To receive any questions relating to items on the agenda from members of the public and replies thereto.
Cllr Enright, referring to the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan, stated that he was the Chairman for Newton St Cyres Parish Council and he was dismayed that the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) showed 1200 new dwellings in his small village. The village was already plagued by ever increasing traffic along the A377 linking Crediton to Exeter and vice versa. They want them built in an area which is very difficult to access and is prone to flooding. MDDC please protect the beautiful historic towns and villages and not let them become suburbs of Exeter. GESP is clearly intended to satisfy Exeter’s building requirements by pushing development out to the neighbouring councils whilst keeping the jobs in Exeter. The recently adopted Mid Devon Local Plan provides the required Mid Devon housing and it will create jobs within Mid Devon. Surely this is better for Mid Devon, please keep local control, after all that is one of the prime reasons why councillors are elected. Why do we need GESP, please stay with the Mid Devon Plan and work more loosely with adjoining councils.
Mr Perris, referring to the General Fund Revenue Account outturn summary for 2019-2020, stated that he had noted that the corporate management costs were budgeted in 2019 for £1,681,157 and the actual was £2,533,656, a variance of £852,500. Whilst I appreciate that some of the issues, shall we say, around 3 Rivers have gone into this fund, I consider that quite a high management cost and I would like to know what the breakdown of those costs are in that budget line. I think that is probably best sent to me via a reply.
Ms Pole again referring to the 3 Rivers, Grant Thornton accounts audit stated that there was a reference to a £600k audit adjustment and she wanted to know if that was part of the £790k impairment that was referred to in the accounts as having been accounted to by the Housing Revenue Account (HRA). The £600k appeared to have been relating to a settlement of a dispute whereas the £790k appears to have been relating to adjustments to loans and I don’t have much clarity of those two line items why either of them would have been adjusted to the HRA which is ring fenced for council stock matters
The Group Manager of Financial Services responded to add some clarity and stated that the £790k related to the impairment charges against the loans that MDDC made to its subsidiary 3 Rivers and that the impairment charge was put through the financial statements for the year ending 31st March 2020. The £790k actually accounted for part of the £852k variance which the previous member of the public referred to in respect of corporate management. All of the items had gone through corporate management and had been accounted for in the General Fund. The £600k was a completely different item that appeared in Grant Thornton’s audit findings report for the year ending 31st March 2020 as an unadjusted balance, so they were making a note there to say ‘there is an item of £600k which has not gone through the financial statements in this year’. The reason it was not adjusted for was, within the context of MDDC accounts, it was not a material item. The £600k related to a settlement of a long standing contractual dispute and the settlement agreement was subject to a very strict confidentiality agreement and it was not possible to give further details of what the settlement relates to.
The Chairman advised that written responses would be provided to the questions asked in reference to the General Fund Reserve outturn summary 2019-2020.