East Sussex South Downs and Brighton & Hove Waste and Minerals Plan
The contract required ensuring that the plan-making regulations were complied with and deadlines were met. This commission built on Ian’s experience of being the Project Manager for the Plan from its inception. In this role, Ian was responsible for ensuring preparation of the entire Plan’s content including sections containing strategic, over-arching and development management policies, as well as sections concerned with implementation and monitoring. This involved commissioning evidence, site selection studies and the Sustainability Appraisal and required scrutiny of outputs to ensure quality and delivery requirements were met.
Preparation of this Plan included the gathering of evidence to undepin its policies, including site selection. In project managing the Plan, Ian identified and prepared processes needed to ensure its successful passage through all of these stages. Ian guided and provided input to the work of a joint project team made of planners from ESCC, Brighton & Hove City Council (B&HCC) and the South Downs National Park Authority. Ian also convened a ‘Joint Project Management Group’ of managers from each authority, which included preparation of reports setting out progress against the programme and budget. This helped maintain the strength of the partnership by providing an opportunity for the Authorities to make decisions on issues that needed joint resolution. Feedback from one of the managers on the group (Claire Potts) was as follows: “One of the best things has been the management group meetings, they’ve been really effective. We could sit down and go through set agenda and helps to keep informed of what is happening and opportunity to discuss more strategic issues. We were working as a team. Any areas of disagreement were discussed openly". Ian also reported to a joint Project Board of senior managers. A particular challenge was the need to obtain Member agreement, which involved briefings as well as formal reporting to the three authorities. This required navigation of the differing electoral cycles of ESCC and B&HCC. It should be noted that an early consultation draft of the Plan proved to be highly controversial and so appropriate evidence was gathered to underpin a change in direction to satisfy Member concerns. This included a programme of engagement with authorities to where waste could be exported to ensure compliance with the Duty to Cooperate. This was especially important, as the revised approach did not propose the development any new landfill capacity and relied on export to landfill in the short term. More information about the process can be found in an article in the June 2013 edition of Waste Planning and in a Planning Advisory Service case study.
The Plan was found sound in February 2013.