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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
Note No. Item

1.

Chairman's Introduction

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Members and Officers to the meeting.

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors S H Brown, P Cutler, J S Hawkes, B K Kaini R Lees and B E Read.

3.

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.

4.

Items Reserved for Debate

Minutes:

The Chairman advised Members that no additional agenda items had been drawn down for debate.

 

Accordingly, Members endorsed the Officer recommendations in respect of the following items:

 

11.      Changes to Provision of HR and Payroll Services

 

12.      Kent and Medway Planning Protocol

 

13.      Dartford Brownfield Land Register

 

14.      Homelessness Review 2017

 

15.      Local Scheme of Support for Council Tax 2018/19

 

16.      Write-off of National Non-Domestic Rates

 

17.      Housing Benefit Overpayment Write-off

 

18.      Financial Contributions to Parish and Town Councils

 

19.      Revenue Budget Monitoring 2017/18 - Projected Outturn and 2018/19 Budget Process

 

20.      Capital Programme Budget Monitoring 2017/18 - Progress and Projected Outturn

 

21.      Corporate Plan - Key Actions and Performance Indicators Monitoring Report

 

22.      Dartford Borough Council Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2016/17

 

23.      Minutes of the Policy Overview Meeting held on 19 September 2017

5.

Declarations of Interest on items reserved for debate only

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 interest.

6.

References from Committees

None at this stage.

Minutes:

There were no references from Committees.

SD (ES)

7.

Community Infrastructure Levy: Governance and Spending Review pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Summary:

 

1.         This is a Key Decision as it is of such significance to the locality, the Council, or the services which it provides that the Managing Director is of the opinion that it should be treated as a Key Decision.

 

2.         This report sets out progress on arrangements for governance of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding and delivery of infrastructure required to support development in Dartford. 

 

3.         The report sets out an indicative five year programme of potential infrastructure projects that could be supported by main CIL funding and detailed proposals for identifying projects and allocating  local CIL funding in unparished areas.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That the projects identified as having potential to be funded by CIL, as set out in para 3.8 of the report and the Dartford Infrastructure Delivery Plan at Appendix A to the report, be agreed in principle as suitable for inclusion in the CIL 5 Year Programme, subject to further investigation, development in liaison with partners, and availability of CIL funding. 

 

2.         That a final decision on the suitability and agreement to CIL funding for each of the identified projects, as well as any further potential projects identified, be considered by Cabinet either as part of a subsequent annual CIL report in December 2018, or mid-year if there is a need for urgency.

 

3.         That Dartford’s CIL Infrastructure Project Assessment Criteria set out in Appendix B to this report be agreed.

 

4.         That the detailed proposals for the identification of projects and allocation of CIL neighbourhood funding arising in unparished areas, as set out in Appendix C to the report, be agreed.

 

5.         That Dartford’s CIL Annual Report, at Appendix D to the report, be agreed and published.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report set out the progress being made on arrangements for the governance of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding and delivery of the infrastructure required to support development in Dartford. The report also described an indicative five year programme of potential infrastructure projects that could be supported by CIL funding and outlined proposals for identifying projects and allocating local CIL funding in unparished areas.

 

  • The Planning Policy Manager described how the overall structure for CIL governance had been agreed by Cabinet in March 2017 and said that an associated Steering Group had now been established. He also noted how the report provided further detail on how the smaller, localised, neighbourhood element of CIL was to be managed.
  • The Planning Policy Manager said that the Steering Group, which included representatives from a range of service providers, had met in October and had supported the CIL bidding criteria featured within Appendix B to the report. He also drew Members’ attention to the list of projects in Appendix A to the report (Infrastructure Delivery Plan – IDP) and its sections, which included projects that were:
  • in the pipeline and currently understood to be fully funded;
  • those that may be seen as long term;
  • and those that had progressed to a stage where they could be identified, and a contribution from CIL could be used as a source of part funding to help bring them forward.

He then noted how Appendix E to the report presented an indicative 5 year delivery timescales for the infrastructure projects that could benefit from CIL funding, but said that as these projects were still being finalised it had been agreed by the Steering Group to not yet release associated CIL funding at present.

 

  • The Planning Policy Manager then noted how discussions were continuing with Parish and Town Councils to help them to consider how their elements of CIL funding may be spent (and the need to ensure that they comply with the associated regulations). He then referred to unparished areas and Appendix C to the report, noting that guidance for the distribution of Community Grants had been reviewed as a starting point for the management of CIL funding distribution in unparished areas. He said that a number of pilot projects, which meet the funding criteria, were to be identified and recommended to Cabinet in order that the associated administration required to monitor their delivery may be assessed.

 

  • The Planning Policy Manager then noted how the CIL funding pot was continuing to grow and said that officers were continuing to liaise with external parties to accelerate the work required to deliver the required new infrastructure.

 

  • Members referred to the certainty of the various projects itemised in the ‘fully funded’ list, and the fact that some do not currently have a final specific cost (recalling that groups such as the Clinical Commissioning Group had changed their funding commitments in the past). The Planning Policy Manager said that, having been involved in funding related discussions, it was officers’ understanding that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

SD (ES)

8.

Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) in Planning pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Summary:

 

1.           Following public consultation, a final Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) in planning has been produced.

 

2.           The SCI outlines principles that will guide local public engagement in planning policy and development management; and adherence to its provisions will be verified when Local Plans are subject to independent examination.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.           That Cabinet note the public consultation undertaken as set out in Appendix B to the report, and responses received and the Officer response at Appendix C to the report.

 

2.           That the Borough’s Statement of Community Involvement, at Appendix A to the report, be adopted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Following public consultation, a final Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) in planning had been produced. The SCI outlined principles that will guide local public engagement in planning policy and development management; and adherence to its provisions will be verified when Local Plans are subject to independent examination.

 

  • The Planning Policy Manager noted how the SCI had last been updated around 10 years ago and said that this version, a draft of which had been considered by Members in July 2017, included changes that had been made following formal consultation. He also referred to the benefits that would be delivered by the SCI and recommended it for adoption.

 

  • Members referred to Neighbourhood Planning and asked whether such plans could be produced in unparished areas. The Planning Policy Manager confirmed that it was possible but said that the process was more complicated than for areas represented by Parish and Town Councils. He said that the Council would need to formally recognise an appropriate neighbourhood forum, the national requirements for which include the need to for it to be properly constituted (e.g. 21 plus people, written procedures etc.), also, the neighbourhood area would have to be defined, and agreed by the Council, in order that a Neighbourhood Plan may begin to be developed. He also noted how the SCI provided the required guidelines to help groups develop effective and achievable plans.

 

  • Members noted the early public engagement recommended for major development proposals but said that smaller developments, which can also be problematic for neighbouring residents, would also benefit from early consultation and informal meetings with planning officers. The Development Manager replied that they actively encouraged developers to consult with neighbours, even for residential applications, but said that it was up to the developer to make the necessary arrangements for this to take place.

 

  • The Chairman noted the importance of the weekly planning application list that is produced and encouraged Members to read it carefully in order that potentially problematic planning applications may be identified by ward members at an early stage.

 

  • Members asked about consultation response times and the Planning Policy Manager confirmed that there were set timescales for planning application consultations, and said that the minimum consultation period for planning policy related proposals was 4 weeks, but usually consisted of a 6 week period in total.

 

  • In response to a question the Planning Policy Manager confirmed that the fifteen responses received referred to written responses, but said that additional responses had been gathered verbally during the discussions that had been held with Parish and Town Councils, and others, and had been reviewed and applied.

 

  • Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (ES)

9.

EDC Consultation on Application to Vary the Outline Planning Permission at Eastern Quarry pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Summary:

 

This report is responding to the re-consultation by the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation on a planning application to vary condition 3 of the Eastern Quarry Outline Planning Permission in order to amend the disposition of land uses across the site to create a different layout to the development.  This report also sets out the changes and explains how the concerns raised by Cabinet on 25-05-17 have been addressed and recommends a revised consultation response is made to the EDC.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.           That, for the following reasons, the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation be advised that the Council:

 

1.       Withdraws its previous objection to the s73 application process and the changes proposed to the outline planning permission and considers that the Section 73 application as revised in November 2017 is an acceptable amendment to the details approved under outline planning permission 03/01134/OUT, as amended by 12/01451/EQVAR;

 

2.       Has some remaining concerns about the details of the proposal and the strategies but which could be resolved or allayed by the provision of further information and/or amendment;

 

3.       Reserves its position with regard to the changes proposed to the s106 agreement and how this might affect the delivery of the development.

 

2.           That, in order to ensure the requirements of the Local Plan are met, Officers engage with the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation with regard to changes and details of the strategies, the amendments to the  106 agreement, details of the application, the conditions and the detail of the submission of the Habitats Regulation Assessment.

Minutes:

This report was responding to the re-consultation by the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) on a planning application to vary condition 3 of the Eastern Quarry Outline Planning Permission in order to amend the disposition of land uses across the site to create a different layout to the development.  The report also set out the changes and explained how the concerns raised by Cabinet on 25 May 17 had been addressed, and recommended that a revised consultation response be made to the EDC.

 

  • The Development Manager explained how Members had previously considered this planning application in May 2017 and that EDC, having received strong expressions of concern from the Borough Council and other stakeholders, had worked through a number of variations with officers. She said that the revised plans no longer proposed that a large retail and commercial area be located at the western end of the site (near to Bluewater) and noted how the majority of retail space was now being provided in the central village, which aligned with the original outline planning permission that had been approved, and met the requirements set out in the Core Strategy. She also noted other minor alterations that had been made to the former Washmills site. She then referred to one remaining area of concern, which related to the provision of sufficient useable open space, and said that they had asked that more detail be provided in order that officers may be reassured that green areas for recreation were being delivered.

 

  • Members welcomed the work that had been carried out by officers and their identification and pursuit of the concerns that had been identified with the original proposed variation.

 

  • Reference was then made to the useable open space and the need to ensure that, given the high density residential construction that was being proposed, developers proposed plans for the green areas were fully understood. The Development Manager replied that initial proposals had been received and confirmed that the open space areas needed to be accessible, and must also include ecological areas and spaces for both formal and informal use.

 

  • Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (ES)

10.

Consultation on New Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Summary:

 

This report sets out the Council’s proposed response to the above consultation.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Cabinet approve the proposed consultation response, attached at Appendix A to the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report set out the Council’s proposed response to the Government’s consultation on a new Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities.

 

  • The Head of Housing referred to the significant changes that would have to be accommodated by the Council when the Homelessness Reduction Act comes into operation on the 1 April 2018. He said that work to prepare for this was ongoing and that associated Government guidance for Local Authorities detailed in the report had been prepared for consultation. He also noted how the new requirements would place an additional burden on the Council as Local Authorities would be expected to intervene earlier and do more to actively prevent homelessness, which was an area that Dartford already carried out proactively. He said that the scope of the 25 chapter consultation document had been summarised in the report but noted that it would be difficult to deliver what was proposed. He anticipated that further reports to Cabinet would be required when specific areas of concern are identified and said that an associated Action Plan was being progressed, and that a revised Homeless Strategy was being prepared for Member consideration in spring 2018. He also noted how various proposals had been discussed at the Leader’s Action Group for Homelessness but said that the number of properties available to address homelessness remained the same and that the requirement to work with people to prevent homelessness at an earlier stage would place additional pressure on available resources.

 

  • In response to a request the Head of Housing agreed to provide Members with a link to the full consultation document.

 

  • Members noted the proposed requirement for the Council to supply homelessness related training to other public sector bodies and asked whether additional resourcing would be supplied to enable this to be carried out. The Head of Housing replied that there would be a lot of information to transfer and that, although allowing public sector bodies to refer people on as homeless could help in some situations, the Council’s preferred option would be for people to approach the Council directly, where they can be properly assessed and their requirements addressed. He said that current funding levels would not allow for training to be carried out, or for any other operational changes to be made.

 

  • Reference was also made to the response relating to the fact that, although the requirement for support had been identified, it may not be possible to provide that support, particularly due to the limited amount of available accommodation in the area. The Head of Housing noted how service and resource availability varied between Local Authorities and said that the Homelessness Reduction Act would work best in areas where there was available affordable accommodation.

 

  • One Member then noted how he had been required to provide advice to a homeless person at a time when the Council offices were closed and asked whether further information could be provided to Members on the process that needed to be followed when faced with a similar situation.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

SD (IS)

11.

Changes to Provision of HR and Payroll Services pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Summary:

 

To seek approval to a change in the provision of the HR and Payroll services in order to deliver high quality services, offer value for money, and make the best use of resources.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That, for the reasons outlined in the body of the report and exempt Appendix A, the Managing Director, be authorised to:

·         bring the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) administration back in-house with immediate effect, to ensure that all pensions’ records are accurate and up-to-date;

·         terminate the current HR and Payroll Services Contract with the incumbent service provider, with effect from 31st March 2018;

·         bring the HR service back in-house, with effect from 1st April 2018.

 

2.         That the Council enters into a shared service collaborative agreement with Mid Kent Shared Services for the delivery of the Payroll Service (hosted by Maidstone Borough Council), with effect from 1st April 2018, subject to detailed matters (including an operative name, financial arrangements and governance processes), on terms to be agreed in consultation with the Head of Legal Services.

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (ES)

12.

Kent and Medway Planning Protocol pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Summary:

 

This report explains the purpose and content of the Kent and Medway Planning Protocol.  It identifies the commitments and actions sought from the Council’s Planning Officers, Members, developers and statutory agencies in furthering its objectives.

 

Recommendation:

 

            To Cabinet

 

That the commitments and actions in the Planning Protocol as outlined in the body of the report be noted and that these be supported through the work of the Planning Service and the Development Control Board.

 

            To Development Control Board

 

That the Cabinet’s support to the commitments and actions set out in the Planning Protocol be noted and that the Board and seek to implement them, as appropriate, through its workings.

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (ES)

13.

Dartford Brownfield Land Register pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Summary:

 

1.           This report outlines the 2017 ‘Brownfield Land Register’ for the Borough. It is reported to Cabinet as it is a statutory requirement and the first annual Register.

 

2.           It follows new government requirements to set out data confirming the previously developed land available for housing-led development.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.           That Dartford’s Brownfield Land Register be finalised by the Head of Regeneration, based on Appendix A, and submitted in the required format by the government deadline of 31st December 2017.

 

2.           That Cabinet note that 2017’s Register has zero Part 2 entries.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (ES)

14.

Homelessness Review 2017 pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Summary:

 

This report presents the outcomes for the Council's Homelessness Review 2017 for approval by Cabinet. This review details the extent of homelessness in Dartford and marks the first stage of developing Dartford’s wider Homelessness Strategy in 2018.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That the contents of the homelessness review in Dartford, attached at Appendix A to the report, be noted.

 

2.         That the Homelessness Review, as the first stage towards the development of the Council's Homelessness Strategy 2018, be presented to the General Assembly of the Council in April 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

15.

Local Scheme of Support for Council Tax 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Summary:

 

Each financial year, the Council must consider whether to confirm or revise its existing Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS). This report sets out a proposed revision to the existing scheme for 2018/19, which is to be implemented with effect from 1 April 2018.

 

Recommendations:

 

            To Cabinet

 

That Cabinet approve the following resolution to the General Assembly of the Council.

 

            To the General Assembly of the Council

 

That the current CTRS is amended as follows and adopted to take effect from 1 April 2018:

 

That a self-employed applicant, and/or his/her self-employed partner, who is in receipt of the Personal Independence Payment (standard or enhanced rate of the daily living component) or Disability Living Allowance (middle or high rate of the care component) or Armed Forces Independent Payment, be made exempt from the Minimum Income Floor.

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

16.

Write-off of National Non-Domestic Rates pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Summary:

 

To consider writing-off 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 on Appendix A in the confidential part of the report, amounting to £122,304.24 be written off as uncollectible.

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

17.

Housing Benefit Overpayment Write-off pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Summary:

 

To consider the write-off of Housing Benefit overpayments where recovery is prohibited, is not considered appropriate or where the customer has absconded.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the sum of £17,868.87, shown in Appendix A, on the closed part of the agenda, be written off as irrecoverable.

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

18.

Financial Contributions to Parish and Town Councils pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Summary:

 

To agree the level of financial contributions to be paid to parish and town councils in 2018/19

 

Recommendations:

 

            To Cabinet

 

1.         That, subject to recommendation 2 below, the Council, under the provisions of Section 136 of the Local Government Act 1972, make the following contributions towards the expenses of parish and town councils’ concurrent functions in 2018/19:

 

£

Bean

888

Darenth

1,952

Longfield

1,633

Stone

5,535

Sutton at Hone and Hawley

2,337

Swanscombe and Greenhithe

7,253

Wilmington

3,540

 

2.         That the contributions be made subject to the parish and town councils submitting suitably analysed details of estimated net expenditure for the ensuing year by 31 January each year, and actual net expenditure for the preceding year no later than six months after the end of each financial year, in a format prescribed by the Council.

 

3.         That the payments be made in two equal instalments; the first on 30 April (or next working day) and the second, the latter of 30 September (or next working day) or seven days following receipt of the parish or town councils’ 2017/18 accounts, certified as correct by the clerk.

 

4.         That the Council continue to operate the Capacity Building fund and make a contribution of £45,000 into the fund in 2018/19.

 

5.         That the Managing Director, in consultation with the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council, be granted delegated authority to agree the capacity building fund bidding criteria and approval of the funds through a grants panel process.

 

6.         That the Council make the following contributions to parish and town councils to compensate for lost council tax income in local areas for the introduction of the council tax support scheme:

 

£

Bean

445

Darenth

2,563

Longfield

842

Southfleet

265

Stone

9,361

Sutton at Hone and Hawley

2,317

Swanscombe and Greenhithe

19,246

Wilmington

1,756

 

            To the General Assembly of the Council

 

7.         To note that the proposed contributions agreed by Cabinet above will be part of the overall budget subject to formal approval on the 26th February 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

19.

Revenue Budget Monitoring 2017/18 - Projected Outturn and 2018/19 Budget Process pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Summary:

 

1.           To notify Members of the Projected Outturn on the General Fund and the Housing Revenue Account, with the reasons for significant variances.

 

2.           To inform Members of, and seek approval for, the budget setting process for 2018/19.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.           That Members note the projected outturn position for the General Fund and the Housing Revenue Account.

 

2.           That the Managing Director be granted delegated authority to determine and publish the 2018/19 draft budget, in consultation with the Leader and the Finance Portfolio Holder prior to the budget being presented to the General Assembly of the Council for approval in February 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

20.

Capital Programme Budget Monitoring 2017/18 - Progress and Projected Outturn pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Summary:

 

To inform Cabinet of the progress to date on the projects which make up the approved Capital Budget and to report the latest position on capital resources.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Cabinet notes the progress made to date on the 2017/18 Capital Programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

21.

Corporate Plan - Key Actions and Performance Indicators Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Summary:

 

This report provides the progress with the latest set of Corporate Plan key actions and performance indicators for quarters 1 and 2 of 2017-18.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Members note the contents of the key action and performance indicator monitoring reports attached at Appendices A and B.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (ES)

22.

Dartford Borough Council Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Summary:

 

This report sets out the Council’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report for 2016 – 2017 and the progress made by the Council in reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the contents of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2016/17, attached at Appendix A to the report, be noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

23.

Minutes of the Policy Overview Meeting held on 19 September 2017 pdf icon PDF 42 KB

Summary:

 

To present to Cabinet the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 19 September 2017.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 19 September 2017, be considered and noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

24.

Changes to Provision of HR and Payroll Services - Exempt Appendix A
(Exempt Category SO 46 (1) (b) Annex 1 Paragraph 3)

Minutes:

Members noted the content of this Appendix.

SD (IS)

25.

Write-off of National Non-Domestic Rates - Exempt Appendix A
(Exempt Category SO 46 (1) (b) Annex 1 Paragraph 3)

Minutes:

Members noted the content of this Appendix.

SD (IS)

26.

Housing Benefit Overpayment Write-offs - Exempt Appendix A
(Exempt Category SO 46 (1) (b) Annex 1 Paragraphs 1 and 3)

Minutes:

Members noted the content of this Appendix.