Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter
Contact: Howard Bassett, Democratic Services Officer Telephone 01392 265107 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: This meeting is open to the public and those addressing the Council under the public speaking provisions in agenda item 1, but because of current social distancing restrictions brought about by the Corona Virus outbreak, any members of the public wishing to attend the meeting should contact the Democratic Services Team email@example.com in advance, as there is limited capacity for public attendance. Priority will be given to those addressing the Council under the public speaking provisions.
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Buswell, Ghusain, Leadbetter, Martin, J. Moore, Newby and Quance.
The Lord Mayor passed on her condolences, and those of Council Members, to the family and friends of former Exeter City Councillor Lee Mottram. He had passed away at the weekend following a battle with cancer. He had served as a Conservative Councillor representing the Duryard ward from 2010 to 2015.
Councillor Sutton spoke of her memories of Lee who, like her, had been elected to the City Council on the same day on 10 September 2010. She recalled how Lee had used his professional expertise as a landscape gardener to ask probing questions at Committees. Councillor Sutton referred to his great sense of humour and highlighted his support to her at a difficult time and how he had raised money for a cancer charity in a bike ride to Paris. It was a great sadness that he had himself fallen victim to cancer at a young age and she passed on her heartfelt condolences to his wife and family.
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 Monday 7 March 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.
The Lord Mayor reported the receipt of a question from a member of the public.
Question from Cynthia Thompson to Councillor Bialyk, Leader.
Mrs Thompson was unable to be present and her question was read out by the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support.
Is the Section 151 Officer able to say how the Intra Loans and any transfer of land made by Exeter City Council to its private development company/subsidiary private companies are not perceived as a distribution of assets and, to date, what amount is owed to Exeter City Council by its private development company?
Exeter City Living is a 100% wholly owned subsidiary of the Council. Any transfer of land at an under-value would increase the value of the investment in the Company by that amount thus not creating a distribution. From a Corporation Tax point of view, Local Authorities sit outside the Corporation Tax regime and therefore this is not applicable.
However, it is important to note two things:-
· where land is sold at an undervalue, it is likely to need Secretary of State approval (as in the case of Clifton Hill) and there is a wider public benefit consideration; and
· all loans are transacted using state aid indicated rates of interest and therefore there is no distribution of assets.
The value of debt outstanding was £8.926 million.
Notice of Motion by Councillor Bialyk under Standing Order No. 6
That this Exeter City Council, condemns and cannot condone the actions of the Russian Government in invading the independent sovereign state of Ukraine. This Council condemns all acts of aggression against any state against another and its people.
This Council resolves:-
- That Exeter stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and the Council agrees to immediately suspend its civic relationship with Yaroslavl;
- That it be noted that the Leader of the Council will write to Vadym Prystaiko, the Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, offering the City’s support for the people of Ukraine in these difficult times;
- That it be noted that the Leader of the Council has written to the Home Secretary advising her that Exeter has always been a City which welcomes refugees from all over the world in their hour of need, and it would support the acceptance of Ukrainian refugees and urges the UK Government to consider an urgent review into the criteria to be applied to those Ukrainian citizens who are seeking asylum in the UK.
- That appropriate arrangements be made, in co-operation with Inclusive Exeter, to extend and engage support for the Ukrainian community in Exeter.
The Leader, Councillor Bialyk, seconded by Councillor Packham, moved a Notice of Motion in the following terms:-
“That this Exeter City Council, condemns and cannot condone the actions of the Russian Government in invading the independent sovereign state of Ukraine. This Council condemns all acts of aggression against any state against another and its people.
This Council resolves that:-
· Exeter stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and the Council agrees to immediately suspend its civic relationship with Yaroslavl;
· it be noted that the Leader of the Council will write to Vadym Prystaiko, the Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, offering the City’s support for the people of Ukraine in these difficult times;
· it be noted that the Leader of the Council has written to the Home Secretary advising her that Exeter has always been a City which welcomes refugees from all over the world in their hour of need, and it would support the acceptance of Ukrainian refugees and urges the UK Government to consider an urgent review into the criteria to be applied to those Ukrainian citizens who are seeking asylum in the UK; and
· appropriate arrangements be made, in co-operation with Inclusive Exeter, to extend and engage support for the Ukrainian community in Exeter.”
Councillor K. Mitchell moved an amendment in the following terms:-
“Exeter City Council supports efforts within Local Government to divest from Russian investments/assets and will seek to encourage other local authorities to do so.”
Councillor D. Moore seconded the amendment.
Councillor Bialyk accepted the amendment for inclusion in the Notice of Motion, which became the substantive motion.
In presenting the Motion, Councillor Bialyk, as Leader, referred with pride to his Ukrainian heritage and how he, with others, had responded with great horror, two weeks ago, to the news of the invasion of this independent country by the Russian Government.
At a vigil held in Bedford Square he had spoken to Russian members of the Exeter Yaroslavl Twinning Association who were also expressing their concerns and opposition to the invasion. The intention to suspend the civic relationship with Exeter’s twin city was to emphasise to the authorities in Yaroslavl that Exeter wished to show its solidarity with the people of the Ukraine and opposed the attempt to conquer a democratic country. He also emphasised that it was not a direct protest to the people of Yaroslavl with whom many warm relationships had been enjoyed by Exeter citizens over the years.
He referred to the genuine outpouring of emotion and the wonderful response he had received from the citizens of Exeter and beyond offering their support. Many groups and organisations in the city had been galvanised to assist and some individuals were already providing assistance to Ukrainians at its borders with its neighbouring countries. Inclusive Exeter, the Lord Mayor’s Charity, was taking a leading role in this work, and he encouraged all to assist where possible.
In referring to the adversities suffered by Ukraine during World War II, he stated that the current ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
Questions from Members of the Council Under Standing Order No. 8
In accordance with Standing Order No. 8, the following questions had been put by Councillor D. Moore to the Leader
1 can the costs to date for the development of the business case for the proposed residential property company be confirmed?; and
2 can an estimate be given of the expected cost for the production of the full business plan for this proposed company?
As both questions related to Minute Number 43 of the Executive Committee meeting of 28 February 2022, the minutes of which were on the agenda for this Extraordinary Council meeting, both questions would be taken at that point in the meeting.
The minutes of the Executive of 28 February 2022 were presented by the Leader, Councillor Bialyk, and taken as read.
In respect of Minute No. 37 (Urgent Decision – Exeter City Council’s Response to the Devon Climate Citizens Assembly), the Leader, replying to a Member’s belief that the City Council’s letter in response to the resolutions of the Devon Climate Assembly was incorrect with regard to the fact that the Council is upgrading council house homes to the PAS 2035 retrofit standard not the Passive house retrofit standard known as EnerPHit, undertook to correct any inaccuracy.
Councillor Wood declared a non-pecuniary interest and left the meeting during consideration of the following item.
In respect of Minute No. 38 (Pinhoe Community Hub Business Proposal), the Portfolio Holder for City Management stated that the reference in the minute to the Pinhoe Hub Trustees having raised £750,000 towards the project was incorrect. The Trustees had, instead, made a commitment to match fund Council support for the project. He added that the Hub was a community led project arising from the need to maintain a library service for the area and in response to the significant increase in housing numbers in recent years.
The Leader, in response to a Member’s enquiry relating to questions submitted by another Member at the Executive, advised that:-
· he would speak with the Member in respect of whether the Council would assist with ongoing running costs if these could not be raised from others sources as this was an issue to be addressed as the Business Case was brought forward; and
· he would obtain information relating to the ownership of the existing Library land.
The Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the recommendations and following a vote, the recommendations were carried.
In respect of Minute No. 40 (Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985 – Exclusion of Press and Public), the Lord Mayor reminded Members that an objection had been received in relation to Minutes 42 and 43, being considered under Part 2. She advised that Members should have regard to the representations made and the Council’s written response, as set out in the Executive Agenda, dated 28 February 2022, when making a decision as to whether to move to Part 2.
The Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the recommendation that, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of Minutes 41, 42 and 43 on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part I, of Schedule 12A of the Act.
Following a vote, the recommendation was carried.
The Director Corporate Services declared an interest in Minute Numbers 42 and 43 below as a Director of Exeter City Living and the Exeter City Group and left the meeting during consideration of the following items.
In respect of Minute No. 41 (Hamlin Gardens Housing Scheme), a ... view the full minutes text for item 9.