2021-22: Labour continuing to work for you    

Against a wide range of challenges, we will continue to lead a well-run council and will do so working to four key priorities. These are: Achieving Net zero Exeter 2030, supporting active and healthy lifestyles,  building great neighbourhoods as well as leading a well run Council.

Achieving Net zero Exeter 2030

Like Exeter, many other cities and towns are aiming to be carbon neutral, but few have set out clear and deliverable plans to show how that will be reached. The council asked Exeter City Futures to work in partnership with the city to create a clear delivery roadmap*. Net Zero Exeter 2030 sets out the scale of the challenge, and the likely actions and investment required to ensure that Exeter is, and is in a position to remain, carbon neutral by 2030.

Key additional outcomes we will deliver in the coming year:

  • Declaration of a Climate and Ecology Emergency
  • Progress the solar farm and battery storage, which will comprise of 3,700 solar photovoltaic (PV) modules creating a 1.2MW array and substantial battery storage capacity to provide flexibility between peak generation and peak usage.
  • Continuation of our tree planting programme with specific focus on replacing trees lost to ash dieback.

* www.exetercityfutures.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Net-Zero-Exeter-2030-Plan.pdf

Solar farm, trees and net zero 2030
Solar farm, trees and net zero 2030

Supporting active and healthy lifestyles

In England, one in four people do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week, while one in six deaths is linked to inactivity. In Exeter, some people are already more physically active than the national average. Exeter is overall a healthy place to live but some areas in the city have poor health outcomes.

Whilst prosperity overall in the city has grown in recent years, the health inequalities gap between the most and least well-off areas has increased. We know that active and healthy lifestyles bring wider benefits to individuals and communities by reducing health inequality, tackling congestion, improving community connectivity and reducing social isolation.

Key additional outcomes we will deliver in the coming year:

  • The ground breaking Passivhaus leisure complex, St Sidwell’s Point, will open in the summer of 2021 with facilities including:
    • 25m competition swimming pool.
    • 20 m community pool.
    • Children’s confidence/play pool.
    • Health &fitness centre (150 station gym and flexible studio).
    • Café.
    • Children’s soft play activity space.
    • Spa (including hydrotherapy pool and treatment room).
    • Rooftop terrace.
  • The long awaited re-opening of the Riverside pool will happen in the summer of 2021, bringing the Riverside Leisure Centre back into full use.
  • With all of our pools in action, the new in-house service, Exeter Leisure, will roll out a Swimming Lesson programme to help get children back in the water after an unprecedented time of closure due to the pandemic. We aim to offer lessons for all and provide an opportunity that will enable catch-up for those who have lost significant lesson time. The swim programme will be affordable to all.
  • Bring together the resources of the new in-house service, Exeter Leisure, and the Live and Move project to create more diverse and flexible opportunities for people to become more active.
  • Build back membership/subscription base which has taken a severe hit during the pandemic.
  • Tackle health inequalities by supporting those most disadvantaged through COVID-19 to lead healthy and active lifestyles.
  • Public re-launch and awareness campaign of the Exeter Green Circle, supporting more people to access walking routes across the city.
  • Citywide active travel programme for workplaces to enable more walking & cycling and improve staff health wellbeing.
  • #ShareYourMoves campaign to get people moving more and active every day to improve health & wellbeing post COVID-19.
Exeter Leisure app, St Sidwells and the Exeter Green Circle
Exeter Leisure app, St Sidwells and the Exeter Green Circle

Building great neighbourhoods

The city is already home to a rich network of diverse and friendly neighbourhoods. The aim is to protect and nurture these communities but also to ensure that existing and new residents will have a home that is secure, affordable and healthy in a balanced and connected neighbourhood.

Key additional outcomes we will deliver in the coming year:

  • Exeter City Council will bring forward a new Exeter Local Plan.
  • Support individuals and families in housing need.
  • Reduce the numbers presenting as homeless.
  • Address urban anti-social behaviour.
  • Support businesses to navigate through financial support packages/grants from Government.
  • Continue to deliver asset-based community development.
  • Refurbish West Garth Park.
  • Launch Play Streets to support local residents to close their street to traffic, connect with neighbours & friends and be active on their doorstep.
  • Manage the successful operation of the grants programme for communities and the arts through Council’s budgetary challenges.
  • Creating a new public art strategy for the city in partnership with the University of Exeter and Exeter Culture.
  • Work with UNESCO to transform Parliament Street into a tourist hotspot with Exeter City of Literature at its heart.
  • RAMM’s focus will be on supporting Exeter and Devon’s social and economic recovery by:
    •   Supporting place making through a campaign highlighting ’Treasures at RAMM’.
    • Creating mental health and well-being activities, making a specific social contribution to our community.
    • Continuing our work with the LGBQ+ community through the project ‘Out & About: Queering the Museum’.
    • Developing new project activity with partners that range from the University through to Magic Carpet, CEDA, Pelican Project.
    • Further developing our digital resources, maintaining selected activity that has proved successful in extending our audience ‘reach’ during lockdown
    • Launching the Trade and Exchange Project – utilising the windows of empty shop retail units to respond to the collections at the Devon & Exeter Institute.
Green city, high street and keys
Green city, high street and keys

Leading a Well-run Council

In the face of ongoing Government austerity and our continuing response to Covid-19 there is less money and more demand on our services than ever before. If we continue delivering services in the same way as we do today there will be a significant funding gap over the next five years. This is despite a track record of reducing our costs and increasing income by £16.7m since 2010.

Presenting a balanced budget for the coming year has not been easy – the Government’s own core spending power calculation shows that even by increasing our Council Tax by the maximum allowable, which is £5 a year for a Band D property or less than 10p a week. The Council will only have the same amount to spend next year as it did this year. Inflation increases alone account for an increase in spending requirement of £817,000.

Furthermore, the Conservative Government is consulting on modifications to the New Homes Bonus and is still intent on overhauling the Business Rates Retention scheme, meaning that the financial benefits that we have enjoyed will be lost from 2022-23 onwards. This means reductions of £6 million will be required over the next three years to balance the budget.  This equals 13% of the total spent on services in Exeter.

Key additional outcomes we will deliver this year:

  • Continuing to have one of the lowest rates of council tax in the country. For a band D property (2021/22) the proportion of the tax that goes to ECC is 8% or £3.17 a week which the Council uses to fund vital services.
  • In addition to our framework of equality and diversity policies and procedures we are developing an anti-racism strategy for the Council.
  • Meeting the challenges of identifying funding to invest in our public spaces, community facilities and housing. We believe that Exeter City Council should aim to do more, working with partners such as Sport England, local Police and community groups, to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our city.

A Labour-led Exeter City Council will continue to put the needs of the people of Exeter at the heart of its policies and actions.

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