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The minutes of the previous meeting held on 27 June 2023 were noted as a true and accurate record.
Declarations of interest
Guidance is available online to Councillors and co-opted members on making declarations of interest
Cllr N Hookway: Minute 24: Affects Non-Registerable Interest: Member of Exmouth Town Council.
Information on public speaking is available online
One member of the public, Mr Stephen Beer, had registered to speak at the meeting on behalf of Exmouth Stroke Club but, in the event, did not attend.
Matters of urgency
There were no matters of urgency.
To agree any items to be dealt with after the public (including the Press) have been excluded. Thereare two itemswhich officersrecommendshould be dealtwithin thisway.
There were two items to be considered in private session (minutes 27 and 28 refer).
The Cranbrook New Community Manager introduced this update report which provided an overview of plans to bring forward a leisure centre as part of the development of the town centre, to serve the Cranbrook new community.
In presentation, the Cranbrook New Community Manager provided a summary of the development in Cranbrook to date and the plans for further development including delivery of a Leisure Centre and a Health and Wellbeing Hub. The presentation included examples of what has been done locally in terms of delivery of new leisure centres, and the choices that would have to be made. Anticipated nest steps are:
· Undertake community consultation on the town centre;
· Finalise town centre masterplan, to include decision on relationship with the Health and Wellbeing Hub;
· Convene a project team and establish governance;
· Explore grant funding opportunities for leisure centre.
Discussion and clarification included the following points:
· There is a large funding shortfall in excess of £6 Million for delivery of the leisure centre at Cranbrook, and consideration will need to be given to how the project is funded; this could be through prudential borrowing or other means of drawing down funds. If grant funding is secured, it is expected that this will be a contribution towards closing the funding gap.
· It is hoped to deliver on the project within 5 – 10 years, pending closing off the funding gap. The roadmap for delivery is by way of the ‘next steps’, as set out in the update report.
· It is understood that other leisure centres e.g. Chard, Sherford, cost in the region of £12 – 13 Million. Whereas they are thought to have as low a carbon footprint as possible within the cost frame, officers and the LED CEO were unclear on whether the centres are carbon neutral.
· A key design principle in the Chard leisure centre was for the make up of the centre to be revenue positive; learnings can be taken from this in terms of the mix of different uses that complement each other.
· The district heating system in Cranbrook should provide a cost-effective way of heating a swimming pool, and it is hoped that the pool will be carbon neutral.
· Members were concerned that delivery of the infrastructure in Cranbrook has been slow relative to the delivery of houses, and questioned whether lessons have been learned about how the S106 and the developers’ consortium were structured.
· The Assistant Director – Growth, Development & Prosperity outlined examples of good practice in Cranbrook e.g. early delivery of the schools, made possible due to available forward funding. He added that lessons have been learned, particularly around the need to develop a business case for a delivery vehicle from the outset that focuses on turning a vision into practical delivery, and how to deal with the financing.
The Chair thanked the Cranbrook New Community Manager for the update and presentation and it was agreed that the Forum will receive a further progress report in March 2024.
The Principal Building Surveyor introduced this report which outlined progress in work relating to decarbonising EDDC’s swimming pools and related matters including applying for external funding opportunities, namely the Low Carbon Skill Fund Phase 4, the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme Phase 3c and the Swimming Pool Support Fund Phase II (Capital).
The matter was debated by the Forum at its meeting of 11th April 2023 and a recommendation was made that consultants be appointed to advise Council and LED about the most appropriate way of moving forward for achieving carbon neutral swimming pools and leisure centres. An update was provided at the Forum’s meeting of 27th June 2023.
The cost to progress decarbonisation schemes in EDDC’s swimming pools to RIBA Stage 3 and prepare for future external funding opportunities is approximately £333,000, and Cabinet approved the allocation of this sum from the existing Climate Change Budget, on 7th September 2023.
Next steps include:
· To finalise instructions and agree fee proposals with the best value offer and formally appoint consultants to move forward decarbonisation plans.
· To prepare proposals to present at this year’s Budget Setting and Capital Allocation Panel to secure capital funding to fully fund the projects over the next two financial years. New external funding opportunities will be applied for as appropriate and any funding secured will be offset against internal capital allocations.
The Principal Building Survey drew the Forum’s attention to the following main risks as set in the report:
· Failure to secure external funding
· Failure to secure self-funding (through PWLB), with or without external funding secured
· Failure to deliver the works within the timeframes required.
Discussion and clarification included the following points:
· It is not known why a bid to the Low Carbon Skills Fund Phase 4 was unsuccessful, since feedback is not given.
· It is appropriate to ensure that sites are fit for the future, and that involves decarbonisation. It is therefore vital to invest in consultants. It is also appropriate to reduce reliance on gas, from an energy security perspective.
· It is important not to conflate decarbonisation with reduced energy bills since there may be nuances which mean that measures which are good from a decarbonisation perspective may not be good from a financial perspective. The reverse may also apply.
· The Council has expressed a willingness to help the Flamingo Pool apply for funding, and the onus is on the Flamingo Pool trustees to engage and provide the required information.
Forum members noted the report.
The Forum received and noted the update report which provided a summary of the activities going on, and a projects update.
The Forum received and noted this report which outlined the work of the LED Community Engagement Team.
The LED Theatre Manager introduced this report which provided an update on operational delivery and buildings maintenance at the Pavilion.
The LED CEO highlighted that major health and safety repair works are scheduled for January and February 2024 and events have therefore had to be cancelled resulting in a loss £80k of income. He was concerned to ensure that meaningful activity takes place during that period in order to avoid further closures and associated revenue losses.
In discussion, a Member expressed concern that it will not be possible to secure specialist builders at this late stage for the works in early 2024, if those works have not yet been quoted for. The Principal Building Surveyor responded that the project is being worked on but there are a sea of complexities and complications. Due to its nature, not all of the work will be completed in January and February. The Principal Building Surveyor was confident, however, that a great deal of the work will be done. He stated that an update will be provided, at the next meeting.
The Forum received and noted key details of the performance of LED Community Leisure for August 2023.
The Assistant Director – Countryside & Leisure ran through the updates on the Leisure Strategy Delivery Plan, outlining the main areas of progress since the last meeting.
The Leisure Strategy Delivery Plan remains a living document and the update is a standing agenda item for the Forum.
The meeting then went into private session.
Draft management fee template 2024/25 - 2025/26
Forum members were asked to consider the service level agreement, currently in draft form, and to indicate whether they were in support of the document.
Rachel Sutcliffe of Strategic Leisure explained that the document is drafted with a view to providing a degree of reassurance to the Council about ongoing costs, together with a degree of influence over what LED is delivering, whilst providing LED with flexibility to respond to market conditions. It sets out some key principles and parameters for the partnership moving forward, and addresses issues identified through the Leisure Strategy work.
Following discussion at length, Forum members expressed support for the draft document, to take forward and progress. The Assistant Director – Countryside & Leisure stated that a final draft will be brought back to the Forum in due course.
AOB - Honiton sports club facilities
The Assistant Director – Countryside & Leisure introduced this report which detailed a number of requests that have come forward from within the Honiton sports club community based around a number of issues, as set out in the report.
Members discussed the report at length, recognising the complexity of the issues, and the need for Officers to have a steer from Members on how to progress some of the issues and take negotiations forward, within the realms of the Medium Term Financial Plan and the Leisure Strategy.
It was noted that the report covers issues which sit within the wider leisure agenda across the Council, and beyond the Council’s relationship with LED. In discussion, Members agreed that it would be appropriate to reconsider the Forum’s name and terms of reference to reflect the wider Leisure Strategy focus, and incorporating LED. It was agreed that Officers will bring a proposal to the next Forum meeting, to this effect.