbury Vale District Council

On the part of Milton Keynes - ...... have been allocated large numbers of housing and
employment over the next few years.

We asked SEEDA recently to put up funding. This was rejected but it was the
comment that was made at the time that concerns me, and we were told that there
would be no more funding for Aylesbury Vale for the next two years. Now work
starts later this year on the first of two residential major development areas at
Aylesbury, that is 4,000 houses coming on stream. In our local fund we have a major
development area allocated to an employment site on the outskirts of Aylesbury, and
this needs to be delivered in parallel with the housing. I need to add that our district is
an exporter of labour, we have 12,000 more people travelling out of the district to
work, than we have actually travelling in, and so we need to increase our employment
offer for those new residents, for those within the Vale. So we would like to see our
growth as being employment led not housing led. And I would like some form of
reassurance from SEEDA that they will support Aylesbury District Council in
delivering the necessary employment infrastructure in order to ensure that we are
actually building sustainable communities, and not dormitory suburbs.

Cllr Chris Slyfield
Waverley Borough Council

You have had some very good words in there about partnership, Countryside Agency,
on the economy I think, and the new one, liveability. I wondered what your plans are
going to be for dealing with some of the new innovations that are springing up such as
the production of soft fruit on farms in these massive polytunnel farms, which really
increase the rural economy massively and bring money into the economy, bring farms
back into use, but from a liveability point of view, and from a planning point of view are
being found pretty unacceptable by a lot of the people that live around them. This
looks to be on the increase, on the march, at a very quick pace.

Could you give some indication as whether you will be able to a) find an answer to this
and if you can, b) how are you going to work in partnership to help sort the thing out,
because it is going to need sorting out.

Cllr Liza McKinney
Adur District Council

Focusing on Pam Alexander's comments about science innovation, are there any
opportunities for SEEDA to actually work with our local school, or for that matter
anybody else's local school, perhaps supporting specialist status. In order to enhance
local skills needs, in Adur we do lack - we have a problem with education - and have a
problem with the lack of skills, and as you have already mentioned - rope tackle - and
there are other areas as you well know which are also up for regeneration. Adur has
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a strong science and innovation manufacturing base, skills are our problem.

Cllr John Packman
Spelthorne Borough Council

The Chief Executive, I notice, on one of her earlier slides, made reference to Airtrack.
As you will appreciate that cuts right across and divides Spelthorne. Are you able to
give us any information on what progress, if any, has been made in regard to that,
because not only will it affect Spelthorne, but obviously will have a major impact on
the transport problems of the whole region.

James Brathwaite
Chairman, SEEDA

I will deal with Aylesbury first. I was only in Buckinghamshire a couple of weeks ago
supporting the whole .... of business and the approach to business in Buckinghamshire,
such as the Aylesbury Vale project of which we are a member. I think we are on the
development board, so I am not quite sure where this worry is coming from. In fact
one of the most exciting things about Buckinghamshire at the moment is Aylesbury
and the plans that we have got for expansion. There is the possibility of a whole new
business campus just outside, the roads have been fixed. We are right behind you in
Aylesbury. What I do get disappointed about in Buckinghamshire is the times, the
Council (not the county council, it seems to be on our side), but some of the District
Councils can make some really curious decisions about supporting major companies,
major global companies that want to have their headquarters there. So I think I feel
very disappointed about that, but as far as Aylesbury is concerned, you are in good
hands, you have been supported.

I was in Kent last weekend in the rain, but I was tasting some wonderful cherries and
some different fruit that had been produced there. We are very supportive of
horticulture in general, and finding new methods. I think, these new methods which
have been brought forward, have been encouraged by the supermarkets rather than
by the horticultural research itself. I think what we will have to do is to put more
effort into the horticultural research. We are trying to save places like Wye, Frogdale,
and I have tried to save places down in Hampshire that have been closed in order to
help the science of horticulture move forward.

The planning of what you allow to be on your local land is very much down to you and
your local farmers and business community. We will try and support the production
of new ideas and new ways of using horticulture, but at the end of the day you do have
to decide on what you want your villages and towns to look like.

Pam Alexander
Chief Executive SEEDA

I was very interested, especially now that we are getting more involved in workforce
training with Learning and Skills Councils, at being a real part of what they are willing
to support in looking at how specialisms can be brought to bear to address the
employment needs, the skills needs of employers. I am not particularly well versed on
how we work with individual skills, but I know we have some very good examples
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around the region where leadership has actually brought specialist schools to the fore
and made them possible. I think actually focusing on local business leaders, supporting
two specialist academies, and we are very keen to work with them on making sure
that those deliver part of the framework of support of developing posts. So we are
very interested actually and we will look at that issue, if I may, and come back to you.

James Brathwaite
Chairman, SEEDA

Can I reassure you that there is also a very concerted effort by everybody concerned
to look at how Adur develops and I think we are very pleased to support.

Pam Alexander
Chief Executive SEEDA

I am going to have to come back on it, I am sorry I am not up to speed on the current
position and I don't want to make a guess at it. So I will drop you a line on it if I may.

James Brathwaite
Chairman, SEEDA

I would say that we are supportive of the idea of Airtrack to try and take some of the
congestion off the roads and help people trying to get from the west of the region into
Heathrow. I know that Spelthorne has got particular issues because the present plan
does cut across a lot of your land. I hope that we will be able to come back and talk
to the people of Spelthorne and its leaders to see what benefits they can gain out of
this initiative, if it indeed goes ahead.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Thank you Pam and Jim, and thank you to our colleagues for your questions. You may
be interested to stay for the next part of the agenda.

Item number 5 and the first motion that we have is proposed by Ian Chisnall,
seconded by Michael Chater, thank you very much. Ian, would you like to read your
motion please.

Ian Chisnall
Social & Environmental Partners

The motion reads:

"The Assembly commits itself to supporting SEEDA and other partners in establishing
an effective living wage strategy and campaign for the South East region which
considers the needs of all, irrespective of gender, race or occupation. It requests that
SEEDA leads and resources this campaign, sets objectives for it in consultation with
the Assembly and provides feedback to the Assembly on the achievements of these
objectives.

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This Assembly welcomes the words of the SEEDA Chairman, Jim Brathwaite on 23rd
July 2003, when he spoke of his commitment to raising the wages of the lowest paid in
the region. The Assembly shares his concern for all in the region affected by poverty
and recognises that low wages create conditions which inevitably impact on the health
of many. Particularly in situations where workers are attempting to hold down more
than one low paid job.

I guess, like most people, you go speak at events and you don't have recall to all your
words two or three days later, let alone a year later.

James Brathwaite
Chairman, SEEDA


I do.

Ian Chisnall
Social & Environmental Partners

I came to the meeting by car as many others probably did, and arrived at the car park
immediately across the road from the entrance to the hotel, and like many of the
people I was left not sure what to do about the fact that there was no car park
attendant actually in the kiosk to tell me what time I had arrived and therefore how
much I owed the hotel when I left. My suspicion is probably that the hotel will have to
write off a lot of charges today. Hotels are a very good example of the sorts of
establishments where low pay creates problems of high turnover, high levels of stress,
and it is very difficult at times to keep employees in place. This region of ours is so
fantastic but has one of the lowest levels of disposable incomes, as many of us know,
and we often speak of affordable housing and fortunately affordable housing itself
won't solve all the problems that affect us in this region. Of the 8m people who live
here many don't need affordable housing, many who could benefit from affordable
housing because they fit the right category don't actually need it, and many of those
who do desperately need affordable housing will never qualify because they work in
car parks, petrol stations, they do all sorts of jobs, but actually they will never fit in the
neat categories that we tend to set. I believe it is true, certainly it is true in the
voluntary sector, that one of the difficulties in deciding how much to pay workers is
actually knowing what it costs to live in the community, whether it be for the region as
a whole or a sub-regional area. We know what the government sets as a minimum
wage, we know that the market seems to be paying, but actually knowing, particularly
if you are paying people at the low end of the spectrum, knowing what they need to
earn in order to live, it is very challenging. It is not complicated to do but it requires
resources to look at the issue to decide and work out how much we should be paying
people, and then to at least have an aspiration to be able to say to those who are
employing people, this is what a living wage should be. Jim, you spoke to us really
passionately last year, I was inspired by what you have to say, I am concerned that we
as the Assembly support you and your commitment to raising the wages of the lowest
paid, and I would encourage the members of the Assembly to vote to support this
resolution.

Cllr Michael Chater
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Town & Parish Councils

Colleagues, already we have had clear indications about concern from our Chairman
of the Assembly on the vulnerable in our communities, and from Jim and Pam in the
significant developments they have seen in their contribution to the work of SEEDA in
the region, to identify areas of workplace development, of education, and of taking
people off low income. Clearly that is behind Ian's proposal today, and I speak with
the support of the other Town & Parish Council members, to this issue.

If I may take you through one or two of the points.

We support the living wage strategy, we are not saying how it should be formed, we
are encouraging further development within the region, particularly through SEEDA
and the other supporting agencies, recognising of course the needs of business and the
need for profitability, there is also the concern for people for their quality of life, and
for those who are in areas of deprivation. To raise performance in the region - many
things we are proud of in our region but there are blackspot areas and we need to be
concerned about economic under-performance.

The national wage actually is £4.85 from 1st October of this year and some areas
negotiate a sector wage, the agricultural wages board for example have a figure of
£5.15 going up to £5.40 from October. The Regional Monitoring Report shows that
the mortality rate in the most affluent households continues to be half that in the least
affluent households, there is a message for us.

The South East continues to contain areas of social deprivation. The Hastings
colleague reminded us of the 119 wards which are in the top 20% of the most
deprived areas in the country. The determinants are there, aren't they, for inequality
 inequality of health, as well as the range of other quality of life issues, poverty, low
educational attainment and so on.

Some of the deprived areas are locked into economic under-performance, based on
low skills and low wages connected. And we need to break that deadlock with all the
means that we have at our disposal. The GDP in the south, our gross domestic
product income and public investment is, when it is analysed and broken down, the
lowest in England if we look at the profile for 04. Add to this the redundancies in the
coastal areas that lead to long-term unemployment, and despite our South East
qualities and achievements, we need to resolve these problems.

The proposal will hopefully draw attention and encourage employers to review their
wage and their training policies in the region. A region with the fastest growing
population, by 2020 a quarter more of the population of England will be in the South
East, with all that that means in terms of concomitance. The consequence that we
have had of a high cost of living and housing is likely, we know, to continue for some
time, and there will therefore be pockets of poverty and social exclusion, these will
persist. Indeed the gap between the average earnings and earnings of the lower paid
have grown over the last two decades. The Low Pay Commission sought to resolve
these needs but we have some regional imbalances.

To conclude then, colleagues, we have in this region key to UK, work for its
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prosperity, with high costs of living and housing, and we therefore need to ensure we
maximise a productive workforce and a health quality of life. We know that low
income families can't readily contribute to our society, for example play a part in local
councils, in governments, in social, creative and recreational skills. They are deprived
of these things. Please support this resolution in order that it will help our work with
SEEDA and other bodies, so we can encourage progress in this area where all need to
make a difference, in partnership with business colleagues, for the sake of individuals
who are deprived and our South East community as a whole. I so second.

Janet Keene
South East Region Trades Union Congress

I very much welcome Ian Chisnall's moving of this motion and Michael Chater's
supporting remarks. I am very much agreeing with those points, and with the tone set
by some of the remarks by Jim Brathwaite about social and economic inclusion. Plainly
we have seen in recent years the introduction of a national minimum wage for the first
time, and I think that was introduced without some of the dire economic
consequences that were originally forecast, but plainly that minimum wage is not
nearly enough to tackle some of the problems that we do face in this region. And we
hear a lot about this region being a wealthy region. It is a wealthy region, but we also
hear a lot about the very significant pockets of deprivation which do exist. Plainly
there are people living in poverty in this region, there is a great deal of rural poverty,
and we should also bear in mind the fact that in terms of low wages, they
disproportionately affect women and a number of ethnic minority communities. I
think it is important that we do bear that in mind.

I think we have heard a lot from one or two previous speakers about the housing
costs within this region which are incredibly high and rising all the time. There are
parts of the region we know in the Thames Valley, Oxford, Brighton and other areas
where it is virtually impossible for people to enter the housing market for the first
time, and plainly, although the issue of affordable housing is absolutely essential, we do
need to address that as well in terms of the issue of low pay, and I believe this motion
does potentially help provide a framework to look at that particular issue in a more
thorough way than in the past.

There have been a number of interesting initiatives...

Change of Tape, some comments missing

... at that ……. Smith from Treasury was there. A number of significant large regional
employers, a number of significant trade unions as well, and certainly there was a lot of
good debate at that about the recruitment and retention difficulties, and health
difficulties that are faced by the employers in terms of recruitment and retention, but
also health issues including staff and workers generally. I think we should welcome this
initiative - please pass this motion, I think we should look at the issue far more
strategically, I think this allows the framework for that to happen and take forward this
issue in a more comprehensive way that it has been dealt with in the past. Thanks
very much.

Douglas Horner
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CBI, Economic Partner

The CBI is fully in sympathy with the objective behind this resolution. But the
resolution concerns a living wage strategy, not the comment which Jim Brathwaite
made concerning low wages, a living wage strategy. And the CBI does not believe that
the mechanism proposed by this resolution to achieve the objective is the correct one.
Nor that the Assembly has the resources, or maybe the right representative capacity
to address this issue forward. So I won't be supporting the resolution, I will actually
abstain from it.

The CBI is anxious that SEERA plays its part in securing the conditions in which
business in the region can be competitive and can generate the wealth that contributes
to and underpins a high quality of life here. Poverty is an element which is the
absolute opposite of the high quality of life, which the CBI and plainly everyone in
SEERA seeks to secure. Poverty is overcome first by the creation of wealth and
secondly by the way in which that wealth is applied. The concept of a living wage by
definition must be subjective, it depends on the living costs of the recipient, including
that person's dependence. A homeowner who has paid for his accommodation actually
needs an income less than somebody who is not in that position. An unmarried
youngster living with his parents needs less than a married man with a wife and young
children. A foreign student doing harvest work in the UK during his vacation - they
have a totally different living cost to a British resident. That is why in this country we
provide a structure of social security and other programmes which respond in an
adaptive and tailored way to individuals’ living costs.

Exploitation of labour by paying at the low market rates is a quite different issue and is
met at the moment by the national minimum wage. That wage won't necessarily
create a living wage for all those receiving it. A living wage depends on the individual's
circumstances and living costs.

The danger in this resolution lies in the assumption of a universally applicable measure
of individual living cost and the imposition, the implicit imposition of regulation on
business to pay wages linked to that cost, and it is only business that pays the wages.
That regulation is not imposed on businesses globally with which our regional
businesses compete to survive, and imposing an additional burden on the wealth
creation process threatens the business and economy on which we depend.

So far as SEERA is concerned in addressing this issue, it is very stretched in addressing
its primary spatial planning and other functions, especially in undertaking the research
consultation and appraisal for those purposes. It lacks the adequate capacity to
address questions of wage regulation, including research into the impact on the
economy of this to inform debate and decision making. Maintaining the competitive
success of the regional economy, which acts as a motor for the whole country, and
thereby, amongst other things, funds on a widespread scale relief of poverty is critical.
The Assembly should not intervene in this way when it is not equipped to deal
properly with the issue, there must be a possible question concerning its
representative capacity.

The way to beat poverty is to secure the right conditions for business to prosper. It is
clear the region is a high cost one with low unemployment, and can only compete
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globally by higher added value business. By its nature that type of business generates
demand and competition for skilled and highly paid labour, and pressure leading to
increased pay in the market for those with lower skills. SEERA should concentrate on
creating the right conditions for this through the exercise of its primary spatial
planning and other functions, working towards equal opportunity for all to acquire the
skills to access and fill those jobs. Sharing of wealth to meet community objectives
comes after the process of creating it. After the market wages are paid, after
reinvestment, the cost of raising capital for investments, after paying for the
infrastructure needed - intervention by imposing a cost by way of regulating the first
stage process of wealth creation is the wrong approach. Community provision
including housing, social security structure and so on comes at a later stage. CBI is
plainly as concerned as everyone else that poverty should be overcome, but this
particular living wage resolution is not the right way to go about it. Thank you.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Thank you. We have had some excellent contributions and I now wish to put the
motion to the vote.

All those in favour -31.

Those against -41.

Those who wish to record an abstention- 6

The resolution is not - (an interruption).

Unknown speaker

Could we have a weighted vote?

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

No. I'm sorry, that should be requested in advance.

Mark Chiverton

Point of order Chair. Is that correct, that it has to be indicated in advance? I thought
it was by a sufficient number of people requesting.

Paul Bevan
Chief Executive

Chair, if I may clarify the rules and procedures. A weighted vote must be requested
before the vote is taken.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair
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Next there is a motion from the Healthy Region Forum. It is being proposed by Jackie
Bremner, but as she is not here, it is to be proposed by Christine Field and seconded
by Taff Davies.

Cllr Mrs Christine Field
Mid Sussex District Council

Thank you very much indeed. I speak as a member of the Healthy Region Forum, as a
District Council Leader, and as somebody with broad experience in the health service,
ten years of which were spent as a NHS Trust Chairman, so this is familiar territory.

No presentation would of course be complete without statistics. These were basically
the ones that were presented to the Forum and which paved the way towards the
motion before you today. I won't read the numbers to you but I believe personally
they are compelling and in the context of today's announcements of hospital
performances, reducing these figures really could make a difference within the health
service on which we all depend at some times in our lives.

It is estimated that nearly 22million cigarettes a day are smoked in the south east. In
the context of what Ian said recently in the motion before about the levels of
disposable income in the south east, it is quite extraordinary what degree of that, at
over £4 a packet, is expended on tobacco, and cigarettes in particular. Although
smoking cuts across class boundaries, it is most common in disadvantaged
communities. Around 80% of people in social class 5 will smoke, and inevitably
therefore the other 20% of those in social class 5 are more likely to be more heavily
exposed to passive smoking. There is now clear evidence that passive smoking is a
cause of lung cancer and heart disease in adults, and cot deaths and asthma attacks in
children and adults. And yes it costs all of us, not just those who buy the cigarettes, it
costs us economically and in quality of life.

Numbers have dropped since the war years, which one would hope would be the
case. But as you can see from these figures there has begun again to be an upturn, and
more particularly amongst women smokers, and this despite many millions of pounds
spent over the years in national campaigns, strategies and education. So perhaps now
it is time for a slightly different approach. An approach which we can participate in
and contribute to as local authorities, and also as social and economic partners.

There is no magic solution, but as community leaders and significant employers and
commissioners of services we can play a vital role, and one which is increasing in many
ways, including for District Authorities with an increasing statutory involvement in
licensing. Reducing the negative effects of smoking can contribute enormously to
achieving many of our corporate aims, and, critically, in promoting the well-being of
our communities.

I personally was surprised at the strength of feeling which comes from recent polling
on the issue of workplace and indeed public place smoking. Yes individuals must
continue to choose their own lifestyles, but this must be balanced against the adverse
effect that choice has on the rights and behaviours of others. Some of you too might
find the strength of public feeling demonstrated by these figures rather surprising, and
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it is my view that opinions are changing.

And so to the resolution. "Given the significant adverse impact of smoking on the
health, well-being and competitiveness of the South East, this Assembly encourages
local authorities in the South East to hasten preparation for smoke-free status by
promoting awareness, leading local debate, developing partnerships and taking
measures to reduce the prevalence of smoking and create smoke-free public
environments, and calls on central Government to bring forward legislation to support
this work." This is very much the role of the responsive and responsible community
leader of the 21st century and must impinge also upon the interests of all partners
party to this Assembly here today. I commend the resolution to the Assembly and call
on Taff Davies to second.

Cllr Taff Davies
Chichester District Council

There was a very good discussion on this at the Healthy Region Forum and very
impressive presentations both for and against, and we did have a pipe smoking
member on the Forum who insisted that he didn't inhale!

My own council would have preferred to see a total ban on smoking in public places in
the last line of the resolution, but in the interests of brevity I am not proposing that,
but I do believe that that is the way things are going. That is supported certainly in my
council area, by the local paper's survey with some very, very interesting results.

May I also commend to you Libby Purves’ article in yesterday’s edition of The Times
which shows that it is not all that difficult, and even Ireland can actually handle it very
well indeed, and it hasn't caused anywhere near the problems that people expected. I
therefore commend to you this resolution.

Cllr David Kirk
Hampshire County Council

I gave up smoking in 1998. I will tell you exactly when. It was at half past one in the
morning on the 17th July when my doctor put me into an ambulance and said, "David
you are an ex-smoker". I guess that makes me one of the worst people to be speaking
on this particular subject because I am now a passionate ex-smoker, working very hard
to stop my 15 year old smoking behind the bike shed. I have been to Ireland on a
number of times recently and I have been very impressed by the way the ban there has
been accepted by all. I believe I am right in saying that there has only been one case
that has been brought of a prosecution in relation to that ban in Ireland, and certainly
the Irish, who I wouldn't have expected to have accepted a situation where they were
smoke-free in all their pubs and restaurants, seem to have accepted it without any
difficulty at all. Can I commend this particular motion to the Assembly.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

All those in favour, do you want a weighted vote? It may not be necessary. OK.

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All those in favour of the resolution please show- significant show of hands – not
counted. Right put down, those against – 2 . Gordon are you heavy weighted on your
voting?

The motion has been passed, thank you ladies and gentleman.

Before we break for lunch, two announcements.

                                                              ??

One to remind you that we have had the report from the SEEDA Chairman and Chief
Executive today, but their annual meeting which is another important event in their
accountability to the region takes place on 23rd September in Oxford.

Secondly, the results of the MORI survey that we commissioned on perceptions of the
Assembly, this is not the same as the MORI survey for the South East Plan. This
survey on perceptions of the Assembly will be displayed graphically both here during
the lunch break and out in the lobby for you to observe and enjoy.

And just before you go to lunch, I wish to apologise to Nigel Horton Baker. I failed to
mention him when I was thanking other Chairman of scrutiny committees for their
work on the scrutiny committees. Thank you.

We reconvene at 1.45

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

We come to Agenda Item 7, which is a report from the Chairman of the Regional
Planning Committee and I would like to hand over to Keith Mitchell.

Cllr Keith Mitchell
Regional Planning Committee Chairman
Oxfordshire County Council

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen

You have my report in front of you. I am not going to read it to you and I am going to
assume you have read it. You will notice that I write my own reports and generally I
hope you found it interesting.

I have only covered the South East Plan because that is what is dominating our agenda
at the moment. We have done some other small issues on the Regional Planning
Committee but this is now driving all that we do and the timetable is, as I said in the
paper, breathtaking.

Let me start with the timetable. It is wholly unreasonable. It is much faster than most
of us can keep up with and I think I am conscious that a number of colleagues on a
number of councils feel the same. If I am a politician speaking to councillors primarily I
am not forgetting the other partners here, but for us with our formal political
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structure, process and timetables we are learning how fast this process is, and how
hard it is for our own processes to keep up and to lock into the timetable that the
region has, and to give an opportunity for councils to speak as councils rather than as
individuals who come here from their councils to speak individually.

I have had some colleagues who have said to me, you really should slow this process
down. You really should say to government, can't do this, just too fast, not going to
be a good product at the end. I have resisted that, because government is determined
to do this, and I think there are some in government who wouldn't be entirely
unhappy to be able to look at local government and say - told you - they let us down.
So I think we have to keep to this timetable and I think we have to do it in the best
way that we can, and I would ask all of you who have come from local government just
to be very aware of the timetable to which we are working, and the way in which your
council processes may need to be tailored, you may need a special executive, you may
want your council to consider something that is fundamental, you may need a special
council, but I think you are going to have to work around the timetable the region is
having to work to - to deliver to the government timetable. And please just take that
away and think about the thoroughness of the process.

And following on from that, I do think it is important that where you have issues and
concerns to express, whether you are elected members or whether you are
environment, social, economic members, it is, I think, important, that you bring back as
much of the full force of your organisations as you can. So for a council, if it is a
matter of taking it through full council where it is an issue that particularly matters to
you, that will add weight to what we are considering here.

The debate we have come to now has passed through consultation, Planning
Committee, Executive and here we are today the Regional Assembly, the Planning
authority effectively, to put the final stamp on the shape of the plan that then gets
produced in detail, goes through a further cycle of Regional Planning Committee,
Executive and an Assembly in November, and then goes out to consultation in the
New Year for 13 weeks. So what you do today decides the shape, the pattern, the
basic format of the plan - you have then November to agree the final draft.

Now 111 people agreeing a lengthy and weighty document is perhaps not the best way
to do it, so between now when we agree the shape, and November when we agree
the draft document, there will be a serious of Regional Planning Committees, there
will be Executive Committees and, as I say, the Assembly. I would urge you to keep
your eye on the ball, to watch the process, be aware of the timetable, to make sure
you have the backing of your council or your organisation behind you in your
responses, and get those responses in a timely fashion, because this is our plan, this is
a members’ plan. We need to be happy with it, and we need to have ownership when
it goes out to consultation, and, of course, finally beyond that, when it lands on Mr.
Prescott's desk. When it gets there, it isn't our plan any more, it will be his plan, and
that is a point I think I have made at the beginning of the report that you have.
Can I caution you about the report that I have written. I have tried to give you a
picture of how our debates move through the Regional Planning Committee, and then
through the Executive, and then to here. And you will see that the Regional Planning
Committee came to some views both on the issues and the parameters and the sub
regional boundaries. So I think there are three things that I need to spend just a tiny
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bit of time on. The issues that were fundamental to the South East Plan, the
parameters around which we thought the plan should be produced, and the vexed
issue of precise boundaries of the sub regions that will be having their own particular
special policies within the plan.

We did, as a Regional Planning Committee, take the view that one or two of the
reports coming back from consultation, we weren't entirely sure, reflected accurately
the whole consultation process. We talked about buying into housing growth, and my
sense, and I would be interested perhaps in questions if this is the sense of others who
attended consultation. There is some sense that there is a rather more reluctant
acceptance that it is going to happen, and therefore we have to lie back and think of
England and, you know, get on with it. Rather than a wholesale acceptance that
growth is what it is all about and needs to be embraced enthusiastically. There isn't
enthusiasm, but there is acceptance that it is necessary. And the degree of acceptance
is varied across different areas of different groups, and is reflected in some of the
debates that we have had.

So we still move forward around the precise nature of growth, particularly housing
growth. We will be producing, by the time we get to November, numbers down to a
sub regional level and a county level, and then more detailed allocation down to a
district level. We have taken a decision and it will have to be another part of the plan
and rather further forward.

So we did, at a Regional Planning Committee, take a view about the precise reporting
of the consultation and we were fearful that perhaps it presented a slightly more
enthusiastic view of the need for growth than I think we felt was the generality of the
consultation response. And that is not to downplay it. The clear view from people
that we need affordable housing in the region, and the clearest view of all, that the
three driving issues in the whole debate, you will forgive me for copying the Blair man,
that it is infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. Now I will just return to that in
a moment.

We went on to look at the parameters around which the report should be produced.
We made some changes at RPC and you will see these were debated again at the
Executive Committee, and a couple of changes were put in there, and they are listed
later on in the report that I have produced for you. So you need to read the whole
report, and you need to understand that it is chronological in taking you through the
debate at the Regional Planning Committee, through the debate at the Executive
Committee to get you to where we are now. And I hope that is helpful, just in seeing
the sort of to and fros, shifts of opinion that we get as that process happened.

The third thing I need to say is about the sub regional boundaries. We had a pretty
fearful debate at the Regional Planning Committee. We took one group and we
locked them in a room at lunchtime, and we told them to stay there until they had got
a solution and they did come out with a solution. I hope on the sub regional
boundaries we largely agreed them, I know we haven't entirely. I have a remit from
the Regional Planning Committee to make minor adjustments to the boundaries where
they really are minor, and we do have a further Regional Planning Committee at the
end of this month, when we can just tidy up some loose ends that are there. I mention
Chichester as one because I know someone here is probably going to mention
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Chichester this afternoon. There are other fears around the boundaries of the sub
regions. I hope I can allay those fears. I hope we can finally put them to bed in the
RPC later this month. I would suggest that 111 people here, technically at least today,
are probably not the best qualified collection of people to debate boundaries that will
be known very intimately to a smaller group, and not very well to a larger group. I can
only give you a promise that we will do our best finally to sort them at the RPC at the
end of the month. But then I think we have to draw a line because we really need to
move on and get this whole process sorted.

And that brings me, I think, to the last point that I want to make, and it is coming back
to this issue of infrastructure. I have had meetings recently with Keith Hill and with
Lord Rooker. I have put to them with other colleagues, this issue. I have a difficulty in
understanding what ministers think infrastructure means. Keith Hill, when questioned,
thought it meant roads, or rather transport, so roads, rail, buses, bicycles, walking, but
it was very much transport. When I went to Lord Rooker a day later, and said I was
bit concerned that Keith Hill seemed to think it was primarily transport, he said, "Oh
no no, it is schools and it is education and it is health as well". And I still despaired a
bit more then, I think it is because, to me, infrastructure is much, much broader than
that. And when people talk to us about what they want in the context of housing
growth and the infrastructure that needs to be provided, it is a much broader picture
than that. It starts with the affordable housing debate itself. And if you are putting in
rising levels of affordable housing, my own county structure plan has 50% affordable
housing, and I have to say I worry about the deliverability of that, but the higher the
percentage the less there is for anything else to be funded out of the developer gain,
so we need to be very aware of what we are expecting in affordable housing and how
that is funded.

Then there is the basic stuff about roads and drains, that's easy. You can see what
1,000 houses or 5,000 houses will need. There is the educational provision of schools,
tertiary education and all the rest of it, there is the health provision, but there is so
much more than that. I can think of towns in my own patch, and I suspect you can
think of towns in your patch, where the growth that has occurred around them is just
huge, larger than the town centre, the shops that are available, the social infrastructure
that is available, can accommodate. And we have a whole series, I suspect, of towns
across the south east that need some catch up time, to catch up on the basic social
fabric and infrastructure that the housing growth that we have seen recently has
required. I am not suggesting government should be funding all of that, or just a part
of that, but if someone doesn't plan for that, it won't happen, a lot of these towns will
carry on growing and they will see the heart, the social infrastructure, not supporting
what could be become largely dormitories around them, and that will be to the
detriment of all of us, it will impact on crime and a number of other areas.

So I have suggested, ministers have picked it up, Civil Servants’ eyes have glinted with
enthusiasm, and there is some work going on between Whitehall and the region
already, around a partnership approach in the south east, looking across the south east
at infrastructure needs in the widest possible sense. Infrastructure is everything that a
community needs to make it viable, a pleasant place to live, and not just the transport,
not just the schools, not just the health, but the social fabric itself. And to plan in very
broad brush terms what those needs might be for perhaps several alternative
scenarios of growth, and to look at what the funding might be. Because you can bet
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your bottom dollar government can't fund even a tiny fraction of that, but I think there
is a need to look at that, and to identify where private sector funding can be levered
in, where local government can make a contribution and where central government
can make a contribution.

Civil servants are, as I say, excited about that, ministers are of course excited, and I
think almost accepted the invitation from the south east to pilot this and see what we
can do. Now who is going to do the detailed work on all of this? It is going to be
local government isn't it? It has to be local government. County, unitary, district
councils with their respective roles working together in their patches are the only
people who could provide this map of the sort of infrastructure needs that various
levels of growth might provide. And that can be a two edged sword because it can be
a bargaining counter in talking to government about what we need in return for
housing growth, and it can be a powerful argument about why they will find it difficult
to impose housing growth, unless some of the backlog of infrastructure needs that we
have got is actually dealt with. And I don't think I am alone in my particular patch in
having a severe backlog from a number of areas that really needs addressing before
people will have a willingness to see substantial further growth. If we don't get this
right, it will be a real mess, but I do believe this opportunity of working in partnership
with government through a region with local government with our other partners, to
establish a sort of infrastructure map in very broad terms, is something that can give a
powerful argument that says to Gordon Brown and John Prescott, the money they are
talking about is daft, it is tiny, it won't work. We need much larger sums than they are
thinking of, we need to work constructively together to identify precisely where it
comes from, and if there isn't enough to go round, where we concentrate on the
growth, where we concentrate and how it works. If there isn't that sort of coherent
planning then I think the system will fail, and none of us want to preside over
something that fails.

That's really all I wanted to say, you will be tempted now to ask me about Chichester
or around Redhill, or about a tiny patch of Milton Keynes that you think should move
300 yards, I don't want to answer those questions, because it is the next debate, it is
the plan itself where I think those things are raised. I am happy to take questions on
the generalities, on the things I have raised here. Can we try to keep them in a broad
brush, because Mike is then going to introduce where we are in the South East Plan
and where that goes next. He is going to talk about the MORI survey to give you an
introduction into the thing, and I think that will be probably a better place for the
more detailed questions that you are bursting perhaps to ask, but I am happy to take
questions about process and the rest.

Cllr Sheila Campbell
Leader of Winchester City Council

Two questions if I may.

First of all pertaining to paragraph 2.1f - it is really to ask for an update. Do we have
clearance from Lord Rooker to extend the season so to speak until October by which
time we will have done the consultation in order to finalise the housing allocations into
districts? That is my first question.

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And I suppose it is relevant to that, within the sub regional and particularly my interest
is in South Hampshire, I think I caught on a 10 o'clock news broadcast last night a
snatch which indicated that the light railway has been scrapped by - in the transport
announcement. I would like confirmation of that because when we are talking about
infrastructure that was one of the major bids that we had, and clearly that is going to
be indicative of the government's attitude to development in the south of Hampshire
isn't it?

Geoff Hill
Town & Parish Councils

Three short points.

I am worried that the government have recently announced that they are thinking of
re-introducing local income tax. That presumably will have some effect upon the
report, the other is they have suggested that they are going to introduce road pricing,
and that would have an effect on it, and the third point is in regard to health. I am a
member of the Healthy Region Forum, and I tried to get across there the importance
that there ought to be much promotion of people to look after their own health, and
need for living healthy lives. Now in your report here, which otherwise is very, very
good, you refer to the provision of facilities and so on. Now I think it would be right
and correct to introduce some words to the effect that there ought to be a strong
promotion of people looking after their own good health.

Speaker Unknown

Thank you Chairman. I will save my parochial bit until later as advised by the chairman
of RPC, but could I keep to a broader one, and that is I have been to talk to fringe
meetings where we have discussed the white bits [on the sub regional map]. Now I
see pale green. I am actually un clear because I did hear in a group meeting this
morning somebody seeing an advantage of being in the white bits. Could the
Chairman clarify exactly where we stand, whether we are in a sub region or in the
white or pale green bits? Thank you.

Cllr Maureen Holding
New Forest District Council

1.3D. Our officers spend a long time doing district plans. I am quite concerned that
they spend all this time and then a local inspector can just come along and make their
decision binding over and above our district plan. What is the point of them spending
hours and hours doing a plan which local people want if it is just overturned by
government inspectors through John Prescott's office?

Cllr Jeremy Birch
Hastings Borough Council

Could I please refer to sub regions and I respect the point that a lot of that work has
been done by people on the ground that know those areas. But it is just really a plea.
We have moved towards clear delineated lines on maps, and quite a number of the
arguments and issues and proposals put forward that I have been involved with both
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linking the more prosperous areas being north west Surrey and the Thames Valley
West Corridor, and on the other hand, the east of Surrey, Redhill - with the Crawley
Gatwick area. Both important economic areas linked to major international airports.
We launched just last week the Gatwick Diamond, an economic development initiative
linking Crawley Gatwick East Surrey area, and there are some bits of literature on
your tables for you if you would care to have a look. But my point really is that in the
initial stages we had some fuzzy boundaries where the sub regions crossed over. We
now have clear delineated lines which seem to cut across some of the economic
arguments for the sub regions that have been made, so that one could anticipate
moving forward in economic development terms with policies that are spatial which
are happening in a different way in different boundaries. And that is of concern to us.
So really I would like to have that re-looked at, and where I think later on in the other
papers it points out that there must be clear co-ordination between the sub regions,
that really a lot of emphasis is put on that - if that has to be - and is decided to be by
the consensus, then as much emphasis is put on the co-ordination between those sub
regions, either Crawley, Gatwick area and the London fringe, and the London fringe
and Western Corridor, as much emphasis is put on those as is done on the work of
those sub regions themselves in isolation.

Cllr Keith Mitchell
Chairman Regional Planning Committee

Thank you. Let me pick up in order the issues that were raised.

Lord Rooker hasn't come back yet to give clearance on the extended timetable for
the detailed work of allocating down to districts. I think the practical reality if we
are going to do that in any sort of sensible way, that has buy-in from our
communities and our local authorities, we are going have to have clearance and if he
doesn't give it to us I suspect and knowing my colleague ?? we are going to have to
take it. I know Colin Byrne has been anxious about the timetable. The main plan
will be in on time. Clearly we think that extra bit of work or the big bit of work
about the housing allocation will have to be later, and make no bones about it, that is
going to be the hardest bit of work I think we are going to have to do as an
Assembly, and a number of you with experience of past iterations of the plan will
know that.

The light railway I will get Mike to pick up at the end. But let me just continue.

Local income tax, oh I could be tempted, but I am not going to get political here.
However revenues raised for local government, local government services will
continue, what it will do to local tax levels is something we will pick up elsewhere.

Road pricing I think is a bit more interesting. As an Assembly we are taking the view
that road pricing that needs to be considered seriously, but we have said it needs to
be considered by government across the country. If you apply it to a particular area
it presents problems at the edge of that area wherever it is. And if you have it in
any substantial scale we have taken the view I think that it needs to be done
nationally. Then you can consider issues around impact, social inclusion, and the fact
that the government is coming up with abolishing road tax and fuel duty and
replacing it with road pricing. I think is a very interesting concept, and it is one that I
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would not personally rule out without serious thought, because it seems a fairer
system than the one that we have got. But that is a political point. So let us move
on from that.

There was a question around health, and health is one of the more difficult areas to
address. The health system, particularly in the south east, I think is not favoured
financially, and the health service would always like to do more on prevention than
self help which was the purpose that you had, rather than on acute care, and we all
seem to be locked in to this business of bailing out our acute side and we never
seem to have enough space to work on the preventative including self help side, that
maybe a bit more funding would allow. Again we are straying in politics because it is
the relative funding of health across the country, but I think that would be my
answer on that one.

On the white bits which are now pale green: I know people are worried that they
are in a sub region and others are worried that they are not in a sub region. If I give
you anecdotally my own particular county of Oxfordshire, I thought Banbury would
erupt when they discovered they were not in the central Oxfordshire sub region.
The central Oxfordshire sub region does not go far enough north into Banbury,
which is the second largest settlement after Oxford City in the county. I thought the
good burgers of Banbury would charge across their moat really get very, very upset
and disturbed and say we must be in, because without it we will not have the funding
that we need for the infrastructure that has accumulated. That hasn't happened,
they seem to have felt comfortable that they are not there, and some people I
suspect think that if you are not in a sub region you won't get any housing growth.
Well I disabuse you of that right away, we are all in for more than we want I suspect,
so it doesn't exempt anyone, and of course the white bits are subject to all the
general planning policies of the Plan. The sub regions have been identified as areas
that need extra bits of policy, extra issues, and people in choosing to have sub
regions and sub regional strategies, may well have been motivated by all sorts of
different motives. I suspect some will have thought it will attract investment, some
will have thought it will give them a weapon or two to oppose additional growth,
some think it will give them a weapon to attract additional growth. What we have
out of all of that is a process, the steering groups have come forward with views and
strategies that they have accepted.

So I can't really tell you what is good or bad about being in a white bit, other than
you will have a whole range of general policies in the South East Plan that will cover
the needs of the whole region. The judgment is that there is nothing over-riding that
requires a particular and special policy for the bits that are white. And I - can I just
say again. I hope after the RPC at the end of this month we can put this issue to bed
at least for a while. It will no doubt need re-visiting in the future but if we keep
changing arguments around the boundaries and the precision of them, we will never
get on with the detail of the plan that is really pressing us.

The fact that in a district council or a unitary council the inspector appointed by Mr.
Prescott can overturn the democratic decision of the locally elected members. Well
all I will say is don't tell us here, you go and tell all your electorate what has been
done, you make sure they know the democratic deficit that he is creating, and they
will see it, I guess, the first time it actually happens. I have a bit of comfort I think in
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that an inspector probably can't do it unreasonably, and could, I think be subject to
judicial review if there were good cause, so perhaps it is a democratic issue which
you can pursue through political channels.

And the final question was around airports and the sub regions, and fuzzy borders -
you will see there is an attempt to move from fuzzy borders and boundaries, to
rather tighter ones because we have to use the boundaries for housing allocations, at
least down to sub regional level as well as the county level, and it is hard if you can't
decide whether 3,000 houses are in or out of a particular boundary, so there is need
to try to tighten up. I think when we get into the second bit of the debate around
the South East Plan, you will get a better and fuller answer to this, than I think I can
give now. So I will defer that one if I may to the next bit of the debate. And I will
ask Mike just to talk about the light railway, because it is the only item I think I have
missed.

Michael Gwilliam
Director of Planning & Transport

Yes, the South Hampshire rapid transit system. What the Minister said yesterday
was not that the scheme was scrapped, but a decision on a go-ahead of the scheme
had been deferred because there was a serious problem with the cost of the present
scheme and there was a need to look again at procurement arrangements and,
indeed, at other aspects of the scheme to see whether there is a way forward. My
understanding is that the Minister wants to find a way forward, if a way forward can
be found. He did put out a warning note about the generally very high costs of tram
based new public transport schemes, but that is something that we in the Assembly
have been pointing out and aware of for a while as a general proposition, which is
why across the region our emphasis in our original transport strategy is on bus-
based improvements, because frankly we can get a lot more schemes in the region
for the money. But that is in no sense to undermine the merits of the South
Hampshire scheme which has a particularly strong case and I would like to suggest,
Chairman, to the Assembly that the Assembly joins with the local authorities in that
part of the region in urging the Minister, helping the Minister come to a view on the
outstanding issues, but urging the Minister to come to a quick view in the light of
resolution of those points, so that a scheme can proceed. There is no doubt, as the
member here said, that a scheme for this area is an important part of the transport
investment that is needed - South Hampshire area is one of the key areas we are
looking at for further development in the South East Plan, so if the Chairman of the
Assembly agrees I just wanted to suggest that the Assembly gives it support and
echoes the concerns of local authorities about the uncertainty on that scheme. But
it has not been scrapped.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Thank you. Is there a general agreement to that proposition.

Speaker Unknown

Chairman, thank you. On behalf of those who come from that area I thank the
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Assembly very much for its support here. I hope we can also ask for the support of
SEEDA in trying to bring pressure on the government to go ahead with this scheme
despite the announcement from yesterday.

Mike, you have put a slightly more optimistic spin on it than I had and you know I am
slightly encouraged by what you say, although I don't know whether Colin Byrne,
who is in the room, has got anything further that he can add to what has been said,
because I think we need all the help we can in encouraging the Minister to rethink
this particular issue. Thank you very much.

Michael Gwilliam
Director of Planning & Transport

I am an optimist by nature, it is why I do this job I think. Colin did say to me at
lunchtime that he hadn't got a lot of detailed information, so I wouldn't want to press
him too hard on this, but we checked this morning and we believe that the position
is that it remains as they say, `on the table'. We are not yet dining on it.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

I would now like to move on to item 8, which is the South East Plan, and I would ask
Michael to present the response of the survey.

Michael Gwilliam
Director of Planning & Transport

We thought it was more helpful to your debate if I explained the results of the
second MORI survey now, and gave you a chance to ask any questions about that,
and then we picked up the rest of the agenda as it were for a further discussion.

I would just make one little announcement before doing that - there is another piece
of up-to-date information. And in fairness it shows how the government system can
work pretty quickly. On Monday afternoon we received the final ministerial approval
for the changes to present regional guidance for the Ashford growth area - that little
document there. It very substantially reflects the proposals that the Assembly put
forward. It has been through all the processes and the government has resolved that
one, I know it is not a huge area but it had its issues, within the timetables they set
themselves, actually shorter than the timetables. So it does show that we and they
can make these things work, and that is the first growth area in the country that has
gone through the process and has received this sort of approval, so I think it is
encouraging, it also sets a marker for our approach to sub regional issues. That we
can clearly see what things government will and will not support in that process. I
thought this is helpful as a background for perhaps later debate, and you will be able
to see it on the government website and our website if you want.

Now the MORI report. I am going to quickly take you through today and you had it
in the papers. I am going to bring out some of the main points. It is the second
wave of our approach to this, this rolling programme of testing opinion as we go
through the Plan.
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The first wave which we did in the spring, and you remember you had a presentation
at the Spring Assembly meeting of the results at that stage, is now supplemented by
this second wave where we picked up other issues and issues coming out of the
Spring Debate programme. I think you need to read the two together because I
think the two together do provide a very robust picture of opinion on a lot of the
issues that we have got in the Plan amongst the south east public. They need to be
read together because each one covers some different aspects of this.

But I am now going to focus on the second one and a reminder that this has two
prongs which MORI think are robust. One is face-to-face interviews with just under
a couple of thousand people on a - they say - valid sample base, accurate to 2%
points, and secondly some focus groups to drill down on issues and supplement that
quantitive approach. So quickly some of the things that came through.

Well we asked about quality of life again. This is very encouraging because we have
asked this question several times now both in the South East Plan debates, and also
in the general tracker survey we do. And the good news is that every time we ask,
people’s comments about quality of life, a higher proportion say it is good. So I think
if we keep asking the question we will get to 100% before long, and it is very
productive. But seriously there is a very positive rating by the public about their
perceptions of the region which is helpful.

And we also asked them about a very much draft vision that was coming through the
Spring Debates. And we asked them to focus on four particular aspects for
comparison. Not in this case about housing and transport because we had already
identified those were the major concerns on the early survey. What came through
was in fact health as the strongest issue, they rank as the most important issue you
see there. Environment, economy and natural resources, all coming through quite
strongly, but not as strongly as health, so an interesting comparison then, and at least
one of you this afternoon has already picked up the importance of the health agenda.
And it is in our minds to really play on that healthy region agenda in the draft version
of the plan. Health and healthiness in all its dimensions as mentioned earlier. So
that's the vision.

We asked people about access to facilities, how easy it was to get access to facilities
in the area because that is important in terms of both patterns of development and
also, of course, transport arrangements. And actually a very high proportion said it
was relatively easy. You see there, particularly where people lived in or close to
town centres. The exceptions are sports and leisure facilities. I am surprised about
that. And interestingly hospitals and some other health facilities, where - or
particularly hospitals actually - which a much lower proportion said that it was easy.

What is more interesting, I think, is when you look at answers on the rural sector.
The lowest return in the town centre residents was 86%, that was the lowest
proportion thought it was relatively easy. If you look at the rural one, the highest
percentage of people saying facility access is easy is 84%, so a complete different
scale of access perceived. But again there you see that the bottom end is banks and
building societies, cash machines no doubt and so on. Sport and leisure again and
hospitals coming well down, access to hospitals - a major lack of access in rural
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areas. But as a rule rural areas showing less accessibility to services. Just confirming
what you might guess but I think the scale of it does come through, it is interesting.

Improving access to services - well here again in the light of what we have just
discussed, look at the way that people say that buses, the top two lines, buses are a
key to access, certainly for those who don't have access all the time to a car. There
are other factors in there but buses are dominant. That does reflect again something
we are pleased to have just got approval of, the Regional Transport Strategy. The
first Regional Transport Strategy in new mode, I think, across the country to get
approval, and the key emphasis, and I remember we were not challenged when we
did it, was to place a lot of emphasis on buses. Now that is coming through -
government policy - and again I think public opinion, so I think that is very interesting
to see that reaction.

Now we did ask some more questions about homes. How could we do a survey in
the south east without asking questions about homes, even though we did a lot last
time? And here you will have seen from the papers the sort of answers we got. Are
there more homes needed in the South East region? 50% say yes, 32% disagree. So
more yeses than nos there, but a substantial no group as well.

To tackle housing shortages more homes need to be built more quickly in the south
east - pushing on with it. A majority, more say yes than no, but it is a closer thing
isn't it? 44% - 38%. But here we go, more homes in my local area? NO. I move on,
but no surprise to some of you on that one either.

We asked again about the Barker Report and the suggestion we need more than
40,000 homes a year, a big, big increase in rates of growth. And again you see there
clearly more, two to one really, against supporting that. Again as on the other side, I
try and be fair, significant support for that proposition, but a much bigger group say
no thank you. And there was still even-stevens, even if the Barker approach did stop
house prices going up, and I think a lot of people had a lot of questions about that in
our Spring Debates, but even then it is only even-stevens. So that is if you like, part
of the region's response to the government on Barker and the numbers, which
reinforces again the Spring Debate comments.

We asked about affordable housing again some other angles, than the ones we asked
before in the earlier survey. You see the general picture (I won't dwell on every
point here) is a lot of support for a package of initiatives to increase the amount of
affordable housing. We know this is a strong theme, that people do want to see
more affordable housing in the region. It is interesting though to see that subsidising
key workers, and we used those words, ‘subsidising key workers' and subsidising
other low income workers, attracts a lot of support, as, of course, does increasing
public investment and some increases in overall building. But very interesting that
the key workers are actually strongly supported by that opinion poll. The Regional
Housing Board has got some doubts about that emphasis, but it tends to support
what the government says on key workers. That is interesting to reflect on.

It is interesting - I have got one or two of these- the difference across the region.
The support for subsidy is highest in Berkshire, and lowest in Kent. Now that may
well reflect the degree of pressure in the western part of the region on housing and
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house prices and affordability. But there is a significant difference between those
two parts of the region. I will show you one or two more comparisons later on.

We asked about greenfield sites for housing, and what balance came closest to their
own views about future housing development in the region. And here you can see
that more people, an overall majority, wanted to keep the use of greenfield land to
minimum by significantly increasing density in existing towns and villages. We didn't
say - well what would you prefer brownfield or greenfield, because there are
consequences to the one rather than the other one, and one of the consequences is
density. And again 53% said that they felt that was the right emphasis, but again one
third said no, use more greenfield land and only moderately increase densities. 11%
said no - it is greenfield land that should be the emphasis. Again there were some
variations, the support for using significant amounts of greenfield land was highest in
Oxfordshire and lowest and East Sussex and Berkshire. So interestingly, two joining
areas in the west taking a fairly different view about the emphasis on greenfield land
there.

Moving on - we asked about health services, and here the picture that came across
was which of the services that we listed were most important to people, and you see
there that they wanted to see improvements to the GP doctor services, better
awareness campaigns, that is an interesting one, and again improving public transport
to hospitals and access to hospital facilities. So fairly strong messages. I think the
consistent message is coming through alongside some more comments about sports
and so on there reflecting some of the other comments, which only shows a
consistency of response from the public.

We finally asked some questions about environment and attitudes to the
environment and environmental change. And we also asked some questions about
recreation and so but I haven't got time to cover that, they are in the full survey.
This is only a snapshot. But the environmental, I think, responses were very
interesting. Here you see that when asked whether we should be reducing pollution
and consumption of natural resources, willing to change their lifestyles, or willing to
do more to help with the environment if we knew how to go about it, very high
rating. Look at the strength of those ratings. And then we asked a sort of reverse
test to see what people said. Is it my responsibility, and actually we had a debate in
the Planning Committee where some people had read this the wrong way. And is it
not my responsibility to think greater about environmental problems. And there you
see that 90% disagreed with that proposition. In other words it was their
responsibility, so that was very interesting and I think significant in terms of how we
will need to write into the plan a recognition of this dimension pretty strongly.

But we then asked of course, well would you be willing to change. Now we didn't
give them a price for this, and this is always a problem. But look at the scale again as
an indication and willingness to recycle, reduce energy and water uses and so on. I
believe this answer for one reason. When they were asked about whether they
would travel less or use public transport more, you see how many fewer were
willing to do that. That makes me believe this is credible, because you know how
difficult it is to get us all to actually change in terms of our transport habit.

So we think this is a very interesting comparison, and suggests secondly that opinion
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is changing. Because when we asked the questions about waste and recycling, only
18 months to two years ago for the waste survey, we got lower responses in terms
of change, and I think what this is showing is tracking, is that increasing awareness
and willingness to make some adjustments in our lifestyles as we face some of the
difficult issues of climate change and so on.

But there is one other dimension I want to show you which is quite interesting too.
It is that the residents of East Sussex are the most willing to adapt in terms of
transport, and the residents of Kent are the least willing. So it does seem to me that
these are two adjoining counties, all we have to do is migrate the positive views of
East Sussex into the darker reaches of Kent, and we will make significant progress,
and there is a little challenge for that part of the region.

So those were the main points. Now all I want to emphasise again, is that this is
background information, it is for you to take the decisions, it is not the opinion polls,
but we do think taking the two together they do provide some very useful
perspectives about what the public expectations and views are current in this region,
and to that extent we would want to weave them into the way in which we prepare
the draft plan. Thank you Chairman.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Thank you Michael. As you said this is useful background information as we build up
the South East Plan. If I may, I would like to now turn to the agenda item 8a, which
sets out the parameters, timetable, and with regards to this particular agenda item
there are two motions or amendments. First proposed by Kent County Council by
Sandy Bruce Lockhart and the second by Ian Hepburn.


Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, OBE
Kent County Council

Nick, thank you very much.

Before I turn to the amendment which I think will be uncontentious, I would like just
to make one or two remarks about the plan process in the paper 8a which we are
now discussing.

I know that there has been a certain amount of debate in the last week in the
national papers about processes of governments, and some people have been
debating things that are decided on sofas and not decided in due processes, but I do
think that it is immensely important that we work up the South East Plan to get the
support and ownership of all members of the Assembly. And looking at the paper
here, enormous emphasis is given to the results of the workshop debates. Now the
workshop debates I am sure were useful. They had people sitting around a table like
this, and then they had officers of SEERA reporting back what they thought the
people had said at these particular meetings.

But really of much more fundamental importance are the views of the constituent
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authorities and particularly the environmental groups who have enormous
experience here. If you take the local authorities, the planning officers and the
transport officers with all their expertise have drawn up those local plans which are
now statutory plans. They have drawn them up over two or three years. They have
consulted local residents, they have gone out surveying, they have gone out to public
meetings, and that must be the building block of the South East Plan. And therefore
rather than relying on these debates which I am sure are useful, can we please get
into the process, before November, get the statutory responses of the organisations,
the environmental groups, the other organisations and the local councils, built firmly
into the process. That I think will be very helpful. And the last thing any of us want,
is to see a draft plan launched and see some large slices of the south east standing
back and saying - no we didn't agree with the draft, it simply doesn't fit with what
our organisations say. I think that will be very unfortunate, and I think we need to
change our processes slightly, from I would say the sofa of the informal side to the
rather more formal processes.

A great deal of good work has been done and I appreciated what Keith said earlier, if
I could just emphasise two points while I am on my feet. Keith, I do agree with you
so much about the issue of infrastructure provision. When we get into the housing
targets unfortunately most of us know that the targets are actually not what drives
delivery. What drives delivery is the provision of infrastructure and Keith is
absolutely right. I hope that we can pursue some of the ideas coming out of the
Treasury at the moment. The business growth incentive scheme is I think not as
ambitious as it could be. And I can give you an example from the Thames Gateway.
If you take the commercial development around? Street station, one of the most
exciting developments in the south east. We estimate that the new business rate
from the new commercial businesses that will move in will generate, at the end of
the planned period, £26m a year. That would create an interest rate stream for long
term infrastructure funding of about half a billion pounds. The current business rate
incentive scheme put out in the spending review would top that scheme at £200,000.
Now there is enormous potential here. And it is not just about us asking the
government for the money, we have got to support some new fiscal schemes to
make certain that infrastructure funding can take place. And I hope when we put the
plan forward we can bring up a what price growth for the south east, we know that
in Kent it is £9.6 billion, I am sure that we can put that throughout the region, but it
is immensely important that we put our figures on the table, and then support that in
a positive way with new fiscal schemes to raise that.

If I can make my final point, it is a plea to you, and I know a lot of support from
other organisations, is actually what matters most about this plan is setting out the
quality of what we are going to build. You know all the rest of it is unimportant.
The important thing is that in 20 years time when we look back we can be proud of
really having put in place the most exciting regeneration schemes in our town
centres, many of which across the coastal fringe of the south east are just downright
dowdy at the moment. And we have an opportunity to really revitalise them and to
put down new housing estates clustered around neighbourhood centres with the
shops and the cafes and the open space and a really good use of public space. And
getting that quality right is in my view going to be the single most important piece of
the plan. Thank you for allowing me to say that.

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If I could now turn very briefly to the amendment. I am very sorry but I feel better
for that. The response simply says that we should work on both the five year and
ten year migration based trends of household projections. If we look backwards
only five years, we are going to end up with a higher housing figure than if we look
back over 10 years. I know that Mike recognises that and I would simply be grateful
if the Assembly could support that. Thank you very much.

Mike Gwilliam
Director of Planning and Transport

Can I pick up on that one last point in the motion please, because I think it would be
helpful. Yes I entirely take Sandy's point, we have incorporated in the papers going
to RPC an explanation of how we are developing, and have developed now, forecasts
that are picking up the 10 year as well as the 5 year migration so that members can
have a debate about the range and consider what range to put into the draft plan. So
that is in hand.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Thank you, is that agreed? Thank you Sandy for that.

Now may I move to Ian Hepburn and ask him to put his amendment please.

Ian Hepburn
Social & Environmental Partners

Right thank you very much Mr. Chairman.

If I can start by reflecting on the words that you used right at the beginning of this
meeting which mentioned that we are faced with substantive challenges to ensure
that we retain the characteristics of the region that we treasure, and that includes
our countryside, rural and coastal landscapes, and the best examples of our wildlife
habitats.

The proposed amendment that you have before you basically seeks to make it clear
that our purpose is to retain and to enhance our environment and to achieve this we
must be prepared to safeguard the best areas and to find substantial opportunities to
enhance our environment, our rural areas and towns and cities. And this for its own
sake and for the social and environmental and economic benefits that a high quality
environment brings to all sectors and to the citizens of the region.

If I can also take the opportunity to reflect on the results of the MORI poll which
Mike has eloquently exposed to us just recently. The polls, I think, do suggest that
the people of this region will certainly not thank us if we fail to have as part of our
strategy for the region very clear ideas and clear policies that safeguard the best of
our countryside, the best of our coastal landscapes, and they will also not thank you
if we fail to have policies that enable us to enhance our wildlife habitats, our green
spaces in and around cities and towns. I suspect also that they will not thank us if we
interpret protection and safeguarding as being blocks on all economic development,
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and blocks on clear social needs within the region. So do take it from me that this is
certainly not what this amendment seeks to do. It is not a protectionist policy, it is
one which enables us to safeguard the best of what we have got, and enhance
wherever possible. It is effectively a plea to take into account the need for
sustainable development in a clearer way than the particular paragraph of the
parameters currently indicates in my view. Thank you very much.


Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Thank you Ian. Mike, would you like to comment?

Mike Gwilliam
Director of Planning and Transport

Yes Chairman, again I think I can be brief and positive.

The suggestion as everybody is clear, and I will just put the slide up on the screen - is
to replace number thirteen in the set of parameters that you have got in front of you,
with the wording here.

We did have a debate earlier on at Executive Committee about the whole balance of
the parameters and a view was taken on that. That is what you have got in front of
you today. I think, though, this proposal does capture, as Ian says, the point about
protecting and improving the particular qualities in the region, I think it is an important
point there, and the need to do that in context with the social and economical
development. So I believe that would reflect the way in which the debate has gone so
far, and if you wish I can see no technical reason why we couldn't make that change. It
does allow us to still look for improvements by diversity and green space within that
frame which was the purpose of the original parameter.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Is that agreed?

Cllr Geoff Hills
Town & Parish Councils

If we are talking about wildlife, wildlife doesn't exist in one particular place. It needs
corridors to get from A to B. And it is essential, and if we talk about keeping the best
areas, we should also refer to a need for corridors between those best areas.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Right, we have dealt with the two tabled amendments. With regards to the agenda
item 8a are there any other comments that you wish to make, or questions that you
have before I come to the overall recommendation?
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Cllr Jerry Patterson
Vale of White Horse District Council

Thank you Chairman.

At paragraph 3.3 Forecasts, it says at the end where we don't have information from
government forecasts, the conclusions of this will be reported to the July Assembly
meeting. Have we had these government forecasts and can any conclusions be
reported?

John Cochrane
Oxfordshire Economic Partnership

In issue no. 22 under the heading ‘General Social’ you talk about education and skills
deficits and their resolution, but in your list of needs you leave out the word
`educational' and you deal only with skills. I feel that if this is to be a high tec high
weight economy we must pay attention to basic education. There is still too much
illiteracy and innumeracy from pupils leaving our school system after ten to eleven
years of study. There are many, many jobs that these people cannot take up because
they can’t read health and safety notices, it is absolutely essential that they are given
these skills, and I would like the word ‘educational' put back into the text. Thank you.

A second issue relates to issue no. 28, which relates to the environment and climate
change, and asks for a balanced approach. Well as the Assembly's member on SEEDA
sustainable development and having heard lecture after lecture from the climatologists
etc., I think a slightly more robust approach is required than a balanced one.

If you look at the MORI poll that has just been put up, you will see that over 80% of
people are prepared to change their lifestyle if they knew what to do. That shows that
willingness is there. We are in the mess we are in because of small incremental
changes in lifestyle which by individuals would mean nothing, but which collectively
lead us to disaster. I suggest that we should remove the balanced approach and put in
something a little more robust.

Janet Keene
South East Region Trades Union Congress

I wanted to come to page 20 of the survey, particularly the issue of affordable housing.
Now this is something I have certainly mentioned before on the Planning Committee, I
think more than once.

We are mixing affordable housing with social housing yet again. You can't tell a builder
what percentage of his houses are actually going to be affordable because affordable
depends on how much money you have got in your pocket. You can tell them how
much social housing they will make available for social housing grants, local authority
housing etc. but you can't persuade them how much they are going to make available
for sale.

One of the issues we have in the region, and this has been raised on many occasions, is
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affordable housing to buy. And this is the issue that Kate Barker addressed and one of
the reasons she did say that we would need to be considering additional housing
supply is actually the law of supply and demand. Greater supply means that the prices
will eventually drop. Now that is one of the ways to get affordable housing, but I am
very concerned that we are confusing affordable housing and social housing. They are
two separate issues. And one of the issues we had with public sector housing in the
south east, I mean for public sector workers, for teachers, nurses etc. is that many of
them actually want to buy their own house and they can't afford to. They can if they
move out of the region. In the region they can get key worker housing, rented social
housing, that is not necessarily what they want. The issue which we must address and
it ought to be the top priority of the Plan, is the increasing housing supply to in fact
bring down the cost of houses to buy.

Mike Gwilliam
Director of Planning and Transport

Chairman if I could kick off on this.

On the matter of forecasts, we have indeed been doing further work. It has taken a
few days longer than we anticipated when we wrote this, so we put a fairly full report
up for the Planning Committee on the situation.

We still don't have clarity of some of the government's forecasting plans, and
intentions, but we do have now a picture which has gone out in the papers to the
Regional Planning Committee which is that the latest factors we have been able to take
into account, and we warned in the spring that this work would need to be done,
including changes in forecasts of marital changes, of mortality rates, and so on. And
looking again at migration issues. They are all suggesting that we need to really be
having the debate about housing change in a range between about 33,000 dwellings per
annum and about 36,000 dwellings per annum. And the figures were in the RPC
report. And I think probably this isn't the place to get into detail about that. We have
pointed out a further amount of work and debate will need to take place over the
next three or four months. But the indication - all our forecasting work is showing -
that the likely range is higher rather than lower within the range we debated in the
Spring, and I think that is - it is in the RPC report - the current position. We don't
think we will get a lot more now from government about their perspective on this for
some months, and we have taken the best advice we can in the light of that and in the
light of our own analysis of the region's work, including, of course, working with
experts and the local authorities. So that's the first point.

On John Cochrane’s point about the educational reference, I think, Chairman, I am
happy to incorporate that point - it is intended - it is just because we haven't drafted
the papers as clearly as we should. So that is reflected and should be reflected in fact.

On the third point about - this point about climate change - I wasn't quite sure of the
wording he was looking for here, but if I have got his sense right, may I suggest you
might want to simply consider one word change here which is, and it is issue 28 on
page 4, instead of `requiring a balanced approach', `requiring a robust approach'. I
think this is the word he used three times, `robust.' So that is handling that point but
in a positive way I hope.
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And finally if I get back to my notes, affordable versus social housing. Well Janet, we
were there trying to capture a broad point in a set of interviews which were covering
quite a lot of ground. I do take your point about the distinctions and they are very
important points you make about social housing and wider affordability, which is the
way I think I would characterise it. But that is something we are also taking up
through the Regional Housing Board in some depth. This was simply meant to get a
flavour of people's perceptions of how much of a problem they saw this issue of
affordability in a wider sense. And I wouldn't claim more from that, but I think it does
show a very strong public perception that there is something we need to resolve.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Right thank you. Could I just ask John, are you happy to accept - is that strong
enough?

John Cochrane
Oxfordshire Economic Partnership

Yes

Chair
Cllr Nick Skellett

Are you happy as an Assembly to accept that?

I think that the other two are questions that you have answered, and I think that we
now have - I can now turn to the recommendation for item 8a.

So the recommendation is that the issues set out in this report - as amended by
Sandy's first amendment, and then Ian's amendment, and then for issues 22 and 28 as
described by Mike. Do you accept the parameters format and timetable as
amended? Thank you.

May I turn to agenda item 8b. Sub regions.

I was notified earlier that there would be a question.

Cllr Brad Watson
West Sussex County Council

Thank you very much Chairman.

The particular point I wanted to raise is really in reference to the map that appears
in the plan, in the draft plan. And the concerns that we have in West Sussex -
because when I first saw this I actually began to wonder whether this has slipped out
of the archives of the Operation Barbarossa, and it was the planned German invasion
of the South and how they were going to strike for the City of London. Then I
realised it couldn't be that, it was Captain Mainwaring’s retreat from the coast!
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Joking apart, we in West Sussex are concerned that the only part of our South East
Plan to have arrows is Sussex. Now surely in the interests of equality and
opportunity everybody should have arrows. These apparently are related to
transport corridors. Is Sussex the only one that has transport corridors I ask?

But the concern is that they are, except probably for the one connecting Brighton
with the Diamond, they are all Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or even just
possibly a National Park. But we are expecting to see development, and that is what
concerns us. I would hope I could persuade Keith to look at this, so that when you
bring this plan to your Regional Planning Committee, that it actually has these arrows
disappearing, because I understand that when this was previously produced, there
were only two arrows, and mysteriously four more have appeared. So beware you
might find that there might be loads more in the next version.

But could I respectfully argue, it is a concern for us, that you look at that, and as with
the suggestion about including Chichester and Selsea in your sub region. Please can
we all have them or can you take it off.

Cllr Keith Mitchell
Chairman Regional Planning Committee

Well I would remind the questioner that the earlier version in fact had two fingers
coming out of the south coast. I have warned you against trying to determine sub
regional boundaries in an Assembly of 111 members. I will give an undertaking that we
will look at this again at the Regional Planning Committee at the end of the month. I
don't give an undertaking that that necessarily means the removal of the arrows, but
we will have a clear explanation of what they signify and members can consider what
they want to do about them there.

Cllr Jeremy Birch
Hastings Borough Council

Actually I was going to stand up and say, but what exactly are the arrows for? I
mean we have decided what we thought they might be, but I was interested in
hearing what you had to tell us that they were for.


Cllr Jerry Patterson
Vale of White Horse District Council

In the north west of the region, there is another region just off the map that is called
South West England, and they have a sub regional study group, that I am a member
of, regarding Swindon's expansion. And its expansion comes into Oxfordshire and
West Berkshire in the districts of West Oxfordshire, the Vale of White Horse and
West Berkshire. Could we please indicate that on the map, as we have indicated
where Milton Keynes is going in the direction of Northamptonshire and
Bedfordshire, otherwise people in that area will think they are a green area when
they are not.

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Cllr Don Turner
Brighton & Hove City Council

Fine, thank you Chair.

As a member of Dad's Army which is invading the rest of the South East, I thought I
had better make a comment on this because this map I think changed three times in
one week. And I thought we had come to a compromise with the arrows. Now
there maybe a few too many arrows for West Sussex, but as regards the
Brighton/Crawley arrow I do think it is important from the point of view of planning
links and transport links, that connection has to be made. We have actually got two
versions of the Diamond on our table, we have got the Economic Partnership
Diamond which actually comes down to Brighton and Hove and we have got the
Assembly Diamond which stops well short. Perhaps it could be looked at again,
excluding the arrows bringing the Diamond down but not destroying that completely
between Brighton and Gatwick/Crawley.

Speaker unknown

Ours is a pumping heart Don, not a Diamond.

Cllr Taff Davies
Chichester District Council

I will keep my parochial comments very short.

I think my biggest argument is the way in which the process by which we
disappeared from the previous map which clearly had us on it, and we only really
saw it when we saw the hard copy for this meeting. And there are areas of
deprivation in Chichester East and Selsea, of course, has its own problems. It is
interesting to know that the SEEDA map this morning has also removed us. Selsea
and an area to the south east of Chichester with big horticultural processes going
on, had also been taken from Pam's maps, so somebody somewhere has got it in for
Chichester. I do apologise to everybody.

Cllr Jeremy Birch
Hastings Borough Council

Thank you Chair. The Battle of Hastings finished with Harold having an arrow in his
eye, so naturally we are very concerned about too many arrows. However, I think
all the arrows are doing on the south coast strip in particular are indicating that the
revival of the south coast towns means you can't cut them off from their transport
connections or from the hinterland. I don't actually think it is any big deal really.
The south coast is a narrow strip, and hence it has to have a relationship to the area
surrounding it.

Can I just make a very small point about, in my personal opinion, why the south
coast - because of its length - perhaps, if we include areas further to the west, is
going to miss some of its key focus. In the past the priority area for economic
regeneration was actually Shoreham to Hastings, and I think from the regenerative
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needs of that area that patch has more geographical integrity. I recognise there are
needs everywhere, and hence a recognition of places like Bognor and so on, and so it
has moved further on the coast. I honestly believe when you get as far as Chichester
you are losing some of the focus of why you are having a sub region at all.
Everybody in the south east is going to have to develop and be part of meeting our
requirements as a region, whether you are in a sub region or not in a sub region.
But a sub region has to have some major focus, and the focus here was the
revitalisation of a particularly deprived part of our entire region. I think if we expand
it too far we may lose that focus a bit. Plus I think if you really examined travel to
work issues, you might well find travel to work from Chichester is westwards rather
than eastwards. And therefore again its focus might be a bit lost. I personally
believe we are probably seeing the best compromise here, keeping the sub region as
it is, but that is not a downer on Chichester, which I am sure is a very beautiful city,
which has got a lot to offer the whole of the region.

Cllr Ronald Dibbs
Rushmoor Borough Council

Thank you very much. I know we have been discouraged to talk any more about sub
regions. I have got a comment to make and then I have got questions which aren't
answered in here actually. In 2.2 you mentioned the Milton Keynes and Aylesbury
growth areas where sufficient study work was already underway, which were already
defined as sub regions by government. Well I would remind you that the Blackwater
Valley sub region is a lot older than the Assembly, and is also recognised by
government in RPG9, which seems to be ignored now by saying it has been
subsumed into the Western Corridor, which I think is a great pity when you
consider the amount of work which has already gone on there. The study has
already been done and is more or less complete. The very large developments going
on in the centre of the Blackwater Valley are going to impact on the other partners
in that area. It is not going to impact on High Wycombe. It is going to impact on
Reading, and it is certainly not going to impact on Swindon. But it is going to impact
on all those partners in the Blackwater Valley and I would remind you that the
Blackwater Valley is a region which came together by common consent and common
agreement, recognising they had similar problems which could only be dealt with by
cross border co-operation. They weren't lines drawn on a map by SEERA or by
SEERA officers. I say it was by common consent. Now the question I have at the
end of that, I hope you will take on board what I have said already, but the question
at the end of it, we have already completed a study - has that study now been
disregarded, or thrown out, or is the Western Corridor going to take possession of
that study? Either way the authorities in the Blackwater Valley are spending a great
deal of money on that study, and I suggest, and as we are being subsumed, and you
are going to make use of our study in other ways, or else throw it away, that we
should be reimbursed for that. Thank you.

Nigel Horton-Baker
Surrey Economic Partnership

Just to remind Keith he said he would come back to my earlier point on sub regions,
but at this point I just wanted confirmation that Don's point and the point I was
making, particularly around the Gatwick Diamond area would be taken back to
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Regional Planning Committee and looked at. Particularly interested about making
sure where there are naturally economic overlaps, that this is reflected in the
planning policy, and if you could just say again that point about the reason we
couldn't do it was because of housing allocations, because I didn't quite understand
what you meant by that.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Right, that's a formidable list of questions there.

Cllr Norman Dingemans
Arun District Council

I would just like to go back I'm afraid to the Chichester problem. It does seem
rather perverse that Chichester should be included in the Sussex coastal Area
Investment Framework area but then dropped from this map. We all talk about
getting things in line and having co-terminosity and I would therefore support
Chichester's move to come back into the sub region.

Cllr Keith Mitchell
Chairman Regional Planning Committee

Well thank you for listening to what I said about not debating sub regions today.
This will be debated on the 29th July in the RPC once and finally so that we can draw
a line. I have taken comments around the worries about Swindon and I think that is
a worry that I have registered. Around Gatwick, Chichester certainly, pass that back
to the RPC, the Brighton arrows. The Blackwater Valley a nice bid there for the
funding for the Blackwater Valley to be reimbursed to the Blackwater Valley
authorities. I will give you a different deal. The authorities that sat on a separate
Blackwater Valley Steering Group will clearly now be a part of the Western
Corridor steering group, so will take the money they have spent with them into that
wider steering group and will have an opportunity to feed in on a continuing basis
into the policies. But it was a nice try. On the housing allocations, one of the
difficulties we face is that we are using sub regions in different contexts and different
places and it is very easy to get confused. We need to do an allocation of housing
numbers both to counties, because that will tie into the structure plan numbers, but
also to sub regions. And you have fuzzy boundaries when you are allocating houses,
it gets quite difficult. So the officers, I think, have rightly tried to reduce the
fuzziness around the boundaries.

But in terms of planning terms it is helpful to have fuzzy boundaries because
economic areas, housing market areas, travel to work areas, don't have tight lines,
they are fuzzy at the edges. So I am sorry it is a messy process, it will never be
perfect, but we do need to be reasonably precise about the boundaries that we are
talking about, it will never work 100%. I mean you have to be very careful not to
confuse people by having different sub regions in different topics - housing, economic
planning, and planning for the south east generally, and we need to be careful that we
don't get confusion arising as a result of those.

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Those I think were the generalities. Sub regions, come back next week for the
Regional Planning Committee, and we will do it justice there.

Mike Gwilliam
Director of Planning and Transport

Yes, two or three other points about what we are dealing with here.

The point about the links between some sub regions. We certainly are Nigel,
seeking to reflect that in brief. In some areas it is very important, and in most areas
it needs referring to, but I do take your point. It is a particularly important point
across that northern boundary. But we do think there are two distinctive sets of
ways of looking at the issues, but then to make sure that we have looked across that
boundary.

The second thing is just because the ?? says that there is an area doesn't necessarily
mean that is valid for the purposes of this planning process. This planning process
has a particular statutory significance. Looking across, as Keith said earlier on, the
range of issues that affect different sub regions. That will not necessarily be the
same pattern as an ?? and the ?? process was looking at a narrower spectrum than
we are looking at in the sub region, so I do not expect the 8 boundaries will not
coincide with these sub regions. They were an input in this process but this process
actually will ultimately affect the way ?? are developed, not the other way round, and
to get that relationship clearer. And this is the statutory plan. And the ?? is not.

The third thing is on the Gatwick Diamond I think we are danger, Nigel, of creating a
firm boundary for the Diamond when it is pretty fuzzy. I have seen three different
versions of the Gatwick Diamond boundary and they seem to be getting harder at
the edges. But they have graduations of colour and so on. I think the Gatwick
Diamond is a very important economic concept, and one, as you will see in the
papers to Regional Planning Committee, the brief was suggesting very much part of
the way forward. But I don't think the boundaries of that, I think have been
somewhat fuzzily drawn themselves, are necessarily the determinant for the precise
way in which we deal with this statutory sub regional planning process.

I think the core of what the Diamond is saying is entirely in accord with the way we
have developed the Gatwick brief at Planning Committee. The boundaries of the
Diamond are themselves I think a matter for a debate and their implications for an
area, which is more a promotional area, can be, I think, ambiguous at the edges. So
there is again a difference, and I don't think the Diamond should determine our sub
regional approach in terms of detailed boundaries, but as a concept it is a powerful
driver for the whole of the sub regional approach.

Speaker unknown

Can I just make a point?

I find it confusing in that you refer to sub regions. Well the ?? of sub regions as
everybody knows is a group of councils in the Thames Valley region. And that
covers Bucks, Berks and Oxon. Now here you are talking about sub regions and
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where is ?? It is not there is it. So I think we should really change the name of this
to something else, areas or districts or something, but not sub regions, because it
conflicts with that ??

Mike Gwilliam
Director Planning and Transport

Well thank you. We may be getting an element of confusion. People may have all
sorts of associations. What we are required to do by the government in this plan, is
to advise on long term planning in sub regions using the guidance the government
has given us about how we should selectively do that, dealing as the Chairman of the
Planning Committee said, with areas where there are key cross-authority issues to
resolve that need to be taken forward at this level. That is not the same as
associations like the Blackwater Valley or ACTVAR, or the Gatwick Diamond group,
which may a very valid role, but they are not the basis on which we would
necessarily do sub regional planning. These are sub regions in a very formal sense.
The others are informal.

Speaker unknown

I am sorry but the Blackwater Valley is not an association. It has been recognised by
RPG9, it is not an association.

Mike Gwilliam
Director Planning and Transport

Well actually if you read RPG9 you will see it suggests it may possibly be a sub
region, and needs further work. And the further work suggests that it isn't in terms
of the government's current definitions.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Before Liza speaks, it seems to me that if you get an allocation within the county and
then you get another allocation if you are within a sub region, it is question of
whether you want to be within a sub region town.

Cllr Liza McKinney
Adur Borough Council

Terribly sorry can I return to the arrows, just for one minute. Because I think there
is an arrow missing you see. Because all the arrows are pointing to London rather
like the trains go up and down to London and don't seem to go across. You see I
feel passionately going from Hastings, it is not just Shoreham to Hastings, why in the
hell can't we go up to Dover. At the moment to get to Dover from most of our
areas you have to go two sides of a triangle, you have to go up to the A25, and then
round and then down to Dover, because trying to go any other way, particularly the
A259, would take you forever. And you might just get there tomorrow. So what
we did in the South Coast regional strategy, of which I was a member, was, I kept
pushing and I think all my colleagues felt the same, that really and truly the A27
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which was to be the M27 all the way from Honiton and comes from Southampton
with a few little loops left out, but it seems to peter out at Lewes, or around there.
I really do think we should think of the South Coast towns being linked by a super
highway all the way to Dover, because we do have work and economy over there in
Europe whether we like it or not.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Yes, I thought we had dealt with the arrows previously.             Can you make them
disappear?

Cllr Keith Mitchell
Chairman Regional Planning Committee

The issue raised is in the briefs. The briefs will come to the RPC on the 28th July and
that particular issue is strongly covered in that particular brief.

Cllr Nick Skellett
Chair

Right you have a long list of things to look at in the RPC. May I come to the main
recommendation which is to - subject to those further possible minor changes that
will be at the RPC, that the Assembly endorses the proposed pattern as described in
agenda item 8b. Agreed. Thank you very much.

Yes, thank you colleagues and that concludes the meeting and thank you for your
contributions and proposals.




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