Agenda and minutes

Extraordinary Meeting of the Council
Tuesday 21st March 2017 6.00 pm

Venue: Guildhall, High Street, Exeter. View directions

Contact: Sarah Selway, Democratic Services Manager (Committees)  Telephone 01392 265275 or email  sarah.selway@exeter.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

15.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Ashwood, Branston and Foggin.

 

 

16.

In accordance with Standing Order No.1 a requisition duly signed by five Members of the Council has been received to call an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council

The requisition is as follows:-

 

‘The reason is to ask you as Leader to make a full statement in respect of and explaining what is happening regarding the new Swimming Pool and the re-development of the Bus Station Site, including the closure of Paris Street (although not restricted to this) and all items pertaining to the project and its environs and its reported delay and escalating costs. Also, to allow the Opposition Parties and others to question you.’

 

Signed by

 

Councillors Leadbetter, Henson D, Mrs Henson, Prowse and Newby. 

Minutes:

The requisition is as follows:-

 

‘The reason is to ask you as Leader to make a full statement in respect of and explaining what is happening regarding the new Swimming Pool and the re-development of the Bus Station Site, including the closure of Paris Street (although not restricted to this) and all items pertaining to the project and its environs and its reported delay and escalating costs. Also, to allow the Opposition Parties and others to question you.’

 

Signed by

 

Councillors Leadbetter, D Henson, Mrs Henson, Prowse and Newby. 

 

The Leader made the following statement that the Council had agreed to start construction on the state-of-the-art new leisure complex St Sidwell’s Point, and a new Exeter Bus Station, at the end of March. Completion was due in December 2018.

 

The spades going in the ground was the end of a decade’s worth of debate, scrutiny and transparency at every level. The project had full planning permission and a fully allocated budget, all scrutinised and passed by this very Council. That debate over the scheme had come and gone and was won.

 

The only change in the past couple of weeks was the nature of the tender returns coming in over budget. Officers needed more time to conclude the procurement process. Having asked for more time it would be irresponsible not to give it. That meant not closing the bus station as planned at the end of March and operating it as normal until further notice.

 

Just to reiterate, the tendering process was taking longer than the Council had predicted because of the nature of those returns. That did not negate the scrutiny the scheme had already gone through, the budget it had been allocated or the will of the people who were looking forward to it. The Council would not sign contracts or appoint contractors until it was absolutely sure that it would be getting the best deal for Exeter.

 

17.

Questions from Members of the Council under Standing Order 8

Minutes:

(a)         In accordance with Standing Order No. 8, the following questions were put by Councillor Newby to the Leader.

 

(1) How much have we spent on this project and from what budget has it come from?

 

The Leader replied that as of 7 March 2017, the Council had spent £3.4m on the Leisure Complex project and £0.762m on the Bus Station.  They had been spent from the approved Leisure Complex £26m budget and Bus Station £6.25m budget.

 

(2) How long do you think the old bus station will remain in operation?

 

The Leader replied that it was not clear yet.

 

(3) How many people on this project have had their services dispensed with since the press release came out and at what financial cost to this council?

 

The Leader replied that the Arcadis team were no longer working on the Project, which had consisted of up to six consultants on a part-time basis. The dispensing of these services were at additional cost to the Council.

 

(4) As this is a new building concept and has only been around since 2011 in Germany will there be contractors in the UK and more so locally that can undertake this type of build?

 

The Leader stated that the Passivhaus Standard was not a new building concept, but the City Council had built 30 houses and so had some experience of this method. It was a rigorous energy standard which had been in existence for over 25 years and could be applied to any type of building in the same way that the BREAAM Standard was applied. The standard had been adopted in the UK over the last 10 years and there were an increasing number of contractors that had experience of working to the standard. Constructing to a passivhaus standard would not require any specialised skills or qualifications over and above the skill set a contractor or sub-contractor would already have.

 

In response to the supplementary question, the Leader confirmed that there were no other passivhaus leisure centres in this country.  He had accompanied the Design Team on a visit to Germany to look at four passivhaus pools.  He had received information which showed energy costs were 70% less than swimming pools in this country.  If the energy costs go up and energy savings of 70% could be made over the next 30/40 years this would be a great way forward.

 

(5) Have there been tenders from bus companies to supply the bus service for the new bus depot and if so how many have applied?

 

The Leader replied that the Council had not reached the tender stage yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(6) Why did we go for such a high cost build of the swimming pool which we don't know fully if it will achieve its proposed potential when we could have built a lower cost unit that is tried and tested and spent the difference on housing?

 

The Leader replied that the budget cost for the swimming pool was comparable with similar facilities in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.