Agenda item

Executive - 2 June 2020


The minutes of the Executive of 2 June 2020 were presented by the Leader, Councillor Bialyk, and taken as read.


In respect of Minute No. 60 (Net Zero Exeter 2030 Plan), the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Climate and Culture:-


·         commended the Plan to Council as Exeter’s visionary approach to the Climate Emergency, being one of the few authorities in the country to have identified the need to respond vigorously at an early stage;

·         referred to the many initiatives already being implemented by the Council to reduce its own carbon footprint including the installation of solar panels to generate electricity which, as well enabling the charging of its own vehicles, also provided electricity to the general grid;

·         emphasised the city wide objectives of the Plan in conjunction with the Council’s many partners in the city;

·         the financial challenge the Plan presented in light of the Covid-19 pandemic was recognised but that, nevertheless, the Plan would be front and centre of the Council’s future aspirations and would be progressed as part of the Council’s post Covid-19 Recovery Plan; and

·         in responding to a Member’s suggestion for the Council to support the newly created South West Mutual Bank and to lead on the creation of a Community Wealth Fund for local people to buy in and to keep the city’s wealth in the communities by creating jobs, establishing a training programme and supporting green businesses to grow and support a sustainable future, the Portfolio Holder confirmed that the Council’s Recovery Plan was aimed at helping the city’s economy recover as quickly as possible from the pandemic through job creation and support for all businesses;

·         responding further to the Member’s suggestion, she agreed that it was important not to delay initiatives seeking to reduce the carbon footprint and that encouraging green businesses was an element of this;

·         she commended the initiatives put forward by Exeter Community Energy although, in many cases, the Council was already taking a lead in these areas; and

·         in conjunction with Exeter City Futures all options would be considered and South West Mutual had briefed lead Councillors.


The Leader moved and the Deputy Leader seconded the recommendations and they were carried unanimously.


In respect of Minute No. 61 (Priority Asset Investment Programme), the Leader stated that six individual schemes totalling over £2.7 million had been identified prior to the outbreak of Covid-19 but had now been put on hold in order to bring forward the Emergency Budget in response to the crisis. Should it be decided to proceed with any of the schemes under the delegated powers sought in the recommendation, Members would be informed.


Councillor J. Moore, in moving the following amendment, made the following points:-


·         referred to recent problems caused by travellers and gypsies accessing sites around the city;

·         expressed the view that, rather than proceeding with anti-intrusion measures intended to prevent such incursions, safe, temporary sites should be identified for such groups;

·         it would also be important to assess the health and wellbeing of these groups and to help meet a public sector equality duty; and

·         this approach would make illegal encampments less likely.


Councillor J. Moore moved and Councillor D. Moore seconded the following amendment:-


(1)        the first of the six individual schemes identified as an urgent asset maintenance priority – Parks Anti-intrusion measures - be removed; and


(2)        the Council be requested to undertake an assessment of the needs of the traveller and gypsy communities in Exeter.


During discussion the following points were raised:-


·         both this Council and Devon County Council have adopted positive policies in respect of the traveller and gypsy communities. Although sites had been identified in the city, such as Haven Banks recently and, previously on Haldon Hill, they had been rejected, although a permanent site is located on the Sowton industrial estate. Devon County Council employ a gypsy/traveller liaison officer and other assistance has included educational support for the children of these communities;

·         a number of problems have occurred following occupation of sites in the city, including Pinhoe (with three incursions in four years), Stoke Hill, Countess Wear and West Exe. Whilst the rights of these communities should be protected, the groups themselves have responsibilities to the wider community whose rights should also be respected;

·         the occupation of open space prevents residents from walking and exercising which has been of particular relevance with the Covid-19 outbreak; and

·         the Council has a responsibility under Equalities legislation to work positively with both communities and providing alternative sites could prevent such intrusions in the future, as the travelling community require somewhere to stop before moving on to other destinations.


The amendment was put to the vote and LOST.


The Leader, in responding to queries from Members advised:-


·         Members would be notified as and when any of the schemes were implemented; and

·         a budget is not available for the installation of solar panels on the Riverside Leisure Centre and any such provision would delay the completion of the refurbishment further.


The Leader moved and the Deputy Leader seconded the recommendations and they were carried.


In respect of Minute No. 62 (Exeter City Group – Request for Funding for New Company Business Cases and additional financial support), a Member in welcoming the high priority being given to providing energy efficient homes and the Council’s commitment to providing homes to Passivhaus standards, expressed her concerns that the proposals would not adequately address the need for affordable rented accommodation in the city. She referred in particular to the wage levels of many and to the concentration of rented accommodation in particular wards of the city.


The following responses were provided by the Leader:-


·         the feasibility study would examine a number of options for expanding the Exeter City Group’s range of subsidiaries, the results of which would be reported back to Members;

·         the appointment of a  Commercial Finance Manager was important to ensure dedicated support to Exeter City Group and the other Council owned Companies; and

·         the goal was to provide good quality rented accommodation for Exeter citizens and that this would be achieved through offering a number of accommodation options including  social rented, affordable rented, private rented as well as shared ownership.


The Leader moved and the Deputy Leader seconded the recommendations and they were carried. 


RESOLVED that the minutes of the Executive held on 2 June 2020 be received, and where appropriate, adopted.



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