The minutes of the Executive of 9 July 2019 were presented by the Leader, Councillor Bialyk, and taken as read.
In respect of Minute No.64 (Report on the Environmental Health & Licensing Statutory Service Plan), the Leader moved and the Deputy Leader seconded the recommendations and they were carried.
In respect of Minute No. 65 (Report on the In Exeter Business Plan 2020 - 2025), Councillor Hannaford welcomed the extension of the BID area but sought advice as to how the St Thomas shopping centre and specifically Cowick Street could be included. He felt this was an area with a strong identify which would benefit from the cohesive and formal structure of the BID. The Portfolio Holder Environment & City Management advised that the BID operated independently and it would be for the BID to decide to increase its size using a set methodology, but he suggested an application could be made to the BID Board.
Councillor J Moore referred to the many positive impacts on the city from the BID including Christmas lights, enhanced cleaning services and support for smaller businesses in carbon saving and recycling, but was disappointed in the offer of free parking in the city’s car parks on Thursdays after 6.00pm, which she felt was not in line with the carbon neutral target. She felt this approach would do little to curb the traffic, congestion and improve air quality, particularly in the run up to the Christmas late night opening and, she welcomed visitors to the city, but hoped that more innovative ways relating to public transport would continue to be explored. The Portfolio Holder Environment & City Development responded and welcomed the effort to attract more people to the city centre, and he commented on the balance between increasing car parking charges and supporting local businesses, by boosting the local evening economy as well as creating a spread of the traffic during the week instead of just at the weekend.
Councillor Williams stated that data quoted at a presentation made at the Place Scrutiny Committee on 18 June was averaged over a month and not a dynamic measurement attributed to a particular day. Councillor J Moore referred to the data which included detail of an increase in poor air quality during the months in the lead up to Christmas, due to increased traffic coming into the city.
The Leader moved and the Deputy Leader seconded the recommendations and they were carried.
In respect of Minute No. 66 (Report on the Towards Carbon Neutral Exeter, The Leader confirmed that Councillor. D. Moore had indicated that she wished to propose an addition to the recommendation referring to the need for an urgent reduction in carbon emissions and sought an enhancement to the recommendation to reiterate the importance of biodiversity and trees in particular - "That Council recognises the connected biodiversity crisis, and the vital role of biodiversity in tackling climate change and its contribution to our quality of life. The roadmap will set out measures to improve biodiversity, in particular, the protection and planting of trees." The amendment was seconded by Councillor J Moore.
The Portfolio Holder Climate & Culture stated that she was happy to accept the additional wording to the recommendation. She referred to the importance of the subject, which she felt was acknowledged by the intensity and extent of the discussion at recent meetings of the Place Scrutiny Committee as well as Executive. She thanked Members for their considered, thoughtful and helpful contributions to bring this matter forward. The recommendations to Executive which outlined the broad strategy for Exeter were implicit, and a vital part of the Council’s work going forward and she invited all Members to ensure that they were pursued. It was recognised that Exeter could not carry out the work alone, and the scale of the challenge had been demonstrated, but Exeter was in the vanguard of the strategies, targets and achievements and had recognised the scale of the challenge ahead. The recommendations outlined how the City Council would aim to tackle the challenge but to acknowledge that it could not work alone and would work with a broad range of organisations and bodies including Exeter City Futures included Devon County Council, the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, the University of Exeter, Exeter College, Oxygen House and a range of businesses to ensure the city would become carbon neutral by 2030. She welcomed the additional wording to the second recommendation and wished to second the reference to biodiversity which she hoped would enable all Members to support the recommendations.
Councillor Sills stated that he was pleased that he had been able to chair a special meeting of Place Scrutiny Committee to consider this matter and that it was right that the City Council was declaring a climate emergency as a Council. It was noted that it had been agreed that, special biannual meetings of Place Scrutiny Committee would be held to consider the Council’s progress against the content of this recommendation.
Councillor Hannaford congratulated the Portfolio Holder Climate & Culture for offering real action rather than just sweeping statements or vague aspirations.
Councillor Leadbetter also welcomed the proposals and the opportunity to work together.
Members welcomed the recommendations, expressed their satisfaction with the input of both Place Scrutiny and Executive and emphasised the importance of working together to make Exeter as green as possible. Members noted the work already undertaken by Exeter City Council and the resource and budget issues faced by the Council.
The Portfolio Holder for Environment & City Management provided an overview on the introduction of electric dustcarts which would incur a cost of £300,000 per dustcart and he informed Members of the importance of developing a strategy to save and replant trees in Exeter.
The Leader stated that there was a lot of work to do and there would be policies and processes in place to tackle climate change. The Council would be working with other local authorities to move the strategy forward, with progress to be reported to the Place Scrutiny Committee. Improving the quality of life for residents was a high priority.
The amendment to the original recommendations were put to a vote and unanimously passed.
(1) Exeter City Council declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;
(2) The carbon neutral target for Exeter is framed in a way that links to wider regional targets. This shows Exeter’s intention to decrease its emissions without increasing emissions in the wider region;
(3) Exeter City Council commit to their operations becoming carbon neutral ahead of the 2030 date and mobilise resource to develop internal plans to deliver the target. 2.5 That Exeter City Council request a “Carbon Neutral Delivery Team” is convened by ECF CIC to establish a city plan for delivery that builds on the Energy Independence Roadmap produced by ECF CIC and uses the 12 Goals as the basis of the approach (see Appendix 1 to this report for a list of the Goals). The Carbon Neutral delivery team will:
o Draw together existing evidence and data to establish baseline state of the City presented under each of the 12 Goals.
o Conduct a full audit of the City to highlight gaps between current plans and what is required to achieve carbon neutral.
o Define a clear city plan showing outcomes that will need to be met to deliver carbon neutral, how existing activities support and where there are gaps.
o Identify immediate opportunities and crucial first steps
(4) Exeter City Council commit resource to be part of the Carbon Neutral Delivery Team and, due to the urgency required, co-locate those resources with ECF CIC to ensure that the City Council is leading by example and sharing learning with other ECF CIC Member organisations and the wider ECF CIC Partner Network. (A list of current members of the ECF CIC Partner Network is provided in Appendix 2 to this report);
(5) Exeter City Futures CIC be requested to convene “Carbon Neutral Mandate Group” through a series of summits to validate, challenge and endorse the Roadmap produced by the Carbon Neutral working group;
(6) Exeter City Council support the work of the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (CERG) and note the outcomes and recommendations. Exeter City Council will participate in a "People’s Assembly" with the governance arrangements to be confirmed by the CERG;
(7) To convene a Special meeting of Place Scrutiny Committee, on a biannual basis, to collate and discuss all of the work by Exeter City Council in respect of Climate Change and also allow the opportunity for outside bodies to continue to update Members;
(8) Council reports should include an analysis of the progress and impact in working towards a Carbon neutral city goal, as they currently do for the impact on any decision in relation to equality and diversity; health and wellbeing; safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults; economy, safety and the environment; and
(9) Exeter City Council recognises the connected biodiversity crisis, and the vital role of biodiversity in tackling climate change and its contribution to our quality of life. The roadmap will set out measures to improve biodiversity, in particular, the protection and planting of trees.
In respect of Minute No. 67 (Report on the Exeter Live Better Move More Physical Activity Strategy) the Leader stated that the Strategy was important and referred to the relationship to the city’s aspirations to support a change in attitudes to physical activity as well as participating in a greener, more active lifestyle. He welcomed the inclusion of Exeter in the Sport England Local Delivery Pilot with investment of over £4.7 million in Exeter. The Strategy was an important document to support changing attitudes about using cars and encourage the use of greener and more active travel.
Intended outcomes for the first year of the pilot were discussed, which include increased investment in Wellbeing Exeter to deliver:
· 2,000 new social prescribing referrals: 1,000 with active lifestyle plans
· 20 new community activity groups
Through Active Environments and Travel programme:
· 1 local community built environment transformation programme
· 15 Play Streets bringing communities together
· 3 Community Streets designed for improved walking and cycling
· 3,000 more residents supported to access strategic cycling and walking routes
Through Active School Communities
· 10 schools mobilised
· Creation of 10 active school community hubs with families shaping and leading activities themselves
· 2,000 children (of which 700 will be from low income families) participating in new physical activities
· 2 active street neighbourhoods
Through Active Workplaces
· A community of learning established with 10 target workplaces
· 5,000 employees reached and 500 of least active engaged
· 10 new workplace Active Travel policies in place and demonstrating early increase in % of staff choosing active community
· 10 new Active Workplace polices /programmes being delivered
The Portfolio Holder for Leisure & Physical Activity commented on the climate emergency crisis, which the Strategy would help in tackling and supported increasing active behaviour and travel in the city. The feedback from the consultation had been very positive and the next challenge would be to action proposals in the Strategy. He highlighted that Exeter was one of the most active cities in the country according to national statistics but that there were high levels of inactivity in parts the city. The policy outlined these locations and how they would be targeted to encourage active lifestyles. Moving the Strategy forward was the next step to increase physical activity in the city.
The Leader moved and the Deputy Leader seconded the recommendations and they were carried.
In respect of Minute No. 68 (Report on the Exeter Live Better Move More Built Facilities, Playing Fields, Pitches, Play Areas, Parks and Open Spaces Strategy) the Leader reiterated the commitment not to build on the Northbrook Golf Approach site, and stated that he would be working on a consultation with various groups to ensure its future as a green space for all.
The Portfolio Holder Leisure & Physical Activity thanked the Leader as this Portfolio had previously been under his responsibility. The adoption of the Strategy would help to set out the investment needed in the built facilities to improve the offer of leisure facilities as well as focus on the areas of need in the city and to ensure the city had the right facilities in place. The plans included improvements at Exeter Arena to create a community sports village, the proposed Health and Wellbeing Centre at Wonford, reopening of the Riverside Leisure Centre swimming pool next year, and opening the St Sidwells Point swimming pool and leisure centre in 2021.
The Strategy sets out the priorities for future leisure investment and how improvements could be made to the current buildings which are not at an acceptable level. There is a focus on the areas of greatest need to ensure the city had the right facilities in the right places. He confirmed the Riverside swimming pool would re-open next year and that the golf provision would be removed from Northbrook.
The Portfolio Holder Environment & City Management referred to the work Parks and Open Spaces aspects of the recent consultation which had indicated that the facilities were generally well run and highly valued. Proposals for destination parks have been dropped following the response where people clearly stated their preference for smaller local Facilities that were within a 10 minute walking distance. The proposed Task and Finish Group would help to identify priorities for future investment in the city’s important play areas.
Councillor D Moore welcomed the opportunity to offer an enhanced community involvement for the city’s leisure facilities and open spaces. She requested that the recommendations from the Executive be voted upon separately.
The Leader and the Portfolio Holder for Leisure & Physical Activity acknowledged the importance of continuing community engagement on the future use of parks and open spaces and that representation on how they would be run would be sought. In response to a question from Councillor D Moore, the Leader explained that it was far too soon to make any comment on the potential future management options for the Wonford facility but he could commit to the on-going engagement of the community in developing the concept and then in working with officers on the detailed design and operation of the future facility. Decisions on management arrangements would come much later as plans develop.
Councillor Hannaford agreed with the change in approach not to close any play areas as it was important to ensure that everyone had access to a play area or open green space. Members discussed the strategy and welcomed keeping play areas and green spaces open, to encourage activity and fitness, especially in children. It was also important to have open and honest debates with communities to obtain their input.
The Leader moved and the Deputy Leader seconded the recommendations, which were voted upon separately and were carried.
In respect of Minute No. 69 (Report on the Community and Arts Grants Review) the Portfolio Holder for Equalities, Diversity & Communities stated that she was proud that despite a reduced budget, Exeter City Council had continued to support funding for community and arts grants. The Leader explained that the Exeter Grants Panel would be politically balanced and have a terms of reference to monitor all spending.
Members supported the policy.
The Leader moved and the Portfolio Holder for Equalities, Diversity & Communities seconded the recommendations and they were carried.
In respect of Minute No. 70 (Report on the Overview of Revenue Budget) the Leader moved and the Deputy Leader seconded the recommendations and they were carried.
In respect of Minute No. 71 (Report on the Capital Outturn) the Leader moved and the Deputy Leader seconded the recommendations and they were carried.
In respect of Minute No. 72 (Report on the Treasury Management Report) the Leader moved and the Deputy Leader seconded the recommendations and they were carried.
In respect of Minute No. 74 (Report on the Liveable Exeter Garden City) the Leader explained the importance of building 11,000 homes over the next 20 years and stated that he would be engaging with other Local Authorities on housing issues and establish a team which would also look to protect the city’s green spaces.
The Leader asked if Councillor J Moore wished to withdraw her notice of motion on green spaces, due to be debated later in the meeting, and highlighted the changes being made and the need to work together to make liveable Exeter manageable going forward.
Councillor K Mitchell welcomed the document and the need to build houses and the comments from the Executive, but felt there was an opportunity to strengthen the recommendation. He proposed an additional recommendation which was seconded by Councillor D Moore:-
“In light of the Council’s commitment for Exeter to be Carbon Neutral by 2030, we would aim for the Liveable Exeter Garden City project to become a global demonstration of Carbon Neutral development”.
Members stated that it was important to help people find homes and avoid substandard living. The Council’s Passivhaus standard further supported the City Council’s commitment to being a carbon neutral city, but there was a need for homes. The Leader opposed the amendment, and stated his commitment to encourage the provision of better homes which supported the carbon neutral policy.
Councillor D Moore, in seconding the amendment, stated that the motion would support the focus on climate change and provide a clear framework towards making Exeter Carbon Neutral.
Councillor K Mitchell, in proposing the amendment, thanked Members for their comments. The amendment was put to the vote and lost.
The Leader moved and the Deputy Leader seconded the recommendations which were carried unanimously.
In respect of Minute No. 76 (CIL Infrastructure Payments), the Leader moved and the Portfolio Holder for City Planning & Development seconded the recommendations and they were carried.
In respect of Minute No. 77 (CIL Charging Schedule), the Leader highlighted that the charging schedule had been introduced in 2013 but, following the recession, the development of Homes with Multiple Occupancy (HMO) and purpose built student accommodation had been halted. The Leader was undertaking meetings with building developers and was asking for a review of the charging schedule. This review would only be the starting point for a process lasting up to two years.
The Leader moved and the Deputy Leader seconded the recommendations and they were carried.
In respect of Minute No. 82 (Report on the Leisure Contract Compensation Payment ( Part 2 ) Councillor D Moore asked if the public would be made aware of the amount for the compensation payment. The Leader stated he would like to inform the public but would need to seek legal advice before doing so.
The Leader moved and the Portfolio Holder for Supporting People seconded the recommendations and they were carried.
RESOLVED that the minutes of Executive held on 9 July 2019 be received and, where appropriate, adopted.