Report of the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment (PTE/20/25), relating to the South West Exeter Housing Infrastructure Fund: including an update on project including approval for funding, to progress relevant schemes and award tenders, attached.
An Impact Assessment is also available for the attention of Members at this meeting.
(Councillors Atkinson, Biederman, Connett, Dewhirst and Hannaford attended remotely in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 and spoke to this item).
(Councillors Connett and Dewhirst declared personal interests in this matter by virtue of being Leader and Deputy Leader of Teignbridge District Council).
The Cabinet considered the Report of the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment (PTE/20/25), circulated prior to the meeting in accordance with regulation 7(4) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.
The Report had followed a previously successful bid submitted to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in September 2018 for funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF). The bid was for £55.14 million towards infrastructure to support development at South West Exeter. Due to the success of the bid, the Council had entered into a funding contract with Homes England in August 2020. The Report provided an update on the project as well as seeking approval for further elements to allow the continual progression of the project. Further approvals would be required for the rest of the overall project as it moved forward.
The HIF funding would enable the early delivery of the infrastructure to support the delivery of housing and the Report outlined the detail including signal junctions on the A379, realignment of Chudleigh Road, Southern Spine Road, employment access roundabout at Peamore, Devon Hotel Roundabout upgrade, Alphington Village enhancements, School access road, Pedestrian / cycle bridge, utility upgrades and community building. A plan identifying the development location and infrastructure to be delivered was included in Appendix I to the Report.
The funding contract allowed the Council to make additional progress with the
design and delivery of the infrastructure and the expectation was that funding would be recovered from developers as the residential development was delivered.
Consultation regarding the proposed development at South West Exeter and infrastructure had taken place at a number of stages, including Local Plan Stage, examination by an independent Planning Inspector and the production and consultation of a Development Brief which provided further detail. Where the infrastructure required planning applications, these would be subject to appropriate consultation through the planning process. To ensure stakeholders were kept up to date a dedicated project website had been set up as well as newsletters as the project progressed.
The expected spend profile of the funding was set out in the Report and the associated capital programme enhancement.
Year Pre Contract 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23 2023/24
Funding £0.64m £8.72m £11.18m £17.83m £16.78m
The planning applications for both housing and employment at South West Exeter, including consideration of the infrastructure, had reflected the environmental impacts of the development. The carbon footprint of end users of the transport infrastructure had been considered through the design of pedestrian/cycle provisions including linking the new development with the existing strategic pedestrian/cycle network. The scheme was expected to have a positive economic impact by supporting jobs through infrastructure delivery and new homes.
Supporting the Head of Service’s Report was an Impact Assessment for the attention of Members at the meeting which outlined that no unmanageable impacts had been identified. In summary, the HIF project would support the development of a new urban extension to Exeter, the delivery of the community infrastructure, a school and the creation of a community. Consideration had been given to safe and sustainable access for all, including the provision of pedestrian / cycle routes and crossings and a new bridge.
The matter having been debated and the alternatives and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, sustainability (including carbon impact), risk management, equality and legal considerations and Public Health impact) as set out in the Head of Service’s Report and also referred to above having been considered:
it was MOVED by Councillor Davis, SECONDED by Councillor Hart, and
(a) that the update on the project and completion of the funding contract be noted;
(b) that the enhancement of the Planning, Transportation and Environment 2020/21 capital programme by £55.14 million profiled across financial years 2020/21 to 2023/24 as reflected in the table in section 6 of the Report, funded by the Housing Infrastructure Fund grant, be approved;
(c) that the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Development and Waste be given delegated authority to approve flexibility in allocation of funding to develop the projects, and progress the planning and land agreements for infrastructure identified within the Housing Infrastructure Fund project within the total award amount;
(d) that the proposals in relation to the allocation of funding recovered from developers including up to
(i) £5.3 million towards the South West Exeter district heating network; and
(ii) £6.55 million towards the A382 improvement scheme
be approved on the condition that funding is only allocated once it has been recovered from developers;
(e) that the allocation of £2.6 million of Housing Infrastructure Fund grant
towards the delivery of the electricity substation be approved as well as the proposal to enter into a contract with Western Power Distribution for its delivery, submit a planning application, and following planning permission, acquire land relating to a new electricity substation using compulsory purchase powers if necessary;
(f) that the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Development and Waste be given delegated power to progress the proposals for the pedestrian / cycle
bridge and Chudleigh Road realignment including tender and to award
contracts for the schemes within a budget threshold of £10.5million.
(NB: The Impact Assessment referred to above may be viewed alongside Minutes of this meeting and may also be available on the Impact Assessment Webpages).