Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: St Aldate's Room, Town Hall. View directions

Contact: John Mitchell, Committee Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

61.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Councillor Clarkson had apologised, in her capacity as the Board Member for Culture and the City Centre, for not being able to be present for the item on the Westgate Shopping Development.

62.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

For the avoidance of doubt the Chair declared an interest in relation to item 10 (Annual Monitoring Report)  by virtue of his position as an employee of St Peter’s College and  his membership of and his wife’s  employment by St Edmund Hall. 

.

 

63.

Chair's Announcements

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Councillor Curran to the Committee following his recent reappointment to it. The Committee gave thanks to Councillor Henwood for his long service on the Committee and its Standing Panels.

 

64.

Appointment of Vice-Chair

The Committee is asked to elect a Vice-Chair for the remainder of the Council Year, which can be from any political group.

Minutes:

The Committee resolved to elect Councillor McManners as Vice Chair for the remainder of the Council Year.  

65.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 134 KB

 

Recommendation: That the minutes of the meeting held on 06 November 2018 be  APPROVED as a true and accurate record.

 

Minutes:

The Committee resolved to APPROVE the minutes of the meeting held on 06 November 2018 as a true and accurate record.

66.

Work Plan and Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 78 KB

The Scrutiny Committee operates within a work plan which is agreed at the start of the Council year. The Work Plan is reviewed at each meeting so that it can be adjusted to reflect the wishes of the Committee and take account of any changes to the latest Forward Plan (which outlines decisions to be taken by the City Executive Board or Council). The Committee is asked to review and note its work plan for the remainder of the 2018/19 council year.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer spoke to the Work Plan and Forward Plan. The Joint Statutory Spatial Plan (JSSP) Regulation 18 Consultation Document had not appeared on the Forward Plan at the time the papers for the Committee had been published but it would be going to the CEB in January; agreed that it should be added to the Committee’s Work Plan for the 14 January meeting.  The Committee also noted Councillor Djafari-Marbini’s proposal to speak informally with external agencies to gather more information on the operation of the Prevent Programme, to assist with her preparation in proposing this issue for a review group later in 2019.

 

Councillor Fry reminded the Committee of its previous positive contribution to the issue of recycling in the City through its suggestion of the “Blue Bin Recycling League”. Following a recent visit with Councillor Munkonge to Direct Services he suggested that  representatives of the recycling  team should be given the opportunity to give a presentation to the Committee to demonstrate the valuable contribution they  make. The Committee agreed that this should be scheduled for the March meeting.

 

67.

Report back on recommendations pdf icon PDF 110 KB

The CEB, at its meeting on 14 November, considered the No Local Connection Review Group’s recommendations and the Committee’s recommendations in relation to the Workplace Equalities Report.  The CEB’s response to both is attached. 

Minutes:

The Chair was pleased to note the City Executive Board’s agreement to the Committee’s recommendations in relation to workforce equalities.  The Board’s partial support for the Committee’s recommendations in relation to the No Local Connection report was also welcome as far as it went.  Councillor Bely-Summers, as Chair of the No Local Connection Group,  was pleased that the report had raised the profile of the issue.  Those recommendations which had been agreed should make a demonstrable difference to those experiencing homelessness.   She was meeting with the Board Member and officers to discuss implementation of the recommendations.

 

There was some disappointment at the Board’s refusal to adopt the recommendation relating to monitoring the social and economic impact of the changes. The Committee agreed however that a report back on progress should be requested for 6 month’s time.

 

68.

Impact of the Westgate Shopping Development pdf icon PDF 173 KB

The Committee has requested a report on the impact the re-opening of the Westgate Centre has had on the local economy and the visitor experience. The following additional guests have confirmed their attendance as invited speakers:

 

·         Brendan Hattam, Westgate Shopping Centre General Manager

·         Elaine Philip, Oxford City Council Markets Manager

·         Graham Jones, Oxford High Street Association

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Altaf-Khan left during this item.

 

The Economic Development Manager spoke to the officers’ report which provided a high level overview of how the opening of the centre had affected the local economy.  He drew attention to a number of matters, including but not limited to:

 

·         The local economy was affected by a number of factors of which the opening of the Centre was but one.

·         The shift to online shopping has a profound effect on ‘high street’ shops.

·         Business overheads and rates put significant pressures on retailers.

·         The development had resulted in a significant increase in rateable value and increase in income for the exchequer and local government  (from c. £9m to c. £27m).

·         The centre employs c. 2,000 full time equivalents (3,600 headcount), generating  c. £29m in wages.

·         Footfall increases had exceeded expectations and the travel plan  put in place as a planning condition was seen as a success with, among other things, an increase in bus and Park and Ride use.

·         Vacancy rates of retail units elsewhere in the City had increased slightly.

·         There were positive signs in terms of planning applications/investment  around the City Centre (outside Westgate) with, for example, applications for two hotels and proposals relating to the reconfiguring of Jesus college buildings facing Cornmarket and Market Street, and the recent addition of Metrobank in Queen Street.

·         The overall picture was a positive one but with residual concerns over the number of vacant units. Officers would keep the position under review and continue to work closely with stakeholders.

 Brendan Hattam and Sara Fuge gave a brief presentation to the Committee drawing  attention to a number of matters, including but not limited to:

 

·         The Centre was intended to provide a “premium retail experience”, embracing leisure as well as shopping opportunities, in a safe, secure and well managed environment.

·         The car park’s 1000 spaces, was a reduction on the number previously available and  was part and parcel of the travel plan which appeared to be working well.

·         Footfall in the first year (19m) far exceeded the level of the old Centre and exceeded the estimate (15m) for the first year.

·         97.3% of units were now let or in solicitors’ hands.

·         75% of the units were new to Oxford or second stores

·         Aesthetically the building was a vast improvement on its predecessor, with a great deal of attention having  been paid to its permeability and space, with an eye, among other things, to its use for occasional civic, community and commercial activities.

·         Oxford’s place in the hierarchy of shopping destinations had been falling. The Centre was reversing that trend.

·         The Centre was acting as a catalyst for further regeneration of the West End.

·         The Centre had provided employment to 94 people who had previously been unemployed.

·         The Centre worked with Oxford Homeless Pathways and Aspire as two of its partners

·         Only one unit had closed since the opening. There was an understanding that a new centre would take three years to settle down and ‘mature’.

 

The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68.

69.

Quarter 2 Council Performance 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 97 KB

The CEB at its meeting on 18 December will consider the consider the Council’s performance for Quarter 2 of 2018/19.

 

This item provides an opportunity for the Committee to consider the report, together with some additional Fusion Lifestyle data, and make recommendations to the CEB if it wishes.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllrs Djafari-Marbini,  Bely-Summers and Simmons, left during this item.

 

The Committee considered the Q2 Council Performance report, together with some additional Fusion Lifestyle data. 

 

Q2 Council Performance report

 

The Committee and Member Services Officer drew attention to  minor corrections to one indicator and a clarification of a commentary in relation to another received since publication of the agenda.

 

There was disappointment that only three of the indicators provided demonstrated year on year improvement. In many cases staff shortages contributed to the difficulty.  Staff sickness, something which the Committee had discussed recently, remained a concern and it was agreed that the Committee would consider the next quarterly performance report to check for improvements, before deciding whether or not there was a need to invite the relevant Board member to discuss the issue. In cases where performance is not on target it would be helpful to have an indication if the target would be met by year end. The electoral registration target is an annual measure and the value of reporting it on a quarterly basis was doubtful. Data about Business Rate appeals would be helpful.

 

 

 

Fusion Lifestyle

 

The Head of Community Services introduced the data provided by reminding the Committee of the challenging environment in which Fusion Lifestyle was operating, with particular reference to the competition from budget gyms, opportunities for free outdoor activity and rising wage costs (the Oxford Living Wage has been paid, as a minimum, from the outset). Staff turnover was an issue which Fusion sought to counter with a training programme to encourage retention. There had been good progress with targeting particular groups of customers; both data capture and accuracy were improving; and  the customer satisfaction rate  was 87% overall.

 

Mark Munday,  said the Company’s ambition was always to add value and the  many  packages available from Fusion Lifestyle meant that simple comparisons with other providers (in terms of cost of membership) were rarely fair. Some of these packages represented particularly good value for money and provided a wider participation offer than competitors and a young person  taking swimming lessons, for example, would  be entitled to free swimming sessions during public sessions. Fusion had an ongoing marketing and promotion campaign via social media and elsewhere. There would be a campaign in the New Year to capitalised on the traditional increase in gym membership at that time. Fusion participated in a scheme for Social Prescribing, Exercise on Referral, with clinical practitioners. The offer provides low cost access to leisure facilities. There was currently a waiting list for entry onto the scheme. 

 

Concern was expressed at the state of decoration and maintenance in some centres.  There was concern too about the robustness of some of the data provided. It was suggested that it would be helpful to have more precise data about centre use, disaggregated to show the number of individuals (as distinct from just the number of visits) and, in turn, more detail about those individuals. 

 

The Committee expressed concern at Fusion’ apparent financial weakness as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.

70.

Annual Monitoring Report 2017-2018 pdf icon PDF 224 KB

The CEB at its meeting on 18 December will consider the Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) . The AMR monitors the implementation of policies in the Core Strategy 2026 and the Sites and Housing Plan 2011-2026. Performance against Core Strategy Sustainability Appraisal Targets is also assessed.

 

This item provides an opportunity for the Committee to consider the report and make recommendations to the CEB if it wishes.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Hollingsworth, as Board Member for Planning & Transport, introduced the annual  report which, on this occasion had two indicators removed in line with a previous request from the Committee, and responded to a number of detailed questions.

 

In discussion about planning appeals where conservation areas were cited as the reason for refusal it was suggested that there might be grounds for the use  of an Article 4 direction under the Town and Country Planning Acts   to provide more protection of heritage assets in the City. This was not something proper to the report, the principal purpose of which was simply to provide a factual snapshot of the position with data collected from the planning process and not to offer commentary.  Any consideration of an Article 4 direction would have to take account of the pros and cons for residents in the affected areas. Both the Council’s Planning Committees would however receive a report on the subject of appeals. 

 

Some of the information in the report was derived from the 2011 census data which, while not recent, was the best available for the purpose.

 

The need for more dedicated residential moorings was recognised (and reflected in the emerging local plan) not least because of the number of unofficial residential moorings that there are.

 

The number of family houses ‘lost’ to AirBnb was not known but likely to be considerable. The growth of AirBnb generally was a cause for concern, given the number of homes which might otherwise be available for families. 

 

 

71.

Reports for Scrutiny Committee Endorsement pdf icon PDF 117 KB

At its meeting on 12 November 2018, the Scrutiny Committee’s Housing Panel considered a report concerning preparations being made for the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP).

 

The Committee is requested to endorse the report and its recommendation for submission to the City Executive Board on 18 December 2018.

 

Minutes:

At its meeting on 12 November 2018, the Scrutiny Committee’s Housing Panel considered a report concerning preparations being made for the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP). The Committee endorsed the report and agreed that its recommendation should be  submitted  to the City Executive Board on 18 December 2018.

 

72.

Appointments to standing panels

The Committee is asked to agree the appointment of Councillors to vacancies on the following standing panels:

·         1 seat on Finance Panel (Labour vacancy)

·         1 seat on Companies Scrutiny Panel (Labour vacancy)

·         1 seat on Housing Panel (Labour vacancy): Note, the additional Liberal Democrat vacancy will be appointed at the next meeting, as agreed by the Committee on 6 November 2018.

 

·         Chair of the Housing Panel (The Chair of the Housing Panel must be a member of the Scrutiny Committee, and can be from any political group).

 

Minutes:

The Committee agreed the following appointments:

 

·         Councillor  Corais to Finance Panel

 

·         Councillor Howlett  to Companies Scrutiny Panel

 

·         Councillor Taylor  to Housing Panel  (and noted that  the additional Liberal Democrat vacancy will be appointed at the next meeting, as agreed by the Committee on 6 November 2018).

 

  The Chair of the Housing Panel will be appointed in the New Year.

 

73.

Dates of future meetings

The next meetings of the Scrutiny Committee and its panels are scheduled as follows:

 

Scrutiny Committee

 

 

·         14 January 2019 (provisional)

·         05 February 2019

·         05 March  2019

·         02 April 2019

·         15 May 2019

 

 

Standing Panels

·         Housing Standing Panel:

·         Finance Standing Panel: 06 December, 8 January, 9 January

·         Companies Panel: 12 December, 03 January 2019

 

All meetings start at 6.00 pm

 

Minutes:

The next meetings of the Scrutiny Committee and its panels are scheduled as follows:

 

Scrutiny Committee

 

 

·         14 January 2019

·         05 February 2019

·         05 March  2019

·         02 April 2019

·         15 May 2019

 

 

Standing Panels

·         Housing Standing Panel: 4 March, 8 April

·         Finance Standing Panel: 06 December, 8 January, 9 January

·         Companies Panel: 12 December, 6 March

 

All meetings start at 6.00 pm