Agenda and minutes

Strategic Scrutiny Committee - Thursday 16th November 2023 5.30 pm

Venue: Rennes Room, Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter. View directions

Contact: Sharon Sissons, Democratic Services Officer  Tel: 01392 265115 or email

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To approve and sign the minutes of the Strategic Scrutiny Committee held on 21 September 2023. 



The minutes of the meeting held on 21 September 2023 were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chair as correct, subject to the amendment that Minute 67 was a resolved matter.



Declaration 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.




Councillor Read declared a Discloseable Pecuniary Interest, as having sought to ask  a question under Minute 73 (Full Draft Exeter Plan Consultation), she had an interest as a Member of the Exeter Canal and Quay Trust (ECQT) and withdrew from the room, whilst the matter was raised by Councillor Moore.



Questions from Members of the Public Under Standing Order No.19

Details of questions should be notified to the Democratic Services Manager via the 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 13th November 2023.


For details about how to speak at Committee, please click the following link -






There were no questions submitted by the public.


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 reporting to this Scrutiny Committee are:-


Councillor Bialyk -       Leader

Councillor Morse -      Portfolio Holder City Development

Councillor Parkhouse Portfolio Holder Climate and Ecological Crisis

Councillor Wood -       Portfolio Holder Leisure Services and Physical Activity

Councillor Wright -      Portfolio Holder, Culture and City Centre Strategy


Advance questions from Members relating to the Portfolio Holders above should be notified to the Democratic Services Manager.





In accordance with Standing Order No. 20, the following questions were submitted by Councillor Moore in relation to the Portfolios of Councillors Bialyk, Morse and also Councillor Pearce who attended the meeting. The questions were circulated at the meeting to Members of the Committee. The responses of the Portfolio Holders are set out in italics below: –




Questions from Councillor Moore


How advanced is the work undertake by ECL on the scheme to redevelop Mary Arches? 


The work was at the Feasibility stage and the Director City Development will be able to provide further detail. A report on the Disposal of various sites would be presented to the forthcoming Executive meeting.


How much did the council pay ECL for this work?


The Director City Development would provide the information to the Leader, but unfortunately it was not yet available. There will be information on an overall cost for this in due course.


Councillor Moore asked a supplementary question, whether the Leader would involve the Ward Councillors in the discussions on the Feasibility work before it was reported to the Executive. The Leader said that Ward Members along with all Members and residents will be consulted in accordance with the Consultation Charter.


How advanced is the feasibility work on the Southgate Liveable Exeter site? 


The project was now at Stage 2 Feasibility.


Councillor Moore asked a supplementary question relating to the advanced feasibility stage, which was beyond a vision and concept and asked if Ward Members would be involved in the discussion. The Leader advised that appropriate Ward Members would be contacted for any of the sites in the city.


How much did the council pay ECL and third parties for this work?


The overall picture will be available with a report to the Executive on the disposal of land.


Councillor Moore asked a supplementary question, if the figures would be available after the meeting. The Leader stated they were not currently available.


QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS UNDER SO20 TO CLLR MORSE (Portfolio Holder City Development). 


Question from Councillor Moore


In light of the National Audit office report on resilience to flooding - will the Portfolio holder ask the Environment Agency for an assessment of the implications of these findings and their impact on Exeter and the development of the local plan? 


The City Council has involved the Environment Agency in detailed discussions during the preparation of the Full Draft Exeter Plan. This has included inputs into site appraisal, policy preparation and evidence, while the EA have provided formal responses to the consultations which have been held previously. The EA have also been proactively involved in the work on the Liveable Water Lane Supplementary Planning Document. The City Council would expect responses from the Environment Agency on the consultations for the Full Draft Exeter Plan and the Liveable Water Lane SPD; the EA would draw on appropriate policy, evidence, research and flood modelling as they see fit. The City Council is also working  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71.


Portfolio Holder report - Councillor Wood pdf icon PDF 164 KB

To receive the report of the Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Physical Activity.



Councillor Wood as Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Physical Activity reported on the respective areas of his Portfolio, which detailed the Council’s published priorities, major ongoing programmes of work, issues impacting delivery, financial performance and budget requirements and potential changes being considered.


He highlighted the key elements of his portfolio which included the Live and Move work, carried out in partnership with Sport England and a number of key stakeholders across the city as well as the Leisure Service with the many challenges faced.


The following responses to Members were given by the Portfolio Holder:-


·    funding opportunities from Government had changed with bids invited on a competitive basis. As stated in the Portfolio Holder report, a recent funding bid in respect of reducing the carbon impact and improving sustainability for swimming pools had been unsuccessful. Northbrook Pool would have been an ideal beneficiary, as investment had already been made at the Riverside Leisure Centre and the passivehaus St Sidwells Point facility.  Although a second tranche of funding had opened, the criteria had not changed and the bid was deemed likely to have the same result. The Leisure team were adept at identifying funding opportunities, and making bids but there needed to be a good chance of success to warrant further staff time and effort.

·         the pool at the Riverside was a key asset and function for the western side of the city. There had been significant investment at the Centre after the fire and there were no plans to close that facility.  Improvement work has taken place to address issues on the roof, which was divided into three sections, to both strengthen and make more waterproof with just a joining section of the roof to complete.

·         the work of Leisure Services and the Live and Move teams was interconnected and efforts continued with Sport England to engage those harder to reach individuals to encourage physical activity which was the core focus and function of the Live and Move Strategy.

·         communicating the overall message of culture, lifestyle and fitness through the Council’s Communications teams as well as the Leisure Communications team and the Council’s newspaper, the Citizen had been successful. The popular Pay As You Go app runs alongside the monthly membership offer and the numbers using the city’s leisure centres on a daily basis was testament to the quality of the service offered.  Statistics have shown that there was still some work as part of the Live and Move strategy shows there was still some work to do with those people who might have limited time and resources. In response to a further question on developing a more interactive or tailored experience for the individual, the Service Lead Leisure, Culture and Tourism advised that the gym equipment in the Leisure Centres was linked to the My Fitness, My Wellbeing app, with data collected to feed into the Live and Move Strategy.  Further work was being undertaken to improve the data collection.

·         referencing the data company Deep Green, and a link  ...  view the full minutes text for item 72.


Full Draft Exeter Plan Consultation pdf icon PDF 5 MB

To consider the report of the Director City Development.


Councillor Read having sought to ask a question in relation to a strategy declared a disclosable pecuniary interest as a trustee of Exeter Canal and Quay Trust (ECQT) and withdrew from the room, whilst another Member sought the information.


The Assistant Service Lead (Local Plan) presented the report which explained the progress made on the Exeter Plan (Local Plan) and made a presentation which was attached to the minutes. He explained the content of the Full Draft of the plan which is out for public consultation between 23 October 2023 and 15 January 2024.  


The Chair reminded Members that the report was about the Local Plan consultation process and not a scrutiny of the Local Plan.


The Assistant Service Lead (Local Plan) advised that the team had been working on the Plan since 2021, when suggestions were made for development sites in the city. They consulted last year and had been reviewing the 3,500 responses and appraising further sites which were proposed during consultation. This current process is the third public consultation and covers the full Draft Plan.

This work now included a large number of policies and strategies which direct the Plan. The six, strategic, brownfield sites identified had changed slightly but were still based on the sites in the Exeter Liveable initiative. The sites included in the plan were residential, employment or mixed use. They had also published a proposals map of all of the policies in the plan.


The presentation covered the detail of the Plan and he highlighted number of matters associated with the Plan.  The identification of the strategic brownfield sites offered a sustainable strategy for the city. This offered an opportunity to meet the housing needs in sustainable locations and regenerate areas of the city. The challenges of developing brownfield sites were varied and included existing uses on site with multiple ownership and areas of contaminated land, the heritage setting of the city and the viability of the development. The current brownfield approach is a change from the previous plans which included large areas of greenfield development on the edge of the city.


There were significant challenges in delivering the evidence to support the Plan and to support the end of the process. The consultation was running for 12 weeks and was being run in accordance with the Consultation Charter and the Planning Statement of Community Involvement. There were a number of exhibitions and meetings with stake holder meetings and community groups running alongside an advertising and social media campaign. The next steps will include an assessment of the responses received and the Plan will come back to the Strategic Scrutiny Committee in March to provide an analysis of the responses. The team will put together more evidence and revise the Plan before further consultation next autumn as part of the formal Regulation 19 process and the publication of the Final Draft Plan. A more formal consultation will be run in a year’s time.


The Assistant Service Lead (Local Plan) responded to the following  ...  view the full minutes text for item 73.


Live and Move Programme Update pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider the report of the Director of Culture, Leisure and Tourism

and Service Lead – Active & Healthy People.

Additional documents:


The Service Lead Active and Healthy People presented the report which provided a further update from March 2023 for Members on work undertaken and planned under the Live and Move Strategy, across Exeter and Cranbrook, with the aim of increasing health inequality and physical activity. The report also provided an opportunity to highlight the Council’s programme of work around physical activity and well-being in local communities, an update on the Sport England delivery pilot and an explanation of a focus and data collected from survey work carried out over the last 12 months to highlight the work in the city The team had embarked on a process to extend their work with Sports England, making an application for funding until March 2028.

A combination of the report and a background presentation (attached to the minutes) detailed the main points in the survey.


The Service Lead Active and Healthy People advised that an independent academic evaluator from Exeter University ensured that an objective robust evaluation was made of all of the work the team does.  The level of data from the enhanced local active live survey was unique to Exeter, which together with feedback information from residents and their focus groups meant the team  were able to target their resources and work where it was needed the most.  The enhanced survey had been carried out in May 2023 and targeted 2,000 residents in the 20 priority areas in the city with the highest rates of inactivity and the poorest health outcomes. The study period from April 2022 until March 2023, analysed behaviour for the period when moving out of the pandemic, and a further evaluation would be made in a year’s time to study any further physical activity habits.


The Service Lead Active and Healthy People responded to the following questions:-


·           all of the data and information feeds into the digital strategy work led by Jo Yelland, Director as part of the Council’ customer services and strategy work.

·           the target for Active Travel England was agreed through the development of the Exeter Transport Strategy. The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) was a local target that aligns with best practice and was set in advance of Active England’s targets.

·           the important objective within the Playing Pitch Strategy was to develop a network of community sports hubs, such as the Exwick Sports hub which was created in partnership with Exeter College and managed by the Exeter Community Trust. The aspiration was to develop more sites and continue explore options for community led projects, and that might include seeking community assets transfer opportunities. As part of this theme, there had been some discussions relating to the changing rooms at the King George V Playing Fields. They team would have to reflect on their capacity to secure additional investment in their current programme of work.

·           regarding the facilities at Bromhams Farm Playing Field, he would continue to engage with local partners, including Exeter College, the café owner, the Devon Wildlife Trust and the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 74.


Forward Plan of Business and Scrutiny Work Plan pdf icon PDF 417 KB


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. This on-line document is a source for Members to raise issues at Scrutiny on forthcoming Executive agenda items:-


Also attached is a draft work plan of future scrutiny items.


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






It was noted that the Scrutiny Programme Board would be considering the work plan of future business for Scrutiny.


Members noted the Forward Plan and draft Scrutiny Work Plan.