Venue: Rennes Room, Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter. View directions
Contact: Sharon Sissons, Democratic Services Officer (Committees) Telephone 01392 265115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To sign the minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2017.
The minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2017 were taken as read and signed by the Chair as a correct record.
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.
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 - https://exeter.gov.uk/councillorsfaq/.
In accordance with Standing Order No 19, two members of the public, Ms Wetenhall and Mr Walton submitted questions on issues relating to air quality.
A copy of the questions had been previously circulated to Members, and these, together with the appropriate responses from Councillor Denham Portfolio Holder City Transformation, Energy and Transport is appended to the minutes.
To receive questions from Members of the Council to appropriate Portfolio Holders.
In accordance with Standing Order No 20, Councillor Musgrave had submitted questions on the Air Quality Action Plan and Councillor Prowse had submitted questions on the Exeter Car Boot Market.
A copy of the questions had been previously circulated to Members, and this, together with the appropriate responses from Councillor Denham, Portfolio Holder City Transformation, Energy and Transport and Councillor Sutton, Portfolio Holder Economy and Culture is appended to the minutes.
Welcoming representatives from Stagecoach and Devon County Council for specific discussion around the following points:-
· How do Devon County Council and Stagecoach design bus routes?
· Can Exeter City Council play a role in that?
· Bus routes between the City and the Quay.
Robert Williams, Commercial Director from Stagecoach and John Richardson-Dawes, Team Leader, Integrated Public Transport, Devon County Council attended the meeting for specific discussion around the following points -
· Devon County Council and Stagecoach design of bus routes
· How Exeter City Council could play a role in that
· Bus routes between the City and the Quay
John Richardson-Dawes, discussed the design of the bus routes, stating they had been designed around the Transport Act 1985 which provided commercial freedom for bus companies to establish bus services. Devon County Council could not object to an approved bus service route by the Traffic Commissioner and commercially provided services had to be left alone. He confirmed that Stagecoach was not commercially viable for all day services despite functioning as an all-day service.
He provided an overview of decisions made at Devon County Council and how bus services could be lost following consultation and that maintaining contact with Devon County Council was important. Although fare increases and subsidy had increased bus patronage by 42% since 2002 there were still significant funding issues to the maintenance of bus links.
Robert Williams explained that the bus service was a local business that responded to the local market to maximise its patronage for running costs and was focussed on growing the number of people using the service to determine the next stage of service development. Stagecoach were happy to continue working with Exeter City Council but there were funding limitations.
John Richardson-Dawes and Robert Williams discussed the Quay and City routes, explaining that bus route G was dependent on an annual £17,000 subsidy from Devon County Council. 80% of the bus users held free bus passes, making support difficult because of cost. They highlighted the Green Park and Ride service, which connected to the Quay, running every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday. There was a need to develop links to the quay with ongoing discussions with Exeter BID to establish a viable option and were keen to work with Exeter City Council and local residents.
Councillor Musgrave attended the meeting under Standing Order 44. He informed that there were a number of housing developments in and around the Alphington Ward, with a proposed bus route on a protected country lane causing concern for residents. He asked what Devon County Council and Stagecoach could do to support the residents.
John Richardson-Dawes and Robert Williams explained that, although there was a bus service funded through the planned housing developments there were currently no confirmed proposals for funding arrangements and emphasised, that if a route was not suitable then it would not be used.
In response to Members’ enquiries John Richardson-Dawes and Robert Williams responded:-
· They would be happy to engage with Councillors and residents to discuss issues with bus service in Duryard and St James Ward. They agreed to liaise with the Chair to establish a co-ordinator to setup up a meeting;
· They were aware bus users were elderly and take their wellbeing into consideration with 100% accessibility on buses. ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To consider the report of the Chief Finance Officer.
The Principal Accountants (PM and MH) presented the report which set out the proposed revenue and capital estimates for 2018/19 in respect of Place Services. The report outlined the strategic framework, within which the estimates had been prepared; changes in accounting practices which affected all budgets and gave detailed reasons for major changes in the Management Unit estimates. A detailed schedule of the Capital Programme and the proposed Fees and Charges for 2018/19 were included as an appendix.
The Principal Accountant (MH) informed that an allowance of £274,920 had been set aside for inflation within Place Services and referred Members to the inflationary increases in the report and budgets.
The report states that the likely revenue resources from 2017 to 2022 were the same as the medium term financial plan but there was an expected four year settlement reduction when business rates were reset. It explains that all authorities in Devon had applied to take part in the Business Rates pilot scheme for 100% retention of Business Rates, which could generate between £300,000 to £500,000 in 2018/19 for the Council. The General Fund Capital Programme had been established for three years and Members were referred to the key budget changes for 2018/19.
The Principal Accountant (MH) referred Members to Support Services, and commenting on the changes to accounting guidance, which had ended the requirement to spread support service costs as overheads and to report financial performance.
In response to Members’ questions the Principal Accountants (PM and MH) and the Enviromental Health and Licensing Manager responded:-
· There were adequate reserves in the budget which was balanced;
· The replacement of Mallison Bridge (Exeter Quay) work was confirmed to be located by the incinerator;
· The Leisure Centre changes were agreed on an annual basis;
· Support Services fees for licensing will be charged where appropriate, eg Taxis,
Place Scrutiny Committee supported the draft Revenue Estimates for 2018/19 including the proposed Capital Programme, Fees and Charges for further consideration by Executive on 13 February 2018 and the Special Meeting of the Council on 20 February 2018.
To consider the report of the Service Manager Community Safety and Enforcement.
The Service Manager Community Safety & Enforcement presented a report which set out increasing both car park tariffs and the number of pay and display parking sites from April 2018. This would further enable a reasonable pricing policy to support the Council’s ambitions to reduce congestion in the city, address permit fees which had fallen disproportionally behind daily parking tariff rates, and also control parking areas alongside the canal to help ensure spaces remain accessible for those wishing to visit and enjoy the area.
In response to questions from Members, the Service Manager Community Safety & Enforcement informed that:-
· Card transactions at display machines and the withdrawal of card payment costs would be absorbed, costs of £15,000 were not previously absorbed;
· Bromhams Farm car park would be restricted to a maximum of a three hour stay.
Place Scrutiny Committee supported and recommended approval by Executive of the following:-
(1) The amendment of the Car Parking Places Order 2014 as set out below:-
(a) An increased tariff at Premium, Zone 1, Zone 2 and Zone 3 car parks by between £0.20 and £5.00 within the existing linear pricing structure as set out in the table below, and
(b) To increase the price of parking permits by between £25.00 and £300.00 per annum as set out in the table below.
(2) The conversion and inclusion of the following additional car parks in the Parking Places Order 2014:-
(a) Bromhams ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
To consider the report of the Environmental Health and Licensing Manager.
The Environmental Health and Licensing Manager presented a report which sought the introduction of a cost recovery fee for re-rating food hygiene ratings. In partnership with the Food Standards Agency, Environmental Health & Licensing participate in the delivery of the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS). The scheme, which had been in place in Exeter since 2011, encouraged businesses to improve hygiene standards and assist consumers in making informed choices about where to eat.
Businesses were rated between 0 (urgent improvement necessary) and 5 (very good). Thosewith a food hygiene rating of 4 or below could request a re-rating inspection. There was currently no charge for these visits but there were costs, in terms of officer and administration time, which were currently absorbed by the service. Following a trial of charging for requested FHRS re-rating inspections with some local authorities in England using existing powers in the Localism Act 2011, the Food Standards Agency had now confirmed a change in policy allowing use of these powers by local authorities in England to introduce fees on a cost recovery basis only for re-rating inspections. He informed Members that 30 businesses on an annual basis requested a re-visit to assess their hygiene certificate, which can cause a burden on the service.
In response to Members questions, the Environmental Health and Licensing Manager responded that:-
· There was currently no legislation to ensure that a restaurant was required to display its food hygiene certificate. If one is not displayed, it did not mean they didn’t have one. Legislation for this had been introduced in Wales, which the Food Standards Agency were keen to introduce in England;
· A re-visit by Environmental Health Officers was dependent on the restaurants compliance, but was requested by the business to raise their standard. A re-visit would entail a three month period where no inspection took place followed by a further three months where the re-inspection would be undertaken;
Members discussed and supported an introduction of mandatory legislation, to ensure the display of food hygiene certificates.
Place Scrutiny Committee noted the change in the Food Standards Agency charging policy and requested Executive to recommend approval by Council the proposal to introduce a cost recovery fee of £160 for Food Hygiene Rating Scheme re-rating inspections which are requested by the Food Business Operator, with effect from 1 April 2018.
To consider the report of the Environmental Health and Licensing Manager.
The Environmental Health and Licensing Manager referred to the legal duty placed on the Council (and all district and county councils) in respect of local air quality by Part IV of the Environment Act 1995. He updated Members on the Council’s draft Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) which had been circulated with the report and would be released for public and stakeholder consultation and commented on an amendment to the consultation. The draft plan outlined the Council’s vision for air quality in the city and proposed measures that the Council would take during the period 2018 to 2023. The closing date for responses to the consultation is 11 April 2018. A review of all of the responses to the consultation will be made, and a final version of the AQAP will be produced to reflect these responses.
He emphasised that the consultation was a three month public engagement which provided residents with the opportunity to be involved and help to make changes. The final plan would be presented to the meeting of Place Scrutiny Committee in June 2018.
In response to Members’ questions, the Environmental Health and Licensing Manager and Senior Environment Technical Officer responded:-
· All available information was in the public domain and the draft plan would address concentrated areas of high pollution in the City. Data and progress is also reported annually to Central Government;
· Additional information on the impact of measures was not available at this stage, because of it cannot be estimated until full details of the proposed measures are available. At this stage the Council are seeking views from the public on the broad themes and outline measures in the draft action plan. Further information on the air quality impact of measures will be produced as the measured develop, and will be made available to the public;
· There is no legislation available that bans bonfires, however the Council would continue to encourage residents to use composting and using alternative methods to burning;
· The air quality plan focusses on NO² levels from traffic. The inclusion of other sources and types of pollution is open for contribution by residents during the consultation period;
· The Council will utilise the Communications and Marketing team to provide support for public engagement and to provide plain English information;
· Less than 10% of the PM2.5 levels in Exeter arise from sources within the city. The majority is from regional, national and international sources such as agriculture and natural sources.
· The smog levels from the motorway network are monitored by Highways England, who used their own monitoring sites. Exeter City Council monitors levels where people are more exposed;
· Although the Portfolio Holder was involved with public engagement, it was the residents who had the real power to make changes to the city;
· Devon County Council would be consulted with in regards to the congestion changes.
Councillor Musgrave attended the meeting under Standing Order 44 and welcomed the consultation and expressed his appreciation of the hard work of both the Portfolio Holder ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
To consider the report of the Green Travel Plans and Planning Conditions Spotlight Review to be presented by Councillor Harvey.
Councillor Harvey, Chair of the Green Travel Plans and Planning Conditions Spotlight Review Group, presented the findings and recommendations of the Group to the Place Scrutiny Committee. He informed Members that the report went to People Scrutiny Committee on 4 January, with comments made by the Members of People Scrutiny Committee had been circulated for information.
He explained that the Portfolio Holder for City Transformation, Energy and Transport and Portfolio Holder for City Development had been involved in addressing congestion. He discussed the issues faced in the city and what could be done:-
· Devon County Council were the highways authority and both they and Exeter City Council did not have the funds available to develop infrastructure to resolve the congestion issue;
· Although Exeter had a good number of rail stations, the train service times were limited and there were not enough car parks at certain stations;
· There was no bus park and ride service in one part of city;
· The Exeter Cycle Campaign had been consulted and were looking to improve cycling in the city.
In response to Members’ questions the Scrutiny Programme Officer responded that:-
· At an Interim Scrutiny Work Programme meeting held in November, a Task and Finish Group was agreed to be established for the Green Travel Policy and how it could be improved. This group was a separate entity to the one outlined in the recommendations. The group was expected to commence at the end of January;
· Once the new Task and Finish Group was setup officers would take a soft encouragement approach, but she would clarify details as required.
Place Scrutiny Committee:-
(1) Acknowledged the work of this Spotlight Review Group;
(2) Agreed to share this report and findings with:-
· The (yet to be formed) Transport Board;
· Devon County Council in respect of the Sustainable Urban Movement Plan;
· With Exeter City Council officers responsible for implementing the Parking Strategy;
· Greater Exeter Strategic Partnership; and
(3) Supported the formation of a Task and Finish Group to expressly monitor the IKEA green travel plan and ascertain what improvements to Green Travel Plans could be made in future.
To note the minutes of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (Devon County Council) held on 20 November 2017.
The minutes of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (Devon County Council) held on 20 November 2017 were circulated for information.