Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 29 November 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: This will be a virtual, online meeting.

Contact: Candida Mckelvey, Democratic Services Officer 

Note: Watch the recording here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08ZUKwq2AOw 

Items
No. Item

21.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Anna Badcock and David Turner. Councillors Jane Murphy and Kate Gregory were present as substitute members, respectively.

22.

Declarations of interest

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

 

Minutes:

None.

23.

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:

Minutes of the last meeting were for noting, as this was an informal meeting.

Chair updated the committee on the pollution and sewerage task and finish group, which had been decided as a joint group with Vale of White Horse. Chair expected this group to be established shortly.

Information requested on the process for planning appeals. Progress is on track, as agreed with Councillors Simpson and Powell. Chair reminded committee to not comment on this publicly whilst the report is being produced and the ongoing court case.

Affordable housing report – this had been moved to be in line with the updating of the Supplementary planning document on affordable housing. The work was on track for April / May 2022 before going out to consultation.

Councillors were asked to note the new Joint Scrutiny meeting on 31 January to discuss future waste services. Car park fees and charges had been moved to February.

24.

Work schedule and dates for all South scrutiny meetings pdf icon PDF 191 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 Please note, although the dates are confirmed, the items under consideration are subject to being withdrawn, added to or rearranged without further notice.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:

No changes requested.

25.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 274 KB

To note the committee minutes of the meetings held on 20 September 2021 and 11 October 2021.

All minutes and notes can be found here: http://democratic.southoxon.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeId=124

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Committee were asked to note the notes for information.

26.

Public participation

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

Minutes:

None.

 

 

 

27.

Joint Planning Enforcement Statement pdf icon PDF 273 KB

For committee to consider the content of the report including the new approach to triaging and to feedback their observations to the Cabinet Member for Planning, and

To provide feedback on the councillor engagement session held on 23 November.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet member for planning, Councillor Anne-Marie Simpson, introduced the report. Officers Emma Turner and Adrian Duffield were also present to help answer any queries.

The review of process for planning enforcement had led to an updated planning enforcement statement, which was last reviewed in 2016. The SODC planning enforcement team was in the top 4% by volume in the country.

The priorities were to increase the efficiency of the team and manage workload, which had built up during the pandemic. This new approach should reduce the backlog. There should be more proactive and focussed work on developments as they are being built, and cases that were shown to be more harmful. GDPR legislation compliance had been addressed as part of this review.

There was a councillor briefing that was successful, and there will be a packet of information provided to keep councillors up to date, and so that members may brief and communicate to their wards. There will be communications around the statement – website updates, improved application form and FAQs. The timeliness and clarity this brings was beneficial to residents and allows better use of officer resource.

 

Committee considered the report and statement, and overall considered the content to be clear. There was discussion around workload and following procedure, with a member suggesting that this could be a green light for non-compliance if less prioritised cases were not followed up on. These points were made for officer and cabinet member to note, but the committee overall was content that this new process would be reviewed each year (the triage form and process), with the aim to review outcomes in 6 months’ time.

 

A committee member suggested that some residents find the process secretive. Officers explained that the new planning enforcement statement brought clarity to the process. Previously, there had been false information / beliefs about what power enforcement had. Planning harm and proportionality had to be considered. This will bring about timeliness, with the backlog cleared, (later confirmed to be by June 2022), and with 2-day acknowledgement, and a 6-week response time (action to be taken), case dependent.

 

Councillors can get more information, but we must comply with GDPR. Officers may help councillors to provide GDPR compliant updates to residents. It was important to ensure that residents understand what enforcement can and can’t do, and what the limitations are, and the fact that it was a non-statutory function. Being in the top 4% for English planning enforcement, officers were doing a great job, and this new process should keep the service as high performing.

 

Discussion was had regarding traffic management – there was ongoing frustration about this, however a lot of cases were County (OCC) responsibility. The management plans tended to be broadly worded and don’t meet the 6 tests of conditions for enforceability. Officers were already talking to County to improve communications to help influence the plans. Emma Turner updated the committee on recent conversations that were had to increase enforceability. Council had jurisdiction on development sites.

 

It  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.