Agenda and minutes

Extraordinary Meeting of the Council
Wednesday 19th July 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

18.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Keen, Pearson and Sills.

 

19.

Questions from Members of the Council under Standing Order No. 8

Minutes:

In accordance with Standing Order No. 8, the following question was put by Councillor Prowse to the Leader.

 

Question The Leader is asked to respond to the following:

On page 21 of today’s report under para. 2.1 there is a breakdown of the calculations that eventually give an accumulative answer to the source of the funds to finance the development. The New Homes Bonus element indicates a sum of £18 million as part of the contribution. Give or take a shekel or two there is only £11 million in the bank. Where does the other £7 million appear from?

 

The Leader stated that the Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, Communities and Sport would reply to the question.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, Communities and Sport responded that under the current Council resolution, £1m of New Homes Bonus money a year would be set aside to cover major projects or debt reduction as was approved at Council on 21 February 2017.  The additional £7m would be recovered over the next seven years and management of the gap would be undertaken as part of the Council’s day to day treasury management activity.  No long term borrowing would be undertaken to cover the gap.

 

In response to Councillor Prowse’s supplementary question, the Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, Communities and Sport clarified the position with regards to the recovery of the additional £7 million and the Council’s day to day treasury management activity.  No long term borrowing would be undertaken to cover the gap.

 

In accordance with Standing Order No. 8, the following questions were put by Councillor Musgrave to the Leader.

 

Question - Does the Council's preferred construction contractor have any link to the Consulting Association, known to support a construction industry practice of blacklisting unionised and union associated construction workers?

 

The Leader stated that the Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, Communities and Sport would reply to the question.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, Communities and Sport responded that the Contractor had confirmed that they do not. The Consulting Association was wound up in 2009, and the contractor has confirmed that they do not support or condone the practice of “blacklisting” in any way whatsoever and not do I.

 

Question - What measures will the Council put in place to ensure that blacklisting of construction workers is not possible on the St Sidwell site? 

 

The Leader stated that the Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, Communities and Sport would reply to the question.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, Communities and Sport responded that the Council would work closely with the contractor to prevent this practice. For example, in 2016 the contactor issued specific directions to prevent any practice of “blacklisting” and they fully recognised that this is contrary to both law and industry best practice.

 

Question - Is there provision in the construction contact for unfettered construction site access for union officials?

 

The Leader stated that the Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Proposal to commence Leisure Complex and Swimming Pool and Bus Station pdf icon PDF 563 KB

To consider the report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

Minute of Executive 11 July 2017 – to follow.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Minutes 71 and 73 (Proposal to commence Leisure Complex and Swimming Pool and Bus Station) of the meeting of Executive held on 11 July 2017 were taken as read.

 

The Leader of the Council moved and the Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, Communities and Sport seconded the recommendation from Executive 11 July 2017 in respect of the funding proposals for the Leisure Complex and Bus Station.

 

The Leader stated that it was a shame that the Council had to be here tonight, and it was a shame that diggers were not already in the ground, building a new leisure centre and bus station and regenerating the site. Everyone knows there was a massive need for these facilities in Exeter, the pyramids swimming pool was built in the war and that if the Council did not do something soon it would have to spend money on it or even have to close it. What the city had at the moment just was not good enough for Exeter.

 

Exeter was now the fourth highest city in the County for job creation and regeneration had been council policy for 20 years and it had taken this Labour administration to deliver it. It was what the Labour Party were elected to do. The cost was more than the Council had planned to pay and the original budget meant there was no need to borrow anything. It was made up of revenue generated by the success of the city, through its expansion and growth, through Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and New Homes Bonus (NHB). So why does the Council need more money now? This is because the costs had gone up and those costs would continue to go up much higher if the Council delayed taking this decision any longer so it was urgent that the Council take this decision tonight.

 

Brexit had created economic uncertainty and unfortunately the Council were paying the price for that. The Council had spent the last few months carefully scrutinising every single part of this project to get the best deal it could, and set the new budget being asked for tonight.  Incidentally, if Devon County Council had paid for a new bus station instead of letting the City Council pick up the bill, the Council would not have had to borrow anything. As it was, the proposal was to plan to borrow £6.27m at a fixed rate over 50 years and all of it would be paid back through revenue generated by the leisure centre. There would be no impact for council tax payers. 

 

The Council would secure the construction contract at a fixed price and would appoint a contractor committed to best industry practices, after consultation with the unions. There had been a lot of talk over recent months, rightly so. This must be one of the most carefully scrutinised projects in the council’s history. Now was time for action. The Labour Party were elected to deliver these new facilities and this was exactly what it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.