Venue: Guildhall, High Street, Exeter
Contact: Mark Devin, Democratic Services Manager Telephone 01392 265477 or email email@example.com
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Ellis-Jones, Leadbetter, Miller, Morse, Sparling, Warwick and Wood.
To approve and sign the minutes of the Ordinary and Extraordinary meetings held on 18 July 2023 and the Extraordinary meeting on 8 August 2023.
The minutes of the Ordinary and Extraordinary meetings of the Council held on 18 July 2023 and of the Extraordinary meeting held on 8 August 2023 were moved by the Leader, Councillor Bialyk and seconded by Councillor Wright taken as read, approved and signed as correct.
The Lord Mayor advised that he had attended the following:-
· a visit to the University of Exeter Summer Graduation Ceremony on 19 July 2023;
· the formal reopening on 20 July 2023 of the Guildhall Jury Room after three years of work, which was used for its first function later that week;
· the Force Charity Event on 25 July 2023;
· the Multi-Cultural Sports Fest at the ISCA Academy on 26 August 2023;
· the dinner in honour of the retirement of the Lord Bishop of Exeter on 7 August 2023;
· several visits to teams within the Council including a Home Visit to the outstanding Edwards Court facility on 10 August 2023, the Harbour Master and Harbour Patrollers team on 17 August 2023 and the Green Spaces team on 14 September 2023;
· the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and the Fire and Police Headquarters at Middlemoor Station as part of the 999 Emergency Day on the weekend of 7 and 8 September 2023;
· the St. David’s Players performance of The Sorcerer at The Barnfield Theatre on 4 October 2023; and
· meeting with Mayor Senn of the City of Laurens, South Carolina who was visiting Exeter and who was provided a tour of the Guildhall and a visit to Exeter Cathedral. On behalf of the city, the Lord Mayor had received the key to the city of Laurens.
The Lord Mayor thanked the Deputy Lord Mayor and the past Lord Mayor for attending other events on his behalf.
Details of questions should be notified to the Democratic Services Manager at least three working days prior to the meeting - by 10am on Thursday 12 October 2023. 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.
The Lord Mayor reported the receipt of questions from members of the public.
Question from Carol Finning
The City Council is responsible for the monitoring of air quality in Exeter and the Devon County Council Active Street Trial has air quality comparison as a success measure. We know some roads affected do not have measures. How will you plug the gap ensuring comparable data and will the City Council or Devon County Council pay for increased monitoring?
The Portfolio Holder for Corporate and Democratic Services and Environmental Health reported that it was not possible to measure air pollution on every road within Heavitree and around the trial area where traffic flows may be expected to be altered. The City Council implements national guidance in choosing locations that are representative of worst case exposure and where exceedences of the objectives are most likely to occur. Officers are confident that the current monitoring network includes locations which will allow them to continue to undertake the Council’s statutory duties in respect of assessing compliance with the air quality objectives.
Additional monitoring is proposed along the Heavitree corridor, as part of a separate City Council project. This is funded by grant monies from DEFRA and has previously been reported on to Executive Committee. This data will be made available to Devon County Council to use for appraisal of the trial scheme. The City Council is not funding any further monitoring beyond this.
In asking a supplementary question, Carol Finning stated that the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee report had referred to a 27% increase in traffic on some arterial roads and therefore was it not important to measure air quality on these roads?
The Portfolio Holder for Corporate and Democratic Services and Environmental Health, in responding, reiterated that it was not possible to measure air pollution on every road within Heavitree. The Council was installing monitors using funding from DEFRA and matched by the City Council which would go some way to address the issue.
Question from Clive Hutchings
Can Exeter City Council confirm that Exeter Council Tax payers will not be picking up any costs for the policing of the current Active Street Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) trial particularly any new Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera installations at the temporary bus gates?
The Leader reported that the City Council had no powers with respect to enforcement for highway matters and would not therefore be picking up the cost of policing of the current Active Street LTN.
Mr Hutchings asked a supplementary question as to whether the Council would pick up the costs of the temporary bus gates.
The Leader advised that it was not a matter for the Council to fund the gates.
Question from Ian Frankum
Your data shows East Wonford Hill is the most polluted in Exeter, exceeding 40mg of Carbon Dioxide two years consecutively. Given this fact, does the Council agree that any wilful decisions that increases traffic and pollution on this arterial road, jeopardising the ... view the full minutes text for item 54.
The minutes of the Planning Committee of 31 July 2023 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Knott, and taken as read.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Planning Committee held on 31 July 2023 be received.
The minutes of the Planning Committee of 4 September 2023 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Knott, and taken as read.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Planning Committee held on 4 September 2023 be received.
The minutes of the Licensing Committee of 12 September 2023 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Asvachin, and taken as read.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 12 September 2023 be received.
The minutes of the Strategic Scrutiny Committee of 21 September 2023 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Atkinson, and taken as read.
In respect of Minute No. 67 (Scrutiny Work Plan and Forward Plan of Business), the Chair advised that the recommendation to Council was inaccurate. She explained the reasons for this and put forward an alternative recommendation. Councillor M. Mitchell, on a point of order, stated that the original recommendation in the minutes was a correct record.
The Lord Mayor ruled that the wording of Minute No 67 should be referred back to the next meeting of the Strategic Scrutiny Committee for the Committee to determine the accuracy or otherwise of the minute.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Strategic Scrutiny Committee held on 21 September 2023 be received.
The minutes of the Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee of 5 October 2022 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Vizard, and taken as read.
In respect of Minute No. 27 (Questions from Members of the Council under Standing Order No. 20), the Portfolio Holder for Place and City Management advised that she would respond to the query from a Member regarding the number of reports received relating to missed bins and food waste collections. In response to a query in respect of targets for food waste collection, she reported that food waste collection had now been rolled out to a third of Exeter properties. The amount of waste recycled was 278 kg per head per household per annum putting Exeter in the top ten authorities in the UK and top in Devon. A report would be submitted to the Executive on the upgrading of the Materials Recycling Facility, in line with Environment Agency requirements, which would help improve targets further.
Responding to a query from another Member, she advised that mechanisms were in place for residents and Members to feedback information on litter bin locations and that all ward Councillors had been consulted on the proposed changes. There remained 645 litter bins across the city and the change to the strategy enabled more litter picking to be undertaken.
Members made the following points:-
· there were licensing constraints and practical and logistical barriers which impacted on waste collection around the city; and
· figures for waste collection also reflected the lower rate of garden waste in comparison to rural districts, although Exeter still compared favourably.
The Chair advised that a full update on the service would be made to the February Scrutiny Committee meeting.
In respect of Minute No. 29 (Homelessness Strategy), Members made the following points:-
· the problem of homelessness was very evident around the city and was appearing to get worse and therefore the need for sufficient funding to provide for 100 units of supported accommodation for rough sleepers and young people was vital; and
· it was hoped that all national political parties would recognise the need to change the Local Housing Allowance which was the most important factor in holding people back from securing decent housing.
The Chair moved and Councillor Hannaford seconded the recommendations and following a vote, the recommendations were carried unanimously.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee held on 5 October 2023 be received and, where appropriate, adopted.
The minutes of the Audit and Governance Committee of 26 July 2023 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Wardle, and taken as read.
In respect of Minute No. 51 (Annual Audit Governance Statement 2022/23), Councillor Wardle moved and Councillor Jobson seconded the following amendment to point (2) of the recommendation:-
(2) a request for the Executive or appropriate body to provide an explanation of the reasons for disbanding the Governance Review Board, to consider the reinstatement of the Board and for the minutes of the meetings to be published.
The Leader referred to the reason for the inception of the Board and its purpose and confirmed that a report would be submitted to Executive as had been the original intention.
The motion was voted upon and carried unanimously as amended.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Audit and Governance Committee held on 26 July 2023 be received.
The minutes of the Audit and Governance Committee of 27 September 2023 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Wardle, and taken as read.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Audit and Governance Committee held on 27 September 2023 be received.
The minutes of the Strata Joint Scrutiny Committee of 27 June 2023 were presented by Councillor Knott, and taken as read.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Strata Joint Scrutiny Committee held on 27 June 2023 be received.
The minutes of the Exeter Harbour Board of 25 September 2023 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Williams, and taken as read.
In respect of Minute No. 57 (Exeter Port User Group Update), and in response to a question regarding the concerns of the Exeter Port Users Group about lack of information regarding harbour dues following the Harbour Revision Order, the Portfolio Holder for Place and City Management provided reassurances that there were no plans to charge canoeists, kayakers and paddle boarders to use the waters of the River Exe and the Canal following passing of the Harbour Revision Order. She further advised that this position had been widely advertised.
In respect of Minute No. 58 (Exeter Ship Canal and Heritage Harbour Route Map), and in response to a question about how the Harbour Board proposed to link with the Friends of the Ship Canal and Exeter Canal and Quay Trust Ltd. in order to progress the Heritage Harbour Route map for the good of the city of Exeter, the Chair advised that she was in regular touch with the Chair of the Exeter Ship Canal and the Harbour Master and that she and the Harbour Master attended both the Heritage Harbour Group and the Exeter Canal and Quay Trust Ltd. meetings. She further stated that the Harbour Board would be holding a Visioning Day in January 2024 to discuss the route map.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Exeter Harbour Board held on 25 September 2023 be received.
The minutes of the Executive of 5 September 2023 were presented by the Leader, Councillor Bialyk, and taken as read.
In respect of Minute No. 83 (Review of the Corporate Risk Register), the Leader, in response to a Member’s request for the inclusion in the register of a fuller analysis of risks relating to climate change and carbon reduction, advised that he would discuss this with officers to see if it would be appropriate and beneficial.
In respect of Minute No. 84 (Council Tax Exemption for Care Leavers), Members made the following points:-
· work on this important change for care leavers had been ongoing for some two years in collaboration with the County Council and Devon Districts, also involving the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities and Homelessness Prevention and the Portfolio Holder for Council Housing Development and Support Services;
· the role of the Council and others as corporate parents was vital to support young, often vulnerable, care leavers by reducing Council Tax liabilities to enable them to progress in other areas such as employment and securing housing; and
· whilst the unified County wide scheme would commence in April 2024, the City Council’s contribution was effective up to the end of March and then from April onwards.
the Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the recommendation and following a vote, the recommendation was carried unanimously.
In respect of Minute No. 85 (Members’ Training), a Member praised the level of Member attendance at the 18 training events held since May 2023 and thanked the officers for delivering the training.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Executive held on 5 September 2023 be received and, where appropriate, adopted.
The minutes of the Executive of 5 October 2023 were presented by the Leader, Councillor Bialyk, and taken as read.
In respect of Minute No. 89 (Overview of General Fund Revenue Budget 2023/24 - Quarter 1), the Leader, in response to Members’ queries regarding identified risks that not all areas would meet the income generating targets, including the potential loss of car parking income, advised that he, with all Portfolio Holders, reviewed budget performance at weekly meetings including ongoing assessment of future budgets. Regarding car parks, he referred to changing social habits such as working from home which could impact on income from this source.
The Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the recommendations and following a vote, the recommendations were carried.
In respect of Minute No. 90 (2023/24 General Fund Capital Monitoring Statement - Quarter 1) the Leader, in response to a Member’s query regarding whether sufficient progress was being made on outstanding projects rather than taking on new projects, suggested that, notwithstanding the ability to identify specific preferred projects which could be progressed at the expense of others, it was still necessary to operate within financial constraints. The quarterly reports to Executive set out progress on all projects.
The Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the recommendations and following a vote, the recommendations were carried.
In respect of Minute No. 91 (2023/24 HRA Budget Monitoring Report – Quarter 1), the Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the recommendations and following a vote, the recommendations were carried.
In respect of Minute No. 92 (Net Zero Exeter Update), Councillor Moore moved and Councillor M. Mitchell seconded the following two additional recommendations:-
(1) Council reaffirms its commitment to tackling climate change and the goal of Net Zero for the city and to work collaboratively with communities, other organisations and local business to achieve this; and
(2) Review of the Net Zero Plan 2030 with stakeholders and communities to prioritise those actions most impactful and develop a delivery plan.
Councillor Moore, in speaking to the amendment to the recommendations, made the following points:-
· the additions were to strengthen the proposals being put forward;
· whilst reference is made to the city’s institutions also working on the Net Zero target, it is essential that communities, charities and other businesses are involved in this challenge to work on solutions with the existing partners; and
· the second amendment sets out a constructive way of moving forward by prioritising actions that can be most impactful allied to an action plan.
During the discussion the following points were made:-
· the amendments did not add anything substantive to the recommendation;
· there was a concern that, whilst not disagreeing with the initial four recommendations, their tone might not convince the public that sufficient progress was being made to achieve the Council’s Net Zero 2030 goal. The additions were therefore sought to enhance the Council’s aspirations.
The amendment was put to the vote and LOST.
During the discussion on the original recommendations the following points were ... view the full minutes text for item 65.
Notice of Motion by Councillor Ketchin under Standing Order No. 6
This Council notes:
Councillor Ketchin, seconded by Councillor Read, moved a Notice of Motion in the following terms:-
This Council notes:
1. That while there is a general downward trend in air pollution Exeter has areas of poor air quality. Air pollution in parts of the city regularly exceed the limits for NO2 set by both national legislation and the World Health Organisation. Much of this pollution derives from emissions from vehicles.
2. That the Royal College of Physicians estimates that 40,000 deaths a year are linked to air pollution with engine idling contributing to this.
3. That Government guidance as early as 2018 and reiterated annually since states that: "Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK.” That every minute, an idling car produces enough exhaust emissions to fill 150 balloons with harmful chemicals, including cyanide, NOx and PM2.5. The microscopic pollutants can result in a range of health problems - from heart and lung disease to strokes and cancer and have been shown to be particularly damaging to children.
4. That idling increases the amount of exhaust fumes in the air. These fumes contain a number of harmful gases including carbon dioxide, which is bad for the environment and contributes towards climate change, as well as a range of other harmful gases including nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons which are linked to asthma and other lung diseases.
5. That the Department of Transport stated in 2019 that « Putting a stop to idling is an easy way to drive down dangerously high levels of pollution, reducing its impact on the environment and our health. »
6. That Exeter city Council has declared an area of the city to be an Air Quality Management Area, and the Council states it is « taking steps to reduce air pollution. » and that Exeter City Council’s Air Quality Action Plan is due for review in 2024 having run since 2018.
7. That air pollution has a very significant impact on health, quality of life and mortality. That air pollution has a disproportionate impact on the health of children, vulnerable adults and the socially disadvantaged. That Public Health England states « Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution. Exposure to air pollution in early life can have a long-lasting effect on lung function. There is evidence that the process of normal lung function growth in children is suppressed by long-term exposure to air pollution. »
8. That the government's health standards body the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has since 2017 recommended action to reduce idling as a significant measure to improve air quality. That each incremental improvement in air quality delivers immediate health benefits.
9. That Public Health England recommends that « local authorities, as part of their local Review of interventions to improve outdoor air quality and public health 15 air quality management assessments, consider a range of interventions including working with children and their parents ... view the full minutes text for item 66.
Questions from Members of the Council under Standing Order No. 8
In accordance with Standing Order No. 8, the following question was put by Councillor Bennett to the Leader
Will the Leader confirm what actions the Council and the relevant Portfolio Holder are taking to support Devon County Council regarding the Heavitree and Whipton Active Streets trial to ensure the best outcomes for the city and its residents, to tackle the climate emergency and air pollution and to make Exeter a city where safe active travel can be a reality?
Officers, the Portfolio Holder and many elected Members from Exeter City Council attended the public engagement events in Heavitree and Whipton during August and September. This involved listening to around 2,000 local residents over four events. All would continue to listen to residents’ views and would await the findings of the review of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) trial.
Councillor Bennett, asked a supplementary question as to whether the Leader would support the residents of Heavitree and Whipton as part of the LTN project in the same manner as the support given to the County Council during the Newtown Travel Campaign?
The Leader responded that the Active Streets proposals as part of the Live and Move initiative in the Newtown area was a separate issue being developed with Sport England, details of which would come forward in due course. There was no influence on the LTN trial at this stage other than through City Council Members on Devon County Council’s Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee.
In accordance with Standing Order No. 8, the following questions were put by Councillor Ketchin to the Leader
Are the valuations only for the land sold to Exeter City Living or will the valuation also include the green space, ski slope and golf driving range which are still owned by the City Council?
Officers are preparing a range of valuations to give Members all the information required to make an informed decision. It is not the role of officers to self-censor the information that Members see when taking a decision. Decisions around future Affordable Housing provision is a matter for the Planning Authority to determine as and when a new scheme comes forward.
Will the Council ensure that 35% of the housing on the site is affordable in line with the Council’s own planning policy?
Decisions around future Affordable Housing provision is a matter for the Planning Authority to determine as and when a new scheme comes forward. The Council policy is 35% affordable housing, including social housing, but will depend on the Section 106 Agreement as part of any development.
Will the homes still be built to passivhaus standard?
Decisions around future design standards is a matter for the Planning Authority to determine as and when a new scheme comes forward.
Can you confirm that the site will only be sold for development of housing for long term residential occupancy?
Officers are preparing a range of valuations to give Members all the information required to make ... view the full minutes text for item 67.
The Lord Mayor reported that this would be Howard Bassett’s (Democratic Services Officer) last Council meeting prior to his retirement.
The Lord Mayor, Council Leader and Members thanked Howard for his long service to the Council and wished him well on his retirement.