Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Friday, 11 August 2023 10.30 am

Venue: Meeting Room 1, Abbey House, Abbey Close, Abingdon, OX14 3JE

Contact: Steve Culliford, Democratic Services Email: 

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To record apologies for absence. 


Councillors Mark Coleman, Andy Crawford and Neil Fawcett had sent their apologies for absence. 


Minutes pdf icon PDF 222 KB

To adopt and sign as correct records the minutes of the Cabinet meetings held on 23 June and 3 July 2023. 

Additional documents:


RESOLVED: to approve the public and exempt minutes of the Cabinet meetings held on 23 June and 3 July 2023 as correct records and agree that the Chair signs them as such. 


Declarations 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.




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.


Cabinet noted the evacuation arrangements in the event of an emergency. 


Public participation

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




Recommendations and updates from other committees pdf icon PDF 434 KB

To consider any recommendations to Cabinet from other committees. 


Cabinet received updates from the Joint Audit and Governance Committee and the Joint Scrutiny Committee, together with recommendations from the Scrutiny Committee on the grant funding affordable housing item (minute 27 refers). 


Grant Funding Affordable Housing pdf icon PDF 295 KB

To consider the report of the head of housing and environment.

Additional documents:


Cabinet considered the head of housing and environment’s report on grant funding affordable housing projects. 


Members recalled that the Housing Delivery Strategy, adopted in November 2022, had recommended a refresh of the policy and criteria used to assess grant applications for affordable housing projects.  The scheme was funded by using commuted sums received from Section 106 agreements, generated by housing developments in the district. 


The report set out proposed changes to the policy, which aimed to increase the delivery of affordable housing and to make the grant application process easier and more transparent.  The Cabinet member foraffordable housing, infrastructure, development and governance believed that the criteria within the policy should not be too prescriptive.  The main aim was to ensure the Section 106 funds were spent, and the corporate objective of delivering affordable housing was met. 


The revised policy had been considered by Scrutiny Committee on 31 July 2023.  The committee had made the following suggested changes:

·       Strengthen wording in the report to emphasise that the money for bids is ring-fenced

·       Paragraphs 20-21 in the report – clarity requested on the spend limits for full Council approval

·       Paragraph 3 of the policy – clarify wording to explain this applies to housing sums only

·       Paragraph 4 of the policy – amend wording to explain the delivery of affordable housing and that affordable housing in perpetuity was a requirement

·       Paragraph 4 of the policy – distinguish between essential and desirable.  It was confirmed that this was in line with the Housing Strategy 

·       Wording requested in the policy to explain that a report on the assessment of the bid would be shared with the applicant 

·       The criteria from page 2 of the policy could have more explanation, without being overly prescriptive as this may deter some bidders 

·       Please remove undefined acronyms or provide explanation, as it is a public facing document

·       Please clarify what “low cost” housing means.  Officer to add wording on asking bidders to explain what the resident’s experience would be for utilities/low cost housing 

·       Make “low running costs” a markable criteria.  This would include non-carbon utilities such as water 

·       Clarity needed on what “adding social value” is 

·       On page 3 of the policy, the committee believes that the wording suggested for South Oxfordshire on gas boilers being given a rating of zero should be replicated for Vale, but with reconsideration of the wording.  The committee is keen to balance encouraging bids with the commitment the council has to tackle the climate emergency, noting that officers are intending to not exclude potential properties that already have gas boilers installed, but will work with bidders to move towards efficient zero carbon options that have low running costs.  If gas boilers scored low, this is one of many criteria and should not deter bidders if the wording is considered carefully 

·       Check whether bidders need to provide architect’s drawings at this stage 


Cabinet considered it was important to update the policy to encourage applications for grant funding to provide more affordable housing in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.