Agenda and draft minutes

Council - Tuesday 12th December 2023 6.00 pm

Venue: Guildhall, High Street, Exeter

Contact: Mark Devin, Democratic Services Manager  Telephone 01392 265477 or email  mark.devin@exeter.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

69.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Foale, Lights, Morse and Parkhouse.

 

70.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 17 October 2023.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the Ordinary meeting of the Council held on 17 October 2023 were moved by the Leader, Councillor Bialyk and seconded by Councillor Wright taken as read, approved and signed as correct.

 

71.

Leader's Statement

Minutes:

The Leader sought the Lord Mayor’s permission to make the following statement:-

 

“Lord Mayor and colleagues; our thoughts continue to be with all those who are suffering as a result of the ongoing conflict in Palestine and Israel, and the many people in our city with connections to Israel or Palestine who are watching the situation with horror and distress following the collapse of the recent truce.

 

Our city is - and must continue to be - a safe, welcoming and diverse community of residents, visitors, students and workers. People of many different nationalities, faiths and beliefs have made their home here - including and alongside - people who have grown up here and may have generations of Exeter-based family around them. We are proud of our diversity and it is one of the many things that make our city so special.

 

 As Councillors, we are elected representatives for our ward communities and for the city as a whole. As such, we will support individuals, families and communities wherever we can and in which-ever way is most appropriate to them and to our collective endeavour to keep Exeter a place for everyone to feel safe and supported.

It is important to recognise that many people including ourselves, will be wanting to express their feelings but must do this without causing harm or distress to others. 

 

These are incredibly challenging times and we are all deeply affected by the brutality and suffering that we are witnessing.  I am sure you will agree that it is vital we continue to stand together, to treat each other with respect and care, and keep our city and community a safe and welcoming place for all whilst hoping and perhaps praying for a fast and peaceful end to this conflict”.

 

72.

Official Communications

Minutes:

The Lord Mayor advised that he had attended 56 events in 56 days which included the following:-

 

·         various Remembrance services during November including the GWR Poppies for Paddington service, Armistice Day service of Remembrance for Exeter Veterans at Higher Cemetery, Exeter Chiefs and Exeter City Football Club Remembrance Services; Festival of Remembrance and Dedication of the Field of Remembrance at the Cathedral and the City’s Remembrance, which marked the 100th Anniversary of the City War Memorial;

 

·         the Navratri and Diwali celebrations;

 

·         the 307 Squadron Polish Flag Raising Ceremony on 15 November, which included a visit from the Polish Consul General;

 

·         the Personal Wellbeing Service & visit at Exeter Prison on 20 November;

 

·         a visit to the London Guildhall for the Rifles Biennial Military Awards on 30 November, in presence of HM, the Queen Camilla and the Duke of Gloucester;

 

·         the Carol Service at Exeter Cathedral on 4 December, which featured the Exeter Railway Band and Maynard Middle School and Chamber Choir; and

 

·         presenting Alderman Yolonda Henson with her scroll at her Aldermanship Ceremony, making her the only person in Exeter’s history to have ever stood in the roles of Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Lord Mayor; Deputy Lord Mayor, Freeman of the City and now Honorary Alderman;

 

The Lord Mayor reminded Members of the forthcoming coffee morning and Christmas with the Lord Mayor at the Guildhall in aid of the Lord Mayor’s chosen charity Force, as well as an invitation to the Lord Mayor’s Parlour after the present meeting to celebrate his 15th wedding anniversary.

 

73.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Details of questions should be notified to the Democratic Services Manager at least three working days prior to the meeting - by 10am on Thursday 7 December 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.

 

Minutes:

The Lord Mayor reported the receipt of questions from members of the public.

 

Question from Mr Ian Frankum to the Leader

 

Four Exeter City Council councillors voted for and advocated the current Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) trial. Recent Freedom of Information requests indicate response times from some Emergency Service vehicles have lengthened when compared to July (pre LTN). Does the Council share my concern at this and what steps can they take to monitor this and keep Exeter citizens safe?

 

Response from the Leader, Councillor Bialyk

 

Members of the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee (HATOC) made their decision to support the LTN pilot schemes based on the best available information supplied to them.  None of the Members of the Committee were ‘whipped’ by their political parties to vote in a particular way. ECC is neither the Highway Authority nor the Transport Authority and therefore does not have any statutory powers or remit over these matters. However, should we become aware of issues concerning the LTN schemes we will report them to the County Council.

 

Mr Frankum asked a supplementary question and referred to 11 recorded occasions of Emergency Service vehicles blocked and therefore rerouted. He asked if, in the event of a critical incident or even a fatality resulting from this, the Council believed that some Members would have to share responsibility.

 

The Leader responded that he did not share that view and it would be wrong to lay any blame on members of the Council, reminding Mr Frankum that Members had had a free vote on the matter. He further advised that the consultation was underway and that changes to the scheme may occur as a result of the findings.

 

Question from Mr James Banyard provided the following response:- 

 

It is great to see the gradual roll out of food waste collection from resident’s homes. There are still parts of Exeter where this is not happening. When will everyone in the city have the opportunity to leave their food waste outside their door, and have it collected by the Council?

 

Response from the Portfolio Holder for Place and City Management, Councillor R Williams

 

Thank you for the opportunity to update on the food waste collection. The Food waste rollout for the city has reached its maximum capacity under the term of our Environment Agency Operating Licence for our Exton Road depot. To enable further expansion, we require dedicated food waste bays and several environmental enhancements, including dedicated food waste bays with sealed surface drainage and enhanced fire suppression systems. The funding for these works has been approved, estimates and designs progressed, and the works will shortly be tendered. Once construction is complete and the operating permit revised, we will be able to continue our food waste roll out to the remainder of the city. We expect this to take at least 18 months.

 

Mr Banyard asked a supplementary question about the temporary measures which would be put in place for the 18-month period to bring forward the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 73.

74.

Planning Committee - 13 November 2023 pdf icon PDF 875 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Planning Committee of 13 November 2023 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Knott and taken as read.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Planning Committee held on 13 November 2023 be received.

 

75.

Strategic Scrutiny Committee - 16 November 2023 pdf icon PDF 6 MB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Strategic Scrutiny Committee of 16 November 2023 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Atkinson, and taken as read.

 

In respect of Minute No. 68 (Scrutiny Work Plan and Forward Plan of Business)

the Chair referred to discussion at the previous Council meeting on the accuracy of the Minute, and she was able to confirm that the Minute had been agreed, along with a way forward working with external agencies. 

 

In respect of Minute No. 71 Questions from Members of the Council Under Standing Order 20, the Leader responded to a Member’s question in relation to the status of the emerging Southgate Liveable Exeter development and advised that he would contact the Director City Development about the appropriate time to talk to the Ward Members.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Strategic Scrutiny Committee held on 16 November 2023 be received.

 

76.

Strata Joint Executive Committee - 5 October 2023 pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Strata Joint Executive Committee of 5 October 2023 were presented by the Chair, Councillor Bialyk, and taken as read.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Strata Joint Executive Committee held on 5 October 2023 be received.

 

 

77.

Executive - 7 November 2023 pdf icon PDF 340 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Executive of 7 November 2023 were presented by the Leader, Councillor Bialyk, and taken as read.  

 

In respect of Minute No. 103 (Digital Customer Strategy 2023-2025), the Leader

moved and Councillor Wright seconded the recommendations and, following a vote, the recommendations were carried unanimously.

 

In respect of Minute No. 104 (Annual Scrutiny Report 2022-23), the Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the recommendation and, following a vote, the recommendation was carried unanimously.

 

In respect of Minute No. 105 (Amendments to the Scheme of Delegation and minor updates to the Constitution), the Leader, in response to a Member’s question on being consulted about changes to the Constitution, reiterated his commitment to the Opposition Leaders, that he would discuss any major changes at their regular monthly meetings. A report on a number of governance matters raised at the Governance Review Board would be the subject of a report to the Executive with the opportunity for a full discussion. 

 

The Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the recommendation and, following a vote, the recommendation was carried.

 

In respect of Minute No. 106 (Request to repatriate a sacred bundle - a Motokiks ceremonial headdress to the Blackfoot (Siksika), Alberta, Canada), the Leader acknowledged the importance of returning these artefacts. In response to a Member’s question, the Portfolio Holder for Culture and City Centre Strategy confirmed that the repatriation would take place in the Spring.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Executive held on 7 November 2023 be received and, where appropriate, adopted.

 

78.

Executive - 28 November 2023 pdf icon PDF 539 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Executive of 28 November 2023 were presented by the Leader, Councillor Bialyk, and taken as read.  

 

Min 110 (Development Land Disposal Programme), Councillor Atkinson declared an interest, due to the proximity of her residence to the Clifton Hill site and withdrew from the meeting during discussion of the matter.

 

In respect of Min 110 (Development Land Disposal Programme) ,the Leader advised that the following recommendations were amended by Members at (1) and (2) had been approved at the Executive:-

 

(1)       the disposal of land of the Mary Arches Street car park as shown on the site boundary plans as set out in Appendix 1 and the multi storey car park site for co living use, and the surface car park for residential use;

 

(2)     the disposal of land at Clifton Hill as shown on the site boundary plans in Appendix 2, for use as residential homes on the existing site (shaded blue), retaining the green shaded area for existing use as an open space, and retaining the yellow and purple shaded areas for existing uses.

 

Recommendations (3) and (4) were agreed as presented at the Executive.

 

The Leader moved and Councillor Wright seconded the amendments.

 

Councillor Bialyk in speaking to the amendments made the following points:-

 

·         the report was understandably of great public interest and every effort had been made to ensure that the matter was discussed in the public domain, despite there being significant commercially sensitive information;

·         the amended recommendations offered the opportunity for the Mary Arches Street multi story car park site to be available for both Co-living and other residential use. It would not be Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA), and the Clifton Hill site was designated for residential homes with the existing green space and areas used by the golf driving range and dry ski slope site to be retained; and

·         the amended recommendations also offered a greater opportunity for disposal of the sites and a clear direction of travel for future development with a further report to be presented to the Executive.

 

Councillor Moore indicated that she wished to move an amendment to Recommendation (1), and seconded by Councillor M Mitchell to the following:-

 

(1)  the disposal of land at Mary Arches Street car park as shown on the site boundary plans in Appendix 1, the multi-storey car park site for mixed development, and the surface car park for residential use.

 

The Lord Mayor clarified that as there has been an amendment to recommendations (1) and (2) which was contrary to the officer recommendations and as agreed at the Executive, a Council decision to formally make those amendments was required. The amendments, from the Leader would be debated and voted upon. If carried, they would become the substantive recommendation and further amendments could then be made at that stage.

 

Councillor Wright seconded the amendment in respect of recommendations (1) and (2).

 

During the discussion on the amended recommendations, the following points were made:-

 

·         the amended recommendation in respect  ...  view the full minutes text for item 78.

79.

Notice of Motion by Councillor Atkinson under Standing Order No. 6

The Chancellors Autumn statement has set the country on course for a “more painful” austerity drive after the next general election   after more than a Decade of austerity starting under David Cameron and George Osborne.


The £20bn package of tax cuts is almost entirely funded by swinging real-terms reductions to public spending planned from 2025 when it may not even be in government according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.


It is estimated that the NHS receives 20% of its funding from National Insurance.
The plans to cut National Insurance means that some funding for social care and the NHS will have to come from other budgets or general taxation.


This implied a 1.8% cut for unprotected budgets each year from 2024-25 to 2028-29, including for prisons, the courts system, local government and further education.
After taking into account funding settlements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, it said the plans implied cuts of 3.4% in England.


This Council  has had more than 50% of its budget cut since 2010 and is already again having to make difficult decisions in planning to achieve a legally balances budget for 2024-5.


Economists doubt efficiency gains on such a scale can be achieved. Councils all around us in the Southwest and throughout the county are on the verge of bankruptcy and many have already issued S114 notices.

 


This Council resolves to

1)    Write to the government to ask them to make no real time cuts to Local Government until  it has undertaken a spending review; and

2)    Seek the support of the Local MPs and the LGA to oppose the Chancellor’s Budget for Local Government.

 

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Atkinson, seconded by Councillor Miller, moved a Notice of Motion in the following terms:-

 

The Chancellor's Autumn statement had set the country on course for a “more painful” austerity drive after the next general election and after more than a Decade of austerity starting under David Cameron and George Osborne.


The £20billion package of tax cuts was almost entirely funded by swinging real-term reductions to public spending planned from 2025 according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies


It was estimated that the NHS received 20% of its funding from National Insurance. The plan to cut National Insurance meant that some funding for social care and the NHS would have to come from other budgets or general taxation.
This implied a 1.8% cut for unprotected budgets each year from 2024-25 to 2028-29 – including for prisons, the courts system, local government and further education.
After taking into account funding settlements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the plan implied cuts of 3.4% in England.


This Council has had more than 50% of its budget cut since 2010 and was still having to make difficult decisions in planning to achieve a legally balanced budget for 2024-25.


Economists doubt efficiency gains on such a scale could be achieved and Councils in the Southwest and throughout the County were on the verge of bankruptcy, with many having already issued S114 notices.


This Council resolves to

1)    write to the Government to ask them to make no real time cuts to local government until it has undertaken a spending review; and

2)    seek the support of the Local MPs and the LGA to oppose the Chancellor’s Budget for Local Government.

 

In presenting her Motion, Councillor Atkinson, made the following comments:-

 

·         media reports had indicated that there were more Councils in England being at financial risk;

·         the Autumn Statement had increased the likelihood of more local authorities facing bankruptcy;

·         years of underfunding and cuts had resulted in risks to the economy and local services;

·         many local councils were facing bankruptcy and could only afford to provide statutory services;

·         the prudence of Exeter City Council over many decades combined with the excellent support and guidance from the Finance Director and the Senior Management Board had ensured the Council was not facing such a predicament;

·         Leaders of some of the 33 largest councils across the political spectrum had written to the Local Government Commission and to the Government Minister, Michael Gove, warning of "painful" cuts to front-line services;

·         various Councils and the Local Government Association (LGA), had warned about a precarious financial picture for some time;

·         Devon County Council was facing the same crisis in funding;

·         the move by Government to increase the local housing allowance in the Autumn Statement was welcomed, but this would have to be funded from existing budgets;

·         a County Councils Network's survey showed that many Councils' financial positions were significantly worse than before the Autumn Statement;

·         a three-to-five year funding plan was needed, so services could be planned more efficiently; and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79.

80.

Notice of Motion by Councillor Read under Standing Order No. 6

This Council:

 

Expresses deep sympathy for all those affected by the conflict in Israel and Palestine.  To those in the Exeter area who have been affected by this conflict we offer our support in this difficult time.

 

Condemns the murder of Israeli civilians, the taking of hostages by Hamas and subsequent death and destruction in Gaza. Believes that the urgent priority must be to stop the deaths and suffering of any more civilians in Gaza, Israel and the rest of Palestine.

 

Hopes for an immediate further release of all hostages and release of Palestinian prisoners held without charge and an immediate permanent ceasefire to allow more aid and the possibility of a peaceful resolution.

 

Believes the tragic recent events in Israel, Gaza and Palestine must not be allowed to divide our communities in Exeter.

 

Believes Jews, Muslims and people of all faiths and none should feel safe in our city.

 

Condemns the increase in anti-Semitic and Islamophobia violence and abuse in the UK and believes all forms of racism have no place in our city.

 

The Council resolves to:

 

(i) explore how the Council can better support and facilitate events for people of all faiths and none, where they can come together and express solidarity and sadness in response to these events.

 

(ii) offer appropriate support to any local resident who needs our assistance as a result of these violent events.

 

(iii) stand ready to provide support and open our arms to innocent people displaced and affected by these events.

 

The Council also calls on the UK Government to press all parties to agree:

 

(i) to an urgent permanent ceasefire in Gaza, Israel and the rest of Palestine and to make every effort to resume the peace process;

 

(ii) to guarantee that international humanitarian law is upheld and that civilians are protected in accordance with those laws;

 

(iii) to ensure that civilians have access to humanitarian support, including unfettered access of medical supplies, food, electricity, other fuel and water.

 

The Council requests the Chief Executive of the Council to submit this motion to the UK Government.

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Read, seconded by Councillor Rees, moved a Notice of Motion in the following terms:-

 

She expressed deep sympathy for all those affected by the conflict in Israel and Palestine and offered support to those in the Exeter area who had been affected by this conflict.

 

The Council:-

 

Condemns the murder of Israeli civilians, the taking of hostages by Hamas and subsequent death and destruction in Gaza. Believes that the urgent priority must be to stop the deaths and suffering of any more civilians in Gaza, Israel and the rest of Palestine.

 

Hopes for an immediate further release of all hostages and release of Palestinian prisoners held without charge and an immediate permanent ceasefire to allow more aid and the possibility of a peaceful resolution.

 

Believes the tragic recent events in Israel, Gaza and Palestine must not be allowed to divide our communities in Exeter.

 

Believes Jews, Muslims and people of all faiths and none should feel safe in our city.

 

Condemns the increase in anti-Semitic and Islamophobia violence and abuse in the UK and believes all forms of racism have no place in our city.

 

The Council resolves to:

 

(1)  explore how the Council can better support and facilitate events for people of all faiths and none, where they can come together and express solidarity and sadness in response to these events.

(2)  offer appropriate support to any local resident who needs our assistance as a result of these violent events.

(3)  stand ready to provide support and open our arms to innocent people displaced and affected by these events.

 

The Council also calls on the UK Government to press all parties to agree:

 

(1)  to an urgent permanent ceasefire in Gaza, Israel and the rest of Palestine and to make every effort to resume the peace process;

(2)  to guarantee that international humanitarian law is upheld and that civilians are protected in accordance with those laws;

(3)  to ensure that civilians have access to humanitarian support, including unfettered access of medical supplies, food, electricity, other fuel and water.

 

The Council requests the Chief Executive of the Council to submit this motion to the UK Government.

 

In presenting her Motion, Councillor Read, highlighted that emotions were running high and the suffering was beyond imagining. The taking of Israeli hostages followed by the mass killing of innocent people and the unprecedented levels of destruction seen in Gaza were completely unacceptable to witness. She hoped that there would be an end to the terrible scenes seen daily and to ensure that the remaining hostages would be returned safely with a call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire. Ending the violence would create a space for an international arbitrary settlement for the Israeli and Palestinian citizens to ensure their rights, safety and security were protected. 

 

Councillor Vizard who had previously discussed the matter with Councillor Read moved and Councillor Parkhouse seconded the following amendment:-

 

To add to the section “The Council also calls on the UK Government to press all parties  ...  view the full minutes text for item 80.

81.

Questions from Members of the Council under Standing Order No. 8

Minutes:

No questions were received by Members in respect of Standing Order No 8.