Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

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Items
No. Item

18.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

Cllr Brown and Cllr Hayes declared that they would leave the meeting during debate on the motion ‘Opposition to the Health and Care Bill’ as this affected their employment and hence their disclosable pecuniary interests.

19.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 474 KB

Minutes of the meetings of Council held on:

         22 March 2021

The full minutes pack with questions on notice and public addresses is here.

         19 May 2021

         23 June 2021.

Council is asked to approve these minutes as a correct record.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council agreed to approve the minutes of the ordinary meeting held on 22 March, 19 May and 23 June 2021 as a true and correct record.

20.

Appointment to Committees

Any proposed changes to committee memberships separate from the proposals at Item 10 may be circulated with the briefing note or may be reported at the meeting.

Minutes:

Council noted that, subject to the decision at Minute 27, the Labour Group’s request to the Monitoring Officer to confirm the re-appointment of:

 

  • Cllr Latif to the Audit and Governance Committee
  • Cllr Lygo to the General Purposes Licensing Committee

 

once the period of 21 days to allow the Independent Group to accept or refuse allocated seats had elapsed (as set out in the report accompanying Minute 28).

 

The Leader of the Council announced the membership of the Shareholder and Joint Venture Group: Cllrs Arshad, Blackings, Brown (Chair) Hayes, Hollingsworth, Rowley, Turner (Vice-Chair).

Cllr Blackings would not attend meetings considering Oxford Direct Services and Cllr Arshad would not attend for meetings considering the other companies.

 

21.

Announcements

Announcements by:

1.    The Lord Mayor

2.    The Sheriff

3.    The Leader of the Council (who may with the permission of the Lord Mayor invite other councillors to make announcements)

4.    The Chief Executive, Chief Finance Officer, Monitoring Officer

 

Minutes:

The Lord Mayor outlined the many local and city-wide events he had attended online and increasingly in-person, including sporting and community gatherings and celebrations and commemorations of key events

 

The Deputy Lord Mayor outlined the events he had attended and looked forward to more in-person events as pandemic restrictions were relaxed.

The Sheriff outlined the dangers to the animals on Port Meadow caused by littering, including deaths from eating litter and serious injuries from broken glass. He praised the Port Meadow rangers for their work and encouraged everyone to take care of the meadow.

 

The Leader of the Council announced that the full list of Member Champions would be released once this was finalised.

 

22.

Public addresses and questions that relate to matters for decision at this meeting

Public addresses and questions to the Leader or other Cabinet member received in accordance with Council Procedure Rules in the Constitution relating to matters for decision in Part 1 of this agenda.

Up to five minutes is available for each public address and up to three minutes for each question. Questions must be less than 200 words.

The request to speak accompanied by the full text of the address or question must be received by the Head of Law and Governance by 5.00 pm on Tuesday 20 July 2021

The briefing note will contain the text of addresses and questions submitted by the deadline, and written responses where available.

A total of 45 minutes is available for both public speaking items. Responses are included in this time.

 

Minutes:

There were no addresses or questions.

23.

Salix decarbonisation grant funding pdf icon PDF 158 KB

The Head of Corporate Strategy submitted a report to Cabinet on 16 June 2021 seeking a recommendation to full Council for the approval of the loan to Low Carbon Hub to support investment in the Ray Valley Solar Project.

The Cabinet decisions are set out in the minutes of that meeting (included in this agenda). Cllr Hayes, the Cabinet Member, will present the report and propose Cabinet’s recommendations.

 

Recommendations: Cabinet recommends that Council resolves to

Approve a loan to Low Carbon Hub of up to £3,385,200 together with the associated capital budget for investment in the in the Ray Valley Solar (RVS) local renewable energy project. The investment will be fully funded by the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme grant awarded to the council by Salix Finance Ltd a wholly owned Government department funded by the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Department (BEIS).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered the report of the Head of Corporate Strategy submitted to Cabinet on 16 June 2021 seeking a recommendation to full Council for the approval of the loan to Low Carbon Hub to support investment in the Ray Valley Solar Project.

 

The Cabinet decisions are set out in the minutes of that meeting (included in this agenda).

Cllr Hayes, the Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, introduced the report, proposed the recommendations and answered questions.

 

The recommendations were agreed on being seconded and put to the vote.

 

Council resolved to:

Approve a loan to Low Carbon Hub of up to £3,385,200 together with the associated capital budget for investment in the in the Ray Valley Solar (RVS) local renewable energy project. The investment will be fully funded by the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme grant awarded to the council by Salix Finance Ltd a wholly owned Government department funded by the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Department (BEIS).

24.

Financial Outturn report 2020/21 (Integrated Performance Report for Q4) pdf icon PDF 512 KB

The Head of Financial Services submitted a report to Cabinet on 21 July 2021 setting out the financial outturn for the year ending 31st March 2021 (titled Integrated Performance Report for Q4 on that agenda)

The decision of the Cabinet meeting will be reported in the Briefing Note. Cllr Turner, the Cabinet Member, will present the report and propose Cabinet’s recommendations.

 

Recommendation: Subject to the decision of Cabinet on 21 July, that Council resolves to:

Approve a revision to the general fund capital budget in 2021/22 of £4,984,000, for the grant payment in relation to Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal (OGD) schemes. In addition to give a further approval for a capital budget for 2025/26 of £33,000 to fund the remaining grant balance payable for the schemes all of which will be funded by capital grant income from Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal (OGD) detailed in paragraph 26 of the report.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered the report of theHead of Financial Services submitted to Cabinet on 21 July 2021 setting out the financial outturn for the year ending 31 March 2021 (titled Integrated Performance Report for Q4 on that agenda).

The decision of the Cabinet meeting of 21 July 2021 was reported in the Briefing Note.

 

Cllr Turner, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Asset Management, introduced the report, proposed the recommendations and answered questions.

 

The recommendations were agreed on being seconded and put to the vote.

 

Council resolved to

Approve a revision to the general fund capital budget in 2021/22 of £4,984,000, for the grant payment in relation to Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal (OGD) schemes. In addition to give a further approval for a capital budget for 2025/26 of £33,000 to fund the remaining grant balance payable for the schemes all of which will be funded by capital grant income from Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal (OGD) detailed in paragraph 26 of the report.

 

25.

Decisions taken under Part 9.3 (b) of the Constitution pdf icon PDF 385 KB

The Head of Paid Service (Chief Executive) has submitted a report askingCabinet and Council to note the decision taken by the Head of Paid Service using the urgency powers delegated in Part 9.3(b) of the Constitution.

 

Recommendation:  that Council notes the decision taken as set out in the report.

Minutes:

Council considered the report setting out the decisions made by the Chief Executive using the urgency powers delegated to the Chief Executive in Part 9.3 of the Constitution taken since the last report to Council.

Cllr Brown, the Leader of the Council, introduced the report and proposed the recommendations.

 

The recommendations were agreed on being seconded and put to the vote.

 

Council noted the decision taken.

26.

Urgent Key Decisions taken since March 2020 pdf icon PDF 290 KB

The Head of Law and Governance has submitted a report to update Council on key decisions taken in cases of special urgency since March 2020.

Recommendation: that Council notes the urgent key decisions taken in cases of special urgency as set out in the report.

Minutes:

Council considered the report of the Head of Law and Governance submitted to update Council on key decisions taken in cases of special urgency since March 2020.

Cllr Brown, the Leader of the Council, introduced the report and proposed the recommendations.

 

The recommendations were agreed on being seconded and put to the vote.

 

Council resolved to note the urgent key decisions taken in cases of special urgency as set out in the report.

27.

Review of allocation of seats to political groups pdf icon PDF 144 KB

The Head of Law and Governance has submitted a report setting out a review the allocation of seats to political groups following notification of the formation of a new political group, the Independent Group.

 

Recommendations: that Council resolves to:

1.    Approve the revised allocations of seats to political groups as shown in Appendix 1 of the report;

2.    Approve the following changes to the membership of committees appointed at the Annual Council meeting in accordance with the wishes of political groups in view of the revised allocations: Cllr Latif to come off the Audit and Governance Committee, Cllr Lygo to come off the General Purposes Licensing Committee, and Cllr Smowton to come off the Standards Committee;

3.    Delegate authority to the Head of Law and Governance to appoint members to the seats allocated to the Independent Group based on the wishes of that group, or if no nominations are received within 21 days, to appoint members to those seats based on the allocations agreed at the Annual Council meeting on 19 May 2021 and the wishes of political groups.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered the report of the Head of Law and Governance setting out a review the allocation of seats to political groups following notification of the formation of a new political group, the Independent Group.

 

Cllr Brown, the Leader of the Council, introduced the report and proposed the recommendations.

 

The recommendations were agreed on being seconded and put to the vote.

 

Council resolved to 

1.    Approve the revised allocations of seats to political groups as shown in Appendix 1 of the report;

2.    Approve the following changes to the membership of committees appointed at the Annual Council meeting in accordance with the wishes of political groups in view of the revised allocations: Cllr Latif to come off the Audit and Governance Committee, Cllr Lygo to come off the General Purposes Licensing Committee, and Cllr Smowton to come off the Standards Committee;

Delegate authority to the Head of Law and Governance to appoint members to the seats allocated to the Independent Group based on the wishes of that group, or if no nominations are received within 21 days, to appoint members to those seats based on the allocations agreed at the Annual Council meeting on 19 May 2021 and the wishes of political groups.

28.

Proposed amendments to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 159 KB

The Head of Law and Governance has submitted a report setting out recommended amendments to the Council’s Constitution to reflect changes to the Council’s arrangements for the governance of its companies and joint ventures and a proposed new whistleblowing policy.

Recommendations: that Council resolves to:

1.     Approve the proposed changes to part 3 and 8 of the Constitution as set out in Appendix 1, and the inclusion of the terms of reference for the Shareholder and Joint Venture Group as an annex to Part 3 and the Scrutiny Committee’s Operating Principles as an annex to Part 8.

2.     Note the revised programme of meetings for the Shareholder and Joint Venture Group shown in Table 1 of the report;

3.     Delegate authority to the Head of Law and Governance to replace the current Whistle Blowing Policy with the new Whistle Blowing Policy in Part 25 of the Constitution, subject to the Audit and Governance Committee approving the new policy;

4.     Note that political groups will be invited to nominate members to form a “Constitution Review Group” to oversee the next annual review of the Council’s Constitution.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council considered the report of the Head of Law and Governance setting out recommended amendments to the Council’s Constitution to reflect changes to the Council’s arrangements for the governance of its companies and joint ventures and a proposed new whistleblowing policy.

 

Cllr Brown, the Leader of the Council, introduced the report and proposed the recommendations.

 

The recommendations were agreed on being seconded and put to the vote.

 

Council resolved to:

1.    Approve the proposed changes to part 3 and 8 of the Constitution as set out in Appendix 1, and the inclusion of the terms of reference for the Shareholder and Joint Venture Group as an annex to Part 3 and the Scrutiny Committee’s Operating Principles as an annex to Part 8.

2.    Note the revised programme of meetings for the Shareholder and Joint Venture Group shown in Table 1 of the report;

3.    Delegate authority to the Head of Law and Governance to replace the current Whistle Blowing Policy with the new Whistle Blowing Policy in Part 25 of the Constitution, subject to the Audit and Governance Committee approving the new policy;

Note that political groups will be invited to nominate members to form a “Constitution Review Group” to oversee the next annual review of the Council’s Constitution.

29.

Questions on Cabinet minutes

This item has a time limit of 15 minutes.

Councillors may ask the Cabinet Members questions about matters in these minutes:

29a

Minutes of meeting Wednesday 14 April 2021 of Cabinet pdf icon PDF 377 KB

Minutes:

There were no questions regarding these minutes.

29b

Minutes of meeting Wednesday 16 June 2021 of Cabinet pdf icon PDF 426 KB

Minutes:

Minute 14 – Housing First programme

Cllr Wade asked for an update on the progress of the procurement of a support service for the Council’s Housing First programme.

 

Cllr Blackings, Cabinet Member for Affordable Housing, Housing Security and Housing the Homeless, agreed to circulate the information.

29c

Minutes of the meeting Wednesday 21 July 2021 of Cabinet pdf icon PDF 402 KB

Minutes:

There were no questions regarding these minutes.

30.

Questions on Notice from Members of Council pdf icon PDF 497 KB

Questions on notice from councillors received in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11.11(b).

Questions on notice may be asked of the Lord Mayor, a Member of the Cabinet or a Chair of a Committee. One supplementary question may be asked at the meeting.

The full text of questions must have been received by the Head of Law and Governance by no later than 1.00pm on 14 July 2021.

These, and written responses where available, will be published in the briefing note.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

47 written questions were asked of the Cabinet Members and the Leader, and these and written responses were published before the meeting.

 

These along with summaries of the 29 supplementary questions and responses asked and given at the meeting are set out in the minutes pack.

 

The meeting broke for 30min at the conclusion of this item, and Cllr Tidball left at that point.

31.

Public addresses and questions that do not relate to matters for decision at this Council meeting pdf icon PDF 719 KB

Public addresses and questions to the Leader or other Cabinet member received in accordance with Council Procedure Rules in the Constitution and not relating to matters for decision in Part 1 of this agenda.

Up to five minutes is available for each public address and up to three minutes for each question. Questions must be less than 200 words.

The request to speak accompanied by the full text of the address or question must be received by the Head of Law and Governance by 5.00 pm on Tuesday 20 July 2021

The briefing note will contain the text of addresses and questions submitted by the deadline, and written responses where available.

A total of 45 minutes is available for both public speaking items. Responses are included in this time.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council heard three addresses and Cabinet Members read or summarised their written responses. Both addresses and responses are set out in full in the minutes pack.

 

1.     Address by Linda Booker – in support of petition ‘stop the so called regeneration of Blackbird Leys’

2.     Address by Evelyn Sanderson,  Friends of the Fields Iffley - The Value of the Meadows in Iffley Conservation Area as a Community Asset

3.     Address by Roger Crisp, Friends of Old Marston – development in Old Marston

 

32.

Health & Wellbeing Board /Health Improvement Board pdf icon PDF 489 KB

Report to follow

Report submitted on behalf of the Cabinet Member for a Safer Healthier Oxford, Cllr Upton, on the work of the Health & Wellbeing Board and the Health Improvement Board and their subsidiary groups.

Council is invited to comment on and note the report

 

As set out in the Constitution at procedure rule 11.15, Members who are Council representatives on external bodies or Chairs of Council Committees who consider that a significant decision or event has taken place, may give notice to the Head of Law and Governance by 1.00 pm on Thursday 22 July that they will present a written or oral report on the event or the significant decision and how it may influence future events. Written reports will be circulated with the briefing note.

Minutes:

Cllr Haines left at the start of this item.

 

Council considered the annual report on the work of the Oxfordshire Wellbeing/ Health Improvement Board submitted by the Head of Corporate Strategy.

 

Councillor Louise Upton, Cabinet Member for a Safer, Healthier Oxford introduced the report and answered questions.

 

Council noted the report.

33.

Scrutiny Committee update report pdf icon PDF 155 KB

The Chair of the Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Wade, has submitted a report which updates Council on the activities of scrutiny and the implementation of recommendations since the last meeting of Council.

Council is invited to comment on and note the report.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council had before it the report of the Scrutiny Committee Chair.

 

Councillor Wade moved the report.

 

Council noted the report.

34.

Motions on notice 26 July 2021 pdf icon PDF 485 KB

This item has a time limit of 60 minutes.

 

Motions received by the Head of Law and Governance in accordance with the rules in Section 11 of the Constitution by the deadline of 1.00pm on 14 July 2021 are listed below.

 

Cross party motions are taken first. Motions will then be taken in turn from the Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green, and Independent groups in that order.

 

Substantive amendments to these motions must be sent by councillors to the Head of Law and Governance by no later than 10.00am on 23 July 2021 so that they may be circulated with the briefing note.

 

Minor technical or limited wording amendments may be submitted during the meeting but must be written down and circulated.

 

Council is asked to consider the following motions:

 

a)    DSS Discrimination (Cross –party motion: proposer Cllr Thomas)

b)    Short term lets (proposer Cllr Diggins, seconder Cllr Hunt)

c)     Trees for Life (proposer: Cllr Landell-Mills, seconder: Cllr Goddard)

d)    East Oxford Low Traffic Neighbourhood (proposer Cllr Wolff)

e)    EU Nationals deserves to be treated with respect (proposer Cllr Corais, seconder Cllr Bely-Summers)

f)      Opposition to the Health and Care Bill (proposer Cllr Jarvis, seconder Cllr Pegg)

g)    Oxford Stadium (proposer Cllr Pegg, seconder Cllr Jarvis)

 

Minutes:

Council had before it 7 motions on notice submitted in accordance with Council procedure rules and reached decisions as set out below.

 

Motions agreed as set out below:

·         DSS Discrimination (Cross-party motion: proposer Cllr Thomas, seconder Cllr Jarvis)

·         Short term lets (proposer Cllr Diggins, seconder Cllr Hunt)

·         East Oxford Low Traffic Neighbourhood (proposer Cllr Wolff, seconder Cllr Miles)

Motion not taken as withdrawn before the meeting:

·         Trees for Life (proposer: Cllr Landell-Mills, seconder: Cllr Goddard)

Motions not taken as the time allocated for debate had finished:

·         EU Nationals deserves to be treated with respect (proposer Cllr Corais, seconder Cllr Bely-Summers)

·         Opposition to the Health and Care Bill (proposer Cllr Jarvis, seconder Cllr Pegg)

Oxford Stadium (proposer Cllr Pegg, seconder Cllr Jarvis)

34a

DSS Discrimination (Cross party motion)

Cross-Party Motion agreed to be taken as such by the four group leaders

 

This Council notes that:

·       The private rented sector (PRS) in Oxford has grown to 49.3% (2020) of homes in the city, one of the largest PRS populations of any housing authority in England;

·       Private renters face a host of challenges, including disrepair and lack of affordable rent;

·       Tenants in receipt of housing benefit or universal credit also face the prospect of ‘DSS discrimination’[1];

·       ‘No DSS’ policies have been found to be unlawful and discriminatory under the Equality Act but are still widespread.

This Council observes that: 

·       Some landlords and letting agents overtly practice DSS discrimination, e.g. by listing properties as ‘no DSS’ on websites; 

·       More often, landlords and letting agents covertly discriminate against benefits claimants, e.g. by using affordability or referencing checks that automatically fail benefit recipients, by systematically favouring non-benefit claimants when assessing tenancy applications, by demanding guarantors when a prospective tenant’s income (be it from benefits or employment) is sufficient, etc.; 

·       Despite alleviating measures such as the council tax reduction scheme, people are struggling financially. More people rely on benefits due to the pandemic, so the effects of DSS discrimination are now particularly widespread.

 

This Council defends the right to decent housing, and will work to eliminate DSS discrimination from Oxford by asking Cabinet to take the following steps where possible: 

·       Revise the OCLAS code[2], adding the following wording: ‘you must not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, race, language, sexuality or any other factor that might place an individual at a disadvantage. This includes indirect discrimination such as ‘no DSS’ or related practices, namely refusing to let prospective tenants on housing benefit or universal credit view affordable properties and requiring guarantors in cases where a prospective tenant’s income is sufficient’;

·       Advertise and ensure that the Welfare Reform Team will look out for and follow up on reported cases of discrimination;

·       Ensure that duty housing officers are informed about the issue and refer cases to the Welfare Reform Team and independent advice centres;

·       Establish a permanent “tenants’ forum”, which should:

  • Be composed of community groups and stakeholders representing tenants, both in private and council housing; 
  • Be invited to consult directly with the Housing and Homelessness Panel bi-annually at least and whenever decisions significantly impacting the rental sector come before Council;

·       Use official communication and media activities to improve awareness, as well as denouncing discrimination against benefits claimants clearly on the Council website, with a dedicated page detailing ways to recognise DSS discrimination and what actions to take in response

 

This Council asks that the Housing and Homelessness Panel consider this issue, monitor actions taken to address it, and make recommendations accordingly.

Council recognises that DSS discrimination is one obstacle among many for those on benefits accessing housing.

Council asks that the Leader write to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, calling for benefit levels to be raised and uprated in line with rents so they are realistic for  ...  view the full agenda text for item 34a

Minutes:

Cllr Thomas, seconded by Cllr Jarvis,  proposed the submitted motion as set out in the agenda and briefing note.

 

After debate and on being put to the vote the motion was agreed.

 

Council resolved to adopt the following motion:

 

This Council notes that:

·         The private rented sector (PRS) in Oxford has grown to 49.3% (2020) of homes in the city, one of the largest PRS populations of any housing authority in England;

·         Private renters face a host of challenges, including disrepair and lack of affordable rent;

·         Tenants in receipt of housing benefit or universal credit also face the prospect of ‘DSS discrimination’[1];

·         ‘No DSS’ policies have been found to be unlawful and discriminatory under the Equality Act but are still widespread.

This Council observes that: 

·         Some landlords and letting agents overtly practice DSS discrimination, e.g. by listing properties as ‘no DSS’ on websites; 

·         More often, landlords and letting agents covertly discriminate against benefits claimants, e.g. by using affordability or referencing checks that automatically fail benefit recipients, by systematically favouring non-benefit claimants when assessing tenancy applications, by demanding guarantors when a prospective tenant’s income (be it from benefits or employment) is sufficient, etc.; 

·         Despite alleviating measures such as the council tax reduction scheme, people are struggling financially. More people rely on benefits due to the pandemic, so the effects of DSS discrimination are now particularly widespread.

 

This Council defends the right to decent housing, and will work to eliminate DSS discrimination from Oxford by asking Cabinet to take the following steps where possible: 

·         Revise the OCLAS code[2], adding the following wording: ‘you must not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, race, language, sexuality or any other factor that might place an individual at a disadvantage. This includes indirect discrimination such as ‘no DSS’ or related practices, namely refusing to let prospective tenants on housing benefit or universal credit view affordable properties and requiring guarantors in cases where a prospective tenant’s income is sufficient’;

·         Advertise and ensure that the Welfare Reform Team will look out for and follow up on reported cases of discrimination;

·         Ensure that duty housing officers are informed about the issue and refer cases to the Welfare Reform Team and independent advice centres;

·         Establish a permanent “tenants’ forum”, which should:

  • Be composed of community groups and stakeholders representing tenants, both in private and council housing; 
  • Be invited to consult directly with the Housing and Homelessness Panel bi-annually at least and whenever decisions significantly impacting the rental sector come before Council;

·         Use official communication and media activities to improve awareness, as well as denouncing discrimination against benefits claimants clearly on the Council website, with a dedicated page detailing ways to recognise DSS discrimination and what actions to take in response.

 

This Council asks that the Housing and Homelessness Panel consider this issue, monitor actions taken to address it, and make recommendations accordingly.

 

Council recognises that DSS discrimination is one obstacle among many for those on benefits accessing housing.

 

Council asks that the Leader write to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34a

34b

Short term lets

Labour Group Member Motion

 

This Council notes that an ever increasing number of homes in Oxford are being lost to local families as owners rent the out as short term lets. While numbers are difficult to quantify, we estimate that there are nearly 900 homes in Oxford entirely rented out on short lets for all or most of the year and that these numbers are increasing. This is very worrying in a city that is so reliant on the private rented sector to house its population. About 50% of our local residents live in private rented homes – the highest number in the country.

This Council notes that tourism makes a vital contribution to our local economy and there is no doubt that short lets will have an important part to play as this sector recovers from the effects of the pandemic. However, this loss of valuable family homes puts upward pressure on rents that are already among the most unaffordable in England. This council has deliberately encouraged the development of hotels and guest houses through our planning policies to support tourism and resist the loss of family housing.

This Council welcomes the recent letter from the Leader of the Council to the Housing Minister on this subject and joins her call to ask the government to legislate to

·                 designate homes used predominantly as short term lets as a separate planning class, allowing local authorities to introduce policies to restrict their numbers and location if appropriate for their local circumstances, and allow enforceable conditions to be applied if necessary;

·                 allow local authorities to introduce local licensing schemes for short term let properties and landlords, as appropriate, matching local and national HMO and/or PRS schemes;

·                 ensure that short term lets are subject to the same environmental health, food and fire safety regimes as hotels and guest houses, for consumer protection and to create a level playing field for those businesses;

·                 allow local authorities to charge short term let properties as commercial businesses for waste collection and so forth (rather than having those services provided for free via domestic waste collection services, when these properties pay no or reduced council tax or business rates).

This Council calls on the Leader to work with other councils and the Local Government Association to campaign to get these aims as part of the government’s next Housing Bill and to write to the two local MPs asking for their support.

 

Minutes:

Cllr Diggins, seconded by Cllr Hunt, proposed the submitted motion as set out in the agenda and briefing note.

 

After debate and on being put to the vote the motion was agreed.

 

Council resolved to adopt the following motion:

 

This Council notes that an ever increasing number of homes in Oxford are being lost to local families as owners rent the out as short term lets. While numbers are difficult to quantify, we estimate that there are nearly 900 homes in Oxford entirely rented out on short lets for all or most of the year and that these numbers are increasing. This is very worrying in a city that is so reliant on the private rented sector to house its population. About 50% of our local residents live in private rented homes – the highest number in the country.

This Council notes that tourism makes a vital contribution to our local economy and there is no doubt that short lets will have an important part to play as this sector recovers from the effects of the pandemic. However, this loss of valuable family homes puts upward pressure on rents that are already among the most unaffordable in England. This council has deliberately encouraged the development of hotels and guest houses through our planning policies to support tourism and resist the loss of family housing.

This Council welcomes the recent letter from the Leader of the Council to the Housing Minister on this subject and joins her call to ask the government to legislate to:

·                    designate homes used predominantly as short term lets as a separate planning class, allowing local authorities to introduce policies to restrict their numbers and location if appropriate for their local circumstances, and allow enforceable conditions to be applied if necessary;

·                    allow local authorities to introduce local licensing schemes for short term let properties and landlords, as appropriate, matching local and national HMO and/or PRS schemes;

·                    ensure that short term lets are subject to the same environmental health, food and fire safety regimes as hotels and guest houses, for consumer protection and to create a level playing field for those businesses;

·                    allow local authorities to charge short term let properties as commercial businesses for waste collection and so forth (rather than having those services provided for free via domestic waste collection services, when these properties pay no or reduced council tax or business rates).

This Council calls on the Leader to work with other councils and the Local Government Association to campaign to get these aims as part of the government’s next Housing Bill and to write to the two local MPs asking for their support.

34c

Trees for Life

Liberal Democrat Member motion

 

To celebrate the birth of Oxford children and as part of the development of Oxford Urban Forest Strategy it is proposed that the City Council offers, free of charge, to supply and plant a tree as a celebration of the child’s arrival in location that is visible to the public in the parents’ garden, and for parents without a garden to plant a tree in a public park or public space — as long as public space is available. This policy would potentially increase the area of planting beyond the City Council’s own lands and would also create more connectivity and meaning with the new trees being planted.

 

Though the birth rate varies each year, and uptake would be less than a 100%, an initial estimate of around 1000 new trees per year could be planted under this scheme, which would over time could add significantly to the Oxford’s urban forest and all our well-being.

 

Minutes:

This motion was withdrawn prior to the meeting.

34d

East Oxford Low Traffic Neighbourhood

Green Group Member Motion

 

Oxford City Council notes the reports of research in recent years which conclude:  

·       28% of journeys in Oxford in 2015 were short car journeys by car within the city boundary, predicted to increase by 18% by 2031. A further 37% were cars driving into the city from the County, also predicted to increase by 18% by 2031

·       In 2015, holding traffic volumes steady would have required a reduction in car driving of 10% by 2031. However, if additional capacity were to be found for more pedestrians, cyclists and more reliable public transport an even more significant reduction would have been required.

·       However, by 2023 the number of licensed vehicles on UK roads will have increased by 50% since 2007.

·       In London, driving on minor urban residential streets doubled between 2009 and 2019. Since this pattern is repeated across the country it is likely that Oxford will have shared this expansion 

Council notes that: 

·       In order to maintain timetables a third more buses are being deployed in Oxford than would be necessary if traffic flowed freely.

·       Owing to virus anxiety total bus ridership is down 41% from pre-pandemic levels. If half of these former bus users are using a car instead, a further rise in car traffic within the city of 8% - 15% may have resulted.

·       The Council’s adopted Local Plan 2036 contains policies to promote the development of localised district centres. 

Council accepts that there are people for whom the use of powered vehicles is necessary in the course of their employment, and some who for reasons of disability are unable to use public transport or cycle, but believes that owing to longer term trends in traffic congestion it would make their lives easier if those for whom driving cars was not essential adopted different modes of transport. 

Council believes that this modal shift is unlikely to occur unless measures are taken to discourage car use for journeys of less than four miles and to make cycling and walking a safe and attractive option for all.

Council therefore welcomes the current and proposed trials of new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in the city as one strategy for achieving this aim, to complement the many existing LTNs in the city. 

Council believes that the trial of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods cannot produce the learning outcomes necessary if the schemes in East Oxford, which are an integral part of it, are not implemented as soon as possible. 

Council believes that the learning outcomes will also not be achieved unless thorough monitoring is carried out in order to determine not just traffic volumes on arterial roads but

·       where vehicle journeys on those roads started and what their destination is. 

·       what proportion of vehicle occupants have chosen not to use public transport because of anxiety about the coronavirus 

 

Council asks the Leader to write to the Leader of the County Council sharing these concerns and asking for the East Oxford LTN trial to proceed as swiftly as possible.  ...  view the full agenda text for item 34d

Minutes:

Cllr Wolff, seconded by Cllr Miles, proposed the original motion as published in the agenda and briefing note. Cllr Hayes, seconded by Cllr Hollingsworth, proposed the amendment as published in the briefing note.

Council debated the motion and amendment. On being put to the vote, the amendment was agreed.

On being put to the vote, the amended motion was then agreed.

 

Council resolved to adopt the following amended motion:

Following consultation on the introduction of East Oxford LTNs, this Council reaffirms the opening paragraph of a 5 October 2020 amended and agreed motion:

“This Council welcomes the public discussions which are taking place in this city about the value of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in encouraging walking and cycling, preventing rat-running, and decreasing air pollution, while also having the positive effect of opening up residential and shopping streets for local communities, supporting local businesses and boosting community ties. This ongoing discussion is informed by successful LTNs in Waltham Forest, Groeningen in the Netherlands and Ghent in Belgium.”

This Council notes that Oxford’s congestion has long been impossible as our roads frequently came close to gridlock before the pandemic. As the city gradually unlocks, there are more people driving cars and avoiding buses, contributing to rising traffic in the city. In the short-term, the city needs people to return to pre-lockdown levels of bus use to reduce traffic levels, and in the longer-term, to implement Connecting Oxford after further development and significant consultation, to ensure that bus service providers no longer have to run a third more buses than they need to meet timetables because they spend so much time sitting in congestion.

·    Council recognises that there are citizens for whom the use of powered vehicles is necessary in the course of their employment and because of physical impairment. 

Council believes that this modal shift is unlikely to occur unless measures are taken to discourage car use and to make cycling and walking a safe and attractive option for all, and has stated this position most recently in the EV Strategy Cabinet Paper.

This Council notes that, under new leadership, the County Council has taken a new approach.

Council asks the Leader to write to the Leader of the County Council asking for the East Oxford LTN trial to proceed as swiftly as possible as part of a strategic plan and subject to the overriding need to undertake work to address issues raised at the last consultation and respond to them in the new consultation proposed by County Council officers on 22 July and then move on to complete that new consultation.

This Council reiterates its commitment on 5 October 2020 to

·         encourage local residents’ groups and elected members in their efforts to engage communities in discussion about LTNs, so that they may be designed to get the main benefits without imposing unreasonable, adverse consequences. Local people know their streets better than anyone else and must be able to shape their communities. Consultation should precede the introduction  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34d

34e

EU Nationals deserves to be treated with respect

Labour Group Member Motion

Council notes:

-        That following the UK’s departure from the EU there are significant new entry restrictions for EU nationals seeking to come to the UK;

 

-        That at the 2011 census, over 12,000 Oxford residents were born in an EU member state apart from Ireland and the UK;

Council believes:

-        That nationals from EU member states are, along with many other migrant communities, an important part of Oxford’s diverse and vibrant society;

 

-        That EU nationals, their families, friends and visitors deserve to be treated with respect;

 

-        That in law, EU nationals have the right to receive visitors, yet there is disturbing evidence of hostile treatment of such visitors at the UK border, and that this is causing great distress to those affected, and uncertainty amongst people in Oxford more widely;

 

-        That this is further evidence of the government’s discredited “hostile environment” policy[1] being continued.

 

Council resolves:

-        To ask the Council Leader to write to the Home Secretary urging a much more sensitive approach to those visiting the UK from EU countries at the UK border, and protesting at the poor treatment visitors have received since the start of 2021;

 

-        To request this letter is shared with representative organisations in Oxford, relevant embassies, and through the Council’s social media channels.

 

Minutes:

This motion was not taken as the time allocated for debate had finished.

34f

Opposition to the Health and Care Bill

Green Group Member Motion

 

This Council notes the government has presented its Health and Care Bill to parliament to reform the delivery of NHS and public health services. This legislation would:

  • Reorganise the NHS around “Integrated Care Systems” (ICS), new bodies within the health service with boards comprising organisations involved in service delivery – including for-profit private companies.
  • Abolish the requirement for compulsory competitive tendering for NHS services, as set out in Section 75 of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.

This Council believes that the move towards ICS is an unnecessary and unwanted reorganisation of the health service.

This Council believes that allowing private companies to sit on ICS boards – bodies with decision making powers over how NHS money is spent and the care patients receive – is an anathema to the principles of the NHS as a publicly provided, publicly funded and publicly run health service, representing a clear conflict of interest.

This Council believes that revoking Section 75 of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act without also ending private sector involvement in the health service will remove one of the few checks and balances on outsourcing and privatisation presently in operation, leading to contracts being given without competition or tender to private companies and without the ability for in-house bids.

This Council calls for the Leader of the Council to:

  • Write to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to demand the withdrawal of the proposed legislation and express opposition to the inclusion of private companies on ICS boards, as well as to the revocation of Section 75 of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act unless all private delivery of NHS services is also revoked.
  • Write to Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Equalities requesting a commitment from the County Council Cabinet to oppose the imposition of ICS and to advocate for the exclusion of any representatives of private companies on local ICS boards. 

 

Minutes:

This motion was not taken as the time allocated for debate had finished.

34g

Oxford Stadium

Green Group Member Motion

 

Council notes plans by Kevin Boothby (reported in the Oxford Mail: 17th June 2021) to bring greyhound racing back to Oxford Stadium following the acquisition of a 10-year lease from owners Galliard Homes. 

Council notes that the last greyhound racing took place in the Stadium in December 2012. 

Council notes that Galliard Homes have previously (2013 - application number 13/00302/FUL) submitted a planning application to re-develop the site for housing but that this was never approved by the Council. 

Council notes that there has been an informal assessment of the site by British Cycling who have stated it would be suitable as velodrome combined with a BMX and learn-to-ride facility with ample space for other community uses. 

Council also notes that greyhound racing has been heavily criticised by animal welfare organisations such as the League Against Cruel Sports, Alliance Against Greyhound Racing, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) who believe that dogs should not suffer or die for entertainment or for the profit of the dog racing industry. 

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s (GBGB) own data confirms that in 2019 there were 4970 greyhound injuries & 710 deaths (14 per week).

Despite Legislation aimed at improving the welfare of greyhounds, including the Animal Welfare Act (2006), The Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations 2010, there is still ample evidence of the dangers to greyhounds bred for racing (see [1, 2]). The latter Government report into the effectiveness of the 2010 Regulations cast doubt on many aspects of the sport, making several important recommendations which have NOT been made law. 

The Council considers itself to be a caring Council which seeks the highest standards of welfare for all animals. It therefore: 

  • Agrees to publicly oppose the reintroduction of greyhound racing in Oxford. 
  • Ask the Executive Director (Development) to bring a report to Cabinet which explores alternative uses for the site (for example, housing, a velodrome or other community uses). 
  • Should the greyhound racing go ahead, the Council agrees to use its licensing powers to the full to ensure the welfare and safety of racing dogs and agrees to review its licensing policies on greyhound racing to see which of the EFRA Committee recommendations can be included. 

 

[1] The State of greyhound racing in Great Britain: a mandate for change’, League of Cruel Sports (2014) 

[2] ‘Greyhound Welfare’. Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFFRA) Committee (2016)

 

Minutes:

This motion was not taken as the time allocated for debate had finished.