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Agenda and draft minutes

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

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

78.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no Member apologies for absence.

 

The Cabinet noted the ongoing absence of the Managing Director due to illness and sent him their best wishes.

79.

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.

80.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the Meeting of the Cabinet held on 5 December 2019 pdf icon PDF 233 KB

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 5 December 2019 be confirmed as an accurate record.

81.

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.

82.

To receive the Minutes of the Cabinet Advisory Panel held on 20 January 2020

To follow

Minutes:

The Cabinet received the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet Advisory Panel A held on 20th January 2020 and had regard to the Panel’s views throughout the meeting.

83.

Reference from the Joint Transportation Board pdf icon PDF 206 KB

Summary:

 

To consider a reference from the Joint Transportation Board held on 3 December 2019 relating to parking issues in the Borough.

 

Recommendations:

 

1. That, having noted that staffing establishment matters are not within the remit of Cabinet, but that Cabinet  may comment on the levels of service provided by the Council, more specifically, whether or not it wishes to give greater priority to  parking enforcement which the Council would need to take into account in determining resources etc., Cabinet instructs accordingly on the Joint Transportation Board’s request to consider increasing the staffing establishment in the parking enforcement team to a level where it presents a significant deterrent to illegal, dangerous and inconsiderate parking; and

2. That, having noted the staffing implications at para.5 of the report,  Cabinet instructs accordingly on  the Joint Transportation Board’s request that the Transport Planner  undertake a research project into the parking problems in Dartford and the introduction of measures to ameliorate these, including research into strategies employed by other authorities to achieve this.

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a reference from the Joint Transportation Board meeting on 3rd December 2019 relating to parking issues within the Borough. This had arisen from discussion on two reports by Kent County Council which proposed introducing waiting restrictions in Chastilian Road and Wentworth Drive, and on the Fleet Estate. The Board had expressed considerable concern at the level of illegal and inconsiderate parking across the Borough and particularly in roads surrounding local schools and asked Cabinet to consider increasing the staffing establishment in the parking enforcement team to increase enforcement activity to deter illegal and inconsiderate parking and to commission research into the extent of the problem and strategies for tackling it. It was noted that whilst staffing establishment matters were not within the Cabinet’s remit the Cabinet could determine service priorities which the Council would need to take into account in determining resources.

 

The Cabinet noted that the Cabinet Advisory Panel had expressed strong support for the matters raised by the Joint Transportation Board and felt that residents would overwhelmingly support additional enforcement measures to deter unreasonable parking behaviours in the Borough. The Cabinet Advisory Panel had endorsed the recommendations contained in the report.

 

The Cabinet welcomed the reference from the JTB but felt that the JTB had viewed the solution to inconsiderate parking purely as a simple increase in the number of enforcement officers to enforce current restrictions whereas what was required was a change in the parking landscape to better regulate car parking across the borough. The Cabinet had already asked officers to consider creative ways to fund and bring forward highways schemes, including possibly using CIL monies where appropriate, but appreciated that this work was time consuming and costly. Some consideration could be given to outsourcing this work, possibly with the intention of bringing forward three or four parking schemes per year in the areas of greatest need. If this was taken forward a process would need to be established for prioritising schemes. Over a period of several years this could have a powerful impact on influencing parking behaviours across the borough. Whilst it was true that this could result in a need for additional enforcement and administrative support this could be introduced in a balanced, organic and cost-neutral way funded from additional income generated through the parking schemes and enforcement activity. The Chairman said that he would write to the Chairman of the JTB to inform him of the Cabinet’s position on the referred matters.  

 

The Cabinet also discussed progress with the implementation of revised parking arrangements at the Highfield Road car park and preparations for consulting local residents about the possible introduction of a residents parking scheme.

 

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the Joint Transportation Board be advised of the Cabinet’s views on the parking issues referred to it for consideration arising from the Board’s meeting on 3rd December 2019; and

 

2.    That Officers should continue to explore ways to develop and bring forward appropriate parking schemes across the borough to address parking  ...  view the full minutes text for item 83.

84.

Response to Consultation on Strengthening Police Powers to tackle Unauthorised Encampments pdf icon PDF 140 KB

Summary:

 

  To advise Members of a Government consultation on 'Strengthening Police Powers to tackle Unauthorised Encampments’ and the Council’s proposed draft responses to the consultation questions. The Home Office acknowledges that there have been long-standing concerns about the issue of Police powers relating to unauthorised encampments. These were voiced in 2019 by the previous and current Home Secretaries when the Government heard strong views that, in spite of a range of powers already in place, unauthorised encampments remain a significant issue which causes genuine difficulties for communities.

 

Recommendation:

That the Cabinet approves, or amends, the proposed response to the consultation on ‘Strengthening Police Powers to tackle Unauthorised Encampments’ as set out in Appendix A to the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which detailed the Council’s proposed response to the Government consultation on proposals for ‘Strengthening Police Powers to tackle Unauthorised Encampments’. In its consultation the Home Office had acknowledged long-standing concerns about the limitations of Police powers relating to unauthorised encampments. These had been voiced in 2019 by the previous and current Home Secretaries when the Government heard strong views that, in spite of a range of powers already in place, unauthorised encampments remained a significant issue which caused genuine difficulties for communities. The Government was therefore consulting on a series of possible measures including; criminalising the act of trespassing when setting up an unauthorised encampment, extending the time period during which trespassers were prohibited from returning to land, lowering the number of vehicles from six to two to trigger consideration of the use of police powers to remove an unauthorised encampment, and providing powers to enable the police to remove trespassers from land forming part of the highway.

 

The report also described the background to the proactive and innovative work of the Council’s Enforcement and Regulatory Services team in dealing with unauthorised encampments and explained that at one time that there had been differences of approach by the Council and other partners, specifically Kent Police and Kent County Council, which had led to a mismatch of expectations. The Enforcement and Regulatory Services Manager had submitted a report to the Deputy Chief Constable for Kent regarding concerns about police policy, which at that time, suggested that it was for local authorities to resolve the ‘problem’ of unauthorised encampments. This had resulted in a change in Kent Police policy to reflect a more collaborative approach and a Memorandum of Understanding had been established between the Council and the Police to clearly delineate their roles and expectations which had resulted in close work with local police to deal with instances of unauthorised encampments. This approach had proved so successful that it had been rolled out across Kent and the number of instances of unauthorised encampments in the Borough reduced. Despite this there were clear limitations in police powers under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and some senior police officers were either unclear over or unwilling to use existing powers. The Council’s proposed response broadly supported the introduction of the additional powers being considered by the Government which would provide greater clarity, whilst remaining proportionate.

 

The Cabinet noted that there had been considerable discussion of this item by the Cabinet Advisory Panel where a range of concerns were expressed from wanting even stronger endorsement of the Governments proposals to concerns around the criminalisation of trespass, erosion of civil liberties and the polarisation of communities. However the Cabinet Advisory Panel had recognised that unauthorised encampments were highly disruptive for local communities and often associated with criminal activity and had therefore broadly supported the Council’s proposed response to the consultation.

 

The Cabinet considered that the proposed response to the consultation was proportionate and welcomed the Government’s intention to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 84.

85.

Local Scheme of Support for Council Tax 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Summary:

 

This report recommends the rolling forward of the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2019/20 to 2020/21 with effect from 1 April 2020.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the Cabinet recommends the rolling forward of the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2019/20 to 2020/21 to the General Assembly of the Council, to be effective from 1 April 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which recommended rolling forward the Local Scheme of Support for Council Tax 2019/20 to 2020/21 with effect from 1st April 2020. The Scheme had been subject to comprehensive review for 2019/20 and no changes to that scheme were proposed.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the General Assembly of the Council be recommended to roll forward the  Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2019/20, to be effective from 1 April 2020.

86.

National Non-Domestic Discretionary Rate Relief 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 160 KB

Summary:

 

To consider granting discretionary rate relief to ratepayers who have made applications in respect of 2020/21, receive an update on the local discretionary business rate relief scheme and note the level of retail discount granted for 2019/20 and the approach for implementation of the retail discount for 2020/21.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.    That the maximum level of discretionary rate relief for 2020/21 for the organisations listed in Appendix A to the report be determined in accordance with the detailed recommendations set out in Appendix A;

 

2.    That Members note the level of local discretionary Business Rates Relief to be awarded in 2020/21 as set out in paragraph 3.29 of the report; and

 

3.    That Members note the level of retail discount granted for 2019/20 as set out in paragraph 3.32 of the report and note the approach for implementation of the retail discount for 2020/21.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which proposed awarding discretionary rate relief to ratepayers who had made applications in respect of 2020/21, provided an update on the local discretionary business rate relief scheme, noted the level of retail discount granted for 2019/20 and the proposed approach to implementing the retail discount for 2020/21.

 

A Member asked whether consideration could be given to ways of ensuring that the NNDR exemption of empty listed buildings was not abused. Whilst recognising that this was not a discretionary exemption, the Strategic Director (Internal Services) duly noted the request.

 

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the maximum level of discretionary rate relief for 2020/21 for the organisations listed in Appendix A to the report be determined in accordance with the detailed recommendations set out in Appendix A;

 

2.    That Members note the level of local discretionary Business Rates Relief to be awarded in 2020/21 as set out in paragraph 3.29 of the report; and

 

3.    That Members note the level of retail discount granted for 2019/20 as set out in paragraph 3.32 of the report and the approach for implementing the retail discount for 2020/21.

87.

Service Level Agreement - Dartford Rugby Ltd pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Summary:

 

To consider a proposed Service Level Agreement between the Council and Dartford Rugby Ltd.

 

Recommendation:

 

That, subject to the Dartford Rugby Club agreeing to enter into a Service Level Agreement with the Council, on the terms set out in Appendix A to the report, the Council grant funds the Club the sum of £15,000 (fifteen thousand pounds) for the period 8 October 2019 to 7 October 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which detailed the proposed service level agreement between the Council and Dartford Rugby Ltd (the Club). The Club had taken a lease from the Council for the new community rugby facility at Stone Lodge but was now incurring significant costs in fitting out the facility. This included substantial outlays in terms of stocking the bars and kitchens, furnishing the bars and banqueting areas, making provision for utility bills, and for the maintenance and ultimate replacement costs of the artificial pitch at the end of its ten year lifespan. The Club had a detailed business plan to achieve this and had appointed a facilities manager to develop the business. In view of the substantial opportunities for community development, it was proposed that the Council would make a one-off enabling grant of £15,000 to the Club. The Club’s objectives included promoting rugby across Dartford’s communities, ensuring that the new facility was available to the community as a whole and helping the Council to achieve its objectives in terms of sport and health. In addition the Club had a detailed plan for community involvement in place and ambitious plans for developing the Club as a community business and promoting sporting diversity. The Club had developed a youth programme, including assistance for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, and was keen to drive the Club forward through youth involvement. It was also strongly promoting its social membership and inclusivity and had been out leafleting in the community to encourage people to come to the Club and get involved. The Club had welcomed the one off grant from the Council to help them to move forward at this crucial development stage and the SLA clearly set out the Council’s expectations in return for this assistance and also contained provisions in terms of monitoring performance and producing an annual report. The Council’s Healthy Living Co-Ordinator was already using the facilities as a base for activities to promote health and wellbeing.

 

The Cabinet Advisory Panel had welcomed the grant and SLA but one Member questioned whether a one-off grant of £15,000 covering three years was actually enough. The Policy and Corporate Support Manager had explained that the grant had been discussed with the Club and that they were satisfied with the arrangement and welcomed the support which would help them move forward to develop the Club further. The Cabinet Advisory Panel strongly endorsed the recommendations contained in the report.

 

The Cabinet expressed its support for the objectives of Dartford Rugby Ltd, recognised the Club’s ambitions and the work that it was already carrying out in the community and planning to carry out in future.  The Council had worked closely with the Club in developing the facilities and the Club was happy with the financial support being proposed in return for the SLA. The Cabinet wished the Club future success.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That, subject to Dartford Rugby Ltd agreeing to enter into a Service Level Agreement with the Council, on the terms set out in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 87.

88.

Street Naming and Numbering - Eastern Quarry Phases 4 and 6C pdf icon PDF 196 KB

Summary:

 

To approve 10 new road names for the development known as Eastern Quarry Phase 4 & Phase 6C.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the new road names for Eastern Quarry Phase 4 & Phase 6C be approved as Atterbury, Bodycomb, Gregory, Haygreen, Inkpen, Kember, Mackerness, Oliver, Poffley and Tomalin.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which proposed 10 new road names for the development known as Eastern Quarry Phase 4 and 6C.The proposed names reflected the naming of roads in the surrounding area of Castle Hill which had taken names from World War 1 war memorials in the Borough. The proposed new road names were taken from the war memorial outside of Dartford Library and had been subject to consultation with Members, Emergency Services, Royal Mail and the developers. The names complied with the Council’s policy on Street Naming and suitable suffixes would be chosen once the final road names had been approved.

 

The Cabinet particularly welcomed the recognition of those Dartford residents who had died in the service of their country during World War 1 and felt that it might be appropriate to produce a leaflet explaining the background to the naming of the roads which could be given to the occupants of the new houses upon their arrival. It was also suggested that the connection could be reflected in the street name signs to be erected by the developers, possibly by including a poppy motif and ‘Road for Heroes’ legend on the signs.

 

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the new road names for Eastern Quarry Phase 4 & Phase 6C be approved as Atterbury, Bodycomb, Gregory, Haygreen, Inkpen, Kember, Mackerness, Oliver, Poffley, and Tomalin.

89.

Calendar of Meetings of the General Assembly of the Council, Cabinet, Committees and Boards 2020/21 and 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Summary:

 

To seek views on the proposed calendar of meetings for 2020/21 and the provisional calendar for 2021/22.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the proposed calendar of meetings for 2020/21 and the provisional calendar of meetings for 2021/22 be submitted to the Annual meeting of the Council for agreement.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which detailed the proposed calendar of meetings for 2020/21 and the provisional calendar for 2021/22 for

recommendation to the General Assembly of the Council.

 

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the proposed calendar of meetings for 2020/21 and the provisional calendar of meetings for 2021/22 be submitted to the Annual Meeting of the Council.