Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 9 November 2020 6.30 pm, NEW

Venue: virtual meeting

Contact: Candida Mckelvey, Democratic Services Officer  07895 213820

Note: watch at our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTj2pCic8vzucpzIaSWE3UQ 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: http://democratic.southoxon.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=121&MId=2733 Scrutiny are asked to review the report and provide any recommendations to Cabinet.  

Items
No. Item

67.

Apologies

Minutes:

There were no apologies received.

68.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 112 KB

To review the minutes of the meetings held on 29 September (attached) and 14 October (to follow), and for the chair to sign them as a correct record.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting on 29 September 2020 were agreed as a correct record of the meeting and will be signed by the chair as such.

The minutes of the meeting on 19 October will be ready for review at the next meeting.

69.

Declarations of interest

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

 

Minutes:

None.

70.

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. 

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

71.

Public participation

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

Minutes:

There was no public participation.

72.

Work schedule and dates for all South and Vale scrutiny meetings pdf icon PDF 228 KB

To review the attached 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 Please note, although the dates are confirmed, the items under consideration are subject to being withdrawn, added to or rearranged without further notice.

 

Minutes:

The three planning items identified for the work programme at the last meeting will be added to the work programme, once further clarification is received on how the items will be covered.  Dates to be confirmed.

 

The request to invite OxLEP to speak to skills needed to carry out green home grants work will be progressed. Dates to be confirmed.

 

A view was expressed that scrutiny would like to see technical details of the new council office building plans for Didcot as they emerge– such as dimensions, equipment, community facilities.

 

73.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) spending strategy pdf icon PDF 143 KB

For committee to comment on the amended CIL Spending Strategy (appendix A), following approval of the original spending strategy in November 2018, for income generated by CIL. 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet member for economic development and regeneration, Councillor Robin Bennett, introduced the report on the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).

 

The headline changes are;

  1. Simplifying the process and prioritising the district’s corporate plan priorities.
  2. Widening the geographic area where funds may be spent to provide more flexibility in funding projects across the whole of South Oxfordshire along with allowing funding to be spent across the district council boundary for projects in the Didcot Garden Town area, part of which is in Vale of White Horse district.
  3. Extending funding parameters, so that we can effectively respond to priorities in the Council’s Infrastructure Development Plan (IDP) and our new Corporate Plan by removing the percentage allocation to internal council departments and widening the availability of the health care allocation, which to date, remains unspent.
  4. Partnership working improvements with Town and Parish, to help them spend their CIL money.

 

No plans to change the County percentage as this is linked to projects identified in the infrastructure plan and is starting to be spent.

District portion is to be more flexible, so projects can get underway.

The paper can be reviewed in one year if needed.

 

Jayne Bolton, Infrastructure and Development Manager, and Mark Hewer, Infrastructure Development Team Leader, were also present to answer questions.

 

The committee raised the following points:

·       Would like to see funding used for public toilets and car parking. A view was expressed to include free to use toilets, to keep them accessible to all and consider gender neutral facilities. Officers added that toilet improvement projects are underway, example in Henley. This is a capital project. Car parking electric charge points may be considered under CIL. The district can change the split of CIL but the regulations are set by government and need to be capital projects. Projects can be developed by parish/town and then they could approach Jayne Bolton’s team to see if funding could be available towards the project from the district council’s CIL allocation.  However, the district council’s allocation is aimed at delivering district council projects / facilities.

·       The committee were informed that the essence of CIL is to get new infrastructure, but enhancing existing infrastructure is ok if it improves access or is a significant improvement. CIL is mainly governed by regulations.

·       Committee questioned the admin funding allocation. Officers explained that this is set in the CIL regulations. The district has spent a lot less than allocated, and the funding is carried forward. If not spent at the end of three years, it goes into the infrastructure pot, not lost. The funding for admin used to be for the monitoring planning team only. Now the funding also includes the infrastructure development team and there is more awareness of CIL because of this.

·       The green infrastructure pot is a case of just removing the 5% cap, potentially more can be spent.

·       A view was expressed that CIL could be spent on trial shuttle buses to leisure facilities from rural to town areas. It was confirmed that buses aren’t  ...  view the full minutes text for item 73.

74.

Car Parking Fees pdf icon PDF 124 KB

For the Scrutiny committee to consider the proposed changes to car park fees and charges as part of the formal consultation process and to feedback to Cabinet any comments it wishes to make.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet member for housing and environment, Councillor David Rouane, introduced the car parking fees report.

Liz Hayden, Head of housing and environment, and John Backley, Technical Services Manager, were present to answer questions.

 

The report focuses on the need to balance the budget. Parking charges are currently cheaper than bus fares, with no increase since 2007 (2007 was a decrease). There are two phases to the process:

1.    Small increases across the board – 20p per hour increase and some increases to day-long parking changes – these have been advertised to be brought in on 1 December.

2.    Structural changes – public consultation in progress, and the changes will be implemented in March 2021.

Point five in the paper – structural changes:

a)    Equalise charging times – fairness. 1 hour to be free in all towns rather than varying times per town. Positive change for traders.

b)    Bring in Sunday charging to ensure parking for shoppers to improve trading (deterring people parking all day for other reasons). Limits needed on all day parking – three-hour limit.

c)    Electric vehicle spaces and concessions.

 

The chair reminded that questions asked should be on the consultation.

 

The committee commented that the proposal had good logic, but it was felt that some areas such as Henley would benefit for the changes and others might not so much, e.g Wallingford.

 

A discussion was had about meter feeding and the technical aspects required. Work is ongoing with SABA (car park operator) to find solutions.

 

A view was expressed that could the across the board price increase be 50p per hour.

 

A view was expressed that a free hour parking is anti-public transport. Cabinet member responded that fewer cars in town centres is a longer-term aim that he supports.

 

Discussion was had regarding people still choosing to park on streets or driveways rather than pay for carparks that are cheaper than station parking in Didcot. The cabinet member said that civil parking enforcement will help in future.

 

It was confirmed that the driver for Sunday charging is to deter all-day day tripper or weekend-long parking and encourage shoppers and give them opportunity to find a space to park.

 

It was expressed that one size fits all may not be ideal. It was confirmed that the whole district needed to be considered together and to make charges fair. Exceptions need a very good reason.

 

It was confirmed that the paper was sent to the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee, so environmental objectives were considered.

 

Electric vehicle charge points were discussed, and it was asked when will there be more delivered? It was confirmed that projects are in the pipeline, working with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC). It was added that enforcement powers are needed to be able to fine a combustion engine vehicle for parking in an electric charging space.

 

Chair added that Chinnor residents will be in the main pleased with two-hour time limits, so there is more opportunity to park. Will the limits be enforced? It was responded  ...  view the full minutes text for item 74.

75.

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) pdf icon PDF 192 KB

To review and comment on the recommendations to Cabinet.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet member for housing and environment, Councillor David Rouane, introduced the report on civil parking enforcement (CPE).

Liz Hayden, Head of housing and environment, and John Backley, Technical Services Manager, were present to answer questions.

 

This is led by County and 3 districts that do not have CPE. The Secretary of State will only accept one application form the county, so it has taken some time to agree on a joint application.

 

The three recommendations are:

a)         To support Oxfordshire County Council’s (OCC) putting in the application on behalf of three districts.

b)         Feasibility study - OCC to run the scheme, economies of scale, not as cost effective to do it ourselves. The next phase is to make agreements about the level of service expected from OCC.

c)         Release funds to do this - £60,000 to OCC, as an agreed one-off payment which is capped.

 

It was asked what the cost is to residents. Cabinet informed that resident’s parking is beyond the scope of this work. Discussions on residents parking will come after this.

 

It was confirmed by the Cabinet member that if Cherwell chose not to go ahead, the project would be delayed. It would be difficult, but South Oxfordshire would be prepared to go ahead, and we believe the Cherwell’s concerns will be addressed.

 

The cabinet member and officers were thanked for their work.

 

The committee motioned to fully support the report and the three recommendations in the report.

 

 

 

The meeting closed at 8.35 pm