Progressive Group budget amendments focus on cleaner streets, improved recycling and support for allotment holders alongside efficiency savings

The Progressive Group on Exeter City Council will present amendments to the Labour administration’s proposed budget at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday which they say will focus on improving services for residents [1].

The proposals by the official opposition group of Green and Liberal Democrat Councillors on the City Council include investment in street cleansing, doorstep glass recycling service and an investment in allotments alongside a reversal of the massive hike in allotment fees planned for next year.

The proposals would also see the opening of an accessible and welcoming Council customer service centre in an empty shop in the Guildhall Shopping Centre; investment in improving the city’s recycling and food waste service and relocating Exeter City Council back office functions into Devon County Council buildings to help the councils work better together; improvements in parks; and a staff member to help Councillors better scrutinise the work of the ruling Labour Group.

The Group say they would pay for the measures through the sale of the civic centre, better use of funds accumulated through the developers’ Community Infrastructure Levy, income from the Council-owned Guildhall shopping centre, increasing all day car parking by £2 – the price of a single bus fare – and better use of Council’s surplus funds.

Co-leader of the Progressive Group, Green Councillor Diana Moore said:

“The Conservative Government has underfunded the local services that councils deliver for years. But the Labour administration running the City Council have failed to focus on ensuring the council’s essential services are properly supported. A further £5.6million in cuts are planned over the next three years. The Council is sitting on unspent levy funds from developers which should be used to provide doorstep food waste and glass collections across the city.”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Adrian Fullam said:

“Street cleansing services are being cut when residents have been asking for more.  With over £100,000 [2] of cuts being proposed to the service over the next two years things will only get worse. The Council should be fulfilling its basic role of keeping the city as a clean and pleasant place to live and work for everyone.”

Green Councillor Andy Ketchin added:

“By moving office functions to be co-located with Devon County Council at under utilised County Hall, both councils should make savings. These savings should be invested in services instead of cutting them. Moving the City Council’s customer service centre into the Guildhall shopping centre would make it easier for people to see someone when they need help from the Council.”



[1] Budget Amendments from the Progressive Group 2024
We note the budget put forward. The Progressive Group of councillors proposes the following amendments to the medium term financial strategy:
Amendment 1: Capital Budget: investment in improving recycling and food waste service 
To address the £6m funding gap of the £8m required for the materials reclamation facility in the MTFS and establish a doorstep glass recycling service:
  1. Sale of the Civic Centre – a minimum of £2.5m capital income.
  2. Reallocation of the Civic Centre HFX Door Access Requirement (£100,0000) to this purpose.
  3. Fund the remainder by using unallocated CIL and undertaking a review of the CIL budget of projects which have underspent or have allocated resources that have not yet been used, in order to prioritise investment in the MRF and doorstep glass recycling collections.
Amendment 2: Service Improvements over medium term financial plan
Improve efficiencies and cooperation between Councils: Negotiate a move of back office functions to Devon County Council offices or, failing that, another property within ECC portfolio. Operating costs assumed to be similar in terms of overheads and a reduction in office space requirement. Move to be funded by £100,000 of the additional revenue grant received from Government and funds from the sale of the property as required.
Investment in customer services: To move ECC customer service centre to an empty shop in the Guildhall Shopping Centre to provide an accessible and welcoming public face and regenerate an empty shop in the Guildhall with an anchor tenant: the Council. The set up and the overhead overhead operating costs to be funded by the unearmarked surplus from the Guildhall Shopping Centre.
To undertake a review of Leisure Services with a view to being on a stable financial basis  over the life of the MTFS with the aim of becoming cost neutral.
Amendment 3. Service Improvements for 24-25 budget
Allotment Service: £40,000
  • Reverse the 2024/25 in year allotment fee increase of £20,450 to spread this over three years so that the fees cover service costs over a three year period. Assuming 5% inflation each year thereafter, this is an addition to the MTFS of £15,030 to 26/27.
  • To invest £24,969 in allotment improvements in discussion with allotment holders.
  • Both of these points above to be funded by £40,000 from the additional revenue grant received from Government.
  • To reduce administration costs by enabling a direct debit service for the payment of fees
  • Introduce a deposit scheme equivalent to three months rent (except for those in receipt of any benefits) to be forfeited should a tenant be evicted due to non-cultivation. Forfeited deposits to be reinvested in allotment improvements.
  • Investigate the development of new allotment sites on HRA land for council housing tenants using funds from the uncommitted HRA working balance.
Investment in Street Cleansing: £67,770
Increase all day car parking by £2, the price of a single bus fare, in zones 1 & 2 and in Zone 3 by £3 (taking an all day ticket to £8) to generate £67,770 to mitigate the cuts and invest into the street cleansing services.
Flagship Parks and Green Spaces: Invest £43,575
Extend the charging periods on a Thursday evening for the John Lewis, Guildhall, Mary Arches to align with the charges for those car parks on every other night of the week.  To generate £25,605. To reallocate budget line for a chatbot (£17,970).  All to be invested in the City Centre parks and green spaces infrastructure and planting.
Ensuring a well run Council: Appointment of a part-time (.5) Scrutiny Officer (Grade H, £22,920) to improve the scrutiny arrangements of the Executive and across all Council services. To be funded by a 50% contribution from each of the HRA and general fund unallocated surplus for each fund.
[2] One Exeter Service Reviews £101,855 07. Estimates Report 2024-25 – Appendix 4.pdf (


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