Decisions

Use the below search options at the bottom of the page to find information regarding recent decisions that have been taken by the council’s decision making bodies.

Alternatively you can visit the officer decisions page for information on officer delegated decisions that have been taken by council officers.

Decisions published

19/11/2020 - Additional Restrictions Grant - Discretionary Grants Policy ref: 1552    Recommendations Approved

To approve the policy for administering ARG grants as set out in the attached Appendix, or such other amended form as may be agreed by the Chief Executive.
The ARG scheme was recently introduced as part of the business support package for the second lockdown. Waiting until a scheduled committee would unreasonably delay administration of the grants to businesses in need.

This is a funded scheme so there are no financial implications. The total fund allotted to the Council is £1,942,900

Decision Maker: Chief Executive

Decision published: 19/11/2020

Effective from: 19/11/2020

Decision:

I agree with the policy intentions.

Lead officer: Ken Miles


17/11/2020 - Urgent Decision: re Authorisations ref: 1551    Recommendations Approved

REQUESTED DECISION: To delegate to the Chief Executive the power to authorise officers to carry out enforcement functions set out in:-

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Collection of Contact Details etc and Related Requirements) Regulations 2020 No. 1005 (“the first set of regulations”)

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 No. 1045 (“the second set of regulations”), and

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 No.1200 (“the third set of regulations”),
AND in any regulations amending, adding or replacing the above or any regulations of similar or wider effect.


STATEMENT OF THE REASONS FOR THE REQUEST AND WHY IT IS URGENT:
The Regulations listed are newly introduced and require officers to be authorised to be able to use the powers granted. The matter is not able to be reported to a Committee within the timescales required by impending enforcement action.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:
There are no financial implications


Decision Maker: Chief Executive

Decision published: 17/11/2020

Effective from: 17/11/2020

Decision:

Approved by Chief Executive

Lead officer: Ken Miles


02/11/2020 - North Devon Destination Management Organisation ref: 1542    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Strategy and Resources Committee

Made at meeting: 02/11/2020 - Strategy and Resources Committee

Decision published: 17/11/2020

Effective from: 02/11/2020

Decision:

The Committee considered a report by the Chief Executive (circulated previously) regarding a proposal to form a dedicated Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for Northern Devon.

 

The Chief Executive highlighted the following:

 

·         The paper attached to the report had been produced by North Devon+ and gave a background of the role of a DMO and the potential advantages that it might bring to the northern Devon area.

·         There had been a major impact on tourism in northern Devon as a result of the Covid 19 impact with Ilfracombe and Combe Martin being the worst affected wards in Devon and this had been prior to the second national lockdown.

·         A DMO would be solely linked to northern Devon rather than relying on other organisations.

·         The proposal had been discussed with the North Devon Marketing Bureau who were supportive and see their organisation working in a complimentary way with any new DMO.

·         It was estimated that the cost of taking this proposal forward may be in the region of £80,000.  Efforts would be made to secure external funding and explores ways of undertaking work internally.

·         He suggested that recommendation 2.2 be amended to include “or other resource” after the word “funding”.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)

That note the content of this report be noted and approve in principle to exploring the proposal further, including consultation with businesses and stakeholders;

 

(b)

That officers be supported in efforts to identify external funding or other resource to move forward with (a) above.

 


02/11/2020 - Batsworthy Cross Windfarm ref: 1536    For Determination

Decision Maker: Strategy and Resources Committee

Made at meeting: 02/11/2020 - Strategy and Resources Committee

Decision published: 17/11/2020

Effective from: 02/11/2020

Decision:

The Committee considered a report by the Service Lead Environmental Protection (circulated previously) regarding Batsworthy Cross Windfarm.

 

The Service Lead Environmental Protection highlighted the following:

 

·         Noise compliance monitoring at six locations close to Batsworthy Cross Windfarm had confirmed compliance with the noise related planning conditions at five of these six locations.

·         The Council re-issued a request to the Operator asking them to provide details of a proposed further mitigation strategy for properties in the vicinity of Birchwood House within 30 days.   A response from the Operator was received on 8th October 2020 detailing a proposed strategy and approach to verify the outcome of this strategy.

·         This response was currently being reviewed by Officers’ and the Council’s acoustic consultant and to consider the next steps.

·         A meeting with the Community had been arranged on Tuesday 10 November 2020 and the information provided by the Operator would be circulated to the Community group prior to the meeting.

·         An update would be provided to the Committee when the review of the Operator’s response was complete.

 

In response to a question, the Service Lead Environmental Protection advised that the process had taken longer than hoped or anticipated to give the Operator the opportunity to achieve compliance in the 6th location.  It was hoped that the situation would be resolved as soon as possible.

 

The Committee noted the current position.

Lead officer: Andy Cole


02/11/2020 - Test and Trace Payment Schemes ref: 1539    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Strategy and Resources Committee

Made at meeting: 02/11/2020 - Strategy and Resources Committee

Decision published: 17/11/2020

Effective from: 02/11/2020

Decision:

The Committee considered a report by the Revenues and Benefits Manager (circulated previously) regarding policies for the Test and Trace Support Payments Scheme and Discretionary Payments Scheme.

 

The Head of Resources highlighted the following:

 

·       From 28th September 2020, Government had changed legislation so that certain people would have to self-isolate due to the current COVID-19 crisis.

·       A package of legislative measure had been introduced both to ensure that those who are required to self-isolate do so and that those on a low income receive a payment to assist their finances to encourage compliance with the legislation.

·       The Government had set down the requirements for two payment schemes to be set up by the Council: Test and Trace Support Payments Scheme (standard scheme) and Test and Trace Discretionary Payments Scheme (discretionary scheme).

·       The eligibility criteria for the standard scheme was detailed in paragraph 4.1 of the report.

·       Where individuals meet all of those requirements but were not in receipt of a qualifying benefits they could be considered for a payment from the discretionary scheme.  The discretionary scheme had been approved by Devon Chief Executives and Leaders as detailed in paragraphs 4.5 and 4.6 of the report.

·       The Council had received a fixed amount of funding from Government for the four months that the discretionary scheme was intended to last. Government had confirmed that no additional monies will be given to the Council.

·       Arrangements were quickly put in place to administer these payments, including the design of an on-line claim, and this went live on 12 October 2020.

 

In response to questions, the Head of Resources advised the following:

 

·       To date 15 payments of £500 had been made under the standard scheme.

·       It was anticipated that the take up of the scheme would be low and was for individuals on low income and were required to self isolate.

·       The funding received for the discretionary scheme (£24,000) would allow for approximately 50 payments to be made.

·       It was anticipated that the funding received from Government should be sufficient, however if it was not then the Council would make representation to the Government for additional funding.

·       The schemes would be administered in house and the online application form had been designed in house.  Therefore if required some of the funding received from Government for administration costs could potentially be used.

 

RESOLVED that the adoption of the policies for the Test and Trace Support Payments Scheme and the Test and Trace Discretionary Payments Scheme with effect from 28 September 2020 as detailed in Appendices A and B be approved.

 


02/11/2020 - Lynton Agency Performance Review ref: 1541    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Strategy and Resources Committee

Made at meeting: 02/11/2020 - Strategy and Resources Committee

Decision published: 17/11/2020

Effective from: 02/11/2020

Decision:

The Committee considered a report by the Head of Resources (circulated previously) regarding the Lynton Agency Performance Review.

 

The Head of Resources highlighted the following:

 

·         In February 2015 North Devon Council approved the service improvement framework to objectively review services to improve the customer experience and/or value for money.  A review of the Lynton and Lynmouth agency agreement was added to the review programme.  

·         Following a successful agency arrangement being in place for the above 3-year period, a further report to the meeting of Strategy and Resources on 4 November 2019 it was approved that the agency agreement with Lynton and Lynmouth Town Council with effective 1 April 2020 be continued for a period of 3 years with a formal review on that date.  It had been agreed that an annual report be presented to the Committee.

·         The report updated members on progress against the 14 review recommendations put forward by the review team and to receive the financial outturn for the agency for the 2019/20. 

·         The summary annual report on the 2019/20 agency performance and financial outturn from Lynton and Lynmouth Town Clerk was detailed in Appendix A

·         The only remaining review recommendation to be completed was in relation to exploring a joint way forwards to reducing public convenience costs and this action was reliant on North Devon Council carrying out a wider review of all public conveniences across the District.

·         Following the agency review, the revised forecast figures presented by Lynton and Lynmouth Town Council were projecting a net budget surplus (excluding parking fines) of £48,912; which was in line with the in-house North Devon Council costing put forward as part of the review process.   The actual financial performance for 2019/20 year had resulted in a net surplus of £65,843 (2018/19 was £60,177) which would be returned to North Devon Council.

 

Councillor Patrinos declared a personal interest as a Member of Lynton and Lynmouth Town Council.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)

 

that the annual report and that the actions being taken to ensure that performance against the 14 review recommendations was at the desired level be noted;

 

(b)

that this be the final report presented to the Committee and it only be brought to the Committee by exception in the future.

 

 


02/11/2020 - Commercialisation Strategy ref: 1540    For Determination

Decision Maker: Strategy and Resources Committee

Made at meeting: 02/11/2020 - Strategy and Resources Committee

Decision published: 17/11/2020

Effective from: 02/11/2020

Decision:

The Committee considered a report by the Head of Resources (circulated previously) regarding the Commercialisation Strategy.

 

Councillor Roome, Lead Member for Commercialisation outlined the reasons why a Commercialisation Strategy had been produced for the Council.

 

The Head of Resources highlighted the following:

 

·         The financial position of the Council was uncertain and a budget gap was forecast beyond 2021/22. 

·         We were awaiting the Comprehensive Spending Review which was anticipated to be November 2020 and announcements on Government funding for Local Authorities which we hope would see a 3-year funding settlement to provide some certainty into the medium term.   However, it was anticipated that this announcement would be a one year funding settlement.

·         The Council had already started to look at other opportunities for generating income such as Plot 1B at Seven Brethren, where the Council took back the long term lease and site was now leased to the Police.

·         A high-level refresh of the above forecast budget position in light of the current pressures being experienced had increased the predicted budget gaps further as detailed in paragraph 4.5 of the report.

·         However, one certainty we can be assured of is that we will still have a significant funding gap for future years to bridge and we need to ensure that we have clear parameters and strong governance in place within the financial context we are operating to look at exploring opportunities and business cases when they arise.

·         A Commercial Strategy sets these parameters, which we have clearly proposed as set out in Appendix A of this report.

·         It was important that clear outcomes were set when devising any strategy and these had been defined in paragraph 4.10 of the report.

·         Aspirational targets had been set as detailed in paragraph 5.1 of the report.

·         Commercial Decision making should focus on four main drivers as detailed in Appendix A, page 126.

 

In response to questions, the Head of Resources advised the following:

 

·         The Council had visited Cheltenham Borough Council to discuss types of commercial opportunities that they had been involved in as they had embedded similar principles and provided more “business like” services.

·         He was unaware of the Preston model.  The commercial strategy was not just about bridging the financial gap.  It would also achieve economic benefits for both the community and the Council.

·         The Commercialisation Strategy had been discussed at a recent Managers Forum.  Managers were invited to consider ideas with their teams that could be considered and feedback.

·         There would be opportunities for Members to discuss the refreshed Medium Term Financial Strategy.

·         There would be opportunities for both Members and Officers to feed in ideas into the commercial strategy.

 

RECOMMENDED that the context of the financial parameters the Council was currently working within be noted and that the adoption of the Commercialisation Strategy as set out in Appendix A of the report be recommended to Full Council.

 

 

Lead officer: Jon Triggs


02/11/2020 - Performance and Financial Management Quarter 2 of 2020/21 ref: 1537    For Determination

Decision Maker: Strategy and Resources Committee

Made at meeting: 02/11/2020 - Strategy and Resources Committee

Decision published: 17/11/2020

Effective from: 02/11/2020

Decision:

 The Committee considered a report by the Head of Resources (circulated previously) regarding the Performance and Financial Management for quarter 2 of 2020/21.

 

The Accountancy Services Manager highlighted the following:

 

·       The revenue budget for 2020/21 was approved at Council on 26th February 2020 at £13,380,000.

·       As at 30 September 2020, the latest forecast net budget is £13,516,000, which produced a forecast budget deficit of £136,000. (Q1 deficit was £385,000).  Details of all variances were shown in “Appendix A – Variations in the Revenue Budget”.

·       The original budget for 2020/21 included a forecast to achieve £200,000 worth of salary vacancy savings.  The current position forecasts this will be exceeded this year; we were currently predicting to achieve £245,000.

·       There was much pressure on the 2020/21 budget due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Council’s income streams have been greatly affected in the first two quarters of 2020/21 and this was expected to continue through the financial year.  Also additional costs have been incurred by the council in provision of temporary accommodation, additional agency staff for waste and recycling and in supporting the local community.

·       Central government have announced and paid local authorities three tranches of support funding totalling £1,189,000 for North Devon.  We have also claimed £160,000 in respect of the job retention scheme and received £170,000 New Burdens grant for SBG and RHLG.  Central government have announced they will help support local authorities for lost income by paying 75% of any lost income after Councils incur the first 5% variance.  The expected lost income and additional costs have been factored into the figures in Appendix A along with the anticipated government support.  Figures relating to the forthcoming national lockdown would be worked on this week.

·       It was anticipated that there would be a reduction in both Council Tax and Business Rates income during 2020/21 as a result of the pandemic.  However, no reduction for income was being reported for 2020/21 year as the financial effect of any deficit on the Collection Fund income will not have an impact on NDC finances until later years as the Government also announced that deficits on this taxation income can be spread over the next 3 financial years.

·       It was difficult to quantify the full impact of Covid-19 at this stage with any certainty, however the financial pressure on the Council would be substantial through 2020-21 and beyond – even after taking into account the above mentioned emergency Covid-19 funding announced by the Government.  The Council does have both general fund and earmarked reserve balances which it could call upon in 2020-21 to mitigate the economic impact being experienced but clearly this would have much longer term solvency implications for the authority.

·       “Appendix B – Movement in reserves and Balances” detailed the movements to and from earmarked reserves in 2020/21.

·       Full details of the Strategic Contingency Reserve movements and commitments are attached as “Appendix C – Strategic Contingency Reserve”.

·       The 2020/21 to 2022/23 Capital Programme is attached as “Appendix D – Capital Programme”.

·       Project under spends of £2,673,332 were brought forward from 2019/20 year and further variations of (£2,356,424) were approved as part of the performance and financial management report to Strategy and Resources to produce a revised 2020/21 Capital Programme of £12,938,936.

·       Two capital funding bids for a further £166,000 were submitted to the Project Appraisal Group (PAG) in relation to new Trade Waste software £36,000 and Repairs to the Queens Theatre’s flat roof £130,000. The projects were to be funded from the improvement reserve and repairs fund respectively. The projects have been scored and have been put forward by the Project Appraisal Group.

·       Overall variations of (£2,526,908) were proposed to the 2020/21 Capital Programme as detailed in paragraph 4.4.4.

·       The overall Capital Programme for 2020/21 to 2022/23 is £29,729,999 and is broken down as follows:  2020/21 -  £10,412,028; 2021/22 - £17,033,383; 2022/23 - £2,284,588.

·       The Programme of £29,729,999 was funded by Capital Receipts / Borrowing (£14,844,331), External Grants and Contributions (£12,147,339) and Reserves (£2,738,329).

·       Once funds have been included in the Capital Programme the Constitution required a separate decision to release those funds. Accordingly the schemes below need the funds to be released so that spending can start within the following three months:   Trade Waste Software £36,000; Queens Theatre flat roof repair £130,000. 

·       Treasury Management (paragraph 4.5), Debt Management (paragraph 4.6) and General Debtors (paragraph 4.7).

·       Performance information as detailed in Appendix E.

 

In response to a question regarding ICT Skype for Business (page 41), the Accountancy Services Manager advised that there was currently a dispute with the supplier and once resolved the final payment would be made.

 

In response to questions the Chief Executive advised:

 

·       Park and Change site at Chivenor (page 47) - once the land ownership issues had been resolved, the Council would adopt the site and manage the car park in line with other Council managed car parks.

·       Discounted sale processes action (page 49) – there were a number of supplementary planning documents to be produced.  Discussions would be undertaken with the team shortly regarding progress on the production and adoption of these documents.

 

In response to questions, the Head of Resources advised:

 

·       Action “Develop a Climate Change and Biodiversity Action Plan” (page 48) - the Environmental Policy had now been approved and that the action would be updated by the Head of Place.

·       Appendix A Government funding – the Council had received three tranches of funding from the Government for Covid 19 totalling £1.189m.  Since the publication of the agenda, the Council had received further Government funding of £385,000.  However, following the next national lockdown there would be further financial impact on the Council.  The report for the next quarter would detail the net financial impact on the Council.  The claim for reimbursement of lost income for the first four months had been claimed.  The forecast loss of income was until the end of the financial year.  A further claim would be made for the reimbursement of income for the remainder of the year.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)

That the actions being taken to ensure that performance was at the desired level be noted;

 

(b)

That the contributions to/from earmarked reserves be approved as detailed in paragraph section 4.2;

 

(c)

That the movements on the Strategic Contingency Reserve (paragraph 4.3) be noted;

 

(d)

That funds be released for the capital schemes listed in paragraph 4.4.11;

 

(e)

 

That the sections dealing with Treasury Management (paragraph 4.5), and Debt Management (paragraphs 4.6 and 4.7) be noted;

 

RECOMMENDED:

 

(f)

That Council approve the variations to the Capital Programme 2020/21 to 2022/23 (paragraph 4.4.4)

 

 

 

Lead officer: Jon Triggs


02/11/2020 - Review of North Devon and Torridge Local Plan 2011-2031 ref: 1535    For Determination

Decision Maker: Strategy and Resources Committee

Made at meeting: 02/11/2020 - Strategy and Resources Committee

Decision published: 17/11/2020

Effective from: 02/11/2020

Decision:

The Committee considered a report by the Head of Place (circulated previously) regarding the review of the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan 2011-2031.

 

The Lead Officer Planning Officer highlighted the following:

 

·       The North Devon and Torridge Local Plan 2011-2031 had been adopted by both District Councils on 29 October 2018.  Since that time the local context for it had changed substantially across a number of key policy areas which warranted an early review.

·       National planning policy required a review of a Local Plan to be completed within five years of its adoption, however local planning authorities were entitled to undertake an early review should they wish to do so.

·       The Government’s consultation on proposed changes to the planning system in early 2020, set out a deadline of December 2023 for all local planning authorities to have an up-to-date local plan.  The joint local plan would have been adopted over five years at that time and would not be considered as up-to-date at that point.

·       The Joint Local Plan Working Group had endorsed the move towards a formal review of the Local Plan and it had been agreed that associated reports be prepared in parallel and consistent manner for consideration by both Councils.

·       The first stage in reviewing the Local Plan required a formal decision by each Council to agree the fundamental principles as detailed in the report. 

·       Once the key principles had been agreed by both Councils, a range of actions would be required as part of the early stages of plan preparation as outlined in the report.

·       Active engagement with all elected Members from both Councils would commence at an early stage to enable them to identify key issues and options to be addressed within a new Local Plan, whilst identifying any particular approaches, policies or policy gaps they wish to be considered.

 

RECOMMENDED that the Council:

 

(a)

 

Commit to working in partnership with Torridge District Council to carry out a comprehensive review and update of the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan on a joint basis;

 

(b)

 

Review the governance arrangements for the preparation of the Local Plan to ensure inclusive, effective and efficient oversight and engagement;

 

(c)

Review the Local Development Scheme in partnership with Torridge District Council;

 

(d)

Arrange Member workshops to enable early involvement in identifying key issues and potential options to be addressed through a new Local Plan.

 

Lead officer: Andrew Austen


02/11/2020 - Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy: Mid Year Review Report 2020/21 ref: 1538    For Determination

Decision Maker: Strategy and Resources Committee

Made at meeting: 02/11/2020 - Strategy and Resources Committee

Decision published: 17/11/2020

Effective from: 02/11/2020

Decision:

The Committee considered a report by the Chief Financial Officer (circulated previously) regarding the Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy Mid Year Review Report 2020/21.

 

The Exchequer Manager highlighted the following:

 

·         The Treasury Management Strategy Statement (TMSS) for 2020/21 was approved by this Council on 26th February 2020.

·         The underlying TMSS approved previously required revision in the light of economic and operational movements during the year as detailed in paragraph 4.1 of the report.

·         The Council’s Capital Position (Prudential Indicators) as detailed in paragraph 4.2 of the report.

·         Changes to the Prudential Indicators for the Capital Financing Requirement, External Debt and Operational Boundary as detailed in paragraph 4.3 of the report.   The forecast Capital Financing Requirement had reduced by circa £1.6m from the original estimate. The majority of this reduction related to the slippage in the Leisure Centre capital project with the spend re-profiled into future years.

·         The forecast operational boundary has reduced by £6m. Delays to the capital programme expenditure, stronger reserve forecasts and the strategy of postponing or delaying external borrowing means that the external borrowing position was not now expected to exceed £2.25m this financial year.

·         Limits to borrowing activity as detailed in paragraph 4.4. of the report.

·         Borrowing strategy as detailed in paragraph 4.5 of the report, which remains to delay external borrowing whilst we can use internal cash flow balances.   The current forecast for next financial year (2021/22) shows CFR increasing by £9.9m with the bulk of the Leisure centre spend in year, giving a total CFR of £17m. This would potentially require £14.5m of external borrowing in addition to internal borrowing.

·         Annual Investment Strategy as detailed in paragraph 4.8 of the report.   As shown by the interest rate forecasts in Appendix A, it was now impossible to earn the level of interest rates commonly seen in previous decades as all investment rates were barely above zero now that Bank Rate was at 0.10%.  The Council held £24.7m of investments as at 30 September 2020 (£16.25m at 31 March 2020).    The Council’s budgeted investment return for 2020/21 was £50,000. As at 30th September 2020 £40,689 investment interest was earned in the half-year period. 

·         Economic and Interests Rates as detailed in Appendix A.

 

RECOMMENDED:

 

(a)

The changes to the prudential indicators be approved;

 

(b)

The report and the treasury activity be noted.

 

Lead officer: Adam Tape


02/11/2020 - Joint Local Plan Working Group - appointment of Members ref: 1543    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Strategy and Resources Committee

Made at meeting: 02/11/2020 - Strategy and Resources Committee

Decision published: 17/11/2020

Effective from: 02/11/2020

Decision:

RESOLVED that in pursuance to minute 7 of the meeting of the Committee on 3 June 2019, that Councillors Prowse, D. Spear and Yabsley appointments to the Joint Local Plan Working Group be confirmed and that Councillor Knight be appointed to replace Councillor Leaver on the Group for the life of the Council.

 


02/11/2020 - To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 5 October 2020 (attached). ref: 1534    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Strategy and Resources Committee

Made at meeting: 02/11/2020 - Strategy and Resources Committee

Decision published: 17/11/2020

Effective from: 02/11/2020

Decision:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 5 October 2020 (circulated previously) be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 


19/10/2020 - Planning for the Future White Paper ref: 1525    For Determination

Decision Maker: Strategy and Resources Committee

Made at meeting: 19/10/2020 - Strategy and Resources Committee

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 19/10/2020

Decision:

The Committee considered the questions contained within the Planning for the Future White Paper (circulated previously).

 

Following consideration of the verbal report by the Lead Officer Planning Policy and Senior Planning Policy Officer, the Committee agreed that the following comments formulate the response to the questions contained in the Planning for the Future White Paper:

 

Pillar 1

 

1. What three words do you associate most with the planning system in England? Democratic, under-resourced and contentious.

 

2(a). Do you get involved with planning decisions in your local area? Yes as local planning authority

 

2(b). If no, why not?  Not applicable.

 

3. Our proposals will make it much easier to access plans and contribute your views to planning decisions. How would you like to find out about plans and planning proposals in the future? [Social media / Online news / Newspaper / By post / Other – please specify]  Other – All of these options and to also include library, neighbourhood and newsletter as recognised the importance of digital communications.  However, it was not only about online since traditional media/approaches remained important in North Devon due to the rurality of the area and lack of comprehensive broadband coverage, plus an ageing population.

 

4. What are your top three priorities for planning in your local area?

 

[Building homes for young people / building homes for the homeless / Protection of green spaces / The environment, biodiversity and action on climate change / Increasing the affordability of housing / The design of new homes and places / Supporting the high street / Supporting the local economy / More or better local infrastructure / Protection of existing heritage buildings or areas / Other – please specify].   Other – All of the above – they are all important and about delivering sustainable development and place making.  Also include more or better local infrastructure.

 

5. Do you agree that Local Plans should be simplified in line with our proposals?   No.  The White Paper lacked detailed of how it would operate. Agree that it should be simplified and quicker to produce and welcome certainty it could provide to developers and the local community.  However, there were many unanswered questions due to the lack of detail including:

o   How do we articulate a vision and strategy for the plan?– Focus only on specific development proposals loses important aspect of planning and place making

o   Is the categorisation system over simplified? - Need to be able to differentiate between places and take account of local circumstances.

o   Unclear if can sub-divide the categories and apply different approaches to respond to different needs and context.

o   Should be specific control for growth and which design parameters should need.

o   Concerns regarding the three zones including:

 

§  Protected areas – how does the council take account of local issues, ambitions, vision, etc. if having to use national policies?

§  Renewal areas – Concerns about areas that would traditionally be subject to overlapping approaches – i.e. town centres that are also conservation areas.

 

6. Do you agree with our proposals for streamlining the development management content of Local Plans, and setting out general development management policies nationally?  No.  Consider that there was scope for streamlining the development management content of Local Plans, and that some of these Policies should not need to be repeated if they appear within a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (such as amenity considerations, design principles (where not detailed within a design code) etc).  It was essential that there must be scope for the inclusion of locally drafted Development Management (DM) Policies at the discretion of the Local Planning Authorities.  It was essential that such flexibility was available to meet the varying needs of differing Local Authorities’ particular circumstances and to ensure successful place making in accordance with Members’ vision for the area.  For example: include DM Policies relating to both rural development supporting the rural communities and tourism and leisure development within a rural district where these sectors are of considerable importance.  The proposed ‘alternative option’ was therefore considered to be appropriate to allow the flexibility to respond to the individual needs of differing Authorities and allow these areas the ability to flourish in a planned for and sustainable manner.   Concern was expressed regarding the practicality of producing rules without local influence, the reduction of local DM policies and removal of officers’ and Members’ flexibility to be able to respond.

 

7(a). Do you agree with our proposals to replace existing legal and policy tests for Local Plans with a consolidated test of “sustainable development”, which would include consideration of environmental impact?  Not sure.  There was insufficient detail in this proposal and it would be dependent upon content of the consolidated ”sustainability test”.   Current tests were clear and simple to apply, but do recognise that a substantial amount of evidence and documentation was required to support the examination of the local plan.  Accept that a sustainability appraisal was a large undertaking, but it does provide checks and balances including the justification for the chosen strategy and sites in the Plan.   Key questions include: 

·         What would be the definition of sustainable development?, It’s important to include all three strands

·         How will the plan be examined – what would be the rules?

 

7(b). How could strategic, cross-boundary issues be best planned for in the absence of a formal Duty to Cooperate?  Clear that the Duty to Cooperate does not work in current form and welcome consideration of review.  However essential that some mechanism for cross boundary strategic planning, with neighbours and across tiers.  There was need for reform rather than wholescale removal.  For example it can’t be met after submitting the local plan, which has caused several plans to fail across the country, even when solutions have been found.

 

8(a). Do you agree that a standard method for establishing housing requirements (that takes into account constraints) should be introduced?  Not sure.  Welcome certainty provided by guidance on approach to be taken, but it should not be binding on local authorities as it needed to be able to take account of local circumstances.   Planning was meant to be about place making incorporating sustainable development factors. It cannot be derived from an algorithm.  Consider the Standard methodology was a shift from need to the delivery of Government ambitions.  

Further questions include: how would the local constraints be factored into the calculation? Will there be discussion with Local Planning Authorities (LPAs)? 

The reality was the imposed numbers would not result in delivery if the housing market was unable to absorb the new requirement and potentially setting up the LPA to fail from the beginning.  If the figure was binding on the LPA then delivery should be binding on development industry with sanctions if it failed to deliver.  Welcome the removal of five year land supply.  The Government have put in place increasingly stringent tests, which have been interpreted inconsistently by inspectors.  It results in a developers’ charter and not a truly plan led system.   Under the current local plan system the number of houses required was linked to the growth agenda and this was not included in the proposed new calculation.  There should be a standard methodology for the calculation for the number of houses required in local areas and consideration of local environmental constraints were required to determine the local outcome and capacity to deliver.

 

8(b). Do you agree that affordability and the extent of existing urban areas are appropriate indicators of the quantity of development to be accommodated?   No. No empirical link between affordability and housing numbers. Increasing numbers would not assist affordability or result in higher delivery where there is a constrained housing market, which is dependent on a range of other factors such as:

·         development finance,

·         wider housing market,

·         access to lending.

 

The scale of an existing urban area was not a good proxy for need which was dependent upon demographics, for example young single households vs inter-generational housing, etc.   It should be based on need.  There would be a failure to deliver starting with the artificial 300,000 figure which had not been justified and evidence based through projected births, deaths, migration, etc.

 

9(a). Do you agree that there should be automatic outline permission for areas for substantial development (Growth areas) with faster routes for detailed consent?  Not sure.  Agree with principle however need clarity of detail.  In theory, an existing Local Plan (LP) allocation should already provide that certainty.   Is this a question for the development industry to answer as to why they submit outline applications on allocated sites? It provides confidence. Concerns over level of work/ evidence/skills required at LP stage to enable certainty.  Who would carry this out, how would it be funded, how would it fit in timeframes? Need to include greater consideration of principles.  How would this be achieved within current resources?  How would community engagement and technical evidence be achieved for assessing 600 sites and allocating  100 of these sites.for drainage, ecology etc.  Concerns over ability to still have route for non-conforming uses.  For example, faster routes to detailed consent still need to cover all issues and be supported by sufficient evidence. What happens if ecological issues change over time from the point of inclusion in the Plan to delivery on site? Importance of continued community and democratic engagement? What about design codes/ masterplans – should these be in place at LP stage? What was a growth area and how was it defined? What was substantial and could it be applied to villages? It should be relative.  Should include small sites on edge of villages.  Does not ensure deliverability for the LPA or community. Developers are restricting supply to maintain prices.

 

9(b). Do you agree with our proposals above for the consent arrangements for Renewal and Protected areas?   No.  Could agree with the approach to ‘protected’ area, albeit with the flexibility added via the use of exceptional local DM Policies as discussed in (6) above.  Consider that the consent arrangements for ‘renewal’ areas could lead to a complex consenting regime, adding uncertainty to local communities and delay to the planning system.  A permission route which gives automatic consent if a scheme meets design and prior approval requirements may be open to interpretation and contention again resulting in uncertainty and delay.  This had been the case with the introduction of historic ‘prior-approvals’ which have required the extensive use of the appeals process in order to gain case law which aids interpretation.   The use of design codes was supported, although interpretation of the design code may differ, and automatic consent may not allow the ‘added value’ which a more traditional DM process adds in improving submitted schemes for communities and developers benefit.  The ability to submit a planning application for a scheme which departs from the plan was essential to aid consideration of individual developments which, due to other material considerations, may be acceptable.   In addition, suggest that the ability for all proposals to be considered by neighbours and other interested parties where the principle of development had been established via the Local Plan be required to allow consideration of material issues at the point of a scheme coming forward, which could be a number of years after a Local Plan was adopted.  9(c). Do you think there is a case for allowing new settlements to be brought forward under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime?   No.  Significant Infrastructure Projects are major infrastructure projects which have a separate development consent regime with the Planning Inspectorate examining applications for development consent.Should be a local decision responding to local circumstances and local views about how to accommodate required growth.  Need to retain local decision making on proposals when they come forward.

 

10. Do you agree with our proposals to make decision-making faster and more certain?  No.  The Council does not agree with the specific proposals to make decision making faster and more certain and do not feel that the proposals will benefit the quality of development or the democratic process. 

The well-established time limits of 8 and 13 weeks are currently able to be extended by agreement with applicants. ‘Extensions of time’ (EoT) are not a ‘get around’ as stated within the White Paper, more a tool that was equally valuable to applicant and communities as well as a Local Planning Authority.   The use of EoT’s allows for proper consideration and continued improvement of schemes to the benefit of all parties. (If an applicant felt that there was no benefit, it was open to the applicant not to agree an EoT).  An unintended consequence of this could be more applications being refused due to having to achieve a firm deadline, resulting in further delay and costs via the appeal process, which could have expediently been dealt with via a short agreed EoT.  Suggest a more appropriate solution would be to allow a further single EoT for additional matters to be dealt with, following which an application must be determined.  Disagree that following consideration at planning committee, applicants should be entitled to an automatic rebate of the planning fee if they are successful at appeal. The White Paper indicates that consideration of detailed matters is principally a matter for professional planning judgement. However, the Council believes that true planning judgement, be it professional or Member led, should not be influenced by considerations of a financial matters in terms of potential significant financial impacts on a Local Authority.   Also decision making can in some instances be either subjective (in matters such as design), a case of Policy interpretation, or indeed a matter of weighting factors in the planning balance. A differing, but reasoned, professional judgement on these matters should not warrant the automatic rebate of fees. The current appeal costs regime ensures that there were sufficient penalties to discourage any ‘unreasonable’ decision making.   Concerns that the determination of detailed planning decisions should be solely delegated to Planning Officers where the principle of development has been established. Whilst principally a matter of professional planning judgement, community and democratic engagement can add value to this stage of the process and allow the input of views from parties whom may not have been engaged with consultation at the Local Plan drafting stage. This engagement often results in better place making, with opportunities for enhanced quality of development and place which would may not be achieved through the strict following of a design code to the benefit of intended occupiers and the surrounding area and communities.  The Plantech innovation should be encouraged to help achieve more efficient processes. Such innovation would need to be adequately resourced and standardisation was supported where appropriate.

 

11. Do you agree with our proposals for accessible, web-based Local Plans?   Not Sure. The principle of accessible, web-based Local Plans was supported but a proposed template or structure was required. However, Local Plans and engagement on their preparation must also remain easily accessible for residents without access to the internet. Small rural authorities may have issues of access to technology and expertise. Mindful of those without access to technology and alternatives were required.

 

12. Do you agree with our proposals for a 30 month statutory timescale for the production of Local Plans?  No. Welcome principles of speeding up process but the timetable was unrealistic.  Process doesn’t allow for place making as it was an iterative process not only front loaded engagement.  Plan making should be more organic process. Efficiencies from parts removed is not going to make up for the additional detail that would be required or the engagement that should occur.  Far more important to engage with the community than previously but it does not allow for meaningful engagement. Difficult to understand how it could be achieved without sufficient detail in proposal.  Contradiction between speeding up and front loading to the plan stage.   Could be counter-productive and may be minded to leave out sites or areas if not forthcoming in the first 6 months.

 

13(a). Do you agree that Neighbourhood Plans should be retained in the reformed planning system?  Yes, agree that should be retained.  Can be a powerful tool for local communities, although recognise they are a big undertaking to produce.  Unclear what they will be able to achieve under new proposals. Often about providing locally distinctive policies for development, which are often DM type policies, which the government are considering removing from the planning system.  Will they just become design codes for development?  Neighbourhood Plans should be retained as input from local communities was vital and further adequate resources were required to support communities with this process.

 

13(b). How can the neighbourhood planning process be developed to meet our objectives, such as in the use of digital tools and reflecting community preferences about design?  Capacities, skills and knowledge – willingness and access to software and associated costs.

 

14. Do you agree there should be a stronger emphasis on the build out of developments? And if so, what further measures would you support?

Yes – need to focus on this.  No tools for LPAs.  There was a requirement for the delivery of 17,200 houses.  The current Local Plan required over 20,000.  Developers need to be more accountable for the progress of their sites, with sanctions on developers who do not deliver.

 

Pillar 2

 

15. What do you think about the design of new development that has happened recently in your area?  [Not sure or indifferent / Beautiful and/or well-designed / Ugly and/or poorly-designed / There hasn’t been any / Other – please specify]  Other. Design relates to the appearance of buildings but also the space around them and how they fit into the surrounding community and how the buildings and locality function.  It is about place making and not just about the external aesthetics of a building:

·         Subjective judgement but varied – Often Uninspiring or Indifferent.  Often anodyne, not enhancing a locality

·         If you walk/drive through new housing estates there are often rows of standard house types with limited open spaces, green infrastructure & inadequate off-street parking?

·         Lack of creativity – often standard designs for major house builders. Lack of industry skills and capacities.

·         Lack of focus on design nationally – appeal decisions do not support importance of design. Does not give confidence to LPAs to challenge.

·         Other priorities / 5 Year Housing Land Supply / Viability – quality often costs more.

 

16. Sustainability is at the heart of our proposals. What is your priority for sustainability in your area?  [Less reliance on cars / More green and open spaces / Energy efficiency of new buildings / More trees / Other – please specify].   Other. Sustainability relates to all of the above as well as other factors. Social, economic and environmental considerations need to be considered together in a holistic way. They are all important. Importance of infrastructure coming alongside development.

 

17. Do you agree with our proposals for improving the production and use of design guides and codes?   [Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]  Yes. It is proposed that design guides and codes must have effective input from the local community and that decisions must be made in line with them.  Can provide context and key design requirements, such as height, layout, materials, but concern that they should not stifle creativity.  Support preparation in principle for Growth Areas (allocations).  Unsure what level of detail or master planning can be set out in a design code.  Unclear if prepared alongside Local Plan (LP) or after it or whether examined as part of LP examination.  Big resource implications for design codes for each Growth Area and every Renewal Area.  Within Renewal Areas, if too vague they can endorse development delivering more standard house types.  Potential that will stifle creativity. Concern over capacities, skills and experience in LPAs to facilitate delivery.  Timings of preparation alongside LP otherwise would impact of slowing down development.

 

18. Do you agree that we should establish a new body to support design coding and building better places, and that each authority should have a chief officer for design and place-making?  Not Sure. Design and place making are important, although difficult to see exactly what the role would do different to Chief Planning Officer? Need more detail.  An enhanced national recognition of the role of the Chief Planning Officer in championing design would be better. A Lead Member should also be in place to drive design coding and building better places. Is the development industry willing to support designs that may not fit their standard house type?

 

19. Do you agree with our proposal to consider how design might be given greater emphasis in the strategic objectives for Homes England? 

Yes it was important and should be welcomed.

 

20. Do you agree with our proposals for implementing a fast-track for beauty?  No.  Proposals which comply with pre-established principles of good design (ie design codes and designs informed by the community) get consent more quickly.  Allow pre-approval of popular and replicable designs through PD.  Propose a limited set of form-based development types, which can be modified by those most popular locally.  Not supported as stifling creativity, and not reflecting local context.  Seek to move away from standard house types and monotonous estates, even if brick colours can be changed.  Unclear who determines whether a proposal is in accordance with design code principles.  If determined by developer then effectively granting themselves prior approval.  Good designs should reflect the surrounding character and context not inserting pre-approved patterns that may not be appropriate there.  Too much emphasis on physical ‘beauty’ and not function. Beauty is only one aspect of a proposal. Needs to be part of the planning judgement. Insufficient detail to fully comment. Concerns over pattern books, etc. and standardisation which are not high quality and locally distinctive – not responsive to context. Importance of negotiation to improve outcomes.

 

Pillar 3

 

21. When new development happens in your area, what is your priority for what comes with it?  [More affordable housing / More or better infrastructure (such as transport, schools, health provision) / Design of new buildings / More shops and/or employment space / Green space / Don’t know / Other – please specify].  Other. Good ‘place making’ requires consideration of all of these matters, and many more. They are all important and need to be considered in combination. Important to create mixed and balanced communities.

 

22(a). Should the government replace the Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 planning obligations with a new consolidated Infrastructure Levy, which is charged as a fixed proportion of development value above a set threshold?   Not Sure.  Recognise that Section 106 was slow and complicated through viability assessments, negotiations with sometimes many recipients needing to agree and sign. For different issues, some developers may not have an urgency to sign and complete agreement.   A levy would be simpler and would apply to all scales and types of development.  However express concerns over:

o   who sets the threshold and how often it’s reviewed

o   at what level it was set

o   who establishes changes in land value

o   what will happen with low value areas

Clarification was required on most of the details and regulations.

Note need to retain s106 for other purposes.

Concern that lower value areas will not achieve funds to deliver infrastructure/ affordable housing if thresholds were set incorrectly.

Section 106 delays often not responsibility of LPA.

Practicalities plus administrative burden for small authorities.

 

22(b). Should the Infrastructure Levy rates be set nationally at a single rate, set nationally at an area-specific rate, or set locally?  Not sure. Should probably be set locally as if it’s set nationally, there was no local control or influence.  It’s unclear at what scale an area-specific rate would be set e.g. regional, sub-regional, county, district, housing market area.  There were big differences in viability across a small area.  If it’s set locally, we may need to commission viability assessments and may need examination or accordance with regulations to agree them.  Concerns over impact on regeneration / schemes with abnormals if floor set incorrectly

 

22(c). Should the Infrastructure Levy aim to capture the same amount of value overall, or more value, to support greater investment in infrastructure, affordable housing and local communities?  More value.

There was currently inadequate infrastructure delivery, ideally more but need to be mindful of deliverability and need for sufficient value to make attractive to land owner, particularly in low value areas.

 

22(d). Should we allow local authorities to borrow against the Infrastructure Levy, to support infrastructure delivery in their area?  Yes.  Support the ability to borrow against the Infrastructure Levy to forward fund it but not a requirement to do so.  Developers should fully fund infrastructure requirements.  Risks for any councils that borrows against future receipts and there is no certainty of when homes will be occupied and when funds will be collected.

 

23. Do you agree that the scope of the reformed Infrastructure Levy should capture changes of use through permitted development rights?  Yes.  There were many prior approvals existing and more proposed. Suggest that self-build and custom-build homes should not be exempt as they were under CIL regulations. Such development still puts a strain on local infrastructure.  Practicalities and clarification on how it would be administered and enforced.  Would it undermine some of the principles of what PD intended to achieve – i.e. quicker , simpler?

 

24(a). Do you agree that we should aim to secure at least the same amount of affordable housing under the Infrastructure Levy, and as much on-site affordable provision, as at present?  Yes, but should be locally set and the mix of sizes and tenures rioritised locally on the basis of need.

 

24(b). Should affordable housing be secured as in-kind payment towards the Infrastructure Levy, or as a ‘right to purchase’ at discounted rates for local authorities?  Support In principle the right to purchase affordable housing from developers i.e. guaranteed provision on site.  Delivery on site was an in-kind payment in lieu of levy contributions.  The difference between the price it was sold to the Registered Provider (RP) and open market price would be offset from the final cash liability to the levy.  Unclear what discounted rates were proposed.  Alternative was ‘first refusal’ right for LAs (or RPs) to buy up to a set proportion of onsite units.  How do you secure it in perpetuity?  Need to retain section 106 mechanisms.  May wish for different proportions in different value areas?  Hybrid – in-kind first, but with option to buy more.

 

24(c). If an in-kind delivery approach is taken, should we mitigate against local authority overpayment risk?  Not sure. Advised that if cost of in-kind provision is greater than the final levy liability then the developer had no rights to reclaim overpayments.  Unclear what happens to rural exception sites.  Likely overpayment but then no levy towards education and POS etc.  Need clarification whether they should be exempt from levy?

 

24(d). If an in-kind delivery approach is taken, are there additional steps that would need to be taken to support affordable housing quality?  Yes. Currently if homes are not of sufficient quality (or wrong type), developers were unable to sell them to RPs.  To ensure developers were not rewarded for low-standard homes, Local Authorities have option to revert back to cash contributions if RPs unwilling to buy homes.  Suggest all homes were built to meet national standards (quality and size) so appropriate for use as affordable homes.  Also sizes of homes reflect local needs. 

 

25. Should local authorities have fewer restrictions over how they spend the Infrastructure Levy?   Not Sure.  Unclear what restrictions were envisaged i.e. those for CIL?  Says flexibility for levy collected once core infrastructure obligations met but unlikely to receive enough levy to meet all core infrastructure obligations.   Levy should be collected and spent to deliver affordable housing and key infrastructure.  Inappropriate to use for other purposes such as funding planning department or reducing council tax.

 

RESOLVED that it being 1.00 p.m. that the meeting continue in order for the remaining business to be transacted.

 

25(a). If yes, should an affordable housing ‘ring-fence’ be developed?  Not Sure.   Levy was calculated based on increase in land value. There is not a specified about collected for affordable housing so unclear what proportion could or should be ring-fenced.  Affordable Housing would be high priority but so will other key infrastructure.  Individual Authorities should be able to decide how to divide the Infrastructure Levy based on priorities.

 

26. Do you have any views on the potential impact of the proposals raised in this consultation on people with protected characteristics as defined in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010?  No.  Provision of public transport, health facilities and employment opportunities would mitigate against protected characteristics need to be taken into account.

 

RESOLVED that the views of the Committee form the basis of the Council’s response to the Planning for the Future White Paper and that the final wording of the consultation response be delegated to the Head of Place in consultation with the Leader and Lead Member for Economic Development and Planning Policy.

 

 

 

Lead officer: Andrew Austen


07/10/2020 - Policy Development Committee ref: 1521    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Policy Development Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i)       16 July 2020

 

(ii)     10 September 2020

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Strategy and Resources Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i)       3 August 2020

 

(A)      Minute 164 (b): Approval and Release of Section 106 Public Open Space Fund – Bickington

 

(B)      Minute 165 (b): Approval and Release of Section 106 Funds – South Molton

 

(ii)       1 September 2020

 

(A)      Minute 177 (c): Approval and Release of Section 106 Public Open Space Funds – South Molton and Combe Martin

 

(B)      Minute 179: Seven Brethren - Agreeing a Way Forward (Council noted that due to a typographical error, the minute will be amended to state “RESOLVED” and not “RECOMMENDED” at the meeting of the Committee on 5 October 2020).


07/10/2020 - Planning Committee ref: 1520    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Planning Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i)       8 July 2020

 

(ii)      12 August 2020

 

(iii)      9 September 2020


07/10/2020 - Licensing and Community Safety Committee ref: 1519    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Licensing and Community Safety Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i)       14 July 2020

 

(ii)     8 September 2020


07/10/2020 - Harbour Board ref: 1518    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Harbour Board (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i)       11 August 2020

 

(A)      Minute 58: Three Month Waiver of Harbour Fees 2021-2022


07/10/2020 - Governance Committee ref: 1517    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Governance Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i)         8 September 2020

 

(A)      Minute 90: Recommendations to Update the Member Code of Conduct

 


07/10/2020 - Building Control Joint Committee ref: 1516    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

RESOLVED that the following minutes of the Building Control Joint Committee (circulated previously) be noted and adopted as follows:

 

(i)         6 August 2020


07/10/2020 - Letter of Representation on behalf of the Council (attached) ref: 1532    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

The Chief Financial Officer advised Council that the Letter of Representation on behalf of the Council was the final part of the Statement of Accounts and conclusion of the audit.


Councillor Roome reported the recommendation of the Governance Committee held on 5 October 2020 (circulated separately).

 

It was moved by Councillor Roome and seconded by Councillor Biederman that “that the letter of representation on behalf of the Council be approved and signed by the Chief Financial Officer”.

 

RESOLVED that the letter of representation on behalf of the Council be approved and signed by the Chief Financial Officer.

 

 

 


07/10/2020 - Report by Chief Financial Officer (attached) ref: 516    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

Council considered a report by the Chief Financial Officer (circulated previously) regarding the Statement of Accounts for 2019/20.  The Chief Financial Officer advised that the draft Statement of Accounts for year ended 31 March 2020 was signed by the Chief Financial Officer on 22 July 2020.  Normally, the final date for published, audited accounts was 31 July, however this year due to Covid-19 this was extended to 30 November 2020.  The Covid-19 pandemic only started to make a notable impact upon the public and businesses in the last two weeks of March; and thus not had a dramatic impact upon these draft financial statements for period to 31 March 2020; the real budgetary impact of Covid affects the financial position of the Council post April 2020.  The External Audit of Accounts started on 8 Sept 2020.  The Audit Findings Report was presented to the Governance Committee which gave an Unqualified Opinion on Financial Statements/Value for Money Conclusion and four recommendations following Key Findings which had been accepted by management and responses built into the Action Plan.  The Accounts were required to be formally signed off at Council.  He outlined the narrative report which set out the challenges the Council faced, how those challenges would be met and reviewed the last financial year 2019/20; the main statements; accounting policies; notes to the Accounts.  He advised of an amendment to Note 4 “Accounting Standards that have been issued but not yet been adopted” as follows: “In response to the Covid 19 pandemic, CIPFA/LASAAC deferred the implementation of IFRS 16 Leases in the public sector until 1 April 2021. This will require lessees to recognise assets subject to leases as right-of-use assets on their balance sheet, along with corresponding lease liabilities (there are exceptions for low-value and short-term leases).”  He outlined the Auditors report as detailed on page 123 following the conclusion of the audit and presentation of their audit findings report to Governance Committee on 5 October 2020.  He advised that the Medium Term Financial Plan would be presented to the next meeting of Council.

 

Councillor Roome presented the recommendations of the Governance Committee held on 8 September 2020 and 5 October 2020 (circulated previously).

 

It was moved by Councillor Roome and seconded by Councillor Biederman that the recommendation in the report be adopted.

 

RESOLVED that theStatement of Accounts 2019/20 be approved, and that the Chairman of the Council sign and date the Statement of Accounts as required by the Accounts and Audit Regulations.

 


07/10/2020 - Statement of Accounts 2019/20 ref: 515    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

The Chair advised that items 13 (a), 13 (b) and 13 (c) would be considered and debated together and that a single vote would be taken on the three recommendations.

 


07/10/2020 - Report of meeting of the Strategy and Resources Committee ref: 1515    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

Councillor Worden, Chair of the Strategy and Resources Committee reported the recommendations of the Strategy and Resources Committee on the Treasury Management Annual Report 2019/20 (circulated previously).

 

It was moved by Councillor Worden and seconded by Councillor Jenkins that “minute 176 of the meeting of the Strategy and Resources Committee on 1 September 2020 be adopted”.

 

RESOLVED that minute 176 of the meeting of the Strategy and Resources Committee on 1 September 2020 be adopted.

 


07/10/2020 - Report of meeting of the Strategy and Resources Committee ref: 1514    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

Councillor Worden, Chair of the Strategy and Resources Committee reported the recommendations of the Strategy and Resources Committee on the Performance and Financial Management for Quarter 1 of 2020/21 (circulated previously).

 

It was moved by Councillor Worden and seconded by Councillor D. Spear that “minute 175 (f) of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 1 September 2020 be adopted”.

 

RESOLVED that minute 175 (f) of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 1 September 2020 be adopted.

 


07/10/2020 - Report of meeting of the Strategy and Resources Committee ref: 1513    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

Councillor Worden, Chair of the Strategy and Resources Committee reported the recommendations of the Strategy and Resources Committee on the Performance and Financial Management for Quarter 4 of 2019/20 (circulated previously).

 

It was moved by Councillor Worden and seconded by Councillor Bushell that “minute 159 (f) of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 3 August 2020 be adopted”.

 

RESOLVED that minute 159 (f) of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 3 August 2020 be adopted.

 


07/10/2020 - Appointment to the Strategy and Resources Committee ref: 1533    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

Councillor Worden thanked Councillor Leaver for her work on the Strategy and Resources Committee and advised that she had to step down from the Committee owing to work commitments.

 

It was moved by Councillor Worden and seconded by Councillor Tucker “that Councillor Knight be appointed to replace Councillor Leaver as a member of the Strategy and Resources Committee for the municipal year 2019/20”.

 

In response to a question, the Senior Corporate and Community Services Officer confirmed that it was still the 2019/20 municipal year as a meeting of Annual Council had not been held this year.

 

RESOLVED that Councillor Knight be appointed to replace Councillor Leaver as a member of the Strategy and Resources Committee for the municipal year 2019/20.

 


07/10/2020 - To consider motions of which notice has been submitted by Members in accordance with Part 4, Council Procedure Rules, Paragraph 11 of the Constitution ref: 514    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

(a) To consider the following notice of motion from Councillor Prowse

 

Councillor Prowse presented his notice of motion to Council.

 

It was moved by Councillor Prowse and seconded by Councillor Biederman:

 

“That this Council work with other stakeholders across Devon to draft and promote an alternative structure of local government that best reflects the needs of the differing communities and local economies in Devon.”

 

Council noted that Councillor Bushell raised concerns of a repeat of when Borough Councils were removed and local authorities lost the assets from their area.

 

RESOLVED that this Council work with other stakeholders across Devon to draft and promote an alternative structure of local government that best reflects the needs of the differing communities and local economies in Devon.

 

(b) To consider the following notice of motion from Councillor Roome

 

Councillor Biederman declared a personal interest as a Member of Devon County Council.

 

Councillor Roome presented his notice of motion to Council.

 

It was moved by Councillor Roome and seconded by Councillor Tucker that “we request DCC review the maintenance programme of gully drains immediately and that South West Water review their drains in light of the recent flooding, and work with District Council Members to identify areas that need more regular maintenance; and that comparison information be requested from DCC regarding the savings that have been made following the reduction of maintenance and clearance of drains against the costs of the reactionary work required following flooding”.

 

RESOLVED that it be requested that DCC review the maintenance programme of gully drains immediately and that South West Water review their drains in light of the recent flooding, and work with District Council Members to identify areas that need more regular maintenance; and that comparison information be requested from DCC regarding the savings that have been made following the reduction of maintenance and clearance of drains against the costs of the reactionary work required following flooding”.

 

(c)  To consider the following notice of motion from Councillor Worden

 

Councillor Worden presented his notice of motion to Council.  Councillor Worden advised that a special meeting of the Strategy and Resources Committee would be held on 19 October 2020 and that any Member was welcome to attend and address the Committee.

 

The Chief Executive advised that the consultation response to the White Paper on changes to the current planning system had been submitted and a copy would be circulated to all Members.  The notice of motion would be automatically referred to the Strategy and Resources Committee and therefore did not need to form part of the notice of motion.

 

It was moved by Councillor Worden and seconded by Councillor Biederman that “the Council take part in the consultation in the planning proposals, and to make representations against the proposals as outlined in this motion, write to our Member of Parliament, expressing the Council’s concerns and to circulate her reply to members and highlight its concerns over these proposals with the public and local residents.” 

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)

the Council take part in the consultation in the planning proposals, and to make representations against the proposals as outlined in this motion;

 

(ii)

write to our Member of Parliament, expressing the Council’s concerns and to circulate her reply to Members; and

 

(iii)

highlight its concerns over these proposals with the public and local residents.

 

(d)       To consider the following notice of motion from Councillor Walker

 

Councillor Walker presented her notice of motion to Council.

 

It was moved by Councillor Walker and seconded by Councillor York that “we ask that this Council responds to the consultation on pavement parking stating they wish to control such parking and can issue fines for breaches.” 

 

RESOLVED that we ask that this Council responds to the consultation on pavement parking stating they wish to control such parking and can issue fines for breaches.

 

Council noted that the notice of motion would be referred to the Policy Development Committee for consideration.

 


07/10/2020 - To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 22 July 2020 (attached) ref: 512    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 22 July 2020 (circulated previously) be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 


07/10/2020 - Annual Governance Statement 2019/20 (attached) ref: 1531    For Determination

Decision Maker: Council

Made at meeting: 07/10/2020 - Council

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 07/10/2020

Decision:

Council considered the Annual Governance Statement for 2019/20 (circulated previously).  The Monitoring Officer advised that the flowchart on page 11 had now been updated to reflect the committee arrangements and a copy had been published as a supplementary document.  He advised that the Governance Committee at its meeting on 8th September 2020 had recommended approval.

 

Councillor Roome reported the recommendations of the Governance Committee held on 8th September 2020 and advised that it had been a challenging year for all Local Authorities and in particular thanked the Finance team for its hard work in administering grants to support the economy.

 

It was moved by Councillor Roome and seconded by Councillor Biederman “that the Annual Governance Statement for 2019/20 be approved”.

 

RESOLVED that the Annual Governance Statement for 2019/20 be approved.

 


30/09/2020 - Urgent Decision - E-Scooter Trial ref: 1530    Recommendations Approved

REQUESTED DECISION: To agree to waive the contract procedure rules and to appoint Voi, for the purposes of running an e-scooter pilot in North Devon with NDC and Petroc, where no monetary incentive or grant forms part of this agreement with Voi. This agreement is for a pilot period only – lasting 12 months under the licence from Department for Transport (DfT).

STATEMENT OF THE REASONS FOR THE REQUEST AND WHY IT IS URGENT:
The urgency is to meet the DfT deadline to acquire a licence to run an e-scooter pilot in North Devon with a partnership between Petroc and an e-scooter supplier (Voi).

Petroc have been in discussion with local partners, including Devon County Council, NDC and TDC since early July around the potential for an e-scooter pilot for North Devon. All parties were broadly in agreement with the principle of a pilot – both addressing the ‘first/last mile’ issue faced by Petroc students, and the offer for visitors to North Devon who wish to find a more sustainable method of traveling around when on holiday in the area. Petroc made contact with a micro mobility provider, who had already successfully started pilots with other local authorities, mostly in city regions. The company, Voi, were keen to look at a pilot in a rural area. Through discussions with DfT, Petroc were made aware that this would be the first rural pilot in England, and the data collected from the pilot would be very welcomed by the DfT. Petroc therefore proceeded to submit an Expression of Interest, as per the process. The Dft welcomed the submission but at this point made it clear that they would only accept a full proposal from a local authority – as they were only granting licences through these bodies.

On September 9th, Petroc contacted NDC to seek our approval to submit a proposal on behalf of the emerging partnership they had formed with Voi. This was agreed by the Head of Place and at this point work was started on the proposal. It was clear after the first few meetings that the DfT required the proposal to have the micro mobility partner already procured, so their operating procedures could form part of the assessment process on submission to the DfT.

Guidance from DfT on procurement for proposals being submitted states:

Dialogue with several areas suggests that light-touch contractual arrangements may be suitable for many authorities and better able to rapidly deliver e-scooter trials in response to COVID-19. In some cases, however, areas may choose to undertake a more traditional procurement exercise with a more detailed contractual arrangement. This is entirely a local decision.

We did not have the appropriate time to carry out a contracting process, prior to submission, given the deadline of September 30th 2020.

Voi have provided a lot of detail around the safety and risk mitigation to run a successful e-scooter pilot, bringing with them a fair bit of experience from working within other local authority areas across England. There is no financial gain for them in the running of the pilot – they will not make a profit, but will build up experience of working in a rural setting, something they have not yet done. Voi will provide all of the capital equipment – scooters, spare parts, storage units, safety equipment so will invest a lot during the life of the pilot.

Once the 12 month pilot period concludes, Voi will remove all of the infrastructure they have in the area. If proof of concept is successful partners will discuss with DfT a longer term solution to e-scooter use in the area.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS: (NOTE: Please state if there are any financial implications. If so, state whether there are sufficient funds within the agreed budget. If there are insufficient funds please state how the decision will be financed).

There are no financial implications for NDC taking the lead role in this E-scooter trial. All capital equipment needed will be provided by the supplier (Voi) at no cost to the public purse. The proposal to the DfT is for a licence to run e-scooters in the district – it doesn’t cost the authority any money to obtain this.


Decision Maker: Chief Executive

Decision published: 09/11/2020

Effective from: 30/09/2020

Decision:

Approved

CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S COMMENTS:
Approve the decision. There is still a lot of work to be done on the project but I’m happy to act as the applicant to the bid and to appoint Voi in order to move the project forward.

Lead officer: Ken Miles