Agenda and minutes

Policy Development Committee - Thursday, 11th January, 2024 6.30 pm

Venue: Barum Room - Brynsworthy. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Community Services  01271 388253


No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Hunt, Jones and Turton.


To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 16th November 2023 (attached). pdf icon PDF 269 KB


RESOLVED, that the minutes of the meeting held on 16th November 2023 (circulated previously) be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


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.


Service Plans pdf icon PDF 362 KB

Report by  the Chief Executive (attached).

Additional documents:


The Committee discussed the Service Plans (as previously circulated).

The Chief Executive advised that the service plans were considered by the Policy Development Committee on an annual basis and that following the restructure of the Council’s Senior Management Team in September 2021, Heads of Service, with support from the new Programme Management Office (PMO), were tasked with establishing 5 programmes in their portfolio area to support the delivery of our Corporate Plan objectives.

There were five programmes established each with a Senior Responsible Owner (SRO):

1.    Customer Focus / Digital by Design – SRO Sarah Higgins.

2.    Environmental Enhancement – SRO Mark Kentell.

3.    Housing & Community Safety – SRO Nina Lake.

4.    Regeneration & Economic Growth – SRO SarahJane Mackenzie-Shapland.

5.    Organisational Development – SRO Nikki Gordon.

He explained that sitting above the 5 programmes, there was an overarching theme of Financial Security and associated Medium Term Financial Strategy and Commercialisation Strategy, which was assigned to the Councils Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive. These programmes were reported on a quarterly basis through both the Strategy and Resources Committee and the Policy Development Committee.

He added that the service plans did not contain strategic actions as they were now contained within the five overarching programmes and that the service plans were based on the operational functions of the Council.

The Chair’s meeting was held in December 2023 where it was agreed to invite the Heads of Service for Finance, Housing and Environmental Enhancement.

The actions in the programmes were reviewed as part of the Corporate Plan workshop, which was held prior to Christmas 2023. He added that a draft Corporate Plan was currently being developed and would be presented to you in due course.

He explained that each Head of Service would report their new actions to the Committee, there were historical actions which would either have updates, extension date requests or notes to explain their transferral to the overarching programmes.

He added that all service plans had been subject to consultation with Senior Management Team prior to their consideration by the Committee and any financial implications arising from the planswould then go as part of the draft budget to Full Council to be considered as part of the budgetary discussions at its February meeting.


(a)  Building Control


The Committee discussed the Service Plan for Building Control (as previously circulated).

The Director of Resources addressed the Committee and provided an update on the following:

·         Recommendation PH&H 2022/23 17: Building Control Gain approval and implement recruitment of resources to support expanded investigation and enforcement role resulting from legislative change. Recruitment was required at different levels to enable staggered development of employees making resources available over a 2-5 year period when external recruitment would be exceptionally difficult. The details regarding the positions to be recruited was detailed on page 24 of the report. Extension of time request: 30th June 2024.


·         Recommendation PH&H 2022/23 18: Building Control Mentoring and support to be provided to Surveyors to ensure successful validation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.


Work programme 2023/24. pdf icon PDF 113 KB

Work programme 2023/24 (attached).


The Committee considered the work programme together (circulated previously).


The Committee discussed the work programme and the items due for consideration at the next meeting in March 2024.




a)    That the work programme be noted; and


b)    That a special meeting of the Committee be arranged to discuss dentistry services within the North Devon area.


Briefing paper in relation to the proposed agriculture reforms. Councillor Bulled to report. pdf icon PDF 182 KB

Briefing paper (attached).


The Committee considered a briefing paper prepared by Councillor Bulled in relation to the proposed agriculture reforms.


Councillor Bulled addressed the Committee and outlined the following points to the Committee:


·       There appeared to be no effective Rural Policy upon which to hang the increasing environmental demands and offsets that were required within housing and economic development including carbon offsetting, biodiversity net gain, 30 by 30 expectations, climate mitigation, water issues and many more.

·       This provided NDC with an opportunity to facilitate actions that promoted the opportunities to retain the economic value of such measures within our area and provide a leveraged economic benefit to the rural economy.

·       The income of upland farmers had dropped by 34%.

·       Some authorities had a rural policy which defined an intention to support in principle their own rural areas and economies.

·       That the Council consider whether to implement a “Statement of Recognition” of the value of the rural economy, its potential role in contributing towards the Councils core objectives .

·       Rural North Devon was central to the Councils visitor economy and food production as well as having the means to deliver many of the Councils environmental aspirations. A statement of support would be a good start to engaging fully with them.

·       The European Union (EU) based Basic payment scheme (BPS) was due to end in 2024 and would be replaced by Environmental land management (ELM) which would eventually deliver private finance opportunities from carbon, water and biodiversity. In the meantime farming and other rural business were likely to suffer financial challenges of significant proportions.

·       Farmers produced food and only 50% were self-sufficient in the United Kingdom.

·       Would like the Council to support and acknowledge what farmers were doing and the value that they brought to the economy.

·       The Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) was a regular income paid to farmers and the loss of this subsidy would have a huge impact upon their livelihood.

·       The Committee raised concerns regarding the national failure of the government to understand or acknowledge the financial pressure that farmers were facing.  The National Planning Policy framework now had food production as a priority and there was a requirement for a firm political steer.

·       Farmers required support and continuity from the Council to lobby government.

·       The average age of a farmer was now 57 years old and it was becoming increasingly difficult for younger people to get into farming.

·       The next steps were to draw up a list in invitees to attend a meeting with the Committee to discuss agriculture.

·       The Chief Executive added that Graham Allcott from North Devon + be invited to attend the meeting as a member of the panel.


The Chief Executive advised that in order to make a decision, the Council would first need to ascertain what was contained within a Rural Policy to ensure that there was no crossover with its existing policies, which might deliver a similar remit.


He added that farmers were currently supported through North Devon +, which provided advice and farm diversification.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.