Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny and Overview Committee - Tuesday, 18 December 2018 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Swansley Room, Ground Floor

Contact: Victoria Wallace  03450 450 500 Email:

No. Item



To receive apologies for absence from committee members. 


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Anna Bradnam, Grenville Chamberlain, Gavin Clayton and Douglas de Lacey. Councillor Geoff Harvey was present as a substitute for Councillor Bradnam, Councillor Sue Ellington was present as a substitute for Councillor Chamberlain, and Councillor Nigel Cathcart was present as a substitute for Councillor Clayton.


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 22 November 2018 as a correct record.


The minutes of the meeting held on 22nd November 2018, were agreed as a correct record of the meeting.


Public Questions


No public questions had been received.


Greater Cambridge Housing Strategy pdf icon PDF 154 KB

To provide the committee with an opportunity to consider and comment on the draft Greater Cambridge Housing Strategy. The report considered by Cabinet on 5th December 2018, is attached for information along with the draft Housing Strategy.

Additional documents:


The Head of Housing Strategy presented the draft Greater Cambridge Housing Strategy, which would be going out to consultation for six weeks from 18 December 2018. Approval of the final strategy was anticipated in April/March 2019. The draft strategy set out the strategic direction for housing activity in the area. Members were invited to comment on the draft strategy by completing the online survey or contacting the Head of Housing Strategy directly.


The committee was informed of the following:


·         It was too early to say whether there would need to be a significant number of additional houses built in the district, however a new methodology would be undertaken with Planning colleagues in 2019 to assess this; this was a large piece of work that needed to be undertaken in preparation for the next Local Plan.

·         Officers were working with Sheffield Hallam University on projections for housing need for older people. The services people wanted and what would be possible to provide for older people, would have to be reviewed. Cambridgeshire County Council would need to be worked with closely on this. New homes needed to be of a good quality of design, with the ability to be adapted.

·         The potential for a retirement village would be looked at. The Netherlands model of living, would be looked at.

·         The Council’s policy was for 40% of new housing to be affordable of which 70% was affordable rent and 30% shared ownership.

·         Mobile home parks had been added to the draft strategy.

·         The draft strategy touched on specialist housing for disabled people, however having the evidence base for this need was a struggle.

·         Ambition had been built into the strategy for people to have houses that they could afford to run rather than spending all their money on commuting and utility bills.

·         The Local Plan included policies around renewable energy and environmentally friendly design could be encouraged in this. 

·         Under the National Planning Policy definition of travellers only included those that travelled. For those that no longer travelled, the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment 2016 identified that there was a need to provide accommodation for this group. It was recognised that there was also a need for a transit/emergency site due to the increased number of unauthorised encampments.

·         The Council had been discussing the provision of houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs), with Ermine Street Housing. Shire Homes Lettings was interested in managing HMO properties too. 


Committee members made the following comments:

·         Homes for people who cared for elderly people, were also needed. It was queried whether covenants on housing for these people, could be considered.

·         Intergenerational flexible homes, that could be adapted to people’s different needs, were needed.

·         It was suggested that energy infrastructure be identified as a potential challenge for the rapid delivery of housing. It was pointed out that projects had been held up by lack of grid capacity.

·         Developers should be encouraged to provide electric charging points.

·         It was queried whether there was a KPI for the completion of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Cambridge Northern Fringe Area Action Plan - Issues and Options 2 pdf icon PDF 298 KB

Appendices 2 and 4 are available on the website. The Draft Interim Sustainability Appraisal (Appendix 3) will follow and will also be available online. Hard copies of these documents can be made available on request.

Additional documents:


The Planning Policy Manager presented the report alongside Consultant Matthew Patterson. The committee was informed of the following:

·         The Northern Fringe was identified as an area with potential for significant regeneration.

·         Options for development in the area were constrained by the water recycling centre.

·         A Housing Infrastructure (HIF) bid to relocate the Water Recycling Centre off-site was being considered by government.

·         The AAP was an important part of unlocking and delivering the Northern Fringe site.

·         The HIF funding was time limited. Moving the AAP forward was important to help secure a successful HIF bid to relocate the water treatment works.

·         In identifying the timetable for consultation, officers were also mindful of the cycle of local elections; City Council elections were scheduled for 2019.

·         More would be known about the HIF bid in early 2019.

·         A framework for the regeneration of the area would need to be brought forward with or without the Water Recycling Centre.


The committee was informed of the changes that had happened since consultation had taken place in December 2014, such as the implementation of the guided busway link and the opening of the Cambridge North Railway Station and the completion of the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Ely to Cambridge Transport Study. The significant issues with the location of the site were also highlighted:

·         It was bordered by the railway and A14, which caused noise and air quality issues.

·         The aggregates railway line was essential infrastructure, which could not be relocated.

·         There were other waste uses which needed to remain on site.


However, the committee was informed that due to the strategic and brownfield nature of the site, there was a broad range of things that it could be used for. Consultation responses and evidence would guide this. The AAP set out a new vision for the area, which focussed on innovation and creating a walkable and low carbon development. Achieving higher levels of travel by sustainable modes would be looked at. The right type and range of housing needed to be looked at for this site which had the advantage of being situated near strong employment centres such as the Science Park and St John’s Innovation Park. Retail and leisure provision was also being looked at that would allow people to meet their needs on site. A broad concept plan had been prepared to test ideas with consultees. Both Local Plans allocated this area for regeneration and making best use of the brownfield site was very important.


There was the potential to look at the Science Park acquiring housing on this site for their employees.


Regarding comments in relation to the poor quality of maps provided in the report, it was pointed out that this was a draft document and the maps would be made clear in the final consultation version. 


The committee discussed the report:

·         Access to adjoining places via cycling and walking, was very important.

·         It was pointed out that the capacity of Cambridge Station was limited and the role of the area around Cambridge  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Update on ICT issues


The Scrutiny and Overview Committee’s Vice-Chairman provided a verbal update on the recent ICT outage that had been experienced by the Council. He provided an overview of the existing and ongoing ICT issues that had been experienced and the technical reasons for the recent ICT outage.


The following were requested:

  • The 3C ICT Security Policy
  • Business continuity plans
  • The Disaster Recovery Plan
  • the Backup Policy


The following questions and issues were identified:

  • Service Level Agreements with providers and whether they were being met, needed to be looked at.
  • Why had the Business Continuity Plan failed and when had it last been tested?
  • The risk assessment was requested as well as information regarding the downtime and recovery time that was acceptable.
  • What were the 10 key learnings from the IT outage?
  • When was an external IT Health Check last carried out?


The Lead Cabinet Member for Customer Service and Business Improvement suggested that a joint scrutiny committee could perhaps look at the ICT shared service. She would suggest this to the Digital Board. She praised staff for the innovative solutions that had been identified to ensure that the Council had still been able to provide key services during the ICT outage.


The committee was informed that the Interim Head of ICT would be providing a report on the ICT outage and would attend a subsequent Scrutiny and Overview Committee meeting.


It was agreed that:

·         The Vice Chairman would summarise his findings and provide these to the relevant directors; and

·         A sub-group (Councillor Brian Milnes and Sarah Cheung Johnson) would look into the ICT issues in consultation with the Lead Cabinet Member.


Work programme pdf icon PDF 111 KB

For the committee to consider its work programme. This is attached with the Council’s Notice of Key and Non Key Decisions and the Scrutiny Prioritisation Tool.

Additional documents:


The work programme was NOTED.


Monitoring the Executive

Scrutiny monitors are invited to report any updates on issues which may be of interest or relevance to the committee.


Councillor Sue Ellington raised concern that no Lead Cabinet Member meetings were taking place. This meant here was no forum for discussion of issues with local Members. She warned that there was discontent amongst parish councils regarding delegated powers for Planning decisions by officers. In response to this it was pointed out that the Lead Cabinet Members had made themselves available for discussions with local Members, on request.


Confidential Minute 5 of the Scrutiny and Overview Committee meeting held on 22 November 2018: Cambridge Ice Arena: Loan to Cambridge Leisure and Ice Centre (CLIC) - Confidential


The minute was agreed as a correct record.


To Note the Dates of Future Meetings

To note that the next meeting will take place on Tuesday 22nd January at 6pm.


The committee noted that the next place would take place on Tuesday 22nd January 2019, at 6pm.