Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 25 November 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, OX14 4SB

Contact: Candida Mckelvey, Democratic Services Officer 

Note: Members of the committee need to attend in person. The meeting will be broadcasted on YouTube for remote viewing. Watch here:  

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To record apologies for absence and the attendance of substitute members. 


Apologies were received from Councillors David Grant and Ron Batstone.


Declarations of interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests 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. 


The Chair ran through hybrid meeting housekeeping. Chair decided to move the public participation item to the A34 item, so that the public speakers present could speak directly ahead of the item they were discussing.


Notes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 280 KB

To review the notes of the informal meeting of scrutiny committee members, held on 12 October 2021.


The committee noted the notes of 12 October 2021.


Work schedule and dates for all Vale scrutiny meetings pdf icon PDF 182 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 Please note, although the dates are confirmed, the items under consideration are subject to being withdrawn, added to or rearranged without further notice.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 Chair will inform the committee of any changes as they occur, some items will be moved around. There may be an additional meeting in early 2022 to manage workload, to be confirmed. Chair added that meetings would be informal where possible over the winter, but some items will require a formal meeting. The format of each meeting will be confirmed in due course.


Public participation

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


Chair confirmed that two public speakers were present in person to speak to item 7, A34 diversion rerouting. The speakers were Councillor Andrew Crawford, Ward member for Wantage, and Dr Alan Bennett, who was a representative of a local residents group, Wantage Traffic Diversion Group.

The speakers would speak at the beginning of item 7 after formal introductions, as permitted by committee.


Councillor Crawford, as a council member, was able to participate and contribute to the item with questions, and helping to answer any questions, as allowed by Chair.


A34 diversion routing pdf icon PDF 314 KB

For committee to consider a paper on A34 diversion routing.

Additional documents:


Councillor Debby Hallett, as Cabinet member for Planning Policy, introduced the report that was written in the Planning Policy Team. The council had no responsibility for diversions however scrutiny committee were asked to review this as there was some negative impact on local residents who live on the diversion routes.


The report provided an introduction to the issue of night-time diversions and some maps of affected routes. The diversions were not under council control, but the committee may suggest alternative options to National Highways to review, and also Oxfordshire County Council (OCC), who have responsibility for the maintenance of routes. Two officers from these organisations were invited and present to help answer questions.


Councillor Hallett invited guest officers to introduce themselves. Keith Stenning represented Oxfordshire County Council, as the Head of Service for Network  Management, and coordination of roadworks. Greg Stone represented National Highways (formerly Highways England), as Route Manager for the A34. He was responsible for current and future needs of the network.


Chair invited the guest speakers to speak. Firstly, Cllr Andrew Crawford spoke to the committee to express his disappointment in the rerouting, which impacted residents who live close to the road. He stressed that this was not about temporary and emergency rerouting but planned night-time closures.
He reported that 25 closures over 3 months on single carriageway roads were disruptive to residents, with a high volume of traffic and large vehicles such as HGV’s using the diversion.

He asked scrutiny committee to consider what evidence exists to justify the rerouting. Why was contraflow not used? Councillor Crawford believed that a comprehensive risk assessment was required. There were concerns about road safety – dark roads, blind bends, parked cars. The added journey time for drivers may encourage speeding to make up time. What influence does OCC have to help?


Dr Bennett spoke to the committee. He represented 34 households, and a local group called the Wantage Traffic Diversions group. Dr Bennett felt frustrated by the lack of response from OCC and National Highways. The residents group had protested the night-time diversions, including contacting a local MP to write to OCC. He confirmed that the last 3 years had been worse, as a resident of the area for 26 years. His concerns were the impact on health, with consecutive nights without sleep from the noise and vibrations. The issues raised were sleep deprivation, noise, structural damage, irresponsible driving (mounting curbs, risks to pedestrians, high speed) on a single carriageway. Concern raised about the sub-contracting of tasks which was viewed as less efficient. Inconvenience of some residents needing to relocate to family / a hotel during planned works, then potential loss of expenses where the works were postponed. Dr Bennett questions whether this was acceptable.


Chair welcomed the committee to ask questions of clarification of the speakers. It was clarified that Dr Bennett spoke based on living in the same home for 26 years, 11 feet from the road, of which the last 3 years were significantly worse in  ...  view the full minutes text for item Sc15


Dalton Barracks Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) pdf icon PDF 394 KB

For Scrutiny Committee to consider the content of the Dalton Barracks Strategic Allocation draft Supplementary Planning Document and feedback comment to the Cabinet Member.

Additional documents:


Councillor Debby Hallett, Cabinet member for Corporate Services and Transformation, introduced the report on the consultation on the Dalton Barracks Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The aim was to consider and implement any changes from the consultation and approve the SPD in early 2022. Andrew Lane was the lead officer present to answer any questions alongside the Cabinet member.


Chair reminded committee that this item was in reference to the non-coloured section of the map under point 6. Committee were asked to focus on that part.


Committee was reminded that an SPD expanded on and clarified the existing policies within the local plan. You cannot add or adjust affordable housing, this was within the local plan. It was confirmed that the results go to Cabinet, and this was scrutiny committee’s opportunity to feed into the consultation. Committee were pleased that working alongside the MOD, the development for the area was aiming to be exemplar and sustainable. There was a push to encourage sustainable development by the officer team.


Andrew Lane was asked about scoping for the cycle lanes planned. A committee member raised the education provision, and Andrew Lane confirmed that primary education provision was planned on site for new developments, and secondary education may be off site. Details will become clearer once the application was submitted. At this stage, we were consulting on the SPD.

There was mention of park runs, and the need for new developments to have unbroken path for exercising safely - Councillor Hallett would take this thought away to explore further.


All involved were thanked for their input.



Scrutiny Committee considered the content of the Dalton Barracks Strategic

Allocation draft Supplementary Planning Document and fedback their comments to the Cabinet Member.


Planning enforcement statement pdf icon PDF 274 KB

For Scrutiny Committee to review the updated Joint Planning Enforcement Statement.

Additional documents:


Cabinet member for Planning, Councillor Bethia Thomas, introduced the report on the reviewed Joint Planning Enforcement statement, which included a new triage to increase efficiency and to help ease a backlog by prioritising cases.

Communications was a big part of this work – and will continue to feature.


There was discussion about a ‘light touch’ option for lower scoring cases. This would be considered, balancing this with the resource that may be needed to action this.


The committee were impressed with the streamlining. Councillor Thomas did reassure committee that this would be reviewed in one year, to ensure the new process worked well. It was a sensible and evolving process and not set in stone. The key was to ensure best use of officer time. The statement included harm assessment that made it clear what conditions trigger priority status.


Emma Turner and Adrian Duffield were also present to support the item. Emma Turner gave detail on the wider package, including the importance of communications. There would be planned FAQs on the website, website updates, changes to reporting papers (similar to the environmental health form). The team want to collate high quality information from residents that will assist in making the council planning enforcement service efficient and accessible.


Chair added that the councillor engagement session was very good, and he thanked all involved.



That scrutiny committee considered the content of the report including the new approach totriaging and fedback to the Cabinet Member for Planning.