E&E | Last-ditch attempt to save patrols

E&E logo [new]

 

25 February 2016

Last-ditch attempt to save patrols

By Anita Merritt

12807425
Lollipop protest outside County Hall

An 11th hour bid to save Devon’s school crossing patrollers has been launched.

Parents, grandparents and anyone who wants to see the continuation of what is regarded as a vital and life-saving service in Devon, is being asked to contact councillor John Hart, the leader of Devon County Council, by phone or email before it is too late.

The Heart to Hart campaign has been launched by school crossing patroller campaigners and is being backed by Cllr Alan Connett, Liberal Democrat group leader on Devon County Council.

He said: “My call would be for every parent, grandma and grandad in Devon to email Cllr Hart and say they want to keep our school crossing patrollers.

“They can also contact their local conservative councillors as they are the ones who voted to cut the service.

“This is our 11th hour chance to save school crossing patrollers. When they’re gone they’re gone.”

Cllr Connett said he was concerned not much money would be saved if the council has to spend out on traffic islands or alternative safety management outside schools. He added he was also worried parents would no longer feel it was safe for their older children to walk to school which would increase traffic on Devon’s roads and impact on children’s health by being driven to school instead of walking.

“The decision is a false economy,” he said. “Labour put forward a different proposal, as did the Independents and Liberal Democrats. We could have found the money for it.”

At last week’s meeting, the majority of councillors voted in favour of Cllr Hart’s recommendation to approve the budget for 2016/17, which excluded funding for school lollipop patrollers. A further debate of the service will take place at the council’s scrutiny committee meeting on Monday, 07 March.

Overwhelming opposition from schools, councillors and the public – along with three petitions with one signed by more than 1,000 people – failed to sway the mind of Devon County Council in its mission to save £250,000 a year from its budget.

Under the new proposals, school patrollers will be employed by a third party that would deliver the service on a full-cost recovery or commercial basis.

If schools decide not to fund the cost of their patrol, the alternatives are for it to be run by volunteers or to lose the service.

To make sure the service continues to be delivered safely, the council says it is prepared to continue a degree of support such as establishing and monitoring quality standards, providing training and doing risk assessments.

Save our school lollipop patrollers campaigner Marie Leverett, a mum from Stoke Hill, Exeter, said: “I sincerely hope the County Council will reconsider it’s position at the scrutiny committee on 07 March, and take some time to think through the ramifications of this ludicrous budget cut in the short, medium and long term.”

At last week’s full council meeting, Cllr Hart said: “It’s not an easy decision to make but I think it’s the right decision for us to take.”

To join the Heart to Hart campaign, send an email to Cllr Hart asking to save Devon’s school lollipop patrollers at john.hart@devon.gov.uk or call him on 01752 403554.

BARLEY LANE | Speed table outside Sylvan Heights

Back in April, Wales + West Utilities [W+W] were working along Barley Lane to replace the gas main pipe between Croft Chase and Dunsford Road,  and replace or transfer services to 29 properties.

2015-04-24 18.21.15
This sign on Barley Lane confirms that it really was Wales + West carrying out the     roadworks

The roadworks were finished on schedule on 08 May 2015 – but that’s not to say W+W completed the job!

There is a speed table at the junction of Somerset Avenue, Barley Lane and Eton Walk – and this has been specially laid with an imitation brick finish when Sylvan Heights was being developed.

The utility company filled in the trench they created across this speed table with tarmac…

2015-06-23 09.44.42
                      Tarmac fills the trench made by W+W across the speed table

Under s70-73 of  Part 3 of Traffic Management Act 2004, W+W are legally entitled to retain an Interim Reinstatement in place for up to 6 months before a Permanent Reinstatement replaces it.

I have been in discussions with Highways officers from Devon County Council  who have informed me that the utilities company is required to match trench reinstatements with the existing surface, and their Streetworks Inspector is liaising with W+W on this issue.

The problem has arisen from the fact that the imprint design on this junction is a custom design , so DCC has had to go back to the Sylvan Heights developer, Taylor Wimpey, to obtain the exact specification and contractor details to enable W+W to commission a matching reinstatement as required.

Until this can be arranged the trench needed to be reinstated to open the road fully to traffic, the quickest and easiest material to put back now which can then be excavated easily again is the temporary bitmac reinstatement.

Whilst it is not appropriate or usual to immediately take legal action [leading to a fine of up to £5,000 for failure to comply] while the Interim repair is providing a safe running surface for vehicles, the 6 months expires on 01 December 2015 so an Interim Reinstatement would become an issue after that date.

But it’s become a bit more complicated…

I am also told that W+W will have to re-excavate within this concrete section when they resume their major works on Barley Lane in January. In this instance, it would normally not be unreasonable for W+W to request that the 6 months period of grace be extended so that the specialist contractor might complete all the work on one visit to site.

Apparently W+W have  registered all their reinstatement work on Barley Lane on the Register as permanent rather than interim

Because there seems to be specific public concern regarding the visual aspect of the Interim Reinstatement I am pushing DCC not to approve consent to an extension.

 

SW Exeter | A new school? Or two schools? Or a through-school? But it will be a Free School!

Whenever I’m thinking [and blogging] about the South West Urban Extension, it’s mainly about transport infrastructure or a Park & Ride site. However, there is a another piece of major infrastructure that needs consideration – a school, or schools, to serve the increased population living in the 2,500 new homes.

The SW Exeter Masterplan produced by LDA Design in May 2011 covered all aspects of infrastructure, including schools.

LDA | Illustrative Masterplan
LDA | Illustrative Masterplan
LDA | Birdseye view of illustrative Masterplan
LDA | Birdseye view of Illustrative Masterplan

The masterplan outlined 3 options for strategic development based on the restraints and results of the capacity study of the site/study area The variations in the options were determined by strategic decisions such as location of schools.

Option 1
This development option indicates 2 primary schools, one to the north and one to the south of the A379, and a secondary school to the south of the A379 on a suitable site to the east of the centre.

LDA | Option 1

Option 2
This development option also indicates two primary schools, one to the north and one to the south of the A379, and the secondary school to the south of the A379 but this time on a suitable site to the west of the centre split by a green lane.

LDA | Option 2

Option 3
This option also indicates the primary school options as before, but with the secondary school to the north of the A379.

LDA | Option 3

Although all three options would lead to achievable developments, the assessment against the objectives indicated that Option 3  was most likely to produce a development that would meet the vision for South West Exeter and so was the chosen option to take forward and create a masterplan framework.

It was thought that the secondary school to the north of the A379  would fit well with the green infrastructure and ensure compact development to the south and around the district centre.

Strategic Development Layout 
During the development of the masterplan framework and discussions with English Heritage, the school site has swapped with the primary school so that is now on the west of Chudleigh Road, away from the ancient monument.

LDA | Strategic Development Layout
LDA | Strategic Development Layout

The masterplan framework was clear in its intention for the two primary schools – they were to be located each side of the A379, within walking distance for all new residents and preventing the new to cross the A379.

Exeter School Place Planning Update 
A report of the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment on Exeter School Place Planning was presented to the Exeter Board on 27 January 2014.

SW Exeter – the development on 2,500 homes in SW Exeter requires new primary provision, and a site needs to be allocated to support secondary places required as a result of this development and wider demographic/housing growth within the city. Due to the site constraints, specifically the A379 dissecting the development and knock-on challenges of children having to cross the road, Devon’s response to the proposal has initially been to require two primary schools, one to the North and one to the South of the A379 and a secondary school site located adjacent to one of those primary school sites to support potential all-though provision.

However, the size and location of provision will be kept under review as the plan for the area is developed in detail, specifically the mitigation of crossing the A379 as this would allow an alternative option of a single education campus which would have greater flexibility and reduced costs.

Minute 34 School Place Planning notes:

The Board noted that the development of 2,500 homes in SW Exeter required new primary school provision, and a site needed to be allocated for secondary places as a result of this and wider demographic/housing growth in the city. Due to site constraints, specifically the A379 dissecting the development and knock-on challenges of children having to cross the road, the County Council s response was initially to require two primary schools, one to the North and one to the South of the A379 and a secondary school site (for approximately 600 places) located adjacent to one of those primary school sites to support potential all-though provision. All options were being considered, in detail, with good working relations between the two District Councils and the County Council as part of the master planning process in conjunction with the developers.

The local Member for Alphington (Exeter City Council) expressed her concerns about the proposals relating to the development and her view was that primary school provision should be located to the North of the A379 to minimise the need for primary school children to cross the A379. Members also expressed the view that as surface pedestrian crossing measures were not feasible any crossing should be via a subway and not a bridge and also supported the preference for a single campus to the north of the A379 and the need for secondary provision to the West of the Exe to reduce the number of children having to travel across the City.

It was MOVED by Councillor Westlake, SECONDED by Councillor Sutton and
RESOLVED that the County Council s Cabinet be requested to invite Exeter City and Teignbridge Councils to form a joint Working Party comprising local Councillors to investigate, in detail, infra-structure provision in respect of the proposed residential development to the SW of Exeter and to make recommendations to the respective Councils.

So it seems that out of the blue, Devon County were starting to favour a single through school to serve the new developments on both sides of the A379.

I am not sure where this idea came from, as it certainly isn’t outlined in DCC’s Education infrastructure plan 2013-2031 published in April 2013.

The EIP is clear that it would like to see public consultation to ensure “transparency on priorities and how decisions are made”. This change of emphasis for the school provision seems opaque and clear as mud!

Indeed a through school, in my view, contradicts the clear vision oultined in the EIP that:

2.15 Where a large scale new development is proposed in the form of a major urban extension, such development will normally be remote from existing provision. A development of 1,000 dwellings or more will, in most cases, make it necessary to seek new provision for early years and primary education, even where there may be some capacity in existing schools. Due to the significant investment requirements and size of secondary provision, the level of development required to trigger the need for new provision is significantly higher than for primary, and there is greater flexibility in the distance to nearest provider and financial viability of development. The early identification of new provision in the planning process ensures it can be considered early in the master planning process to support these new or expanded communities. This is very much the starting point for planning provision and will be subject to ongoing review and consultation.

When applying their principles to the future pattern of education provision in Devon, DCC state in EIP:

2.29 We will work with key stakeholders to secure (among other things):
– primary school accommodation within walking distance promoting local schools for local children, community cohesion and minimising the need to use transport to travel to school.

Again, this seems to be the vision outlined in LDA Design’s SW Exeter Masterplan rather than an unsupported wish from DCC for a through school.

Teignbridge District Council Development Framework for SW Exeter
At a Planning Committee meeting held on 29 July 2014, Teignbridge District Council Planning Committee approved the South West Exeter Development Framework.  This means that the document can now be used for development management purposes and is a material consideration in determining planning applications in SWE1 and SWE3.

The Development Framework has this to say on the need for education provision:

The residential development proposed in SWE1 generates the need for both primary and secondary school places, the number of which will necessitate the provision of new facilities.

New provision is required to accommodate all primary aged pupils generated by the development in South West Exeter as there is no spare capacity at existing primary schools and limited potential to expand existing sites. 2000 homes are likely to generate 500 primary aged pupils.

Significant secondary school places are required; however there is some spare capacity in Exeter secondary schools in the short term. By the end of the decade, these places are projected to be full as a result of demographic change and development within the city, and therefore additional new capacity is required.

Given that development in this location is cross boundary and Exeter facing, Teignbridge District, Exeter City and Devon County Councils are taking a wider strategic approach to need for secondary provision and incorporating a site within SWE1. This will accommodate approximately 300 pupils generated from the development and 300 from the wider Exeter area. Appropriate funding for this provision will come from a number of sources including Community Infrastructure Levy from the relevant Local Planning Authorities, reflecting the likely origin of the pupils.

The document updates the school provision covered by the Local Plan:

As per the Adopted Local Plan
“Land for 2 primary schools and 1 secondary school or preferably 1 primary school and 1 all-through school.” 

The Framework Document
Serviced land for a single campus education facility comprising pre-school, primary school and secondary school provision.” 

and as justification for this change of heart, the Development Framework gives the following reasons:

This has a number of advantages including:
– Accessible within walking distance of all the allocation including the allocation within Exeter City’s boundary;
– Incorporation of a dedicated grade separated pedestrian/cycle crossing of the A379 (see below). This would assist in channelling pupils to a single safe crossing point, reducing the numbers crossing at alternative, less safe locations;
– Shared provision of sports/activity space and educational resources;
– Teaching skills may be shared;
– Streamlined governance offering more flexibility to meet the needs of pupils;
– Operational flexibility and viability;
– Flexibility to manage fluctuations in pupil numbers and demand;
– Provides clear focus for a community hub, and;
– Significant capital and start up revenue savings, which make the school facilities and ongoing running costs more affordable.

Alternative approaches and options have been considered in detail and are not being pursued.

These options include:
– 2 separate single form entry primary schools. One located north of the A379 at the far north-west and one located south of the A379 at the far south east. A separate secondary school located at the south west of the A379.
– 1 through school (primary and secondary) at the far north west and a separate single form primary school towards the south east.

Reasons for rejecting these options:
– The capital and start up running costs of opening numerous schools;
– The difficulty of delivering and opening two primary schools at the same time leading to an imbalance in provision for many years;
– Phasing development of two primary schools introduces the risk that a second school will not be delivered should demographics and development constraints result in pressure to expand the first school leaving insufficient numbers of students to make a second school viable;
– Reduced flexibility to meet changes in demand;
– The implications for the amount of land required for numerous campuses, and;
– Potential for a reduced range of facilities for parents and children.

The view of Alphington Village Forum
Alphington Village Forum has maintained its opposition to a through school at all stages, preferring to support any scheme that would deliver two primary schools.

Their website has this to say on schools:

The situation at April 2014 is that Teignbridge District Council want to build a through school on the south side of the A379. This would include primary provision for all of the proposed 2500 new houses in SW Exeter. Based on 0.25 pupils per new house, this would amount to over 600 pupils.

AVF thinks that there should be a primary school on the north side of the A379 adjacent to the Exeter boundary(as originally proposed in the SW Exeter masterplan), to serve all new housing on the north side of the A379.  AVF believes that the walking route to the through school across the busy A379 is not suitable for primary pupils.

We are supported in this belief by Exeter City Council who will be writing shortly to TDC on the matter.

TDC have put forward an argument for an all-through school – better quality of education, better use of resources etc.

Two toucan crossings will be provided on A379 in addition to bridge.

TDC say that a reasoned argument will be required to justify any primary school on the north side of the A379.

A meeting will be held in ECC on 29th April to discuss such an argument, and a letter will be sent to TDC following discussion in the planning member working group.

ECC encourage people in Alphington to write in support of the ECC stance.

TDC have commissioned a study of a safe walking route to the through school.

One argument from DCC is that extra capacity at Bowhill and Exwick Heights PS will free up spaces at Alphington primary school although of course this would take time.

DCC say that developers have to provide safe walking route along Chudleigh Road, but Westcountry land are not doing this, saying that it is DCC responsibility.

New developments for the new development
I have just heard that there is the possibility of a new Free School being set up on the south side for only 420 pupils.

ECPS logo

Exeter Creative Primary School hope to be a new school that provides a dynamic and creative learning environment to achieve high standards in education.

Exeter Creative Primary School say he national curriculum will be taught in a creative and innovative way which will be enhanced by performing arts (drama, dance, music) to produce confident, high attaining,emotionally and intellectually well-rounded individuals.

There will be a focus on creative teaching and teaching for creativity, helping pupils to:
use their imagination and experience to develop their learning; they strategically collaborate over tasks; contribute to the classroom curriculum and pedagogy; and evaluate critically their own learning practices and teachers’ performance [Jeffrey, Bob and Craft, Anna (2004). Teaching creatively and teaching for creativity: distinctions and relationships. Educational Studies, 30(1), pp. 77–87]

Exeter Creative Primary School | About

Exeter Creative Primary School | FAQ

The seems to be a little confusion in these FAQ, which states:

Is a free school free to attend?
Yes. Free schools are free to attend and paid for through the Local Education Authority budget in the same was as any school.

This isn’t the case – the real situation is outlined by New Schools Network:

Free Schools: the basics
They receive all of their funding direct from central government, which means they have complete independence over how it is spent.

As part of the pre-application process, Exeter Creative Primary School has to demonstrate to the DfE that there is a local need for such a school by collecting signatures of parents who would send their child to the school, as Exeter Creative Primary School is encouraging people to fill in their survey.

I am assuming that ECPS is expecting to submit an application for Wave 10 Free Schools – and the application window in which applicants can apply to the DfE will open from 28 September 2015 until midday on 7th October 2015.

New Schools NetworkThe free school applicant’s handbook [July 2015].

 

Free schools and The Education Act 2011
The Education Act 2011 was given Royal Assent on 15 November 2011. It gave rise to the Academy/Free School Presumption; Government advice which clarified that any Local Authority in need of a new school must in most circumstances seek proposals for an Academy or Free School, [Establishing a new school advice for LAs and proposers. Departmental Advice, DfE  Website. Retrieved 31 August 2015].

“If a local authority in England think a new school needs to be established in their area, they MUST seek proposals for the establishment of an Academy”  

That would, of course, allow for free schools, as they are simply (in overall legal terms at least) a type of academy.

Only if no proposals come forward (or if the Secretary of State gives consent) can the local authority then set up a new  community, community special, foundation or foundation special school.

So a traditional community school is only allowed if no suitable Free School or academy is proposed [Schedule 11: Establishment of new schoolsEducation Act 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2015].

In July 2015 the advice was renamed the Free School Presumption reflecting the fact that the newly elected Conservative Government regarded all new academies established after May 2015 as Free Schools.[ “The free school presumption” DfE. Retrieved 31 August 2015.]

So what are Free Schools?
Free schools are schools which will be set up by groups of parents, teachers, charities, trusts, religious and voluntary groups. They will be set up as academies and will be funded in the same way – directly from central government.

Once established, free schools are legally Academies so are funded by central government and have a range of freedoms.
– They do not have to teach the National Curriculum: some schools use this freedom to teach different curricula – whether that is a challenging international maths curriculum or taking a different approach to learning with a theme each term linking all subjects.
– They can extend the school day or year: most use this freedom to add more time for learning or extra-curricular activity.
– They have more flexibility in the way they employ their staff: some choose to offer teachers performance related pay to keep and reward their best staff while others choose to bring in outside expertise by employing people without traditional teaching qualifications.
– They decide how they spend their full budget: they receive all of their funding direct from central government, which means they have complete independence over how it is spent
– They have independent governance: free schools are run by an Academy Trust, and are independent of Local Authority oversight. Therefore the role of Governors in overseeing an open school is particularly important.

Devon County Council and Free Schools
DCC’s Education Infrastructure Plan outlines the principles for providing new school places, including the role of new providers:

2.9 New providers will be entering the market through a competitive process and in principle this will happen in 2 ways:
1. Through proposals brought forward by existing providers and/or through the Government’s Free School programme. However, it was clear through the consultation process that existing schools feel challenged by new providers entering the market and question the need, value for money and quality of such provision.
2. As a result of demographic change or significant housing development, we will identify where new provision is required and advertise the proposals nationally and through the Department for Education, New Schools Netwotk and other interested parties. The process for this is identified in Appendix II.

Screen shot 2015-09-01 at 06.59.22

It seems that Exeter Creative Primary School is putting forward its plans under section 1. above.

I am led to believe that DCC are steadfastly against this proposal, and are likely to  resist it – but I’m not sure if they do much as the decision will be with the DfE rather than DCC.

The future
I have been – and still am – a strong and vocal critic of Free Schools and Academies, so it seems somewhat ironic that this might be the mechanism by which the residents of Alphington may achieve what they most want, a primary school to the north of the A379 within easy walking distance of the exisitng and new properties within Exeter City Council’s boundaries and without the need to cross a footbridge over the A379.

If the proposed Free School being set up as Exeter Creative Primary School on the south side is for only 420 pupils, there will have to be a second one somewhere for the other 210 primary school children. it seems to me that the only location is on the north side.

As well as providing education facilities, such a school would create some sort of hub for the new residents near Alphington, as well as protecting the precious ridgeline and Markham Lane.

Homelessness in Exeter – Context

Charities operating in Exeter who support homeless

 Exeter Community Initiatives http://www.eci.org.uk/ – Based at York Road ECI are an Exeter charity that have been going for over 20 years. Much of their core work is funded through donations to a share scheme or through grants from charitable trusts such as the Big Lottery Fund or local authorities such as Devon County Council. They also have contracts to run three  children’s centres in Exeter until 2017. ECI initially setup St Petrocks and Turntable Furniture project.

ECC Funding from April 2015 – £1,250 – to assist work around Soup Kitchens Meeting. This grant is coming to an end and will be part of the new Outreach Tender from October. Total: £1,250

St Petrocks http://stpetrocks.org.uk/Taken from Website – Originating as a community project providing humanitarian response to rough sleepers in the Exeter, the charity officially opened its doors in December 1994, having being given permission by the Central Parish of Exeter to adapt two thirds of St Petrock’s church for use as a homeless centre.

For over 20 years, St Petrock’s has been the first point of contact for people who are homeless, or vulnerably housed, in Exeter and surrounding areas. Our centre in Cathedral Yard is both the heart of our services and the gateway to specialist service providers.  It is unique in that it offers a comprehensive range of specialist services for people who are homeless, all under one roof.

Our work tackles not only the issues of homelessness but also the accompanying factors, such as crime, anti-social behaviour and wider social inclusion issues.

In 2014/15, a total of 1,666 people were supported through our services, from St Petrock’s centre, at HMP Exeter and in the community via the PORCH team.

The total cost of running these services runs at £500,000 pa on average and 94% of our income is spent on providing services which directly support our clients.  As a local charity, we are fortunate to have the support of the local community which provided some 32% of our income in 2014/15.

ECC Funding from April 2015 – £7,500 Prison Resettlement Worker (Homeless Prevention Grant); £6,000 Reconnection Fund (Local Welfare Support); £8,000 Health Fund (Exeter Board).

Total: £21,500

Community Housing Aidhttp://communityha.org.uk/ – Taken from website – CHA is a charity and we have been offering housing advice and support in Exeter and neighbouring areas since 1990.  We believe that everyone has the right to suitable, sustainable, secure and affordable housing.  We work with people who are in need of housing to enable them to find their own solutions, providing information and practical support.

We began life as a voluntary housing advice service, and have expanded the work that we do over the years to provide practical ways to help people to resolve their homelessness. On average, we work with around 1,000 people and households each year. Community Housing Aid is also a MINDFUL EMPLOYER® which is a Registered Trade Mark of Devon Partnership NHS Trust.

We currently support homeless and vulnerably housed people through the following three core projects:

Nightstop Devon – a same day emergency accommodation scheme for young people aged 16 – 25 in the homes of trained and approved volunteer hosts.

Resettlement Devon – helps ex-offenders and people with mental health problems to identify and access sustainable and suitable accommodation; and provides CASS, the Community Advice & Support Service, at Exeter Magistrates Court on Tuesdays each week.

Smartmove Devon – a private rented sector access scheme bringing homeless people and property owners together to create sustainable tenancies.

Bay 6 – a NEW pilot project that aims to ensure that no-one leaving hospital has to sleep rough across Devon and Torbay.

Single Homelessness Funding (ECC, EDDC, TDC, MDDC, Torbay) from April 2015 – £80,000 – Joint Contract with St Petrocks to deliver Offender Housing Resettlement Pilot Funded until May 2016. Total: £80,000

Citizens Advice Bureauwww.exetercab.org.ukAbout Exeter CAB

At Exeter Citizens Advice Bureau we can help you sort out your money, legal and other problems.

We can give you free, confidential, impartial and independent information and advice on a wide range of subjects including

  • benefits
  • employment
  • housing
  • debt
  • consumer rights
  • legal issues

And it’s not just advice. We campaign for change using your experiences to influence local and national policymakers and service providers to improve policies and services which aren’t working.

ECC & EDDC Funding from April 2015 – £9,000 (Homeless Prevention Grant) Court Desk; (Local Welfare Support) Total: £9,000

Homemakerhttp://www.homemakersw.org.uk/index.html – Homemaker Southwest is an independent charity, established in July 2001 and based in Devon. It emerged from an organisation known as the ‘Exeter Homemaker Project’, originally set up in 1991 to provide tenancy support services for offenders. As the organization has grown, the range of services we provide have been adapted to better meet the needs of the local population as a whole, enabling us to offer our services to all sections of the community.
Statement of Purpose
To enable people, especially those who are vulnerable, to set up, maintain, and sustain their homes, and thus prevent homelessness.
Aims of Homemaker
The primary purpose of Homemaker is to prevent homelessness and promote independence. We offer specialist advice and support to individuals and families who may be at risk of losing their

ECC Funding from April 2015 – £0 from homelessness. Part of EMAP which is funded through Local Welfare Support and is under review.

From October

Rough Sleepers Outreach – new provider – Information from website

ECC, EDDC and TDC funding from October 2015 – £37,474.09 per quarter – Total £150,000 per ye

Accommodation in Exeter and how it is funded

The national steer on homelessness is a reflection of the fact that no single organisation or community in Devon has all of the skills or resources needed to prevent it. Homelessness prevention therefore presents a challenge to all of Devon’s statutory organisations and communities, in terms of how they work together to achieve effective outcomes. Diagram 1 (below) is an illustration of Devon County Council (DCC) as just one partner contributing some quite specific skills and resources, into a much wider multi-agency network of skills and resources.

Screen shot 2015-12-26 at 08.40.00
Diagram 1: DCC as one contributor within a multi-agency partnership

The following update clarifies changes to accommodation providers since Devon County Council re-commissioned Homeless Prevention support services across Devon in April 2014. This only looks at changes which affect the Eastern HUB (Exeter, East Devon and Mid Devon) and those services which receive funding for support hours from Devon County Councils under its Contribution into Homelessness Prevention and Support for 16 and 17 Year Olds and 18+ Homeless Prevention services.

Background

In 2013 and due to procurement regulations, Devon County Council started the process of procuring the contracts for Homeless Prevention Support hours The changes to 18+ Homeless Prevention services took place earlier this year with contracts starting in April 2014 and the 16/17 Year Old Homeless Prevention Services followed shortly afterwards with contracts starting in June 2014.

The Homeless Prevention Services were broken down into 4 categories:

  • 18+ Homeless Prevention Support Hours
  • 16-17year olds Homeless Prevention support hours.
  • Domestic Abuse Homeless Prevention support hours
  • Ex-Offender Homeless Prevention Support
  • Accommodation costs will be funded by District Councils/housing benefit
  • The tender for support hours required providers to evidence their access to accommodation that Devon County Council doesn’t pay for.

Exeter, East Devon and Mid Devon Accommodation providers before 1st April 2014

Homeless Prevention Services Provider Number of units Service users
Gabriel House Shilhay Support 40 Male & Female 18-65 Complex needs
Esther Keychange 15 & 4 16+ single female complex needs
Friars Lodge Magna 7 Young mum/family support
Grapevine Chapter 1 10 Young mum/family support
Alexandra House Westcountry Housing Association 23 Single Homeless
Oakfields Stonham 13 Ex-offenders
YMCA YMCA 31 16-29 Single Homeless
Supported Temporary Accommodation (STA’s) Exeter City Council 19 Single Homeless and family support
Women’s Refuge SAFE Women fleeing domestic violence
Floating Support Sanctuary Supported Living Floating Support
Family Support in Housing Chapter 1 Floating Support
 
Young Person at Risk (YPAR) Provider Number of units Service users
Bethany House Westcountry Housing Association 13 YP Single Homeless Female only
Long Ragg (Axminster) Devon and Cornwall Housing Association (Independent Futures) 6 YP Single homeless
Foyer Raglan 36 YP Single Homeless
Hennis Project Magna Housing Association 18 YP Single Homeless
Supported Lodgings Young Devon 10 Exeter

(60 countywide)

YP Single Homeless
  

Exeter, East Devon and Mid Devon 18+ Homeless Prevention Services Eastern HUB after 1st April 2014

Support Provider Total hours of support provided per week to deliver Accommodation available for support Total Number of Units Service users
Sanctuary * 794 Queens Road

Trailways

Killarney

Red House

Crescent

Haven

Sandford Walk

 

 

STAR

 

Pinhoe Road

 

Floating Support

7

10

6

16

18

6

4

 

 

15

 

4

 

200 Hours

1st stage temp (ECC)

1st stage temp (ECC)

1st stage temp (ECC)

1st stage temp (ECC)

1st stage temp (ECC)

NSNO

Move on from Haven where permanent option is private rented

First Stage and Move-on

Single Female Shared House,

Referral route into Emergency Accommodation through Housing Options; Referral to STAR through SHOT; Floating Support direct referral to Sanctuary

 

BCHA 399 Gabriel House

Glendower Court

Oxford Road

Fernley

Thursby Walk

39

4

5

13

8

18-25 & complex needs

Gabriel House move on

Referral route through Young Persons Accommodation Forum

 

Exeter YMCA 217 YMCA St Davids Hill

 

 

New Court

Morley Road

Phillip Road

27

(31 in total, 4 left for YMCA use)

8

5

4

18-24 Year Olds – Referral route through Young Persons Accommodation Forum
Westward 150 Alexandra House 23 (10 ring fenced for 18 – 24 year olds)

Referral route through Young Persons Accommodation Forum and Eastern HUB referral to Alexandra House

* Queens Road & Trailways in house support but under sanctuary contract.

Main Changes

The key feature of change was Devon County Councils decision to commission support hours rather than buildings.   Following the tender, Providers can now use the support hours in any accommodation they have available to them.

        • The Eastern HUB housing accommodation options have been split between 18-24 year olds and 25+ & complex needs.
        • A Young Persons Accommodation Forum has been set up to look at accommodation options for 18- 24 year olds (open case or non priority cases). The following accommodation options are considered:
          – Nightstop
          – Amber
          -Alexandra House
          – YMCA- Sanctuary Supported Living – Floating Support
        • Referral process will be through Eastern HUB form sent to Jenny Lynch or Holly Leadbetter at YES Centre. Chris Stocks will chair the meetings.
        • Those of HIRA score under 10 private rented accommodation to be considered with floating support from Sanctuary Supported Living if needed
        • Clients scoring under 20 can be considered for Move-on Options (see Pathway) so long as provider agrees to referral.
        • For anyone scoring 25+ on the HIRA or scoring 4 or 5 in 3 or more categories a referral will be completed to go to the new Complex Needs Forum that will shortly be set up. The Complex Needs Forum will be:

– Monthly meetings
– HIRA score 25+, scores 4/5 in 3+ categories
– Consist of: Police, Mental Health, Probation, RISE, Safeguarding, Housing, Adult Care, Public Health
– Will also oversee MEAM (Making Every Adult Matter) cases

Homeless Prevention 16-17 Year olds Eastern HUB

      • The Peninsula Framework was used as Pre-qualifier to assure quality of services for children and in order for Providers to also accept Individual Placement Agreements via CYP Brokerage
      • The Homeless Prevention 16/17 support hours aim to support young people aged 16/17 to return home (if safe) or become independent by age 18.
      • Care leavers aged 18+ (whose status has been agreed with a social worker) can access the support provided by the Homelessness Prevention 16/17 contract if it is considered appropriate.  
Support Provider Total hours of support provided per week to deliver Accommodation available for support Total Number of Units Service users
Westward 60 Bethany House 13 16 / 17 Year Olds and Care leavers up to 25 if in Full Time Education
Young Devon 40 Supported Lodgings Placements 10 16 / 17 Year Olds and Care leavers up to 25 if in Full Time Education
Keychange 127.8 Esther 19 16 / 17 Year Olds and Care leavers up to 25 if in Full Time Education
Chapter 1 62 Grapevine? Pregnant careleavers, 16/17 pregnant year olds

 

      • Homeless Prevention Panel meets fortnightly to look at prioritising referrals for 16 / 17 year olds and Care Leavers. The following accommodation options are available:-
        • Esther
        • Bethany House
        • Grapevine
        • Supported lodgings
        • Night Stop
        • Exeter Foyer
      • All hours that have been contracted are for Floating Support so any unallocated hours can be used to support 16/17 olds in private tenancies or in emergency accommodation. If YP is nearly 18 then Eastern HUB form to be completed for consideration for resources through Young Persons Accommodation Forum.

Services no longer commissioned or remaining under review as a result of commissioning exercise

Due to the commissioning process some projects would not continue to provide support under the DCC Homeless Prevention Contract. This could have been due to Organisations taking the decision to change their business model and move to supporting eg. adults instead of young people or young people instead of adults; Organisation decision to withdraw from the market; Organisations not reaching the required standard; Organisations being good enough but not scoring high enough to be allocated hours as these were awarded to other providers who scored higher.

Transition plans were put in place with existing providers to ensure people were safe and appropriately supported through any contractual changes. Changes include:

Those Organisation that did not secure a contract were:-

      • Magna Housing Association – impact is Hennis Project will close end of August 2014. and Magna are currently exploring alternative options for Friars Lodge

Buildings that may face changes in use as a result of contract changes:

      • Chapter 1, Grapevine used to support 18 year olds single parents and has now secured hours under the 16-17 yr old Homeless Prevention Contract
      • Keychange – Esther Project – used to provide service to Single Homeless Vulnerable Women and has now secured support hours under the 16-17 yr old Homeless Prevention Contract
      • Exeter Foyer – Raglan – used to have exclusive Young Persons contract and now has zero hours 18+ contract and is working to get onto Peninsula Framework to accept children incare. In the meantime a transition plan can support YP to access the service.
      • Longragg – Independent Futures – EDDC decided this was a bulding they no longer wished to retain.

Services that fell outside of DCC HP tender and were commissioned through another route:

    • Oakfields Hostel is now commissioned through National Probation Services and access is managed through this route.
    • Domestic Abuse Support services contract awarded to Splitz with no accommodation provision

Exeter’s Strategic Cycle Network

Devon County Council are refreshing their Cycling Strategy [Devon Cycle Strategy: The Next Period, November 2009] and a report on the the new Cycling and Multi-Use Trail Network Strategy [Appendix 2 HERE] was an agenda item for the DCC Cabinet meeting on 08 April 2015.

The minutes of the meeting record:

The Cabinet considered the Report of the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment on the proposed, revised, Transport Infrastructure Plan and Cycle Strategy reflecting the new funding regime introduced for 2015/16 and the increased involvement of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in delivering transportation schemes, both of which complemented the Local Transport Plan for 2011-2026.

The suggested Transport Infrastructure Plan set out how the County Council would respond to the changes and detailed the infrastructure priorities for the period 2014-2030 while the new Cycling and Multi-Use Trail Network Strategy prioritised future plans and proposals for developing the cycle and leisure route network, recognising the future financial challenges.

While recognising the work already undertaken across Devon to deliver high quality cycle routes, the Cabinet Member for Highway Management and Flood Prevention recognised the need not only to develop further projects to connect cycle routes to major development sites (and to have schemes ready to implement and when resources permitted) but also to respond to those concerns expressed at the use of and access to existing routes caused in part by their popularity and the work done generally to promote cycling in Devon.

The matter having been debated and the options and/or alternatives and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, environmental impact, risk management, equality and legal considerations and Public Health impact) set out in the Head of Service s Report and/or referred to above having been considered:

It was MOVED by Councillor Leadbetter, SECONDED by Councillor Hughes, and
RESOLVED that the revised Transportation Infrastructure Plan and the Cycling and Multi-Use Trail Network Strategy be approved.

Exeter Civic Society questions DCC’s commitment to reduce congestion in Exeter, as is outlined in this press release. Contact details can be found at the end of the press release.

Now it seems Devon County Council is hoping to put forward a funding bid to improve cycling infrastructure to the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership [HotSW LEP] which, if prioritised, would then be submitted as part of a wider bid to Government for Growth Deal funding.

As part of the preparation for this bid, DCC have just concluded a month-long public consultation exercise on Exeter’s Strategic Cycle Network which ran from 14 July – 14 August 2014.

Details on this were available on the Express & Echo website on 15 July 2015 – Public given chance to shape Exeter’s cycle network

DCC asked their transport consultants, Jacobs, to draw up some initial thoughts for 3 cycle routes to become part of Exeter’s Strategic Cycle Network:
E3: Redhayes Bridge to City Centre
E4: Redhayes Bridge to University
E9 Newcourt to City Centre

The DCC consultation pages give all sorts of details with maps, along with the aims and challenges to be faced as Devon CC try to develop a network of urban cycle routes.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 09.08.35
Overview map of proposed Exeter Strategic Cycle Routes

The cycle route plans are very much in the early stages of planning and the suggested routes are definitely not fixed.  This initial consultation period is being run so that all options and issues can be considered at an early stage, to help shape the plans before any detailed design or formal planning process is implemented.

So far, so good.

But it seems that route E3 has caused some controversy.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 09.12.45
Proposed route of E3: Redhayes Bridge to City Centre – note dotted blue route as alternative to cycle-path through Higher Cemetery

There is a proposal for part of the route to pass around the perimeter of Higher Cemetery – although it is important to note that the map also details an alternative route along Hanover Road.

getPart
Alternative route, avoiding Higher Cemetery

 

Concerns have been raised  – Mapped: New Cranbrook to Exeter cycle route will take riders through city cemetery [E&E, 29 July 2015] and Anger over plans for cycle path through Exeter cemetery [E&E, 03 August 2015]. There are plenty of comments appended to these articles, and even more to their Facebook links.

Some local residents think that this is part of a planning application – it need to be stated clearly that Devon County Council [as Local Highways Authority] has NOT lodged any planning application with Exeter City Council [as Local Planning Authority].

As yet, there are no definite timescales for the project as funding is yet to be sought.

Indeed, it’s my guess that if/when funding is found it maybe only 1 or 2 or the 3 proposals can be advanced.

However, DCC are keen to schemes ready to go so that they can be implemented once funding has been identified.  Despite the online public consultation ending on 14 August, they will be ongoing dialogue with numerous groups and individuals to help shape the plans further.

What happens when Exeter Energy from Waste plant is closed for maintenance?

The EfW Liaison Group meeting due to be held on 28 July 2015 was postponed at last minute as the Energy Reclamation Facilty plant was taken offline at short notice to allow for some reactive maintenance to take place.

Exeter EfW plant in Marsh Barton
Exeter EfW plant in Marsh Barton

During this maintenance shut down, a large number of contractors would be onsite carrying out a variety of activities and it was felt (by the management team) this would not allow a suitable, safe environment within which to hold a liaison group meeting.

Two questions arise.

Surely, there are other venues around the city to hold such a meeting? There is nothing we discuss that means the meeting needs to be held at the plant. if Devon County Council couldn’t find a venue, I am sure that one could be made available at City Council’s offices in Paris Street

But the bigger question is what happens to the waste destined for the incinerator when the EfW plant is closed?

In these circumstances, ECC has to we revert to the previous routine of delivering waste to the Greendale Transfer Station at Woodbury Salterton. DCC’s contractor then transports it in bulk to Heathfield landfill site.