Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 19th March, 2024 7.00 pm, NEW

Venue: Council Chamber, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4BB. View directions

Contact: James Dearling, Tel no: 01483 444141 Email: 


No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitute Members

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The Committee was advised of apologies from Councillors Honor Brooker, Steven Lee, and Katie Steel and substitutions as detailed above.



Local Code of Conduct and Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

In accordance with the local Code of Conduct, a councillor is required to disclose at the meeting any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (DPI) that they may have in respect of any matter for consideration on this agenda.  Any councillor with a DPI must not participate in any discussion or vote regarding that matter and they must withdraw from the meeting immediately before consideration of the matter.


If that DPI has not been registered, the councillor must notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of the DPI within 28 days of the date of the meeting.


Councillors are further invited to disclose any non-pecuniary interest which may be relevant to any matter on this agenda, in the interests of transparency, and to confirm that it will not affect their objectivity in relation to that matter.


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There were no declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or disclosures of non-pecuniary interests.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Committee meeting held on 5 March 2024.


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The minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 5 March 2024 were agreed.



Option Agreement with Blackwell Park Limited in respect of purchase of Council-owned land - Call in of proposed decision taken by the Strategic Director: Place pdf icon PDF 117 KB

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The Chairman advised the Committee of the scope of the meeting and possible outcomes.  He indicated that the role of the Committee was to review the 29 February 2024 decision of the Strategic Director – Place.  The Chairman stated the review would include whether the decision accorded with the Council’s Principles of Decision-Making, the timeline and urgency of the decision, and whether the decision was of such importance and sensitivity that it would have been expected to have been taken by the Executive rather than an officer.


The Chairman indicated the role of the Committee was not to explore or review those wider areas of Council policy outside the decision taken by the Strategic Director – Place.  The Chairman reminded the meeting of the powers and options available to the Committee as detailed within the report submitted to the Committee.


The Chairman welcomed the five Councillors who had requested the call-in, together with other Councillors at the meeting and online.  He thanked the Strategic Director – Place, the Strategic Director of Legal and Democratic Services, the Senior Legal Specialist (Corporate, Commercial, and Property), and Mr Tyldesley (a consultant to the Council’s Regeneration and Corporate Programmes and the Blackwell Park Development Lead) for attending to help the Committee’s review.


Next, the Chairman invited the Councillors who had called-in the decision to explain their reasons for doing so.  Councillor Oven made a statement giving the reasons for calling-in the decision of the Strategic Director – Place.  He began by reminding the meeting that the Council’s stated values included, ‘We will listen to the views of residents and be open and accountable in our decision-making’ and he then highlighted sections of the Council’s Constitution to reinforce his point.  This included reference to the importance of holding decision-makers to public account, a presumption in favour of openness in respect of the Council’s business, and the Council’s definition of a key decision.  Councillor Oven suggested that the significance and sensitivities of the decision taken by the Strategic Director – Place on 29 February were such that the matter should have been determined by the Executive.  He suggested that the officer decision on 29 February lacked an opportunity for the public or non-Executive Councillors to engage in the decision-making process. 


In addition, Councillor Oven questioned whether all facts relevant to the decision had been taken into account and assessed properly by the decision-maker; he suggested that the site might be within an extended AONB/National Landscape. 


With reference to the Council’s Access to Information Procedure Rules, Councillor Oven suggested that the importance and sensitivities of the option agreement with Blackwell Park Limited (BPL) meant that the decision on it should have been taken by the Executive rather than an officer.  He suggested that the option agreement was neither minor nor routine in nature and would be of interest to many members of the public. 


Another signatory to the call-in, Councillor Young, questioned why Councillors had not received a briefing on the Blackwell Park ransom strip and  ...  view the full minutes text for item OS51