Agenda and minutes

The Future Oxfordshire Partnership - Monday, 20 March 2023 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Cherwell District Council, Bodicote House, Bodicote, Banbury, OX15 4AA

Contact: Kevin Jacob, Future Oxfordshire Partnership Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email:


No. Item


Apologies for absence; declarations of interest and Chair's announcement


Apologies for absence were submitted from Iain Littlejohn, Chair of the Oxfordshire Skills Board and Miranda Markham, OxLEP business representative – Bicester.


There were no declarations of interest.


The Chair stated that with the Partnership’s permission it was intended to alter the order of the Agenda so as to take item six – Arrangements for Managing the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal and item seven – Housing and Growth Deal Financial Report immediately after item four.


It was stated that the meeting was being livestreamed and that a recording would be available here a period of 12 months.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 327 KB

To adopt as a correct record the minutes of the Future Oxfordshire Partnership meeting held on 23 January 2023.



RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Future Oxfordshire Partnership held on 23 January 2023 be approved as a correct record of the meeting.


Public participation

Asking a question and addressing the Partnership
Questions or requests to make an address (in full and in writing) must be received by 5pm on Tuesday 14 March 2023,three clear working days before the Future Oxfordshire Partnership meeting.

Questions and addresses should be no longer than one side of A4 paper in Arial 12 font. The address or question will be circulated to the Partnership and public speakers will be invited to speak at the meeting. Written submissions may also be read out by the Chair or Democratic Services Officer where requested or if the person making the request for public speaking is not able to attend the meeting. A response may be given at the meeting or a written answer supplied. The Chair will have discretion to manage the public participation procedure as they see appropriate. Questions and notice of addresses must be submitted to


Note: This meeting may be recorded for live broadcast. At the start of the meeting the Chair will confirm the meeting is being filmed. By registering to speak you are consenting to being recorded and to the use of those video and audio recordings for webcasting.


Additional documents:


The full text and final written responses to the questions below can be found here.


Councillor Dr Sue Roberts referred to the refusal by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (DEFRA) to grant Water Bathing Status at Wallingford Beach without an explanation and expressed concern that in her view, there would be no protections in place for the people swimming there. The River Thames was the lifeblood of Wallingford as a historic market town and in addition to bathers, was used by Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University rowing squads. The Future Oxfordshire Partnership was asked to write to the Secretaries of State for DEFRA and the Department for Culture Media and Sport, to deplore what was considered to be a retrograde decision to keep Wallingford mired in excrement.


In response the Chair indicated that a written response would be provided but invited Councillor David Rouane as Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council to comment. Councillor Rouane added that the council was itself seeking more information on the reasons for refusal of the Bathing Water Status application and without this information it was not possible to comment further.


Professor Richard Harding on behalf of CPRE Oxfordshire asked a question which referred to the Pathways to Zero Carbon Oxfordshire Joint Action Plan and Route Map. In particular, the proposal for a Local Area Energy Plan for Oxfordshire and a commitment to strategic planning of energy generation was welcomed. It was highlighted that although the Action Plan set out ambitious targets for solar renewables these would require only a small proportion of Oxfordshire’s land.


In the CPRE’s view priority should be given to the use of rooftops and brownfield sites for solar and local authorities should be selective about any greenfield allocations particularly avoiding Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, wildlife sites and nature recovery areas, and good agricultural land. The Future Oxfordshire Partnership was asked:


1.     Which ‘stakeholders’ would be involved in the formulation of the Local Area Energy Plan?


2.     Would the Plan be subject to full public consultation?


3.     How would the Plan take into account other potentially competing uses for land, such as biodiversity and food production, possibly moving towards a broader comprehensive land use plan for Oxfordshire?


4.     And when will local authorities be in a position to turn down any building applications (domestic or commercial) that do not make adequate provision for renewable energy, especially solar? 


The Chair indicated that a written answer would be provided and that members of the Partnership would be aware of the points made when they considered the Agenda item.


Suzanne McIvor on behalf of Need Not Greed Oxfordshire asked a question which referred to the process for the drafting of the Strategic Economic Plan, (SEP) and the phasing of the Plan through scoping, evidence gathering analysis, and production of an action plan all by the end of June 2023.She expressed concern that although headlines around the SEP talked about a ‘new, constructive and creative county-wide conversation about  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.


Future Oxfordshire Partnership Scrutiny Panel update

For action: To receive any recommendations from the Future Oxfordshire Partnership Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 13 March 2023.


Additional documents:


The Chair invited Councillor Katherine Miles, Chair of the Future Oxfordshire Partnership Scrutiny Panel, to present the recommendations from the Panel’s meeting held on 13 March 2023.


Councillor Miles summarised the recommendations and commented that the themes of the climate and biodiversity emergency had cut across the Panel’s discussions and recommendations and which had also been touched upon by the previous public speakers. These included the need to reduce transport related carbon emissions, the promotion of Active Travel and a focus on the green energy transition.


The Panel recommendation that the Infrastructure Advisory Group accept the general offer of support by Active Travel England to help Oxfordshire to improve its Active Travel capability rating was highlighted along with the recommendation that a separate briefing be held for Partnership and Partnership Scrutiny Panel members on the potential contribution of the ‘Doughnut’ economic model.


The Panel had strongly welcomed the Pathways to Zero Carbon Oxfordshire Joint Action Plan and Route Map but had made a number of recommendations relating to what the Panel considered to be areas of omission, particularly that Scope Three emissions should be included within the scope of the Action Plan and Route Map, there should be more focus on measures to reduce car use and green energy generation using roof tops and previously developed land.


Other recommendations related to the need to ensure sufficient contingency had been built into the Housing from Infrastructure Programme and that with regard to the Visitor Economy coach parking and communication around green travel options for tourists.


The Chair thanked Councillor Miles for her summary and stated that the Partnership’s full response to the recommendations would be given in writing. . He also paid tribute to the Panel’s contribution and its feedback over the previous year.


In response to a question from Councillor Liz Leffman, Councillor Miles agreed that the distinction between bicycles equipped with additional electric power and electrically powered ‘motorbikes’ was becoming increasingly blurred. It was clarified that the reference to ‘motorbikes’ in Panel recommendation 2.f. related to petrol motorbikes.


Councillor Susan Brown referred to and drew a distinction between those electric bicycles which are generally well looked after and ridden vs the problem of electric bicycles which had been illegally modified. These were an increasing safety problem within Oxford and national legislation had yet to catch up with the issue.


Pathways to Zero Carbon Oxfordshire Joint Action Plan pdf icon PDF 251 KB

For action: To receive a report from City Science on the Oxfordshire Net Zero Route Map and Action Plan.



Additional documents:


The Partnership considered a report and attached Net Zero Route Map and Action Plan which set out:


·           The emission reductions necessary to achieve net zero by 2050

·           The key milestones in 2025, 2030 and 2040.

·           Carbon budgets of maximum emissions that could be emitted to maintain this pathway (including the provision of data at a scale available to districts)

·           Key Performance Indicators to track progress

·           Recommended areas for Partnership members to work on jointly to accelerate action.


The report, route map and action plan was presented by Suzanne Malcolm, Deputy Chief Executive for Place, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils and Senior Responsible Officer for the Environment Advisory Group and Sarah Gilbert, Head of Climate, Oxfordshire County Council. A presentation was given setting out the main points of the action plan and route map here.


Councillor David Rouane as Chair of the Environment Advisory Group thanked the members of the group for their input into the development of the Route Map and Action Plan. He stressed that it was about tackling priority actions given the breadth of what could be done to tackle climate change, particularly if areas such as Scope Three emissions were included as suggested by the Scrutiny Panel. It was important not to be distracted by areas where as individual organisations and as a group, the Partnership did not have a direct impact. Rather the proposed actions were framed with a focus of maximum impact as quickly as possible. Councillor Liz Leffman agreed with these sentiments, commenting that from the list of actions there was a limit to what councils and partners could do, but more could be achieved through partnership and this would be very important.


Councillor Leffman referred to the question of green finance which had been allocated within the document to the Environment Advisory Group and suggested that this should also be considered by the Infrastructure Advisory Group as there were a number of infrastructure projects that would require finance in the future and it was important to considered how that might be achieved. Councillor Leffman commented that this should be added to the Infrastructure Advisory Group’s forward plan.


Councillor Bethia Thomas welcomed the Plan, noting the comment of officers in that it was felt to be one of the most ambitious and comprehensive such plans put together on behalf of local authorities. She commented that she hoped that comments made by the public speakers would be taken into account and questions regarding stakeholder and consultation as the route map and action plan remained in the early stages.


Councllor Brown referred to the mapping of all the work already underway and the importance of avoiding duplications. As Chair of Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership, (ZCOP) she was happy to share details of its workstreams so there could be shared learning. She commented that on attending the launch of the Project LEO report was the degree to which a lot of the required actions concerning local area energy planning could only be delivered  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.


Arrangements for Managing the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Action: To consider an update on revised reporting requirements to HM Government relating to the Homes from Infrastructure Programme. 

Additional documents:


The Partnership considered a report which provided an update on the arrangements for managing the schemes funded through the Housing for Infrastructure, (HfI) Scheme following the receipt of a letter from Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) in December 2022 setting out the conditions for the release of the remaining £30 million Housing for Infrastructure grant funding. The report had been prepared by Lorna Baxter, the Director of Finance for Oxfordshire County Council in the capacity of Section 151 Officer of the Accountable Body for the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal who presented it to the meeting.


The Partnership’s attention was drawn to para 3.1 which set out the terms and conditions of the agreement including:


·           arrangements for the use of re-cycled funding

·           changes to housing delivery profile and spend delivery in quarterly instalments up 2025.

·           No additional HM Government funding would be available beyond the 2024/2025 financial year and local authorities would need to cover expenditure beyond that date or reconsider which projects to prioritise if necessary.

·           As part of the quarterly monitoring, Oxfordshire authorities to provide an update on Local Plan progress and housing information.

·           Discussions and dialogue had taken place with officers from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Homes England and it was expected that subject to the agreement of the reporting arrangements it would be possible to submit a return at the end of March 2023.


In the discussion that followed, Councillor Susan Brown stressed the importance of not moving away from the principle of trust established as part of the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal that decisions about spend be made collectively by the Partnership with all councils having equal input. It was acknowledged that under the terms of the agreement, there was a separate responsibility for the Oxfordshire County Council Section 151 officer. Councillor Liz Leffman responded that there would continue to be regular contact and liaison between officers from County Council and district/city colleagues and addition reporting and discussion via the Infrastructure Advisory Group as there was a joint responsibility to take the HfI programme forward. Oxfordshire County Council was formally responsible for the programme as the accountable body and it was important to be cognizant that funding would not be available beyond the 2024/2025 financial year. Therefore, there were constraints that had to be worked within.


Caroline Green, Chief Executive of Oxford City Council drew the Partnership’s attention to the recognition with the report that the Partnership’s existing Terms of Reference and Memorandum of Understanding would require updating in light of the new arrangements. These amendments would need to be agreed by the Partnership itself, but also each individual local authority and as part of this work Chief Executives would be looking to formulate a form of words which encapsulated the points raised by Councllor Brown. Yvonne Rees, Chief Executive of Cherwell echoed these remarks and reassured the Partnership that this matter would be looked at closely to ensure the revised Terms of Reference and Memorandum  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58.


Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal Financial Report: Update at end of Quarter 3 2022/2033 pdf icon PDF 221 KB

For information: To receive a financial summary for Quarter 3, Year 5 for the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal.


Additional documents:


The Partnership considered a report which provided an update on the financial position of the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal Housing from Infrastructure and Growth Deal Capacity funding streams as of the end of Quarter Three, 2022/2023. Lorna Baxter, Section 151 Officer of Oxfordshire County Council presented the report.


It was highlighted that:


·           HfI expenditure to the end of March was £110m. Forecast spend for 2022/2023 was £36m with actuals of £18.9m as of December 2022.

·           Growth Deal Capacity Fund balance as of March 2023 of £1.3m.

·           The next report would be updated to reflect the reprofiling of the HfI programme in light of the revised reporting requirements.


RESOLVED: That the Future Oxfordshire Partnership note the financial position as at the end of December 2022.


Oxfordshire's Visitor Economy pdf icon PDF 424 KB

For note: To consider a report concerning Oxfordshire’s Visitor Economy. The report provides an update on progress of the £1.64 million Visitor Economy Renaissance Programme and also highlights potential destination management changes in relation to Government’s response to the independent review of destination management organisations (DMOs) in England.


The Partnership considered a report that provided information on, and progress related to the Visitor Economy Renaissance Programme, (VERP) managed by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, (OxLEP) and also an update on the future landscape of Oxfordshire’s Visitor Economy reflecting national changes as a response to the independent review of destination management organisations (DMOs) in England and the proposal to create Local Visitor

Economy Partnerships (LVEPs). The report was presented by Nigel Tipple, Chief Executive of OxLEP.


The Partnership’s attention was drawn to:


·           Para 12. As part of the VERP workstream, 78 applications under the Visitor Economy Grant scheme amounting to a total of £1.4m had been submitted and the scheme oversubscribed. A total of £660,621 had been allocated across a wide range of visitor related business organisations.  Every effort would be made to repurpose any grant underspend later in the year.

·           A key element of the grant scheme had been to provide visitor business with assistance in transitioning to E-Commerce and digital skills.

·           A five year Destination Management Plan, (DMP) had been commissioned as a whole Oxfordshire system piece and would include consideration of issues around management of place in the context of tourism including journeys. In response to the Scrutiny Panel’s recommendations relating to the impact of tourism and importance of green tourist travel it was stressed that the document would include how tourism was managed and curated as well as promoted and marketed.

·           Oxfordshire interacted with three Destination Management Organisations, (DMO) and to date two had submitted formal expressions of interest to become LVEPS under the appropriate process. Letters of support would be provided from the Oxfordshire system to both applications.


Giles Hughes, Chief Executive of West Oxfordshire District Council emphasised the importance of the quality of the county’s built and natural environments in driving the attractiveness of its tourist destinations. It was important to preserve and enhance these, with the work to produce a DMP a key part of this.


In discussion, Councillor Bethia Thomas echoed the comments of the Scrutiny Panel regarding the importance of sustainability and the green environment in the tourist economy and the Chair referred to the significant contribution of the visitor economy and how central it was to Oxfordshire’s overall economy. It was therefore important to enhance and protect it.


Councillor Andy Graham suggested that a factor which should be considered in the future was the value placed within the region on the value of cultural heritage and the link between that cultural heritage and quality of life. To protect quality of life it was necessary to protect cultural heritage by finding new ways to encourage it and it was important to not become complacent as consumer fashions and habits changed within the tourism market.


RESOLVED: That the Future Oxfordshire Partnership


1.     notes the emerging changes to the Destination Management Organisation landscape including the potential for two Local Visitor Economy Partnerships being formed.


2.     notes the forthcoming Local Visitor Economy Partnerships Vision and Destination Management Plan for Oxfordshire as a shared  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.


Oxfordshire Strategic Economic Plan 2023 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

For information: To receive a presentation setting out an update on the emerging Strategic Economic Plan for Oxfordshire, which includes the undertaking of an independent economic review.


The Partnership received a briefing presentation from Nigel Tipple, Chief Executive of OxLEP on the development of a new Oxfordshire Strategic Plan building upon the 2016 Plan, 2017 Local Industrial Strategy and 2020 Economic Recovery Plan.


It was noted that:


·           It had been collectively agreed by OxLEP and its partners on a system wide basis to refresh the economic plan in light of the seismic changes that had occurred within the national and Oxfordshire economy over recent years and secondly because of the resetting by local authorities of their economic trajectories through their Local Plan processes in terms of housing, employment, and growth need. The alignment of the Plan’s development alongside those Local Plans process meant that a creation of a duplicate layer of economic projections could be avoided.

·           The development process of the Plan would recognise the criticality of good growth, Net Zero, equality, diversity and inclusion in a way that had not been possible to do before and although a full public consultation exercise was not being undertaken, the Plan development process would seek to involve more and different voices.  A programme of engagement workshops had been devised and open call for evidence issued.

·           It was intended to seek to define a clear picture of Oxfordshire’s foundational economy.

·           It was expected that the final draft of the new Plan would be considered by OxLEP in September 2023.


Professor Irene Tracey, on behalf of Oxfordshire’s universities commented on the importance of university involvement in the discussions on the development and furthering of economic opportunity for the county’s population. It was important to connect this to work the universities were doing to think more strategically about opportunities arising from some of their innovation and science parks to ensure synergy and that those parks were benefiting local people as well as the meeting discovery research and translation goals. Professor Tracey informed the Partnership that she would be taking part in HM Government work on the role of UK universities in assisting innovation and business spinouts arising from research. She looked forward to working with other stakeholders within the Future Oxfordshire Partnership.


Councillor Susan Brown stated that ‘spin out’ business arising from innovation and research was an important part of the Oxfordshire economy. It was important as part of any engagement that any such business were strongly represented because it was necessary to understand the experiences and needs of such businesses. It was important for Oxfordshire to be a leader in sustainable industry and as part of the Oxford to Cambridge Partnership and to think about the skills required in order to delver the type of sustainable industry required. The technical skills needed to support electric vehicles was one example of this.


Councillor Brown commented that there were many strands to be considered as part of the drafting of the SEP and as many voices as possible should be heard, particularly from the research and innovation spaces. All the various inputs then had to balanced out as part of planning for the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61.


Advisory Group updates


Infrastructure Advisory Group update pdf icon PDF 409 KB

For information: To receive an update from the Infrastructure Advisory Group.

Summary notes from the meeting held on 9 January 2023 as are attached and a verbal update on the meeting held on 27 February 2023 will be given by the Chair.



Councillor Liz Leffman referred to the written notes of the 7 January meeting of the Infrastructure Advisory Group as included in the Agenda and provided a verbal update of the meeting held on 27 February.


It was highlighted that the advisory group had received a useful presentation on the delivery of the Oxfordshire Strategic Vision related to the group’s infrastructure remit and the potential opportunities for joint working between the councils. As the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal came to an end, one of the points arising from the discussion was that it could be useful to think of what was meant by infrastructure in wider terms than focussing on infrastructure to support the delivery of housing as had been the case historically. This might include how to further green infrastructure, digital connectivity, innovative technology, and consideration of energy requirements across the county.


Councillor Leffman also advised the Partnership wished to look at the water strategy for the County and in particular the proposed reservoir in Vale of White Horse District in light of its potential impact on the infrastructure of the county as a whole. The advisory group also wished to widen its understanding of how infrastructure might be delivered in the future, for example by receiving presentations from England’s Economic Heartland and the connectivity studies it had been undertaking including the Oxford to Swindon study.


The Chair commented that the definition of infrastructure varied significantly between individuals, but that in his view health infrastructure would be significant in the future given the challenges of an aging population and other demographic changes. The Partnership and the district/city councils needed to consider the most effective way to engage with the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board, (BOB ICB) about the placemaking agenda. He suggested that health placemaking might potentially be an area considered by the Partnership. Councillor Leffman agreed that given a rising population within the county, access to the healthcare was of high importance and formed part of the work the district and city councils were doing as part of their Local Plan formation. New technology and greater digital connectivity had the potential to have a positive impact on the issue.


Dan Leveson, as the BOB ICB representative on the Partnership responded that the NHS sector did engage closely with council colleagues around health infrastructure needs and was looking at the application of new technology and its impact on the future health estate and more widely, social care strategy.  


RESOLVED: That the update be noted.


Housing Advisory Group update

For information: To receive an update from the Chair of the Housing Advisory Group form the meeting held on 28 February 2023.



Councillor Susan Brown provided a verbal update of the Housing Advisory Group meeting held on 28 February 2023. Councillor Brown highlighted that there had been a presentation on community led housing that had focussed on the practical issues around this form of housing and that the group had considered a briefing paper around Housing Revenue Accounts, (HRAs). The paper had considered the question of whether it would be possible for the district councils in Oxfordshire to establish HRAs if they wished to do so.


Unfortunately, it appeared that this would be very difficult to achieve given that the formal mechanisms to do so were not present and it was hard to achieve viability, in contrast to the situation for a council that wished to abolish its HRA where the legislative and regulatory environment was clear. Given the need to find solutions to the need to provide more affordable housing, advisory group members had felt that this was an issue which should be raised with national policy makers.


The Partnership was informed that the members of the advisory group would be undertaking a site visit to the Graven Hill custom and self-build housing site located near Bicester in July.


RESOLVED: That the update be noted.


Environment Advisory Group update

For information: To receive an update from the Chair of the Environment Advisory Group on the meeting held on 2 March 2023.



RESOLVED: That the update be noted.


Future Oxfordshire Partnership Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 296 KB

For information: To note and comment on the Future Oxfordshire Partnership’s Forward Plan. 



Beth Wilks, Future Oxfordshire Partnership Manager referred to the Forward Programme as set out in the Agenda and informed the meeting that it was intended to add an additional item to provide an update on activity relating to energy.


Councillor Liz Leffman commented that Vision Zero and its application across Oxfordshire was an issue that the Infrastructure Advisory Group wish to suggest the Partnership look at either directly at a Partnership meeting or via the Infrastructure Advisory Group first.


Beth Wilks informed the Partnership that this suggestion was listed as on the Forward Programme as a potential future agenda item but it had not yet been attributed to a particular meeting. 


Updates on matters relevant to the Future Oxfordshire Partnership

Future Oxfordshire Partnership members and officers may verbally update the Board on progress on matters previously before the Partnership for consideration, listed in the forward plan, or relevant to the Partnership’s future decisions.  This is for the sharing of information and no decisions will be taken. 



Beth Wilks, Future Oxfordshire Partnership Manager provided a verbal summary of recent developments related to energy infrastructure within the county in advance of the presentation of a more detailed written report at the Partnership’s June meeting.


The Partnership was reminded that a letter had been sent on its behalf to the three Distribution Network Operators, (DNOs) with responsibility for Oxfordshire, SSEN, UK Power Networks and National Grid Electricity Distribution. The letter had set out a number of requests related to:


·           Obtaining a better understanding of the Oxfordshire energy network and any barriers to the energy infrastructure coming forward

·           Current reinforcement plans

·           How the Future Oxfordshire Partnership could work with the DNOs to unlock barriers to infrastructure delivery by moving from a reactive to proactive energy planning system.


All three DNO’s had responded promptly and had indicated that they were keen to take forward proactive engagement with the Partnership. A meeting was scheduled to take place in April between OxLEP, council leaders, chief executives and the DNOs to help explore and understand the issues.


The recent Local Area Energy Planning Workshop was also brought to the Partnership’s attention. Officers from the respective councils and OxLEP had held initial discussions around what local area energy planning in Oxfordshire might involve and what such an approach might look like in terms of scope and potential benefits. A number of guest speakers had also set out a number of best practice examples.  At the conclusion of the event, it had been agreed to establish a multi-agency steering group comprising council officers, DNO representatives and other to progress the issue. The topic of local area energy planning linked into the Net Zero Route Map and Action Plan endorsed by the Partnership earlier in the meeting.


The Partnership was informed that the findings from the Local Energy Oxfordshire project had recently been published. This had included data mapping information which would be of benefit to local area energy planning and other learning related to decentralised heat networks.


Finally, the officer group supporting the Environment Advisory Group had undertaken mapping work to understand the different programmes, strategies and partnerships operating within the environmental agenda space and specifically relating to energy, so as to ensure pieces of work were joined up and not duplicated. 


Verbal reports from key strategic partnerships supporting delivery of the Oxfordshire Strategic Vision

For information: To receive reports from other partnerships supporting the delivery of the Oxfordshire Strategic Vision.





Councillor Liz Leffman reported back from meetings of England’s Economic Heartland, (EEH). A key topic of discussion had been the management of bus networks in the future and it had been decided to convene a workshop of the various authorities across the EEH region.


Councillor Leffman expressed the observation that significant resources were being allocated to metropolitan areas within combined authorities with elected Mayors in order for those authorities to manage their own bus services and although perhaps unfair, it was felt that this was intended to act as an incentive for elected mayors. Whilst such a route might not be considered acceptable or beneficial within Oxfordshire it was felt that there was a common desire to have a greater degree of control over bus networks within the county and working with partners across the EEH was one potential way of achieving this.


A discussion had also been held regarding Mobility hubs and the EEH was working with East West Rail around this which locally the Partnership could learn from, for instance around provision of secure bike storage.


With the regard to the progression of the East West Rail project, some concerns had been expressed at the eastern end of the line near Cambridge around the impact of the project on local communities and a public engagement process was to be put in place in response. In terms of the Oxfordshire stretch of the line, the Bicester to Oxford part of the project was dependent on the completion of the upgrade of Oxford station which was intended to be completed by the end of 2024. Discussions had also taken place around eventual electrification of the line and train battery technology.


Councillor Leffman next commented on the redevelopment of Oxford station, bridge replacement works on Botley Road and track upgrades.  It was noted that the Botley Road would be closed in April for an initial six month period after which there would be a six month gap followed by a further closure in March 2024 to October 2024. Whist the new facilities when completed would be a significant improvement, it was fully recognised that it was necessary to go through a period of significant disruption whilst Botley Road was closed. Members of the Partnership were referred to an extensive press release regarding the works which had recently been released and everything possible was being done to reduce disruption. Discussions were also taking place with local train operators around providing additional free parking at local stations to seek to make it easier not to travel into Oxford City by car.


Councillor Susan Brown commented that the works were significant for the City of Oxford and Oxford City Council was working closely with both Network Rail and Oxfordshire County Council. An example of this was the enablement by city officers of a visit of the site by groups representing people with various disabilities so that they could understand what was being proposed and so they could feedback on potential improvements to help those  ...  view the full minutes text for item 66.


Dates of next meetings

The dates of Future Oxfordshire Partnership meetings are below. Please refer to

for the most up to date information on times and locations.


·           Monday 13 June 2023

·           Tuesday 25 July 2023


Proposed meeting dates for September 2023 to March 2024.


·           Tuesday 26 September 2023

·           Tuesday 28 November 2023

·           Tuesday 30 January 2024

·           Wednesday 20 March 2024


Recommendation: That the Future Oxfordshire Partnership note the dates of proposed meetings September 2023 to March 2024.









RESOLVED: That the dates of proposed meetings from June 2023 to March 2024 be noted.


On the occasion of it being the last Partnership meeting of the municipal year the Chair thanked members and supporting officers for all their contributions.