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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1DR

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

24.

Prayers: Reverend Andrew Avery

Minutes:

The Mayor’s Chaplain led the Council in prayers.

25.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Currans, Hayes, Lees, Lloyd, Page, Mrs Shanks and Mrs Storey.

26.

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:

Councillor Armitt declared an interest in Agenda item 14, Community Governance Review, as he is an employee of Wilmington Parish Council.

 

There were no other declarations of interests.

27.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 112 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting of the General Assembly of the Council held on 9 May 2018 as an accurate record.

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the General Assembly of the Council held on 9 May 2018 be confirmed as an accurate record.

28.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor announced that since he had taken office in May he and the Mayoress had attended 90 events and were thoroughly enjoying their Mayoral duties. He praised the work carried out on the Dartford Festival which had once again been highly successful and in particular thanked the volunteers from the Dartford Youth Council who had assisted him in raising funds for the Mayor’s Charity at the Festival. He invited Members to contribute to the Charity Treasure Hunt by buying a square on the treasure map. The Mayor congratulated Councillor Thurlow and her organising team and officers for making the Festival a great success. Finally he said that he had circulated a list of forthcoming Mayoral events and invited Members to support as many of these events as possible. 

29.

Leader's Announcements

To receive announcements from the Leader of the Council

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council made the following announcements:

 

·         Councillor Drew Swinerd and family

 

The Leader of the Council congratulated Councillor Drew Swinerd and his wife Alyson on the birth of their baby daughter, Romilly, earlier in the day. Members expressed their congratulations and best wishes to the family for the future.

 

·         Dartford Festival

 

The Leader of the Council said that he had attended the Dartford Festival at the weekend which had again been very enjoyable and well attended. He believed that attendance on the Saturday may have been the highest recorded to date. He congratulated Councillor Thurlow, the Festival organisers and the officers who attended and worked so hard to make it such a great success. He said that it was regrettable that some technical difficulties had resulted in the performance of a local band, Proto Stereo, being cut short but undertook to find another showcase to highlight the band’s talent.

 

Councillor Thurlow responded by thanking everyone who worked on the Festival and the dedicated Council staff who had worked over the weekend. She also highlighted the work of the Dartford Rugby Club volunteers who had not only been coaching young people at rugby but had also been instilling in them the principles of “safety and respect” which she felt was an ideal model for youth to pursue.

 

 

·         Lowfield Street

 

The Leader announced that Bellway Homes would be the new housing partner of Meyer Homes, the developer of Lowfield Street. He had met the Managing Director of Bellway Homes last week who had been impressed with other development projects in Dartford and was keen to press ahead with the Lowfield Street development. A banner had recently been erected at the Barclays Bank end of the site advertising Bellway’s involvement and this signalled the start of on-site works and pre- marketing of the new homes had already begun. Demolition works would now begin with the site being cleared in one operation with a view to construction work beginning by Christmas. He acknowledged that this was the culmination of a long journey following the procrastination and eventual withdrawal of the original site owner, Tesco, to the frustration of all political parties on the Council and welcomed the work carried out by Meyer and the Council’s planning department to progress the major planning applications required so speedily and effectively.

30.

Questions from Political Group Leaders

To consider any questions (from the Political Group Leaders) to the Leader/Cabinet submitted in accordance with Standing Order 14.

Minutes:

The following three questions were submitted by the Shadow Leader of the Council:

Question 1

“Last year, this Conservative administration told Dartford residents that construction work at Lowfield Street would begin in early 2018. Why, sixteen months after planning permission was granted, has so little progress been made?”

Question 2

“Two years after this Conservative administration decided to use Kingdom Security to enforce action against littering in the Borough; does the Leader of the Council believe our streets are tidier as a result?”

Question 3

“Dartford has just celebrated the 70th birthday of the NHS. Does the Leader of the Council agree that the best birthday present our local CCG could receive is a fair funding settlement that keeps pace with growth in our town?”

In accordance with Standing Order 14 the questions and answers, including any supplementary questions and answers, are recorded in a book kept for this purpose in the Members’ area.

 

31.

Motions

To consider the following motion submitted by the Leader of the Council in accordance with Standing Order 10:

 

“That this Council expresses its deep dissatisfaction with the implementation of recent changes to the rail timetable by Southeastern and Thameslink Rail. A huge proportion of Dartford’s rail users commute into the London mainline stations and have a right to expect a reliable and punctual service.

This Council reminds rail operators that the levels of cancellations, late running services and even lack of drivers experienced by commuters causes intolerable disruption, impacts on the family lives of Dartford residents and damages the local, regional and national economy. 

 

This Council calls upon the operating companies to ‘get a grip’ of operational difficulties impacting upon recent performance and provide the service and standards Dartford's rail passengers deserve.”

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Transport and Infrastructure, Councillor K M Kelly, moved the following motion of which notice had been given in accordance with Standing Order 10:

 

“That this Council expresses its deep dissatisfaction with the implementation of recent changes to the rail timetable by Southeastern and Thameslink Rail. A huge proportion of Dartford’s rail users commute into the London mainline stations and have a right to expect a reliable and punctual service.

This Council reminds rail operators that the levels of cancellations, late running services and even lack of drivers experienced by commuters causes intolerable disruption, impacts on the family lives of Dartford residents and damages the local, regional and national economy.
 

 

This Council calls upon the operating companies to ‘get a grip’ of operational difficulties impacting upon recent performance and provide the service and standards Dartford's rail passengers deserve.”

 

In proposing the motion Councillor Kelly said that Dartford residents were frustrated with the poor communication from the railway operating companies, frequent delays and cancellations, overcrowded and hot and uncomfortable journeys  and that these long standing issues had got significantly worse since the new national railway timetable had been introduced on 20th May 2018. Thameslink was also now providing a number of Metro services and adding to these significant problems. Southeastern was also struggling to provide rolling stock and drivers and the position was totally unacceptable. In addition to moving the motion he explained that he had invited Thameslink and Southeastern to attend the next meeting of the Joint Transportation Board in September to provide an explanation and update.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Kite.

 

The Shadow Leader of the Council welcomed debate on the issues raised and agreed that they were totally unacceptable. However he felt that the Council should have intervened earlier and said that his Group had raised these concerns thoughout the period that he had been Shadow Leader and beyond. The significant delays, cuts to services, overcrowding and increases in fares amounting to 32% since 2010 were simply not acceptable. However he felt that the proposed motion did not go far enough in simply censuring the railway operators but needed to propose a solution.

 

The Shadow Leader of the Council proposed the following amendment:

 

“First paragraph – Delete “Thameslink Rail” and replace with “Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR)”

 

Third paragraph – Delete “the operating companies to ‘get a grip’ of operational difficulties impacting upon recent performance and provide the service and standards Dartford’s rail passengers deserve” and replace with “the Secretary of State for Transport to strip GTR of its franchise immediately and transfer control to Transport for London (TfL)”

 

Add fourth paragraph to read – “This Council call for Metro services managed by Southeastern to also transfer to TfL at the earliest opportunity in order to end the misery faced by Dartford rail users”.       

 

The amendment was seconded by Councillor Jones.

 

The amended motion therefore read as follows:

 

“That this Council expresses its deep dissatisfaction with the implementation of recent  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Urgent Items

The Mayor will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

33.

Council in Committee

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor D J Mote, seconded by Councillor J A Kite and

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That in accordance with Standing Order 11 (13) the General Assembly of the Council go into Committee and the rules of Procedures for Committees do apply.

 

THE LEADER, COUNCILLOR J A KITE MBE, IN THE CHAIR

 

34.

References from other Committees (if any)

Minutes:

There were no references from other committees.

35.

Work Plan for the General Assembly of the Council 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To consider and agree the Work Plan for the General Assembly of the Council for 2018/19.

Minutes:

The General Assembly of the Council considered its proposed Work Plan for 2018-19.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the Work Plan attached at Appendix A to the report be approved as the General Assembly of the Council’s Work Plan for the 2018-19 Municipal Year.

36.

Capital Programme including Prudential Indicators - Outturn 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To agree the capital budget carried forward into 2018/19.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report on the final pre-audit figures for the 2017/18 Capital Programme, the capital resources that were used to fund it and those resources which remained available to fund future investments and approved the carry forward of capital budgets into the 2018/19 financial year.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the capital budget set out in Appendix C to the report be carried forward into the 2018/19 financial year.

37.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England's Final Recommendations for New Electoral Arrangements for Dartford Borough Council pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To consider the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for the Borough.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The General Assembly of the Council (GAC) considered a report which presented the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s (LGBCE) final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for Dartford. This followed a process of review carried out by the LGBCE in response to electoral imbalances that had arisen across parts of the Borough due to organic change and development over time. The LGBCE had accepted the Council’s recommendation for the size of the Council to be reduced from 44 Members to 42 and had considered the Council’s and other responses to consultation on warding arrangements. The Council’s draft warding recommendations had been submitted to the GAC on 30 November 2017 and the LGBCE issued its draft recommendations in January 2018. The Council’s final response to the draft recommendations was agreed by GAC on 5 April 2018.

 

The Council accepted the majority of the LGBCE’s draft recommendations but suggested some changes where it was considered that the proposals did not truly reflect local communities or it was considered that slight adjustments were required to reflect natural boundaries or road lines. The LGBCE published its final recommendations on 5 June 2018. These would result in an increase of 3 wards from the existing 17 wards to 20 (7 three Councillor wards; 8 two Councillor wards and 5 one councillor wards). The boundaries of all of Dartford’s current wards would change. The LGBCE had made some changes to their earlier proposals as a result of the consultation and these were described in the report. The LGBCE had also included changes to some parish internal electoral arrangements but the Council would be seeking consent from the LGBCE to change some of these as part of the forthcoming Corporate Governance Review. It was envisaged that the new electoral arrangements for the Borough would take effect for the Borough Council elections in May 2019.

 

A Member noted that the LGBCE had amended its proposed arrangements for Darenth ward as a result of local submissions for the ward to include Darenth Country Park and Darenth Wood. Another Member thanked officers and the Electoral Provisions Sub-committee for their work on the review of electoral arrangements.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the General Assembly of the Council note the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for the Borough, as detailed in Appendix A to the report; and   

 

2.         That the General Assembly of the Council approve the commencement of a review of polling districts, polling places and polling stations on 1 October 2018.

38.

Community Governance Review Draft Proposals pdf icon PDF 62 KB

To consider the draft recommendations for the Community Governance Review for the Borough of Dartford.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The General Assembly of the Council considered draft recommendations arising from the Community Governance Review (CGR) launched in January 2018 to examine existing parish council arrangements across the eight parish and town council areas in the Borough and previously unparished areas. The CGR looked at existing parish arrangements and had the power to create, merge or abolish parishes, to alter the boundary of existing parishes or make changes to their existing arrangements. The CGR however could not make changes to borough wards or county divisions and where possible would seek boundary coterminousity to avoid voter confusion.

 

The wider review of the Borough Council’s electoral arrangements by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) had resulted in some proposed revisions to parish internal electoral arrangements which were detailed in the appendices to the Community Governance Report. As a result of the CGR the Council would be seeking consent from the LGBCE to alter some of these changes which were also outlined as alternative options in the appendices.

 

The first stage of the review, which was to invite formal submissions from the Parish Council’s had now been completed and their submissions had been considered and reflected in the draft proposals in Appendix A to the report. The next stage would be to consult the wider public and all parished properties would receive details of the review and how to submit their views along with their annual Household Enquiry Form. Wider consultation would also be carried out on the draft proposals which could include options for parished areas to become unparished.

 

Whilst carrying out the initial review it had become clear that for certain areas, parts of Stone, Darenth and Wilmington, there were a number of possible options for different arrangements. The views of affected residents would therefore be ascertained on these options through additional fact finding exercises, including an additional fact finding exercise proposed in the published addendum to the report relating to Wilmington, regarding possible amendments to the parish boundary lines. Further meetings were being held with the Parishes to discuss the draft proposals and the Council had already received a detailed response from Swanscombe and Greenhithe Town Council.

 

Members were asked to approve the draft recommendations to enable the wider public consultation exercise to commence.

 

The Leader of the Council stressed that this exercise offered a real opportunity for residents to shape the electoral arrangements that applied to them to reflect their wishes and it was right that they were given a say in the detailed options. The Deputy Leader of the Swanscombe and Greenhithe Residents Association expressed concern about the timing of the CGR and stressed the difficulties in achieving community cohesion in areas covered by the Swanscombe and Greenhithe Town Council area where there were well established communities and also new and rapidly evolving ones. He was concerned that in some of the growing areas the relatively small number of current residents might be committing to arrangements which might not be supported by the people joining those  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Scrutiny Committee Annual Report pdf icon PDF 45 KB

To receive and note the Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2017-2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered the work carried out by the Scrutiny Committee during 2017/18 which was described in its annual report. The Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee thanked the Members of the committee and the Vice Chairman for their input during the year and also thanked the Committee Co-Ordinator, David Hook, for his support for the committee’s work. He commended the report to the committee.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2017-18 be noted.

 

40.

Re-convening of the General Assembly of the Council

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor J A Kite, seconded by Councillor C J Shippam and

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That in accordance with Standing Order 11 (14) the General Assembly of the Council now re-convene.

 

THE MAYOR, COUNCILLOR D J MOTE IN THE CHAIR

41.

Reserved Minutes pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To consider any of the minutes of the following Cabinet meetings reserved in accordance with Standing Order 16;

 

(a)       for full debate by Political Groups on the Council;

(b)       by Ward Members.

 

Cabinet

 

8 March 2018

12 April 2018

24 May 2018

28 June 2018

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No Cabinet minutes were reserved for debate.