To consider the report of the Director City Development.
The Chair advised that further consideration of the financial implications was required by SMB of any change in the policy relating to the Council’s digital equipment. It was suggested the report be presented to the March meeting of this Scrutiny Committee.
The Assistant Service Lead (Local Plan) referred to discussion at the June meeting of this Scrutiny Committee on corporate advertising matters. This report considers planning policy in relation to advertisements and consents and the scope of the emerging Exeter Plan policy relating to advertisements. The City Council determine planning applications relating to advertisement consent, but it is subject to specific and limited planning legislation on public safety and the effect on amenity.
In the existing adopted Local Plan First Review, a policy covers advertising consent. The emerging Exeter Local Plan will include a follow up policy which will replace the content of the current plan. The draft policy is proposed to consider location, scale, materials and lighting as well as the characteristics of historic buildings and the amenity factor. In relation to public safety, the highway network, the transport network and security systems could all be considered. Consultation on the Exeter Plan will take place in the autumn and will include the draft policy on advertising consent for comment.
The Assistant Service Lead (Local Plan) responded to Members’ comments in the following terms:-
· the current policy in relation to the frequency or cumulative impact of advertising is not specifically mentioned, but should be implicit in terms of the scale, location and materials.
· he had no information in relation to the bus shelter contract as this is not a planning matter, but he was aware that it was separately managed by Devon County Council and involved the City Council. He would check to establish if some bus shelters required planning permission and, similarly, whether some adverts may or may not require planning consent.
· the Exeter Plan could in future provide more information in relation to the style of lighting, down lighting or glare, and that was a legitimate consideration in terms of amenity.
· the scope of advertising stops in terms of the nature of the product being advertised, and the planning system could not control the product which was being advertised.
· the current policy does not just relate to the city centre but could be applied across the city. The location and proximity to vulnerable groupings could be a consideration.
· the policy should not be too prescriptive. Many councils do not have a policy because the controls to advertising are set out so strictly at a national planning level.
· consideration of the impact of advertisements would differ depending on the hierarchy of the listed building. Impacts on non-listed buildings would still be a consideration in terms of the wider heritage factor.
· the sustainability appraisal was also part of a wide ranging assessment of the draft policies including advertising, but not on the number of digital advertisements that appear in the course of the Plan period. It includes carbon and many other sustainability indicators.
· Illuminated adverts would be a consideration in relation to amenity.
The Chair responded to a Member’s question and confirmed that there was no break clause in the contract with the County Council contract, but they did have to comply with highway and planning requirements. The arrangements did include two free bus shelters in the city a year.
The Director Net Zero Exeter & City Management, responded to a Member and undertook to ask the City Surveyor about the criteria and positioning of illuminated bus shelters.
A Member sought clarification on the process in relation to the report and referred to the previous suggestion of a Spotlight Review to consider any feedback on the policy. The Chair referred to the Director’s report on the Advertising Policy and stated that SMB would consider the financial implications relating to the Council’s digital equipment and so negate the need for a Spotlight Review. Councillor Morse as Portfolio Holder for City Development also confirmed she would liaise with the Assistant Service Lead (Local Plan) in relation to the planning policy matters in the Local Plan.
Strategic Scrutiny Committee noted the report having discussed the scope of a potential advertisement policy for the emerging Exeter Plan.