Agenda and draft minutes

Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee - Thursday 2nd December 2021 5.30 pm

Venue: Customer Service Centre, Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter

Contact: Howard Bassett, Democratic Services Officer  Telephone 01392 265107 or email  howard.bassett@exeter.gov.uk

Note: This meeting is open to the public and those addressing the Committee under the public speaking provisions, 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 committee.services@exeter.gov.uk in advance, as there is limited capacity for public attendance. Priority will be given to those addressing the Committee under the public speaking provisions 

Items
No. Item

26.

Chair

Minutes:

In the absence of the Chair, the meeting was chaired by the Deputy Chair, Councillor M. Mitchell.

 

 

27.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 422 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee held on 7 October 2021.

 

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee held on 7 October 2021 were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chair as correct.

 

28.

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.

 

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made by Members.

 

29.

Questions from the public under Standing Order No. 19

Details of questions should be notified to the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support via the committee.services@exeter.gov.uk email by 10.00am at least three working days prior to the meeting. For this meeting any questions must be submitted by 10.00am on Monday 29 November 2021.

 

For details about how to speak at Committee, please click the following link -  https://exeter.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/councillors-and-meetings/public-speaking-at-meetings/overview/

 

Minutes:

In accordance with Standing Order 19, a member of the public, Mr Peter Hill, had submitted the following question, which in Mr Hill’s absence had been tabled together with the answer.

 

Question

 

Since the Clear Streets Charter launch in 2018, pavement obstacles to the visually impaired have, undeniably, persisted. A Freedom of Information reply states there is no Charter implementation plan and no performance measures - i.e. no effective management of Charter aims. Why have the Charter commitments not been given dedicated resources?

 

Answer

 

The Clear Streets Charter was a collation of all of the duties and responsibilities that both the City Council and the County Council already had, in relation to keeping the streets safe for people of all abilities. This included pavement obstructions but also continued into other areas such as planning, licencing and designing new public spaces. Bringing all these duties and responsibilities together into one charter underlined the importance of these existing duties to both authorities and to the businesses and residents in the City.

 

To both the City and County Councils this is business as usual and so there is no need for a charter implementation or performance measures which overcomplicate the message. The message is simply that in all of our decisions and actions we need to consider the safety of all of our residents and visitors. The Charter does not need additional resources it just required embedding into all of our decision making. There will always be challenges and occasions where we need to take action over pavement obstacles but the Charter has proven to be a success. One such example of this is the involvement of the RNIB in the design of the new bus station from its inception to completion.

 

The Chair reported that he had submitted a request for a review of the Implementation of the Council’s Street Charter for Exeter for consideration by the Strategic Management Board and the Scrutiny Programme Board.

 

30.

To receive questions from Members of the Council under Standing Order No. 20

To receive questions from Members of the Council to the relevant Portfolio Holders for this Scrutiny Committee. The Portfolio Holders are:-

 

Councillor Harvey -     Portfolio Holder for Environment and City Management

Councillor Ghusain -   Portfolio Holder for Communities and Culture

Councillor Williams -   Portfolio Holder for Supporting People

Councillor Wright -      Portfolio Holder for Council Housing Development and Services

 

Advance questions from Members relating to the Portfolio Holders should be notified to the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support via the committee.services@exeter.gov.uk email by 10.00am on Monday 29 November 2021.

 

Minutes:

No questions had been received from Members under Standing Order No 20.

 

 

 

31.

Car Parks and Environmental Considerations pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To consider the report of the Engineering, Waterways and Parking Service Manager.

Presentation to follow.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair reported that at the meeting of the recent Combined Strategic and Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee when a number of work streams were discussed as part of the Medium Term Financial Plan, Councillors were asked to consider how they could be involved in the future development of the Council’s car parking service.

 

The Council’s Engineering, Waterways and Parking Service Manager, attended the meeting and took Members through an overview of the service setting out the number, location and condition of the Council’s car parks. The presentation provided detailed figures for each of the 49 car parks showing their type, the income for the last two years including income per bay and options for re-purposing. An annual surplus of £5,858,381 had been returned in 2019/20 compared with £1,093,970 for 2020/21.

 

The Council’s Engineering, Waterways and Parking Service Manager explained that the previous Council approach to car parking had been to aim the city centre car parks at short-stay shoppers with a pricing structure designed to encourage high turnover in sites with the more peripheral sites such as Triangle and Howell Road providing cheaper, long-stay parking for commuters, the emphasis being to facilitate as many cars as possible to boost the city centre economy. Regular, incremental tariff increases had followed as the Council sought to maximise income generation.

 

The intention of the current strategy was to reduce the number of cars travelling into the city centre, prevent congestion within the central area by encouraging drivers, where possible, to walk a longer last leg of their journey and to encourage a longer dwell time in central car parks so that the shopping public also saw the High Street as a place to visit at leisure to eat and drink. Increasing, or at least maintaining, car park income was also a goal.

 

The current parking stock was being reviewed to ascertain where it might be prudent to either re-purpose or re-develop current car parks

 

The presentation set out the current tariffs with the following suggested as potential options for the way forward:-

 

·         extend the charging period;

·         introduce flat-rate overnight charging;

·         introduce ‘Dynamic’ charging which could seek to levy an additional fee on top of the usual parking tariff for those arriving or leaving a car park during designated ‘rush hour’ periods. The aim being to smooth out peak travel times;

·         reduce Blue Badge concession;

·         re-classify some ‘Local’ car parks;

·         introduce charging in current ‘free’ car parks;

·         all the above estimated to deliver an additional £300,000;

·         any tariff changes would require a lead in period of eight weeks, once Council approval confirmed;

·         enforcement and compliance; and

·         competitors meet market demand.

 

(A copy of the presentation is attached to the minutes)

 

The Director and the Council’s Engineering, Waterways and Parking Service Manager responded to Members’ queries:-

 

·         £8.8 million would have been a predicted income generation without the Covid Pandemic at an occupancy level of 86%. Confidence was returning and a 75% level was anticipated for 2022/23. However, maintaining current tariff levels would result in a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Forward Plan of Business

Please see for noting a link to the schedule of future business proposed for the Council which can be viewed on the Council’s web site -

https://exeter.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/councillors-and-meetings/forward-plan-of-executive-decisions/

 

Should Members wish to raise issues in respect of future business please notify Howard Bassett in advance of the meeting.

 

 

Minutes:

Members noted the Forward Plan.