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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:

There were no apologies for absence.

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.         Write-off of National Non-Domestic Rates

 

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

 

13.         Minutes of the Policy Overview Meeting held on 12 December 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.

Refuse Collection and Street Cleansing Contract 2019 to 2024 pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Summary:

 

1.         This is a Key Decision as the Council:

 

(a)  will incur expenditure or savings beyond the threshold agreed by the Council; and

 

(b)  the proposal to tender for the refuse collection and street cleansing contract is significant in terms of its effects on communities living or working in an area of the Borough comprising two or more wards.

 

2.         To advise Cabinet of the results of the third Big Bin Vote.

 

3.         To consequently recommend a revised plan for the procurement of the next contract for refuse collection and street cleansing.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That the results of the third Big Bin Vote as outlined in para. 3.2 of the report, be noted.

 

2.         That the revised plan for the procurement of the next contract for refuse collection and street cleansing, as outlined in para. 3.6 and 3.8 of the report, be agreed.

 

3.         That the Strategic Director (External Services) be authorised to retender the Council’s contract for refuse collection and street cleansing services.

 

4.         That, following completion of the procurement process, a further report be submitted seeking approval to award the new contract for a five year term, commencing 1 July 2019.

Minutes:

This report advised Cabinet of the results of the third Big Bin Vote and recommended a revised plan for the procurement of the next contract for refuse collection and street cleansing.

 

  • The Waste and Parks Manager advised that the proposals previously put forward in a report that went to Cabinet in November 2017 had been reassessed following the Big Bin Vote that had taken place in December 2017, which had shown that two thirds of respondents supported the continuation of the current waste collection service. He said that the Council would no longer be looking to progress a joint contract with other Borough Councils and would be carrying out its own procurement exercise.

 

  • One Member noted that only a small percentage of the population in Dartford had responded to the Big Bin Vote and it was suggested that an opportunity had been lost for the Council to contribute towards a more holistic approach to waste collection throughout Kent. It was also suggested that the cost reduction and the increased recycling levels that would have been achieved through the previously proposed service should have been promoted more to make residents aware of the ramifications of their vote. Other Members noted how the Big Bin Vote had made reference to costs, and that the actual cost of their preferred service would not be known until the tender bids are received. The Waste and Parks Manager replied that waste collection strategies were evolving and that, as there was no single ideal solution, different Councils used differing criteria when deciding how to collect waste. He also noted how the Government’s future strategy was uncertain and that, having carried out the vote, he felt that Cabinet would not wish to go against the result. In response to a question the Strategic Director (External Services) confirmed that the results of the vote were not legally binding but said that it had been Cabinet’s decision to base the scope of the next contract for waste collection on residents’ wishes.

 

  • In response to a question the Waste and Parks Manager advised that he had personally analysed the vote responses received and could confirm that no duplicate votes, or votes from outside the Borough, had been included in the results.

 

  • Reference was made to the cost issues that had been highlighted in the report that had been considered by Cabinet in November 2017 and the fact that, by deciding to go out to tender alone, rather than jointly with other Local Authorities, there was a risk that the resulting overall cost to the Council would be higher. The Waste and Parks Manager replied that there was always a risk that the cost may be greater and that, although joint contracts could deliver improved efficiencies and costs, the benefits gained would not be as good if the collection service being provided by each Local Authority differed. He said that the proposal to tender alone would allow the service required by the Council to be well specified and clear and also  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

SD (ES)

8.

Draft Homeless Strategy 2018 - 2023 pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Summary:

 

1.         This is a Key Decision as it is significant in terms of its effects on communities living or working in an area of the Borough comprising two or morewards.

 

2.         The Homelessness Act 2002 requires local housing authorities to carry out a review of homelessness in their district at least every five years. The aim of the review is to inform, develop and publish a Homeless Strategy.

 

3.         A review of homelessness was carried out in 2017 and a new Homeless Strategy 2018 - 2023 has been drafted.

 

4.         This report presents the draft Homeless Strategy 2018 - 2023.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That Cabinet approve the draft Homeless Strategy 2018 - 2023 for consultation purposes.

 

2.         That, following consultation, delegated authority be given to the Strategic Director for External Services, to approve any minor amendments to the draft Strategy prior to publication.

 

3.         That, following consultation, Cabinet approve any major amendments prior to publication.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Homelessness Act 2002 requires local housing authorities to carry out a review of homelessness in their district at least every five years. The aim of the review is to inform, develop and publish a Homeless Strategy. A review of homelessness was carried out in 2017 and a new Homeless Strategy 2018-2023 had been drafted. This report asked Members to approve the draft Homeless Strategy 2018-2023 for consultation purposes.

 

  • The Head of Housing noted how, if approved, the Strategy would be subject to a consultation exercise which would give interested stakeholders an opportunity to raise any concerns that they might have. He also noted the uncertain impact that the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 might have when it comes into force at the beginning of April. He then referred to the associated Action Plan and said that it was responding to previous criticisms and would be used to reinvigorate the work of the Dartford Homeless Strategy Implementation Group (HSIG).

 

  • One Member questioned the ‘rough sleeper’ figure of 9 that had been included in the Strategy and suggested that reference should also have been made to Porchlight’s figure of 59. The Head of Housing replied that he was confident that the figure of 9 was accurate and described how it had been derived as against the method that had been used previously where officers walked the street on a particular night to physically count the number of people sleeping rough and seldom found anyone. He suggested that Porchlight’s figure was based on those that make use of the Winter Shelter and said that they were not all rough sleepers as some sofa surf, or stay with relatives, when they are not using the Shelter. He also noted how the Council worked with the Shelter in an attempt to engage with those who are there but said that few requests for assistance or accommodation had been received, even during the recent cold weather. Another Member, who had been working as a volunteer at the Shelter, endorsed the figure quoted in the report and said that she had only met 4 people who were genuine ‘rough sleepers’ as many of the others were sofa surfers.

 

  • Reference was then made to the ‘hidden homeless’ and whether the measures included in the draft Strategy would enable them to be identified and helped. The Head of Housing replied that it would always be difficult to identify and reach those who fail to engage and ask for support as many of those classed as ‘hidden homeless’ were those who are accommodated by family or friends. He said that all those who approach the Council as homeless are assessed, and that if a statutory duty to provide assistance is identified then help is given. He also noted how the homeless assistance that the Council is able to provide is advertised on the website and in other prominent places, but said that other groups and stakeholders could be approached for their views on how best to identify those who might  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

SD (ES)

9.

Response to Consultation on Proposals to Tackle Crime and Poor Performance in the Waste Sector and Introduce a New Fixed Penalty for Waste Duty of Care pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Summary:

 

1.         This report brings to Members’ attention the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs proposals to tackle crime and poor performance in the waste sector and introduce a new fixed penalty for waste duty of care. The consultation is divided into three sections:

 

·         Part A focuses on raising the standard of operator competence across all permitted waste sites by strengthening the regulators’ assessment and enforcement abilities;

 

·         Part B is about reforming the waste exemptions regime within the waste permitting system;

 

·         Part C covers the introduction of a new Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for household Duty of Care offences for fly-tipping.

 

2.         This report summarises the proposals in Section C only of the consultation paper and sets out the Council’s suggested (draft) response to this part of the consultation. Defra notes that the target audience for the consultation is wide ranging and accepts that not all recipients will wish, or be in a position to respond to all 3 parts. The only part applicable to the Council is Part C which looks at the introduction of FPNs for Duty of Care offences , parts A and B deal with issues at waste sites and with permits and are outside the Council’s jurisdiction , therefore, these have not been responded to.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Cabinet approves, or amends, the proposed response to the consultation as set out in Appendix A to the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report brought to Members’ attention the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) proposals to tackle crime and poor performance in the waste sector and introduce a new fixed penalty for waste duty of care. Defra noted that the target audience for the consultation was wide ranging and accepted that not all recipients would wish to, or be in a position to, respond to all 3 parts. The only part applicable to the Council was part C which looked at the introduction of FPNs for duty of care offences, parts A and B dealt with issues at waste sites and with permits and were outside the Council’s jurisdiction. The report therefore only summarised the proposals outlined in part C of the consultation paper and set out the Council’s suggested (draft) response to this part of the consultation.

 

  • Members welcomed the proposed response but suggested that the Council should do more to make its bulk waste collection service more attractive and cost effective to residents as this would make them less likely to fly-tip or use unlicensed operators to dispose of their waste. The Enforcement Manager agreed that this seemed sensible and noted how these proposals would be used to target those who can be identified as using operators who offer a cheap service but then fly-tip any waste that they take away.

 

  • Members noted how important it would be to make these new powers known in order to discourage the use of unlicensed operators. The Enforcement Manager anticipated that these new powers would be promoted nationally and said that, currently, if offenders are identified they are asked for evidence that they have shown due diligence to ensure that their waste will be disposed of legally.

 

  • Members then suggested that Dartford should instigate its own licensing scheme for bulk waste disposal operators so that residents know that the operator that they are using will not fly-tip their waste. The Enforcement Manager said that the Environment Agency already operated a licensing scheme and that it was the householder’s responsibility to undertake the necessary checks to ensure that their waste is being disposed of correctly.

 

  • Members agreed that penalties should be maximised to discourage practices that would lead to fly-tipping and felt that the cost and scope of the Council’s own bulk waste collection service should be reviewed to ensure that residents always have access to an easy to use, cost effective, service.

 

  • Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (ES)

10.

Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan Consultations Response pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Summary:

 

1.      Consultation on the partial review of the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan July 2016, covering the period 2013 to 2030, is now taking place. Alongside this, the first stage of public consultation on a Minerals Sites Local Plan, identifying specific allocations for future minerals extraction, is being undertaken.

 

2.      Policy changes are proposed in the partial review, and specific minerals sites are proposed in the Minerals Sites Local Plan. The policies and proposals, as currently drafted are expected to have significant impacts on the Borough.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the consultation response to Kent County Council, as set out in Appendix A, be approved.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consultation on the partial review of the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan July 2016, covering the period 2013 to 2030, is now taking place. Alongside this, the first stage of public consultation on a Minerals Sites Local Plan, identifying specific allocations for future minerals extraction, is being undertaken.

 

Policy changes are proposed in the partial review, and specific minerals sites are proposed in the Minerals Sites Local Plan. The policies and proposals, as currently drafted are expected to have significant impacts on the Borough.

 

This report presented the proposed response to those consultations for Cabinet’s approval.

 

  • The Planning Policy Manager referred to the proposed response and described how it strongly objected to the two proposed mineral extraction sites that had been identified to the north of Dartford. He said that the ‘Land at Central Road’ site had already been identified as green space in Dartford’s Local Plan to serve the development at the Northern Gateway, and that the site near to Bob Dunn Way was located within the Green Belt. He also noted the response’s objection to the policy change which would mean that sites already identified for other forms of development in Dartford’s Local Plan could be considered for mineral extraction, even though they had been allocated for development before the Kent Plan had safeguarded them for mineral extraction. He said that this change would mean that, in order to develop these allocated sites, developers would be required to carry out additional checks relating to the viability of a piece of land for mineral extraction when preparing a planning application.

 

  • Members supported the proposed response but reference was also made to the conflicting need to ensure that sufficient minerals were available locally to allow ongoing developments to be progressed without having to transport them from far away.

 

  • Members also referred to the potential impact that mineral extraction and transportation would have on air quality for those living close to the proposed areas and it was suggested that those Dartford Members who are also Kent County Council (KCC) Members should use their influence to emphasise to KCC the disadvantageous impact that these proposals would have on Dartford residents. During further discussion it was noted how air quality impacts had been identified in the proposed response and that Dartford had demonstrated its commitment to improving air quality by specifying it as one of the reasons for the Development Control Board’s refusal of a proposed development at Howbury Park.

 

  • Members strongly supported the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

11.

Write-off of National Non-Domestic Rates pdf icon PDF 67 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 £103,572.42 be written off as uncollectible.

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

12.

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 quarter 3 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 (IS)

13.

Minutes of the Policy Overview Meeting held on 12 December 2017 pdf icon PDF 42 KB

Summary:

 

To present to Cabinet the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 12 December 2017.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 12 December 2017, be considered and noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

14.

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.