Agenda item

Agenda item

Joint Statutory Spatial Plan

The CEB, at its meeting on 22 January, will consider a report on the emerging Joint Statutory Spatial Plan. The report will be issued as a supplement to this agenda.


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







Councillor Tanner left during this item.


The CEB, at its meeting the following day, would consider a report on the emerging Joint Statutory Spatial Plan (JSSP) and which sought, in particular, to seek approvals to progress the production of the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 through adopting the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI); approving an amendment to the Local Development Scheme; and approving the Regulation 18 (Part 1) document for consultation.  The item provided the Committee with an opportunity to make recommendations to the Board if it wished.


Since publication of the report some minor additions had been made to it, details of which had been distributed in advance of the meeting. A copy of the paper detailing these additions is attached to these minutes.


The Chair reminded the Committee that the development of the JSSP was a requirement of the Growth Deal to which all of Oxfordshire’s District Council and the County Council were signatories.


The Committee addressed the recommendations of the report in order.


Adoption of the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)


The Planning Policy and Place Manager said the SCI before the Committee  had been subject to consultation and the amendments made to it as result were shown as tracked changes. Equal weight had been given to each of  the 38 respondees to this phase of consultation.  In discussion about the changes to the  list of those who would be consulted  it was explained that the current wording sought to meet legislative requirements, include specific organisations where required as well as  overarching categories of organisation, which, collectively would ensure that all relevant bodies could and would be consulted. The sheer number of individual organisations across the County made it impractical to list them all individually.  The Committee noted that there might be merit in recording, separately, a list of all those bodies that the Council proposed to consult which could be made available, for example, via the Council’s website.



Amendment to Local Development Scheme (LDS)

The Board Member for Planning and Transport said the proposal to introduce an additional consultation phase would be accommodated within the previously agreed LDS timetable. The additional phase should result in a more effective consultation process overall and which would not be overtaken by a too early focus on locations for growth. There was a shared recognition that uncertainty about the Oxford-Cambridge expressway would be unhelpful when it came to discussion about broad locations for growth at the next stage.


Regulation 18 issues consultation document

The Chair reminded the Committee of the document’s focus on 5 aspirations each accompanied by draft objectives. Councillor Simmons had prepared paper in advance of the meeting which suggested how the Committee might wish to start framing recommendations to the CEB. At its heart was concern at the lack of ambition in the proposed consultation document, with no recognition of the ‘mega trends’ that will impact on the County over the next 30 or more years and a disconnect between the aspirations and objectives within the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 and those stated elsewhere. It would be a matter of regret if it was not possible to recast the document at this stage in a way which was closer to what the Council knew what it wanted to see as an end product.


The Scrutiny Officer had distilled the contents of Councillor Simmons’s suggestion as follows:


That the City Executive Board works with the six partner authorities to rewrite the aspirations and objectives set out in the Regulation 18 consultation document to be more ambitious and consistent with international, national and local policies and targets concerning climate change. This should include:


a)    A greater recognition of the importance of climate change, and its relationship with the forward planning of our housing, transport, health, wellbeing and economic infrastructure.


b)    A greater recognition of the ‘mega-trends’ that are expected to affect the demographic, climatic and technological environment, for example.


c)    A ‘SMART’ target for greenhouse gas reductions against which all the aspirations and objectives are judged.  


This then formed the basis of the subsequent Committee discussion.


Members of the Committee made a number of detailed observations, including the desirability of making explicit reference to the importance of social housing in the Housing Context section. 


The Planning Policy and Place Manager and Board Member for Planning & Transport  pointed to  the practical difficulties of seeking substantial changes at this stage (given the need for all the other authorities involved to agree). The observations being made by the Committee would, however, provide a valuable contribution as responses to the proposed consultation. The document provided sufficient ‘hooks’ on which to raise the points being raised once the consultation was underway and a number of examples were given.  The document was drafted with open questions in a way which gave space to meet the prospective needs of all those likely to participate. It would not be desirable for the consultation to seen to be closing down options at this stage. 


The Chair expressed frustration on behalf of the Committee at the limits on the extent to which it appeared to be able to recommend changes to the document at this stage. This was particularly so given the Committee’s scrutiny function. At the same time he recognised the practical difficulties consequent upon a process requiring the simultaneous agreement of 5 other authorities.


It was agreed however that the CEB could be recommended to make some  minor amendments and points of clarifications where it is felt the hooks are ambiguous. This could be recommended to CEB in in line with recommendation 4 of the CEB report  (ie …necessary editorial corrections and minor amendments..) to accommodate some of the Committee’s views. The Scrutiny Officer to draft a  recommendation for submission to the CEB in line with this agreement . 

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