Agenda and minutes
Venue: Committee Rooms, Woodgreen, Witney, Oxfordshire OX28 1NB
Contact: Democratic Services
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 7 November 2022.
The minutes of the previous meeting held on Monday 7 November 2022, were approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record.
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from the following Councillors:
C Maynard, L Nicholls & D Jackson.
Councillor Dan Levy attended as a substitute for Councillor Maynard.
Councillor Andy Graham attended as a substitute for Councillor Jackson.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations from Members of the Committee on any items to be considered at the meeting
Councillor Andrew Beaney stated that he had attended the first forum on the item considered at Agenda Item 5 (Application for Development – 22/03415/FUL).
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. You can register to speak by sending your written submission of no more than 750 words to [email protected] by no later that 10.00am on the working day before the meeting.
There was no separate public participation at the meeting, other than participation detailed within Agenda Item 5 (Application for Development – 22/03415/FUL).
To consider applications for development, details of which are set out in the attached schedule.
That the applications be determined in accordance with the recommendations of the
Business Manager – Development Management.
Phil Shaw, Business Manager (Development Management), introduced the application, for the construction of buildings for automotive museum with corporate hospitality (club space, accommodation for members, food and beverage and retail); museum exhibition building; workshops; store; energy centre; construction of supporting holiday homes; amenity facilities; formation of car exercise road; formation of landscaped grounds; associated site services and other works (as amended).
Phil Shaw drew the Committee’s attention to the additional representations circulated prior of the meeting, and summarised the main points of the additional subsequent representations made to the committee. Phil Shaw presented a large scale presentation relating to the application. Phil Shaw reminded the committee prior to the presentation what was previously approved when the outline application was considered.
Alex Postan, Roger Tyers, Michael Ergatoudis, Kieran Hedigan and Andrew Eaton spoke in favour of the application. Copies of the speeches are attached to the original copy of the minutes.
Councillor Paul North (Sandford St. Martin Parish Council), Councillor Philip Shaw (Enstone Parish Council), Emily Daley, Hamish Laing, and Frederick Hill spoke in objection to the application. Copies of the speeches are attached to the original copy of the minutes.
The Chair read out a pre-submitted statement from Westcote Barton Parish Council in support of the application. A copy of the speech is attached to the original copy of the minutes
John Mitchinson also spoke relating to the application, but was keen to stress that his statement, a copy of which is attached to the original copy of the minutes, was neither in support nor objection to the application.
Phil Shaw continued with the presentation which clarified the following points:
Phil Shaw guided the Committee through the 2 stage planning balance exercise as applied to the assessment of the impact of the scheme on the heritage assets in the vicinity of the site
Phil Shaw concluded that the planning officer’s recommendations were for conditional approval, subject to the applicant first entering into a legal agreement, and to the resolution of AQMA & ecology matters as per the verbal updates that had arrived just before the meeting.
The Chair invited the Committee to discuss the application, which raised the following points:
To introduce the Botley West Solar Farm proposal as a Nationally
Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), to explain the Development
Consent Order (DCO) process for determining applications for NSIPs
and to discuss the mechanisms for decision making on NSIP proposals.
It is considered that Development Control Committee should respond to
any matters, relating to the Botley West Solar Farm proposal, throughout
the Development Consent Order process.
That Development Control Committee resolves to note the information in this report.
Andrew Thomson, Lead Planning Policy and Implementation Officer, introduced the report, which explained the Development Consent Order (DCO) process for determining applications for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) and to discuss the mechanisms for decision making on NSIP proposals.
Whilst it was accepted that there was no decision to be made at the meeting, it was noted that the Botley West Solar Farm NSIP, will potentially effect a number of parishes within West Oxfordshire and neighbouring districts.It was noted that Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) are projects of certain types, over a certain size, which are considered by the Government to be so big and nationally important that permission to build them needs to be given at a national level, by the responsible Government minister (the ‘Secretary of State’).
The Botley West Solar Farm proposal is the first NSIP to be proposed for West Oxfordshire. The proposal covers an area of approximately 1,400 hectares and affects a number of parishes. The developer for the proposed Botley West Solar Farm has published an indicative timetable for the DCO process, with submission of the application due in winter 2023. There are a number of key milestones during the process that must be met before the final application is submitted.
In debate, it was highlighted that the Secretary of State who’s responsibility the proposal will fall under will be The Rt. Hon Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero.
Clarification was sought on which Committee of the Council was retain oversight of the proposals, and it was confirmed by the Lead Planning Policy and Implementation Officer that the Development Control Committee would be the Committee designated for consultation as appropriate, given that the applicant will apply for a Development Consent Order.
Members stated that there will need to be due diligence exercised by the Council as a Planning Authority, and that there may be a time where Council come to a view on the proposals. The evidence will be presented in various stages, and that Members will need to keep views to a lower profile, to aid the Council’s reputation as a planning authority. It was also highlighted that the discussion was to state the process for the proposals, rather than the proposal itself.
Councillor Andrew Beaney and rose to thank the Chair for her stewardship of the meeting given that the two Agenda Items were deemed as ‘hefty’ business. Councillor Beaney also highlighted that it was seen that there was not sufficient time for debate given that there was large public participation at the meeting, and that having two formal planning meetings on the same day did not help the Committee’s cause.
Councillor Richard Langridge proposed that the Committee note the content of the report, in line with Officer recommendations. This was seconded by Councillor Ted Fenton, was put to vote and was agreed unanimously by the Committee.
Committee Resolved to:
1. Note the information contained in the report.