Agenda and minutes

Council - Thursday, 25 March 2021 6.00 pm, NEW

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Steven Corrigan  Democratic Services Manager

Items
No. Item

147.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 247 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Council minutes of the meeting held on 11 February 2021 - attached. 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 11 February 2021 as a correct record and agree that the Chairman sign them as such subject to the inclusion of the following words at the beginning of the second sentence of minute 132A – “Mr Upcraft stated that”.

 

148.

Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interest

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

Minutes:

Councillor Rawlins declared a personal interest in the item on the section 106 funding request from Sonning Common Parish Council as a Sonning Common parish councillor (minute 153 refers). 

Councillors Bretherton and Gregory declared personal interests in the item on the section 106 funding request from Thame Town Council in their capacity as Thame Town councillors (minute 154 refers). 

149.

Urgent business and chairman'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. 

Minutes:

The chairman provided general housekeeping information. There were no items of urgent business.

 

150.

Public participation

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

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that two members of the public had registered to address Council. He would invite Carole Lewis, Chair of Sonning Common Parish Council, to address Council at agenda item 8 in support of the section 106 request from Sonning Common Parish Council (agenda item 8). 

 

Stephen Holder addressed Council on the Wallingford Pool/Splash Park and highway litter. He provided an overview of the importance of the outdoor pool and splash park and expressed concern regarding rumours that the facilities would not open this year. He stated that the site provided excellent facilities and highlighted the importance of the splash pool for younger age children who had limited access to playgrounds during the national lockdown and had resorted to using the River Thames as an alternative in 2020. He urged the council to facilitate the opening of the facilities. He also expressed concern regarding the lack of a co-ordinated approach to litter picking and verge strimming on the highway. The undertaking of verge strimming prior to litter picking had resulted in tiny pieces of litter strewn across verges which was environmentally harmful. He urged better communication and planning between the relevant authorities and contractors. 

 

 

151.

Petitions

To receive any petitions from the public. 

Minutes:

None.

152.

A Joint Local Plan pdf icon PDF 148 KB

At its meeting on 18 March 2021 Cabinet will consider a report on the case for preparing a Joint Local Plan, instead of separate local plans for South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils. The report of the head of planning which Cabinet will consider on 18 March is attached.

 

The recommendations of Cabinet will be circulated to all councillors following the Cabinet meeting.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendation, made at its meeting on 18

March 2021, on the case for preparing a Joint Local Plan, instead of separate local plans for South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils.

In introducing Cabinet’s recommendation in the absence of Councillor Simpson, Cabinet member for planning, Councillor Cooper, Leader of the council, stated that the proposal is for South Oxfordshire District Council’s next Local Plan to be a Joint Local Plan with Vale of White Horse District Council. This would be instead of a new South Oxfordshire Local Plan and a new Vale of White Horse Local Plan. If agreed, a Joint Local Plan would be prepared over the next four years. In the meantime, the existing recently adopted South Oxfordshire Local Plan would continue to be in force, before being replaced by the new Joint Local Plan.

 

Any new Joint Plan would cover the period from adoption (expected in 2024) until 2041. As South Oxfordshire’s recently adopted local plan already contains land allocations for development up to 2035 (plus some supply beyond) the allocations in a new plan would be focussed on the long term. Neighbourhood plans would continue to be a strong plank in the council’s development plan to provide the opportunity for communities to guide development in their areas.

 

She drew attention to the officer report which set out the advantages and disadvantages of a joint plan covering both the planning and practical reasons and included a proposed timetable for a joint local plan. 

 

She explained that legislation allowed the councils to prepare a joint plan: 

 

·         Section 28 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 allowed two or more local planning authorities (district councils) to prepare a joint local plan.  The county council in two-tier areas, such as Oxfordshire, could be part of the plan-preparation process but could not be part of the formal decision-making as this remained the responsibility of the district councils.  Under Section 28, the final, formal decisions at key local plan stages (consultations, publication, submission, adoption) were made either separately by each council or via a voluntary joint committee. 

 

·         Section 29 of the 2004 Act enabled county councils to continue to
have a strategic planning role working with district councils.  This allowed for the decision-making on a joint local plan to be conferred on a joint committee.  Under section 29, the county council would be a formal partner in the joint committee and therefore would have equal membership on a committee. 

Cabinet recommended that the process should be undertaken under Section 28 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

 

A number of councillors supported the proposal for the following reasons:

 

·       A joint local plan would provide the opportunity to plan comprehensively across the district boundary in one plan for Didcot Garden Town and Science Vale.

·       Vale and South share many geographical similarities and have common challenges and pressures.

·      The councils’ ambitions are similar, with a great deal of consensus between the Vale and South Corporate Plans

·       With  ...  view the full minutes text for item 152.

153.

Section 106 request - Sonning Common Parish Council pdf icon PDF 144 KB

At its meeting on 18 March 2021 Cabinet will consider a report on a request from Sonning Common Parish Council to release funds from two S106 contributions. The funding would go towards the ground levelling, creating public access and the installation of fence along the western boundary at the Memorial Hall Field, Reade’s Lane, Sonning Common.

The report of the acting deputy chief executive - place which Cabinet will consider on 18 March is attached.

The recommendations of Cabinet will be circulated to all councillors following the Cabinet meeting.

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Rawlins took no part in the discussion or voting on this item (see minute 148).

 

Carole Lewis, Chair of Sonning Common Parish Council, addressed Council in support of the section 106 request from Sonning Common Parish Council. She stated that the growth of the village had resulted in a lack of village green or sufficient sports and recreation facilities.

 

She stated that in 2012 Sonning Common’s Parish Council started its Neighbourhood Plan and, as part of this, an agreement was struck with a farm landowner to provide a 4.1 hectare sports and recreation site opposite the local secondary school on the edge of the village, subject to scope to develop a largely enclosed three hectare site for housing. In allocating such housing sites, residents were keen to protect the separate identity of the village but embraced the prospect of a much-needed sports and recreation site with scope for a sports gym and a Community Hall. The funds would address issues on the site associated with sloping ground, drainage and access.

 

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendation, made at its meeting on 18 March 2021, to create a budget to provide funding towards ground levelling works, creating public access, and the installation of a fence along the western boundary at the Memorial Hall Field, Reade’s Lane, Sonning Common.    

 

RESOLVED:to create a budget of £267,671 in the approved capital programme for the Memorial Hall Field project (ground levelling and access works and installation of fence along the western boundary) in Sonning Common, to be funded by the section 106 contributions set out in the report of the acting deputy chief executive – place to Cabinet on 18 March 2021.

154.

Section 106 request - Thame Town Council pdf icon PDF 176 KB

At its meeting on 18 March 2021 Cabinet will consider a report on a request from Thame Town Council to release funds from eight S106 contributions. The funding would replace an existing grass pitch with a new full-size (100m x 64m) Floodlit 3G Football Turf Pitch (FTP) with pitch markings to accommodate a variety of football pitches, mini soccer pitches and training areas at The ASM Stadium, Meadow View Park, Thame.

The report of the acting deputy chief executive - place which Cabinet will consider on 18 March is attached.

The recommendations of Cabinet will be circulated to all councillors following the Cabinet meeting.

 

Minutes:

Councillors Bretherton and Gregory took no part in the discussion or voting on this item (see minute 148).

 

Councillor Gillespie, Vice-Chair of council chaired this item.

 

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendation, made at its meeting on 18 March 2021, to create a budget to provide funding towards a new floodlit, 3G artificial turf sports pitch at the ASM Stadium, Meadow View Park, Thame. 

 

    

RESOLVED:to create a budget of £340,000 in the approved capital programme for a 3G Artificial Floodlit full-size football pitch project in Thame, to be funded by the section 106 contributions set out in the report of the acting deputy chief executive – place to Cabinet on 18 March 2021.

 

155.

Further extension of term of office of independent persons for code of conduct matters pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To consider the report of the head of legal and democratic and monitoring officer on extending the term of office of two independent persons to advise on code of conduct issues – attached.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Bretherton, Chairman of council, retook the chair.

 

Council considered the report of the head of legal and democratic and monitoring officer on further extending the term of office of two independent persons to advise on code of conduct issues.

 

Council was advised that both of the current independent persons had confirmed their willingness to continue working in the role.

 

RESOLVED: to

1.    authorise the Monitoring Officer to extend the terms of office of George Green and Chris Smith, the council’s independent persons for code of conduct matters until 31 May 2022;

2.    authorise the Monitoring Officer to carry out a recruitment exercise for new independent persons and bring recommendations on appointments to Council prior to that date.

 

156.

Report of the leader of the council

To receive the report of the leader of the council. 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Sue Cooper, Leader of the council, provided an update on a number of matters. The text of her address is available on the council’s website.

 

157.

Questions on notice pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To receive questions from councillors in accordance with Council procedure rule 33. 

 

A.   Question from Councillor Gillespie to Councillor Simpson, Cabinet member for planning

 

Master planning for Land North of Bayswater Brook has started.  The developers say that they are awaiting guidance from South Oxfordshire District Council to enable them to advance their traffic modelling.  The Planning Inspector recommended a “Low Car” development:

 

What is South Oxfordshire District Council’s Planning Department’s vision for a Low Car development?  How can this ensure that current unsustainable levels of traffic and associated environmental damage will be mitigated?

 

 

B.   Question from Councillor Arlett to Councillor Bennett, Cabinet member for economic development and regeneration

 

A paper went to Cabinet on 1 October 2020 on ‘Affordable Housing S 106, commuted sums South’ - over 5 months ago. The paper stated that bids could be made for Affordable Housing Schemes from 1 April 2021 with a closing date of 30 June 2021.

 

Why are these dates now not being adhered to, as SODC have £3.883 million just sitting in an account ready to invest in much needed affordable housing?

 

Minutes:

A.   Question from Councillor Gillespie to Councillor Simpson, Cabinet member for planning

 

Master planning for Land North of Bayswater Brook has started.  The developers say that they are awaiting guidance from South Oxfordshire District Council to enable them to advance their traffic modelling.  The Planning Inspector recommended a “Low Car” development:

 

What is South Oxfordshire District Council’s Planning Department’s vision for a Low Car development?  How can this ensure that current unsustainable levels of traffic and associated environmental damage will be mitigated?

 

Written response

 

Policy STRAT13 of the Local Plan 2035 sets the Council’s vision for a low car development at the Land North of Bayswater Brook.  The policy requires as a first priority high quality pedestrian, cycle and public transport connections into Oxford to maximise the number of trips made by non-car modes, together with measures to discourage car-based development.

 

Officers are working closely with colleagues in Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council to ensure that this vision is adhered to by the developers and that the master planning work aligns with the Council’s corporate plan targets, including to achieve a zero carbon district by 2030.

 

 

Supplementary question

 

In the absence of Councillor Simpson, Councillor Gillespie was advised to put any supplementary question in writing.

 

B.   Question from Councillor Arlett to Councillor Bennett, Cabinet member for economic development and regeneration

 

A paper went to Cabinet on 1 October 2020 on ‘Affordable Housing S 106, commuted sums South’ - over 5 months ago. The paper stated that bids could be made for Affordable Housing Schemes from 1 April 2021 with a closing date of 30 June 2021.

 

Why are these dates now not being adhered to, as SODC have £3.883 million just sitting in an account ready to invest in much needed affordable housing?

 

Written response

 

Thanks to Councillor Arlett for reminding Council that the application process for these funds, approved at Cabinet in October 2020, will soon be open. The opening has been very slightly delayed due to Covid-related pressures on staff resources, but happily only by a few days. The necessary application forms and internal procedures associated with applications for grant are in the final stages of development, and the application process is expected to be in place no later than 12 April 2021.

 

Last October, Cabinet approved the use of commuted Section106 sums received in lieu of the on-site delivery of affordable homes, together with a framework to prioritise and evaluate spend. This requires an application process which captures sufficient information and project data to ensure an informed decision can be made on the allocation these funds, and to allow for potential risk to be assessed. An ‘indicative’ start date for bids for grant funding was given as 1 April 2021 in the Cabinet report.

 

 

158.

Motions on notice

To consider motions from councillors in accordance with Council procedure rule 38. 

 

A.        Motion to be proposed by Councillor Dragonetti, seconded by Councillor Robb:

 

Council recognises the importance of a high-quality, beautiful natural environment for current and future residents of our rural District, and the negative impact that high voltage power lines can have on visual amenity.

Council also acknowledges the importance of landscape beauty to the setting of the historic city of Oxford.

Council identifies that the economic benefit of providing beautiful environments for housing development provides a long lasting benefit that enhances the long term value of a location, attracting the workforce needed to sustain the growth of the local economy.

Three of the strategic sites allocated in South Oxfordshire’s Local Plan 2035 are overhung by high voltage power lines. Grenoble Road, Culham and Northfield.

 

This Council will:

1.    Work with partners including National Grid, electricity providers, developers, landowners, and other local authorities, to explore all options including financing options for the undergrounding of all high voltage overhead powerlines over the strategic sites in the Local Plan 2035 with a view to requiring thatthese sites have active plans for the removal of overhead high voltage power lines before 2040. 

2.    Have, as a long-term ambition by 2050, the undergrounding of the existing 400kv line that bisects the Ladygrove Estates in Didcot.

 

B.        Motion to be proposed by Councillor Robb, seconded by Councillor Gillespie:

 

Council notes the growing body of evidence demonstrating the harmful impacts of light pollution on human health and sleep, biodiversity and carbon emissions. A literature review from Nature magazine in 2018 concludes that: “light at night is exerting pervasive, long term stress on ecosystems, from coasts to farmland to urban waterways, many of which are already suffering from other, more well-known forms of pollution”

 

Light pollution is not only damaging our physical and mental health, it is also harming plants, insects and nocturnal animals and is eroding the most primal of connections: the deep sense of awe and wonder we experience at the sight of a starry sky.

Council acknowledges the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dark Skies and welcomes its recommendations. www.appgdarkskies.co.uk

 

Council recognises that Oxfordshire County Council controls lighting schemes on adopted highways.

 

This Council will:

1.    Ensure that limiting light pollution and preserving dark skies are key priorities for planning policies and design guides, including master-planning of sites.

2.    Work with Neighbourhood Planning groups to encourage the implementation of dark sky friendly lighting policies in Neighbourhood Plans.

3.    Encourage the incorporation of dark sky friendly lighting schemes and avoid unnecessary lighting for all new development.

4.    Write to MPs and government calling for the APPG’s ten recommendations on dark skies to be implemented through new legislation and reform of the planning system. These recommendations include reform of the NPPF to make extensive and specific reference to control of obtrusive light and to introduce strict regulation of exterior lighting, setting standards for brightness, colour and temperature of all lighting  ...  view the full agenda text for item 158.

Minutes:

During the course of debate on this item, and prior to the expiry of two and a half hours, Council agreed, in accordance with council procedure rule 12, to extend the meeting by half an hour and then, in accordance with council procedure rule 82, to suspend council procedure rule 12, which restricts the duration of a meeting, to allow Council to complete the consideration of the items of business. 

 

 

A.        Councillor Dragonetti moved, and Councillor Robb seconded, the motion as set out in the agenda at agenda item 13

 

After debate and on being put to the vote the motion was agreed.

 

RESOLVED:

That Council recognises the importance of a high-quality, beautiful natural environment for current and future residents of our rural District, and the negative impact that high voltage power lines can have on visual amenity.

Council also acknowledges the importance of landscape beauty to the setting of the historic city of Oxford.

Council identifies that the economic benefit of providing beautiful environments for housing development provides a long lasting benefit that enhances the long term value of a location, attracting the workforce needed to sustain the growth of the local economy.

Three of the strategic sites allocated in South Oxfordshire’s Local Plan 2035 are overhung by high voltage power lines. Grenoble Road, Culham and Northfield.

 

This Council will:

1.    Work with partners including National Grid, electricity providers, developers, landowners, and other local authorities, to explore all options including financing options for the undergrounding of all high voltage overhead powerlines over the strategic sites in the Local Plan 2035 with a view to requiring thatthese sites have active plans for the removal of overhead high voltage power lines before 2040. 

2.    Have, as a long-term ambition by 2050, the undergrounding of the existing 400kv line that bisects the Ladygrove Estates in Didcot.

 

B.   Councillor Robb moved, and Councillor Gillespie seconded, the motion as set out in the agenda at agenda item 13

 

 

After debate and on being put to the vote the motion was agreed.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Council notes the growing body of evidence demonstrating the harmful impacts of light pollution on human health and sleep, biodiversity and carbon emissions. A literature review from Nature magazine in 2018 concludes that: “light at night is exerting pervasive, long term stress on ecosystems, from coasts to farmland to urban waterways, many of which are already suffering from other, more well-known forms of pollution”

 

Light pollution is not only damaging our physical and mental health, it is also harming plants, insects and nocturnal animals and is eroding the most primal of connections: the deep sense of awe and wonder we experience at the sight of a starry sky.

Council acknowledges the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dark Skies and welcomes its recommendations. www.appgdarkskies.co.uk

 

Council recognises that Oxfordshire County Council controls lighting schemes on adopted highways.

 

This Council will:

1.    Ensure that limiting light pollution and preserving dark skies are key priorities for planning policies and design  ...  view the full minutes text for item 158.

159.

Exclusion of the public

To consider whether to exclude members of the press and public from the meeting for the following item of business under Part 1 of Schedule 12A Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 and as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006 on the grounds that:

(i)        it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1-7 Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and

(ii)       the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: to exclude members of the press and public from the meeting for the following item of business under Part 1 of Schedule 12A Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 and as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006 on the grounds that:

(i)        It involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 3 Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and

(ii)       the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. 

 

160.

Covid-19 leisure support package

At its meeting on 18 March 2021 Cabinet will consider a confidential report on the impact of Covid-19 on leisure facilities in the district.

 

The confidential report of the acting deputy chief executive – place which Cabinet will consider on 18 March is attached.

 

The recommendations of Cabinet will be circulated to all councillors following the Cabinet meeting.

 

Minutes:

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendations, made at its meeting on 17 March  2021 on the impact of Covid-19 on leisure facilities in the district.

 

Council agreed to offer a financial support package to GLL, the leisure contractor that manages leisure facilities across South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse, subject to formal agreements being entered into.

 

Council supported the package which would ensure residents have access to facilities and the opportunities to stay healthy.