Venue: Phoenix Chamber, Phoenix House, Tiverton
Contact: Sarah Lees
Link: audio recording
To receive any apologies for absence.
No apologies were received, however, it was noted that Cllr D J Knowles attended the meeting via Zoom.
Public Question Time
To receive any questions relating to items on the Agenda from members of the public and replies thereto.
The following questions were received from members of the public:
Mr Paul Elstone:
The following questions all fully relate to Agenda Item 6, HIF Funding and A361 Junction:
Are MDDC Cabinet Members aware that in an email dated 4th December 2020 and from the former MDDC Head of Planning to the MDDC Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration and the MDDC Leader the Head of Planning states
“DCC does not wish to go out to tender for the HIF works until the land exchange has taken place between the landowner (Chettiscombe Trust) and developer (Redrow). This has not yet occurred”
Were the MDDC Cabinet Member for Planning and the MDDC Leader both MADE FULLY AWARE that the land deal between the owner and Redrow Homes was completed on the 18th December 2020 or some 20 months ago. THAT THERE WERE NO LONGER ANY CONTRAINTS and the Phase 2 junction tender process could proceed at pace.
Can the Cabinet Member for Planning advise if the MDDC Ward Councillors for Lowan and Cranmore were FULLY CONSULTED about the HIF Funding situation and similarly to the MDDC Cabinet Member for Planning and the MDDC Council Leader in December 2020. This including reference to the “deal breaker” comment made by the former Head of MDDC Planning.
Can MDDC Director of Place fully explain and in a detailed written response why it has taken so VERY LONG to progress the tender process. This including timelines. A tender process given the excessive delays has seen SUBSTANTIAL COST INCREASE as a result.
Why has it taken so long to bring this critical situation concerning the HIF Junction Funding before MDDC Cabinet and for MDDC member plus public scrutiny and challenge.
Given how critical the Tiverton EUE Phase delivery timelines were to ensure no loss of the HIF Funding and construction of the junction. Can the MDDC Cabinet Member for Planning and who is also a Devon County Councillor please provide A WRITTEN RESPONSE providing full details including timelines of his efforts to accelerate the CRITICAL tender process including any discussions with DCC.
Will the MDDC Leader and MDDC Cabinet Member for Planning now consider the FULLcircumstances surrounding the requirementto suspendthe TivertonEUE Phase2 Junctiontendering process.That thereis fullcause toimplement a detailed and expert external investigation.
This especially given that both MDDC Major Road Infrastructure projects are in disarray i.e., the Cullompton Relief Roadand theTiverton EUEPhase 2junction. Thisdue itis stronglybelieved toMDDC failureto managethese projects in line with reasonable expectations.A situation that is causing MDDC increasing reputational damage.
Mrs Hannah Kearns:
The followingquestions allfully relateto AgendaItem 6:HIF Fundingand A361Junction
Are MDDC Cabinet Members aware that a Devon County Council Cabinet briefing paper dated 14th October 2020 writtenin relationto theTiverton EUEPhase ... view the full minutes text for item 22.
Declarations of Interest under the Code of Conduct
To record any interests on agenda matters.
Members were reminded of the need to make declarations of interest if and when necessary.
To consider whether to approve the minutes as a correct record of the meeting held on 28 June 2022
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as a correct record and signed by the Leader.
To consider a report of the Chief Executive requesting Cabinet to consider the comments and feedback from various Council committees in order to determine what, if any, changes ought to be proposed to the Council’s Corporate Plan as part of its mid-point review.
The Cabinet had before it, and NOTED, a report * from the Chief Executive considering the comments and feedback from various Council committees in order to determine what, if any, changes ought to be proposed to the Council’s Corporate Plan as part of its mid-point review.
The Leader briefly outlined the contents of the report and a short discussion followed with regard to the consideration of playground equipment specifically for disabled children or those with additional needs. More information regarding the specifications needed would be sought.
Note: * Report previously circulated; copy attached to the minutes.
To receive a report of the Director of Place informing members of the latest position regarding the Tiverton HIF/A361 junction scheme and to seek decisions regarding next steps.
The Cabinet had before it a report * from the Director of Place informing Members of the latest position regarding the Tiverton HIF/A361 junction scheme and seeking a decision regarding the next steps.
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration outlined the contents of the report stating that Members would be aware that the Tiverton HIF scheme related to the delivery of the second set of slip roads at the new junction on to the A361 and that DCC were undertaking a procurement exercise on behalf of Mid Devon District Council to seek to identify a contractor to deliver the works. At the time of the August 2021 Cabinet report, it was reported that the cost of works could exceed the available budget and this shortfall was reported as being in the region of £1.9m.
DCC had now completed the tender exercise and the tender results had been assessed. Unfortunately, whilst the tendering exercise had been successful in attracting tender responses, the returns had come in at levels which significantly exceeded the available project budget and went beyond the £1.9m shortfall previously foreseen.
Discussions had taken place between key stakeholder organisations regarding the potential to find additional funding to support delivery of the scheme, but unfortunately it had not been possible to identify the funding at this time.
Clearly, this remained a very important project and so officers would continue to work on this project, in conjunction with key stakeholders including Homes England, as quickly as possible in order to seek to identify opportunities to enable delivery of this scheme as soon as practicably possible.
The following answers were given in relation to each of the questions raised during Public Question Time:
Responses to questions from Mr Elstone
Members were aware of the position in relation to the land transactions, as appropriate.
Members were kept informed of progress in relation to the scheme and the tender exercise.
As stated previously; Cabinet Members had been kept informed of progress on the project and previous Cabinet reports had provided updates in relation to the project.
The Tender exercise had been run by Devon County Council on behalf of MDDC and had followed public procurement regulation requirements; the processes for which are often lengthy and time-consuming.
Cost increases had been seen across many infrastructure projects throughout the country and so the cost increases were not unique to this project, or a result of the process that had been undertaken.
This item has been brought to Cabinet as quickly as possible following earlier conversations with key partners to consider the scope to secure the additional funding to support delivery of the programme and accounting for purdah requirements.
Yes I am a Devon County Councillor but this project is not within my remit as a Devon County Councillor. Conversations are ongoing and the project is moving forwards.
Neither project is in disarray. However, both are absolutely dependent upon external funding ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
To receive a report of the Director of Place seeking approval for the recommended modifications made in the Examiner’s Report and also seeking approval for the Crediton Neighbourhood Plan to proceed to referendum
The Cabinet had before it a report * from the Director of Place seeking approval for the recommended modifications made in the Examiner’s Report and seeking approval for the Crediton Neighbourhood Plan to proceed to referendum.
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration outlined the contents of the report and stated that Crediton Town Council had been preparing a Neighbourhood Plan following the designation of the neighbourhood area in July 2014. The neighbourhood area covered the parish of Crediton. The preparation of the neighbourhood plan had included consultation on a pre-submission draft plan in 2019 and consultation on a regulation 16 publication plan in late 2021. The Neighbourhood Plan had since been examined and Mid Devon District Council received the final Examiner’s report on 13th May this year.
There was now a need for the Council to consider the Examiner’s recommended modifications and reach a decision as to whether the Crediton Neighbourhood Plan with the Examiner’s recommended modifications and a typographical correction be agreed, and that the plan proceeds to a local referendum.
Should the recommendations to Cabinet be agreed then once that decision comes into effect, a Decision Statement will be published and a local referendum will be arranged in accordance with the relevant regulation requirements. It is likely that this local referendum would take place in late September or early October this year. Following the local referendum, if more than 50% of those voting, vote ‘yes’ then the Neighbourhood Plan will come into force as part of the statutory development plan for the Crediton area. The Neighbourhood Plan must be ‘made’ within eight weeks of the local referendum through its formal adoption by the Council.
The Planning Policy Advisory Group had noted the recommendations of this report at its meeting on the 17th June.
a. The Examiner’s modifications be agreed, and that subject to these modifications the Crediton Neighbourhood Plan is determined to meet the Basic Conditions (as defined in Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Sch 4B) and other legislative requirements;
b. The Decision Statement attached at Appendix 2 be approved; and
c. The Crediton Neighbourhood Plan (at Appendix 3) subject to the Examiner’s modifications and the typographical correction to the title of Map 5 Views, proceed to a local Referendum based on the boundary of Crediton Neighbourhood Area.
(Proposed by Cllr R Chesterton and seconded by Cllr Mrs C Daw)
Reason for decision:
The Examiner has undertaken a fair examination of the submitted Neighbourhood Plan, properly considering all duly made representations.
Note: *Report previously circulated, attached to the minutes.
To receive a report of the Director of Place seeking member approval for the submission of an Investment Plan for Mid Devon under the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
The Cabinet had before it a report * from the Director of Place seeking Member approval for the submission of an Investment Plan for Mid Devon under the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration outlined the contents of the report and stated that the Investment Plan needed to be submitted to Government by 1st August 2022. The report stated that this was part of a 3 year funding plan and as part of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda and replaced the European Structural Funds that were previously used for economic development and community cohesion. Mid Devon had been allocated £1,064,159 as a formula grant but must submit an investment plan. There had been a rigorous process of data analysis and stakeholder engagement to identify the most appropriate interventions and projects. The attached appendices to the report identified the logic framework behind each of the proposals which fell under the three pillars of the Shared Prosperity Fund:
· Communities and Places
· Supporting Local Businesses
· People & Skills
Since the report had been written the Government had reprofiled the funding, weighting the budget towards the third year. The annual split was now as follows:
2022/23 12% £129,146
2023/24 25% £258,291
2024/25 63% £676,722
The exact figures would need to be adjusted as negotiations with partners were finalised before the bid was submitted.
Consideration was given to:
· Whether the same amount of funding had been allocated to other similar authorities.
· The number of deserving causes within Mid Devon.
· Whether the Council was able to meet the timetable set out within the Investment Plan.
· The fact that the amounts quoted may change further going forwards but the aim to support businesses, communities and people would remain as a key priority.
· The Economy PDG had met informally to discuss the bid and the proposed aims and it had been very supportive.
(Proposed by Cllr R Chesterton and seconded by Cllr A Moore)
Reason for the decision:
Under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the Government has allocated £1,064,159 over a three year period to Mid Devon, to support economic development and community cohesion under its ‘Levelling Up’ agenda, subject to the approval of a locally agreed Investment Plan.
The funding will help deliver projects which contribute towards meeting objectives within both the Council’s Economic Strategy and its Corporate Plan 2020-24.
Note: (i) *Report previously circulated, copy attached to minutes.
(ii) The Leader thanked the Policy Development Group and the Scrutiny Committee for their considerations towards the Corporate Plan Mid Point Review and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
To receive a report from the Deputy Chief Executive (S151) providing an update on the formation of South West Mutual.
The Cabinet had before it, and NOTED, a report * from the Deputy Chief Executive (S151) providing an update on the formation of South West Mutual.
The Cabinet Member for Finance outlined the contents of the report and stated that as previously noted progress had been slowed down by Covid19 and legal issues surrounding setting up a new bank. Work had been undertaken to review the options for setting up the bank and a new gradual approach and perhaps pragmatic way to proceed had been identified. The new Agroecology Fund would be launched this financial year, however attracting capital investment was still proving difficult. Progress had been slow but a new direction of travel was being implemented.
Discussion took place regarding:
· The frustrations involved in this not having moved further on despite Covid. It was confirmed that these concerns would be reflected back to the Managing Directors at the next meeting of Finance Managers.
· The importance of an official banking network in Cullompton and the need to progress this as soon as possible.
Note: * Report previously circulated, copy attached to the minutes.
To note the contents of the Forward Plan.
The Cabinet had before it and noted its rolling *plan for August 2022 containing future key decisions.
The clerk informed the meeting of one additional item to the plan.
Note: *Plan previously circulated, copy attached to the minutes.