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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Woodstock Community Centre, 32 New Rd, Woodstock, OX20 1PB

Contact: Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

106.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 45 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 14 December 2022.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 14 December 2022 were approved by the Cabinet, and signed by Councillor Andy Graham, Leader of the Council.

107.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

108.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations from Members of Cabinet on any items to be considered at the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received.

109.

Participation of the Public

Members of the public may ask a question at a meeting of Cabinet for up to three minutes on any item of business for decision at the meeting or on any issue that affects the district or its people. Members of the public wishing to speak at a Cabinet meeting must notify democratic.services@westoxon.gov.uk, including their name and the agenda item or topic they wish to speak on, by 2.00pm two clear working days before the meeting (e.g. for a Wednesday meeting, the deadline would be 2.00pm on the Friday before). If the topic of the question is not within the remit of the Council, advice will be provided on where best to direct the question. The relevant Cabinet Member will either respond verbally at the meeting or provide a written response which will be included in the minutes of the meeting.

 

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Andy Graham, welcomed all attendees to the meeting, and thanked the members of the public for attending. The Leader advised that this meeting was the third in the series of the Council’s “Cabinet on Tour”, having held previous meetings in Charlbury and Chipping Norton.

The Leader explained that during the meeting, Cabinet members would be answering 5 public questions that had been received in advance of the meeting, and that if members of the public wished to stay behind to speak informally with a Cabinet member, they were welcome to do so.

 

The Cabinet provided the following answers to the following questions:

 

Q1 Asked by Frances Stevenson:

My question is on the subject of the proposed Botley West Solar Farm, in particular WODC’s position on the proposal and its plans to address it.

 

A1 Answered by Councillor Carl Rylett, Cabinet Member for Planning and Sustainable Development:

The proposed Solar Farm is a very significant project that has implications both nationally and locally. The Council has yet to formally determine its stance- not least because the proposals have yet to be formally submitted in their detailed form and as such the full implications are not yet known. In the interim the Council is committed to securing the maximum level of public engagement between the developer and the local community to ensure that all relevant factors will be considered when the Council is in a position to take a position and make its representations to the Planning Inspector.

 

Q2 Asked by Dr Alan Hearne:

A key element in the Council’s response to the Climate Emergency is an intention to reduce the production of carbon from existing homes, by assisting in the removal of gas and oil fired boilers with a continuous programme of  “retrofitting” them with non/low carbon technologies. The draft Council Plan being considered at today’s meeting commits to “work with residents to facilitate the retrofit of carbon reduction measures in homes”. (Priority 4, Page 12, Bullet 3).

For those of us who own and live in Listed Buildings or the 50 Conservation Areas in the District, such a “retrofit” is virtually impossible because nothing has changed in the way the Council considers proposals to improve our properties.

The key advisory documents Greener Historic Buildings and Design Guides 6 and 16 have not been redrafted to give guidance about what type of “retrofit” is acceptable .

Our Planning and Conservation Officers do not appear to have been briefed about the sort of “retrofit” they should look on sympathetically.

All proposals are, therefore, still considered on a “case by case basis”, against a vague policy framework. Applications for solar panels, double glazing and the works necessary to install and make heat pumps effective are likely to be refused.

Making an application is expensive so few LB owners are going to attempt a “retrofit” when the chance of success is low. This is not a trivial issue: c10% of homes in the District are LBs or  ...  view the full minutes text for item 109.

110.

Receipt of Announcements

To receive any announcements from the Leader of the Council or Members of the Cabinet.

 

Minutes:

The Leader announced that Agenda Item 7, Revised Council Plan, would be taken ahead of Agenda Item 6, Update of 2023/24 Budget. This was agreed to by Cabinet.

 

There were no other announcements made by Cabinet.

111.

Revised Council Plan pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Purpose:

The Council’s new corporate plan for 2023-27 (The Council Plan) is being developed in order to succeed the previous plan that covered the period 2020-24. In May 2022 there was a change of administration at the District Council and in July 2022 it was agreed that in light of the changing context in which the Council Plan 2020 – 24 was developed (not least by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic) that a review of the Council Plan would be appropriate. The West Oxfordshire Council Plan 2023 - 2027 presents five new strategic priorities for the District which reflect the wide ranging issues and challenges requiring focus and attention over the immediate and longer term. The Council Plan has been discussed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committees to enable their views and insights to be taken into account in the finalisation of the document ahead of adoption of the Council Plan by Council in early 2023.

 

Recommendations:

That Cabinet resolves to:

a)    endorse the Draft West Oxfordshire Council Plan 2023 – 27 and recommends its adoption by the Council, subject to any amendments, as appropriate, to take into account resolutions arising from the Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

b)    grant delegated authority to the Chief Executive in consultation with the Leader to make amendments to the Draft as above prior to consideration by Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Andy Graham, Leader of the Council, introduced the Revised Council Plan for 2023-2027, which is being developed in order to succeed the previous plan that covered the period 2020-2024.

Councillor Graham explained to the meeting the purpose of the plan, and explained that the plan had gone through an extensive consultation period, as well as being scrutinised by the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committees. Councillor Graham stated that he was very pleased to see that public recommendations had been incorporated into the plan, and that overall approval of the plan would be sought at the next Council meeting.

In May 2022 there was a change of administration at the District Council and in July 2022, it was agreed that in light of the changing context in which the Council Plan 2020–2024 was developed (not least by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic) that a review of the Council Plan would be appropriate.

The West Oxfordshire Council Plan 2023-2027 presents five new strategic priorities for the District which reflect the wide ranging issues and challenges requiring focus and attention over the immediate and longer term. The Council Plan has been discussed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committees to enable their views and insights to be taken into account in the finalisation of the document ahead of adoption of the Council Plan by Council in early 2023.

Councillor Duncan Enright, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Development, thanked the work of the Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Giles Hughes; Astrid Harvey, Strategic Policy and Partnerships Officer who authored the report; Members of the Council’s Scrutiny Committees, and the engagement of Town & Parish Councils in bringing this plan to fruition.

Councillor Graham proposed to agree the Revised Council Plan and its adoption by Council. This was seconded by Councillor Duncan Enright, and was agreed unanimously by Cabinet.

 

Cabinet Resolved to:

a) endorse the Draft West Oxfordshire Council Plan 2023-2027 and recommends its adoption by the Council, subject to any amendments, as appropriate, to take into account resolutions arising from the Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

b) grant delegated authority to the Chief Executive in consultation with the Leader to make amendments to the Draft as above prior to consideration by Council.

112.

Update of 2023/24 Budget pdf icon PDF 113 KB

Purpose:

This report provides an update on the developing budget for 2023/24. To consider:

1)    The draft base budgets for 2023/24

2)    Fees and charges for 2023/24

3)    Adoption of the Council Tax Base for 2023/24

4)    The submission of the business rates return

 

Recommendations:

That Cabinet resolves to:

1)    Approve the draft fees and charges for 2023/24, as detailed in Annex H, for inclusion as part of the Budget recommendations to Council on Wednesday 15th of February 2023

 

And recommend to Council to:

2)    Approve the Council Tax Base shown in Annex G, calculated as £47,078.85 for the year 2023/24

3)    Authorise the Chief Finance Officer to submit the National Non Domestic Rates Return 1 (NNDR1) to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government buy the submission date of 31st January 2023

4)    Authorise the Chief Finance Officer to approve the annual uprating of allowances and non-dependent deductions in the Local Council Tax Support Scheme in line with national regulations.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Dan Levy, Cabinet Member for Finance, introduced the report which provides an update on the developing budget for 2023/24. The report will recommend:

1) The draft base budgets for 2023/24;

2) Fees and charges for 2023/24;

3) Adoption of the Council Tax Base for 2023/24;

4) The submission of the business rates return.

 

Councillor Levy gave an overview on budget update, and thanked those members of the public who had submitted responses to the much publicised Budget Consultation being run by the Council, which was soon to come to a close.

Councillor Levy stated that since the last meeting of Cabinet, the Financial Management Overview and Scrutiny (FMOS) Committee had reviewed the budget proposals, and had mainly gone into detail regarding the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS). Councillor Levy further explained that the MTFS reflects that there is always a danger that business rates could be reviewed, and that wider government funding, such as the New Homes Bonus, may be less generous than previously envisaged.

Councillor Levy set out that very little local income is derived from own fees and charges, as set out in government policy. An example of this being that Council Tax can be raised by no more than 3% or £5. Councillor Levy reassured all Members and attendees that the MTFS is taken extremely seriously by the Council’s administration, and that there may be difficult decisions to be taken in the future.

Councillor Levy summed up by stating that the administration are fully committed to improving services, addressing climate change, and supporting residents across the West Oxfordshire district, and that this is reflected in the priorities outlined in the Council Plan.

Councillor Mathew Parkinson, Cabinet Member for Customer Delivery, asked what the acronym ‘MTFS’ stood for. Councillor Levy responded stating that it was the Medium Term Financial Strategy.

Councillor Harry St. John queried what the acronym ‘MRP’ stood for. The Chief Finance Officer responded by stating that it was the Minimum Revenue Provision; a local government accounting requirement that pays down the value of assets over their life.

A question was raised by Dr. Alan Hearne, a member of the public in attendance, regarding how much money is saved by the Council in outsourcing various pieces of work. Councillor Levy responded stating that the Council has various working partnerships with other organisations, which fall under the Council’s remit through ownership and has delivered savings for the Council. An example of this is the working practise of ‘Ubico’, for the provision of waste collections within the District.

Councillor Levy proposed to agree the update on the 2023/24 Budget. This was seconded by Councillor Andy Graham, and was agreed unanimously by Cabinet.

 

Cabinet Resolved to:

1) Approve the draft fees and charges for 2023/24, as detailed in Annex H, for inclusion as part of the Budget recommendations to Council on Wednesday 15th of February 2023.

And Recommended Council to:

2) Approve the Council Tax Base shown in Annex G, calculated as £47,078.85 for the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 112.

113.

Option appraisal and funding agreement for heating system and decarbonisation measures at Carterton Leisure Centre pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Purpose:

For Cabinet to note the process being followed to enable the options for new heating systems at Carterton Leisure to be considered and to delegate decision making on the option to be progressed and whether a grant offer for Private Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) funding should be accepted.

 

Recommendations:

That Cabinet resolves to delegate authority to Chief Executive in consultation with the Deputy Chief Executive and S.151 Officer, Cabinet Members for Finance and for Climate Change, to:

a)    Agree the selection of a preferred option based on the optioneering report commissioned from consultants.

b)    Agree whether a PSDS grant offer should be accepted, if the option selected in (a) is eligible for funding.

c)    Agree to underwrite the additional pre contract revenue costs required to complete the IGP, once an option is selected and costs can be confirmed.

d)    Include the Capital and Revenue implications associated with the selected option, in the revised Medium Term Financial Strategy.

Minutes:

Councillor Andrew Prosser, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, introduced the options appraisal report to Cabinet. This report was to note the process being followed to enable the options for new heating systems at Carterton Leisure Centre to be considered and to delegate decision making on the option to be progressed and whether a grant offer for Private Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) funding should be accepted.

Councillor Prosser proposed to agree recommendations surrounding Carterton Leisure Centre. This was seconded by Councillor Dan Levy, and was agreed unanimously by Cabinet.

 

Cabinet Resolved to delegate authority to Chief Executive in consultation with the Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer, Cabinet Members for Finance and for Climate Change, to:

a) Agree the selection of a preferred option based on the optioneering report commissioned from consultants.

b) Agree whether a PSDS grant offer should be accepted, if the option selected is (a), is eligible for funding.

c) Agree to underwrite the additional pre contract revenue costs required to complete the IGP, once an option is selected and costs can be confirmed.

d) Include the Capital and Revenue implications associated with the selected option, in the revised Medium Term Financial Strategy.

 

Councillor Andy Graham, Leader of The Council, closed the meeting by thanking members of the public for their attendance.

The meeting closed at 3.47pm.