Looking back at the work completed, the impact of and the response to the Pandemic

TheCovid-19 pandemic continues to have a profound effect on our lives. This labour-led City Council has had to respond swiftly to address unexpected challenges arising from lockdown and local restrictions.

The knock-on effect on Exeter City Council’s budget and day-to-day activity has been profound.  The Council had to find £12m because of additional expenditure incurred responding to the corona virus crisis, and a significant loss of income from car-parking, leisure centres, business rates and council tax.

Despite these unprecedented challenges your Labour led Exeter City Council has maintained key services throughout.

We also have achieved some notable successes in the past 18 months which we have broken down under eight headings

  1. Net Zero Carbon 2030
  2. Housing and Supporting People
  3. Green Spaces, Parks, and Recycling
  4. Leisure, Health and Wellbeing, Live and Move
  5. Economy and Recovery
  6. Communities and Culture
  7. Planning and Building Control
  8. A Well-run Council

Labour Working for you

1. Net Zero Carbon 2030

Your Labour led City Council:

  • Declared climate emergency and committed to becoming Net Zero Carbon by 2030.
  • Commissioned, supported and adopted the Exeter Net Zero Roadmap* in conjunction with Exeter City Futures to achieve net zero Carbon targets.
  • Secured £1.6m of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)funding to install Solar Farm & Battery Storage on waste ground close to Council depot.
  • Planted 2,000 trees at the Monkerton Ridgeline, a new woodland of 300 trees off Lancelot Road in addition to our ongoing tree planning programme.
  • In the last year the carbon saving measures have delivered:
  • Financial savings of £630,000.
  • Energy savings of 2,300,050 kWh.
  • Carbon saving 550 tonnes.


Pictures from the Net Zero Carbon 2030 Plan
Pictures from the Net Zero Carbon 2030 Plan

2. Housing and Supporting People

Your Labour led City Council:

  • Brought forward plans to create 500 new Council homes from a 10 year plan to a 5 year plan.
  • Added 21 new 3 and 4-bedroom homes built to super energy efficient standards in Anthony Road, Thornpark Rise and Bovemoors Lane.
  • Started the roll out of retrofitting of all 4,000+ council housing homes to meet our super energy efficient standards to help meet 2030 net zero carbon target.
  • Supported the most vulnerable through the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Introduced a new Council Housing Advisory Board to gain advice and input from our resident representative and the most experienced people working in social housing in the South West.
  • Supported homeless people through the ‘Housing First’ initiative.
  • Supported over 450 rough sleepers and homeless people into either emergency, temporary, or supported housing.
  • Achieved 310 single homeless placements in 10 months since April 2020.
  • Successfully bid for grants worth £3.35m to address rough sleeping and homelessness including the purchase of units of ‘Next Steps’ and ‘Move on’ accommodation.
  • Installed a level-access bedroom and wet-room pod to support a disabled resident.
  • £77,000 in Test and Trace support payments issued to over 150 self-isolating residents.

3. Green Spaces, Parks and Recycling

Your Labour led City Council:

  • Maintained the waste service throughout the pandemic with 12,000 bins collected every day.
  • a finalist in two national awards for recycling excellence, one for partnership working and one for Innovation
  • Continued the partnership with Keep Britain Tidy over marine plastic recycling across the South West
  • Continued partnership with Odyssey Innovation over the maritime port and harbour recycling of fishing nets, crates, buoys etc.
  • Continued to broker, process and sell other authority recycling as well as Exeter’s. Mid Devon use our services to market their domestic recycling and Teignbridge and Mid Devon send their trade recycling to us
  • Designed and built the new inclusive Play Park in Pinhoe and also completely rebuilt the football field.
  • Consulted on three draft strategies for Play parks, Trees and Parks and Open Spaces.
  • Donated land for the new cycle-bridge at Summer Lane.
  • Continued a phased reduction of glyphosate weed-killer use, to protect wildlife.
  • Encouraged biodiversity through wildflowers and naturalising grass areas.
  • Provided a wheelchair-accessible allotment in Topsham.
Green Spaces, Parks and Recycling Image
Green Spaces, Parks and Recycling Image

4. Leisure, Health and Wellbeing, Live and Move

Your Labour led City Council:

  • The Labour administration brought the City’s leisure service in-house during the Covid-19 pandemic protecting jobs and to create a great service for the future. 168 staff transferred to ECC employment with the largest restructure of its kind taking place so all employees are on ECC terms and conditions by 31st August 2021. The decision to bring the leisure services in-house included all built leisure facilities returning them to direct management by the Council for the first time in around 20 years, these centres are:
    • Riverside Leisure Centre
    • Wonford Sports Centre
    • Exeter Arena
    • Isca Bowls Centre
    • Northbrook Pool
    • Pyramids Swimming & Leisure Centre
    • St Sidwell’s Point Leisure Complex (Summer 2021)
  • Due to the pandemic, the new leisure service has only been allowed to provide limited access or was required to close completely. However, as an example of how the new service will respond to needs, a new “app” was launched which enabled residents to take part in instructor led exercises from home. This free service was quickly taken up by many residents and has proved to be very popular.
  • Allocated funding to finish the full refurbishment of the Riverside Leisure Centre, ensuring great indoor sport and leisure facilities for the future, West of the Exe.
  • Adopted the Physical Activity Strategy and Built Facilities Strategy setting a fair and ambitious path for investment in leisure, physical activity and wellbeing in the City focused on those who most need help.
  • Launched the new Live & Move campaign and digital platform supporting residents and communities to be more active – liveandmove.co.uk.
  • Extensive engagement with the local community to design a new Health & Wellbeing Centre in Wonford, over 1000 residents and 20 community organisations contributing towards a preferred design and a vision for health and wellbeing in the community.
  • Expanded Wellbeing Exeter with a new team of four Community Physical Activity Organisers creating opportunities to be active in local neighbourhoods.
  • Through the Sport England partnership established a new pathway for children, young people and families to be supported with their physical and mental wellbeing alongside partners Devon Community Foundation, Primary Care Networks, Young Devon and Space.

5. Economy and Recovery

Your Labour led City Council:

  • Supported Business – assessed and distributed over 4,600 grants totalling £34.3M to businesses in Exeter severely impacted by the pandemic.
  • Created the Exeter Works Partnership to help those made redundant by the pandemic.
  • Created and led a new programme, Exeter Community Wellbeing, providing support to residents and communities during Covid-19.
  • Established a new Community Wellbeing Hotline, taking support requests through telephone and online forms. This received more than 4,000 calls and 1,500 online requests for support.
  • Administered the Covid-19 Community Wellbeing fund, helping about 400 residents with grants totalling over £75,000, to assist with COVID-related financial hardship.
  • Supported community groups through a focused Community Grants programme to respond to challenges during Covid-19 including:
  • The Action Fund, awarded around £144,000 to 113 groups/projects.
  • Ward Grants which awarded around £23,000 to 51 groups.

6. Communities and Culture

Your Labour led City Council:

  • Developed two new services with Citizen Advice (CAB), Exeter Community Initiatives, with Exeter Connect providing infrastructure support to local charities and community groups.
  • Established a programme of Digital Inclusion support for families.
  • The City was awarded UNESCO City of Literature status in 2019, the only city in the UK to do so in that year.
  • Secured funding through the Liveable Exeter Programme including £20,000 from Arts Council England for the first Cultural City Compact and a further £20,000 from the University to embed culture into strategic planning of future developments.
  • Successfully delivered the Heritage Open Days 2020.
  • Secured funding through the Liveable Exeter Programme including £20,000 from Arts Council England for the first Cultural City Compact and a further £20,000 from the University to embed culture into strategic planning of future developments.
  • Delivered online training package for artists to help them utilise outdoor spaces for activity during the summer/autumn 2021.
  • Covid-19 restrictions meant that the RAMM could only open for a total of 31.5 days from April 2020. But the RAMM developed its existing on-line services and produced new services. Highlights included:
    • Distribution of 500 free art/craft materials packs to people who were socially isolated via the community wellbeing hubs.
    • Lockdown Legends went live (physically and digitally) in September, showcasing the stories of local people who have shown particular kindness, courage, humanity or ingenuity during Covid-19.
    • Reopened with the 100 First Women Portraits exhibition by Anita Corbin, recording many lesser-known women’s first achievements.
Communities and Culture image
Communities and Culture image

7. Planning and Building Control

Your Labour led City Council:

  • Considerable work was done by Building Control during the fitting out of the Nightingale Hospital.
  • Exeter City Council planning team has dealt with applications for variation of conditions and hours of operation to facilitate businesses to continue throughout this difficult time.
  • Granted consent to the first two co-living developments at Harlequins in the city centre and the former Ambulance Station in Heavitree. This new form of tenure offers an additional living choice for single people to complement more traditional flat and house accommodation. Both schemes will provide affordable housing for key local and retail workers.
  • Another, first in the city is a development scheme of 400 homes and 65 ‘living with care’ units at Exmouth Junction. This brownfield site scheme is of high quality, high density, low carbon design comprising a mix of house sizes and tenures with 170 units for sale and 230 ‘Build to Rent’ units.

8. A Well-run Council

Your Labour led City Council:

  • During 2020-21, the Government imposed lockdown measures to control the spread of the Corona Virus. As a direct result of these measures, Exeter City Council incurred losses in its income of nearly £12m.
  • Total Government support measures to Council will amount to £6m, which covers only half the income lost.
  • The Council took quick and decisive action this year to address the financial challenges posed by Covid-19.This action has enabled the Labour led City Council to propose and pass a balanced budget with only a relatively small amount of savings required.
  • The Labour-led City Council removed the financial impact on furloughed staff by topping-up the salary from the Government’s 80% contribution to keeping staff on full pay.

Labour Continuing to work for you (Looking ahead)

Now looking forward to what we will do this year labour continuing to work for you.

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