Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: The Oculus, Buckinghamshire Council, Gatehouse Road, HP19 8FF

Contact: Craig Saunders - Email: democracy@buckinghamshire.gov.uk 

Media

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Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were none.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 477 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 20 July 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED –

 

That the Minutes of the meeting held on 20 July, 2021, be approved as a correct record.

3.

Declarations of interest

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were none.

4.

Hot Topics

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following hot topics were reported:-

 

The Leader

The Leader encouraged those that would like to continue to receive regular communications from the Council on events, services, project and consultations in their area to sign up for newsletters at www.buckinghshire.gov.uk.signup.

 

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing

Cabinet were informed that Government’s announcement last week on adult social care reform was a welcome step in the right direction.  An Adult and Social Care White Paper would come forward in due course that the Council would ensure it responded to.  The Government needed to ensure it worked with councils, their partners and those with lived experience, in order to develop a care and support system that was fit for the future and had sustainability of funding.

 

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration

Cabinet were informed of two issues:

·                     Local Heritage List Campaign– the Council was one of 22 areas in the country participating in a MHCLG pilot scheme, which was now live, to identify non-designated local heritage assets (buildings, monuments, sites, places, areas or landscapes which had been identified as having a degree of significance meriting consideration in planning decisions, because of their heritage interest), but must include buildings.  Members of the public were encouraged to identify assets they believed should be added to the list.

·                     Design Code pilot – the Council was one of 14 local planning authorities in England selected by the MHCLG to apply the new National Model Design Code (NMDC) to their areas in a six-month testing programme.  The code would give local planning authorities a toolkit of design principles to consider for new developments, such as street character, building type and façade. It also features environmental, heritage and wellbeing factors.  It would also help place shape for the new Buckinghamshire Local Plan.

 

Cabinet Member for Transport

Cabinet were informed that the Council had been awarded £0.5m from the Department of Transport to enhance and maintain signalisation (i.e. traffic lights and sensors) around the Aylesbury gyratory.

 

Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure

Cabinet were informed that local theatres had recently opened, which had included a production of ‘Hairspray’ at the Aylesbury Waterside theatre.  Buckinghamshire had recently featured in coverage that it was the home of the Paralympics.  Finally, the return of Pub in the Park would be taking place in Marlow from 16-19 September 2021.

 

Cabinet Member for Communities

Cabinet were informed of two issues:

·                     Community Boards update – a successful meeting of Community Board Chairmen and Vice Chairmen had been held on 6 September looking at projects and activities being undertaken.  Some of the projects being worked up included some Boards joining up to work on tackling speeding, the environment and a community karting project at Silverstone.  3 project approval panels had been held and considered 26 projects valued at approximately £500K.  Projects approved included for highways projects with feasibility studies, super health and wellbeing projects including outdoor gyms in 2 Parishes, a new BMX park, 7 dementia projects  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Question Time pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Question from Councillor Robin Stuchbury to Councillor Gareth Williams (Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration)

 

As you are aware a number of bodies were uncovered during excavations ahead of work at West End Farm, on Brackley Road in Buckingham for a planned care home. This included skeletons of 80 bodies with hands tied behind their backs. I would be grateful if the Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration could provide an interim report of the basic analysis of this major historic site to provide clarification of what took place and in what date period for local residents. I understand that some of the investigations have been halted due to financial issues between the developer and Network Archaeology, which have been ongoing for some considerable time, and if this is the case what action can be taken by the Councilto bring this to a quick resolution ?

 

Question from Councillor Alison Wheelhouse to Councillor Gareth Williams, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration

 

“Given recent multiple Permitted Development “prior notification” applications for 15m high mobile phone masts across the county, and in view of the recently completed Government consultation on this topic, please will the Cabinet Member for Planning and the Leader ensure that: 1. a new Electronic Communications Supplementary Planning Document be implemented as soon as possible; and 2. that an Article 4 Direction be made without delay in relation to permitted development rights for electronic communications masts and cabinets, so that these will require planning consent and can be called-in to planning committee. The SPD and Art.4 Directions are needed for the following reasons:

 

       To avoid piecemeal applications for masts and associated cabinets from multiple carriers and to implement a strategic overview.

       The need for a clear policy on mast sharing, site sharing and a requirement for submission of data on existing availability and sharing facilities in any given area.

       To maximise the use of existing sites and masts.

       Much distress is being caused to communities by carriers making unsuitable prior notification applications under the current permitted development rules, leaving communities with limited voice on the matter. This issue will be further aggravated if proposals are implemented as set out in the Government’s recently completed technical consultation, which would allow masts up to 15m as permitted development without need for prior approval.

 

In summary, could the Cabinet Member please confirm what steps the Council intends to take to address the points raised above at 1. and 2.?”

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Question from Councillor Robin Stuchbury to Councillor Gareth Williams, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration

 

“As you are aware a number of bodies were uncovered during excavations ahead of work at West End Farm, on Brackley Road in Buckingham for a planned care home. This included skeletons of 80 bodies with hands tied behind their backs. I would be grateful if the Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration could provide an interim report of the basic analysis of this major historic site to provide clarification of what took place and in what date period for local residents. I understand that some of the investigations have been halted due to financial issues between the developer and Network Archaeology, which have been ongoing for some considerable time, and if this is the case what action can be taken by officers to bring this to a quick resolution?”

 

Response

 

“We are aware of the issues surrounding this archaeological excavation, which took place in 2018-19, in accordance with a condition attached to planning consent 16/00847/APP granted to Brio Homes through appeal.  Between 70 and 80 irregular burials were excavated, some singular and others multiple, with some of the skeletons appearing to be face down with their hands behind their backs. There was limited artefactual evidence recovered but two medieval buckles suggested a long-lived medieval burial ground.  The excavation was carried out by Network Archaeology in accordance with a Written Scheme of Investigation approved by the Council’s archaeology service.

Following the completion of the excavation, it was agreed that the development could commence, with an archaeological watching brief to be carried out on any groundworks.  This was to ensure any further burials be identified and appropriately excavated.  It was agreed that the reporting could be postponed until all archaeological works had finished.  However, in 2019 all works ceased on site whilst Brio Homes awaited the result of a Variation of Permission application.

 

After raising our concerns about storage and conservation of the skeletons, Brio Homes agreed in February 2020 to pay for the initial stabilisation of the human remains.  This work was completed in August 2020, but is only the first stage in the post-excavation process, and to date no further works have been undertaken.  In April 2021 it became apparent that Brio Homes had failed to settle the outstanding balance on works already completed, and as such Network Archaeology were no longer prepared to undertake any further works, including producing a written report on the skeletons.

 

It is unfortunate that the planning permission Brio Homes won under appeal has lapsed, and there has been no approach for a renewal.  Brio Homes have also withdrawn their application for a variation of permission. It appears that they have decided against developing the site and therefore have no intention of funding the post-excavation works.  Brio Homes do not appear to be in breach of any condition due to the final phase of works having not taken place, nor will they need the archaeological condition  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Forward Plan (28 Day Notice) pdf icon PDF 628 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader introduced the Forward Plan and commended it to all Members of the Council and the public, as a document that gave forewarning of exactly what Cabinet would be discussing at forthcoming meetings.

 

RESOLVED –

 

That the Cabinet Forward Plan be noted.

7.

Adoption of the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan pdf icon PDF 712 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet received a report on the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP).  A supplementary report has also been issued to amend a minor error regarding a site area and to recommend that Council be asked to delegate authority to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration, in consultation with the Service Director for Planning and Environment, to make further minor amendments that would not alter the implementation of the plan.

 

Following it’s submission in 2018, the appointed Inspector had completed his Examination of the plan and prepared his binding report setting out how the VALP should be modified in order to be sound. To fully enact the plan, as modified to accord with the Inspector’s report, it had to be adopted by the Council.  If the plan was not adopted, it would need to be withdrawn leaving the North and Central areas of the council without an up to date Development Plan.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)               That the Planning Inspector’s report, Appendix 2 to the agenda, be accepted.

 

(2)               That the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan, as modified in accordance with the Inspector’s report (Appendix 1), and updated to amend a minor error regarding a site area referred to in paragraph 2.1 of the supplementary agenda report, be submitted to Council with a recommendation that it be adopted.

 

(3)               That the final Sustainability Assessment report, detailed with the supplementary agenda, be noted.

 

(4)               That Council be recommended to delegate authority to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration, in consultation with the Service Director for Planning and Environment, to make further minor amendments that will not alter the implementation of the plan.

Minutes:

Councillor Williams, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration introduced a report on the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP).  A supplementary report had also been issued to amend a minor error regarding a site area and to recommend that Council be asked to delegate authority to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration, in consultation with the Service Director for Planning and Environment, to make further minor amendments that would not alter the implementation of the plan.

 

Following it’s submission in 2018, the appointed Inspector had completed his Examination of the plan and prepared his binding report setting out how the VALP should be modified in order to be sound.  To fully enact the plan, as modified to accord with the Inspector’s report, it had to be adopted by the Council.  If the plan was not adopted, it would need to be withdrawn leaving the North and Central areas of the council without an up to date Development Plan.

 

The Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration stressed that it was important for the Aylesbury Vale area of the Buckinghamshire Council to have an adopted Local Plan as it would support the delivery of 30,134 homes, including 16,000 in and around Aylesbury.  Of these numbers, approximately 8,000 homes would be built to take the unmet housing needs from the southern part of the Council’s area.  An adopted local plan would allow local people and the Council to determine and decide where development took place rather than be subject to unwanted opportunistic and speculative developments from developers.  Lastly, the VALP would also provide an incremental increase in the amount of green belt space in the Vale, which was highly unusual for a Local Plan to achieve.

 

The Cabinet Member responded to questions on the VALP as follows:

·                     that the Council would engage with the Whaddon Parish Council at the earliest opportunity with regards to a SPD on the Shenley Park development.

·                     that the Plan, and the Council, recognised the importance of providing infrastructure (including road infrastructure, looking at the A421), schools, and health facilities as part of development in the north of Buckinghamshire.  In total, HIF infrastructure funding of £172m had been obtained to provide the necessary infrastructure that would accompany the housing and other growth.   

·                     that the Council had a dedicated team who would continue to support Town and Parish Councils with the formation of their Neighbourhood Plans and planning related issues.

·                     that the VALP (Section 6 detailed economic development) also recognised the importance of providing and ensuring that there was good access to employment sites and that local jobs were provided as well as housing.  The Plan looked to ensure and provide protection to viable employment sites.  There were 13 key employment sites in the VALP including at Haddenham Business Park, Westcott, Arla and Silverstone, as well as ancillary land and other business sites.   

·                     on the various environmental and green initiatives that formed part of the plan, including 120 already designated Conservation Areas, the heritage points that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Extension to the role of the Virtual School Head - Allocation of Section 31 Grant Funding pdf icon PDF 738 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet received a report on the increased responsibility of the Virtual School Head.  On 16 June, 2021, the Department for Education had announced that from September 2021 Virtual School Heads would take a strategic leadership role in promoting the educational outcomes of the cohort of children with a social worker and for those who had previously had a social worker and were aged from 0 up to 18 years.

 

All local authorities were eligible to receive grant funding provided under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003 to deliver the extended Virtual School Head role.  The amount allocated to Buckinghamshire Council was £127,496.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)               That the increased responsibility of the Virtual School Head be noted.

 

(2)               That it be agreed that grant funding provided to the Council under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003 to deliver the extended Virtual School Head role be used for that purpose.

Minutes:

Councillor Cranmer, Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services introduced a report on the increased responsibility of the Virtual School Head.  On 16 June, 2021, the Department for Education had announced that from September 2021 Virtual School Heads would take a strategic leadership role in promoting the educational outcomes of the cohort of children with a social worker and for those who had previously had a social worker and were aged from 0 up to 18 years.

 

All local authorities were eligible to receive grant funding provided under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003 to deliver the extended Virtual School Head role. Funding provided Virtual School Heads with the additional resource required to take on the strategic leadership role for children with a social worker and was sufficient to recruit additional team members to support them with these responsibilities.  The amount allocated to Buckinghamshire was £127,496.

 

During discussions, Cabinet Members commented that they were fully supportive of the proposal.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)               That the increased responsibility of the Virtual School Head be noted.

 

(2)               That it be agreed that grant funding provided to the Council under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003 to deliver the extended Virtual School Head role be used for that purpose.

9.

Community Board Annual Report and Update pdf icon PDF 618 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet received a report on the achievements of the Community Boards in their first year, 2020-21 and plans for the year 2021-22.

 

RESOLVED –

 

That the achievements of the Community Boards in their first year (2020-21) and plans for the year 2021-22 be noted.

Minutes:

Councillor Bowles, Cabinet Member for Communities, introduced a report on the achievements of Community Boards in their first year (2020-21) and plans for the year 2021-22.  Community Boards had been launched as part of the unitary council in July 2020 and despite the challenges faced by the Covid pandemic they had made a great start at connecting with Buckinghamshire communities as the local face of the Council.

 

The 16 Community Boards were a brand new way of working as part of the new Council’s commitment to Localism, driving forward council and community priorities in a way that was right for that local area.  The Boards helped the Council to connect with community groups, partners and residents to understand what mattered to them and to then work together to problem solve.

 

As part of the review of the first year, an annual report has been produced to recognise and reflect on the achievements of the Community Boards in launching a new service, establishing themselves within their communities and supporting local initiatives. This review had also provided an opportunity to strengthen processes and ensure there was robust governance and transparency across processes and decision making.  The report also provided an update on what was on the horizon for Community Boards in 2021-22.

 

The Cabinet Member for Communities had informed Members earlier in the meeting, during the ‘Hot Topics’ agenda item, on the variety of Community Board projects that had been approved to date, totally approximately £800K.  A number of Cabinet Members highlighted the issues that were being addressed in their own Community Board areas through Working Groups.  Members also asked that thanks be passed on to the Communities team for all the support that had been provided to Community Boards since April 2020.

 

RESOLVED –

 

That the achievements of the Community Boards in their first year (2020-21) and plans for the year 2021-22 be noted.

11.

Confidential Minutes of the Cabinet Meeting held on 20 July 2021

To approve as a correct record the confidential Minutes of the meeting held on 20 July 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED –

 

That the confidential Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 20 July, 2021, be approved as a correct record.

12.

Date of next meeting

Tuesday 28 September, 2021, at 10am.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Tuesday 28 September 2021 at 10am