Agenda item

Executive Member presentation - the Leader Councillor Connett Strategic Direction


The Leader Cllr Connett updated Members on progression of areas within his portfolio, Strategic Direction focusing on the priorities of homes, climate and jobs.


     Progress was being made towards providing the Teignbridge 100 affordable homes, with £9.8 million investment, with the first 17 under construction or in the planning stage.

     The District heating scheme at South West Exeter was progressing for the new housing development.

     Social rented accommodation was being provided and there was investment in updating private sector housing.

     24 rough sleepers had been found homes since April 2020, and 313 households were prevented from being homeless between April and September 2020.


Jobs and economy

Efforts of the Council to maintain jobs and the economy included:

    £1.7m in grants to businesses so far for the second lockdown period.

    Tier 2 grants for pubs being paid from 22 December 2020.

    A decision was awaited on the Council’s Future High Street Fund bid of £8m.

     82 Kickstart job placements applied for, directly creating new jobs for   young people, 40 of which would be with the Council and the remainder in the private sector.

     Developing a ‘Jobs First’ reform to the planning processes to support the delivery of employment land.

     Simplifying the procurement process to support Community Wealth   Building.

    £2 million in the budget for economic development.


Climate Change – The Council was tackling the global threat locally by

     Providing permanent revenue budget for a Climate Change Officer and £30,000 annual revenue funding.

     Participating in Solar Together Devon Scheme.

     The carbon footprint for the 2018/19 financial year has been completed and published.

     A grant application of up to £3million will be made under the public sector decarbonisation scheme.

     Striving to achieve 60% recycling.


The Leader advised savings of £2 million had helped balance the budget this year. The draft 2021/21 budget would balance by using earmarked reserves. However some services would be affected. The Council would be looking to suspend some services for next year, such as the Rural Aid Grant, or look to parish and town councils to assist in the running of services. Council Tax would need to increase by £5 to help balance the budget. Investment in priorities of housing, jobs and climate change would continue.


The Leader acknowledged that the pace of change the last year during the covid situation had been rapid particularly in IT advancement and use, and would remain. There was a vital role for Overview and Scrutiny in shaping transformation. He encouraged the Committee to have a work programme that was topical, relevant and flexible, to be the Executive’s critical friend, and for all Councillors to work together.


In response to questions the Leader advised: he was not in favour of Devon becoming unitary because of financial implications; the Council would make clear during the 2021-22 financial year what services were likely to be suspended to enable parish and town councils to consider if they could assist; the Council’s sources of income such as that from leisure centres and car parks had been significantly reduced this year; and any assistance from benefactors was welcomed. 


The full presentation can be seen here