Venue: The Ridgeway, The Beacon, Portway, Wantage, OX12 9BY
Contact: Steven Corrigan, Democratic Services Manager 01235 422526 Email: email@example.com
Apologies for absence
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Charlotte Dickson, St John Dickson, Gervase Duffield, Janet Shelley, Henry Spencer, Reg Waite and Elaine Ware.
To adopt and sign as a correct record the Council minutes of the meeting held on 20 July 2016 attached.
RESOLVED: to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 20 July 2016 as a correct recordand agree that the Chairman sign them as such.
Declarations of interest
To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.
To receive any announcements from the chairman.
The Chairman provided housekeeping information. He welcomed the council’s new chief executive, David Hill, to his first Council meeting.
Statements, petitions and questions from the public relating to matters affecting council.
Any statements, petitions and questions from the public under standing order 32 will be made or presented at the meeting.
Council received three requests to address the meeting on agenda item 11 – OxLEP Strategic Economic Plan.
A. The following statement was circulated to all councillors in advance of the meeting on behalf of Need not Greed Oxfordshire. Mr Steven Corrigan, Democratic Services Manager, read out the question.
We welcome the decision taken at the Vale and South Joint Scrutiny Committee meeting, endorsed by Cabinet last week that the revised SEP Refresh should be considered at Full Council. We have for some time demanded that our locally elected representatives have the opportunity to consider this most important of issues. Today, local councillors have the chance to engage in robust debate on the revised SEP Refresh. We urge you take this final opportunity before the SEP Refresh is signed off, to seriously consider the impact that this plan will have on the future of Oxfordshire.
Need not Greed Oxfordshire believe the time has come for our local authorities to take full responsibility for the overall growth figures in the revised SEP 2016.
We are deeply concerned at the ‘pass-the-parcel’ game being played by OxLEP and our district and county councils, with each blaming the other for the inflated and unrealistic targets for employment and housing.
We believe this Plan sets very damaging and unrealistic growth targets which would radically change Oxfordshire’s communities and environment - today, you - our elected representatives, have the opportunity to have your say.
If your answer to any of these questions is NO, we urge you to speak out against OxLEP’s Strategic Economic Plan as currently drafted at today’s meeting.
Need not Greed Oxon want to see an alternative approach to growth in our county.
We are calling for a review of the economic growth figures and by association the housing figures, for the county outlined in the revised SEP Refresh, in the light of:
As our elected representative, will you take a stand today and help force re-consideration of these overly aggressive ... view the full minutes text for item 35.
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.
Petitions under standing order 13
To receive petitions from members of the council under standing order 13 (if any).
The Chairman reported that on 14 October the council received a petition from residents of Sutton Courtenay regarding planning issues within the village. The petition had been handed to the planning department and would be handled in accordance with the council’s petition scheme.
Questions under standing order 12
No questions submitted from members of the council under standing order 12.
Treasury management outturn 2015/16 PDF 161 KB
Cabinet, at its meeting on 12 August 2016, considered the report on the outturn performance of the treasury management function for the financial year 2015/16.
The report of the head of finance, which Cabinet considered on 12 August 2016, is attached.
RECOMMENDATION to Council
(a) To approve the treasury management outturn report for 2015/16; and
(b) To approve the actual 2015/16 prudential indicators within the report.
Council considered Cabinet’s recommendation, made at its meeting on 12 August 2016, on the outturn performance of the treasury management function for the financial year 2015/16.
Councillor Robert Sharp, Cabinet member for finance, provided the following responses to questions submitted in advance of the meeting:
· Can you explain the loss in investment property net book value of £12.4 million over the past year?
Answer - The value of investment property we hold has fallen due to the sale of Emcor house and re-classifications of property.
· What was the net book value lost there on the sale of Emcor House?
Answer - There was no loss on the sale of Emcor House. It was sold during 2015/16 and therefore was not in the asset register as at 31 March 2016, causing the reduction in total value of the portfolio. It was included in the opening asset value of £20.6million (31 March 2015), with a net book value of £800,000 at the point of sale.
· Land in Botley was reclassified, which led to a net book value loss of how much? Why does reclassification result in a loss of value in 2015/16?
Answer - The land at Botley has not been disposed of and there is no loss in value arising from the reclassification of this asset out of investment property to other land & buildings due to its regenerative nature. The value transferred was £7million.
· In section 14, how do the void periods in Old Abbey House affect net book value, or is it only income that's affected?
Answer - This loss of income does not affect the value of investment properties held and is mentioned only in relation to reduced income during 2015/16.
1. approve the treasury management outturn report for 2015/16;
2. approve the actual 2015/16 prudential indicators within the report.
Longworth Neighbourhood Plan PDF 134 KB
On 7 October 2016 Cabinet will consider a report on the adoption of the Longworth neighbourhood plan as part of the Development Plan for Vale of White Horse.
The report of the head of planning, which Cabinet will consider on 7 October, is attached.
The recommendations of Cabinet will be circulated to councillors on 7 October.
Council considered the recommendation of Cabinet, made at its meeting on 7 October 2016, to make the Longworth Neighbourhood Plan part of the Development Plan for Vale of White Horse.
In moving Cabinet’s recommendation Councillor Roger Cox, Cabinet member for planning, stated that the Longworth Neighbourhood Plan supports the council’s strategy for development in smaller villages, encourages new development to sustain and where possible enhance the distinctive character of Longworth, includes a policy that seeks to retain key community facilities in the village and adds greater protection to two key community spaces – the allotments and recreational playing field. Over 80% of those who voted in the referendum on 18 August 2016 supported the plan.
RESOLVED: to make the Longworth Neighbourhood Plan part of the Development Plan for Vale of White Horse.
OxLEP Strategic Economic Plan PDF 228 KB
At its meeting on 7 October 2016 Cabinet will consider a report on the OxLEP Strategic Economic Plan (SEP). As part of that report Cabinet will consider the Joint Scrutiny Committee request that Cabinet defer its response to the SEP pending its consideration by Council. If Cabinet agree to this request Council will be invited to consider the SEP.
The report of the interim head of development, regeneration and housing, which Cabinet will consider on 7 October, is attached.
The recommendations of Cabinet will be circulated to councillors on 7 October.
Council considered Cabinet’s recommendation, made at its meeting on 7 October 2016, on the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) Strategic Economic Plan. As part of that report Cabinet considered and supported the Joint Scrutiny Committee request that Cabinet defer its response to the SEP pending its consideration by Council.
Councillors welcomed the document. The following points were raised during the discussion:
· Housing - Vale requires the additional housing identified in order to support future economic growth and accommodate the growth in population attracted by the new jobs.
· Oxford City Council continued to allocate land for employment whilst failing to provide housing which compounds the current housing shortage and transport problems.
· Affordable housing – there was a lack of suitable accommodation for key workers and those on lower incomes.
· Infrastructure – the document should address the infrastructure problems (particularly transport) and include reference to the possibility of a Grove/Wantage railway station.
· Skills shortage – the document should address the existing skills shortage in Oxfordshire. The creation of new jobs would not benefit the local community if local people were unable to fill the positions.
· There was also no reference to disability issues in the document.
A number of councillors remained sceptical that the SEP had a plan to address weaknesses and respond to threats. It remained inward looking and provided an Oxford-centric perspective rather than addressing County-wide issues.
RESOLVED: to endorse the decision of Cabinet to:
(i) welcome some of the changes made to the Oxfordshire Strategic Economic Plan which seek to make it “shorter and clearer”, and acknowledge that this has largely been achieved;
(ii) support the broad thrust of the Oxfordshire Strategic Economic Plan document in terms of the stated vision, identified strengths weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and proposed actions; and
(iii) believe the document would be more robust if it:
· more fully addressed the issues highlighted in the body of the Cabinet report, and
· more clearly linked actions to identified issues, and confirmed where responsibility lies for implementing these various actions,
and to note that the Leader will take account of points raised at Council in responding to the consultation.
Report of the leader of the council
(1) Urgent cabinet decisions
In accordance with the overview and scrutiny procedure rules, a cabinet decision can be taken as a matter of urgency, if any delay by the call-in process would seriously prejudice the council’s or the public’s interest. Treating the decision as a matter of urgency must be agreed by the chairman of the Scrutiny Committee and must be reported to the next meeting of the council, together with the reasons for urgency.
Councillor Matthew Barber, Leader of the council, will report that on 12 August 2016 Councillor Mike Murray took a confidential decision to grant a lease to Boundary Park Sports Association. The chairman of the Scrutiny Committee agreed to waive call-in because any delay could impact on the agreement.
(2) Delegation of cabinet functions
To receive details of any changes to the leader’s scheme of delegation.
(3) Matters affecting the authority arising from meetings of joint committees, partnerships and other meetings
To receive the report of the leader (if any).
Councillor Matthew Barber, Leader of the council, provided a number of updates as detailed below.
Growth Board – he reported that at its meeting on 26 September 2016, the Oxfordshire Growth Board approved the apportionment of the agreed working figure for the unmet housing need for Oxford which assumed a worst case scenario of 2,200 houses in the Vale.
Devolution – the Oxfordshire Growth Board agreed a motion that the district councils, Oxford City and county council would work together to realise savings and improve public services. They would work with partners, including the police and Clinical Commissioning Group, to explore how these transformational changes can be progressed. Work would continue on the feasibility of establishing a combined authority for Oxfordshire.
In accordance with the scrutiny committee procedure rules, Council noted that on 12 August 2016 Councillor Mike Murray took a confidential decision to grant a lease to Boundary Park Sports Association. The chairman of the scrutiny committee agreed to waive call-in because any delay could impact on the agreement.
Council noted the following changes to the Conservative Group’s membership of committees:
· Councillor Mohinder Kainth to replace Councillor Katie Finch on the Scrutiny and Joint Scrutiny committees;
· Councillor Chris Palmer to replace Councillor Monica Lovatt on the Joint Scrutiny Committee;
· Councillor Yvonne Constance to replace Councillor Ben Mabbett on the General Licensing and Licensing Acts committees.
Notices of motion under standing order 11
To receive notices of motion under standing order 11.
(1) Motion to be proposed by Councillor Debby Hallett, seconded by Councillor Judy Roberts:
Council notes that government is still open to practical suggestions for devolved government. Council notes that the benefits of devolution are far more likely to be achieved if council leaders in Oxfordshire are serious about reaching a consensus.
· Calls on all council leaders in the county to resume talks about a workable model of local government re-organisation, with the express intention of reaching a workable consensus, and with the primary objective of achieving the best outcomes for the people of Oxford in terms of service delivery and efficiencies
· Calls on the Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council to play a full and constructive part in such talks
(2) Motion to be proposed by Councillor Bob Johnston, seconded by Councillor Jenny Hannaby:
Given that HM Government has announced that the New Homes Bonus is to be top sliced to pay for Adult Social Services in areas such as Oxfordshire, this Council calls for the officers to prepare a report on the implications for the Vale's finances. The report should go to Scrutiny in the first instance and thence to Cabinet and Full Council.
(1) Motion moved by Councillor Debby Hallett and seconded by Councillor Judy Roberts:
With the consent of Council, in accordance with standing order 24(4), Councillor Debby Hallett altered her motion to replace Oxford with Oxfordshire in the fifth line of bullet point two of the motion below.
“Council notes that government is still open to practical suggestions for devolved government. Council notes that the benefits of devolution are far more likely to be achieved if council leaders in Oxfordshire are serious about reaching a consensus.
· Calls on all council leaders in the county to resume talks about a workable model of local government re-organisation, with the express intention of reaching a workable consensus, and with the primary objective of achieving the best outcomes for the people of Oxfordshire in terms of service delivery and efficiencies
· Calls on the Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council to play a full and constructive part in such talks”.
There was general support for the motion. Councillors expressed the view that the current lack of agreement reduced the scope for savings and threatened service provision. Consensus was the only way to move forward. The residents of Oxfordshire expected an outcome from the money spent on the two option reports - one produced on behalf of Oxford City Council and the district councils and one on behalf of Oxfordshire County Council. The government had stated that the devolution deal, which would provide greater powers and funding, is dependent on new collaborative governance arrangements. Without an agreement there would be no devolution deal.
During the debate a councillor spoke in support of ‘option six’ referred to in Grant Thornton’s ‘Review of future options for local government in Oxfordshire’ produced on behalf of Oxfordshire County Council. This option envisages a strategic unitary council for Oxfordshire with overall responsibility for determining a framework of delegation of powers and budgets with constitutionally established area boards, based on the administrative boundaries of the current City and district councils, exercising these delegated powers and budgets. These area boards could have precept raising powers and have representation on the county-wide unitary executive board. This option would achieve savings through a reduction in administrative costs, improve the delivery of services and importantly ensure decisions are taken close to the communities.
However, other councillors expressed the view that ‘option six’ would recreate the two-tier system of local government which members of the public wanted to replace. The view was expressed that such an option would require legislative provision and that the ability for area boards to raise different council tax levels could prove contentious and confusing for residents.
RESOLVED: To note that government is still open to practical suggestions for devolved government and that the benefits of devolution are far more likely to be achieved if ... view the full minutes text for item 43.