Venue: The Fountain Conference Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford
Contact: Steven Corrigan Democratic Services Manager
Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interest
To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.
Councillor Kantor made a statement that she is employed at UKAEA Culham and Councillor David Turner made a statement that he is a member of the Culham Local Liaison Committee – a potential housing site in the Local Plan.
Urgent business and chairman's announcements
To receive notification of any matters which the chairman determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent, and to receive any announcements from the chairman.
Councillor David Bretherton, Chairman, provided housekeeping information. He advised that he had recently attended the National Kebab Awards in London at which a kebab van operating in Thame had retained its crown for kebab van of the year.
Members of the public who wish to address Council on the agenda item for this meeting must register to do so in writing or by email to email@example.com no later than 5.00pm on Wednesday 4 March 2020.
The chairman advised that a number of members of the public had registered to address Council on agenda item 5 – South Oxfordshire Local Plan. Council agreed to extend the public speaking time to allow each member of the public who had registered to speak for three minutes to make their address.
Cabinet, at its meeting on 5 March 2020, will consider a report on the options to progress the South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2034.
The report of the head of planning, which Cabinet will consider, is attached.
Cabinet’s recommendations will be circulated to councillors prior to the special Council meeting.
Councillor Bretherton, Chairman of the council, invited Mark Stone, Chief Executive, to address Council. The chief executive advised that following discussions between council representatives and officials from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), in a letter dated 3 March 2020, the Secretary of State wrote to Councillor Sue Cooper, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, in which he stated he is using government powers in Section 27 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 directing the council to progress the plan through examination to be adopted by December this year, and for senior council officers to report monthly to MHCLG officials on progress of the plan. Councillors could therefore not consider the options set out in the officer’s report published with the meeting agenda due to the Secretary of State’s new Direction and members of the public should confine points to the progress of the Local Plan.
Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council and Chair of the Didcot Garden Town Advisory Board addressed Council. He welcomed Cabinet’s recommendations. The recommendations offered a pragmatic way forward to protect residents from speculative development, to deliver the required infrastructure and a green plan to support cyclepaths and public transport.
Sarah Webb, a local resident addressed council. She welcomed the action of the council to address the climate emergency. She regretted the action of the Secretary of State to force the council to adopt an out of date plan and urged Council to withdraw the Local Plan and respect the outcome of the 2019 district elections.
Caroline Baird, representing Save Culham Green Belt, addressed Council. She expressed the view that the action of the Secretary of State was a violation of democracy and that the Local Plan included measures in direct conflict with the 2019 Conservative parliamentary election manifesto. The plan provided for excessive housing numbers based on a flawed evidence base. The site at Culham would become a car reliant site. The plan had no regard to the climate emergency or flooding issues.
Richard Harding, representing Campaign to Protect Rural England Oxfordshire, addressed Council. He expressed the view that the Secretary of State’s new Direction was a sad day for democracy. He stated that the proposed Local Plan was flawed based on out of date assumptions, that the high numbers of houses would be undeliverable, that it did not address the climate emergency and would damage both the countryside and environment. He urged Council to resist the Direction issued by the Secretary of State and evaluate the legal options open to the council to challenge it.
David Pryor, a local resident, addressed Council. He spoke in support of the Local Plan which would provide much needed infrastructure for Didcot. He also spoke in support of a merger between South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils and the Didcot Garden Town project.
Marie Holmes, a local resident, addressed Council. She expressed the view that she felt betrayed by the Secretary of State’s Direction against a democratically ... view the full minutes text for item 80.