of a meeting of the

Joint Scrutiny Committee


held on Monday, 20 June 2022at 6.00 pm

at the 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park OX14 4SB



Open to the public, including the press


Present in the meeting room:


South Oxfordshire District Councillors: Ian White (Co chair, chairing), Kate Gregory, Jo Robb, David Turner

Vale of White Horse District Councillors: Andy Cooke, David Grant and Ben Mabbett (Substitute member)



Adrianna Partridge, Deputy Chief Executive for Operations and Transformation (Scrutiny lead officer) and Candida Mckelvey, Democratic Services Officer


Also present:  Councillor Sue Cooper as a guest.


Remote attendance:

Marta Bou-Fernandez, Jake Bassett, Adrian Duffield, Head of Planning, Harry Barrington-Mountford, Head of Policy and Programmes.


Cabinet members: Councillors Anne-Marie Simpson (South - Planning) and Debby Hallett (Vale – Planning Policy)





Sc.1   Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Councillors Nathan Boyd and Cheryl Briggs. Nathan Boyd was substituted by Councillor Ben Mabbett for this meeting.




Sc.2   Minutes


The minutes from the meeting held on 24 January 2022 were reviewed by committee members and no comments were raised.




Sc.3   Declarations of interest


There were no declarations of interest.




Sc.4   Urgent business and chair's announcements






Sc.5   Public participation


There were no public speakers, however chair notified committee members that Councillor Sue Cooper, Cabinet Member for Environment, wished to address the committee and would do so under the Joint Design Guide item.




Sc.6   Work schedule and dates for all South and Vale scrutiny meetings


No comments raised. Members were encouraged to email the chair if they have any amends or additions to the work programme.




Sc.7   Joint Design Guide


Councillor Sue Cooper addressed the committee, as she was Cabinet Member for Climate, she wanted to share some thoughts. In summary, she felt that the guide was very good and was in support of it, but had some comments as follows:

·         The new version circulated was an improvement

·         Climate and sustainability section was good, and we should consider this for extensions. It was felt some statements appear to contradict climate change and sustainability principles, particularly the figures 43 to 46.

·         Energy inefficient outside walls should be covered during extensions if they lose heat. The diagram labelled red (simple build, covers the old wall) would be more sustainable and efficient. Would rather a plain functional extension rather than a more complex build with smaller, multiple joins.

·         Questioned why there was a requirement for a setback by a third.

·         Cabinet member considered that the guide and its updates were a great improvement.


This item was introduced by Cabinet Member for Planning (South), Councillor Anne-Marie Simpson. Also supporting the item was Cabinet Member for Planning Policy (Vale), Councillor Debby Hallett. Officers Jake Bassett and Marta Bou-Fernandez were present to answer technical questions, along with Head of Planning, Adrian Duffield.


Cabinet member for Planning (South) explained that the design guide was intended to support high quality development for both districts, containing advice and giving clarity on sustainable design, and supporting our corporate priorities on climate emergency. It was a Supplementary Planning Document, produced in-house by the hard work of officers, and will support decision making for planning applications. It will have greater accessibility with its online format. The external consultation had led to amendments and then some further minor amendments as presented. Councillors had been directed to view those amendments by comparison of the old and new website links. Thanks were given to the Joint Design Guide working group for their input.

Cabinet member for Vale added that she was excited about this document and felt it was an exemplar piece of work. Working together on this planning document paves the way for further joint working. Central Government changes in planning policy could lead to a further review of the design guide in future and strengthening of climate emergency targets.


The committee asked questions and made comments, of which the main points are summarised below.




Chair concluded the meeting by summarising the key points made:

1. creating a searchable document online – officers had offered a solution

2. a link to permitted development information requested

3. Hedge and soft boundary treatments and information on Dark Skies

4. Look into word strengthening where it was deemed viable to do so.


Officers and Cabinet Members were thanked, along with officers supporting the management of the meeting.