Venue: virtual meeting
Contact: Candida Mckelvey, Democratic Services Officer 07895 213820
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To adopt and sign as a correct record the committee minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2020 (to follow).
The minutes of 29 September 2020 were not available yet, so the committee agreed to defer their review to another meeting.
Declarations of interest
To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.
Urgent business and chair'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.
There was no urgent business.
To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak.
Mr. Andrew Walker, Development Trustee from the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Heritage Steam Railway, addressed the committee:
“Our Concern relates to the manner in which property developers manipulate the planning regulations to abrogate their responsibility for any conditions the Planning Committee seek impose on a development.
As a Railway, we currently operate a scheduled service from Chinnor Station to Princes Risborough on Sundays, Saturdays and Thursdays in School Holidays. In addition, we operate trains for a number of other purposes giving a total in 2019 of 280 operating days.
In 2019 we attracted some number of passengers and our ticket income was £206 thousand This was enhanced by a further £136,000 as non-ticket income. It is estimated that our railway brings an additional income to the surrounding area of £900,000.
We are now planning to extend a further 2.4 miles to Aston Rowant which will double our Catchment Area and we estimate at least a 60% increase in customers.
There are 4 housing developments along the route of the railway to Aston Rowant and a major concern for us is the long-term potential for complaints from residents in these developments about the noise and fumes from the railway and in particular our diesel locomotives.
Our experience to date from the one development completed is that the developer gained outline Planning permission by providing a proposal for a fully engineered noise and fume barrier in order to mitigate the noise from our railway and this was included as a condition in the permission granted by the Planning Committee. Then once the houses were built, the developer provided little more than a simple wooden fence. Our question is - How did we allow this to happen?
Our concern is that the other three developments will follow a similar pattern with detailed approaches to Noise and Fume mitigation, followed by a total abrogation of responsibility for delivering those mitigations, with the consequent ongoing issues between the railway and our neighbours about Noise and Fumes.
We would like this committee to scrutinise the manner in which developers manipulate the council and its planning policy in order to avoid responsibility for mitigating the effect of noise into their properties and thus failing to comply with the National Planning Framework and the Conditions imposed on the developers by the Planning Committee in support of the Framework.
We would suggest that a Study of the Kiln Lakes Development and in particular the Saga of the acoustic barrier between our railway and the Kiln Lakes Development, could form the basis for such a scrutiny, not for the fence itself, but the interesting practices used by developers to circumvent their responsibilities.
The Purpose of this scrutiny would be to attempt to ensure that other developers across the district are unable to abrogate their responsibilities for mitigation of railway noise and fumes.”
A fuller presentation has been circulated to the committee and to Cabinet member for planning, Councillor Anne-Marie Simpson. Individual cases cannot be discussed at scrutiny committee.
Work schedule and dates for all South and Vale scrutiny meetings
To review the 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.
It was requested if an item could be added regarding inviting Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) to a scrutiny meeting to discuss green grants which are available until March 2021. There is a view that there are not enough workers skilled in the area of green home improvements – what plans do OxLEP have to increase this in future? It was confirmed that this request was within the remit of the Scrutiny committee and could be requested through discussions with the relevant Cabinet member and officers.
The committee were informed by the chair that Cabinet member for Planning is being asked to bring reports to committee on the following:
i) ensure that the underlying infrastructure can cope with the demand for electricity for new developments?
ii) What is being done to ensure that the likely increase in demand caused by the increasing up-take in electric and plug-in hybrid cars by residents in the legacy housing stock can be met?
To consider the report of the Head of Finance.
Cabinet member for finance and corporate assets, Councillor Leigh Rawlins, introduced the report for financial outturn 2019-20. Simon Hewings, Interim Head of Finance and Richard Spraggett, Senior Finance Business Partner were also present to answer questions.
There is an underspend of £3.9 million on net service expenditure. Table one details the underspend on page two of the report. Table three shows that the underspend is mainly due to one-off schemes, which have been carried forward to 20/21.
This is detailed on page six of the report. For 2019/20 there was an underspend of £1.4 million against the approved programme for the year. Details are in appendix three of the report. The report explains the main variances.
Chair thanked officers for the report, it is very clear.
Written responses are to be given to queries regarding:
The committee noted the report. Chair thanked Councillor Rawlins and Simon Hewings.
To consider the Authority Monitoring Report and provide feedback to the Cabinet Member for Planning
The Authority Monitoring Report was introduced by Cabinet member for planning, Councillor Anne-Marie Simpson.
The purpose of the annually produced report is to track progress on meeting the district’s development needs and whether the adopted policies of the development plan are implemented effectively. This report is for 2018-19 and was published in December 2019. The adopted core strategy is the main focus. When the new Local Plan 2035 is adopted, future AMRs will reflect policies in that document.
This report contains a lot of useful data and officers were present to help answer any questions.
The committee were asked to consider the Authority Monitoring Report and provide feedback to the Cabinet Member for Planning, noting that the report is already published and cannot be changed for 2018-19.
Comments were made as follows: