Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

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Speaking at a Council or Committee meeting

Venue: Plowman Room - Oxford Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Stefan Robinson, Scrutiny Officer 

No. Item


Welcome and Introductions

To welcome new and returning members of the Panel


The Chair, Councillor Fry, welcomed new and returning members, and asked all attendees to introduce themselves. 


The Chair explained that the principle of setting up Oxford City Housing Limited (“The Company”), with two separate subsidiaries, as a wholly owned Council company was to gain greater borrowing freedoms and control over the housing supply. A separate wholly owned council company, Oxford Direct Services Limited, was also established to run frontline public and commercial services for the Council. This permitted greater freedoms to trade services in the commercial market.


A director of the Company offered to meet new members of the Panel to provide more detail on the business of the Company, if requested.




Substitutions are not allowed


There were no apologies for absence.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest


The were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the previous meeting

To consider the minutes of the meeting held on 14 March 2018


The Scrutiny Officer apologised that the minutes of the previous meeting were not included in the agenda, and these would be included in the agenda of the next Panel meeting on 31 July 2018. The Chair requested that this date be reviewed to suit member availability.


Housing Development Programme - Progress Update

To receive a presentation concerning progress made by Oxford City Housing Ltd. on the development sites in the Housing Development Programme. This presentation will also be considered by the Housing Shareholder on 11 June. The Panel is invited to consider the presentation, and make any comments or recommendations to the Housing Shareholder as appropriate. The presentation will be circulated in advance of the meeting.



The Housing Development Manager provided the Panel with a presentation on eight housing development schemes, and said that these were a realistic view of the completion dates. These were:


      Harts Close – May 2019

      Cumberlege Close – Oct 2019

      Rose Hill sites – March 2020

      Warren Crescent – January 2020

      Elsfield Hall – April 2020

      Between Towns Road – July 2020

      Underhill Circus – late 2020

      Lucy Faithfull House – not yet programmed


It was explained that the BCIS Building Costs Index recorded a 13.4% rise in costs over the previous year which specifically affected the Barton Park affordable housing pricing mechanism, not the wider development programme. Whilst significant, this rise was still within contingency parameters. The Housing Development Manager said the cost to the Council of purchasing the homes outlined in the development programme was below the cost it would be to build them.


The Housing Development Manager outlined progress with the various sites:


Barton Park - The first homes were due to transfer to the Company in August 2018, but slippage has taken place due to weather and other factors.


Harts Close – Plans for two three bed semi-detached homes were on track. The planning application was being finalised prior to submission in June 2018.


Elsfield Hall and Cumberlege – It was likely that the 9 units planned for Cumberledge would be 100% affordable housing. This site would be combined with Elsfield Hall to produce 50% affordable housing across the two sites. There was potential for the number of units at Elsfield Hall to extend to 23, with 17 being the lowest expected level of delivery. OPT approval is required for the Cumberlege development under the terms of a covenant.


Rose Hill – The Scout Hut and Old Community Centre site had been combined due to their proximity. Issues with a memorial tree have been resolved and a redesign was underway due to pre-application feedback resulting in fewer homes on both sites than previously expected.A public consultation would be undertaken by the end of June 2018. The number of units deliverable across the two sites at Rose Hill had been revised down from 53 in March 2018 to 43 in June 2018.


Between Towns Road – There had also been a reduction in the number of deliverable units on this site from 46 in March 2018 to 30 in June 2018. This was due to a redesign following pre-application feedback.


Lucy Faithfull House – Demolition was underway and projected to finish by the end of July 2018. Initial pre-application feedback indicated that a 18.2m high building would not be acceptable, therefore fewer homes would be provided than originally profiled. This would see a reduction in the number of deliverable units on this site from 53 in March 2018 to 39 in June 2018. This was in part due to a reduction in the number of floors permitted.


Warren Crescent - Baseline water monitoring was continuing at the site and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.


Future meeting dates

The Panel may wish to review the start time for each of its meetings, which are currently scheduled for 6pm. The Panel are invited to note the future meeting dates, set our below:


31 July 2018 - reports to Trading Shareholder on 2 August

11 September 2018 - reports to Housing Shareholder on 17 September

29 October 2018 - reports to Trading Shareholder on 1 November

12 December 2018 - reports to Housing Shareholder on 17 December

3 January 2019 - reports to Trading Shareholder on 7 January 2019


The Panel noted the following meeting dates, which were scheduled for 6pm:


31 July 2018 

11 September 2018 

29 October 2018 

12 December 2018 

3 January 2019 


The Chair requested that attempts are made to reschedule the 31 July 2018 and 29 October 2018 dates to better suit member availability.