Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Tuesday 19th July 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Guildhall, High Street, Exeter

Contact: John Street, Corporate Manager Democratic & Civic Support  Telephone 01392 265106 or email  john.street@exeter.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

27.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 291 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the Ordinary and Extraordinary Meetings held on 19 April 2022 and of the Annual Meeting held on 17 May 2022.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the Ordinary and Extraordinary meetings of the Council held on 19 April 2022 and of the Annual Meeting held on 17 May 2022 were moved by the Leader, seconded by the Deputy Leader, Councillor Wright, taken as read, approved and signed as correct.

 

28.

Apologies

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Warwick.

   

 

29.

Official Communications

Minutes:

The Lord Mayor advised that she had attended the following:-

 

·         a formal dinner at the Guildhall on 19 May 2022 to celebrate with Chief Crowfoot and his delegation, the repatriation of the sacred regalia of the Sikskia nation in Canada;

·         lighting of the Beacon at Exeter Quay as part of Her Majesty The Queen's Platinum Jubilee festivities on 2 June 2022 supported by the Exeter Sea Cadets, the La La Choirs and the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Band;

·         the University of Exeter Contemporary Choir Summer concert at St David’s Church on 11 June 2022;

·         her first Lord Mayor’s Coffee Morning on 11 June 2022 to raise money for the Lord Mayor’s chosen charity for this year, the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance, the next Coffee morning to be held on Saturday 23 July 2022;

·         the 243 Field Hospital Freedom of the City Parade and Armed Forces Day at the Guildhall on 18 June 2022;

·         congratulating Exeter College's Netball Academy 2021/22 Squad in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour on 28 June 2022, on their success this season and achieving an unprecedented national treble; as well as the Exeter Chief’s Ladies Rugby team who had achieved success in only their second competitive season, by winning the Allianz Cup;

·         the Annual Formal Inspection of Royal Air Force Brize Norton on 29 June 2022;   

·         the Queen’s Baton Relay on Exeter Quay on 4 July 2022, which passed through Exeter on its nationwide tour ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham later this month;

·         the tradition of celebrating the Lammas Fair and the hoisting of the Lammas Glove on the balcony at the Guildhall on 7 July 2022;

·         commemorating the 25 years’ service of Alderman John Landers as a Trustee of Exeter Church Charities at the Lethbridge Almshouses on 15July 2022; and

·         theFreemanship Ceremony for Mr Philip Bostock OBE, DL, former Chief Executive of the Council on 18 July 2022.

 

30.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Details of questions should be notified to the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support at least three working days prior to the meeting - by 10am on Thursday 14 July 2022. Further information and a copy of the procedure are available from Democratic Services (Committees) (Tel: 01392 265115) with details about speaking at Council to be found here: Public Speaking at Meetings.

 

Minutes:

The Lord Mayor reported the receipt of two questions from members of the public.

 

The Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support reported that, as Mrs Thompson was unable to attend the meeting to present her question and in accordance with Standing Order 19(4) (B) in the Council’s Constitution, the question and answer would be published on the City Council website within five working days of the meeting. The question and answer is appended to the minutes.

 

Question from Mr Walton

 

Exeter’s new Local Plan is an important document and we must get this right:

Can you confirm the timetable and process for how this consultation will take place, that we will follow Department for Transport guidance and incorporate the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan as a Supplementary Planning Document in the Local Plan and that Council will ensure that transport policies will be updated and brought into the new Local Plan?

The Portfolio Holder for City Development provided the following response:-

The consultation on the Local Plan will be held for eight weeks from the end of September until November 2022. This will be in accordance with statutory requirements, the draft Statement of Community Involvement (which is to be considered for adoption by Council at this meeting) and the Consultation Charter. The detailed arrangements for the consultation are currently being put together, however discussion about potential approaches to consultation took place at the Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee on 30 June 2022 and we will take these into account. We will present the consultation via a new online platform to facilitate more interactive community engagement but will also organise more traditional activities such as exhibitions to widen public interest.

 

The planning team is involved in ongoing discussions with Devon County Council over the Local Walking and Cycling Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP). This has included discussion about policy format, content, potential walking and cycling proposals and consistent consultation. This will help to ensure the content of the LCWIP and Exeter Plan are consistent in terms of transport provision. However, the procedures and requirements for producing an LCWIP and Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD’s) are not consistent. This, together with the proposals in the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill to replace Supplementary Planning Documents with other forms of policy, mean that the Council is not proposing to adopt the LCWIP as an SPD.

 

Mr Walton, asked a supplementary question as to whether he understood correctly that the LCWIP would not be included in the Local Plan.

 

The Portfolio Holder for City Development confirmed that this was the case.

 

31.

Planning Committee - 25 April 2022 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Planning Committee of 25 April 2022 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Morse, and taken as read.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Planning Committee held on 25 April 2022 be received.

 

32.

Strategic Scrutiny Committee - 16 June 2022 pdf icon PDF 5 MB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Strategic Scrutiny Committee of 16 June 2022 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Hannaford and taken as read.

 

In respect of Minute No. 9 (Questions from the Public Under Standing Order No 19), the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, in response to a Member’s question, advised that the initial membership of the Exeter Transport Working Group had been agreed at the Annual Council meeting on 18 May 2021 and that the terms of reference had been presented and noted at the inaugural meeting of the Group on 16 February 2022. It was up to the respective Groups if they wished to change the membership. He confirmed that he had requested a date for the next meeting and that the focus of future meetings would be to seek solutions to the city’s huge transport problems. He stated that he had made an error at the Strategic Scrutiny Committee in saying that the minutes would be published as it was not a public meeting. The minutes would only be available to those attending the meeting.

 

In respect of Minute No. 10 (Questions from Members of the Council Under Standing Order No 20), the Portfolio Holder for City Development advised that she had been unable to answer the questions relating to the planning team at the Scrutiny Committee meeting on 16 June 2022 as she had been absent due to Covid and the answers had been provided by the Leader.

 

In respect of Minute No. 11 (Progress Report from Exeter City Futures and the City of Exeter Greenhouse Gas Inventory), the Chair, in response to a Member’s query, confirmed that it was the intention to establish a Standing Overview Group and that it would have a role in monitoring progress towards targets set for Net Zero 2030 and would seek to ensure progression on what was set out in the report within available resources. It would be undertaken in collaboration with the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and this approach had been welcomed by the Chief Executive & Growth Director.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, in response to a Member’s concern that not all of the University of Exeter’s key monitoring targets were replicated in the Council’s report, advised that this related to the Scope 3 element which covered materials with a carbon legacy being brought into the city. Whilst the City Council and its major partners could set a quality mark in respect of known materials and markets, a city wide greenhouse inventory was complicated because of the vast number of individuals, businesses, community groups and charities etc. who utilised materials from a huge range of sources. The scale of the challenge was illustrated by households being responsible for some 35% of greenhouse gas production in the city.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Strategic Scrutiny Committee held on 16 June 2022 be received.

 

33.

Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee - 30 June 2022 pdf icon PDF 627 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee of 30 June 2022 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Vizard and taken as read.

 

In respect of Minute No. 14 (Questions from Members of the Council under Standing Order No 20) and the answer provided to the question relating to the recycling league table, the figures, although correctly recorded, should read “In Exeter this is 296kg (not 300kg) per person per year compared with the Devon target of 416kg (not413 kg).” These would be amended at the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee.

 

In respect of Minute No. 16 (The Exeter (Local) Plan – Community Engagement 20), the Portfolio Holder for City Development undertook to respond in writing to a Member who asked when the second round of consultation on the Local Plan would occur in relation to the final draft version of the Plan being published.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee held on 30 June 2022 be received.

 

34.

Combined Strategic Scrutiny and Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee - 27 April 2022 pdf icon PDF 564 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the Combined Strategic Scrutiny and Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee of 27 April 2022 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Vizard, and taken as read.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Combined Strategic Scrutiny and Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee held on 27 April 2022 be received.

 

 

 

35.

Combined Strategic Scrutiny and Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee - 6 June 2022 pdf icon PDF 511 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the Combined Strategic Scrutiny and Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee of 6 June 2022 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Hannaford, and taken as read.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Combined Strategic Scrutiny and Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee held on 6 June 2022 be received.

 

 

 

36.

Harbour Board - 23 June 2022 pdf icon PDF 415 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Harbour Board of 23 June 2022 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Williams, and taken as read.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Harbour Board held on 23 June 2022 be received.

 

37.

Executive - 31 May 2022 pdf icon PDF 244 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the Executive of 31 May 2022 were presented by the Leader, Councillor Bialyk, and taken as read.  

 

In respect of Minute No. 57 (Appointments to Outside Bodies), the Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the recommendations and following a vote, the recommendations were carried unanimously.

 

In respect of Minute No. 59 (Exeter Skills Strategy) and during discussion the following points were made:-

 

·         the retrofit programme should be an important part of the Building Greater Exeter programme with an emphasis on using local building contractors and providing training opportunities for young people;

·         whilst Exeter had benefitted from the Government Levelling Up Funds of £1,4 million with Devon County Council receiving £3.1 million towards an Adult Numeracy Programme, additional support from the Government would be beneficial, for example in funding apprenticeship training between the ages of 16 and 18 in the same way as A level funding; and

·         greater encouragement should be given to Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SME’s) to take on apprenticeships.

 

The Leader referred to the following:-

 

·         the retrofit programme was an important ambition of the Council as, apart from transport, houses were the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases;

·         the Council was seeking, with the other Devon Districts, to create a Retrofit Company to extend retrofitting to private homes and it is the intention to submit a report on a feasibility study on setting up such a company to the Executive;

·         600 Council houses were to be brought up to Level B in the Government’s Standard Assessment Procedure for Energy Rating of Dwellings (SAP) by the end of the year;

·         the City Council had chosen to work with the University of Exeter and Exeter College to develop green construction skills in Exeter; and

·         local contractors were used in the construction of the eco-friendly St. Sidwell’s Point.

 

The Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the recommendations and following a vote, the recommendations were carried unanimously.

 

In respect of Minute No. 60 (New Statement of Community Involvement: Proposed Adoption), the Leader responded as follows to Members’ queries:-

 

·         the level of support for communities wishing to prepare a neighbourhood plan, similar to the St James’ Neighbourhood Plan, would be dependent on available resources within the Planning Department; and

·         issues raised on planning matters by residents of Topsham would be addressed.

 

The Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the recommendation and following a vote, the recommendation was carried.

 

In respect of Minute No. 62 (Summerland Street), the Leader, in response to a Member’s question, stated that, although it was not possible to predict the nature of occupants, co-living provided opportunities for Exeter residents to rent homes and that the forthcoming Local Plan would address issues of unit sizes of properties.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Executive held on 31 May 2022 be received and, where appropriate, adopted.

 

 

 

38.

Executive - 5 July 2022 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Executive of 5 July 2022 were presented by the Leader, Councillor Bialyk, and taken as read.  

 

In respect of Minute No. 66 (Proposed Changes and Re-Procurement of Outreach-Led Rough Sleeping Services), the Portfolio Holder for Communities and Homelessness Prevention responded as follows to Members’ queries:-

 

·         it would be sensible, if possible, to dovetail the re-procurement process with the review of homelessness currently being undertaken by the Homelessness Task and Finish Working Group and that he would respond further to the Member in writing on this matter; and

·         the widespread use of the “no fault” Section 21 Notice under the Housing Act 1988 by Landlords was the leading cause of the rise in homelessness and that, whilst those evicted did not necessarily become rough sleepers, it was highly regrettable that the Government was yet to implement its undertaking to outlaw this practice.

 

Another Member referred to the current Devon Home Choice Waiting List with approximately 3,000 people on the Exeter register (a small proportion of whom lived outside the city boundary) and the lack of Government funding to enable Councils to build more houses which was also contributing to the abhorrent rough sleeping crisis in the country. The Leader undertook to secure the support of Exeter’s two MP’s in contacting the relevant Government Minister to ensure that the Government honoured its pledge to outlaw this practice. 

 

The Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the recommendations and following a vote, the recommendations were carried unanimously.

 

In respect of Minute No. 67 (Allocation of the One Off Net Zero Budget), the Leader, in response to the following Member questions as to whether:-

 

·         the carbon and biodiversity impact of current and future Council policies would be assessed; and

·         a rigorous value for money exercise would be undertaken on all elements of the budget to ensure value for money,

 

would keep Members updated on the progress of the many initiatives within the budget as part of the Council’s commitment to achieving a greener city, a commitment which would be reflected in many of the policies embedded within the forthcoming Exeter Plan (the Local Plan)

 

The Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the recommendations and following a vote, the recommendations were carried.

 

In respect of Minute No. 68 (UK Shared Prosperity Fund), the Leader, responding to a Member’s request for decisions on how Exeter’s allocation of £1,403,000 would be utilised to be both accessible and transparent, confirmed that decisions on the use of the fund would be made by the Executive and that it was appropriate to consult the business community through the Liveable Exeter Place Board as the chosen consultative body. He also suggested that the Bus Station and St. Sidwell’s Point developments and Council plans for the Guildhall Shopping Centre were examples of Exeter undertaking its own Levelling up process.

 

The Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the recommendations and following a vote, the recommendations were carried.

 

In respect of Minute No. 70 (Progress  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Notice of Motion by Councillor Williams under Standing Order No. 6

Local Authority Remote/Hybrid Meetings

 

This Council notes that: 

 

On 5January 2022, the Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO) and Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) launched a petition calling on the Government to change the law to give Councils (ranging from County, Districts and Unitary Authorities, through to Town and Parish Councils) the freedom to hold remote meetings when local circumstances suit. This includes hybrid meetings.

 

This follows the unsuccessful High Court action in 2021 and the subsequent judgement that it was for Parliament to change the law not the courts - as indeed the devolved administrations have done in Wales and Scotland to allow for on-line meetings.

 

This Council believes that:

 

We do not wish to impose remote meetings on Exeter City Council, or indeed any Council. We should have the choice to decide how to run our meetings depending on local circumstances. We also accept that some meetings (for example full Council) are more suited to physical attendance.

 

You will be aware that the Government issued a call for evidence on 21 March 2021 in relation to remote meetings. We are still awaiting their response to the large number of submissions from local authorities, relevant organisations and the public.

 

The period of lockdown showed that remote meetings bring so many benefits to local democracy and residents, apart from the obvious public health safeguards. It is no longer just a response to Covid, although we are aware that some Councillors are still not able to attend meetings for health reasons either relating to them or their families.

 

The wider benefits are:

 

-        Increased attendances at remote meetings by both Councillors and the public

-        Significant cost savings for some Authorities arising from much less travel to meetings.

-        The environmental benefits of less travel, particularly in the large County authorities.

-        A better work-life balance.

-        Improved equality of access to meetings for all and opening up opportunities for more people to stand for election as Councillors.

-        More transparency and openness for the public to see Council meetings.

-        An option to move meetings online where there are constraints, for example bad weather such as snow or flooding.

 

The Council resolves:

 

To write to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to express our support for the petition launched by ADSO and LLG on 5 January 2022 with regard to remote and hybrid meetings. We call on the Government to change the law to allow Councils the flexibility to hold such meetings when they deem it appropriate within agreed rules and procedures.

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Williams, seconded by Councillor Wright, moved a Notice of Motion in the following terms:-

 

Local Authority Remote/Hybrid Meetings

 

This Council notes that: 

 

On 5January 2022, the Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO) and Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) launched a petition calling on the Government to change the law to give Councils (ranging from County, Districts and Unitary Authorities, through to Town and Parish Councils) the freedom to hold remote meetings when local circumstances suit. This includes hybrid meetings.

 

This follows the unsuccessful High Court action in 2021 and the subsequent judgement that it was for Parliament to change the law not the courts - as indeed the devolved administrations have done in Wales and Scotland to allow for on-line meetings.

 

This Council believes that:

 

We do not wish to impose remote meetings on Exeter City Council, or indeed any Council. We should have the choice to decide how to run our meetings depending on local circumstances. We also accept that some meetings (for example full Council) are more suited to physical attendance.

 

You will be aware that the Government issued a call for evidence on 21 March 2021 in relation to remote meetings. We are still awaiting their response to the large number of submissions from local authorities, relevant organisations and the public.

 

The period of lockdown showed that remote meetings bring so many benefits to local democracy and residents, apart from the obvious public health safeguards. It is no longer just a response to Covid, although we are aware that some Councillors are still not able to attend meetings for health reasons either relating to them or their families.

 

The wider benefits are:

 

-       Increased attendances at remote meetings by both Councillors and the public

-       Significant cost savings for some Authorities arising from much less travel to meetings.

-       The environmental benefits of less travel, particularly in the large County authorities.

-       A better work-life balance.

-       Improved equality of access to meetings for all and opening up opportunities for more people to stand for election as Councillors.

-       More transparency and openness for the public to see Council meetings.

-       An option to move meetings online where there are constraints, for example bad weather such as snow or flooding.

 

The Council resolves:

 

To write to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to express our support for the petition launched by ADSO and LLG on 5 January 2022 with regard to remote and hybrid meetings. We call on the Government to change the law to allow Councils the flexibility to hold such meetings when they deem it appropriate within agreed rules and procedures.

 

Councillor Rees moved and Councillor D. Moore seconded the following amendment:-

 

“The Council write to Exeter’s two MP’s to refer them to the early Day Motion 264 “Accessible Council Meetings””

 

In presenting the amendment, Councillor Rees stated that the Early Day Motion had been tabled at Parliament by Caroline Lucas MP on 11 July 2022.

 

Councillors Williams and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

Decision of the Council's Shareholder Representative for Exeter City Living Limited on the acquisition of residential units at the Guildhall Shopping Centre. pdf icon PDF 327 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive & Growth Director presented the report asking Members to note the decision he had made as the shareholder representative in respect of the Council’s wholly owned company Exeter City Living Limited and his decision for it to take an overriding lease of the Guildhall residential units from the Council in advance of the shopping centre acquisition.

 

The Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the noting of the report.