Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet
Thursday 24 January 2019 7.00 pm

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

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

101.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

102.

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 interests.

103.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the Meeting held on 6 December 2018 pdf icon PDF 139 KB

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 6 December 2018 be confirmed as an accurate record.

104.

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.

105.

To receive the Minutes of the Cabinet Advisory Panel held on 21 January 2019

To follow

Minutes:

The Cabinet received the minutes of the Cabinet Advisory Panel held on Monday 21 January 2019 and had regard to the Panel’s views throughout the meeting.

106.

References from Committees

None at this stage.

Minutes:

There were no references from other committees.

107.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That under section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of Appendix A to Agenda item 7, Award of Waste Collection and Street Cleaning Services Contract 2019 to 2024, on the grounds that this would involve the likely disclosure of exempt information.

 

108.

Award of Refuse Collection and Street Cleansing Contract 2019 to 2024 pdf icon PDF 823 KB

This item is ‘to follow’.

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which provided details of the tender procurement process for the Waste Collection and Street Cleaning Services Contract for 2019 to 2024 following the end of the Council’s current contract on 30 June 2019. The services included in the contract were refuse, recycling, garden waste, bulky waste and medical waste collections, the provision of wheeled bins, street cleaning, litter and dog bin emptying, and illegal dumping clearance. Refuse would continue to be collected weekly and recycling and garden waste fortnightly which had been supported by resident’s responses to the Third Big Bin Vote consultation. A full procurement exercise had been undertaken, following European Union Procurement rules, and the two tenders received from FCC Environment Ltd and Urbaser SA had been fully evaluated by applying financial and quality criteria.

 

The Chairman informed the Cabinet that he had attended the Cabinet Advisory Panel meeting on 21 January where there had been a very full discussion of the procurement process and the tenders received. The Waste and Recycling Manager had provided further details of the tender process and the rationale for the recommendation to the Cabinet on the award of the contract to the preferred contractor. He had explained that the world had moved on since the award of the previous contract in 2005 and that there was more flexibility in terms of the conditions that could now be included in contracts, the incentives for performance and penalties that could be applied for under-performance. The preferred contractor had been able to demonstrate its commitment to improvement, provision of real-time information and management processes as well as a commitment to services and staff.

 

The Chairman had also addressed the Cabinet Advisory Panel and provided his perspective on the procurement process and the Council’s commitment to maintain and improve on the current levels of performance. He had reminded the Advisory Panel that the existing levels of performance were extremely high and that Dartford remained one of only two councils in Kent to retain weekly bin collections. As recently as October 2018, 97.8% of bins were collected on the day scheduled for collection, rising to over 99% when including bins being collected the following day. He expected the new contract to continue to deliver outstanding performance and also to benefit from technological changes and innovative practices, which were not available when the previous contract had been awarded in 2005, but were on offer from the preferred contractor, and the delivery of additional services to benefit residents and the local environment. 

 

The Chairman noted that when the previous contract had been tendered it had been welcomed by Members as a very good contract but that technology, equipment and collection techniques had radically changed since then and there were new opportunities for delivering improved services. This would include having real time information which would make the service more responsive, and a broader range of equipment. The preferred contractor had demonstrated commitment to delivering quality services, with a high focus on customers and a holistic  ...  view the full minutes text for item 108.

109.

Consultation on Sevenoaks' Proposed Submission Local Plan pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Summary:

 

Sevenoaks District Council has consulted the Council on the proposed submission version of the Sevenoaks Local Plan. An earlier consultation included potential proposals for large scale residential development at Fawkham/Hartley and at Pedham Place, Swanley. The results of the earlier consultation have been taken into account and parts of the Plan have been amended by Sevenoaks District Council. The Council’s proposed response to the consultation is set out in Appendix C to the report.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the Council’s response to the Sevenoaks Proposed Submission Local Plan, set out in Appendix C to the report, be endorsed.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Regeneration outlined the Council’s response to the public consultation being carried out by Sevenoaks District Council from 18 December 2018 to 3 February 2019 on its Proposed Submission Local Plan. This was the latest stage of consultation on the proposed Local Plan following earlier consultations, on which Dartford had submitted officer level comments, and was the last opportunity for the Council to comment before the Plan was formally submitted. Sevenoaks had revised some of its proposals in light of the earlier comments that had been submitted. Notably proposals for large scale residential development at Fawkham and Hartley had been removed but the proposal for residential development at Pedham Place remained as a broad location for development. There was still work to be done by Sevenoaks Council on this site and further details would come forward when the Plan is reviewed in five years’ time. The Council understood the pressures and constraints faced by Sevenoaks in terms of meeting its housing needs given the extensive designations of Green Belt land and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty but also felt that it was essential that any large scale releases of land in the Green Belt would be informed by the potential impacts on the wider road network and was supported by appropriate infrastructure. There were also concerns about the loss of Oasis Academy as a school site, given the likely need to re-provide a school in the same area, and the lack of an Infrastructure Delivery Plan.  The Council’s proposed response to the consultation was set out in Appendix C to the report.

 

The Cabinet noted the comments of the Cabinet Advisory Panel, which had endorsed the recommendations contained in the report.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the Council’s response to the Sevenoaks Proposed Submission Local Plan, set out in Appendix C to the report, be endorsed.

110.

National Non-Domestic Discretionary Rate Relief 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Summary:

 

To consider granting discretionary rate relief to ratepayers who have made applications, or who are expected to make an application, before 1 March 2019 in respect of 2019/20.

 

To receive an update on the local discretionary business rate relief scheme and to approve the proposed approach for implementation of the Retail Discount for 2019/20 and 2020/21.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.  That the maximum level of discretionary rate relief for 2019/20 for the organisations listed in Appendix A to the report be determined in accordance with the detailed recommendations set out in Appendix A to the report;

 

2.  That the estimated level of discretionary Business Rates Relief to be awarded in 2019/20 set out in paragraph 3.26 of the report be noted; and

 

3.  That the Business Rates Retail Discount Guidelines contained in Appendix E to the report be approved.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Strategic Director (Internal Services) informed Members that the Council reviewed National Non-Domestic Discretionary Rate Relief annually. Depending on their circumstances some NNDR ratepayers might be eligible for mandatory rate relief, mandatory rural rate relief or small business rate relief. Charities and sports organisations with charitable status and sports clubs registered with HMRC as community amateur sports clubs currently received 80% mandatory relief but in addition it was open to the Council to grant discretionary rate relief to any ratepayer. Discretionary rate relief could be awarded in isolation or to top up a mandatory award or to supplement assistance given via the small business rate relief scheme. The types of properties eligible for discretionary relief and the current criteria for eligibility were outlined in the report. The details of each ratepayer to be considered for relief in 2019/20 and the recommended level of relief in each case was outlined in Appendix A to the report, amounting to total gross relief of £189,361. The report also provided an update on the local discretionary business rate relief scheme (Revaluation Relief) and the proposed approach for implementation of the Retail Discount Scheme for 2019/20 and 2020/21.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the maximum level of discretionary rate relief for 2019/20 for the organisations listed in Appendix A to the report be determined in accordance with the detailed recommendations set out in Appendix A to the report;

 

2.  That the estimated level of discretionary Business Rates Relief to be awarded in 2019/20 set out in paragraph 3.26 of the report be noted; and

 

3.  That the Business Rates Retail Discount Guidelines contained in Appendix E to the report be approved.

111.

Write-Off of National Non-Domestic Rates pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Summary:

 

To consider writing-off National Non-Domestic Rate debts where it has not been possible to obtain payment because of insolvency, because the ratepayer cannot be traced or where the debt is otherwise irrecoverable.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the sums shown in exempt Appendix A to the report amounting to £160,261.30 be written off as uncollectable.

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which proposed to write-off National Non-Domestic Rates amounting to £160,261.30 where it had not been possible to obtain payment because of insolvency, because the ratepayer could not be traced or where the debt was otherwise irrecoverable.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the sums shown in exempt Appendix A to the report amounting to £160,261.30 be written off as uncollectable.

 

112.

Council Tax Discounts for Empty and Uninhabitable Dwellings and Empty Premium pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Summary:

 

To consider the level of Council Tax discount for unoccupied and unfurnished dwellings, and dwellings undergoing or requiring major structural repair, and increasing the premium on dwellings that are long term empty (unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 2 years).

 

Recommendations:

 

1.  That the Council Tax discount for unoccupied and unfurnished dwellings be reduced from 100% for three months to 100% for two months;

 

2.  That the Council Tax discount for unoccupied dwellings undergoing or requiring major structural repair be reduced from 100% for 12 months to 0% for 12 months; and

 

3.  That the additional charge for dwellings that are unoccupied and unfurnished for 2 years or more be increased from 50% to 100%.  

Minutes:

The Strategic Director (Internal) Services introduced a report, and accompanying addendum, which proposed reducing the level of Council Tax discount for unoccupied and unfurnished dwellings and for dwellings undergoing or requiring major structural repair from 1 April 2019. It was proposed to reduce the level of Council Tax discount for unoccupied and unfurnished dwellings from 100% for three months to 100% for two months and the discount for unoccupied dwellings undergoing or requiring major structural repair from 100% for 12 months to 0%. It was also proposed to increase the additional charge for dwellings that were unoccupied and unfurnished for 2 years or more from 50% to 100%. The existing discounts had had the effect of providing a cushion to owners of these dwellings and acted as a disincentive for bringing the properties into occupation more quickly. The reduction of the discount would help to counter this and support the Council’s empty homes strategy. Kent County Council also supported reducing empty property discounts and had committed to give those authorities who had done so an incentive of 25% of the County’s share of additional Council Tax proceeds in 2019/20 (subject to review in future years).

 

The Cabinet discussed the recommendations and felt that it was important that these should support the Council’s overriding concerns to meet housing need and to reduce burdens on the homelessness service by discouraging properties being left empty. In view of this Members felt that the amount of Council Tax discount for unoccupied and unfurnished dwellings should be reduced from 100% for three months to 100% for one month rather than for two months. This would also align with the approach being proposed by Sevenoaks District Council and would fit better with the shared Revenues Service. 

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the Cabinet recommends to the General Assembly of the Council that the Council Tax discount for unoccupied and unfurnished dwellings be reduced from 100% for three months to 100% for one month;

 

2.  That the Cabinet recommends to the General Assembly of the Council that the Council Tax discount for unoccupied dwellings undergoing or requiring major structural repair be reduced from 100% for 12 months to 0% for 12 months; and

 

3.  That the Cabinet recommends to the General Assembly of the Council that the additional charge for dwellings that are unoccupied and unfurnished for 2 years or more be increased from 50% to 100%.

113.

Street Naming and Numbering - Lowfield Street pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Summary:

 

To consider and approve five new road names for the development at Lowfield Street.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the Cabinet approve Brewers, Carnegie, Festival, Imperial and Truman as the five new road names for the Lowfield Street development.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet received a report which proposed names for five new roads as part of the Lowfield Street redevelopment to be Brewers, Carnegie, Festival, Imperial and Truman. The names had been suggested by the developer taking into account local history and surroundings and had been subject to consultation with Members, Emergency Services and Royal Mail. The names complied with the Council’s policy on Street Naming.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the Cabinet approve Brewers, Carnegie, Festival, Imperial and Truman as the five new road names for the Lowfield Street development.

 

114.

Housing Annual Report for Tenants and Leaseholders 2018 pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Summary:

 

To consider and approve the seventh Housing Annual Report for Tenants and Leaseholders for 2018 that has been developed in consultation with the Dartford Borough Resident’s Forum (DBRF).

 

Recommendation:

 

That the draft Housing Annual Report for Tenants and Leaseholders 2018, attached at Appendix A to the report, be approved.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet was reminded that, under the Government’s regulatory framework, the Council was required to complete an annual report to tenants and landlords setting out how the housing service was performing and where improvements could be made. Members were asked to consider the seventh Housing Annual Report for Tenants and Leaseholders which had been developed in consultation with the Dartford Borough Residents’ Forum.

 

The Cabinet welcomed the report and felt that it was well presented and very easy to read.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the draft Housing Annual Report for Tenants and Leaseholders 2018, attached at Appendix A to the report, be approved.

 

 

115.

Calendar of Meetings of the General Assembly of the Council, Cabinet, Committees and Boards pdf icon PDF 44 KB

Summary:

 

To seek Members’ views on the proposed calendar of meetings for 2019/20 and the provisional calendar for 2020/21.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the proposed calendar of meetings for 2019/20 and the provisional calendar of meetings for 2020/21 be submitted to the Annual Meeting of the Council for approval.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which detailed the proposed calendar of meetings for 2019/20 and the provisional calendar for 2020/21 for recommendation to the General Assembly of the Council.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the proposed calendar of meetings for 2019/20 and the provisional calendar of meetings for 2020/21 be submitted to the Annual Meeting of the Council for approval.

116.

Minutes of the Policy Overview Committee meeting on 11 December 2018 pdf icon PDF 140 KB

Summary:

 

To receive the minutes of the Policy Overview Committee held on 11 December 2018.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the minutes of the Policy Overview Committee held on 11 December 2018 be noted.

Minutes:

The Cabinet received the minutes of the Policy Overview Committee held on 11 December 2018.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 11 December 2018 be noted.

117.

Award of Refuse Collection and Street Cleansing Contract 2019 to 2024 - Exempt Appendix A
(Exempt Category SO46(1)(b)

This item is ‘to follow’.

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That, following consideration of the main report (minute 108 refers), the contents of the exempt appendix be noted.

118.

Write-off of National Non-Domestic Rates - Exempt Appendix A
(Exempt Category SO46(1)(b)

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That, following consideration of the main report (minute 111 refers), the contents of the exempt appendix be noted.