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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Woodgreen, Witney, Oxfordshire OX28 1NB. View directions


No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Temporary Appointments

To receive any Apologies for Absence from Members of the Committee, and to receive details of any temporary appointments.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Carl Rylett, Mathew Parkinson, Natalie King (Councillor David Jackson substituted for Councillor Natalie King), Phil Godfrey, Rizvana Poole, Duncan Enright and David Cooper.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any Declariations of Interest from Members of the Committee on any items to be considered at the meeting.


There were no declarations of interest.



Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on 29 February 2024, and to note the actions arising from previous meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meetings held on 19 March 2024 were approved by the Committee.

It was to be noted that Councillors Andy Graham, Duncan Enright and David Melvin were required to be recorded as apologies rather than present at the 19 March meeting.

There was a point of clarification on why the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Draft Charging Schedule had been moved to the 10 June 2024 meeting. It was explained that this was due to  the report not having sufficient time to go through all necessary internal processes.



Chairs Announcements

To receive any announcements from the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


The Chair asked that Members not discuss political matters to avoid breaching pre-election period rules.


There was a requirement to change the order of the agenda due to the lateness of the presenter on Item 6. It was therefore suggested that Item 7, Report back on recommendations, Item 8, Committee Work Programme and Item 9, Executive Work Programme be discussed first.


The Chair thanked Members for their work with the Committee, recognising it was the last Committee meeting before the election, and wished everyone his very best wishes and best of luck for those up for re-election.  


It was AGREED by the Committee to change the order of the agenda as stated above.


Participation of the Public

To receive any submissions from members of the public, in accordance with the Council’s Rules of Procedure.


Anyone who lives in the District, or who pays council tax or business rates to the Council, is eligible to read a statement or express an opinion at this meeting.


Registrations to address the Committee are made by sending a written submission of no more than 750 words to [email protected], no later than 10.00am on the working day before the meeting.


There was no participation of the public.


Mobile Network Coverage


To receive a presentation from Gareth Elliott, Director of Policy and Communications at Mobile UK, as a result of a Motion considered by Council on 27 September 2023 regarding mobile network coverage across the District.



That the Committee Resolves to:

1.    Note the contents of the presentation from the Director of Policy and Communications.



  • Gareth Elliott,  Director of Policy and Communications at Mobile UK;
  • Councillor Andy Graham – Leader of the Council;
  • Phil Martin – Assistant Director, Business Services.


Gareth Elliot, Director of Policy and Communications for Mobile UK provided a presentation to the Committee and explained that Mobile UK was the body that represented the  four major mobile network operators; which were listed as Three, Vodafone, EE. and Virgin/O2. Other networks were not included because they did not own the infrastructure and therefore used the 4 aforementioned companies’ infrastructure.

It was explained that the material presented was for the purposes of raising awareness and providing information to challenge perceptions and myths. Mobile UK could not provide specifics on applications because that was in line with commercial decisions made by the operators.


The difference between 4G and 5G were explained and how it was essential to for 5G to be implemented. It was explained where 5G sat on the health spectrum of radiation, and the importance of 5G access and wireless connectivity for a multitude of services including healthcare, jobs digital inclusion.


The barriers to deployment were summarised and identified including leadership, planning delays, resources, localised objections. Hence why Mobile UK desired to help Councils with incentives and campaigning of digital champions etc. Examples of structures were presented and technical requirements were explained and the density of infrastructure required was displayed with mast options shown. More information could be provided with a library of resources and a podcast.


The following points were raised by the Committee and responses provided by Gareth and/or Officers:


·         It was queried if West Oxfordshire was only covered by one network It was explained that planning restrictions in the UK make it difficult to build infrastructure and if you want coverage you need a mast.

·         It was asked if there were any developers required to provide a mast infrastructure. It was explained that this was not the case and that the developments were often covered with existing infrastructure.  It could be useful for Mobile UK to know when developments were coming to allow some proactivity.

·         It was queried if there had been any mast applications in WODC and if those applications were welcomed or objected. It was explained that ? Norton was one example.

·         It was suggested that if a map could be provided of all the masts requires, a provision could be made for in the Local Plan. It was explained that the network operators don’t provide that or share that data and they compete for contracts with applications based on the  need for capacity in that area. Another Member confirmed he had seen them in planning but most were not problematic unless they involved aesthetics  of  listed buildings etc.

·         It was asked if there was a system of roaming and if that was an issue that needed to be addressed by the operator. It was explained that Mobile UK didn’t think that roaming was a solution and you could not roam without the infrastructure.

·         There was a query asked around central government budgets and what the process was for Councils to report a black spot or area with very bad coverage and how  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.


Report back on Recommendations pdf icon PDF 190 KB

For the Committee to note the Executive’s response to any recommendations arising from the previous Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting.


The Report Back on Recommendations from Executive was introduced by the Chair of the Committee and Members had the following queries:


·         In relation to the item on the review and repurposing of earmarked reserves, there was a query on how tracking could be done of the name changes of the earmarked reserves and that these changes should be tracked through the Audit and Governance Committee. Action Point: Officers to come back with an explanation for this.


In relation to the actions arising attached to the minutes, the same previous queries were raised and Officers were asked to continue to chase up as Action Points :


·         My question was based around the appeal in Over Norton - Part of the reason for allowing it was that we had no site identify. If we don't, why not and if we do where are they - Without them, Do, we stand a much higher rate of losing appeals? On the point of 5 and 5 in H7 is that a rolling 5 or a first come first  serve?

·         Councillor Harry St John added a further query - On the same sort of subject I notice that seems to be an ever expanding site and activities (even at night) at Cuckoowood Farm on Cuckoo Lane south of Freeland. Has any planning officer been on a visit to see that and what is going on because it should be as per any consents /conditions? There is a very substantial building and every time I pass the site at night it is lit up inside - after what one would expect be normal working hours... hence my question. There were engineering works going on at the entrance the other week with a JCB etc. doing work. I suspect the JCB may be resident on site. A quick analysis of enforcement cases across the District show a significant proportion of cases involve the travelling or related community by comparison to everyone else one case has been going on for ages with social services, and police, etc. involved.




Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 79 KB


To formulate an Overview and Scrutiny Committee work plan for 2024/25.



That the Committee notes and comments on the draft work programme.

Additional documents:


The Committee Work Programme was introduced by the Chair of the Committee and he suggested that due amount of agenda items on the 5 June 2024 meeting there could be some movement of items to later meetings with consideration given to those that were post decision scrutiny items. It was to be noted that there was an updated Work Programme and Members should refer to that copy which they received at the meeting.


Members made the following suggestions and comments:


·         Scrutiny could be moved to a week earlier. It was suggested that this would be needed to considered carefully as it would have a knock on effect with reports and would extend the Executive decision making process and was a wider corporate issue.


·         For the old system to be implemented to ensure decisions could be pre-scrutinised and it was suggested that this new system was fundamentally flawed. It was explained that the new system was decided at Council but the point was taken.


·         It was suggested that the July meeting also had many reports scheduled and that perhaps there could be separate meetings for specific things (i.e. CIL) or an additional meeting added.


·         Further set up for prioritisation of items was requested and it was also suggested that this was moot point given that Executive items may move to other meetings and this would not necessary known therefore it was pointless discussing this. The options were explained and the options as above were summarised with prioritisation was reiterated.


·         It was explained that every intention was to ensure that reports would go to Executive on 12 June given that Officers had the time and directive for those reports.


·         It was suggested to start the meeting earlier as there were no reports being deferred at Executive, otherwise there would be no decisions made on Scrutiny. It was further explained that from the discussion so far there would be 6 items on the June agenda which were all pre-scrutiny items.


It was therefore suggested and AGREED that all the reports listed on the plan would be scheduled with the addition of Salt Cross Garden Village Area Action Plan (AAP); preference would be given to pre-scrutiny with the discussions around post scrutiny items such as the performance reports to be moved to another meeting if necessary. The Draft Budget would be taken to the 8 January 2025 meeting,




Executive Work Programme pdf icon PDF 135 KB


To give the Committee the opportunity to comment on the Executive Work Programme.



That the Committee agrees which items on the Executive Work Programme should be subject to pre-decision scrutiny and the priority order of those items.


The Executive Work Programme was discussed in conjunction with Item 8.


There was a query from a Member on the Review of Public Conveniences which was as follows:


·         Why were there two public conveniences within a mile of each other (Woodstock and Chipping Norton)and was this still justified? It was explained that these questions would be included on action plan for the 3 July 2024 agenda.