Agenda and minutes

Joint Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 20 June 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park OX14 4SB

Contact: Candida Mckelvey, Democratic Services 

Note: The recording of this meeting can be viewed here: 

No. Item


Apologies for absence

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


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


Minutes pdf icon PDF 205 KB

To review the Joint Scrutiny Committee minutes of the meeting held on 24 January 2022 and provide any comments or amendments if required.


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



Declarations of interest

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


There were no declarations of interest.


Urgent business and chair'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. 


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.


Work schedule and dates for all South and Vale scrutiny meetings pdf icon PDF 197 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 Please note, although the dates are confirmed, the items under consideration are subject to being withdrawn, added to or rearranged without further notice.


Additional documents:


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


Joint Design Guide pdf icon PDF 267 KB

For scrutiny committee to consider the Joint Design Guide and provide any comments or recommendations to the Cabinet Member for Planning.

Additional documents:


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.


  • Discussion was had about the amended diagram figures 43 and 44. Officers would check these to ensure they were correctly labelled. Regarding the guidance on suitable home extensions (coded red for not likely acceptable, amber and green for acceptable in principle), some members queried whether this should be so prescriptive. Officers responded to this, explaining that the figures were to give guidance and all planning applications are assessed on their own merits, but they needed to be sympathetic to local character and the original dwelling (well established design principles, as in the NPPF and national Design Code). Permitted development was the figure labelled in green. The other coloured diagrams show examples where permission would likely be required.
  • Some members  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.