Agenda and minutes

Community Governance and Electoral Issues Committee - Thursday, 26 July 2018 6.00 pm

No. Item


Apologies for absence

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


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Charlotte Dickson.



To adopt and sign as a correct record the Community Governance and Electoral Issues Committee minutes of the meeting held on 21 June 2018.


RESOLVED: to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 21 June 2018 as a correct record and agree that the Chairman signs them as such.


Declarations of interest

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


The officer reminded the committee that members who were also town or parish councillors should not vote on items which could impact their town or parish councils.


Councillor Pighills made a statement that as a member of Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council she would not vote on any issue which could impact on the boundary of the town.


Urgent business and chairman's announcements

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, and to receive any announcements from the chairman.  




Public participation

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


The list of public speakers who had registered to speak in relation to items on the agenda was tabled at the meeting.


Community Governance Review - Abingdon-on-Thames, Radley, St Helen Without and Sunningwell parishes pdf icon PDF 329 KB

To consider the report of the head of legal and democratic which invites the committee to consider whether to proceed with the community governance review in light of the initial consultation responses and subject to a decision to proceed to agree draft proposals for consultation - attached.


Additional documents:


The committee considered the initial consultation responses in relation to the review of the boundaries between Abingdon-on-Thames, Radley, St Helen Without and Sunningwell parishes and whether to agree draft proposals to pursue on to the next stage of consultation as part of the community governance review.


Councillor Emily Smith, Vale of White Horse District Councillor for the Botley and Sunningwell ward, spoke in relation to this review.  Her points included the following:

·         The review should be deferred until after the May 2019 District and Parish elections because the proposed boundary changes would result in the creation of three new polling districts causing confusion for electors and complications in relation to the administration of the 2019 elections.

·         The decision in December 2017 by Full Council to rescind its previous decision made in July 2014 that a community governance review should automatically be triggered when a significant development is proposed that sits adjacent to or straddles a parish boundary should be taken into consideration with regards to this proposal.  Even though this review was triggered following the granting of planning permission on the land at Lodge Hill, the review is in the initial stages and continuing would confuse parish councils, be expensive in terms of officer time, risky and not transparent as the review would be out of sync with district-wide reviews taking place after the May 2019 elections.


Councillor Sandy Lovatt, of Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council, spoke in relation to this review.  His points included the following:

·         The proposed transfers of land should take place as the residents of the development in this area, present and future, are and would be part of Abingdon, are and would use the services and amenities in the town so would want a say on their provision and the future properties would be marketed as being in Abingdon.

·         Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council are acting appropriately to mitigate the social, cultural and environmental impact of the development before more properties become occupied and this support for a boundary change is not motivated by financial reasons.

·         There is little to no objection from neighbouring parishes as per the results of the initial consultation.

·         It would become unsustainable to wait until all properties become occupied before amending the boundary so the review should continue and not be deferred.

·         The effect on the May 2019 elections would be minimal due to the current largely unoccupied nature of the new properties.


The officers advised the committee that this community governance review was triggered in November 2017 before Full Council rescinded its motion in December 2017 regarding significant development proposals.


James Sunningwell, or Sunningwell Parish Council, spoke in relation to this review.  His points included the following:

·         The A34 is the natural boundary between the Sunningwell and Abingdon-on-Thames parishes, but the review should be delayed until after May 2019.

·         Having a review now and after May 2019 would be confusing for electors, especially due to the uncertainties relating to unitary proposals in Oxfordshire and the impact of ongoing parliamentary and county boundary reviews.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.