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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

57.

Adjournment and Reconvening of the General Assembly of the Council

Minutes:

The Mayor opened the meeting and a motion was moved by the Leader of the Council and seconded by Councillor Mrs Allen that the meeting be adjourned for ten minutes to allow Councillors delayed in traffic the opportunity to attend.

 

The motion was carried. The meeting was adjourned and reconvened at 7.10pm.

58.

Prayers: Reverend Andrew Avery

Minutes:

The Mayor’s Chaplain led the Council in prayer.

59.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Currans, Read, Shippam and Wells.

60.

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:

The Mayor informed Members that the Managing Director had exercised his delegated authority, in consultation with the Monitoring Officer, to grant a dispensation to all Parish/Town Councillors to speak and vote on Agenda item 13 (Financial Contributions to Parish and Town Councils 2019/20) because otherwise so many members of the Council would have had a prejudicial interest in the matter that it would impede the transaction of business.

 

There were no other declarations of interests.

61.

Minutes of the meeting held on 27 September 2018 pdf icon PDF 148 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the General Assembly of the Council held on 27 September 2018.

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the General Assembly of the Council held on 27 September 2018 be confirmed as an accurate record.

62.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor reminded Members that his activities could be followed by accessing his blog but drew attention to the following events:

 

·         Visit to Gravelines

 

The Mayor and Mayoress had attended the annual Fete des Islandous in Gravelines in September to commemorate the maritime history of the Pecheurs d’Islande. The Mayor thanked Councillors Pat Kelly, Currans and Bardoe for accompanying him on what was a very enjoyable experience.

 

·         Lighting-up ceremony for the Norwegian Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square

 

The Mayor informed Members that he and the Mayoress had been invited to attend the lighting up ceremony for the Norwegian Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square on 6 December by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, which was the first time that a Mayor from Dartford had been invited.

63.

Leader's Announcements

To receive announcements from the Leader of the Council

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council made the following announcements:

 

·         Santa’s House

 

The Leader of the Council thanked staff who had organised the recent Santa’s House event and given up their time to attend. The event had been very popular and two hundred and forty local children had enjoyed the opportunity to meet Santa and had a fabulous time. The Leader felt that it was important to try and de-commercialise the Santa’s Grotto experience and open it to as many children as possible so that they could enjoy the spirit of Christmas.

 

·         Christmas Light Switch-on

 

The Leader of the Council had attended the Christmas light switch on in the Town Centre on Saturday 17th November. The event had been a great success and the new Christmas lights had drawn many favourable comments.

 

·         Santa on Tour

 

The Leader drew attention to the progress of the ‘Santa on Tour’ experience. This innovation for 2018 was proving to be very popular and so far the tour had visited the Tree Estate and Dartford High Street and further visits were scheduled to Dartford Cricket Club, Fleet Estate, Swanscombe Town Hall, Ingress Park, St Anselm’s and Stone Pavilion.

 

·         Remembrance Sunday

 

The Leader of the Council highlighted the success of the Remembrance Sunday Service and March Past on 11 November 2018. There had been an amazing turnout, possibly because the event fell on the centenary of the end of World War One, but he also felt that there had been greater emotional connection by the public in recent years. He thanked officers for organising the event and everyone who attended the service and parade.

 

·         My Place Café, YMCA

 

The Leader of the Council said that he had recently attended an event at the YMCA café in Dartford, which had been attended by many other local partners and agencies. He had been impressed by the wide range of work carried out by the YMCA with people from different backgrounds and ages.  

 

 

64.

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 questions were submitted by the Shadow Leader of the Council:

Question 1

‘Instances of fly-tipping in Dartford are up 47% in a single year. Can the Leader of the Council explain why his strategy is not achieving a reduction in illegal fly tipping in our Borough?’

Question 2

‘This administration has lost over £100,000 during the last three years delivering the Dartford Festival. Can the Leader of the Council explain why the festival is sustaining such significant losses and what plan is in place for placing the festival on a stronger financial footing in the future?’

 

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.

65.

Motions

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

 

“That this Council calls upon the Post Office to put the interests of local people, businesses and dedicated Post Office staff first and to reconsider proposals to transfer services away from the established and popular Post Office in Hythe Street. 

 

It notes the huge variety of services available to local people and businesses from the existing Post Office and the importance of providing those services from an office capable of meeting the demand of this fast-growing town. It recognises the service provided by the professional and expert staff of the Post Office in Dartford and attaches the greatest importance to securing their future service to people and businesses in the town. 

 

It draws attention to the outpouring of support for the existing Post Office from local people following the announcement of these proposals and calls upon the Post Office to enter into meaningful and open dialogue with public representatives to secure the future of those services and to see them delivered by dedicated local Post Office staff”.

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council introduced a motion of which he had given notice in accordance with Standing Order 10:

 

That this Council calls upon the Post Office to put the interests of local people, businesses and dedicated Post Office staff first and to reconsider proposals to transfer services away from the established and popular Post Office in Hythe Street. 

 

It notes the huge variety of services available to local people and businesses from the existing Post Office and the importance of providing those services from an office capable of meeting the demand of this fast-growing town. It recognises the service provided by the professional and expert staff of the Post Office in Dartford and attaches the greatest importance to securing their future service to people and businesses in the town. 

 

It draws attention to the outpouring of support for the existing Post Office from local people following the announcement of these proposals and calls upon the Post Office to enter into meaningful and open dialogue with public representatives to secure the future of those services and to see them delivered by dedicated local Post Office staff”.

 

In introducing his motion the Leader of the Council said that he wished to amend the published motion to remove the word “reconsider” in the opening sentence and to replace it with the word ”withdraw”. He hoped that the motion would attract support across the Chamber. The amended motion was seconded by Councillor Mrs Allen.

 

The Leader of the Council explained that whilst the Council was not doctrinally opposed to the relocation of services, providing assurances could be given about the provision of the same postal services as currently provided, by the same experienced and skilled post office staff and with the same accessibility for local people and businesses. This was not the case with the current proposal to close the well established post office branch in Hythe Street to be replaced by a franchise outlet in W H Smith. He now proposed to ask the Post Office to withdraw this proposal and to enter into meaningful and open dialogue over the future of postal services in the town. He noted that the Labour Group had also intended to submit a similar motion and hoped that all members of the Council would support the motion. He said that the Post Office offered many varied services in addition to its core business and that these services were vital for customers and local businesses and the current Post Office was easily accessible. He feared that the proposal to replace this with a back-of-store counter would reduce the services available and the accessibility of these services and that skilled and experienced staff would be lost. Assurances would be needed from the Post Office on future services, staffing, training and accessibility. Dartford was growing and evolving rapidly and needed reliable postal services and any diminution of these would have an adverse impact on the town. It was important to send a clear message to the Post  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.

66.

Urgent Items

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

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

67.

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

 

68.

References from other Committees (if any)

Minutes:

There were no references from other committees.

69.

Local Scheme of Support for Council Tax pdf icon PDF 140 KB

To consider and approve the new Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The General Assembly of the Council considered a report which outlined details of proposed changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2019/20 and provided Members with the detailed results from the recent Council Tax Reduction Scheme consultation process and the findings from the revised Customer Access Review that had been carried out.

 

The need to change the current scheme had arisen partly as a result of the introduction of the Universal Credit Full Service (UCFS) in Dartford and the complexities that this would involve in calculating people’s entitlement to Council Tax Reduction. The current Scheme for Council Tax Reduction, which was completely reactive to any change to a person’s circumstances, would become unworkable requiring frequent and confusing adjustment and the re-issuing of Council Tax bills. The proposed new scheme was designed to make the system clearer, simpler and fairer as well as being workable for staff. The overall cost of the scheme would be broadly the same as the current scheme and the changes would only be made to the scheme for working-age applicants as the current scheme for pensioners was prescribed by Central Government. The current means tested scheme would be replaced by a simple income grid model, which had been revised from the draft considered by the Cabinet in July as the ranges had proved to be too narrow and had therefore been widened to be as inclusive as possible and to minimise the impacts on applicants. 

 

The main features of the Scheme were outlined in paragraph 1.8 of the report.  The new scheme included a simplified claiming process and in the case of Universal Credit applicants any data received from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) would be treated as a claim for Council Tax Reduction and be processed automatically without the need to request further information from the taxpayer. This would maximise the entitlement of every applicant and maintain collection rates. The new sliding scale income bands were sufficiently wide to avoid constant changes in discount and adjustment of bills. The new Scheme also contained additional provisions to protect individuals who experienced exceptional hardship.

 

The proposed new Scheme had been widely consulted over an eight week period which ended on 30 September 2018. This had included writing to all working-age claimants, Registered Social Landlords and third sector organisations and the use of a questionnaire on the council’s web site. The responses to the consultation were detailed in Appendix A to the report and overall were in favour of the proposed changes. The Council had also consulted with the major preceptors who had agreed the changes and the approach taken by the Council. If agreed by Cabinet and the General Assembly of the Council the new scheme would take effect from 1 April 2019.

 

A Member explained that his Group had expressed strong reservations about the proposed scheme when this item had been discussed at the Cabinet Advisory Panel on 3 December 2018. There were concerns about the timing of the introduction of the new  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.

70.

Setting of the Council Tax Base for the Borough for 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 53 KB

To determine the tax base for the whole area of Dartford Borough and for those parts relating to Parishes in accordance with section 35 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council was asked to determine the tax base for the Borough for 2019/20, including those parts relating to Parishes, in accordance with section 35 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That, subject to the matters contained in this report and in accordance with the Local Authorities (Calculation of Tax Base) Regulations 2012 and on the basis of the detailed calculations in Appendix A to the report, the amount calculated by the Dartford Borough Council as its tax base for the year 2019/20 shall be:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                           

For the whole of Dartford Borough:

 

£37,747.03

For parts of Dartford Borough:

 

 

 

Bean Parish

 

£557.41

Darenth Parish

 

£1,272.18

Longfield and New Barn Parish

 

£2,498.54

Southfleet Parish

 

£628.29

Stone Parish

 

£4,174.46

Sutton-at-Hone and Hawley Parish

 

£1,477.42

Swanscombe and Greenhithe Town

 

£4,469.50

Wilmington Parish

 

£2,989.35

 

 

71.

Financial Contributions to Parish and Town Councils 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 59 KB

To agree the level of financial contributions to be paid to Parish and Town Councils in 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The General Assembly of the Council considered a report which detailed the proposed financial contributions to be made by the Council to Parish and Town Councils in 2019/20 and the continuation of the Capacity Building Fund.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the proposed contributions to Parish/Town Councils agreed by the Cabinet at its meeting on 6 December 2018 as set out in paragraph 2.6 of the report be part of the overall budget, subject to formal approval by the General Assembly of the Council (Budget) meeting on 25 February 2019.

72.

Draft Licensing Policy 2019-2024 pdf icon PDF 56 KB

To consider the draft Licensing Policy 2019-24 for adoption and the endorsement of the draft Code of Good Practice on Promoting the Four Licensing Objectives.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The General Assembly of the Council considered the draft Licensing Policy 2019-2024. Licensing authorities were required to prepare and publish a statement of their licensing policy every five years. The current Statement of Licensing Policy for Dartford was adopted on 7 January 2014 and was due to expire on 6 January 2019. The draft Licensing Policy was approved for consultation purposes by the Cabinet on 26 July 2018. Consultation had been carried out in accordance with national guidance. The draft policy was made available on the Council’s web site, at the Civic Centre and public libraries. It was also sent to all “responsible authorities” as defined by the Licensing Act 2003, as well as to numerous trade associations and persons representing licensing businesses in the area. A comprehensive review of the draft Licensing Policy was also undertaken by the Licensing Committee at its meeting on 26 September 2018. The Licensing Committee did not make a formal response to the consultation but resolved that, going forward, it considered that the Licensing Policy should be supported by an additional document to reflect the aspirations and visions of the Council as the Licensing Authority. No other responses were received to the consultation.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the draft Licensing Policy attached at Appendix A to the report be adopted for the period 7 January 2019 to 6 January 2024; and

 

2.    That the draft Code of Good Practice on Promoting the four Licensing Objectives at Appendix B to the report be endorsed.

 

73.

Draft Gambling Policy 2019-2022 pdf icon PDF 63 KB

To consider and adopt the draft Gambling Policy 2019-2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The General Assembly of the Council considered the Draft Gambling Policy 2019-2022. Licensing authorities were required to prepare and publish a statement of their Gambling policy every three years. The existing Gambling Policy for Dartford was adopted on 3 January 2016 and was due to expire on 2 January 2019. The draft Gambling Policy was approved for consultation purposes by the Cabinet on 26 July 2018. Consultation had been carried out in accordance with national guidance. The draft policy was made available on the Council’s web site, at the Civic Centre and public libraries. It was also sent to all “responsible authorities” as defined by the Gambling Act 2005, as well as to numerous trade associations and persons representing gambling businesses in the area. A comprehensive review of the draft Gambling Policy was also undertaken by the Licensing Committee at its meeting on 26 September 2018. The Licensing Committee did not make a formal response to the consultation but requested that two additional conditions should be added to Appendix 2 of the draft Gambling Policy relating to overt advertising and doors remaining closed. No other responses were received to the consultation.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the draft Gambling Policy attached at Appendix A to the report be adopted for the period 3 January 2019 to 2 January 2022.

 

74.

Reconvening of the General Assembly of the Council

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:

It was moved by Councillor J A Kite, seconded by Councillor A D Allen 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

 

75.

Reserved Minutes pdf icon PDF 112 KB

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

 

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

(b)       by Ward Members.

 

Cabinet

 

1 November 2018

Minutes:

No Cabinet minutes were reserved for debate.