Agenda item

Agenda item

Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) 2015/16



Background Information


The Scrutiny Committee has asked for this item to be included on the agenda for pre-decision scrutiny.


Why is it on the agenda?


The City Executive Board will be asked to approve the Annual Monitoring Report 2015/16 for publication at its meeting on 17 November 2016.  This is an opportunity for the Scrutiny Committee to make recommendations to the Board.


Who has been invited to comment?


·         Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Board Member for Planning & Regulatory;

·         Patsy Dell, Head of Planning & Regulatory Services;

·         Mark Jaggard, Planning Policy & Design, Conservation & Trees Manager;

·         Rebekah Knight, Planner.






Cllr Hollingsworth, Board member for Planning and Regulatory Services presented the report. The Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) covers a wide range of indicators, the interesting ones have been highlighted in the officer’s report.  The AMR is a statutory requirement and will influence the local plan review by determining whether policies need to be revised or retained.


The Committee discussed student numbers and student build accommodation.


·         The Council’s policy is to allow only 3,000 students from each university living outside of student accommodation. Brookes currently has 3,700 students living outside of student accommodation.

·         Student accommodation is defined in the Local Plan as being accommodation fully owned and run by Brookes or Oxford universities. It also includes long leased properties which are managed by the universities.

·         The policy does not extend to language schools or other education institutes in the city. The Council attempted to include these at the last review of the Local Plan but it was blocked by the inspector.

·         The penalty for exceeding this policy is that the Council will add a Grampian condition on all University planning applications that specify that the new academic buildings can’t be occupied until the number of students living in private accommodation are down. 

·         The growth in university numbers means that the Council will have to refine its policy. It might not be appropriate to continue to group graduate and post graduate students together.

·         Brookes University’s proposal to differentiate students into type is interesting and needs to be considered as we need a policy that is fit for the next 20 years.

·         Student accommodation needs at other academic institutions in the city will  also be considered during the review of the Local Plan.

·         The Council has commissioned work with Cambridge City Council to review the growth of academic institutes which will help inform future policies.


Cllr Wilkinson asked if indicator 33: Traffic growth at inner and outer cordons was relevant? The Planning Policy Officer explained that the data comes from Oxfordshire County Council and the City Council can’t influence it but it does provide context for other policies. The Committee decided to query the need of this indicator with the City Executive Board.


Cllr Wilkinson asked whether the Council record the numbers of pubs that have shut and been subject to a change of use. The Planning Policy Manager explained that the Council doesn’t keep a list of pubs lost but if members want us to record this, the current policy is that we would stop monitoring one of the other indicators as the fewer indicators the more useful the document.


Cllr Wilkinson asked about the promotion of self-build in the city. Self-build is promoted on the Council’s website but there is not a lot of interest in the city as there are few sites available.

Cllr Simmons asked why the Council had failed to meet retail targets. Cllr Hollingsworth explained that the Government has made a number of changes to how we manage retail in the local plan. It is now very difficult to prevent shifts from one use to another as permitted development rights have increased. The Council will have to consider alternative ways to manage retail.


Cllr Chapman asked if there was a reason for the increase in retrospective HMOs applications.  Cllr Hollingsworth explained that the number of HMOs hasn’t changed significantly but the increase in planning applications might be that more people are realising they need a planning application to create an HMO.


Cllr Taylor asked what defined a household and where do single people sit?

Do we monitor how long people stay homeless or in temporary accommodation? The Planning Policy Manager said that that information had come from the Housing department and he would send Cllr Taylor the information on housing accommodation.


The Chair asked about the viability of applying the Council’s affordability housing policy on small developments. The Planning Policy Manager said that the legal challenge had been on the policy’s effect on the economic viability of schemes not the principle of our policy.


Cllr Coulter asked about the supply of short stay accommodation. Tourists are hampered by the high cost of accommodation in Oxford which means they tend to come for the day rather than stay overnight. If we could attract fewer tourists that stayed longer and spent more it would be a win win.


Cllr Wilkinson asked about affordable housing figures and whether the right sort of housing with the right number of bedrooms was being built?

The Planning Policy Manager said that affordable housing was on the rise across the city with a good mix of homes being built. We will be reviewing the affordable housing proportions as part of the Local Plan review. However it hasn’t been that long since they were agreed.


Cllr Simmons queried the results of indicator 26 Natural Resources impact Analysis as some of the developments listed were not using renewal energy as they were using air source pumps which rely on electricity. The target needs to change to include low carbon energy as well or the performance indicator needs to be changed to amber.


Cllr Hollingsworth said he would review the indicator and amend appropriately.


The Scrutiny Committee agreed the following recommendation to CEB


That clarity should be provided as to whether indicator 26: Natural Resources Impact Analysis includes low carbon as well as renewable energy, and that the wording of the target or the RAG status is amended accordingly.


That consideration is given to whether or not indicator 33: Traffic growth at inner and outer cordons should be included in future Annual Monitoring Reports, and that reasons are provided either way.

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