Agenda and minutes

Oxfordshire Growth Board, (now The Future Oxfordshire Partnership) - Tuesday, 26 March 2019 2.00 pm

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

Contact: Kevin Jacob  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were submitted from Jeremy Long, (Chairman of OxLEP), Louise Patten, (Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group) who was substituted by Jo Cogswell, Philip Shadbolt (OxLEP business representative for Bicester) and Lesley Tims, (Environment Agency Representative) who was substituted by Joe Cuthbertson. 


Declarations of interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To adopt as a correct record the minutes of the Oxfordshire Growth Board meeting held on 29 January 2019.


RESOLVED: To adopt the minutes of the Oxfordshire Growth Board meeting held on 29 January 2019 and agree that the Chairman signs them as a correct record subject to the following amendments:


·         Inclusion of Angus Horner, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership Science Vale representative, as present.

·         Minute 19 - Correction of questioner for Question 5 – replace ‘Helen Marshall’ with ‘Sue Haywood’ on behalf of Need not Greed.

·         Minute 26 – Replacement of ‘Chairman of the Housing Affordable Sub-Group’ with ‘Chair of the Housing Affordable Sub-Group’.


Chairman's announcements


The Chairman referred to the provision of written answers to public questions asked at the previous meeting. Written responses had been sent to the questioners and would be added to the website in due course. In future, these will be attached to the minutes of Growth Board meetings.


The Chairman also indicated that the order of the agenda would be amended so that Item 10 – Verbal update on the Oxfordshire to Cambridgeshire Arc – could be considered prior to Item 8 – Statement on the appointment of a Growth Board Director.


Public participation pdf icon PDF 102 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 three working days before the Growth Board meeting.  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 on a substantive agenda item must be received by 12 noon on the working day before the Growth Board meeting. 



Petitions on matters directly relevant to matters in which the Growth Board has powers and duties must be received by 5pm on three working days before the Growth Board meeting.  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, Oxfordshire Growth Board, Strategy and Insight, South Oxfordshire District Council, 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Milton, OX14 4SB. 


The Growth Board received two public questions and one statement from members of the public:


1.      Question from by Jo Allen, Chair of Upper Heyford Parish Council. (In her absence the question was deemed to have been put).


We are strongly of the view that the Growth Board, in administering the production of the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan, must take into account the impacts that a huge increase in the growth of housing and businesses in Oxfordshire will have on the following:


- growth in energy use 

- growth in water use 

- growth in waste created (rubbish, sewage etc)

- growth in traffic and pollution

- growth in noise and light pollution

- decrease in green space, diminished rural environment and displacement of wildlife.


It is also essential to include the impacts of major growth on local public services, for example:


- NHS services: hospitals, GP surgeries, ambulance services, etc

- Schools

- Police services


These important community services are not being enabled to grow in parallel with all the extra growth in housing and increased population that is proposed. This problem needs to be addressed by the Growth Board before decisions about more housing are made. Local people should not have to pay the price for increased housing by seeing their public services further diminished, while traffic and pollution increase.


It is time to look holistically, and to consider our existing communities in Oxfordshire. We are not Nimbys but insist that we should be valued, and our views taken into proper consideration. It is not enough to give money to 'mitigate' outcomes that are not capable of being mitigated.   


Frontline services (such as Thames Water, police, GPs, schools etc.) are very important sources of information in the planning process because they are already having to try to accommodate an increased population on decreasing budgets and are struggling to deliver decent services. It is essential that their first-hand experience is made available to fully inform the Growth Board when such huge decisions are being made. Representatives of frontline public services must, therefore, be included on the Growth Board together with representatives from community organisations and Parish Councils and representatives for the environment and wildlife.  


Oxfordshire Growth Board should be leading the way forward towards genuine sustainability and enhancing Oxfordshire - economically, socially and environmentally, all equally valued together, for present and future generations.


We would like to know how the Growth Board is going to ensure the issues raised above are addressed fully and how it will reassure existing communities that they have been listened to and the issues acted upon.


In response, the Chairman indicated that a full written answer would be provided to Councillor Allen, but that in summary that the issues raised were all fundamental concerns of good planning which the Oxfordshire Plan would strive for.


2.      Question from Sue Haywood on behalf of the coalition Planning for Real NEED not Speculator GREED in Oxfordshire.


Given that the Growth Board has made a commitment to enshrine  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.


Appointment of chairman and vice-chairman for 2019/20

The Oxfordshire Growth Board is requested to appoint its chairman and vice-chairman for 2019/20, commencing from 1 July 2019


It was proposed by Councillor Cox, and seconded by Councillor Hudspeth, that the Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council continue as Chairman of the Oxfordshire Growth Board for 2019/20 (commencing 1July 2019) and that the Vice-Chairman be the Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council.


Councillor Cox commented that under the rotating process for the election of the Chairman of the Growth Board, the position was due to pass to the Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council for 2019/20. He, however, indicated that he would be standing down as a councillor and, consequently, Leader at the end of the current municipal year.


As the Growth Board was at a very important stage of its development, it was vital that there was a certainty and continuity of knowledge. Councillor Cox did not believe that the new leader of Vale of White Horse would be able to provide this, in addition to the everyday challenges of taking on the role of heading their authority. As the current Chairman of the Board was experienced and knowledgeable in the role, he felt that she should continue in post for a further year.


Councillor Brown commented that the process of rotating chairmanship amongst the authorities had worked well providing for a variety of different views to be reflected and should continue. She paid tribute to Councillor Murphy as the current Chairman but wished to place on record her formal objection to the proposal. Councillor Brown felt that it was not in the spirit of partnership working and was a political decision.  


Professor Fitt commented that as a non-voting member of the Board he felt that the process for rotation of the chair should continue, but that an alternative might be for West Oxfordshire to take on the role.


Upon being put to a vote it was:



1)     That the Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council be appointed as Chairman of the Oxfordshire Growth Board for the 2019/2020 year commencing on 1 July 2019.

2)     That the new Leader of Vale of White District Council be appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Oxfordshire Growth Board for the 2019/2020 year commencing 1 July 2019.  



Appointment of a representative to the Oxford to Cambridge Arc executive committee

The Oxfordshire Growth Board is requested to appoint a representative to the Oxford to Cambridge Arc executive committee.


It was proposed by Councillor Hudspeth and duly seconded that Councillor James Mills be appointed as a representative to the Oxford to Cambridge Arc Executive Committee.


Bev Hindle, Strategic Director for Communities Oxfordshire County Council, updated the Board that the detailed formal governance structures for the Oxford to Cambridge Arc– which covered some 33 partners including local authorities, local enterprise partnerships and universities – were still evolving. It was, nevertheless, the intention of the Arc to establish a leader’s group to help with the effective convening of its partners. It was, therefore, deemed prudent to take a view on the appointment of a Growth Board representative so that they could be in place once these arrangements had been formalised.


The Growth Board, while recognising that the current governance arrangements were evolving, confirmed that it was appropriate to appoint a representative to the proposed Oxford to Cambridge Arc Executive Committee.


RESOLVED: That Councillor Mills be appointed as the Growth Board’s representative to the Oxford to Cambridge Arc Executive Committee.


Statement on the appointment of a Growth Board Director

To receive a statement from the Chairman of the Growth Board on the appointment of a Growth Board Director.


The Chairman made the following statement:


‘On behalf of Oxfordshire Leaders and the Growth Board, I would like to welcome, as of April 1, Bev Hindle as our ‘Growth Board Director’.  Local Authority leaders recognised that while our officers have done an excellent job defining and delivering our workplan in the first year of the Housing & Growth Deal, we need more dedicated senior resource to help take this forward, and to support our Chief Executives in this key area.


Bev will be accountable to the Growth Board, Oxfordshire Leaders and their Chief Executives to support the Growth Board with a particular focus on delivery of our commitments under the Housing & Growth Deal and our collective role in securing and delivering against other relevant major funding streams.  Bev will also be chairing the Growth Board’s Executive Officer Group and reporting their progress to Chief Executives, Leaders and the Growth Board.


At this time, I would also like to thank all the officers who have contributed to delivery of the Growth Deal to date, with particular appreciation to Caroline Green for stepping into the Deal Director role over the last 6 months or so.


Bev will also be playing a role to support Councillor Wood and Yvonne Rees, Leader and Chief Executive of Cherwell District Council, in their roles heading the Oxford to Cambridge Arc Leaders Group.  As a director for the Arc Bev will work closely with HM Government’s Arc team in helping to define the nature of our emerging Arc collaboration, and to seek to meet the agreed joint declaration between Local Authorities, LEPs and HM Government as announced in the Spring Statement’.



Update on Housing Infrastructure Bids

To receive a verbal update on the outcome of the Housing Infrastructure Bid from Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council and Bev Hindle


Councillor Hudspeth updated the Growth Board on the positive outcome of the £218 million Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) bid which was announced as part of the Chancellor’s Spring Statement. This had been led by Oxfordshire County Council to support the Didcot Garden Town and associated projects including: 


·           A4130 widening from the A34 Milton interchange towards Didcot

·           A new “science bridge” over the A4130, Great Western Railway Line and the Milton Road to the former Didcot A power station.

·           A new Culham to Didcot river crossing between the A415 and A4130

·           A Clifton Hampden Bypass.


He also wished to place on record his thanks to the various council officers who had worked very hard to submit the bid.


It was emphasised to the Board that the bid had not been limited to road infrastructure and included good cycle links.


A separate HIF bid for £102 million was currently being considered by HM Government which would deliver significant improvements to the A40 including dualling the road between Witney and the proposed Eynsham Park and Ride. While the bid had originally included a proposal for the B4044 Community Path, the difficult decision had been made to remove this aspect because of the technical requirements of the HIF process. Separate opportunities would, nevertheless, be explored for funding this. 


The Growth Board strongly welcomed the positive outcome of the Didcot Garden Town Bid and expressed the wish that the A40 bid would also be successful. The importance of cycle lanes, bus lanes and other measures was also stressed as part a broad focus for infrastructure which was not simply focussed on car use but also offered other alternatives.


In respects of the A40 HIF bid, Councillor Mills commented that there had been a good level of engagement between West Oxfordshire District Council and Oxfordshire County Council in the design of the proposals. He welcomed this given the big impact of the A40 on the economy of the district. Further, it was highlighted that these improvements were needed to accommodate housing as part of the Growth Deal.


RESOLVED: To note the report.


Oxfordshire to Cambridgeshire Arc Update

To receive a verbal update on the Oxfordshire to Cambridgeshire Arc from Bev Hindle.


This item was considered prior to Item 8 – Statement on the appointment of a Growth Board Director.


The Growth Board received a verbal update from Bev Hindle, Strategic Director for Communities at Oxfordshire County Council, on developments with regard to the Oxford to Cambridge Arc. He commented that a full written report would be produced for the Growth Board at its next meeting, but summarised the key points as follows:


  • Through the Chancellor’s Spring Statement and the agreement of a joint declaration, HM Government had made clear its commitment to the Oxford to Cambridge Arc as a priority in achieving economic growth – work was underway to assess the impact of these announcements on the Oxfordshire Growth Deal.
  • Work to assess the impact on the announcements on the Oxfordshire Growth Deal was in process.
  • The geographical area covered by the Arc included the ceremonial county areas of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire. 
  • The joint declaration, which was available on the HM Treasury website, also provided an initial, Arc-wide, long-term economic analysis. Its foreword indicated that this assessment, together with the Local Industrial Strategies currently being developed, would provide an up-to-date picture of the economic opportunities and challenges facing the Arc.
  • The declaration also committed HM Government to embedding the principle of ‘natural capacity’ thinking throughout its approach to the Arc. This is intended to ensure that sustainable places for the future are created alongside growth and development.
  • An assurance had also been given to the continued importance of collaborative and partnership working in achieving the objectives of the Arc – the Growth Board would need to play its part in meeting the challenges ahead. 


As Chair of the Arc Leaders Group, Councillor Wood added that officers had started the process of work planning in light of the announcements from HM Government – it was anticipated that this would be a significant piece of work. It was felt that the Arc would have a positive impact.


The Growth Board welcomed the update, including the recognition within the joint declaration of long-term 25-year strategic timeline with an emphasis placed on natural capacity thinking. 



Housing and Growth Deal delivery update Q3 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To update the Board on progress with the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal.  (attached).


Recommendation: That the Growth Board note progress with the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal.



The Growth Board considered a report on progress with the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal agreed with HM Government, the status of the programme of delivery for the deal and the agreement of the target for the Year 1 affordable housing programme. The following points were highlighted:


  • The commitment in the deal to confirm with Homes England the Years 2-5 Infrastructure Programme had been agreed and incorporated into Oxfordshire County Council’s infrastructure programme.
  • Work was on-going to develop the delivery plan for the Year 2-5 programme with network management to provide assurance of delivery of infrastructure to meet targets.
  • Work was focussed on both the housing targets within local plans which made up the 100,000-commitment agreed as part of the wider Deal, but also other priorities, such as strategic infrastructure, which would be helpful. Discussions would take place with Homes England and HM Government in April.
  • It was expected that the target for affordable homes to be built would be achieved for Year 1, but that it was fully recognised that the target for Years 2-3 represented a much bigger challenge   
  • The Oxfordshire Local Industrial Strategy, (LIS) was key element of the productivity workstream of the Deal.  This had been submitted to HM Government in December and ministerial sign-off was now expected late May/beginning of June 2019.


In discussion, members of the Growth Board underlined the importance of doing as much as possible to deliver affordable housing.


RESOLVED: to note the report.


One Public Estate pdf icon PDF 39 KB

To receive an update from Yvonne Rees and Bev Hindle.


The Growth Board considered a report that provided details of the One Public Estate programme. This asked the Board to note recent successes in attracting further funding from HM Government for new partnership projects.


The Growth Board was pleased to note the successful progress of the bids for funding. It was felt that this was an example of genuine joint working between a range of public sector partners, and an important mechanism to maximise the delivery of affordable housing in support of the Oxfordshire Growth Deal.


Councillor Mills referred to issues around empty MOD accommodation in Carterton and the challenges of securing capital funding to redevelop this type of housing.




1)     That the report be noted

2)     That the Growth support the progress of the One Public Estate programme

3)     That update reports on the work of the Oxfordshire One Public Estate be brought back to the Growth Board as appropriate.



Scrutiny panel update

To receive feedback from the Growth Board Scrutiny Panel. 

Additional documents:


The Growth Board welcomed to the meeting Councillor Andrew Gant, Chair of the Growth Board Scrutiny Panel. Councillor Gant reported on the outcome of the Growth Board’s Scrutiny Panel held on 21 March. The Scrutiny Panel had made eight recommendations. The Chairman set out the following replies via a written response which was summarised at the meeting:


Scrutiny Panel’s recommendation


Growth Board Chairman’s reply

1: That the Chair of the Growth Board be invited to attend the 30 May 2019 meeting of the Scrutiny Panel.


Agreed in principle subject to the Chair’s other diary commitments.

2: That the Growth Board reflect on the inability of the Consultation on Issues (Scale of growth and broad locations - Reg 18 Part 2) to be effective as it precedes HM government’s decision on Oxford – Cambridge Expressway route.


Agree. The Growth Board shares the views of the Scrutiny Panel that there could be added value from the alignment of the consultation on the Oxford – Cambridge Expressway route and the Oxfordshire Plan 2050.  However, the timetable for the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 is fixed in the housing and growth deal delivery plan, while the Expressway is a matter for Highways England.  Officers have raised this issue with civil servants.


3: That the Growth Board emphasise the continued protection of not only the Green Belt but also AONB and Rural Oxfordshire by adding it to the principles of the Oxon Plan 2050 Vision and by including it as a part of the Green Belt review reinforcing the existing policies in the NPPF. In addition, the existing allocation of development sites within the Green Belt by local authorities is factored in to the Oxon Plan 2050 Green Belt review.

Agree. The Board is clear that it does not support growth at any cost. We want good growth that’s planned and managed at a sustainable level and that protects and enhances the environment, including areas of outstanding natural beauty and other designations. The City and District Councils, as the Local Planning Authorities who are responsible for the Oxfordshire Plan 2050, intend that it will provide such a framework to protect and enhance the environment and ensure that it reflects the NPPF policies on Green Belt, and the need to protect the AONB and the wider countryside.


4: That the Growth Board take a holistic view in mitigating climate change and preservation of the Green Belt by adding carbon sequestration, zero carbon strategies and reforestation as part of the environmental infrastructure in local plans and the Oxon Plan 2050.

Agree. The Growth Board recognises that the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 will also provide an appropriate framework to plan for both resilience to climate change and help us move to an ultra-low-carbon economy.

The City and District Councils, as the Local Planning Authorities, intend that climate change issues will be considered as part of responses to the consultation on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050.

5: That the Growth Board have a clear work programme. In addition, items on the Growth Board  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.


Oxfordshire Plan 2050 (JSSP) sub-group update

To receive an update from the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 (JSSP) Sub-Group. 



The sub group had received a presentation on the review of the Local Transport Plan, (LTP) about to be undertaken by Oxfordshire County Council, an update on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 (JSSP) issues consultation and an update on the call for ideas consultation.


The sub-group had noted that many of the objectives set out in the LTP4 had been delivered, but in looking at new and ongoing objectives there was a need to align the LTP with the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 timeline.


With regards to the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 issues consultation, the Board noted that overall the consultation had gone well with support shown for what the process was trying to achieve. It was accepted that it could be hard to engage with the public at a preliminary stage of the process, but an encouraging number of people had submitted comments or signed up for updates.  An increase in the number of people visiting the Growth Board website had also been detected around the public participation event.


Affordable Housing sub-group update pdf icon PDF 36 KB

To receive an update from the Housing Sub-Group.  (attached)


The Chair of the Housing Advisory Sub-Group updated the Growth on its work as set out in the note of the meeting which had included a presentation on an alternative finance model for affordable housing and an update report on affordable housing delivery. The work programme for the sub-group would focus on the need to ensure the delivery of affordable housing and that unfulfilled planning applications were implemented. 


Infrastructure sub-group update

To receive an update from the Infrastructure Sub-Group. 


The Growth Board received an update from the Chairman of the Infrastructure Sub-Group on its most recent meeting. This had focussed upon the successful outcome of the HIF bid, and the need to reprioritise and reprofile the infrastructure programme to take account of the approval of the bid.


Role of Oxford Brookes University in supporting economic development in the county pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive a presentation from Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University.


The Growth Board received a presentation from Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor Oxford Brookes University, on the contribution of Oxford Brookes University to the growth agenda both locally and further afield.  The presentation reported on:


·           The contribution of the University’s 18,000 students to the regional economy.

·           the success of the University in providing new and updated student accommodation, the moving of activity from the Wheatley to Headington campus through provision of new buildings

·           sustainable transport initiatives and contribution to supporting collaborations to unlock growth opportunities the through involvement in the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership

·           support for the programmes such as the Strategic Economic Plan, City Deal and Local Growth Fund.




Oxfordshire local plans progress

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


The Growth Board received a report on progress towards the adoption of local plans across Oxfordshire’s districts. The Growth Board welcomed the news that South Oxfordshire District Council was due to submit its local plan by 29March and that Oxford City Council’s had been submitted during the week commencing 22 March. This meant that progress was on track to meet the targets in the Housing and Growth Deal programme.


RESOLVED: to note the report.


Updates on matters relevant to the Growth Board

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. 


No matters were reported.


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. 

·         4 June 2019

·         30 July 2019

·         24 September 2019 (provisional)

·         26 November 2019 (provisional)

·         28 January 2020 (provisional)

·         31 March 2020 (provisional)

·         2 June 2020 (provisional)


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

·           4 June 2019

·           30 July 2019

·           24 September 2019 (provisional)

·           26 November 2019 (provisional)

·           28 January 2020 (provisional)

·           31 March 2020 (provisional)

·           2 June 2020 (provisional)