The Lead Hub Member for Built Environment introduced a report that reviewed latest progress against the Built Environment Corporate Theme as follows:
· Action BE1.1 – although this action was currently termed ‘amber’ as it was slightly delayed, following a recent recruitment process, progress against the action would soon be made and would likely return to ‘green’ by the next report. In reply to a request, the lead Hub Member agreed to send around the list of 24 Conservation Areas which had been reviewed.
· Action BE1.2 – conversations were happening with parishes, with posters relating to the #MyPlace campaign being displayed which promoted local events.
· Action BE1.3 – it was confirmed that promotion of events was happening via the Visit Dartmoor and Visit Devon websites.
· Action BE1.4 – closer working was being undertaken with Dartmoor National Park colleagues in order to promote Towns and Parishes within its boundary, alongside continuing to explore the possibility of a Business Improvement District being established in Okehampton.
· Action BE1.5 – progress was being made on this action. An update was given on the Callington Road scheme, outlining that the developers would be in communication with UNESCO, with support from officers.
A Member queried why consultation with UNESCO on phase one of the scheme had not occurred, resulting in, in his opinion, oversized development being created.
· Action BE1.6 – a change in officer support was noted on this strand. Following a question from a Member, the Director for Place and Enterprise stated that an update on the Lamerton Neighbourhood Plan would be sent around to Members following the meeting.
· Action BE1.7 – officers had met recently with a Devon wide group reviewing cycle paths, with a report being developed by Devon County Council (DCC) which would be published in the near future. Following a Member question regarding active travel plans for rural areas, it was confirmed that more officer time had been allocated to this project which would enable increased collaboration with DCC. If successful, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund Bid would also progress strategic projects for rural travel plans. An officer agreed to send out further information on ‘Quiet Lanes’. It was agreed that a separate report on ‘active travel’ would be brought back to a future Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting.
· Action BE1.8 – the next bid for levelling up was being progressed. A Member asked for an update on the viability study into the reopening of the Bere Alston railway line, the answer to which would be disseminated after the Committee meeting.
It was reiterated that any Member attending an external meeting, which was of relevance to the Council, should be feeding back information to all Members, either via email or through the Weekly Members’ Bulletin publication. Attendance at Hub Advisory Group meetings was again highlighted as an issue, with the Head of Democratic Services agreeing to review how best to inform all Members of the dates of all future Hub Advisory Group meetings. Following the Lead Hub Member for Resources and Performance suggesting that the Lead Member of each Hub Advisory Group could also feedback information to all Members, it was agreed that he would discuss this with the Leader.
Two Members outlined their concerns with the continuing withdrawal of services from rural areas. Specifically, the closure of banks and post offices were impacting upon a significant number of people who were not able to access services online and needed to be able to talk to individuals rather than utilising IT services. It was advised that these concerns should be taken to a future meeting of the relevant Hub Advisory Group.
It was then RESOLVED that the progress in delivering against the Plan for West Devon “Built Environment” Thematic Delivery Plan be noted.