Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 2 July 2019 6.30 pm

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

Contact: Ron Schrieber, Democratic Services Officer  Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

6.

Declarations of interest

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

 

Minutes:

Councillor Kantor declared an interest in agenda item 5, South Oxfordshire Emerging Plan, as she was employed at Culham Science Centre and stated that she would be stepping down from the Committee during any discussion regarding the Culham strategic site.

7.

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. 

Minutes:

The chairman reported that the scrutiny function was one of the key checks and balances to the council decision making process, acting as a “critical friend” to the executive.

 

He also clarified the respective roles of scrutiny and audit and governance. Scrutiny contributed towards the development of policies and strategy.  It could challenge decisions made by the executive and had a role in scrutinising delivery and performance. Whereas audit and governance committee needed to satisfy itself that an adequate control environment was in place and, therefore, contributed towards the assessment of control processes and reviewed the operation of controls and procedural compliance. 

8.

Public participation

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

Minutes:

Caroline Baird, Dr Caroline Livingstone, Michael Tyce and Neville Harris had registered to speak on agenda item 5, South Oxfordshire Emerging Local Plan 2034 (see Minute 9 below).

9.

South Oxfordshire Emerging Local Plan pdf icon PDF 319 KB

To consider the head of planning’s report, together with the additional information requested by the committee at its meeting on 19 June 2019. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to minute 6 of the meeting held on 19 June 2019, the committee gave further consideration to the head of planning’s report which provided an update on the emerging South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2034 and detailed the implications of the options that officers believed were currently open to the council.  These were:

 

Option 1: Allow the emerging Local Plan to continue through its examination.

 

Option 2: Allow the emerging Local Plan to continue through its examination but proactively recommend a series of main modifications to the plan.

 

Option 3: Withdraw the Local Plan from examination. The Council would then make changes to the plan and then conduct a further Regulation 19 consultation.

 

Option 4: Withdraw the Local Plan from examination and restart the plan making process.

 

As requested by the committee, the following additional information had been circulated:

 

·         The evaluation of transport impacts, together with a transport topic paper

·         A red, amber, green (RAG) risk assessment; and

·         A housing land supply update

 

Caroline Baird, on behalf of Save Culham Green Belt, addressed the committee. She stated that the current plan was unsound with six of the strategic sites within the Green Belt which contradicted the aims of the Local Plan.  She expressed the view that the proposed Culham site was unsustainable and urged the committee to recommend Option 4.

 

Dr Caroline Livingstone, representing UKAEA, addressed the committee. She stated that Culham was growing and that UKAEA was experiencing unprecedented expansion.  She urged the committee to support the current emerging Local Plan and Option 1.

 

Michael Tyce, representing the Campaign to Protect Rural England, addressed the committee. He stated that the emerging Local Plan made provision for approximately 28,000 houses by 2034, a number which greatly exceeded the number of houses actually required.  He expressed the view that the aim of the emerging Local Plan was not to meet housing need but was a bid to qualify for Growth Deal funding. He urged the committee to recommend Option 4.

 

Neville Harris, a Didcot Town and Oxfordshire County Councillor, addressed the committee. He stated that the Local Plan should prioritise combating global warming and that an eco town was needed. He urged the committee to recommend Option 4.

 

Holly Jones, planning policy manager, and Emma Baker, planning policy team leader, gave a brief presentation on the housing land supply.  They reported that the key difference in the update note to the previously circulated information was that the future housing land supply position now took account of housing delivery where it was projected to be above the requirement. Undersupply was factored in where it exists. Officers advised that there was no clarity in the planning practice guidance on how to treat ‘oversupply’.

 

Also present to answer questions were Leigh Rawlins, Cabinet member for planning, Adrian Duffield, head of planning, and Sue Halliwell, director for planning and place, Oxfordshire County Council.

 

In response to members’ questions, it was reported that:

 

·         Officers had written to the two Planning Inspectors regarding the likely  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Exclusion of the public

Minutes:

RESOLVED: to exclude members of the press and public from the meeting for the following items of business under Part 1 of Schedule 12A Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 and as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006 on the grounds that:

i.      it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and

ii.    the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

11.

South Oxfordshire Local Plan - Legal Advice

Minutes:

The committee considered documents providing legal advice to the Council regarding the Local Plan.

 

Following discussion, a motion was moved and seconded

 

1.  To RECOMMEND to Council that time is set aside at its meeting on 18 July for a confidential session to consider the legal advice on the Emerging Local Plan 2034

 

2.  That the legal advice be included in the Council agenda pack.

 

On being put to the vote, the motion was carried.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.  To RECOMMEND to Council that time is set aside at its meeting on 18 July for a confidential session to consider the legal advice on the Emerging Local Plan 2034

 

2.  That the legal advice be included in the Council agenda pack.