Agenda and minutes

Virtual consultative meeting, Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 3rd March, 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Online via the Zoom app

Contact: Sarah Jenkins  01395 517406; email


No. Item


Public speaking

Information on public speaking is available online



There were no members of the public registered to speak.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 186 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting held on 2 December 2021 were received and accepted.


Declarations of interest

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



There were no declarations of interest.


Matters of urgency

Information on matters of urgency is available online



There were no matters of urgency.


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.



There were no confidential / exempt items.


Decisions made by Cabinet called in by Members for scrutiny in accordance with the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules

There are no items identified


There were no decisions made by Cabinet called in by Members for scrutiny.


Report on the convention of appointing Honorary Aldermen and Honorary Alderwomen pdf icon PDF 197 KB

Additional documents:


At the meeting on 2 December 2021, the Committee had requested a report on the convention of appointing Honorary Aldermen and Honorary Alderwomen addressing the following:

·         How Honorary Aldermen and Honorary Alderwomen have been selected in the past, what criteria were used and on whose recommendation,

·         What does eminent or meritorious conduct include,

·         A breakdown by party and qualification of those who have received the honour in the past twelve years,

·         Options for the future, including processes for granting and removal of the honour,

·         Referenced examples of protocols from other areas.


The Chief Executive Officer presented the report and highlighted the following points:

·         The current procedure is relatively informal.

·         The need to define ‘eminent services’, including on a local level.

·         The report had gone back to 2003, covering a period longer than twelve years and showed the appointments by political groups.

·         The report included a number of questions and considerations for the Committee to debate and provided examples of protocols from other areas.


Discussion on the report included the following:

·         There was the suggestion that the current system had been abused and there is a need to review the methods by which the appointments are made, including the introduction of a formal appointments panel.

·         The title of Honorary Alderman does not confer any rights or privileges not enjoyed by members of the public.

·         In recent years a lot of work had been done to modernise the Council and a decision to remove the award of the title would reflect a more modern approach.

·         A definition of ‘eminent’ includes the fact that a person is famous and respected within a particular sphere.  With regard to considering former Councillors for the award of the title, ‘eminent’ could include gaining respect and the way in which they have served their communities.

·         People who are deserving, including those who have provided long service and a significant contribution, are recognised in all walks of life.

·         There needs to be a tighter procedure and a clear definition of reasons for nominations.

·         Should long service be a criteria for awarding the title, it should also take account of the fact that a significant contribution could be made during a Councillor’s first term and there may be good reason why the former Member had not stood for re-election.

·         Quality of service, rather than only length of service should be considered.

·         Councillors’ families may also make sacrifices to enable a Member to serve and it is good for families to know that this work has been acknowledged.

·         The terms ‘Honorary Alderman’ and ‘Honorary Alderwoman’ may seem archaic and a more modern term such as ‘Honoured Citizen’ could be considered.

·         Receiving the title was considered to be a great honour.

·         Should the Council be minded to continue to confer the title, a small cross party working group could be set up to consider the details of the nomination process and report back to Council.

·         Any Member should be able to submit a nomination for the title, setting out specific reasons  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.


Local Plan Sites - Allocations to Delivery - verbal update


As requested at the meeting held on 2 December, further advice had been sought from the Monitoring Officer on the ability of the Scrutiny Committee to further consider the Goodmores Farm planning application as a specific case, and the consultation process which surrounded it.


The Deputy Monitoring Officer read out the advice as follows:

If the Committee wishes to consider how the application was handled and factors which influenced its processing as well as considering whether the consultation that was carried out was suitable then this is permissible. This would be from a discharge of function or service perspective and with a view to potentially informing service improvement. What the Committee cannot do is consider the planning merits of the application / rationale for the grant of permission as that would be outwith the role of the Scrutiny committee. The Joint Overview and Scrutiny meeting of 17th January 2022 [minute 43c] recommended ‘a review of the Statement of Community Involvement and consultations on planning applications to consider making greater use of site notices to publicise planning applications’ and it might be sensible to consider Goodmores Farm as part of this work if the concern relates to the consultation specifically.


It was agreed to include this matter on the Forward Plan.






Performance Report quarter three 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 298 KB


The Committee wished to commend officers and their teams for their on-going work during difficult circumstances which is much appreciated.


In response to a question regarding the percentage of planning appeal decisions allowed against the authority’s decision to refuse, the management notes were referred to in that the only trend that can be identified in the allowed appeals is a continued difficulty in defending appeals against the refusal of proposals for house extensions.


The Performance Report for quarter three 2021-22 was noted.






Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 8 KB


The Committee discussed the Forward Plan.


Regarding the proposal from Mid Devon District Council for a joint review into the planning controls and regulatory requirements associated with the bio-energy industry within Devon, in particular anaerobic digesters, there was particular concern about the industrial scale digesters. 


The Chair agreed to speak to the Chair of Strategic Planning regarding bringing this matter forward so as not to impact on the timetable for the new Local Plan.


With the addition of the item at minute 52, the Forward Plan was noted.