Venue: virtual meeting
Contact: Candida Mckelvey, Democratic Services Officer
Note: a meeting of scrutiny committee to discuss South Oxfordshire Local Plan watch at our youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTj2pCic8vzucpzIaSWE3UQ
The chair welcomed everyone to the committee, and introduced the officers taking part in this meeting. The chair also welcomed the QC’s who were present to assist with any legal queries.
The chair read out an introduction to explain the procedure for virtual council meetings.
There were no apologies for absence, and a roll call of the committee and officers present was conducted.
Declarations of interest
To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.
To review and approve the minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2020, and for the chair to sign them as a correct record.
The minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2020 was agreed as a correct record, and the chair will sign them as such.
Urgent business and chair's announcements
To receive notification of any matters which the chair determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent, and to receive any announcements from the chair.
To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak.
The chair informed that there were four members of the public speaking at this meeting, speaking on the only item on the agenda – the South Oxfordshire Local Plan. Each person had three minutes to speak, followed by questions of clarification from the committee, if needed.
The first speaker was Ginette Camps-Walsh, who is Chair of the Beckley and Stowood neighbourhood plan steering group, and a member of the Parish council. She clarified that she also spoke for neighbouring parishes, Stanton St John and Forest Hill. She spoke to object against accepting new Local Plan.
There was a question from Councillor Casey-Rerhaye about the significant financial risks not outlined in the report, as stated by Mrs Camps Walsh. Mrs Camps Walsh responded that this was regarding the risk of a developer from an emissions site taking the plan to judicial review.
The second speaker was Eugenie Buchen. She thought that the sustainability appraisal should have been challenged more. She spoke to object against accepting new Local Plan.
The third speaker listed was David Adams, Sandhills Parish Councillor, but he was unable to connect to the meeting.
The fourth speaker was Angela Dickenson, on behalf of Beautiful Barton and Friends of Bayswater Brook. She spoke to object against accepting new Local Plan.
There were no further questions of clarification.
South Oxfordshire Local Plan
Cabinet will be meeting on 8 December to consider the report of the Head of Planning on the South Oxfordshire Local Plan. The report and appendices will be published with the Cabinet agenda and a link will be sent to all councillors.
The documentation will be published on the Cabinet meeting web pages:
Scrutiny committee is asked to consider the report of the Head of Planning and make any recommendations to Cabinet.
Papers to follow.
The chair introduced this section, to discuss the Local Plan paper.
The chair briefly stated that the committee had reviewed legal advice that was confidential. If anyone wished to discuss this, it would need to be dealt with in confidential session.
Cabinet member for Planning, Councillor Anne Marie Simpson, introduced the paper.
The new South Oxfordshire Local Plan has been six years in the making, replacing the Local Plan 2011 and the core strategy, adopted in 2006 and 2011 respectively. The Council has a statutory duty to have a plan for its area and to review it regularly. The plan is overdue.
The plan contains the starting point for future planning applications and matters. There are seven strategic housing sites to help meet the unmet housing needs of Oxford.
The local plan has been through thorough preparation, consultation and examination by the Planning Inspector. There were over 15,000 views of the examination meetings online. The public were able to voice their concerns at hearings. There were some important changes made during examination. The inspector instructed the changes (main modifications) needed to make the plan sound, and consultation of these changes were published to the public during September – November 2020. The Inspectors report issued in November found the Local Plan to be sound, after the main modifications were made and the consultation responses considered.
The main changes were since the submission of the plan in 2019:
· Density policy – now to optimise density, preserve S Oxfordshire character.
· Carbon reduction – 40% greener than current regulations, step up to 2030 targets
· Policy for 40% affordable housing, and 50% on Oxford adjacent sites, there is inclusion of C2 use class properties.
· Biodiversity net gain – there is bespoke wording for each strategic site on achieving this.
· Green belt – new requirements of mitigation measures
· Layout and design of strategic sites will take place next through master planning stage, that includes local stakeholders.
· Specialist consultants have been involved, and we now have an additional addendum to the sustainability appraisal.
· Appendix G has been published and circulated to the committee.
The Council has a legal direction from the Secretary of State to adopt the Local Plan by December 2020, and officers have worked hard to achieve this.
The decision is binary – to adopt or not adopt in its entirety.
The Inspector found the plan sound after making some changes and further consultation. No changes can be made except for minor amends before publication. Part of the recommendation is to delegate authority to make minor amends to the Head of Planning, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Planning.
Adoption of the Local Plan allows Neighbourhood Plans to progress and allows certainty for communities over housing and not speculative growth.
Communities can see the benefits of increased community infrastructure levy (CIL) receipts and also the Housing and Infrastructure Funding (HIF) can be utilised.
The plan allows for provision of more affordable housing (11,300), and for the first time, allowing for those who wish to ... view the full minutes text for item 81.