Agenda and minutes
Venue: Plowman Room - Oxford Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Stefan Robinson, Scrutiny Officer
Substitutes are not allowed.
Apologies for Absence were received on behalf on Councillor Wolff and Tenant Co-optee Geno Humphrey.
The Chair paid tribute to Councillor Angie Goff who recently passed away. She was a valued member of the Housing Panel, contributed widely to Council business, and supported him in a personal capacity also. She would be dearly missed, and a minutes silence would be held at Full Council on 17 October 2018.
Declarations of interest
There were no decelerations of interest.
For the Panel to approve the record of the meeting held on 5 July 2018.
The Scrutiny officer said that a query had been raised I regards to a comment within the notes of the previous meeting. He suggested removing reference to the Community Land Trust having ‘limited interest’ in developing council owned garage sites. He advised that this was not the formal position of the Community Land Trust, and that they would wish to work with the Council in this area.
The Panel agreed to accept the change, and approve the notes as an accurate record.
At its meeting on 16 October 2018, the City Executive Board will be asked to approve the Oxford Local Plan 2036 proposed submission draft for public consultation.
This is an opportunity for the Housing Panel to make recommendations to the Board beforehand. The Scrutiny Committee will consider the local plan on 8 October 2018.
In addition to the Local Plan and its appendices (which are included in this agenda), there are also several supplementary documents to be approved by Council in parallel with the Local Plan. These are not central to the Panel’s consideration, but can be accessed as part of the Scrutiny Committee papers here. The additional documents are in excess of 500 pages.
Councillor Hollingsworth, Board Member for Planning and Transport, explained that the Local Plan had been to the Scrutiny Committee on 8 October 2018, following three years of development and consultation, and would subsequently be going to the City Executive Board and Full Council on 16 and 17 October respectively. The Plan would then go out for public consultation specifically for comments on its soundness, which would then be considered by a Planning Inspector. The final Plan needed to be submitted no later than 31 March 2019. This would be the overarching document that planning applications would be judged against up until 2036.
Councillor Hollingsworth highlighted that one area of contention concerned the difference between housing need and supply. The recent Central Government methodology for calculating unmet need was considered less appropriate than the former methodology, given that it relied on household formation figures, and that households were not forming in Oxford due to the significant unaffordability of housing. The Council was basing its calculations for need on the evidence based used for the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal, and social housing need calculated as part of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment.
The Chair welcomed Fran Ryan and Diana Musgrave to address the Panel. They raised the following issues for the Panel’s consideration in relation to Policy H7 (Community Led Housing and Self-build Housing):
1. They were pleased to see in policy H7 that Proposals for community-led housing would be supported. They asked that the phrase ‘permanent affordability’ be added to the list of benefits identified from community-led housing.
2. They asked that the policy specify some of the ways in which support would be given:
· Flexibility of tenure type (for example, to promote community cohesion, Oxford Cohousing favoured a third social rented, a third shared ownership, and a third market housing).
· Flexibility on the balance of dwellings (for example, Oxford Cohousing plans to have shared guest rooms, which encouraged individual households to have fewer bedrooms)
3. Concern that Policy H7 combines community-led housing with self-build in a way that could be confusing. Specifically, some community-led housing was also collective self-build, but most was not. When Oxford’s community-led housing groups include collective self-build, the purpose is to increase the affordability of homes in the scheme. By contrast, single-plot self-build is generally a matter of individuals building for their own benefit. They proposed splitting Policy H7 into H7a covering community-led housing and H7b on self-build. They provided the meeting with draft wording for how this could be done.
4. They welcomed the provision of space for self-build on larger sites, and asked that a mechanism to makes provision for community-led housing also be included in the Local Plan.
Councillor Hollingsworth responded to their comments. He explained that permanent affordability could not be made a condition on planning applications, and must be non-binding. Officers advised that in the long term, having such a provision may weaken the Council’s position in relation to securing 50% affordable housing, 80% of which would be permanent social ... view the full minutes text for item 167.
For the Panel to note and agree its work plan, which can be adjusted to reflect the wishes of the Panel.
The Scrutiny Officer recommended that the Panel add the outcome of the Trailblazer Homelessness Programme to their next meeting on 12 November, which was agreed.
The Panel also discussed options for involving a wider cross-section of participants in their work. It was agreed that members and the Scrutiny Officer would seek out opportunities to secure representatives to speak on certain items. This was the preference when set against the option of co-opting an additional long-term co-optee.
Date of future meetings
Meetings are scheduled as follows:
12 November 2018
4 March 2019
8 April 2019
All meetings begin at 6:00pm.
The Panel noted that their next meeting would take place at 6pm on 12 November 2018.