Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Wednesday, 24 March 2021 7.00 pm, NEW

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Steven Corrigan, Democratic Services Manager 07717 274704 Email: steven.corrigan@southandvale.gov.uk 

Link: This is a virtual meeting - you can watch it here

Items
No. Item

155.

Apologies for absence

To record apologies for absence.

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of Councillor Bowring.

156.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 286 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Council minutes of the meeting held on 10 February 2021 – attached. 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 10 February 2021 as a correct record and agree that the chair sign them as such.

 

 

157.

Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.  

Minutes:

Councillor Roberts declared a personal interest in agenda item 15 on funding the Oxfordshire Community Land Trust (minute 169 refers). 

 

158.

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. 

Minutes:

The chair provided general housekeeping information. There were no items of urgent business.

159.

Public participation

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

Minutes:

 

A.   Question from Gordon Lundie to Councillor Bethia Thomas, Cabinet member for community engagement

 

Bearing in mind that it has been reported by two locally elected members on social media that the Valley Park application will be delayed, and I quote “ due to Purdah,…the application for Valley Park will not come back to planning committee until May at the earliest,”  and that badgers have been reported on the site surely requiring a wildlife assessment, can the Cabinet member confirm whether this delay is true and if so what impact this will have on the councils five year land supply and the HIF bid, and how is this delay consistent with the Local Government Guidance that planning application decisions should not be delayed due to purdah, even where controversial?”

 

Answer

 

Following the deferral of the Valley Park outline planning application at the Planning Committee 16 February, officers are in negotiations with the developer regarding highway improvements and health care provision. If we receive amended plans following our discussions with the developer, it is likely we will undertake further public engagement, which is our normal practice. Oxfordshire County Council, as the highway authority, will provide their views where appropriate on any amended plans or proposals. The need for this further work is the main reason why this application is not in a position to return yet to the planning committee.

 

Any slippage in determining this application is likely to impact on the developer’s ability to deliver housing in line with the council’s housing delivery trajectory published in our annual housing statement and the ability to demonstrate our five year housing land supply. I understand that the preparatory works to deliver Didcot’s road infrastructure funded by the HIF is on track.

 

Regarding badgers, the location of the outlier setts will be buffered within proposed open space. Suggested planning conditions would include resurveying the area as part of an Ecological Construction Management Plan, prior to site clearance/commencement of development.

 

 

B.   Dr Nathan Ley addressed Council in support of Motion A at agenda item 12 to improve access to healthcare facilities for residents of new housing developments.

 

C. Bob Colenutt, Chair of the Oxfordshire Community Land Trust (OCLT), addressed Council in support of grant funding for the Dean Court affordable housing project. He stated that OCLT is a Community Benefit Society regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with charitable status and had been working on the Dean Court project with the district council since 2014. Dean Court will provide eight co-operatively run, rented, permanently affordable housing units for those in housing need in the district.  The scheme is at an advanced stage with land acquired, a fully designed scheme, a development loan in place with a selected contractor in place.  OCLT have applied for Registered Provider status from the regulator for Social Housing and anticipate that their application will be significantly strengthened with the Council’s approval for grant funding.  The project supports the council’s aim of supporting community led housing and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 159.

160.

Petitions

To receive any petitions from the public. 

Minutes:

None.

161.

A Joint Local Plan pdf icon PDF 144 KB

At its meeting on 17 March 2021 Cabinet will consider a report on the case for preparing a Joint Local Plan, instead of separate local plans for South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils. The report of the head of planning which Cabinet will consider on 17 March is attached.

 

The recommendations of Cabinet will be circulated to all councillors following the Cabinet meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendation, made at its meeting on 17 March 2021, on the case for preparing a Joint Local Plan, instead of separate local plans for South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils.

 

In introducing Cabinet’s recommendation Councillor Hallett, Cabinet member for corporate services and transformation, stated that the proposal is for Vale of White Horse District Council’s next Local Plan to be a Joint Local Plan with South Oxfordshire District Council. This would be instead of a new Vale of White Horse Local Plan and a new South Oxfordshire Local Plan. If agreed, a Joint Local Plan would be prepared over the next four years. In the meantime, the existing adopted Vale of White Local Plan Parts 1 and 2 would continue to be in force, before being replaced by the new Joint Local Plan.

Any new Joint Plan would cover the period from adoption (expected in 2024) until 2041. As the Vale’s adopted local plan already contained land allocations for development up to 2031, and some beyond this date, the allocations in a new plan would be focussed on the long term and neighbourhood plans would continue to be a strong aspect in the development plan to provide the opportunity for communities to guide development in their areas.

 

She drew attention to the officer report which set out the advantages and disadvantages of a joint plan covering both the planning and practical reasons and included a proposed timetable for a joint local plan. 

 

She explained that legislation allowed the councils to prepare a joint plan: 

 

·         Section 28 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 allowed two or more local planning authorities (district councils) to prepare a joint local plan.  The county council in two-tier areas, such as Oxfordshire, could be part of the plan-preparation process but could not be part of the formal decision-making as this remained the responsibility of the district councils.  Under Section 28, the final, formal decisions at key local plan stages (consultations, publication, submission, adoption) were made either separately by each council or via a voluntary joint committee. 

 

·         Section 29 of the 2004 Act enabled county councils to continue to
have a strategic planning role working with district councils.  This allowed for the decision-making on a joint local plan to be conferred on a joint committee.  Under section 29, the county council would be a formal partner in the joint committee and therefore would have equal membership on a committee. 

Cabinet recommended that the process should be undertaken under Section 28 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

 

The majority of councillors supported the proposal for the following reasons:

 

·       A joint local plan would provide the opportunity to plan comprehensively across the district boundary in one plan for Didcot Garden Town and Science Vale.

·       Vale and South share many geographical similarities and have common challenges and pressures.

·      The councils’ ambitions are similar, with a great deal of consensus between the Vale and South Corporate Plans

·       With existing shared working  ...  view the full minutes text for item 161.

162.

Further extension of term of office of independent persons for code of conduct matters pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To consider the report of the head of legal and democratic and monitoring officer on extending the term of office of two independent persons to advise on code of conduct issues – attached.

Minutes:

 

Council considered the report of the head of legal and democratic and monitoring officer on further extending the term of office of two independent persons to advise on code of conduct issues.

RESOLVED: to

 

(1)  authorise the Monitoring Officer to extend the terms of office of Chris Smith and Martin Wright, the council’s independent persons for code of conduct matters until 31 May 2022;

(2)  authorise the Monitoring Officer to carry out a recruitment exercise for new independent persons and bring recommendations on appointments to Council prior to that date.

 

163.

Report of the leader of the council

To receive the report of the leader of the council. 

Minutes:

Councillor Emily Smith, Leader of the council, provided an update on a number
of matters. The text of her address is available on the council’s website.

164.

Update on Oxfordshire Growth Board pdf icon PDF 29 KB

To receive an update on the Oxfordshire Growth Board from Councillor  Fawcett, Cabinet member for strategic partnerships and place.

 

Minutes:

Council received a written update report on the Oxfordshire Growth Board from
Councillor Neil Fawcett, Cabinet member for strategic partnerships and place.

165.

Questions on notice

To receive questions from councillors in accordance with Council procedure rule 33. 

 

A.   Question from Councillor Gascoigne to Councillor Helen Pighills, Cabinet member for healthy communities 

 

In light of the disappearance and tragic death of Sarah Everard, women have taken to social media to share their experiences and talk about the many ways in which they have all felt unsafe when just trying to go about their lives. What assurances can the council give that it is doing what it can to protect women and vulnerable people in the district to go about their lives?

 

B.   Question from Councillor Medley to Councillor Roberts, Cabinet member for development and infrastructure

 

Councillor Gascoigne and I can confirm first-hand that during the past year of the pandemic and the various lockdowns, having access to green open spaces on the Great Western Park (GWP) development has been a lifeline for many residents.

With the hope of lockdown restrictions lifting in the coming months, it would be fantastic if residents of GWP are able to finally access and use the full range of community facilities this summer. Please can the Cabinet member provide an update on the following key items of infrastructure on Great Western Park:

1.    District Community Centre: when will this be open to the public and available for bookings, how will it be run and will the GWP Community Support Group be able to run their Community larder from there?

2.    The Skate Park, Tennis Courts, Multi-Use Games Area and Healthcare Site: when will these be transferred to the Vale? 

 

 

Minutes:

A.   Question from Councillor Gascoigne to Councillor Helen Pighills, Cabinet member for healthy communities 

 

In light of the disappearance and tragic death of Sarah Everard, women have taken to social media to share their experiences and talk about the many ways in which they have all felt unsafe when just trying to go about their lives. What assurances can the council give that it is doing what it can to protect women and vulnerable people in the district to go about their lives?

 

Written Answer

 

There has been a lot in the media over recent days about the safety of women.  Figures from the latest annual crime figures show that violent crime in Oxfordshire is much lower than the national average. The recorded rates of violent crime per 1000 population are 13.7 for South Oxfordshire and 13.4 in Vale of White Horse.  Nationally this figure is 76 per 1000 population and our districts remain some of the safest places to live in the UK.

 

The community safety team work in partnership with other organisations on issues including violence and domestic abuse. This includes the promotion of a number of national schemes:

 

·         The Ask for Angela scheme allows anyone to discreetly ask for help if they do not feel safe. We have promoted this scheme to licenced premises across Vale of White Horse and currently have 38 licenced premises signed up.   

·         The Safe Places scheme helps vulnerable people if they feel scared or at risk while they are out and about in the community and need support right away.  We have 26 businesses registered on this scheme which are recognisable by a sign in the window.  

·         Ask for Ani is a new scheme launched in January to assist victims of domestic abuse in seeking support.  Pharmacies can sign up to the scheme and customers can ask for assistance from trained staff who can signpost them to support.  The community safety team will be promoting this scheme later this year.

 

We will continue to promote all of these schemes when businesses reopen as the current lockdown restrictions are eased and expand their coverage.

 

We are also working in partnership with The Training Effect who are delivering online training for parents of secondary school children aimed at supporting parents at helping to keep their children safe.  The current online courses have been over-subscribed so we are planning to run additional events.

 

In addition, one of our key priorities is tackling domestic abuse, we provide funding to the Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Service who deliver outreach support to victims of domestic abuse in our area.  We also provide a sanctuary scheme to enable victims of abuse to feel safe in their own homes.  Both the domestic abuse service and the sanctuary scheme are available to both male and female victims.

 

From April we plan to host the Building Respectful Families programme within the districts.  This programme aims to reduce or stop child on parent violence by helping young people manage their frustrations, help parents increase  ...  view the full minutes text for item 165.

166.

Motions on notice

To consider motions from councillors in accordance with Council procedure rule 38. 

 

A.   Motion to be proposed by Councillor Gascoigne, seconded by Councillor Medley

 

Council notes: 

  • As specified in the Vale of White Horse Local Plan 2031: Part 2, the district council has committed to provide 22,760 new homes in the period 2011-2031.  
  • Residents across the Vale regularly contact members about the existing pressure on local health services and concerns about additional homes increasing demand. 
  • The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for ensuring health provision for our growing population is provided. 
  • If section 106 contributions from developers agreed by the District Council are not used by the CCG within a set time, the money can be paid back to the developer, which would result in an under-provision of health care in our communities.
  • Despite significant effort by council officers and local health professionals, the current system is preventing us from providing the health services that local people need and deserve. 
  • Our planning service and planning committee are therefore under pressure to approve new housing without plans for healthcare in place.  

 

Council believes: 

  • This council has an important role in improving the health and wellbeing of our residents. 
  • Primary health provision should be planned based on population growth and vision for health care provision in the district. 
  • That sufficient infrastructure such as transport, health and education should be provided alongside, and preferably ahead of new housing development. 
  • The current national system for ensuring health infrastructure is provided, through Clinical Commissioning Groups, is not working. 

 Council requests: 

1.  Officers continue to work with Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group contacts to ensure sufficient provision is made for primary care services for key strategic housing sites such as Valley Park, Great Western Park and North Abingdon.
 

2.  The leader of the council write to Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) requesting a meeting to discuss: 

·         Better working relationship between the two organisations.

·         Ensuring OCCG take a more pro-active approach to our planning process and respond to planning application consultations in a timely and ongoing basis to support the work of our planning department and our Infrastructure and development team.  

·         How the OCCG can engage more proactively with the planning authority to better plan healthcare for strategic sites housing sites in the Vale linked to the council’s corporate plan theme of “building healthy communities”. 

·         To understand how OCCG uses population forecasts to plan primary healthcare and what its plans are for Oxfordshire

·         To discuss particular case studies where there is a potential for section 106 monies to be lost  

 

3.   The Council Leader write to the Ministers for Heath and MHCLG to: 

·         explain the difficulties local planning authorities have to obtain information and commitment to deliver health services from OCCG. 

·         provide specific case studies about where health provision negotiated as part of section 106 is at risk of being lost.

·         press the need for whatever structure replaces Clinical Commissioning groups as part of the health reform has working with local planning authorities and its heart.  ...  view the full agenda text for item 166.

Minutes:

 

A.   Councillor Gascoigne moved, and Councillor Medley seconded, the motion as set out in the agenda at agenda item 12

 

Amendment

 

Councillor Ware moved, and Councillor Boyd seconded an amendment
with additional words in bold and deleted words shown by a strikethrough to reflect the fact that the Vale is covered by Clinical Commissioning Groups other than Oxfordshire.

 

Council notes: 

·         As specified in the Vale of White Horse Local Plan 2031: Part 2, the district council has committed to provide 22,760 new homes in the period 2011-2031.  

·         Residents across the Vale regularly contact members about the existing pressure on local health services and concerns about additional homes increasing demand. 

·         The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups is are responsible for ensuring health provision for our growing population is provided. 

·         If section 106 contributions from developers agreed by the District Council are not used by the CCGs within a set time, the money can be paid back to the developer, which would result in an under-provision of health care in our communities.

·         Despite significant effort by council officers and local health professionals, the current system is preventing us from providing the health services that local people need and deserve. 

·         Our planning service and planning committee are therefore under pressure to approve new housing without plans for healthcare in place.  

 

Council believes: 

·         This council has an important role in improving the health and wellbeing of our residents. 

·         Primary health provision should be planned based on population growth and vision for health care provision in the district. 

·         That sufficient infrastructure such as transport, health and education should be provided alongside, and preferably ahead of new housing development. 

·         The current national system for ensuring health infrastructure is provided, through Clinical Commissioning Groups, is not working. 

 

 

 

 

 

 Council requests: 

1.    Officers continue to work with Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups contacts to ensure sufficient provision is made for primary care services for key strategic housing sites such as Valley Park, Great

Western Park and North Abingdon.

 

2.  The leader of the council write to Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) requesting a meeting to discuss: ,recognising that there are a number of CCGs involved in the provision of health care services, write to the CCGs to arrange meetings to discuss:

 

·     DevelopingBbetter working relationship between the OCCGs and the District Council. two organisations.

·     Ensuring OCCGs take a more pro-active approach to our planning process and respond to planning application consultations in a timely and ongoing basis to support the work of our planning department and our Infrastructure and development team.  

·     How the OCCGs can engage more proactively with the planning authority to better plan healthcare for strategic sites housing sites in the Vale linked to the council’s corporate plan theme of “building healthy communities”. 

·    To understand how OCCGs uses population forecasts to plan primary healthcare. and what its plans are for Oxfordshire

·    To discuss particular case studies where there is a potential for section 106  ...  view the full minutes text for item 166.

167.

Exclusion of the public

To consider whether to exclude members of the press and public from the meeting for the following items of business under Part 1 of Schedule 12A Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 and as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006 on the grounds that:

(i)        they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 3 and 5 Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and

(ii)       the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: to exclude members of the press and public from the meeting for the following items of business under Part 1 of Schedule 12A Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 and as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006 on the grounds that:

(i)        they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 3 and 5 Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and

(ii)       the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. 

 

 

168.

Covid-19 leisure support package

At its meeting on 17 March 2021 Cabinet will consider a confidential report on the impact of Covid-19 on leisure facilities in the district.

 

The confidential report of the acting deputy chief executive – place which Cabinet will consider on 17 March is attached.

 

The recommendations of Cabinet will be circulated to all councillors following the Cabinet meeting.

 

Minutes:

Prior to consideration of this item, and prior to the expiry of two and a half hours, Council agreed, in accordance with council procedure rule 12, to extend the meeting by half an hour if required.

 

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendations, made at its meeting on 17 March 2021 on the impact of Covid-19 on leisure facilities in the district.

 

Council agreed to offer a financial support package to GLL, the leisure contractor that manages leisure facilities across South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse, subject to formal agreements being entered into.

 

Council supported the package which would ensure residents have access to facilities and the opportunities to stay healthy.

169.

Oxfordshire Community Land Trust: affordable housing funding

At its meeting on 17 March 2021 Cabinet will consider a report on a proposal for funding through the Oxfordshire Growth Deal and S106 affordable housing commuted sums to support the development of an affordable housing scheme.

The confidential report of the acting deputy chief executive - place which Cabinet will consider on 17 March is attached.

The recommendations of Cabinet will be circulated to all councillors following the Cabinet meeting.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Judy Roberts declared a personal interest in this item, as she had been involved with it since 2007, and left the meeting during its consideration. 

 

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendation, made at its meeting on 17 March 2021, on a proposal for funding through the Oxfordshire Growth Deal and S106 affordable housing commuted sums to support the development of an affordable housing scheme of eight units at Eynsham Road, Dean Court, Cumnor.

 

The project would provide eight affordable one and two-bedroomed apartments at Dean Court, Cumnor.  This would be largely funded by affordable housing money provided through the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal and topped up by section 106 funding set aside to support such affordable housing schemes. 

 

The risks of funding the project had been addressed with mitigating measures and a condition of the agreement would be that the Oxfordshire Community Land Trust must be a Registered Social Landlord, a status which it had not yet been achieved, but an application was pending for approval by the Regulator of Social Housing. 

 

The affordable housing would meet local need, which had been demonstrated in a recent neighbourhood plan survey, and contribute to the council’s corporate plan objective of providing homes by working with community trusts. 

 

RESOLVED: to create a capital budget of £944,000 towards the Oxfordshire Community Land Trust affordable housing scheme at Dean Court, Eynsham Road, Botley, comprising a virement of £600,000 from the existing capital budget for Growth Deal affordable housing and funded by the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal, and £344,000 funded from Section 106 affordable housing commuted sums, from the Westway, Botley scheme (£194,000) and the Former Warnborough College, Boars Hill scheme (£150,000).