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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Upper Hall, Chipping Norton Town Hall, High Street, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire OX7 5NA. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

139.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any Apologies for Absence from Members of the Executive.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Joy Aitman.

140.

Declarations of Interest

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

Minutes:

Councillor Duncan Enright, Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Member for Economic Development, declared for transparency that he was an Associate of the Community Communications Partnership, and highlighted that related work took place outside of Oxfordshire. The Declaration was made in relation to Agenda Item 8 – West Oxfordshire Local Plan Update 2041.

 

There were no other Declarations of Interest made by Members of the Executive.

141.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 48 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting, held on Wednesday 17 January 2024.

Minutes:

Councillor Andy Graham, Leader of the Council, proposed that the minutes of the previous meeting, held on Wednesday 17 January 2024, be agreed by the Executive as a true and accurate record, and signed by the Leader.

 

This was seconded by Councillor Duncan Enright, was put to a vote, and was unanimously agreed by the Executive.

 

The Executive Resolved to:

1.    Agree the minutes of the previous meeting, held on Wednesday 17 January 2024, as a true and accurate record.

142.

Receipt of Announcements

To receive any announcements from the Leader of the Council, Members of the Executive or the Chief Executive.

Minutes:

Councillor Andy Graham, Leader of the Council, welcomed attendees to the meeting, and thanked members of the public for attending proceedings. The Leader gave the members of the public in attendance a brief overview of the way that the meeting would run.

The Leader advised that the meeting was the eighth in the Council’s “Executive on Tour” series, with previous meetings being held around the West Oxfordshire District in Charlbury, Woodstock, Carterton, Eynsham and Burford, along with a previous ‘on tour’ meeting held in Chipping Norton in Autumn 2022.

The Leader also advised that the next meeting of the Executive would take place on Wednesday 6 March 2024, at 2.00pm in the Council Chamber at Woodgreen, Witney.

The Leader further advised that the final Agenda Item contained commercially sensitive information, and if the Executive wished to discuss the information, the meeting would need to agree to enter private session. The Leader advised the attendees that this would be highlighted at the appropriate juncture.

143.

Participation of the Public

Any member of the public, who is a registered elector in the District, is eligible to ask one question at the meeting, for up to three minutes, of the Leader of the Council, or any Member of the Executive on any issue that affects the district or its people.

Notice, together with a written copy of the question, must be provided to Democratic Services, either by email to:

[email protected]

or by post to:

Democratic Services, West Oxfordshire District Council, Woodgreen, Witney OX28 1NB.

Questions are to be received no later than 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).

A response may be provided at the meeting, or within three clear working days

of the meeting. 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 appropriate Executive Member will either respond verbally at the meeting or provide a written response which will be included in the minutes of the meeting.

Minutes:

There was no public participation at the meeting.

144.

Reports from Overview and Scrutiny

Minutes:

The Leader stated that the recommendations from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be considered as part of the Nature Recovery Plan and Nature Recovery Officer item.

145.

Matters raised by Audit and Governance Committee

Minutes:

No matters had been raised by the Audit and Governance Committee.

146.

West Oxfordshire Local Plan 2041 Update pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Purpose:

To provide an update on the progress of the new West Oxfordshire Local Plan 2041 including the outcome of recent public consultation and the revised timetable for taking the plan through to adoption.

 

Recommendations:

That the Executive Resolves to:

  1. Note the content of the consultation summary report attached at Annex A, in particular the key themes arising which will be reflected in the next stage of Local Plan consultation;
  2. Agree to approve the updated Local Development Scheme (LDS) attached at Annex B.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Charlie Maynard, Executive Member for Planning and Sustainable Development, introduced the report, which provided an update on the progress of the new West Oxfordshire Local Plan (2041), including a revised timetable for taking the Local Plan through to formal adoption.

 

The Executive Member added that the consultation had received over 2000 responses, and the Executive thanked Members of the Public for their engagement.

 

Andrew Thomson, Lead Planning Policy Officer, was invited by the Executive Member to give an overview of the responses that had been received by the Council in relation to the Local Plan update project. Andrew Thomson made further reference to potential ecological, climate, environmental and sustainable development implications that had been raised in a recent public consultation.

 

In debate, Members made reference to Strategic Development Areas (SDAs) within the Chipping Norton area, highlighting that it was imperative to see it be considered as part of the Local Plan process, in conjunction with Historic England. The Executive referred to proposed SDAs within Chipping Norton, stating that identified sites were nominated by developers. The Executive also committed to working in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council, with the interests of residents at the centre of future discussions.

 

The Executive highlighted that businesses and employers located in the district would also play a vital part in discussions, to prevent West Oxfordshire becoming a ‘dormitory’ district, feeding employment in the Greater Oxford and London areas.

 

By invitation of the Leader, a non-Executive Member in attendance referred to the importance of engaging with Royal Air Force Station Brize Norton, located within the district, as a major employer and employment site. It was envisaged that the military’s input into the Local Plan consultations would be of vital importance throughout the new Local Plan process.

 

Councillor Charlie Maynard proposed that the Executive agree to the recommendations as listed on the report. This was seconded by Councillor Alaric Smith, was put to a vote, and was unanimously agreed by the Executive.

 

The Executive Resolved to:

  1. Note the content of the consultation summary report attached at Annex A, in particular the key themes arising which will be reflected in the next stage of Local Plan consultation;
  2. Agree to approve the updated Local Development Scheme (LDS) attached at Annex B.

147.

Nature Recovery Plan and Nature Recovery Officer pdf icon PDF 99 KB

Purpose:

To present the West Oxfordshire District Council Nature Recovery Plan, which is proposed to be adopted and resourced by the Council from April 2024, and to set out the business case to appoint a new Nature Recovery Officer.

 

Recommendations:

That the Executive Resolves to:

1.    Approve the West Oxfordshire District Council Nature Recovery Plan and recommend to Council that it is adopted as part of the Council’s compliance with the new biodiversity duty;

2.    Agree to part-fund a Nature Recovery Officer at a cost to the Council of £39,039.00 over 24 months.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Andrew Prosser, Executive Member for Climate Change, introduced the report, which presented the West Oxfordshire District Council Nature Recovery Plan. The report further set out the business case to appoint a new Nature Recovery Officer. The Nature Recovery Plan was proposed to be adopted and resourced by the Council from April 2024.

 

The Executive Member stated they would propose an additional recommendation, where delegated authority be given to the Assistant Director for Planning and Sustainability, in conjunction with the Executive Member for Climate Change, to make any necessary minor amendments to the Nature Recovery Plan, following consideration by the Executive and the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

The Executive Member referred to recommendations made to the Executive by the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, and circulated ahead of the Executive meeting.

 

The Executive Member for Climate Change stated that the Executive had accepted, in principle, the recommendations made by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The recommendations suggested more engagement with Town and Parish Councils, that the Council takes a network approach to the facilitation of grassroots projects and getting people involved in nature recovery activities, and that consideration is given to mitigating risks around the future funding for the new post and the reliance on external funding for projects.

 

The Executive further highlighted that the Rural England and UK Shared Prosperity Funds would also provide additional funding for nature recovery projects in rural areas that would struggle to provide match funding through WestHive.

 

Councillor Andrew Prosser proposed that the Executive agree to the recommendations as listed on the report, with an additional recommendation as outlined in the presentation of the report.

 

This was seconded by Councillor Lidia Arciszewska, was put to a vote, and was unanimously agreed by the Executive.

 

The Executive Resolved to:

  1. Approve the West Oxfordshire District Council Nature Recovery Plan and recommend to Council that it is adopted as part of the Council’s compliance with the new biodiversity duty;
  2. Agree to part-fund a Nature Recovery Officer at a cost to the Council of £39,039.00 over 24 months;
  3. Delegate authority to the Assistant Director for Planning and Sustainability, in consultation with the Executive Member for Climate Change, to make any necessary minor amendments to the Nature Recovery Plan following consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Executive.

148.

Climate Change Officer pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Purpose:

To set out the business case to make the Climate Change Officer post permanent.

 

Recommendation:

That the Executive Resolves to:

1.    Agree to make the Climate Change Officer post permanent at a total cost of £50,155 per annum.

Minutes:

Councillor Andrew Prosser, Executive Member for Climate Change, introduced the report, which set out the business case to make the Council’s Climate Change Officer post permanent.

 

In debate, the Executive thanked the ongoing work of the current postholder for their continued efforts within the climate change area, and the value of the work undertaken to date. It was also highlighted that the Climate Changer Officer had also provided vital income to the Council, through their hard work on the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

 

By invitation of the Leader, a non-Executive Member in attendance questioned who the Climate Change Officer would be employed by. The Chief Executive stated that Publica would be the employer for the permanent Climate Change Officer as the other staff in the Climate Change team were currently employed by Publica. Future employment would be considered on a case-by-case basis, owing to an ongoing review into Publica.

 

Councillor Andrew Prosser proposed that the Executive agree to the recommendation as listed on the report. This was seconded by Councillor Lidia Arciszewska, was put to a vote, and was unanimously agreed by the Executive.

 

The Executive Resolved to:

1.    Agree to make the Climate Change Officer post permanent at a total cost of £50,155 per annum.

149.

Improving Youth Participation and Development pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Purpose:

To set out the Council’s approach to supporting young people and building on the results and findings of the recent Youth Needs Assessment.

 

Recommendations:

That the Executive Resolves to:

1.    Agree to the recruitment of a dedicated Youth Development Officer on a full time, 2-year fixed term contract;

2.    To note that £60,000 external funding from the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) will be used to support the post;

3.    Approve up to £28,000 from the Council Priority fund to meet the balance needed for the post;

4.    Approve the use of the £20,000 COMF budget allocated to youth activities to enable test and learn opportunities as developed by the postholder, which tackle the barriers faced by young people, to access activities, services and opportunities.

Minutes:

Councillor Andy Graham, Leader of the Council, introduced the report, which set out the Council’s approach to supporting young people and building on the results and findings of a recent Youth Needs Assessment.

 

The Leader paid tribute to the work of the Executive Member for Stronger, Healthy Communities and the Council’s Community Wellbeing Manager, for their work in Youth Participation across West Oxfordshire, highlighting that work was of even greater significance owing to the rural nature of the West Oxfordshire District.

 

In debate, the Executive highlighted the significance of the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF), awarded to the Council by central government, and that younger people were perceived to have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic.

 

Councillor Andy Graham proposed that the Executive agree to the recommendations as listed on the report. This was seconded by Councillor Duncan Enright, was put to a vote, and was unanimously agreed by the Executive.

 

The Executive Resolved to:

  1. Agree to the recruitment of a dedicated Youth Development Officer on a full time, 2-year fixed term contract;
  2. Note that £60,000 external funding from the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) will be used to support the post;
  3. Approve up to £28,000 from the Council Priority fund to meet the balance needed for the post;
  4. Approve the use of the £20,000 COMF budget allocated to youth activities to enable test and learn opportunities as developed by the postholder, which tackle the barriers faced by young people, to access activities, services and opportunities.

150.

Waste Fleet Purchase Strategy pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Purpose:

To update the Executive on progress on the review of the West Oxfordshire waste fleet, and to seek approval to purchase 4 standard fuel general waste refuse collection vehicles, and when necessary, hire 2 standard fuel general waste refuse collection vehicles, whilst research is undertaken into options to use more environmentally sustainable vehicles such as electric vehicles.

 

Recommendations:

That the Executive Resolves to:

  1. Agree to purchase 4 x 28 tonne standard fuel general waste refuse collection vehicles (RCV’s) for use on frontline collections; and
  2. Agree to hire 2 x 28tonne standard fuel general waste refuse collection vehicles when needed whilst research is undertaken during the next financial year into options to use more environmentally sustainable vehicles such as electric vehicles.

Minutes:

Councillor Lidia Arciszewska, Executive Member for the Environment, introduced the report, which updated the Executive on progress on the review of the West Oxfordshire waste fleet.

 

The report also sought to seek approval to purchase 4 standard fuel general waste refuse collection vehicles, and when necessary, and sought further approval to hire 2 standard fuel general waste refuse collection vehicles, whilst research is undertaken into options to use more environmentally sustainable vehicles such as electric vehicles.

 

By invitation of the Leader, a non-Executive Member in attendance expressed disappointment that the report had not been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (as a consequence of less than 28 days’ notice of the decision being given on the Executive Forward Plan). The non-Executive Member also questioned why the Council was proposing to purchase waste vehicles when the Council’s waste partner, Ubico, was considering owning waste vehicles itself. The Assistant Director for Commercial Development advised that funding for replacement waste vehicles was available in the Council’s capital programme and that Ubico’s consideration of owning waste vehicles itself was at the very early stages and, if pursued, would take some years to implement.

 

Councillor Lidia Arciszewska proposed that the Executive agree to the recommendations as listed on the report. This was seconded by Councillor Alaric Smith, was put to a vote, and was unanimously agreed by the Executive.

 

The Executive Resolved to:

  1. Agree to purchase 4 x 28 tonne standard fuel general waste refuse collection vehicles (RCV’s) for use on frontline collections;
  2. Agree to hire 2 x 28 tonne standard fuel general waste refuse collection vehicles when needed whilst research is undertaken during the next financial year into options to use more environmentally sustainable vehicles such as electric vehicles.

151.

Budget 2024/25 and Medium Term Financial Strategy pdf icon PDF 502 KB

Purpose:

To provide an update on the budget for 2024/25, following the government funding settlements of 18 December 2023 and 24 January 2024, and to consider:

1)    The draft base budgets for 2024/25;

2)    The Council’s Capital Programme for 2024/25 to 2032/33;

3)    The level of Council Tax for 2024/25;

4)    The Medium Term Financial Strategy;

5)    The responses from the statutory budget consultation.

 

Recommendations:

That the Executive Resolves to:

1)    Note the Parish Precepts and Tax Levels set out in Annex I;

 

And Resolves to Recommend to Council to:

2)    Approve the General Fund revenue budgets as summarised in Annex B;

3)    Approve the updated Medium Term Financial Strategy in Annex C;

4)    Approve the Capital Programme for 2024/25 to 2032/33 as set out in Annex E;

5)    Approve the Fees and charges for 2024/25, as detailed in Annex J and K;

6)    Approve the Council’s Pay Policy Statement as set out in Annex M;

7)      Approve the level of District Council Tax for 2024/25 for a Band D property of £124.38 as shown in Annexes F-H.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Alaric Smith, Executive Member for Finance, introduced the report, which provided a detailed update on the budget for 2024/25, following the government funding settlements of 18 December 2023 and 24 January 2024.

 

The report also provided updates to and considered the draft base budgets for 2024/25, the Council’s Capital Programme for 2024/25 to 2032/33, the level of Council Tax for 2024/25, the Medium-Term Financial Strategy, and the responses from the statutory budget consultation.

 

The Executive Member for Finance provided an overview of the budget pressures facing the Council, the assumptions that had been made, and the expected funding changes over the medium term. The budget was balanced but based on current projections of funding and expenditure the Council’s reserves were expected to be significantly reduced over the medium term.

 

The Executive Member thanked the work of the Council’s Finance Team, led by the Director of Finance, for their continued hard work throughout the wider budget setting process.

 

Councillor Alaric Smith proposed that the Executive agree to the recommendations as listed on the report. This was seconded by Councillor Andy Graham, was put to a vote, and was unanimously agreed by the Executive.

 

The Executive Resolved to:

  1. Note the Parish Precepts and Tax Levels set out in Annex I;

 

And Resolved to Recommend to Council to:

  1. Approve the General Fund revenue budgets as summarised in Annex B;
  2. Approve the updated Medium Term Financial Strategy in Annex C;
  3. Approve the Capital Programme for 2024/25 to 2032/33 as set out in Annex E;
  4. Approve the Fees and charges for 2024/25, as detailed in Annex J and K;
  5. Approve the Council’s Pay Policy Statement as set out in Annex M;
  6. Approve the level of District Council Tax for 2024/25 for a Band D property of £124.38 as shown in Annexes F-H.

152.

Exclusion of Press and Public

If the Executive wishes to exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of any of the items on the exempt from publication part of the agenda, it will be necessary for the Executive to pass a resolution in accordance with the provisions of the Paragraph 4(2)(b) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 on the grounds that their presence could involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as described in specific paragraphs of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

The item was not considered at the meeting.

153.

Exempt Annex K - Trade Waste Fees & Charges - Budget 2024/25

Minutes:

The exempt annex was considered as part of the public consideration of the Budget 2024/25 and Medium-Term Financial Strategy.