Agenda and minutes

South Hams Executive - Thursday, 3rd June, 2021 11.00 am

Venue: Repton Room - Follaton House

Contact: Email: 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 73 KB

to approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 27 May 2021



The minutes of the Executive meeting held on 27 May 2021 were confirmed as a true and correct record.



Urgent Business

brought forward at the discretion of the Chairman;



The Chairman advised that she had no urgent items for consideration at this meeting.



Declarations of Interest

Members are invited to declare any personal or disclosable pecuniary interests, including the nature and extent of such interests they may have in any items to be considered at this meeting;



Members and officers were invited to declare any interests in the items of business to be considered during the course of this meeting but there were none made.



Public Question Time pdf icon PDF 41 KB

a period of up to 15 minutes is available to deal with questions submitted to the Council in accordance with the Executive Procedure Rules;



It was noted that eight public questions had been received in accordance with the Executive Procedure Rules for consideration at this meeting.


Question 1 from Caroline Snow:


‘Air Quality Annual Status Report 2019, p. 12, states: "South Hams District Council anticipates that further additional measures not yet prescribed will be required in subsequent years to achieve compliance and enable the revocation of Totnes and Dean Prior Air Quality Management Areas". What additional measures has the Council now introduced?’


In reply, the Leader informed that the Joint Local Plan contained policies relating specifically to all of the Air Quality Management Areas in the South Hams –these policies meant that the Council asked for air quality mitigation measures from new developments.  For recent planning applications for Broom Park and Sawmills at Dartington, developers had agreed to help improve walking and cycling infrastructure, encourage the use of sustainable transport, implement Electric vehicle charge points, and enable more working from home.


The Council continued to negotiate with Devon County Council (DCC), who are responsible for traffic management in the Totnes area, and with Highways England, who are responsible for the A38 at Dean Prior, to try to find practicable ways to improve air quality at these Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).


The Council also continued to monitor Nitrogen Dioxide and made these results available to relevant agencies and to the public. Current results for 2020 indicated that pollution levels had decreased.


Our third AQMA in Ivybridge had recently been the subject of DCC Highways works and the Council was hopeful that this would have improved the situation in that area to allow revocation of the AQMA.


Question 2 from Barbara Smith:


‘Given the known harmful effects of NO2 and particulate pollution to the health of residents, what were the rates for NO2 and particulates across the South Hams in 2020 and how does this compare with previous years?’


In response, the Deputy Leader stated that the Council had continued to monitor NO2 levels at locations in the South Hams area. The validated results had not yet been published but would be published in the next Air Quality Report.  However, the raw data suggested that NO2 levels had decreased in 2020 when compared to previous years.


(The following six questions all relate to the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill and the Leader provided one combined response to these questions)



Questions 3, 4 and 5 from Massimo Giannuzzi:


‘(Background: Re the CEE bill motion from Cllr Hodgson (deferred from 25th March and again from 20th May).  I was deeply disappointed that Conservative councillors of SHDC put forward an amendment qualifying the level of support they could offer based on the fact that the bill was waiting to be re-introduced into parliamentary procedure).’


Q3 I’d like to ask why Conservative councillors of SHDC put forward this amendment – given that so many other councils throughout the UK (notably Cambridge City Council and locally Buckfastleigh Town Council)  ...  view the full minutes text for item E.10/19


Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 637 KB



Members were presented with the most recently published version of the Executive Forward Plan that set out items on the agenda for Executive meetings for the next four months.


In discussion, reference was made to:


-          the need for the next version of the published Forward Plan to take into account the recent appointment of Cllr Holway on to the Executive and the imminent revisions to the lead portfolio areas; and

-          the deferral of the ‘Improving Biodiversity Through Effective Grounds Maintenance’ agenda item to the next Executive meeting to be held on 8 July 2021.



Climate Change and Biodiversity Action Plan Update pdf icon PDF 280 KB

Additional documents:



In line with the Council resolution to adopt the Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan at its meeting held on 17 December 2020, the Executive received a report that set out the progress that had been made on the Action Plan in the last six months (Minute 28/20 refers).


In discussion, reference was made to:-


(a)  the progress being made by the Council in comparison to other local authorities.  When questioned, the Leader informed that the Council was comparing favourably in its progress in the delivery of its Climate Change and Biodiversity Action Plan.  To expand upon this viewpoint, the Leader advised that a number of local authorities were struggling to recruit a lead officer.  As a result, a number of Members paid tribute to the efforts being made by the Council and thanked the lead officer for his work in this regard;


(b)  the £3,000 per Member Sustainable Community Local Fund expenditure for local Climate Change and Biodiversity projects.  When questioned on progress towards a launch date, the lead officer informed that he was to meet with colleagues who were finalising a web based application scheme later in the week.  Following this meeting, it was his intention to provide an update on both the Fund and the Crowdfunder Platform to all Members via the weekly Bulletin newsletter.  Nonetheless, it was his hope that both the Fund and Crowdfunder initiative would be formally launched within the next few weeks;


(c)  information published on the Council website.  Officers committed to ensuring that more up to date information was uploaded on to the Council website.  In addition, it was also agreed that the details of the Community Forum representatives would also be included on the website.  Specifically regarding the Community Forum, a request was also made for consideration to be given to developing a means by which elected Members could be involved in the Forum;


(d)  the feasibility study into solar over Council Car Parks and other assets.  In welcoming the study, a Member asked if he could be in receipt of a copy of the Terms of Reference that would accompany this study;


(e)  the carbon literacy training proposed for the Council’s Senior and Extended Leadership Teams.  A Member questioned whether the proposed training could be extended to a wider audience that could include interested elected Members.  In reply, officers confirmed that they would check with the provider of the training and inform the interested Member accordingly;


(f)   the measuring of carbon reductions.  A Member expressed his long held concern that the current Action Plan was lacking both how the Council proposed to reach its target of net zero for carbon and how such reductions were proposed to be measured;


(g)  Action Plan 3.5 ‘ring fencing and promoting a percentage of Members Grant schemes towards tree planting schemes’.  Given the amount already taking place in the South Hams, a Member questioned the need to ringfence monies towards tree planting schemes.  In debate, the Executive agreed with this comment  ...  view the full minutes text for item E.12/19


Devon Home Choice Policy Changes pdf icon PDF 557 KB

Additional documents:



Consideration was given to a report that recommend adoption of a series of proposed changes to the Devon Home Choice Policy.


In discussion, the following points were raised:


(a)  Members noted that the annual review of Devon Home Choice was to be presented to a future meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee;


(b)  Since the proposed changes were being made across the county, it was acknowledged that some were of minimal relevance to the South Hams;


(c)  The current shortage of larger properties within the housing stock was having a major impact on a number of local families.  Whilst the Council’s Housing Team was working tirelessly to find innovative solutions, local families were still leaving the South Hams in numbers and this was a cause of great concern.  As a result, addressing the current local housing provision was an absolute top priority for the Council.  Finally, a Member also requested that the Council’s current SeaMoor Lettings Policy should be reviewed as soon as was practically possible.


It was then:




That, with effect from 1 June 2021, the Devon Home Choice Policy changes (as set out in the presented agenda report) be made.




Homelessness Strategy Action Plan 21/22 pdf icon PDF 205 KB

Additional documents:



Members considered a report that sought approval of the Homelessness Strategy Action Plan for 2021/22.


During discussion, particular reference was made to:


(a)  the response rate of the Housing Team.  Upon instances of homelessness and rough sleeping being reported, a number of Members paid tribute to the phenomenal speed by which the Housing Team responded and they were felt to be a credit to the Council;


(b)  the vitally important role played by the Housing Team in preventing instances of Homelessness;


(c)  the current state of the Housing Market.  On a number of occasions, Members made the point that the Housing Market was currently working against the local residents of the South Hams and, as a consequence, there was a desperate need for lasting political solutions to be made in order to rectify the current situation.


It was then:




That, with effect from 1 April 2021, the Homelessness Strategy Action Plan for 2021/22 be adopted.



Reports of Bodies: Overview & Scrutiny Committee Meeting - 1 April 2021 pdf icon PDF 314 KB



Minute O&S.51/20 Sustainable Community Locality Fund – Update


The Executive was invited to consider the following recommendation that had arisen from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 1 April 2021:


‘That each Member receives a further £500 in recognition of the need and the importance of the Localities Fund and the difference it can achieve. The £15,500 necessary for the 2021/22 to be funded from the New Homes Bonus Reserve.’


In discussion, the following points were raised:


(a)  Some Members felt it to be unfortunate that this proposal had only come forward a matter of weeks after the Council had approved its Budget for 2021/22.  In reply, the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee advised that the matter had only come forward at the time when the Sustainable Community Locality Fund (SCLF) Update report had been presented.  Furthermore, the recommendation had been prompted by the report setting out that, in the 2020/21 Financial Year, the Sustainable Community Locality Fund had contributed £43,800 to 78 projects with a total cost of £379,000;


(b)  Members highlighted the additional £3,000 Member Locality Fund for 2021/22 that had been allocated to support Climate Change and Biodiversity initiatives.  As a result, Members questioned the need for an additional £500 and this view was supported further by the fact that a number of Members had not spent their current allocations during the 2020/21 Financial Year.


It was then:




That the 2021/22 Sustainable Community Locality Fund allocation for each Member be retained at £2,000.