Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny and Overview Committee - Thursday, 17 October 2019 3.00 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 Sarah Cheung Johnson, Peter McDonald, Ruth Betson and Graham Cone. Councillors Peter Topping and Sue Ellington were present as substitutes for Councillors Betson and Cone.


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 138 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2019 as a correct record.


The minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2019 were agreed as a correct record, subject to the following amendments:

·         David Ousby’s job title to be amended to Head of Commercial Development and Investment.

·         Minute 7 Investment Strategy Update: referring to ethical investments, it should be specified that the council should have no involvement with any company involved in child labour anywhere in the world.


Public Questions


There were no public questions.


Public Space Protection Order: Proposed gating of Setchel Drove, Cottenham pdf icon PDF 379 KB

Additional documents:


Public speakers were invited to address the committee in relation to the proposed gating of Setchel Drove, Cottenham.


Councillors Frank Morris and Jonathan Graves both representing Cottenham Parish Council and the Local Member for Cottenham, Councillor Eileen Wilson were invited to address the committee. All spoke in support of a PSPO being introduced to restrict access to Setchel Drove, by means of a gate in order to disrupt and prevent fly-tipping. The speakers made the following points:

·         Fly tipping was a widespread problem in the Fens and local people had lost confidence in reporting this to the Council as they felt that fly tips were not cleared away quickly enough.

·         A long term solution to fly tipping was needed and a gate could be the start of this.

·         Gating the road was part of the solution and care was needed regarding where to situate it. It was suggested that the gate be installed further along Setchel Drove, so that those opening and closing the gate were less vulnerable when leaving their vehicles to doing so.

·         As Setchel Drove also provided access to a fishing lake, there was concern that a gate code for an automated gate might be distributed widely in the public.

·         The parish council was willing to manage an automated gate code as it already did so for the tennis courts in Cottenham.

·         The Drainage Board supported the gating of Setchel Drove as it felt this would prevent rubbish that would block culverts from being dumped, which would prevent flooding.

·         It was suggested that a physical barrier and surveillance cameras should be trialled.


Jackie Brand, Rosemary Jones and Jackie Smith speaking as local residents and farmers, were invited to address the committee. Rosemary Jones represented one of the largest landowners along Setchel Drove, which her family used every day to access their land and livestock. All spoke against the proposal to gate Setchel Drove and made the following points:

·         They raised concern about the safety of the farmers who had to use Setchel Drove to access their land and livestock, several times a day every day of the year. Farmers had experienced physical intimidation on Setchel Drove and they felt that a gate would put them in danger by having to leave their vehicles in order to open and close a gate. Rosemary Jones requested it be recorded in the minutes that if anything happened to anyone as a result of a gate being installed, she would hold the Council responsible for this.

·         Mrs Jones explained how fly tipping affected her family’s farming operations. She explained that most rubbish was dumped on verges and in laybys, which did not block the movement of machinery along Setchel Drove. It was not a frequent occurrence that they had to clear rubbish from the ditches. When large items of rubbish had to be cleared from the ditches, a daily rate had to be paid to the Drainage Board to do so, however this did not happen often.

·         A gate would not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


General Fund Capital Programme Update and New Bids pdf icon PDF 478 KB

Appendix C of the report will follow.

Additional documents:


The Lead Cabinet Member for Finance and the Head of Finance presented the report on the Council’s Capital Programme during 2018/19 and new Capital Programme bids from 2020/21.


The committee considered and commented on the report:

·         The committee was informed by the officer and Lead Cabinet Member that the underspend was largely slippage.

·         The Deputy Head of Finance would look into the ICT asset register with 3C ICT. He informed the committee that the equipment purchased on the Council’s behalf by 3C ICT was owned by the Council and 3C ICT managed the asset register.

·         The Director of Health and Environmental Services clarified that footway lighting referred to street lighting. The arrangements for ownership and responsibility for street lights in the district were explained. The programme referred to in the report referred to street lighting that was owned by the Council but for which the Parish Councils had the responsibility of running and paying the electricity. The Director of Health and Environmental Services clarified that the bid related to 1800 footway lights around the district and that there may be another 2000 lights on Housing Revenue Account properties. He informed the committee that the Council was replacing the lamps on the light columns with LED lights. The committee’s Chairman informed officers that when Sawston Parish Council had sought quotes to replace street lights with LEDs, the cost quoted by Balfour Beatty had been 25% higher than other quotes received.

·         The committee suggested that Shared Service priorities and projects, such as the Data Centre Generator listed under IT Investment projects, should reflect the Council’s objective of being green to the core by ensuring that its projects used green energy. The Chief Executive would communicate this concern to the ICT shared service.

·         The Head of Finance would seek further information regarding why the Revenues and Benefits system project had not been completed within budget.

·         Councillor Heather Williams was invited to ask questions of the officers and Lead Cabinet Member. She suggested that the inclusion of a carried forward column would be helpful.

·         The urgency of the replacement of the telephony system was highlighted; the committee was informed that this had been prioritised by 3C ICT.


The committee indicated its support for the recommendations to Cabinet.



Property Acquisition: Cambridge Science Park


The committee agreed that the press and public should be excluded for the consideration of this agenda item, in accordance with the provisions of Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Act), due to the commercial sensitivity of the information contained within the report.





Property Acquisition: Colmworth Trading Estate, St Neots


The committee agreed that the press and public should be excluded for the consideration of this agenda item, in accordance with the provisions of Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Act), due to the commercial sensitivity of the information contained within the report.






Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Issues & Options Consultation pdf icon PDF 383 KB

Please note that hard copies of appendices F,G and H will not be printed, but can be viewed on the website. Printed copies can be provided on request; please contact Democratic Services no later than 48 hours before the meeting to request this.

Additional documents:


(Councillors Peter Topping, Sue Ellington and Nigel Cathcart left the meeting before or during this agenda item. Councillor Pippa Heylings, Chairman of the Climate and Environment Advisory Committee (CEAC) was present for this item to provide feedback on behalf the CEAC).


The Lead Cabinet Member for Planning introduced the agenda item, highlighting that this consultation was an opportunity for communities to explore the main issues of the Local Plan. She explained the governance structure that had been put in place to develop the Local Plan, informing the committee that an officer board and a Member Advisory Group had been set up across the councils. A communications strategy was being put in place to ensure there was better engagement with local communities. Workshops had been held and the outcomes of these had informed the text for the issues and options consultation.


John Williamson presented the Lessons Learned and Good practice review of the adopted local plans. He provided an overview of the stakeholder engagement that had taken place and set out the main findings of the review.


The Interim Planning Policy Manager provided an overview of the workshops that had taken place to help develop the issues and options document, which had highlighted some feedback themes:

1.    Housing affordability and the need to ensure the supply of the right types of housing.

2.    The need to get housing location right in order to reduce commuting.

3.    The need for a balance of jobs; the focus could not just be on planning for high tech jobs, jobs for everyone needed to be considered.

4.    The climate change agenda.

5.    Spatial distribution: ensuring villages had facilities and were vital places to live.

6.    Ensuring water supply; more work on the evidence base would be done on this.

7.    Ensuring good open space and networks were provided.

8.    Biodiversity: ensuring good tree cover and improvement of biodiversity.


The committee noted the Lessons Learned and Good Practice review, the Statement of Consultation and provided comments on the issues and options report text and supporting documents:

·         Comments were provided on the formatting of the document, which some Members found difficult to read; appendices needed to be labelled and the use of colour on colour needed to be avoided.

·         The importance of using plain English, avoiding acronyms and explaining these, as well as the need for a larger glossary, was highlighted.

·         Reassurance was sought that the Local Plan website would be fully accessible.

·         Concern was raised regarding water resilience and confidence on this issue needed to be provided to communities. In response to this the committee was informed by officers that these concerns were recognised and expert consultants would be commissioned to carry out a water cycle study.

·         Consideration should be given in the Local Plan to future changes in society, about which there was uncertainty, such as the heating and cooling of houses, as well as ensuring there was enough electricity to meet future power demands.

·         The committee was keen to see that people from  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 208 KB

For the committee to consider its work programme which is attached with the Council’s Notice of forthcoming Key and Non Key Decisions. When considering items to add to its work programme, the committee is requested to use the attached Scrutiny Prioritisation Tool.


Under this item, the committee will also set up and appoint members to any Scrutiny task and finish groups.

Additional documents:


The committee received and noted its work programme.


To Note the Dates of Future Meetings

To note that the next meeting will take place on Thursday 14th November 2019 at 5.20pm.


The committee noted that its next meeting would take place on Thursday 14 November 2019 at 5.20pm.