Agenda and draft minutes

Virtual meeting, Cabinet - Wednesday, 11th November, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Online via the Zoom app.

Contact: Amanda Coombes, Democratic Services Officer  01395 517543 or email  acoombes@eastdevon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

244.

Public speaking

Minutes:

Mr Ed Kos spoke at the meeting after sending in a question concerning the council’s climate emergency plan. He thanked everyone for what they had been doing towards this plan in what was a difficult year with the crisis that Covid-19 had brought. He did ask for reassurance however that actions were still ongoing towards the implementation of the plan due to the ongoing nature of the climate crisis. He was concerned that the current status of the plan was not available to the public with no plans to engage the public at present. He asked that council explain on public record why the status of the climate emergency plan was not available and commit to prioritising a detailed update by a specific date, with revised timeliness for action, clear roles and responsibilities with accountability for further delays, and a clear roadmap to engage the public such as by taking forward the comprehensive Citizens Assembly proposal from Exeter University, originally due for implementation in July this year.

 

The Portfolio Holder Climate Change responded to Mr Kos stating his question may be confusing the district council and the county council’s work on climate change.

She confirmed that addressing climate change was a priority for both councils.

The district council’s climate change strategy and action plan went through the council’s democratic processes earlier this year, and had been openly published on EDDC’s website. This was a statement of intention and the council recognised the need for regular reviews and updates.

 

She said the council was also committed to delivering the Devon Climate Change Emergency Declaration and was working with the county council contributing towards the emerging Devon Carbon Plan. The council’s plans would be reviewed as the Devon Carbon Plan was developed and as we learn from current projects and move closer towards significant carbon reductions as an organisation. She reported that the Carbon Plan consultation would take place between December this year and February 2021. Social media and webinars were already being planned. She suggested that the council’s plans were publicly available and have roles and responsibilities, timelines, and accountability embedded.

 

Whilst it was fair to say that the council’s response to the pandemic has taken priority it had still progressed with a number of commitments and built in some green recovery ideas to our thinking, including reduced commuting, green travel, and community resilience. A number of projects from the action plan had progressed over the last six months including, but not limited to:

·        Appointments of a Portfolio Holder Climate Action as well as an Assistant Portfolio Holder on the Cabinet

·        Electrification of the white vehicle fleet in StreetScene and Environmental Health

·        Installation of air source heat pumps in council homes securing £500k government grant

·        Roll out of Re-wilding and nature recovery areas

·        Increased tree planting and creation and improvement of wildlife habitats

·        Increased recycling rates beyond 60% of household waste (one of the best in the country) and introduced a green waste scheme

·        Working with Exeter Airport to decarbonise air  ...  view the full minutes text for item 244.

245.

Declarations of interest

Guidance is available online to Councillors and co-opted members on making declarations of interest

Minutes:

Minute 248 Additional LED financial support as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and proposals for a new LED Monitoring Committee arrangement.

Councillor Andrew Moulding, Personal, President of Cloakham Lawns Sport Centre in discussions with LED re provision in Axminster.

 

Minute 248 Additional LED financial support as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and proposals for a new LED Monitoring Committee arrangement.

Councillor Ian Hall, Personal, Chairman of Cloakham Lawns Sport Centre in discussions with LED re provision in Axminster.

 

246.

Matters of urgency

There is one urgent item relating to additional LED financial support as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which is to be dealt with at item 6.

Minutes:

Minute 248 Additional LED financial support as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

247.

Confidential/exempt item(s)

To agree any items to be dealt with after the public (including the Press) have been excluded. Thereare no itemswhich officersrecommendshould be dealtwithin thisway.

Minutes:

None

248.

Additional LED financial support as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and proposals for a new LED Monitoring Committee arrangement pdf icon PDF 612 KB

LED has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic with interruptions to business and as a consequence a significant fall in income. The leisure industry has suffered due to enforced closure of premises under government restrictions and the complexities of reintroducing Covid-19 secure facilities and activities.

Minutes:

The Service Lead Countryside & Leisure welcomed Peter Gilpin, CEO LED Leisure and Bridgette Jones, Head of Finance and Support Services LED Leisure. He explained that LED had been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic with interruptions to business and as a consequence a significant fall in income. The leisure industry had suffered due to enforced closure of premises under government restrictions and the complexities of reintroducing Covid19 secure facilities and activities.

 

Discussions included the following:

·        Why was the subsidy so high and would the operator’s model be fit for purpose after 31 March 2021 for sustainable long-term growth?

·        That the new forum had independent strategic advice appropriate for this level of business partnership

·        Was it appropriate to cover all the financial loss due to the pandemic when other business were not in this position to receive such support?

·        If LED were not reimbursed they may have to consider not trading

·        LED needed to be kept in business for the health and well-being of the council’s residents

·        Not to underestimate the value for money LED had for people of the district especially the use of swimming pools for all age groups

·        LED was fundamentally important for the outreach programmes it offered

·        The need for EDDC and LED to make profits from a sustainable partnership for both parties to benefit

·        The council was to make a bid to Government to reclaim such financial support

·        All members needed to lobby MPs as to date there had been no response from Government on the matter leaving finances for councils and leisure facilities in a critical position

 

The Chair stated LED was not at fault and this situation was totally due to the Covid-19 pandemic. LED had a social purpose with referrals from GPs and other public health benefits and was not in position to compete with high-end private gyms/facilities. Other local authorities who operated their leisure provision in-house were able to access government funding to cover any loses, unfortunately this did not apply to charitable trusts. LED had immense overheads just through running its swimming pools.

 

Peter Gilpin, CEO LED Leisure explained LED was a community benefit society and registered charity so could not be compared to other private leisure providers. As a charitable trust revenues go back into the business to provide further facilities and equipment. There were 9 sites in East Devon with approximately12000 members most of which were for swimming membership. There had been no revenue for 3 months of this year, April to June, to which financial reserves were used heavily to cover these loses. He reiterated how LED was vital to the health and well-being of the wider community.

 

RECOMMENDED that Cabinet recommend to Council;

1.               That the Council pays an additional subsidy to LED of £732,275 to reimburse their actual net losses incurred to September 2020 resulting from Covid-19 and that from October 2020 a monthly review and payment is then made until 31 March 2021 to cover further net losses incurred. Cumulatively the total of any additional  ...  view the full minutes text for item 248.