Agenda and minutes

Place Scrutiny Committee - Thursday 8th March 2018 5.30 pm

Venue: Rennes Room, Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter. View directions

Contact: Sharon Sissons, Democratic Services Officer (Committees)  Telephone 01392 265115 or email

No. Item



To sign the minutes of the meeting held on 11 January 2018.



The minutes of the meeting held on 11 January 2018 were taken as read and signed by the Chair as a correct record, subject to the last bullet point in Minute 5 relating to a trial of a Quayside bus during the summer period including a reference to being “on Sundays”.


A Member commented on the current procedure of signing the minutes as a correct record when the minutes were not before Members.  The Democratic Services Officer undertook to pass on the comment to the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support. 



Declaration of Interests

Councillors are reminded of the need to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests that relate to business on the agenda and which have not already been included in the register of interests, before any discussion takes place on the item. Unless the interest is sensitive, you must also disclose the nature of the interest. In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, you must then leave the room and must not participate in any further discussion of the item.  Councillors requiring clarification should seek the advice of the Monitoring Officer prior to the day of the meeting.




No declarations of disclosable pecuniary interest were made.



Questions from the Public under Standing Order 19 pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Details of questions should be notified to the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support at least three working days prior to the meeting.  Further information and a copy of the procedure are available from Democratic Services (Committees) (Tel: 01392 265115) and also on the Council web site -



Additional documents:


In accordance with Standing Order No 19, two members of the public, Mr Cleasby and Mr Poltawski, submitted questions on issues relating to the consultation timeframe of the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan and a request for making the litter bins more seagull proof particularly on Cathedral Green, but also widespread throughout the city centre and residential areas.


A copy of the questions had been previously circulated to Members, and these, together with the appropriate responses from Councillor Edwards as Leader and Portfolio Holder City Development and Councillor Brimble, Portfolio Holder Place is appended to the minutes.



Questions from Members of the Council under Standing Order 20 pdf icon PDF 176 KB

To receive questions from Members of the Council to appropriate Portfolio Holders.


Additional documents:


In accordance with Standing Order No 20, Councillors Hannaford and Musgrave had submitted their respective questions on the City Council’s overall strategy for support of business and in relation to the District Centre in St Thomas and also on food waste recycling in Exeter.


A copy of the questions had been previously circulated to Members, and these, together with the appropriate responses from Councillor Brimble, Portfolio Holder Place is appended to the minutes.



Exeter Community Partnership - Heavitree Pilot Project pdf icon PDF 824 KB

To consider the report of the Exeter Community Partnership.


Cllr Denham to speak on the item.


The Portfolio Holder City Transformation, Energy & Transport introduced the final report of a pilot of a community partnership project for Heavitree. This was a yearlong collaboration between the University of Exeter, Exeter City Council and Exeter City Futures to connect partners, create opportunities and drive impact, focusing on the themes central to Exeter City Future's goals of making Exeter congestion free and energy independent by 2025.  Support was given to the community in Heavitree to collect existing and new data to help understand the cause of the traffic challenges faced by them. Councillor Denham introduced Kerry Deacon, Education and Engagement from Exeter City Futures and also the City Council’s Programme Manager Communities. The project was managed by Lindsey Anderson, Impact and Partnership Development Manager, based at the University of Exeter.


The project included six weeks of local listening and engagement activities using sites on Fore Street, the Heavitree Friendly Library based in the Parish Church, and at Ladysmith and St Michael’s schools in Heavitree. Over 200 people completed a travel and energy survey, and many more had engaged with the project and talked about what they loved about Heavitree, as well as providing comments relating to traffic and congestion in their ward. The majority of comments focused on traffic and congestion and after a series of workshops, the partnership, working with members of the community, formulated the following two questions:


·    How can we motivate and incentivise parents and staff who currently drive to school to use alternative mixes of travel?


·    How can we enable and encourage the use of sustainable and attractive alternative mixes of transport to reduce the number of cars driving through Heavitree?


Two community-led working groups (a School Working Group and a Congestion Working Group) collected data to evidence the problems and create practical solutions. The School Working Group are also engaging with Sustrans and Devon County Council’s transport team, and are monitoring air quality at a number of hotspots and comparing air quality data in locations outside their school gates, Higher Cemetery, Heavitree Park and on Heavitree Road.


The Portfolio Holder City Transformation, Energy & Transport welcomed what had been a very positive experience which had kept the community engaged and energised. The pilot methodology offered a good example to roll out in other communities with the right approach early on, support and understanding of both anecdotal and qualitative data.  It was now important to talk to other communities in Exeter and engage Members and broaden the topics to the issues of interest. A Member commented on schools in his ward, where walking to schools was already phenomenally high, the result of air quality monitoring both by those schools and on Cowley Bridge Road in his ward.  He also commented on the need to resolve transport attenuation issues, and made reference to the budget for Exeter City Futures. Kerry Deacon responded and stated that she did not have the latest results of the schools’ survey but the School Working Group had a series of questions and would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Food Waste Collection pdf icon PDF 496 KB

 To consider the report of the Cleansing and Fleet Manager.


The Cleansing and Fleet Manager presented a report and outlined Eunomia Research and Consulting’s business case for a separated collection and recycling of food waste in the city. The report included five different recycling and rubbish collection scenarios, with a comparison of cost and performance against that of the current service (the ‘baseline’) provided by Exeter City Council. There would be a requirement for additional recycling and customer support staff, with the option of food waste collection costing more than the baseline service, as well as coming with a degree of uncertainty and therefore financial risk to the Council. Members were presented with a proposed recommendation that the current recycling service, without a food waste collection, should continue as the service option with the lowest modelled costs and financial risk. The Cleansing and Fleet Manager explained that the business case for food waste collection would be reviewed every year as part of the Recycling Plan. The review would also take account of any developments in technology for waste collection and treatment and changes in the markets for recyclable materials, and the evolving financial case for food waste collection.


Councillor Musgrave attended the meeting and spoke under Standing Order 44 and expressed his disappointment that the recommendation was not to proceed with the collection of food waste at this time.  Exeter was the only local authority in Devon not to offer this service. He referred to a recent petition, which over 600 individuals had signed in favour of such a collection.  He was concerned that an expensive report had been commissioned, which could have provided an opportunity for additional revenue generation.


The Member Champion for Communities and Food Recycling referred to the consultant’s report, and he did not feel that the City Council should be asked to be burdened with such a significant expenditure when set against the current financial constraints and future uncertainty of such a commitment.  The Cleansing and Fleet Manager stated that the cost of the final consultant’s report was £16,240. Eunomia had been able to provide an informed report, with the costs, likely environment and performance of food waste collection. He reiterated that the collection of food waste remained an aspiration of this Council.


The Cleansing and Fleet Manager welcomed Members’ positive comments on the Cleansing and Recycling service and responded to the following points:-


·         Exeter City Council’s support on waste reduction through its dry recycling scheme, exceeded the rates achieved in most cases by the Devon and also the nationwide scheme. 

·         Exeter had been able to meet the stricter regulations from the implementation of China’s ‘Operation National Sword’, having the foresight to have an established Materials Reclamation Facility, (MRF) and offer high quality recyclables ensuring that export to China remained cost effective.  There was also a reduced environmental impact with the container ships returning with a return load of recycled materials from the U.K.  The streamed and separated material allowed the Council to continue to enjoy a market in the UK and Europe, despite the general  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


Budget Monitoring (3rd Quarter) pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Finance Officer.

Additional documents:


The Principal Accountant (PM) presented the report which advised Members of any major differences, by management unit between the approved revenue budget and the estimated outturn as part of a quarterly financial update in respect of Place Scrutiny Committee. The current forecast suggested that net expenditure for the Committee would decrease from the approved budget by a total of £101,620 after transfers from reserves and revenue contributions to capital. This represented a variation of 2.12% from the revised budget and included a supplementary budget of £621,297, already agreed by Council.  The Principal Accountant (MH) stated that the report also included a predicted outturn update in respect of the Place Capital Programme, and she confirmed a total current spend of £1,871,990 in 2017/18 with £931,970 of the programme potentially deferred until 2018/19.


The Chair introduced Councillor Owen, on the Financial Working Group, convened to provide a focus of the financial reports presented to the three Scrutiny Committees. One of the aims of the working group was to ensure that Members made the most of the opportunity to challenge and comment on the financial reporting.  The Member was grateful to the Finance team who did an excellent job providing both information and support at the Scrutiny Committee meetings and elsewhere, and he hoped that future reporting would include more explanatory narrative to allow Members to offer a clearer challenge.  He also sought further clarification on the significant variations by management unit for Place Scrutiny Committee, for the March report as follows:-


·         81A4 – Public Safety - The Director confirmed that the Home Call Alarm Service had made a net profit for the authority. The operating profit had increased substantially and in 2015/16 there was a healthy 19% profit, which increased to 21% profit in 2016/17.  There had been a steady growth which had exceeded income expectations, however demand was expected to plateau.

·        818A6 - Parks and Green Spaces - The Director referred to the overspend and explained that the Public Realm service were working smarter and more efficiently with greater mechanisation. He also explained that the Parks and Green Spaces and street cleaning had separate budgets, but were managed as a whole with an overspend of £60,000, out of £3.8 million budget.

·         81D4 – Street Cleaning - The Director stated that an underspend was due to less vehicle repairs but they were in the process of acquiring more modern vehicles.

·         83B5 – Planning Services - The Principal Accountant (PM) stated that the underspend on the pay budget was attributed to a budget which had not been removed.

·         83B8  - Major Projects - The Principal Accountant (PM) stated that the compensation payment was in respect of the Bus Station and was due to the tenant under the Landlords and Tenants Act 1954. The City Surveyor had to end the tenancy earlier than anticipated in order to secure the site for redevelopment.  He also explained that no further compensation would be due when the Bus Station is closed.


Place Scrutiny Committee noted the report.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee Minutes pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To note the minutes of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (Devon County Council) held on 16 January 2018.



The minutes of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (Devon County Council) held on 16 January 2018 were circulated for information.