Wednesday, 27 February 2019

District Council rejects considering motions > full council meeting Wednesday 27th February

At its full council meeting today, the District Council did not be consider several motions which had been put forward for consideration:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: District Council rejects motion "for the ongoing costs to be published to show confidence that this project will breakeven"
Futures Forum: District Council rejects considering motion "to recognise that Climate Change and Global Warming are the key issues of our time, to acknowledge the strong concerns of young people and for the council to commit to introducing a policy of carbon measurement and reduction"

Here's the agenda for today's meeting:
Agenda for CouncilWednesday, 27 February 2019 - Blackdown House, Border Road,Heathpark Industrial Estate

It included a list of questions from Councillors, including: 

Questions by Members to Full Council on 27 February 2019 

under Procedure Rule 9.2 

Question 1: Procedure Rule 9.2 to the Leader from Councillor Susie Bond 

Eight Notices of Motion were submitted for debate at the 27 February council meeting, all within the prescribed time scale and all with the requisite number of supporters. Five of those NoMs were rejected by the Chief Executive. What criteria was used by the Chief Executive to decide which Notices of Motion would appear on the agenda paper, and which would not? 

Answer: The Chief Executive has to ensure that all submitted motions fulfil the legal criteria for valid motions. In summary form, all motions have to be timely, relevant, accurate, legally precise and fair. The difference, for example, between an officer report and a motion is that a report can provide members with all relevant information to support a recommendation. A valid motion has to achieve a similar objective but all that information has to be clear from the ‘face of the motion’. It was the Chief Executives opinion that the 5 rejected motions did not fulfil the relevant criteria. Had the proposers of the motions discussed their suggested wording with the CEO in advance of the cutoff time limit he could have helped with the drafting. They did not do so, so unfortunately the Chief Executive was obliged to take the action he did. 

Question 2: Procedure Rule 9.2 to the Leader from Councillor Susie Bond 

In January 2017, EDDC's Strategic Planning Committee agreed that two Councillors should represent the views of East Devon Councillors at the GESP Panel. Such was the concern that only two Councillors were to be given such an onerous responsibility given that the GESP will impact each and every one of us, it was agreed at the same meeting that an Informal Reference Forum should be set up and that the make-up of this group should be politically balanced. I am not the representative of the Independent Group, but informed the responsible officer that I intended to attend the most recent meeting as an observer. I subsequently received a phone call blocking me from attending! This is the first (and only) time that I have been blocked from attending a meeting in my role as District Councillor. Does the Council Leader agree that meetings of the Independent Reference Forum should be open to all councillors who choose to attend, in the interests of openness and transparency? 

Answer: It is accepted that the GESP is matter of considerable interest. There are however 5 Councils working in partnership to try and achieve the GESP and it was agreed at a relatively early stage that as each Council would be taking the GESP through its own internal procedures (thereby ensuring all members could engage) it was not appropriate to expand the Reference Forum to each and every member that might want to attend. The Forum provides the opportunity of a non-binding politically balanced sounding board and in view of its limited role I think the rationale remains valid. 

Question 9: Procedure Rule 9.2 to the Portfolio Holder for Environment from Councillor Matt Booth 

It was good to see that the CEO recognises the issue of climate change emergency as one of “critical importance”. On 15th February, the day of the national schools’ strike, Devon County Council committed to debating a motion on ‘Climate Emergency’ which took place at a council meeting on 21st February. 

Does the Portfolio Holder agree that while it is essential to retain focus on all aspects of green living and a green economy, including the excellent work of the EDDC Environment team in particular with recycling, the pressing issue now is that of carbon reduction as recommended by UN scientists behind the inter-governmental IPCC report published in October 2018 that warned global warming will be irreversible if temperatures are not reduced to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels within 12 years, by subsequent recent reports, and by an increasing number of councils most recently Cheltenham Borough Council who two weeks ago committed to working towards being carbon neutral by 2030? 

Does he also agree that it is essential that this council should debate this issue as soon as possible, if only to agree that it should commit to taking immediate steps towards adopting a carbon reduction policy? 

Answer: As we have made clear we are looking forward to engaging with the County Council on this issue and ensuring that a comprehensive approach can be adopted by both tiers of local government in Devon. A report will be brought to Cabinet in due course so that councillors can engage in the debate 

Question 14: Procedure Rule 9.2 to the Leader from Councillor Cathy Gardner 
My proposed motion asking this Council to publish regular updates regarding costsavings from relocation was denied by the CEO. Can the Leader assure residents that fully transparent information on energy costs for Blackdown House and Exmouth Town Hall will be published on a regular basis? 

Answer: We will be bringing a report to Cabinet to inform members of the final costs of the relocation project. This report will remind members of the regular reporting that will take place as a result of our normal procedures and members can then debate what extra reporting requirements may be appropriate.

Questions by Members to Full Council on 27 February 2019

Here's a full reposting of the very handy overview from Radio Exe of the motions which were/not considered:

East Devon's full council meeting

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019 9:20am

By Daniel Clark and Anna Byles

East Devon Council's new HQ at Heathpark, Honiton.
Motions put forward NOT being discussed.

Motions to support recycling, to call for a new property ombudsman to streamline complaints against shoddy builders, and for East Devon to get its fair share of the police precept rise will be discussed at today's full council meeting.

But motions over the full relocation costs of the move from Sidmouth to Honiton, to put electric charging points in all car parks, what to prioritise in a ‘No Deal’ Brexit and on climate change will not be discussed.

Various motions that councillors had put forward for debate at East Devon District Council’s full council meeting today, were rejected by the council’s chief executive, as either the agenda already provides the opportunity for debate or the wording of the motions were inaccurate.


Cllr Cathy Gardner had proposed a motion calling for the council to commit to publish an annual ‘summary of accounts’ for the relocation project until break-even is reached as relocation from Sidmouth to Honiton was proposed and predicated on the basis that the project would breakeven within 20 years and deliver cost-savings to the council tax payers of East Devon.

Cllr Gardner said: “Whilst some of this information is already available we feel it is vital for the ongoing costs to be published to show confidence that this project will breakeven. A majority of Councillors voted for relocation on the basis that money would be saved on energy bills. We are left unsure of whether breakeven will ever be proven.”

But an EDDC spokesman said: “The rejected motion contained inaccuracies and omissions that had the potential to mislead councillors and it was also premature. It is however proposed to bring a report to the next meeting of the Cabinet that will summarise the position reached with regard to the sale of the Knowle and the relocation. Cllr Gardner can raise the matters she is concerned about as part of the debate into that report.”

The motion would have called for the accounts to include
energy costs for the Knowle for the past 20 years (for comparison);
energy costs for both Blackdown House and Exmouth Town Hall per year;
the capital receipt for the sale of the Knowle;
a Red Book valuation of Blackdown House as of 1 March 2019;
the full costs for the relocation project since its inception, including: project management; removal, furnishing and equipment; staff retraining and travel expenses; new-build costs for Blackdown House; refurbishment costs for Exmouth Town Hall; and any other associated costs.”


Cllr Matthew Booth’s motion had called for the council to recognise that Climate Change and Global Warming are the key issues of our time, to acknowledge the strong concerns of young people in particular the recent walk out of school children and for the council to commit to introducing a policy of carbon measurement and reduction within all aspects of its own activity.

He said: “I personally do not care how we begin to do this, or who does it, but that we act now not wait for some planned strategy in the future.”

An EDDC spokesman said that the issue of climate change emergency is acknowledged to be of critical importance but that it would be appropriate to wait to see what Devon County Council decides. They added: “Currently, however, the County Council is considering its position and will shortly debate the matter. As we are in a two tier area it is appropriate for the District Council to assess the position taken by the upper tier authority and then respond accordingly. The public would expect us to work in partnership with the County Council rather than unilaterally.”


Cllr Eleanor Rylance had submitted a motion calling for the council to plan for and implement over the next five years a full rolling renovation programme of its car parks estates to fit and bring into operation electrical charging points at every space for domestic cars, and cycle parks with charging points for all types of cycle and that there should be mandatory EV charging points for the parking spaces of every new-built house in East Devon.

She added: “This council should approach the future of electrically-powered domestic vehicles with enthusiasm and proactivity, play a positive role in helping develop the use of electrical and should make this infrastructure, that will be a necessity within the next ten years, available in advance of full electrification of domestic vehicles in 2042.

But an EDDC spokesman said: ““The agenda already provides an opportunity for this issue to be raised so this motion was inappropriate.”


Cllr Rylance had also submitted a motion that said in the event of a No Deal Brexit or a version of Brexit that causes significant disruption, the council should approach this event as a situation of emergency in respect of its most vulnerable residents, dedicating any available human, material and financial resources required to palliate any negative outcomes for these groups, but the motion was rejected.

Talking about all the motions, a council spokesman said: “The council agenda for February contains the most important annual decision, namely the setting of the budget and the approval of the Council Tax for the forthcoming year. The process leading to this meeting has included several meetings where members were encouraged to raise all items of future relevance so these could be assessed as part of our service planning process and for assessment as part of the budget.

“It is unfortunate that some members did not take these opportunities and have chosen instead to submit their proposed motions.

“It is also noted that the wording of the motions was not checked in advance with relevant officers who would have been able to give timely advice as to their wording.”

But motions on the police precept, protection for new home owners and supporting recycling will be discussed


Cllr Tom Wright’s motion says: “In view of the £24 per band D property increase in policing precept, this council urges the Chief Constable to recognise the needs of East Devon when deciding how to allocate extra resources. East Devon residents are the biggest contributors to the police budget in Devon, other than Plymouth. It is only fair that we should get a fair share of the larger cake.”


Cllr Douglas Hull’s motion says: “The Government has stated that it would therefore be introducing as a priority a new property ombudsman to streamline complaints against shoddy builders. As a council that not only provides an excellent and highly regarded building control service but also has seen significant levels of new building in its district, we call on the government to fulfil its pledge to provide this much needed remedy for homeowners as a matter of the highest priority.”


Cllr Peter Burrows’ motion says: “This Council continues to support the fine work done by the EDDC Recycling team in achieving the best results in Devon and to support and encourage local Organisations and voluntary groups who are involved in trying to reduce the amount of single use plastics used in their communities & beaches by making resources and expertise available, where appropriate. The order of priority should be – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. To actively help promote such activities through the Councils social media platforms.”

The full council meeting will be held at East Devon District Council’s new Honiton Heathpark HQ at 6pm today (Wednesday 27th February)

East Devon's full council meeting - Radio Exe

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