Meeting documents

Tuesday, 19 September 2006


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Cabinet – 19 September 2006


Item 4. Petitions and Public Address

Councillor Paul Sargent (City Councillor for Carfax) wishes to present a petition relating to the closure of Bulwarks Lane.

Councillor Susannah Pressel (City Councillor for Jericho and Osney Ward) wishes to present a petition relating to Agenda Item 9 which opposes the charges for residents’ parking in the city. She will present her petition at Item 9.

Councillor Barbara Gatehouse wishes to present a petition relating to Agenda Item 9 which reflects the concerns of residents in Blackbird Leys regarding the proposal to introduce parking charges for match day parking. She will present her petition at Item 9.



9. Oxford Controlled Parking and Residents’ Parking Zones

Mr Mick Fry (MRF Window Cleaning Service).

Mr Chaka Artwell, 15a Old High Street, Headington, OX3 9HP.

Mr Nicholas Oliver Fell, on behalf of the Parking Tax Rebel Army (a wing of the Residents’ Association for Gladstone Road, Bowton Road and Colemans Hill).

Councillor Bob Johnston (as Shadow Cabinet Member).

Councillor Barbara Gatehouse (as Local Member for Leys & Lye).

Councillor Liz Brighouse (as Local Member for Barton & Churchill).

Councillor Olive McIntosh Stedman (as Local Member for Cowley & Littlemore).

Councillor John Sanders (he conducted an analysis of the 5000 responses to the residents’ parking charge consultation).

Councillor Paul Sargent (City Councillor for Carfax).

Ms Joanne Bowlt, 9 Dudley Court, Rogers Street, Oxford, OX2 7LX.

10. Oxfordshire Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy

Mr Andrew Wood (Oxfordshire Friends of the Earth).

Councillor Anne Purse (as Shadow Cabinet Member).

11. Procurement of Waste Treatment Facilities

Councillor Anne Purse (as Shadow Cabinet Member).

12. Westgate Redevelopment, Oxford

Mr Graham Jones (ROX – Rescue Oxford).

Mr Tony Joyce (Oxford Civic Society)

Councillor Bob Johnston (as Shadow Cabinet Member).

13. Customer Focus Scrutiny Review

Councillors David Wilmshurst and Lawrie Stratford will present the report.

9. Oxford Controlled Parking and Residents’ Parking Zones

Councillor Jean Fooks wishes the Cabinet to consider the following comments as she is unable to attend in person:

Firstly, the consultation was seen as biased in favour of the desired outcome. It should have been sent to all city residents, not just to those in existing or imminent Controlled Parking Zones.

Secondly, some detailed comments:

    • City residents in controlled parking zones feel that it is unfair that their visitors will be charged for parking in the evenings and on Sundays, when visitors to the city parking on-street in St Giles and elsewhere will not be. The claim that this free parking is to support businesses does not stand up to scrutiny, as there are no extra parking spaces provided and they were all very well used when charged for, hence there are no more people coming in than before. To throw away some £400-500,000 when the cost of providing the CPZs is considerably less than that just does not make sense.
    • While the proposed service improvements are welcome, they do not go far enough:

      1. People who hire a car for a period, while not having their own car (whether or not they own a car), need to be eligible for a permit;
      2. There are a number of regular ‘carers’ who do not qualify for parking permits but need them to do their job, apart from medical or home support workers;
      3. Elderly or disabled housebound people need more visitor permits, either free or for a small charge, regardless of age; and
      4. People who do not own a car might be eligible for extra visitor permits as they are still using much less road space than if they had a resident’s permit.

    • The restrictions vary between zones and even within zones, so that while some areas only have restrictions between 10 and 4, others have as much as 24-hour control. The former can have unlimited visitors in the evening, the latter have to use their small stock of visitor permits for each one. This could be recognised by extra visitor permits in the more restricted zones. Some areas have very little short term parking so that there is little flexibility. Shared use spaces have been found very successful in Walton Manor to use the road space efficiently and cause least inconvenience to residents.
    • To be transparent and demonstrate value for money, the accounts must be presented in sufficient detail to justify the level of charge proposed.
    • The proposed tradesmen permits will cause great difficulty. The £15 a week charge in one zone is fine for the big contractors but quite inappropriate for the tradesmen working for short periods in a number of different zones across the city during one week, frequently without knowing in advance just where they will be on a particular day. I suggest that at the very least, this should be improved by ensuring a supply of short term spaces, shared with residents or not as appropriate, across all zones. The ability to purchase extra visitor permits should be considered. Control Plus can check whether a vehicle is being used for genuine work at a property.

10. Oxfordshire Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy & 11. Procurement of Waste Treatment Facilities

    • Councillor Jean Fooks wishes the Cabinet to consider the following comments from Oxford City Council, as she is unable to attend in person:

At its meeting on 11 September, the City Council passed the following recommendations of direct relevance to the County Council:

    • To agree the Oxfordshire Joint Municipal Waste Strategy;
    • To urge the Oxfordshire County Council to consider the provision of treatment facilities for kitchen waste as a priority in their plans for treatment/disposal of waste; and
    • To remind the OWP and Oxfordshire County Council that Oxford City Council has passed motions in Council opposing the use of incineration for the treatment of Oxfordshire’s waste. Concerns have been raised about the uncontrolled release of dioxins and the possible lack of incentive to reduce waste. The County Council is requested to recognise these concerns and to seek the best environmental option for the treatment of non-recyclable waste.

I am a little concerned to see in paragraph 28 of CA11 that the procurement of an in-vessel composting plant is listed as one of a group of all new facilities needed. We would urge the County Council to prioritise the procurement of such a facility to enable all districts to collect kitchen waste for composting as soon as possible, as it is a substantial component of the residual waste stream and that most likely to cause concern when collected fortnightly.   

    • Mr Steve Gerrish (18 Croft Avenue, Kidlington, OX5 2HU) has submitted the following comments for the Cabinet’s consideration:

This weekend, I learned that you will be discussing and no doubt endorsing the need to procure waste treatment facilities for Oxfordshire.  I am an Oxfordshire resident and I have researched this subject in my spare time, and I agree that this is needed and should be procured without delay.  I also responded in detail to the "No time to waste" public engagement.

I would like to draw your attention to some issues:

Energy from Waste (EfW) versus Advanced Thermal Treatment (ATT)

Be aware that EfW creates persistent organic pollutants including dioxins and furans that need subsequent extraction from the chimney gases, and safe disposal.  ATT reliably destroys these pollutants because of the evenly distributed higher temperatures achieved, and after that no gases go up any chimney until they have been 'scrubbed' and then burned in an electricity generator.

Be aware that the Scrutiny Committee's 2005 report erroneously referred to EfW as 'combined heat and power'.  EfW (which I take to mean conventional incineration) is very unlikely to make use of combined heat and power as it is politically impossible to site it close enough to premises that can make use of the piped heat available.  ATT is politically, and also in reality, more acceptable because plants can be smaller, are reliably clean, and can be sited in industrial or commercial areas or adjacent to Council property.

Annex 2, Waste Treatment Technologies, states that "... ATT is not proven in the UK for treating mixed household waste, and there are therefore both operational and financing risks."  It may be true that it is not proven in the UK, but it is well proven elsewhere.  I am told, by someone from a charitable organisation responsible for purchasing gasification equipment, that there are over 200 gasifiers treating MSW in Japan.  The large manufacturers sell world-wide and are perplexed when they get to Britain and are told that it is 'unproven'.  In view of these opposing views on risk, the primary source of the information on whether or not it is proven must be checked.  Are there vested interests at work?

Collection of food waste

I was delighted to read in the OWP's Oxfordshire Joint Municipal Waste Strategy that the collection authorities are actively pursuing the separate weekly collection of domestic food waste.  This could be treated in anaerobic digesters (without the addition of garden waste) and the gas used to generate electricity.  It may also be possible to site them close enough to premises that can use the waste heat, increasing efficiency and revenues.  The "mechanical" element of MBT is rendered redundant by separate collection of food waste.  It is really worth doing!

Disposal of organic residues from composting and digesters

The EU subsidies paid to farmers have recently been completely decoupled from the crops grown.  As part of the deal, farmers now have to look after their soils or risk losing some of their subsidy.  This is known as GAEC (good agricultural and environmental condition).  Organic matter that is free of pollutants, and plant and animal pathogens will be in demand, because soils high in organic matter are more resistant to compaction.  There is not enough farm-produced organic matter to achieve this.

Decentralised energy

Anaerobic digesters and ATT, with their associated electricity generators and heat (CHP) fit in neatly with the concept of "decentralised energy".  What is decentralised energy?  Woking Borough Council, over a ten year period, set out to build small scale electricity generators (gas fired I believe) to supply their own estate with electricity and heat.  This is now complete, and they have reduced the greenhouse gas emissions of their estate by a staggering 77%.  This comes about because they can use the waste heat for space heating (and I believe air conditioning, but not sure how).  They are now beginning to sell some of the surplus heat to the private sector.  Woking was awarded Beacon status for this work.  I think generators attached to digesters and ATT are of the right capacity for this concept.

I hope this gives you food for thought, and I hope you will have in your minds the urgency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at every opportunity, and with every Council spending decision.

12. Westgate Redevelopment, Oxford

    • Ms Sarah Wood, (4 Percy St, Oxford OX4 3AA) has submitted the following comments for the Cabinet’s consideration:

I read a news report that you are about to endorse the Westgate Partnership's planning application for redeveloping the Westgate Centre in Oxford.

I realise it is mainly transport that is relevant to the County, but you need to be aware that it is not a very 'green' development, and as you have signed the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change, I assume that you will take this opportunity to live up to its principles.

I have been made aware of the supporting paper for your meeting on Tuesday (19 Sept.) and that policies G2 and G6 of the Oxfordshire Structure Plan 2016 are relevant.  These are about environmental impact, and energy and resource conservation respectively.

I found, having studied it, that the plan does not live up to these policies, and I do hope you will be able to point this out to Oxford City Council in the response you agree on at Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.

    • Mr Colin Smith (15 Blenheim Lane, Freeland, Oxon, OX29 8AW) has submitted the following comments for the Cabinet’s consideration:

On Tuesday 19 September you will be considering a 30 page report (Item CA12) on the planning application for redevelopment and extension of the Westgate Centre in Oxford.  An article in Friday's Oxford Mail suggests, without qualification, that you will be supporting the application.

I would like to draw your attention to the issue of the so-called sustainability of the development which you may not wish to endorse, or appear to endorse. A considered and detailed objection to this development has been submitted by a group of Oxfordshire residents on the grounds that inspite of appearances the proposed development makes no concessions to energy efficiency measures in its design that will reduce CO2 emissions, the main cause of global warming. This report can be found at:

Scroll down the long list of documents to Public Comment - it is the larger of the two that were submitted on 30 August

I urge you to consider this report. If the Westgate development goes ahead as proposed Oxford, a centre for research into the causes and effects of climate change, the Council will not only be acting in direct contradiction to its stated policy as a signatory to the Nottingham Declaration but will have missed an opportunity to place itself at the forefront of the fight to mitigate global warming. Human induced climate change is the biggest threat to our civilisation and those like yourself in a position to address the issue owe it to our children to do so.

My request as a voter, to you as guardians of the public interest:

The last paragraph (para. 16) of the Council's draft response at Annex 4 of the report be changed along the following lines:

16.  In the light of increasing consensus for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and relevant policies G2 and G6 of the Oxfordshire Structure Plan 2016,  the Westgate Partnership should be required to achieve at least the "Excellent" band for BREEAM (i.e. 70+ out of 100) and preferably the upper part of that band.  Avoiding demolition of good buildings should be a high priority.  Reasonable return on investment can still be obtained when these considerations are addressed.

    • The report was considered by Members of the Environment & Economy Scrutiny Committee on 15 September 2006. The group AGREED to give its broad support to the proposed redevelopment of the Westgate centre; subject to asking the Cabinet to:-

    1. request that John Lewis and other retailers provide incentives to encourage home deliveries for shoppers and ask officers to pursue this within the Travel Plan (point 12, Annex 4);
    2. ensure all appropriate transport infrastructure is in place (including all road works, Park & Ride expansions and interrelated electronic signing), prior to the opening of the Westgate Redevelopment;
    3. ensure that arrangements for the servicing of the premises, including any restriction on hours are adequately enforced (point 13, Annex 4);
    4. to support the use of energy efficient technology (point 16, Annex 4) and to urge innovative design and construction; and to achieve the BREEAM "very good" standard or better.

The following amendments to CA12 were also AGREED:

Page 3 (Paragraph 14)

"This would however require the demolition of 14 existing residential units at Abbey Place, the Duke of York public house and all of the Oxford and Cherwell Valley College buildings west east of the Castle Mill Stream".

Page 16 (Paragraph 84)

"….Park & Ride improvements, provision of cycle stands – and non-transport measures as referred to in 70 76 above".

Page 30 (Paragraph 14)

"…County Hall and Oxford Castle provided the conditions in paragraphs 73-75 79-81 are met.

15. National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS-funded Nursing Care

The Social & Community Services Scrutiny Committee AGREED to:

  • endorse the Director for Social & Community Services’ response, with particular reference to the following points:
    • the likelihood of significant national and local financial pressures as more people would meet the eligibility criteria should the changes come into place;
    • the need for the phrase ‘fully funded NHS care’ in place of ‘NHS Continuing Healthcare’ as long as the public realise that this was subject to review;
    • the desire to retain the current 3 band arrangement for payments of NHS funded Nursing Care and the need for this to be done nationally; and
    • the need for the public information leaflet to be written in plain English and to contain illustrative examples;

  • urge that a definition and indicators of Social Care be provided; and
  • emphasise the need for there to be greater dialogue between Social & Community Services and Health.

  1. Fire Precautions on School Premises

    • Members are asked to note that the recommendation as listed on the Agenda papers is incorrect. The correct recommendation is listed below:

The Cabinet is RECOMMENDED to agree the actions set out in Paragraph 3 of the report.

  • Councillor Jean Fooks (Shadow Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families) wishes the Cabinet to consider the following comments, as she is unable to attend in person:

I very much welcome the report and strongly support the recommendation to agree the actions set out in Paragraph 3 (not 5!).

I hope that you can perhaps strengthen the guidance to schools to review their current fire alarm and detection systems. The Briefing Note on sprinklers is excellent and could perhaps be sent to all school governors as support for the guidance, to draw their attention to the serious consequences of fires in schools and the advisability of having at least a fire alarm system in place. Could Chairs of governors be offered the same 10-15 minute presentation that is being suggested for councillors?

  1. Forward Plan and Future Business

Please note the following additional items:

Cabinet Member for Schools’ Improvement – 3 October 2006

    • Oxford Academy and Closure of Peers Community College (2006/158)

To agree to the submission by officers of an Expression of Interest (EOI) for an Oxford Academy and an agreement, in principle, to the closure of Peers Community College, subject to the subsequent agreement by the Cabinet, to such an Academy.

Full Cabinet – 17 October 2006

    • Direct Payments Scrutiny Review (2006/156)

To consider the findings and recommendations of the Social & Community Services Scrutiny Committee.

    • Ormerod School – Report of Informal Consultation (2006/155)

To consider the responses to the informal consultation on the future of Ormerod Special School and to determine what, if any, further consultations should take place.

Full Cabinet – 21 November 2006

    • Approval of Arrangements for Developing a Care Home and Primary Care Facilities in Chipping Norton (2006/154)

To consider arrangements for developing a Care Home and Primary Care facilities in Chipping Norton.

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