Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

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No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Clayton, P. Leaver and Williams.


To approve as correct records the minutes of the meetings held on 16th May 2024 (attached) and 23rd May 2024 (attached). pdf icon PDF 268 KB

Additional documents:


RESOLVED, that the minutes of the meetings held on 16th May and 23rd May 2024 (circulated previously) be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair, subject to the following amendments to the minutes of 23rd May:


Page 18:


·       Bullet point six should read as:


“The UK was currently only 55% self-sufficient in food production”.


·       Bullet point nine should read as:


“Following the announcement on 22nd May 2024 of a General Election, which would be held on 4th July 2024, the members were advised to refrain from making political statements with the aim of the special meeting being that of a cross party discussion”.


Page 19:


·       Question one, first bullet point North Devon + representative should read as:


SFI not FSI”.


·       Bullet point four, Local Farmer and Deputy Chair of the National Farmers Union should read as:


“ Herballeys not lays”.


·       Bullet point five, point four, Councillor Robin Milton, Local farmer should state:


“ Income for upland farmers not “lowland” was well below the minimum wage”.


Councillor Worden who was not present at the special meeting of the Committee on 23rd May 2024 abstained from the vote.


The Committee formally thanked the Clerk for producing such detailed minutes.




Declarations of Interest.

Please telephone the Corporate and Community Services team to prepare a form for your signature before the meeting. Interests must be re-declared when the item is called. A declaration of interest under the Code of Conduct will be a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, an Other Registrable Interest or a Non-Registrable Interest.  If the item directly relates to your interest you must declare the interest and leave the room for the item, save in the case of Other Registrable Interests or Non-Registrable Interests where you may first speak on the item as a member of the public if provision has been made for the public to speak.  If the matter does not directly relate to your interest but still affects it then you must consider whether you are affected to a greater extent than most people and whether a reasonable person would consider your judgement to be clouded, if you are then you must leave the room for the item (although you may speak as a member of the public if provision has been made for the public to speak) or, if you are not, then you can declare the interest but still take part).



There were no declarations of interest announced.


Deferral of item 6 on the agenda


RESOLVED, that item 6 on the agenda be deferred until the next meeting of the Committee as the Council was currently in the pre-election period (purdah) and it was therefore not appropriate to discuss any subjects which related to government policy matters.


Performance and Financial Management Q4 2023-24 pdf icon PDF 332 KB

Report by the Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive to Strategy and Resources on 1st July 2024 (to follow).


(a) Minute Extract of Strategy and Resources on 1st July 2024 (attached).

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report by the Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive (circulated previously) regarding the Performance and Financial Management for Quarter 4 of 2023/24 together with Minute Extract of Strategy and Resources on 1st July 2024 (circulated separately).


The Finance Manager highlighted the following:


·       The revenue budget for 2023/24 was approved at Council on 22nd February 2023 at £14,766,450.

·       As at 31st March 2024, it was pleasing to report that the final out turn position was a budget surplus of £630,000, which was an overall movement of £557,000 from the last forecast at quarter 3.

·       The breakdown showing these movements was shown in “Appendix A – Variations in the Revenue Budget” was detailed on pages 59-60 of the report.

·       The net movement from quarter 3 of £557,000 could be mainly attributed to:


Adverse variances:


Ø  £89,000 Reduction in Parking Charge Notice income.

Ø  £191,000 Premises Electricity.

Ø  £132,000 Planning fee income.

Ø  £81,000 External Audit fee.

Ø  £70,000 Insurance premiums.

Ø  £75,000 Transfer of Public Conveniences.


Favourable variances:


Ø  £66,000 Work and Recycling Transport.

Ø  £54,000 Temporary Accommodation costs.

Ø  £46,000 Building Control Partnership.

Ø  £41,000 Crematorium income.

Ø  £57,000 Additional Grant income.

Ø  £91,000 Interest receivable and payable.

Ø  £760,000 Business Rates income.

Ø  £52,000 Contribution from Community Housing reserve.


·       A detailed breakdown of variations in the revenue budget could be seen on pages 59 and 60 of the report.

·       From the revenue budget surplus of £630,000, it was proposed to set aside the amount into the following earmarked reserves:


Ø  Corporate Property income volatility reserve - £150,000.

Ø  Insurance Reserve - £280,000 – mitigate 2024/25 higher insurance costs.

Ø  Digital Transformation Financial system reserve - £200,000.


·       The financial outturn for the Green Lanes Shopping Centre produced a net return (income less costs) for:

Ø  2021/22 year of (£243,600) due to minimal borrowing costs as these commenced in 2022/23.

Ø  2022/23 trading position produced a net return of (£291,000), including borrowing costs.

Ø  2023/24 trading position produced a net return of (£237,000), this included £150,000 from the income volatility reserve due to the financial impact of losing Wilko in August 2023. This reserve having been created in 2021/22 for this purpose to protect the council in the event of a tenant loss and smooth the budgetary impact.


·       As at 31st March 2024 the Collection Fund reserve balance held was £1,790,180. This earmarked reserve was created to deal with the timing impacts of the Collection Fund (Business Rates), which ensured the revenue budget was not unduly affected in the year the taxes were collected. Collection Fund deficits/surpluses were reversed out to bring the revenue account back to the budgeted figure for the year; the deficits/surpluses were recovered/distributed in the following financial years. This reserve included a £1,246,078 balance that would be utilised in 2024/25 and 2025/26 to mitigate timing differences of business rate reliefs awarded in 2023/24 that from an accounting perspective impact over the next two financial years; thus leaving the fund reserve with a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.


Annual Treasury Management Report 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 191 KB

Report by the Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive to Strategy and Resources on 1st July 2024 (attached).


(a) Minute Extract of Strategy and Resources on 1st July 2024 (attached).


Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report by the Head of Governance (circulated previously) regarding the Annual Treasury Management report 2032/24 together with Minute Extract of Strategy and Resources on 1st July 2024 (circulated previously).


The Head of Governance highlighted the following:


·       The Council was required by regulations issued under the Local Government Act 2003 to produce an annual treasury management review of activities and the actual prudential and treasury indicators for 2023/24. This report met the requirements of both the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Code of Practice on Treasury Management (the Code) and the CIPFA Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities (the Prudential Code).

·       The table shown on page 97 of the report detailed the Capital Financing Requirement (CFR) for the financial year 2023/24.

·       The Councils CFR as at 31st March 2024 was just over £26 million.

·       The figure included projects such as the building of the new leisure centre and the purchase of Green Lanes.

·       A further £1.4 million of unfinanced capital expenditure was added to the CFR during 2023/24.

·       Despite this increase in borrowing need the external borrowing from the PWLB remained at £3 million for the year.

·       There was £2.8 million borrowing in relation to our finance leases bringing the total borrowing to £5.8 million for the year.

·       The Council used £20.2 million of its own funds to make up the under borrowed position.

·       In terms of investments held by the Council – the Council maintained an average balance of circa £13 million of internally managed funds.


RESOLVED, that the decisions and recommendations of the Strategy and Resources Committee be endorsed.


Work programme 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 38 KB

To consider the work programme for 2024/25 (attached).


The Committee considered the work programme for 2024/25 (circulated previously).


The Clerk to the Committee confirmed that the date for the special meeting of the Committee to discuss dentistry had been arranged for Thursday 18th July 2024 at 6:30pm in G107, 1st Floor, South West Institute Development Building, Petroc, Barnstaple - Petroc College.


The Vice Chair and Lead Member for the dentistry working group advised that the special meeting would be held jointly with the External Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Torridge District Council, which would be held as two meetings running in parallel to each other.


The Committee discussed the format of the special meetings that had been held previously and acknowledged that whilst both meetings had been really successful, Council processes sometimes appeared to the attending public to complicate the process unnecessarily.


The Vice Chair agreed that having joint meetings did complicate the process and the majority of the administrative support and co-ordination for the forthcoming special meeting had been provided by the Clerk to the Policy Development Committee of North Devon Council, which had put additional pressure on already stretched resources.


He added that following a meeting with the Chair of the External Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Torridge District Council there had been a request that if the joint meeting was a success that moving forward both Committees should try to co-ordinate their work programmes.


The Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive advised that he would report back to the Chief Executive of North Devon Council regarding the importance of sharing resources for administrative support when special joint meetings were being arranged.


Councillor Jones, Lead Member for water quality working group provided an update in regards to the latest position:


·       Discussions with Torridge District Council were currently ongoing with regards to holding a joint meeting to discuss water quality across both the North Devon and Torridge areas and the outcomes that they would like to achieve.

·       Had met with the Westcountry Rivers Trust to discuss promises which had been made at the special meeting. However, it would currently appear that these promises were not quite as they had been hoped.

·       Water testing was ongoing in the Little Dart River where high levels of phosphates had been recorded at a pipe source. These findings had been reported to the Environment Agency who were responding very swiftly to try to identify issues.

·       There was a requirement to work more closely with the Westcountry Rivers Trust or other routes such as South West Water (SWW) as active testing could identify problems.

·       At MP level they were only focussed on what ended up on the beaches. However, the issues began further upstream and this was the area that they needed to focus on.

·       A meeting would be scheduled with Torridge District Council following the General Election to discuss the approach to be taken with the MP.


The Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive advised that many of the issues mentioned regarding water quality could be addressed through  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.