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Appointment of Chair
RESOLVED that Councillor Denning be appointed Chair of the meeting.
To approve and sign the minutes of the Combined Strategic Scrutiny and Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee held on 10 February 2022.
Subject to the amendment of the second resolution of Min. No. 7 to read “that a recommendation be made to the Executive and Council that Link Group include consideration of the climate impacts of investments and banking activity within their advice provided to Council”, the minutes of the meeting of the Combined Strategic Scrutiny and Customer Focus Scrutiny Committees held on 10 February 2022 were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chair as correct.
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.
No declarations of discloseable pecuniary interest by Members were made.
An approach that Scrutiny could follow with regards to examining the City Development Fund is set out below.
Scrutiny is being asked to perform a critical friend role for the Council’s Executive in examining and highlighting the merits and risk associated with the City Development Fund ahead of the full Business Case being presented to the Executive for consideration later this year. Members will be aware that the Audit and Governance Committee has on the Risk Register, a key strategic risk associated with funding the Liveable Exeter Programme. The City Development Fund is relevant to this key strategic issue.
A copy of the report to the Executive on 11 January 2022 of the Strategic Case for the Exeter Development Fund is circulated with the agenda which provides the detail of the strategic case and the justification for the Fund. The subject of the session will offer the detail of more innovative forms of funding development. Expert witnesses have also been assembled to help better understand the issues raised in the strategic case.
A number of sessions are as detailed below -
Session 1 Introduction – 30 March
Session 2: What is the economic case for pursuing a City Development Fund to support delivery - 7 April
Session 3: Governance/Fund Management/Governance and Risk - (Date TBC)
Session 4: The Business Case in Detail - (Date TBC)
Session 1: An Examination of why a different approach to business as usual may be required to deliver the Liveable Exeter Transformational Housing Programme and hence work on a City Development Fund:
1. Introduction from Roli Martin (Project Manager Exeter City Futures and author of the strategic business case. His team is on hand to provide an explanation of the City Development Fund)
2. Learning lessons from elsewhere: External witnesses
The following have been invited to the meeting:
· Andy Wood (Service Lead – Growth, Development and Prosperity East Devon District Council). Andy had been living and breathing the challenges of delivering the community aspirations for Cranbrook against the limitations of the current system and therefore has a wealth of experience relevant to the topic.
· Gavin Bridge (Director Spatia) an experienced retail estate developer based in the south west and familiar with the challenges of delivering place making, mixed used developments to a high environmental standard. Gavin brings a lot of experience of the system constraints that present potential challenges when delivering urban regeneration schemes.
The core of this session is to understand the challenges of delivering large scale new communities at pace, and how over promising and under delivering on quality and the net zero ambition can be mitigated.
The Cranbrook experience provides good relevant local experience (see links for useful background material to the topic) and reports from East Devon District Council Cranbrook Overview - 10 Yrs.pdf (eastdevon.gov.uk) and Cranbrook Local Infrastructure Fund.pdf (eastdevon.gov.uk)
Outcomes sought from this Session:
· A good understanding of the reasons that have led to the exploration of an alternative approach to managing the task of delivering Liveable ... view the full agenda text for item 11.
The Chair welcomed Roli Martin, Project Manager and Elaine Anning, Operations Director of Exeter City Futures and Gavin Bridge Director of Spatia to the meeting.
The Chief Executive & Growth Director introduced the proposed scrutiny process for the Exeter Development Fund. Members were asked to perform a critical friend role for the Council’s Executive in examining and highlighting the merits and risks associated with the City Development Fund ahead of the full Business Case being presented to the Executive for consideration later in 2022. It would help provide a good understanding of the reasons that led to the exploration of an alternative approach to managing the task of delivering Liveable Exeter.
The current session would be the first of four and would examine why a different approach to business as usual may be required to deliver the Liveable Exeter Transformational Housing Programme and to work on a City Development Fund. The remaining sessions would cover the economic case for pursuing a City Development Fund, Governance and Risk, and finally, the Business Case in detail.
Roli Martin explained that, following Exeter’s selection for the One Public Estate Programme as a Model City Development Fund, Exeter City Futures (ECF) had been tasked to lead in its delivery with the involvement of a range of public sector partners with the Net Zero 2030 ambitions embedded within the programme. It was the intention for the Development Fund to fit strategically with the Exeter Vision 2040 and the Council’s corporate priorities.
Learning lessons from elsewhere: External witnesses
The Chief Executive & Growth Director spoke on behalf of Andy Wood, Service Lead – Growth, Development and Prosperity, East Devon District Council on the challenges of delivering the community aspirations for Cranbrook against the limitations of the current system. Presentation attached to the minutes.
The Chief Executive & Growth Director detailed the protracted timeline from the initial concept set out in 1991 with a vision to provide a self-contained community as an urban extension of the city with a full array of infrastructure through to the imminent adoption of the Cranbrook Development Plan Document in 2022. In spite of the roles of both the Devon Structure Plan and the East Devon Local Plan there had been significant shortcomings in achieving the original concept because of the lack of public sector controlled land and each phase of the town being brought forward within a commercially driven model.
The presentation set out what had been delivered including phase 1 affordable housing at 30%, the first 1,000 homes including 199 social rent properties and 101 shared ownership with 15% affordable housing in the expansion areas, seven retail units, a rail station and a country park. In spite of the recession, thousands of homes had been delivered, assisted by Homes England grant support. There remained infrastructure problems and the absence of a town centre was a significant issue. To help meet shortcomings, the Town Council precept was comparatively high.
The Chief Executive & Growth Director summarised the learning points from the Cranbrook experience:-
· need ... view the full minutes text for item 11.