Agenda and minutes

West Devon Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 5th October, 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Chamber - Kilworthy Park. View directions

Contact: Email: 

No. Item

*O&S 10

Apologies for Absence


*O&S 10                      

Apologies for absence for this meeting were received from Cllrs C Kemp and J Moody.  It was acknowledged that, with effect from 30 September 2021, Cllr R Musgrave had resigned from the Office of West Devon Borough Council and therefore this Committee was carrying a vacancy until a new Member was elected.


*O&S 11

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 223 KB

Minutes of the Committee Meeting held on 22 June 2021 and notes of the informal meeting held on 27 July 2021:


Recommendations to consider:


a)    Devon Home Choice Review:                                                               

It was then agreed that, at the next Committee meeting, the Committee recommend to the Hub Committee that the Council continues to be a Member of Devon Home Choice.


b)    Performance Management Report:                                                           

The Committee agreed to make the following RECOMMENDATIONS to the next meeting:


1.      That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee NOTE the performance figures shown in the Pentana report.


2.      That Members have reviewed the information provided in the dashboards and provide feedback to the portfolio holder on any additional measures required to scrutinise performance.


Additional documents:


O&S 11

The minutes of the Meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 22 June 2021 were confirmed by the Meeting as a true and correct record.


The informal notes and recommendations arising from the Informal Meeting held on 27 July 2021 were reviewed and noted.  With regard to the informal recommendations


a)     Devon Home Choice Review:



The Committee recommend to the Hub Committee that the Council continues to be a Member of Devon Home Choice.


b)     Performance Management Report:


The Committee RESOLVES to note:


1.    the performance figures shown in the Pentana report.


2.    that Members have reviewed the information provided in the dashboards and provide feedback to the portfolio holder on any additional measures required to scrutinise performance.


*O&S 12

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.


If Councillors have any questions relating to predetermination, bias or interests in items on this Agenda, then please contact the Monitoring Officer in advance of the meeting.





*O&S 12          

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.


*O&S 13

Public Forum pdf icon PDF 10 KB

A period of up to 15 minutes is available to deal with issues raised by the public.   


*O&S 13                      

The Chairman confirmed that no formal requests had been received in accordance with the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules.



*O&S 14

Traffic Congestion in West Devon

Presentation by Cllr Stuart Hughes and Mr John Fewings (Devon County Council) and opportunity for Member questions


*O&S 14          

The Committee were given a presentation by Cllr Stuart Hughes, the Portfolio Holder for Highways, and Mr John Fewings, Neighbourhood Highways Manager (South), both of Devon County Council (DCC).  During the presentation, the following points were made:


·           There were two main types of works on the highway: road works (road maintenance works) and street works (mainly utilities works).

·           Road works were generally known well in advance for budget, design, and consultation purposes.  Utility works tended to be more problematic because there was less time to plan and it was a legal requirement to concur with the organisation’s needs if at all possible. It was noted that utility organisations were now required to apply for a permit for street works.

·           Meetings were held with Utility organisations at the beginning of the year to try to plan what activities there would be around the area throughout the year, to try to co-ordinate works, but it was accepted that unforeseen emergency works would always need to be dealt with quickly.

·           Planning guidelines altered in recent years making it much more difficult to refuse a planning application for highways reasons.

·           It was acknowledged that many major highways were close to capacity so any small event, eg road works, could inevitably cause long delays and added congestion.

·           The Strategic planning team annually reviewed its local transport plan, which included cycle routes and bypasses.  Following a question asked by the Chair for an overview of strategic planning and any correlation between that and Local Plans to see any impact on roads, the Officer offered to send a link to Devon County Council’s (DCC) strategic documents.

·           Cllr Hughes confirmed that officers from West Devon Borough Council would discuss all new proposed developments with their DCC planning colleagues to review the potential impacts on nearby roads.

·           Following a question regarding speeding within the Dartmoor National Park area, the officer outlined the process required for the introduction of a speed limit on the Moor and the need to request for individual speed signs to be erected on the road.

·           It was confirmed that DCC held a capital drainage budget and a revenue drainage budget: both budgets were described as limited. DCC would soon be asking local Town and Parish Councils what were their priorities and the responses received would be used to determine which schemes could be implemented.  Many under highway drains were at capacity, therefore Cllr Hughes encouraged Members to canvas their local MPs, following a reduction of £20 million from the Highways budget last year. Any construction on the roads would look at drainage issues at that point.

·           Following a question regarding the severe traffic congestion in Okehampton Town Centre, it was confirmed that three large shopping centres had been built just off the main street which had impacted on vehicular movements.  The re-opening of the rail station should help in this regard.  Medieval towns like Okehampton were trying to cope with modern traffic which was very difficult.  Signals in middle Okehampton were  ...  view the full minutes text for item *O&S 14

*O&S 15

Lamerton Housing Report pdf icon PDF 62 KB


*O&S 15          

The Lead Hub Member for Housing introduced the report and explained the report was as had been presented to the Hub Committee Meeting on 16 March 2021 and therefore opened up to questions.


In response to questions, the following points were made:


·           The strong local opposition to this proposal was, in part, due to opposition to the developing Neighbourhood Plan.

·           The formation of a new Neighbourhood Planning group was being supported by officers, and it was hoped that a proposal could be developed that could be supported by all in Lamerton.

·           The viability of the project would also now be impacted by the increase in construction costs in recent months which would counter the recent rise in house prices.

·           It was confirmed that £135,000 had been spent on developing the project which would not be recoverable.

·           One Member suggested looking at the option of zed pod housing.

·           The Officer was requested to circulate the figures showing the relationship of salary to house prices across Britain.

·           Homes was a significant part of the new ‘Plan For West Devon’ and officer resources would be reviewed to ensure housing had sufficient resource.

·           The housing situation was exacerbated by many houses in West Devon being purchased for second homes and/or letting purposes.  It was agreed that there was insufficient social housing provision in the Borough.

·           It was confirmed that officers would soon be meeting with the Chief Executive of Live West to discuss the recent sales of affordable housing.

·           Homes was agreed to be the first corporate theme to be reviewed by the Committee.


It was then:




That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee:


1)     note the follow up report on the Lamerton Scheme;




2)     RECOMMEND that the Hub Committee RECOMMEND to Council that, we, as a Council, adopt a position to lobby Central Government, and our local MPs, to close the loophole which allows Small Business Rates Relief to second home owners who rent their home out for more than 140 days a year.


*O&S 16

Verbal Update from the Community Digital Specialist


*O&S 16          

The Community Digital Specialist was unable to join the meeting so her bullet point update was circulated after the meeting.



*O&S 17

Task and Finish Group Updates (if any)


*O&S 17          

There were no updates.



*O&S 18

O&S Annual Work Programme including preparation for the next meeting pdf icon PDF 81 KB


*O&S 18          

It was noted that the next meeting (to be held on 16 November) would include Cllr Davies and Mr Jones from Devon County Council to update the Committee on the Okehampton Rail line and public transport.  The agenda would also include:


Review of Localities: Annual Report

Community Safety partnership

Council delivery on housing

Overview & Scrutiny Annual Report: 2020/21

Work programme


It was agreed to consider setting up a task and finish group to look at Housing provision and the role of Live West.


                        Following the questions raised in this meeting regarding Highways and Planning, it was agreed to invite DCC’s Portfolio Holder for Planning and a senior officer to the meeting on 15 February 2022 to give a strategic overview of Planning and to review the impact of the environmental crisis.


The Police and Crime Commissioner had replied that they were unable to attend.   


*O&S 19

Member Learning and Development Opportunities Arising from this Meeting


*O&S 19          

Members referred to the earlier interesting discussions on both the housing and strategic planning issues facing the Borough and recognised that these would be subject to a great deal of ongoing consideration by the Borough Council.