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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

33.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors J Burrell, Mrs M B Kelly, C S McLean and Mrs D Page (Substitute Cllr. M Maddison).

 

The Chairman welcomed Mr Bill Archer, President of Dartford Football Club (DFC) to the meeting and his fellow Director at DFC Mr Jason Outram.

 

The Strategic Director (Internal Services), the Head of Housing Services, the Housing Maintenance Manager and the Leisure & Communities Officer were also welcomed to the proceedings by the Chairman.

 

 

34.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members, including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any).

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

35.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 2 February 2016 pdf icon PDF 109 KB

Minutes:

                                    RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 2 February 2016 be confirmed as accurate.

36.

Urgent Items

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

Minutes:

The Chairman confirmed that there were no urgent items for consideration.

37.

To consider references from other Committees (if any)

Minutes:

There were no references from other committees.

38.

Regulation 9 Notice pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To note the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 11 March to 31 July 2016 and comment accordingly.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 11 March 2016 to 31 July 2016 as published, listing forthcoming Key Decisions be noted.

 

The Chairman reminded Members that Cabinet reports could be Drawn-Down at a later stage for consideration.

39.

Princes Park Annual Update pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Minutes:

The Chairman renewed his welcome to the President of Dartford Football Club (DFC) and invited him to speak to the report. Mr Archer was content for the Committee to discuss the report as tabled and to respond to any subsequent questions that arose.

 

The Chairman reminded Members of the background to the Princes Park Annual Update report coming to the Scrutiny Committee. The Club received an annual grant from the Council; some £90K in the 2015/16 financial year; to provide facilities and services for the Dartford community under the terms of an agreed Service Level Agreement (SLA) which was due to end in March 2017.

 

The Chairman proposed that the Committee examine in greater detail, the wider relationship between the Council and the Club in terms of community engagement and the provision for health and wellbeing initiatives for Dartford residents under the current SLA due to end in March 2017. He invited Members to pose questions to the Club’s representatives drawing on the contents of the report and in the wider context of enhanced community provision.

 

In subsequent debate the Club President and the Council’s Leisure & Communities Officer confirmed the following points for Members:

 

·         Ladies football had not been a success at DFC in the past, but was now thriving at Under 13, 14, 15 and 16 age-groups. The current Senior team was based on a previous Under 14 group which had progressed through the ranks at DFC. It was hoped to form a Post 16 educational football Academy squad in conjunction with Leigh Academy in September 2016, with girls from that joint venture forming the basis of the 2016/17 DFC Ladies Senior team. Overall figures for girls / ladies currently playing at all levels in DFC teams would be made available to the Committee;

 

·         DFC retained a strong link with Millwall Ladies FC who would continue to train and play some of their matches at Princes Park in the 2016/17 season. The continued presence of Millwall LFC at Princes Park provided Dartford girls and ladies with an enhanced opportunity to play league football at the second highest tier of the Ladies game in England [FA WSL2];

 

·         The funding for the DFC school sites established at Wilmington Academy, Wilmington Grammar School and Dartford Grammar School came from County funding. Precise details would be relayed to Members following the meeting;

 

·         The Community Outreach Programme established by DFC had provided strategically placed ‘outreach sites’ which gave Dartford youth the opportunity to play football at every level in Kent as well as progressing via the DFC Academy into the 1st team and beyond. The DFC Academy was admired throughout the Football League and now had its first former player playing in the Premier League for Norwich City;

 

·         Tree Estate and Temple Hill were the most successful ’outreach sites’ benefiting from very experienced staff and an excellent parent connection with both school and DFC programme staff. Success was measured by the number of pupils who participated in the sports scheme and performed well  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

Affordable Housing Completions (Cabinet 3 March 2016) pdf icon PDF 51 KB

To provide further information on the number of new affordable homes completed over the past three years following the report to Cabinet of 3 March 2016.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered an update report which provided further information on the number of new affordable homes that had been completed in the Borough over the previous 3 (three) year period; following the report submitted to Cabinet on 3 March 2016  - Corporate Plan Performance Indicators (Cabinet Min. No. 117).

 

The Head of Housing Services had nothing to add to the contents of the self-explanatory update report but gave Members the following general background to the provision of affordable housing in the Borough.

 

The Council’s role in the provision of affordable housing in Dartford was one of facilitator, with the aim of enabling the maximum number of units to be built on individual sites and to monitor delivery within the context of the current economic climate, rising land and housing costs and the availability of government funding.

 

In practical terms the Council’s Development Control Board (DCB) supported by the Council’s Planning Policy, Housing and Legal Services Departments with input from independent experts, carried out the various roles of facilitating and approving new build projects including; liaison with developers and housing associations to ensure that the provision of affordable housing was optimised, and as far as possible, met the Borough’s housing needs.

 

Targets and numbers were difficult to control in an unpredictable market and required careful handling and encouragement of all parties in the process by Council Officers. The demise of the Government grant to Housing Associations had been a major factor for the affordable housing market and had reduced Association activity in terms of investment and future provision in the sector, particularly in relation to the provision of social rented accommodation.

 

Appendices A and B to the Cabinet report set out in sub-categories the number of affordable housing units completed in Dartford in the financial years 2013/14 to 2015/16 [to date]. Figures for the last complete year of activity (2014/15) showed that Dartford was top of the ‘Kent table’ of local authorities’ affordable housing completions per 1,000 residents with 151 completions. This was a significant achievement and a trend set to continue in the 2016/17 cycle with a further 159 affordable units due to be completed.

 

The Chairman welcomed Dartford’s achievement in topping the 2014/15 ‘Kent table’ for units of affordable housing completions (report Appendix B); but sought to place that achievement in the context of meeting the overall housing need in the Borough. Individual Members thought the use of a straight number target as a Performance Indicator (PI) for affordable housing also lacked context; both in relation to overall housing need in the Borough and the differing demands in Dartford for affordable rented and shared or discounted ownership. It was noted in this respect that the majority of Dartford’s affordable housing units completed in 2014/15 had been discounted sales (131). In contrast, Tunbridge Wells Council (2nd in ‘Kent table’) had no discounted sale units in the period under review, but had greatly out-performed Dartford in the provision of affordable rental units (141). This made genuine like for like  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

41.

Percentage of Urgent and Non-Urgent Repairs Completed on Time (Cabinet 3 March 2016) pdf icon PDF 75 KB

To report further on the percentage of urgent and non-urgent repairs completed on time following the report to Cabinet report of 3 March 2016.

Minutes:

The report provided Members with further information on the percentage of urgent and non-urgent repairs completed on time; following the report to Cabinet of 3 March 2016 [Cabinet Min. No. 117 - Corporate Plan Performance Indicators refers].

 

The Head of Housing Services confirmed that the re-active repair service undertaken by the contractor Breyer for Council properties had under-preformed in both the Urgent and Non-Urgent categories in the final two (2) quarters of the 2015/16 cycle.

 

Full details were set out in sub-paragraphs 4.2 to 4.4 of the report based on the 11 Months (48 weeks) of data available. The headline figures for Urgent repairs were a 93% performance against a 98% target - equating to a shortfall of 5 repairs per week below target. Non-Urgent performance was down to 87% against a similar target of 98% - equating to a shortfall of 11 repairs per week below target. Performance in both repair categories was expected to recover and improve towards target in the 1st Quarter of the 2016/17 cycle as set out in paragraphs 5 and 6 of the report.

 

In response to specific questions from Members the Head of Housing Services and the Housing Maintenance Manager confirmed the following points:

 

·         25% of Council properties required no repairs and were never visited by the Contractor;

 

·         Approximately 11,000 repairs had been completed on 3,000 properties in the 2015/16 period under review to date [48 weeks]. This was seen as a relatively high repair to property ratio, but the Head of Housing Services explained the context and advised that this PI was kept under regular review;

 

·         High tenant expectation was a major contributory factor towards the relatively high number of property repairs undertaken by the Contractor some of which, it could be argued, would not be undertaken by a home-owner on cost grounds;

 

·         The Council’s Housing Estate represented a significant capital asset and needed to be maintained appropriately and funded accordingly. Repairs had decreased in number over the last 3-4 year period. This was seen as a success and an indicator that the Council’s investment policy in the Housing Estate, split between the Capital Programme (77%) and the Reactive Repair Programme (23%) was working;

 

·         The Council continued to pay the contractor for repairs undertaken based on 2010 tender prices. Members were advised that the contract with Breyer was being reviewed with a view to extend or re-tender to the market place. If a decision to re-tender to the open market was taken, a different contract model would be considered based on x £s per annum and possibly a flat rate charge per property per annum, irrespective of the number of individual repairs undertaken per property. Paying a future contract in monthly instalments rather than in an annual lump sum was a further policy change being considered. The funding of emergency repairs would be funded separately;

 

·         The service provided by the current contractor Breyer was good with only 6.99% of repairs requiring a return visit based on a survey of 15% of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.