News and views from Paul Bull, the Labour and Co-operative Councillor for the St THOMAS Ward of Exeter City Council. Promoted by Dom Collins on behalf of Paul Bull, both of 26b, Clifton Hill, Exeter, EX1 2DJ.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 01752 403554.
Earlier tonight, Exeter City Council met in the Guildhall to set the Council’s budget for 2016-17.
There has been a series of meeting that contributed towards the setting of the Budget since the Government announced the provisional Local Government Settlement on 17 December 2015. The Council is to receive £5.802 million in 2016/17, which is £110,000 lower than predicted within the Medium Term Financial Plan. However, it was decided NOT to revisit the budgets as the shortfall could be managed within the budget.
The Local Government Finance Settlement also set the referendum level for District Councils in the lowest quartile of Council Tax rates at no more than £5 rather than 1.99%. Exeter falls into this category and therefore has the opportunity to increase its Council Tax by £5 (3.7%). Along with the increase in the taxbase this will raise an additional £269,000.
It should be noted that in the Government spending calculations, they have assumed that all authorities in the lower quartile will raise their Council Tax by £5 and have set the spending reductions accordingly.
The Council’s revenue estimates for next year were considered during thecycle of Scrutiny Committee meetings and the final budget report was discussed at the Executive meeting on 9 February 2016.
Regulations dictates the Council holds an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council when setting its budget
In the absence of Leader Cllr Pete Edwards [LAB, Whipton Barton], the Budget speech was delivered by his Deputy, Cllr Rachel Sutton [LAB, Exwick].
Thank you Lord Mayor.
I would like to start off by paying thanks to the Officers, especially Mark Parkinson, Dave Hodgson and his team, for their help in preparing these figures, and indeed for their work throughout the year.
I would like to set the context for this year’s budget by reminding everyone – members, officers and the wider public – that the reductions in funding received by local authorities like Exeter over the last few years from central government are amongst the most severe cuts we have faced in living memory.
This Council has had a 12.6% reduction in Government Formula Grant for the year 2016/17 on top of equally drastic cuts in previous years. Last year it was a cut of 15.6%.
Between 2010 & 2015 Exeter’s government grant has dropped from £12m to £7.7m but Exeter, unlike some local authorities has not been sleep walking towards oblivion, we have been working hard to make the necessary changes and plans for a future when the money we get from central government will have been cut to a fraction of what it was if indeed it doesn’t disappear completely.
In the financial year 2014/15 we made £1.5m in savings, and we continue to streamline and modernise the services we offer to residents and businesses by finding smarter and more efficient ways of working like setting up Strata with our neighbouring councils to deliver IT services across three local authorities and gain financial savings of 7m over the next 10 years.
We are working with our partners in the NHS, the voluntary sector and at Devon County Council to offer the Integrated Care for Exeter [ICE] project that will deliver better services that meet the needs of our citizens and which will save money and resources across all the partner organisations.
But in setting the budget for 2016-17, I am proposing a balanced budget with much of the lost formula grant replaced by additional income streams guaranteed long into the future. These include the guaranteed income from the Feed In Tariff payments on solar panels fitted on the rooves of two of our Car Parks, the Museum, the Quay Climbing Centre, The Phoenix and the largest solar array in Exeter at over 7,000 panels at the Livestock Centre, which on its own will generate over £160,000 a year in income for the Council. And in addition to the financial savings we are reducing our carbon footprint .
In addition to these solar panels we have also replaced our inefficient boilers at the Civic Centre and installed LED lighting in our offices and car parks.
These projects have also delivered tangible savings without affecting front line service delivery.
Cllr Edwards joined the leaders of more than 50 Labour-run councils in pledging to make all our towns and cities across the UK 100% clean before 2050, in line with the commitments made nationally and internationally at the Paris Summit on Climate Change in December 2015.
Our new and emerging partnership with Exeter City Futures and our own ambitious plans to be an energy neutral council by 2020 will go a long way to deliver the Leader’s Green Pledge.
We continue to deliver much needed housing:
In the last year we have built 26 brand new council houses for local families and we are about to begin work on providing an additional 26 new flats for older people next door to Rennes House
Since 01 April 2014, 64 affordable homes have been delivered with 235 further affordable homes consented and in the pipeline for national house builders.
In Exeter we have seen 3,468 new homes built since 2011-12 – more than any other district in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay – earning the Council £10.2m in New Homes Bonus with a significant proportion of these new homes suitable for wheelchair users.
However it must be pointed out that the Housing & Planning Bill currently going through parliament might put much of these plans in jeopardy threatening our ability to make decisions about how we run our Housing Revenue Account and plan for future building of council houses
We have provided new floodlights for the new and improved Flowerpots Skatepark so that the young people who use it can get the maximum benefit from the facilities
New businesses are now moving on the Exeter Science Park
Work is now progressing on a landmark building to house the Met Office’s £97m High Performance Computer.
Job creation continues to increase with new businesses relocating to the city – our own team have helped create 476 jobs in the city.
We continue to be an ambitious Council and are determined to ensure that the City achieves its potential and our residents receive quality services. We continue to support the City ensuring it stays at the forefront of economic recovery and will support the delivery of:
• A new Leisure Complex built to Passivhaus standards that the City will be proud of
• A modernised Bus Station fit to meet the needs of travellers to and from the City for many years to come;
• Two major events in and around the City in 2016 have already been announced – the Radio 1 Big Weekend at Powderham Castle and the European Rugby sevens event at Sandy Park. The Rugby sevens event will be held at Sandy Park for the next three years and building on the success of the Rugby World Cup, last year will further enhance the reputation of the City.
And all this is without the need to increase our overall borrowing requirement.
As a Council we have also supported greater investment in the infrastructure of the City.
We have this year agreed to provide:
• £1.3 million towards the delivery of the new railway station at Marsh Barton;
• £1.025m towards the delivery of a fully operational junction at Sandy Park to enable further development in the area;
• Over £200,000 towards the improvement of our car parks and to provide a permanent electricity supply to Exeter Farmers market.
Finally, for next year’s budget we have made further efficiency savings in the region of £1.1m.
We have again managed to achieve this without a reduction in front line services.
Lord Mayor, Councillors – the budget that I am proposing to you this evening aims to deliver a balanced budget that will protect and maintain the services which the citizens of Exeter need the most.
I therefore propose to you the recommendation set out in the papers before you in terms of the approval of both the revenue estimates and capital programme for the year 2016/17 and which will result in the setting of a District Council tax of £140.05 for a Band D property.
This is an increase of £5 a year for a Band D property less than 10p a week and still means that Exeter sets the 4th lowest Council Tax of any district.
I so move.
There was then a debate on the Budget.
The Leader of the Tory Group, Cllr Andrew Leadbetter [CON, St Loye ] agreed that central Government were cutting funding – but at the same time were enabling local authorities to find other ways to raise money to fund revenue budgets
However, he felt that his group would have to abstain because, although there were some good things in the Budget, there were other things in it that he and group couldn’t support.
Cllr Phil Bialyk [LAB, Exwick]said that imaginative leadership is taking this Council forward. He was pleased that the Budget proposed by the Labour Group had no additional cuts to frontline Council services. He pointed out that there was all that extra investment – all for an extra fiver a year.
Cllr Rob Hannaford [LAB, St Thomas] pointed out that the Council were working to best practice. He thought that we are still leading the way in delivering an ambitious programme despite the risks in the future – reduced revenue support grant, challenges to the self-financing of Housing Revenue Account, welfare reform cuts, unexplained programme of business rate retention following a futrure NNDR revaluation, devolution, and more. He concluded that he would be supporting a good, balanced and robust Budget.
Cllr Rosie Denham [ LAB, Whipton Barton] looked at one element of the Budget – the role Exeter City Futures will make in the work of the Council and the impact that will have on all of us, and our residents. She was grateful for the cross-party support for the initiative and hopes that the project, by taking a strategic approach, would tackle concerns over traffic congestion, health and the environment. Rosie was adamant that we should always think carefully over proposed schemes, programmes and policies, and noted that we are in the incredibly lucky position to be able to come up with imaginative and creative ways to balance our Budget but we shouldn’t take any of this for granted. She concluded that other local authorities were so fortunate and was frightened for the state of the roads, the schools, heath and social care elsewhere.
Cllr Stella Brock [LD, St David’s] questioned the no cuts message of the Budget and questioned the spending on the Bus Station development site [having voted against it at the outline planning stage].
In reply, Cllr Sutton said that the changes to services highlighted by Cllr Brock were not cuts per se but changes to work in smarter and more efficient ways. Rachel also pointed out that without the planned interventions from ECC, the Bus Station development site wouldn’t have levered in an investment of over £75m from the Crown Estate and TH Real Estate and would remain a blot on the landscape of the city centre.
In concluding the debate, Cllr Sutton said she was disappointed that NO alternative proposals were coming forward from the Conservative Group, describing it as lazy opposition. Indeed, she pointed out that we know what they are against, but they never state what they are for.
The meeting voted and RESOLVED:-
(1) That the following, as submitted in the Estimates Book, be approved:-
(a) the Revenue estimates for 2016-2017
(b) the Capital programme for 2016-2017;
(2) that it be noted that, at the meeting of the Executive on the 26 January 2016, the Council calculated the figure of 35,429, as its council tax base for the year 2016-2017 in accordance with the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) (England) Regulations 2012 made under Section 33(5) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992;
(3) that the following amounts be now calculated by the Council for the year 2016-2017 in accordance with Sections 31A of the Local Government and Finance Act 1992:-
(a) £103,925,695 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(2)(a) to (f) of the Act;
(b) £98,963,864 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(3)(a) to (d) of the Act;
(c) £4,961,831 being the amount by which the aggregate at (3)(a) above exceeds the aggregate at (3)(b) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31A(4) of the Act, as its council tax requirement for the year;
(d) £140.05 being the amount at (3)(c) above divided by the amount at 2 above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31B(1) of the Act, as the basic amount of its council tax for the year;
(e) Valuation Bands
(4) That it will be noted that, for the year 2016-2017, Devon County Council, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall and the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority have stated the following amounts on precepts issued to the Council, in accordance with Section 83 of the Local Government Act 2003, for each of the categories of the dwellings shown below:-Being the amount given by multiplying the amount at (3)(d) above by the number which, in the proportion set out in Section 5(1) of the Act, is applicable to dwellings listed in a particular valuation band divided by the number which in that proportion is applicable to dwellings listed in valuation band D, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 36(1) of the Act, as the amounts to be taken into account for the year in respect of categories of dwellings listed in different valuation bands.
Devon County Council
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority
(5) That, having calculated the aggregate in each case of the amounts at (3)(e) and (4) above, the Council, in accordance with Section 30(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, hereby set the following amounts as the amounts of council tax for the year 2016-2017 for each of the categories of dwellings shown below:-
Although the amended legislation came into force on 25 February 2014. there was anexpectation of the Government that authoritiesholding their annual budget meeting before this date will adopt the new ruling when setting their annual budget and council tax. ECC used a named vote at their budget setting meeting in 2015.
Cllr Bialyk, Cllr Branston, Cllr Brimble, Cllr Bull, Cllr Buswell, Cllr Choules, Cllr Denham, Cllr George, Cllr Hannaford, Cllr Hannan, Cllr Laws, Cllr Lyons, Cllr Morse, Cllr Owen, Cllr Packham, Cllr Pearson, Cllr Raybould, the Deputy Lord Mayor [Cllr Robson], Cllr Sheldon, Cllr Spackman, Cllr Sutton, Cllr Wardle, Cllr Vizard and Cllr Williams
Cllr Baldwin, the Lord Mayor [Cllr Foggin], Cllr Harvey, Cllr Holland, Cllr Leadbetter, Cllr Mottram, Cllr Newby, Cllr Prowse, Cllr Shiel and Cllr Thompson
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This option also indicates the primary school options as before, but with the secondary school to the north of the A379.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Charities operating in Exeter who support homeless
Exeter Community Initiativeshttp://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 Petrockshttp://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 incomein 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).
Community Housing Aid – http://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
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
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
Homemaker – http://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.
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.
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.
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
Number of units
Male & Female 18-65 Complex needs
15 & 4
16+ single female complex needs
Young mum/family support
Young mum/family support
Westcountry Housing Association
16-29 Single Homeless
Supported Temporary Accommodation (STA’s)
Exeter City Council
Single Homeless and family support
Women fleeing domestic violence
Sanctuary Supported Living
Family Support in Housing
Young Person at Risk (YPAR)
Number of units
Westcountry Housing Association
YP Single Homeless Female only
Long Ragg (Axminster)
Devon and Cornwall Housing Association (Independent Futures)
YP Single homeless
YP Single Homeless
Magna Housing Association
YP Single Homeless
YP Single Homeless
Exeter, East Devon and Mid Devon 18+ Homeless Prevention Services Eastern HUB after 1st April 2014
Total hours of support provided per week to deliver
Accommodation available for support
Total Number of Units
1st stage temp (ECC)
1st stage temp (ECC)
1st stage temp (ECC)
1st stage temp (ECC)
1st stage temp (ECC)
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
18-25 & complex needs
Gabriel House move on
Referral route through Young Persons Accommodation Forum
YMCA St Davids Hill
(31 in total, 4 left for YMCA use)
18-24 Year Olds – Referral route through Young Persons Accommodation Forum
(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.
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:
– 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.
Total hours of support provided per week to deliver
Accommodation available for support
Total Number of Units
16 / 17 Year Olds and Care leavers up to 25 if in Full Time Education
Supported Lodgings Placements
16 / 17 Year Olds and Care leavers up to 25 if in Full Time Education
16 / 17 Year Olds and Care leavers up to 25 if in Full Time Education
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:-
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.