On behalf of East Devon District Council, the Leader Councillor Paul Arnott has written to Simon Jupp, MP and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government Robert Jenrick, MP.

On behalf of East Devon District Council, the Leader Councillor Paul Arnott has written to East Devon MP and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government to express the Council’s disappointment that Exmouth was not given the opportunity to bid for the Future High Streets Fund, as promised on December 8th 2019. In addition, Councillor Arnott queries the process, asks whether further Future Highstreets Funding will become available, and why no reply has been received to the Council's previous letter dated January 2020.

Councillor Arnott reinforces the Council’s ongoing commitment and its resolve to work positively and collaboratively with East Devon's MPs and the Government as a whole on this matter.

The letter:

The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government
Simon Jupp MP
(Sent via email)

2 March 2021

Dear Secretary of State and Mr Jupp,

At its most recent full meeting our Council debated a motion regarding the Future High Streets Fund and the fact that, to date, the district has been unsuccessful in securing any funds from this scheme. Following a very passionate and engaged debate our Council resolved as follows:

This Council resolves to write to Simon Jupp MP and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government Robert Jenrick to express our disappointment that Exmouth was not, as promised on December 8th 2019, given the opportunity to engage with the bidding process for the Future High Streets Fund, and asks:

1. Why the announcement four days before a General Election (Appendix A) was not followed with any communication, a firm process and confirmation of the next steps to be announced to East Devon District Council (the responsible authority for submitting such bids)?

2. Why no reply was received to the letter sent by the former Leader of the Council in January 2020? (Appendix B)

3. If there will be future iterations of Future High Street funding, even though the previous process was described as 'once in a lifetime' and a spokeswoman from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has stated that the rest of the funding has been transferred elsewhere? (Appendix C)

4. Was a unilateral decision taken by the Secretary of State anywhere else in the country to subvert the bidding process?

It was further resolved that:

Should there be confirmation that the Future High Streets funding is to continue, the Council resolves to request a meeting with all local MPs to work together cross-party to prepare a bid for whichever town or community is, according to the grant criteria, and East Devon District Council’s assessment, most likely to succeed in any such bid.

I shall be most grateful if the contents of this motion with the four questions, and information regarding the further resolution, could be considered by you, and I look forward to a reply that I can submit to the next Council meeting.

As Leader I wish to assure you of our council's ongoing willingness to engage positively with government and MPs in this matter.

Yours sincerely,
Councillor Paul Arnott
Leader, EDDC