To consider the report of the Future Oxfordshire Partnership’s programme lead on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050.
Cabinet considered a report from the programme lead on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050. This sought Cabinet’s approval to an update on the Oxfordshire Plan’s Statement of Community Involvement. The statement set out how the public and local organisations could shape the future of Oxfordshire. The statement had been amended in response to the recent lifting of coronavirus restrictions and now included consultation options through social media and other digital engagement methods. The cabinet at each of Oxfordshire’s five local planning authorities was being asked to approve the same amended statement.
The Scrutiny Committee had considered the report in a different form to that now before Cabinet. Feedback from each councils’ scrutiny committee had resulted in the report being updated before the Cabinet meeting. However, the committee had supported the revised Statement of Community Involvement and recommended its adoption to Cabinet.
The Cabinet member also supported the approval of the statement, as it would allow the Oxfordshire Plan to progress. The Cabinet member reported that the statement would be reviewed again once the final timelines were known.
Cabinet supported the updated statement of community involvement but asked that it be kept under review. Cabinet asked that district councillors were consulted on future draft Oxfordshire Plan documents before they were published. It was suggested that figure 2 in the statement, showing the relationship of the plan to other plans and strategies, could be clearer to show that the Oxfordshire vision sat above the Oxfordshire Plan and therefore informed it, rather than being a two-way process.
The Scrutiny Committee had also recommended that the Cabinet member for planning obtained greater clarity about the nature of the consultation responses to uncover any potential conflicts of interest and to respond to the committee’s concerns in writing. Cabinet supported this suggestion.
(a) approve the adoption of the revised Oxfordshire Plan Statement of Community Involvement, and to note that the statement will be kept under regular review as the project continues; and
(b) note the Scrutiny Committee’s recommendation to the Cabinet member for planning “to obtain greater clarity about the nature of the consultation responses to uncover any potential conflicts of interest and to respond to the committee’s concerns in writing” and ask the Cabinet member to pursue this.