Agenda and minutes

Oxfordshire Growth Board, (now The Future Oxfordshire Partnership) - Tuesday, 29 January 2019 2.00 pm

Venue: Didcot Civic Hall, Britwell Road, Didcot, OX11 7JN

Contact: Steve Culliford  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Ian Hudspeth (Leader of Oxfordshire County Council) who was substituted by Councillor Judith Heathcoat (Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council), Jeremy Long (Chairman of Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership), Professor Alistair Fitt (the Universities’ representative) substituted by Professor Linda King, and Philip Shadbolt (Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s business representative for Bicester). 


Declarations of interest




Minutes pdf icon PDF 134 KB

To adopt as a correct record the minutes of the Oxfordshire Growth Board meeting held on 27 November 2018. 


RESOLVED: to adopt the minutes of the Oxfordshire Growth Board meeting held on 27 November 2018 and agree that the chairman signs them as a correct record. 


Chairman's announcements


The chairman advised of emergency evacuation arrangements and asked all present to silence their mobile telephones. 


Public participation pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Members of the public may ask questions of the Chairman of the Growth Board, or address the Growth Board on any substantive item at a meeting, subject to the restrictions set out in the public participation scheme. 


The total amount of time allowed for public participation at a meeting shall not exceed 30 minutes, unless the Chairman consents to extend that time in the interests of the proper conduct of the business of the Growth Board. 


A person speaking to the Growth Board may speak for up to three minutes.  Board members may ask questions for clarification. 


Asking a question

Questions (in full and in writing) must be received by 5pm on Wednesday 23 January 2019.  A written or verbal answer will be provided by the Chairman at the meeting.  The questioner may ask a supplementary question directly related to either the original question or the reply received. 


Addressing the Board

Notice of a wish to address the Growth Board by making a statement must be received by 12 noon on Monday 28 January 2019. 



Petitions on matters directly relevant to matters in which the Growth Board has powers and duties must be received by 5pm on Wednesday 23 January 2019.  The representative of the petitioners may speak.  Petitions are referred without discussion to the next meeting. 


Questions, petitions and notice of addresses must be submitted to or delivered/posted to Democratic Services, South Oxfordshire District Council, 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Milton, OX14 4SB. 


The Growth Board received five questions and three statements from members of the public: 


1.         Question from Sarah Couch (read out by Nigel Pearce):


“It is very hard to see how the growth targets you are working with are compatible with the de-carbonisation which is essential to address the climate emergency. We need to reduce CO2 emissions to zero in the next 30 years - the Paris commitments (if implemented) will result in catastrophic 3 degrees warming.  All development including infrastructure needs to be far more ambitious.  How do you intend to reduce CO2 emissions to zero in the plans you are developing?”


In response, the chairman reported that the Growth Board recognised the challenges that growth brought and wanted to promote good growth that was sustainable.  The Oxfordshire Growth Board and the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) had recently agreed a countywide energy strategy (developed by OxLEP in partnership with all local councils, the University of Oxford, Low Carbon Hub, the Distribution Network Operator, and other stakeholders).  The overall vision of the energy strategy was for ‘Oxfordshire to be at the forefront of energy innovation to foster clean growth’.  The strategy set a target to reduce countywide emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, compared with 2008 levels, and set a pathway to achieve zero carbon growth by 2050.  The strategy has been underpinned by a carbon emission analysis, taking into account a number of scenarios, including the addition of 100,000 new homes.  Delivery of the strategy required ambition and activity in a wide range of areas.  The Oxfordshire Plan 2050 had a role in setting the vision for low carbon standards in new development.  This was integral to its place-making principles that would drive growth that enhanced the environment and quality of life. 


2.         Question from Fleur Woodland (read out by Nigel Pearce):


“In the light of climate change obligations (where England's actions, compared to almost everywhere else is, notoriously poor), why is expanding transport systems seen as a good idea (especially as primarily being for the science / technology hub - when presume they, of anyone, could embrace solar-electric-powered human-carrying drones)?”   


In response, the chairman reported that the Growth Board recognised that, in order to support the level of growth planned for Oxfordshire, expanded transport systems would be necessary in some circumstances, for example where new or significantly expanded settlements were proposed.  Increasingly however, the Growth Board hoped and expected that these settlements would also be supported by other, more innovative solutions that would reduce the need to travel.  The Growth Board’s whole infrastructure approach was about reducing traffic, cutting journey times, improving mass transit options, and reducing the need for travel through the way new communities and workplaces were designed.  Travel would be safer, smoother and cleaner.  For example, the Growth Board was delivering over 40 separate projects to help improve access and the ability to move around, including journey times.  This included better bus transit, cycling and walking routes.  The Growth Board recognised that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Letwin Review pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To receive a presentation from Andrew Down, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils. 


The Growth Board received a presentation from Andrew Down, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils.  The presentation reported on the outcome of the Letwin Review, a government review to analyse the gap between the number of homes permitted by local authorities and the number of homes being built.  The review identified reasons for the gap and made recommendations to government.  The government’s response to the Letwin Review was expected in February. 


The presentation suggested some actions that Oxfordshire could take:

·         Assess current build-out rates in the county (this work was in train)

·         Use the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 and local plan processes to consider the range of housing types and tenures offered

·         Increase co-ordination of planning policy across the county

·         Work with large site owners and developers to maximise diversity of the housing offering and increase build-out rates (this work was already in train)

·         Continue to work with Homes England to develop strategic sites

·         Make the most of the opportunities afforded by the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal to accelerate housing delivery


Future actions could include:

·         Explore options for practical responses in Oxfordshire

·         Take every opportunity to influence national reform of planning policy

·         Establish / confirm credibility by delivering our commitments in the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal

·         Build on our already good relationships with Homes England and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government


The Growth Board agreed with the suggested actions. 




(a)      agree the actions set out in the bullet points above and request the Executive Officer Group to act on these and reflect on the problems of different size housing developments across the county.  The group should not be constrained by the recommendations of the Letwin Review but should seek solutions appropriate for Oxfordshire; and 


(b)      request the Housing Advisory Sub-Group to consider promoting a policy for lifetime homes. 


Role of Homes England in the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal pdf icon PDF 472 KB

To receive a presentation from Tom Walker, Homes England. 


The Growth Board received a presentation from Tom Walker, from Homes England.  He reported on the role of Homes England in assisting the Growth Board and Oxfordshire’s councils in meeting the Housing and Growth Deal.  Homes England‘s mission was to intervene in the market to ensure more homes were built in areas of greatest need and to improve affordability.  This would create a more sustainable, more resilient and diverse housing market. 


Homes England had been given substantial resources to meets these aims.  Since being established in January 2018, in Oxfordshire, it had supported the Growth Board’s work on the Housing and Growth Deal, the first such deal in the country.  Sustained delivery of housing projects was the aim through strong partnership working.  Also, in January 2019 Homes England had supported the Growth Board’s submission of the Didcot Garden Town Housing Infrastructure Fund bid to government. 


The Growth Board confirmed its commitment to growth in Oxfordshire and working in partnership with others, including Homes England, and thanked Mr Walker for his presentation. 


Housing and Growth Deal delivery update

To receive a verbal update on progress with the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal delivery. 


The Growth Board received an update on progress with the delivery of the Housing and Growth Deal.  The Oxfordshire councils were on target in year 1 to build 148 affordable homes and progress was being made on the targets for years 2 and 3.  The infrastructure target for year should also be met. 


RESOLVED: to note the report. 


Oxfordshire Plan 2050 Sub-Group update pdf icon PDF 558 KB

To receive an update from the Joint Statutory Spatial Plan Sub-Group. 


The Joint Statutory Spatial Plan Sub-Group had been renamed to reflect the name of the new draft plan and would now be known as the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 Sub-Group.  The sub-group’s chairman reported that sub-group had produced a draft plan, the Oxfordshire Plan 2050, for the Regulation 18 (Part 1) consultation.  A report on this had been included as a separate agenda item (see minute 25). 


The sub-group had also considered how to reach younger people and concluded that Oxford Brookes University and Oxfordshire’s secondary schools should be targeted during the consultation.  There would need to be an on-going engagement process to develop the best plan.  The sub-group chairman welcomed input from individuals or organisations, and urged them to feed their comments in as part of the consultation. 


Scrutiny panel update pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To receive any feedback from the Growth Board Scrutiny Panel. 


The Growth Board welcomed to the meeting Councillor Andrew Gant, chairman of the Scrutiny Panel.  Councillor Gant reported on the outcome of the Growth Board’s Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 24 January.  The Scrutiny Panel had made three recommendations:


1.         That the Growth Board reflects on the categorisation of consultees to create a separate list of key consultees in addition to the statutory list of consultees within the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 consultation process.  The Campaign to Protect Rural England should be added to this list of key consultees. 


2.         That the Growth Board redrafts the Regulation 18 consultation document to be more consistent with international, national and local policies and targets concerning climate change and other likely future trends.  This should include:

a)        alignment with the Government’s definition of ‘growth’ as contained with the Clean Growth Strategy 2018;

b)        a greater recognition of the importance of climate change and its relationship with the forward planning of our housing, transport, health, wellbeing and economic infrastructure;

c)         a greater recognition of the ‘mega-trends’ that are expected to affect the demographic, climatic and technological environment;

d)        a ‘SMART’ target for greenhouse gas reductions against which all the aspirations and objectives are judged.


3.         That the Growth Board asks each Leader to establish a clear structure for communications between the Growth Board and each council’s members. 


In response, the Growth Board accepted the need to have a wider consultation list and advised that this was already in place, including the Campaign to Protect Rural England.  The Scrutiny Panel’s comments could not be accommodated in the draft being considered by each council this week but the Growth Board would consider these comments as a consultation response.  Lastly, the Growth Board chairman reported that each council leader had confirmed that they had already established clear communication with their other council members and would continue with this. 


Oxfordshire Plan 2050 (Joint Statutory Spatial Plan) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To update the Growth Board with progress on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 (the Joint Statutory Spatial Plan) and plans for the first stage of public consultation. 


Recommendation: to note the report. 

Additional documents:


The Growth Board considered a report on progress with the joint statutory spatial plan.  A draft plan, renamed the Oxfordshire Plan 2050, had been produced by the sub-group and was being submitted to each Oxfordshire council for approval over the next few days.  This was the Regulation 18 (Part 1) issues consultation document, setting out a vision for Oxfordshire, strategic objectives, and the level of growth.  Once approved by each council, the plan would be subject to consultation for six weeks, from 11 February to 25 March.  A second part of the Regulation 18 consultation would take place in the summer to consult on broad locations for growth. 


The Growth Board thanked the sub-group for its work on the plan and urged the public to take part in the consultation. 


RESOLVED: to note the report. 


Housing Advisory Sub-Group update pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To receive an update from the Housing Sub-Group. 


The chairman of the Housing Advisory Sub-Group updated the Growth Board on its work, particularly on meeting the affordable housing programme targets as part of the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal.  The sub-group had proved to be productive, with councils learning from each other’s experiences and sharing good practice. 


The sub-group had made two recommendations, which the Growth Board supported. 




(a)      request all district councils to make the best possible efforts to ensure their agreed affordable housing units in the Growth Deal programme are ready to deliver to the agreed timetable; and


(b)      request that district council officers and lead members formally and informally share good practice, which assists the timely delivery of proposed affordable housing schemes. 


Infrastructure Sub-Group update

To receive an update from the Infrastructure Sub-Group. 


The Growth Board received an update from the Infrastructure Sub-Group and noted that the year 1 infrastructure programme was progressing well. 


Oxfordshire local plans progress pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To consider the progress report on the adoption of Oxfordshire’s local plans. 


The Growth Board received a report updating on progress towards the adoption of local plans across Oxfordshire’s districts.  The Growth Board welcomed the news that the local plans were on course to meet the targets in the Housing and Growth Deal programme. 


RESOLVED: to note the report. 


Updates on matters relevant to the Growth Board pdf icon PDF 200 KB

Growth Board members and officers may verbally update the Board on progress on matters previously before the Board for consideration, listed in the forward plan, or relevant to the Board’s future decisions.  This is for the sharing of information and no decisions will be taken. 


Bev Hindle, of Oxfordshire County Council, gave a short presentation on progress with the Oxfordshire Rail Connectivity Study.  This was a strategic study of the Oxfordshire rail markets, which had recommended a rail strategy detailing growth benefits of interventions and set out a proposed investment strategy.  The second part of the study was to develop options.  The study looked at passenger needs and the future demand for freight traffic by rail.  The study was expected to report in the summer.  This was the first step to re-opening the Cowley branch line. 


The Growth Board welcomed the update. 


Dates of next meetings

The dates of future Growth Board meetings are below.  These will be held on Tuesdays at 2pm in Didcot Civic Hall. 

·         26 March 2019

·         4 June


The dates of future Growth Board meetings are below.  These will be held on Tuesdays at 2pm in Didcot Civic Hall. 

·         26 March 2019

·         4 June