Greater Exeter: only 5 EDDC councillors get decision-making powers -and its another forum!

“A joint informal advisory reference forum is set up consisting of 5 councillors each from Devon, East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon and Teignbridge to consider and make comments on draft plan proposals before they are formally considered by each council.”

AND it links seamlessly into Local Enterprise Partnership plans … none of which have been put out for public consultation:

“Role of the joint plan and relationship with other plans

o Setting out the overall scope of the plan and how it can support other related strategies such as the Local Enterprise Partnership’s policies and the results of the devolution discussions. How it relates to the existing and proposed new local plans prepared by each council and with Neighbourhood Plans. Duty to cooperate discussions.”

AND it is all-encompassing:

Plan Strategy
o Description of the overall strategy which best meets vision and the challenges facing the area. Covering the big ticket themes of where and how many homes and jobs are needed, how key environmental assets will be protected and enhanced and the need for new and improved infrastructure.

Strategic Settlements and area strategy and functions

o The implications of the vision and strategy for each of the main settlements and the
plan area as a whole. Setting out the key planning functions and role of these.  Strategic Development Proposals
o The strategic development sites allocated in this plan to meet the strategy and other area’s needs. Implications for the remaining district/city level local plans’ allocations.

Strategic Policies

o Homes – setting the strategic targets for the objectively assessed need for housing,
and considering the need for specific types of housing (including affordable, student,
custom build and accessible homes).
o Economy – considering forecast economic performance and how the plan can
guide/improve. This is likely to include consideration of particular economic sectors (and in particular the evolving role of the knowledge economy and innovation), the protection of key economic assets across the whole plan area.
o City and Town Centres – giving the overall approach to the need and best locations for retail, leisure and other “main town centre uses” taking account of the existing “hierarchy” of town and city centres in the area.
o Environment – policies concerning issues including climate change, air quality, flooding, protection of European sites, other strategic landscape and biodiversity matters and heritage protection.
o Community infrastructure – policies and proposals for the provision of community facilities and infrastructure, including information, smart systems and broadband.
o Quality of development – improving the design of new development, including consideration of density and space standards.
 Implementation, delivery and monitoring – proposals to ensure that policies and proposals happen on the ground and how their success will be measured.”

AND ordinary councillors (including Tories) will be frozen out of decision-making:

It is recognised that it might be difficult for the wider council membership to input into a joint plan through the normal committee/council channels.

It is therefore proposed that member input is provided for in two additional ways.

Firstly, it is proposed that a joint informal advisory reference forum is set up, consisting of 5 councillors from each of the five authorities (total 25 members). There would be an expectation that the councillors from each authority would be politically balanced. This joint forum would consider plan drafts and comment upon them before they are finalised and presented to the meetings of the individual councils. Secondly, officers will run member briefings before each formal committee cycle to allow all councillors to review and comment upon draft plan contents and proposals. This would help to ensure that councillors’ views can be considered before proposals are finalised.

Members should note that there is a separate proposal to set up a Greater Exeter Growth and Development Board as a formal joint committee to consider economic and other related matters across the area. This has been agreed in principle by Exeter and Teignbridge and will be considered by East Devon and Mid Devon (note that Devon County have confirmed their wish not to be involved in such a joint committee at this stage, although this does not undermine their commitment to the GESP). It is envisaged that the member steering group referred to above would have a role reporting on plan progress and strategy to the joint committee. This does not affect the recommendation referred to above to prepare the GESP under Section 28.”

One thought on “Greater Exeter: only 5 EDDC councillors get decision-making powers -and its another forum!

  1. In the eyes of the Information Commissioner there is no such thing as an “informal forum”. Forums need to have published papers just like Committees.

    I fought long and hard to get EDDC to publish the minutes of its forums, so someone needs to step in immediately and ensure that this one has agendas and reports and minutes published by the councils concerned.


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