Venue: Rennes Room, Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter
Contact: John Street, Corporate Manager Democratic & Civic Support Telephone 01392 265106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 9 July 2019.
The minutes of the meeting held on 9 July 2019, were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest
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 interests were made.
To consider the report of the City Surveyor.
The Director (DB) presented the report on the progress of plans for the wider development of the former Bus & Coach Station and adjoining areas of Paris Street and Sidwell Street and to seek authority for the City Surveyor to take the next steps to progress the redevelopment proposition. There had been substantial work undertaken to move the development forward and the next step would be to enter into a joint ownership and land promotion agreement, to bring the development forward in a comprehensive manner. These agreements were especially valuable during periods of economic uncertainty.
Members were referred to the design plans in the report, noting the proposed developments on the land would include: office spaces, luxury and budget hotels, built to rent housing, retail space, multi-purpose performance venue and the new Civic Centre and Bus Station.
Councillor D Moore, having given notice under Standing Order No.44, spoke on this item. She had submitted three questions relating to city centre business. The Leader provided responses, which are appended to these minutes.
In response to a Member’s question, the Chief Executive & Growth Director explained that the advantage of the proposed joint arrangements, would be to ensure that the development would be deliverable. There was the risk, that should any partner organisation decide to back out as a joint partner, then the development would be delayed. Market research testing had identified that there was a great interest from various brands, including blue chip companies to build in Exeter. A joint working practice would support the Council’s vision of delivering a high quality development and joint partnership arrangements was considered to be the best approach to move the project forward.
The Chief Executive & Growth Director discussed national funding issues, and that despite these issues, Exeter City Council was continuing to address sustainability and testing working practices, to enable the development of Grade A. office and accommodation space during a period of financial uncertainty.
Members expressed their satisfaction on the progress of the work undertaken and the recommendations to move the development forward.
(1) The progress to date on bringing forward the Citypoint site be noted; and
(2) The City Surveyor be authorised, in consultation with the Leader and the Chief Executive & Growth Director, to negotiate and enter into a joint ownership and land promotion agreement with the other main land owners on the site.
To consider the report of the City Surveyor.
The Director (DB) presented the report, on Corporate Property Compliance which sought approval for funding to achieve the required levels of statutory Health and Safety compliance. He explained that the objectives of establishing the Corporate Property service was to identify and address failures in property Health and Safety compliance. There had been numerous areas of Health and Safety non-compliance and issues identified and that although progress had been made in several areas, the existing approved budgets were insufficient to deliver the proposed work to address the identified risks outlined in the report.
Members were referred to the report, which highlighted the work and the costs involved to deliver the scheme and informed that the recommendations had been developed from the health and safety assessments, undertaken by Corporate Property Compliance.
In response to questions from Members, the Director (DB) explained:-
· The property inspections had been part of ongoing assessments, which had collected results and collated them to form a single piece of work;
· The inspections were undertaken using in-house resources and fire risk assessments. There had been a focus on prioritising spending to challenge the previous issue of under investment in the properties.
RECOMMENDED that Council be requested to approve the £650,000 estimated budget requirement, for undertaking fire risk compliance works that will mitigate the current identified risks to the Council and building users in operational and commercial properties.
Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985 - Exclusion of Press and Public
RESOLVED that, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of items 7 and 8 on the grounds that it involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Part I, Schedule 12A of the Act.
RESOLVED that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1, Schedule 12A of the Act.
Advertising and Ethical Framework Adoption
To consider the report of the Director (J-PH).
The Director (J-PH) presented the advertising report which sought to trial a single point booking system for existing and new advertising opportunities and to adopt an ethical advertising framework linked to the council’s corporate priorities for officers to work to. The report requested approval to allow digital advertising on the remaining city centre screens as part of an existing Devon County Council/Exeter City Council contract. Having a single point system would centralise the advertising opportunities for Exeter City Council and increase the sources of income, commercial opportunities and revenue.
The Director (J-PH) highlighted for Members’ attention to the following:-
· The banner advertising, which had limited spaces available could increase revenue to the Council;
· Changes in digital technology to amend agreements in advertising on digital monoliths and digital bus shelters across the city;
· Changes to advertising arrangements in the Exeter Citizen and improvement to the advertisement opportunities.
Members discussed the proposals and welcomed the adoption of an ethical framework, which would allow the Council to have a good balance of advertising in the city and which could be monitored.
RECOMMENDED that Council approves:
(1) That a single point of advertising booking is established within the Communications, Tourism and Culture team to obtain better value;
(2) That the responsibility for Citizen Advertising is in-sourced within the existing Communications, Tourism and Culture Team;
(3) That Exeter City Council will not seek to exploit its position to offer advertising at a cost which undercuts locally available market rates;
(4) That a report is brought back to council within a year with measurable outcomes, should a permanent resource from created revenue be required;
(5) That the ethical advertising framework attached to the report presented to the meeting, aligned to corporate priorities, is adopted;
(6) That officers explore additional income generation opportunities through advertising and sponsorship; and
(7) That Members approve the joint Devon County Council/Exeter City Council approach to digital advertising in high street locations;
Business Case for the Review of Staff Structure in Housing Assets
To consider the report of the Director (BA).
The Portfolio Holder for Council Housing Development & Services and the Service Lead Housing Assets presented the report which set out the draft business case for the review and the re-structuring of the Housing Assets service area. Following the appointment of the Service Lead Housing Assets, it had been identified that there were a number of key functions that had been overlooked and a resourcing shortfall to cover the Council’s statutory and contractual obligations.
The Portfolio Holder for Council Housing Development & Services stated that the proposal to restructure the assets team would follow the Council’s Organisational Change Policy.
The Service Lead Housing Assets explained that the restructure Business Case included in the report proposed a new post of Social Housing Delivery Lead which will oversee the delivery of the HRA Development Programme. Furthermore, the Business Case also set out a structure to ensure that all business critical areas were fully resourced including compliance and contract management.
RESOLVED that the Executive agree to the draft proposal for the restructuring of the Assets Team to enable meaningful consultation with affected employees and Trade Unions in accordance with the requirements of the Council's Organisational Change Policy.