Members of the public may submit an address or question in writing to the Scrutiny Panel, where full notice of the question or address is given to the secretariat no later than 17:00 on Tuesday 25 May 2021. Questions and addresses submitted should be no longer than one side of A4 paper in Arial 12 font. The address or question will be circulated to the Panel and public speakers will be invited to speak at the virtual 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. Questions and notice of addresses must be submitted to email@example.com
Note: This meeting may be recorded for live broadcast via the Growth Board’s YouTube Channel - 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.
Suzanne McIvor on behalf of the Cherwell Development Watch Alliance submitted a question relating to the Oxfordshire Growth Needs Assessment, (OGNA) and the response made by the Growth Board to the recommendation made by the Panel at its 16 March meeting, that the Growth Board ensure that OGNA work be published as soon as work was completed; or clarify the reasons for publishing it as part of the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 Regulation 18 Part 2 consultation.
Ms McIvor expressed her view that there was no good reason why the OGNA could not be published, that this was unacceptable and that she did not agree with the explanation why it should not be released given by Growth Board Officers in March.
Ms McIvor suggested that as individual council Cabinets were about to consider the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 Consultation Document, with public consultation planned during the summer, the OGNA, as a key evidence base for the Plan must have been finished. Planning Policy Guidance indicated that authorities were encouraged to publish documents forming part of a plan’s evidence base as they were completed rather than when options were published.
The Chair invited Andrew Down, Growth Board Director to comment on the question and points raised. The Panel was informed that the OGNA was not complete. It was important for the document to be as up to date as possible and further work had been commissioned to look at further revisions in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and recovery programme and the process for this was not expected to conclude prior to the end of June 2021 at which final amendments would be made to the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 consultation documents. The importance and contribution of the OGNA was accepted as part of a broad base of evidence supporting the Plan itself which would be consulted upon and needed to be seen in the context of a suite of such documents. When published, five themes would be set out in the consultation: Addressing Climate Change, Improving Environmental Quality, Creating Strong and Healthy Communities, Planning for Sustainable Travel and Connectivity and Creating Jobs and Providing Homes. Over 30 draft policies were expected to form the plan of which only two were expected to relate to housing numbers. Finally, it was expected that final consultation documents would be published in early July to allow scrutiny and Cabinet processes to take place at each authority.
In discussion, it was felt that the points made by the Panel in its previous recommendation to the Growth Board that the OGNA should be published as soon as possible remained valid and had been further emphasised by Ms McIvor. It was agreed that the recommendation should be reiterated to the Growth Board.
RESOLVED: To recommend to the Growth Board that it ensure the Oxfordshire Growth Needs Assessment work is published earlier than scheduled along with all supporting evidence based documents which would allow the maximum amount of time for consultees to review the document and also ensuring there is a genuine choice of all realistic options rather than presenting a fait accompli to the consultees responding to the Regulation 18 Part 2 public consultation.