Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 23 January 2018 6.30 pm

Venue: Meeting Room 1, 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Milton, OX14 4SB

Contact: Susan Harbour, Democratic Services Team Leader  Democratic Services Officer

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Scrutiny Committee minutes of the meeting held on 28 November 2017 (attached). 


The minutes of the meeting held on 28 November 2017 were accepted as an accurate record of the meeting and were signed by the chairman.


Declarations of interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting. 






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. 




Public participation

To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak. 




Work schedule and dates for all South and Vale scrutiny meetings pdf icon PDF 84 KB

To review the attached scrutiny work schedule. Please note, although the dates are confirmed, the items under consideration are subject to being withdrawn, added to or rearranged without further notice.



The committee reviewed the work schedule and dates.


Ask The Leader

Committee members, and other registered speakers, able to ask the Council Leader any questions relating to the business of the district.


John Cotton, the leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, came to the table to answer questions from the committee. This was an open session and, although he had had advance notification of some of the questions, this was not the case with all of the questions. In addition, there were a number of supplementary questions asked. Councillor Cotton explained to the committee that he would be responding to questions both in his role as leader of the council, but also with his personal opinions, or in his role as portfolio holder. He would try to indicate where this was the case.



Are we on track to submit our local plan?



-        The timetable has slipped, in part due to an extension of the consultation period and negotiations over leaseholder agreements at Chalgrove. The submission was likely to slip back until mid March, at the earliest (from late Jan/Feb). The Council needs to issue six weeks’ notice to the planning inspectorate, which had not yet been given. It was likely that the plan would be adopted early next year, rather than later this year.

-        The Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) powers of Homes England had been increased to enable focus on housing delivery. Progress with CPOs would be quicker.



Could we have an update on the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth deal?



-        The Oxfordshire authorities had the only successful deal to date. The original timetable aimed for 31 January 2019 for completion and was still on track. It was due to come to Cabinet in early February and Full Council on 15 February for approval.

-        £150 million for infrastructure.

-        £60 million for affordable housing.

-        £5 million for early funding.

-        Up to 100,000 homes.

-        An issue was how the government would respond if the authorities do not deliver on their commitments.



Could South Oxfordshire District Council evaluate whether it is possible for it to build affordable homes?



-        There are examples of this happening elsewhere such as “Urban Street” at South Cambridgeshire District Council.

-        The potential exists to form a housing company and to invest. But the council would need to be clear on what could we add to what is done elsewhere. Where are the gaps?

-        It is unlikely to provide a major income stream.

-        There needs to be an overhaul of treasury management policy to address issues of risk aversion.

-        Not just looking at financial returns, but also at the public good.



Do you see the government agreeing a devolution deal for Oxfordshire in the current climate?



-        The Dorset councils’ bid is at the forefront of devolution deals. If this bid is successful then it is likely that other councils will look for responses to their bids. Oxfordshire’s councils’ submission is still “live” with the Secretary of State, and waiting for a response.



What approach has been decided on for Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) money? Would it be allocated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.