Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 7 August 2023 6.00 pm

Venue: Abbey House, Abbey Close, Abingdon OX14 3JE

Contact: Candida Basilio, Democratic Services Officer  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor David Turner, who was substituted by Councillor Ed Sadler. Councillor Kate Gregory sent apologies and was substituted by Councillor Alexandrine Kantor. Apologies were received from Councillor Jo Robb.


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. 


The chair welcomed everyone to the meeting, outlined the procedure to be followed and advised on emergency evacuation arrangements. There was no urgent business.


Declaration of interests

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests, other registrable interests and non-registrable interests or any conflicts of interest in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting. 



Councillor Ken Arlett declared an interest in item seven on the agenda, the Section 106 affordable housing funding item, as he was a trustee of Henley housing trust. However, as the trust was not affected by the passing of the policy, he would continue to sit on the committee during that item.


All members of the committee also noted that there were developments in their ward that had generated Section 106 funds but did not believe this to preclude them from discussing the item.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 283 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the committee minutes of the meeting held on 6 March 2023.


RESOLVED: to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 6 March 2023 as a correct record and agree that the chair sign these as such.



Public participation

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




Section 106 affordable housing funding pdf icon PDF 301 KB

For scrutiny committee to review the report and recommendations of the Head of Housing and Environment and provide any comments to the Cabinet member for Development and Regeneration before the report is presented at Cabinet.


Additional documents:


The committee considered the report and policy document (plus application form) for Section 106 affordable housing funding and asked questions of the cabinet member for economic development and regeneration, Councillor Robin Bennett, who was supported by the Housing Delivery Manager, Nigel Bower, and the Head of Housing and Environment, Paul Fielding.


Firstly, Councillor Bennett outlined the current process for affordable housing delivery and noted that, in some instances, developers did not deliver affordable housing on the development site and so contributed to the Section 106 fund (S106). The committee was informed that this fund had reached £2.8m and was continually added to as more developments contributed to it. It was also noted that the council was now a registered provider of affordable housing. In addition, when the council tried to pay the money out of the S106 fund, they became aware of a lack of clarity in the process. Therefore, the proposed policy and criteria attempted to make the process as transparent as possible and less iterative for applicants and the council.


The committee also noted that the policy was ready before the May 2023 election but was called into the committee by Councillor Ken Arlett and would be taken to Cabinet later in the week. Councillor Bennett also confirmed to the committee that once approved, registered providers and community land trusts would be made aware of the policy change in order to increase the number of bids the council receives.



The committee then began scrutinising appendix 1 to the report which covered the proposed grant policy and application form. On point 4 of the policy, members discussed the replication of ‘delivers affordable housing’ and ‘deliver affordable housing in perpetuity’ in the list of the council’s key priorities. When asked for clarification, the Housing Delivery Manager confirmed to the committee that the council would try to deliver in perpetuity, and although he believed these two points meant slightly different things, he had no objection to the removal of ‘delivers affordable housing’ and keeping the point about delivering in perpetuity. The committee then agreed to recommend to Cabinet for the removal of this point.


Members then discussed another point in the key priorities list, the point that ‘In area where there is a high level of demand and deficit of supply’, and they made a point that affordable housing was needed in most areas of the district. To clarify, the Head of Housing and Environment confirmed that they would be using the housing register to understand where the demand for affordable housing was and that where there would be a match between demand and a bid to provide affordable housing, it would score relatively higher than a location where there was less demand. Overall, members agreed that this point should be kept in the policy.


In response to questions about the ‘Not able to access Homes England funding’ point in the key priorities list, the Head of Housing and Environment confirmed that there were typically no restrictions on funding sources and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Work schedule and dates for all South and Joint scrutiny meetings pdf icon PDF 166 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.



The committee noted the work programme and then discussed the council’s housing mix policy and the issues they had experienced with it being out of date. Members mentioned that they would like to see this come to committee. They also discussed the climate action plan but noted that this was a matter for the Climate and Ecological Emergencies Advisory Committee. 


RESOLVED: that committee note the work programme.