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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Room B12, Civic Centre, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1DR

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
Note No. Item

123.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

124.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or Managing Director.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

125.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the Meeting held on 8 March 2018 pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 8 March 2018 be confirmed.

126.

Urgent Items

The Chairman will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

127.

To receive the minutes of the Cabinet Advisory Panel held on 9 April 2018

To follow

Minutes:

The Cabinet received the minutes of the Cabinet Advisory Panel held on 9 April 2018 and took note of the Panel’s views throughout the meeting.

128.

References from Committees

None at this stage.

Minutes:

There were no references from other committees.

SD (ES)

129.

Dartford Town Centre Transport and Public Realm Improvements pdf icon PDF 4 MB

Summary:

 

1.           Further to the Cabinet resolutions on 26 January 2017, this report updates on progress and defines the scope of the Dartford Town Centre Transport and public realm improvements and the concept designs developed accordingly.

 

2.           This report seeks approval to progress the concept designs to detailed design and delivery.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.           That the issues considered and the factors influencing the scope of the project and the development of the concept designs, be noted.

 

2.           That the scope and phasing of the ‘Dartford Town Centre Transport and Public Realm improvements’ project enabling the detailed design and delivery of each element referred to in paragraphs 3.6 to 3.14 of the report, be approved.

 

3.           That Cabinet grant delegated authority to the Managing Director in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Head of Regeneration to approve the detailed design of the parking arrangement in Market Street (paragraph 3.17 of the report).

 

4.           That Cabinet grant delegated authority to the Managing Director in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Head of Regeneration, for the approval of detailed design of the scheme (paragraphs 3.19 and 3.30 of the report).

 

5.           That Cabinet note the proposed appointment of Balfour Beatty via the Scape Procure Framework for the delivery of this project (paragraph 3.34 of the report).

Minutes:

Further to the Cabinet resolutions agreed on 26 January 2017, this report provided an update on progress and defined the scope of the Dartford Town Centre Transport and public realm improvements, and presented the concept designs that had been developed. The report also sought approval to progress the concept designs to detailed design and delivery.

 

The Head of Regeneration introduced the report and drew Members’ attention to the Appendices which presented visual views of the scheme and highlighted those areas of the Town Centre which would be enhanced by this project. She described the pedestrian square that was to be created in Market Street, and the traffic calming measures which were to be introduced to provide an improved environment for shoppers. She then described how junctions on the ring road would be improved to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists. She said that work was continuing on the concept designs and said that they would need to be finalised over the next few months. She also noted how a Communications and Engagement Strategy was being prepared to describe how the various aspects of the project would be reported and managed. She also referred to the Cabinet Advisory Panel’s request for more Cabinet involvement in the decision making process and said that although, given the complexity of the project, the use of delegated powers would ensure that there are no hold ups, reports would also be prepared for Cabinet to enable key issues and decisions to be considered.

 

In response to an observation the Head of Regeneration confirmed that it had been proposed to remove the railings in Market Street and added that measures would be used to help to slow traffic down. Reference was also made to parking space provision in the Market Street area as it was noted that some proposals were looking to only have a small number of spaces available. The Head of Regeneration said that options showing parking ranging from 17 to 28 replacement spaces had been put forward for consideration.

 

Members noted the comments that had been made at the Cabinet Advisory Panel in relation to the paving stones that were to be chosen and asked that those making the final choice make sure that it is solid and reliable and that it will continue to be manufactured for the foreseeable future.

 

In response to a question the Head of Regeneration said that the design would not be based on a ‘shared space’ approach and that kerbing would be used, which would be more pronounced in some areas (e.g. near to the Holy Trinity Church) than others (e.g. in Market Street).

 

Members thought the proposed design to be imaginative and looked forward to its final delivery. They also referred to the positive feedback that had been received from residents, who had attended the public involvement sessions and other gatherings, and noted that the levels of support on social media had also been good.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the issues considered and the factors influencing the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 129.

SD (ES)

130.

New National Planning Policy Consultations pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Summary:

 

1.         This report is produced in response to the latest government planning policy consultations. Two specific consultation documents have been issued: a new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), and a document on developer contributions.

 

2.         The proposed NPPF largely reflects changes to the existing NPPF drawing from previous consultations on which the Council has responded. The developer contributions document is a first consultation but largely concerns more technical matters.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That the Council’s response to the National Planning Policy Framework Consultation as set out in Appendix A to the report, be endorsed.

 

2.         That the Council’s response to ‘Supporting Delivery through Developer Contributions’, be based on para. 5 of the report and that the Head of Regeneration be granted delegated authority, in consultation with the Chairman of the Development Control Board, to approve the final response.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report was produced in response to the latest government planning policy consultations. Two specific consultation documents have been issued: a new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), and a document on developer contributions. The proposed NPPF largely reflects changes to the existing NPPF drawing from previous consultations on which the Council has responded. The developer contributions document is a first consultation but largely concerns more technical matters.

 

The Head of Regeneration noted how some improvements had been made to the latest version of the NPPF but said that concerns had been raised in relation to housing delivery and the need to meet the additional requirements that had been put in place to address the current undersupply of housing. She said that the prescriptive nature of the requirements made it more difficult for Local Authorities when preparing their plans for housing. She also referred to an additional housing delivery test that had been introduced which, if not met, would result in the Council potentially being required to approve more housing development. She said that the local plan making aspects of the NPPF had been supported but noted that the additional requirements relating to the duty to cooperate with neighbouring Boroughs would make the whole process more complex. In response to an associated question she confirmed that a lack of housing delivery in neighbouring Boroughs would lead to a more difficult process and increase the amount of time required to establish an associated agreement.

 

With respect to the protection of the Green Belt the Head of Regeneration said that, in some respects, the document had been strengthened, but noted how this had then been watered down somewhat in the detailed parts of the document. During further discussion, where Members confirmed their wish to protect the Green Belt, she explained how the restrictions relating to infill developments in villages, and the development of brownfield sites within the Green Belt, had been relaxed and said that objections to these changes had been raised in the Council’s proposed response.

 

In response to a question relating to the Council’s Local Plan the Head of Regeneration said that the principles contained within NPPF strengthened its use as a starting point, but noted how some of the detail in the document undermined the Local Plan’s strength, which could allow developers to argue for development proposals that did not adhere to the Local Plan to be brought forward.

 

The Head of Regeneration then responded to a question relating to the viability of a development, and the way that it can be used by a developer to avoiding the delivery of supporting infrastructure or affordable housing, and said that this is considered in more detail in the developer contributions document where it had been proposed to keep the s106 and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) schemes largely as they are. She said that it also proposed that viability be considered at the plan making stage rather than the development application stage which would mean that developers would be required to consider  ...  view the full minutes text for item 130.

SD (IS)

131.

Civic Centre Improvement Works pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Summary:

 

1.         This is a Key Decision as the Council will incur expenditure beyond the threshold agreed by the Council.

 

2.         This report seeks approval from Members to support the refurbishment needed to the Civic Centre and commence the procurement process needed to appoint contractors to deliver the works.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That the programme of works for the Civic Centre, as set out in the body of the report, be noted.

 

2.         That the Strategic Director (External Services) be authorised to appoint contractors to deliver the works, on terms to be agreed with the Head of Legal Services.

Minutes:

This report sought approval from Members to support the proposed refurbishment works programme to the Civic Centre and commence the procurement process needed to appoint contractors to deliver the works.

 

Members referred to the problems that were currently being experienced with the building and supported the proposed refurbishment work. It was then asked whether it would be possible to create a second access point to the building in order to make it more attractive to other bodies who may be interested in renting some of the floor space. The Managing Director explained how plans were being developed to make each office area open plan before relocating staff to make more efficient use of the available space. He said that this could create areas that can be isolated and controlled by the new access control system, which may address data protection concerns that have been raised in the past. With respect to a second access point to the building he said that the ground floor’s current configuration would make this difficult to achieve.

 

Members noted the suggestion that had been made at the Cabinet Advisory Panel meeting to install a webcam system as part of the IT upgrade. In response the Managing Director advised that this was something that could be considered separately but noted how ‘line of sight’ would be an issue if a system was to be installed in the Council Chamber.

 

In response to other questions the Managing Director confirmed that the building already had an area where staff were able to relax and eat their lunch. He also said that he anticipated that the building would continue to be used as the Council’s base for the next 10 to 15 years and referred to a previous proposal, which had considered relocating the Council as part of the Co-op site redevelopment, where it had been estimated that £14m would have been required to construct a building, which, in the absence of an associated capital receipt, would have been seen as an unreasonable way to spend public money.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the programme of works for the Civic Centre, as set out in the body of the report, be noted.

 

2.         That the Strategic Director (External Services) be authorised to appoint contractors to deliver the works, on terms to be agreed with the Head of Legal Services.

SD (ES)

132.

Parking Pay and Display Machine Replacement pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Summary:

 

This report seeks the approval of Members to support the replacement of 12 existing on-street and off-street Parking Metric pay and display machines with new IPS MS1 terminals / machines and the approve of funding to complete this programme of work.

 

Recommendation:

 

That in order to sustain appropriate and fit for purpose equipment to facilitate effective public parking provision in the Borough, the pay and display machines replacement programme, including budget provision, be approved.

Minutes:

This report sought the approval of Members to support the replacement of 12 existing on-street and off-street Parking Metric pay and display machines with new IPS MS1 terminals / machines, and the approval of funding to complete the programme of work.

 

The Strategic Director (External Services) explained how the existing machines were old and unreliable and said that it was becoming difficult to source the spares necessary to keep them operational. She also noted how the new machines, as well as being more reliable, would accept cash, chip and PIN, mobile phone or contactless payments.

 

In response to a question relating to the recent theft of two old pay and display machines the Strategic Director (External Services) said that the new machines would be securely installed and would only be vulnerable if significant force were used. She also added that, by providing a wider range of payment methods, they would hold less cash inside, which would make them less attractive for potential thieves.

 

Members noted the discussion that had taken place at the Cabinet Advisory Panel meeting relating to the issuing of change and fact that, in the same way as the old machines, the new machines would also not issue change to over-payers. The Strategic Director (External Services) said that it would be unusual for a change giving machine to be sited in an open air environment as they tend to be larger, need to be monitored and kept stocked with change, and would be more attractive to steal. She also noted how the parking charges in the car parks that are operated by the Council are set at clear price points such as £1, £2 which decreased the probability of someone requiring change. She then referred again to the other payment methods that were available and said that clear signage was provided to indicate that no change would be given. Members noted how other local authorities and some car parks in Dartford with private operators have charges which are not set at clear price points and had seen the problems that this can cause for drivers.

 

The Chairman then asked whether a ‘pay on exit’ scheme had been considered as this could allow a visitor to extend the length of time that they stay in the Town Centre without worrying about the length of their pre-paid parking time. The Strategic Director (External Services) replied that those car parks designated as ‘short term’ would always have a four hour parking time limit, and also noted how such a scheme would only work effectively for off-street car parking areas. In response to a further question she also confirmed that the new machines would allow parking time to be topped up remotely from a mobile phone if the total parking time requested remained less that the maximum that is allowed for that particular parking area.

 

Councillor Perfitt, with the Chairman’s permission, voiced his support for a ‘pay on exit’ scheme, which was similar to that which is in operation at Darent  ...  view the full minutes text for item 132.

SD (IS)

133.

Health Hub at the Co-op Site pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Summary:

 

The Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley (DGD) Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is looking to develop and deliver a health hub on the Co-op site which will enhance existing health and wellbeing provision and meet the needs of both current and new populations. This report provides an update for Cabinet on the CCG’s proposals.

 

Recommendation:

 

Cabinet to note the report.

Minutes:

The Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley (DGS) Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is looking to develop and deliver a health hub on the Co-op site which will enhance existing health and wellbeing provision and meet the needs of both current and new populations. This report provided an update for Cabinet on the CCG’s proposals.

 

The Chairman noted how this proposal would result in six GP practices in and around the Town Centre being relocated into the new hub and said that advantages of doing this would have to be promoted to residents since there were bound to be legitimate concerns that the CCG would need to address with patients. He said that, although this plan would build more resilience into the system and make it easier to book appointments and also allow surgeries to open for longer hours, local residents have forged strong relationships with their local GPs and surgeries and this must be taken into account. He then referred to the hub’s overall design and said that it would need to be better laid out and managed than similar facilities at other locations so that the relationship patients currently enjoyed with their GPs were not just maintained, but strengthened and placed at the heart of the design. The Managing Director referred to the associated financing and said that the overall cost, which was still being assessed, would influence the final size and nature of the hub. He also advised that the option of allowing charity organisations (e.g. Mencap) to provide services from the hub was being considered.

 

In response to a question on funding sources the Managing Director said that GP surgeries are often owned by doctors or leased and that any money that can be made from their disposal would be passed to NHS England to redistribute as considered necessary. He then referred to £2.7m that was being made available to the CCG to progress the project and the Strategic Director (External Services) noted that an associated business case would be required to enable this funding to be secured.

 

Members noted the progress that was being made by the CCG and NHS England but hoped that the health and wellbeing related facilities located in the Borough would continue to deliver the best possible care for those who need it in their communities.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the contents of the report be noted.

SD (ES)

134.

Update on Progress Made Towards Implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Summary:

 

1.           The Homelessness Reduction 2017 comes into force in England on 3 April 2018. The new Act proposes several new duties on local housing authorities, many of which will require a change in working practices and additional resources.

 

2.           This report provides an update on measures that the Council’s Housing Service has made, and put in place, in preparation for the implementation of the Act.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Cabinet notes the contents of this report.

Minutes:

The Homelessness Reduction 2017 comes into force in England on 3 April 2018. The new Act proposes several new duties on local housing authorities, many of which will require a change in working practices and additional resources. This report provided an update on measures that the Council’s Housing Service has made, and put in place, in preparation for the implementation of the Act.

 

The Strategic Director (External Services) referred to the significance of the legislation changes that were being made and said that it was too early to fully assess the impact that they would have on those receiving and providing the service. She then referred to the discussion that had taken place at the Cabinet Advisory Panel and said that the impact would be reviewed after 3 months and that a further progress report would be prepared for Cabinet after 6 months. She also referred to the advantages that would be delivered by the formation of a multi-agency “Homeless Hub” and said that the fact that external agencies were willing to come in and form part of the Hub demonstrated the high level of esteem that they held for the Council.

 

The Chairman noted how he had recently visited the Housing Solutions team and, having noted how impressed he had been with the team’s commitment, asked that his appreciation for the work that is being carried out be passed on.

 

The chairman also referred to the support that had been provided to the homeless by the Dartford Churches Winter Shelter and referred to the organisation’s appreciation for the contribution that the Council had made towards its running costs. He said that it would be interesting to see how the funding had been used and learn about the assistance that had been provided.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the contents of the report be noted.

SD (ES)

135.

Changes to the Delivery of Supported Housing Services for Dartford Borough Council Tenants over 55 Years Old pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Summary:

 

1.         Kent County Council (KCC) funding for the Council’s Supported Housing service ceased on 31st March 2018. Changes need to be made to the service in order to mitigate the impact on existing tenants.

 

2.         This report sets out new arrangements for the management of the Council’s supported housing schemes. 

 

Recommendation:

 

That Cabinet notes the contents of this report.

Minutes:

Kent County Council (KCC) funding for the Council’s Supported Housing service ceased on 31st March 2018. Changes need to be made to the service in order to mitigate the impact on existing tenants. This report set out new arrangements for the management of the Council’s supported housing schemes.

 

The Strategic Director (External Services) explained how the new model would continue to provide support for vulnerable tenants with no adverse financial impact to the Council or the tenants. She then referred to the benefits being delivered by the service and said that the support that was being provided was necessary, especially for those who were frail or exhibited behavioural problems due to health conditions. She also noted how the service enabled those living with dementia to remain living in their own homes and highlighted how those who were having to pay for the support service previously were now being asked to pay less.

 

In response to questions the Strategic Director (External Services) said that the changes being made meant that they were no longer required to provide support to those who did not need it, and noted how this had freed up capacity to provide additional support to those with the greatest need. She also confirmed that both tenants and their families had been involved in the consultation exercise that had been carried out prior to the service being changed.

 

Members welcomed the fact that the assistance being provided to those in the Council’s housing schemes was continuing.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the contents of the report be noted.