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Agenda and draft minutes

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

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
Note No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Brown, Cutler, Kaini, Lees, T A Maddison, J A Ozog, J M Ozog, Read and L J Reynolds.

 

Councillor McLean attended as substitute member for Councillor L J Reynolds.

2.

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.

3.

Items Reserved for Debate

Minutes:

The Chairman advised Members that the following agenda items had been drawn down for debate:

 

 

12.       Local Scheme of Support for Council Tax

 

15.      Parking Services Annual Report 2017/2018

 

A.        Tender Return – Acacia Hall Redevelopment – Exempt Appendix B – Tender Report and Recommendations

 

 

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:

 

13

Capital Programme – Monitoring 2018/2019

14

Revenue Budget Monitoring 2018/19

16

Disposal of Land at Stone Lodge, Dartford for the development of a Secondary School

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

4.

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:

There were no declarations of interests.

 

Councillor McLean asked for it to be recorded that he was the Cabinet Delivery Team Lead Member for Enforcement & Community Safety and that items 9 (Draft Licensing Policy 2019-2024), 10 (Draft Gambling Policy 2019-2022) and 15 (Parking Services Annual Report 2017/2018) fell within his remit.

5.

References from Committees

None at this stage.

Minutes:

There were no references from other Committees.

6.

Adoption of the Dartford Town Centre Framework pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Summary:

 

To seek approval of the Dartford Town Centre Framework after public consultation showed support for its proposals.

 

The Framework will be adopted as a formal Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to be used to assess planning applications in the town centre, helping to ensure development is consistent with corporate objectives for regeneration.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.    That the Dartford Town Centre Framework attached at Appendix A to the report, be adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) guiding investment and informing planning decisions in the town centre, with immediate effect.

 

2.    That the statutory and consultation documents at Appendices B to D to the report be noted and agreed.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Planning Policy Manager presented theDartford Town Centre Framework which had been produced to set out a vision for the town centre built environment and which sought to guide and co-ordinate future development and investment in the town centre so as to create a cohesive and high quality public realm. It aimed for private investment to reinforce the drive for quality and encourage the provision of a wider range of shopping, leisure and community facilities by identifying the opportunities available. Once approved the Framework would be adopted as a formal Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which would be used to assess planning applications in the town centre, helping to ensure that development was consistent with corporate objectives for regeneration. The SPD had undergone public consultation and activities during and prior to the consultation had yielded invaluable feedback which had helped to shape and inform the final version of the Framework document and had demonstrated a strong level of support from across residents, businesses and agencies for the specific town centre proposals in the Framework.  Modifications to the original draft framework, which had previously reported to Cabinet, had arisen from the consultation process and public exhibition and were detailed in Appendices C and D to the report.There had also been some additional referencing and a sharpening of the presentation of the framework document.

 

Councillor Swinerd joined the meeting at this point and the Chairman confirmed that he had no declarations of interests to make in any item on the agenda.

 

Members welcomed the report and endorsed its recommendations.

7.

Tender Return - Acacia Hall Redevelopment pdf icon PDF 31 KB

This report is “to follow

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman announced that he proposed to discuss this item and the exempt appendix B to the report (which appeared at item A in the agenda – minute 17 refers) together as no members of the press and public were present.

 

The Strategic Director (Internal Services) introduced a report which detailed progress on the redevelopment of Acacia Hall as a result of the project brief agreed by the Cabinet on 22 October 2015 to transform, revitalise and rationalise the site. This included producing a new masterplan for the site and producing a new site-wide design. Planning consent for the project was awarded on 12 July 2018. The project was highly complex requiring civil engineering, building skills and the wholesale replacement of services and the works had been tendered on an open basis to attract contractors who were capable of delivering this sort of mixed project. The results of this process and a recommended contractor were reported in the Exempt Appendix B to the report.   The Council was also working with the Environment Agency on the river works to be carried out as part of the redevelopment and there would be a further report to Cabinet on the costs of the in-channel river works and the implications of complying with the pre-commencement planning conditions.

 

A Councillor explained that he had drawn down the exempt Appendix B for discussion as he had been concerned that tenders for the contract had been  assessed using a ratio of 60% cost: 40% quality but that the Appendix only detailed the costings contained in the tender returns and was silent in terms of the qualitative assessment. He felt that given that this constituted 40% of the overall assessment decision it was important that the Cabinet should receive more details on this element of the process before making a decision to award the contract. 

 

The Strategic Director (Internal Services) provided further information on the qualitative assessment carried out in arriving at a decision to recommend the award of the contract and confirmed that this information would be made available to the Cabinet. 

 

A Member asked whether any requirement had been included in the contract documentation for the successful contractor to employ local people or source materials locally as he was keen that the money spent on the contract should be retained within the local economy as much as possible. The Strategic Director (Internal Services) said that she believed that it was usual to require some element of local engagement as part of the Council’s contract conditions but that she would check the position and advise him accordingly.

 

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report, subject to the additional information being provided to the Cabinet.

 

8.

Draft Licensing Policy 2019-2024 pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Summary:

 

To propose a revised Statement of Licensing Policy (2019-2024) for consultation purposes.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.     That the draft Statement of Licensing Policy (2019-2024) attached at Appendix A to the report be approved for the purposes of consultation.

 

2.     That the Strategic Director (External Services) be authorised to undertake the consultation on the draft Statement of Licensing Policy in accordance with prescribed legislative procedures.

 

3.     That, following the consultation, a further report be submitted, summarising any comments and representations received on the draft Statement of Licensing Policy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Licensing Manager presented the draft Licensing Policy 2019-2024. She reminded Members that licensing authorities were required to prepare and publish a statement of its 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. Members were asked to consider a revised Statement of Licensing Policy, which had been revised in line with current national guidance, covering the period 2019-2024 and to approve the draft policy which would then be subject to a statutory consultation process prior to adoption by the General Assembly of the Council. It was also proposed to call upon the expertise of the Licensing Committee by inviting it to submit a response to the consultation and to add an additional recommendation to Cabinet “That the Chairman and Licensing Committee be invited to provide a formal response to the consultation on the draft Licensing Policy.”

 

Members sought details on the consultation process and were informed that the consultation would be carried out over a 12 week period rather than the usual 8 weeks to allow the maximum opportunity for the public, stakeholders and Members to have an input to the consultation. This would also take it beyond the peak holiday season. Another Member welcomed the consultation but felt that the Licensing Committee should probably have been involved before the consultation period. He also asked if in preparing the draft policy the opportunity had been taken to review the scope of the activities that the Council currently licensed. He cited the specific example of mobile street vendors who were unlicensed. The Licensing Manager explained that the policy only related to licensable activities covered by the Licensing Act 2003 which applied to alcohol licensing. The Member also asked whether Dartford required applicants for premises licenses to provide a risk assessment as part of the application process. The Licensing Manager explained that the Council could not require a risk assessment to be submitted by an applicant but that the Police, as a statutory consultee on applications, usually asked for one to be submitted and if this was not supplied they would often object to an application which would result in it being considered by the Licensing Sub-committee.

 

The Lead Cabinet Member for Enforcement & Community Safety welcomed the report and thought that this was a good opportunity to review licensing practices. He suggested that the Shadow Leader of the Council might wish to attend the Licensing Committee when it met to consider its formal response to the consultation.      

 

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report, with the additional recommendation to Cabinet outlined above.

 

9.

Draft Gambling Policy 2019-2022 pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Summary:

 

To propose a draft Gambling Policy for consultation purposes.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.    That the draft Gambling Policy attached at Appendix A to the report be approved for the purposes of consultation.

 

2.    That the method of consultation in accordance with national guidance be delegated to the Strategic Director (External Services).

 

3.    That, if comments and representations are received, Cabinet receive a further report at its meeting on 6 December 2018, in order to consider any necessary changes to the draft Gambling Policy, prior to recommending its adoption by the General Assembly of the Council, at its meeting on the 10 December 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Licensing Manager presented the Draft Gambling Policy 2019-2022. The Cabinet Advisory Panel was reminded that licensing authorities were required to prepare and publish a statement of its 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. Members were asked to consider a revised draft Gambling Policy covering the period 3 January 2019-2 January 2022 which would then be subject to a statutory consultation process prior to adoption by the General Assembly of the Council. It was also proposed to call upon the expertise of the Licensing Committee by inviting it to submit a response to the consultation and to add an additional recommendation to Cabinet “That the Chairman and Licensing Committee be invited to provide a formal response to the consultation on the draft Gambling Policy.”

 

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report, with the additional recommendation to Cabinet outlined above.

 

10.

Government Consultation on the Draft Clean Air Strategy 2018 pdf icon PDF 172 KB

Summary:

 

DEFRA are carrying out a consultation on its recently published draft Clean Air Strategy. Cabinet is presented with a summary of this Strategy and asked to agree a draft response to the consultation.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Members note the content of the DEFRA’s Clean Air Strategy and agree or amend the proposed response set out in the report.

Minutes:

The Scientific Officer presented a report which provided a summary of the Government’s recently published Clean Air Strategy and a suggested response to the consultation currently being carried out by DEFRA.  Air quality pollution from road traffic was a matter of national and local concern  In July 2017 DEFRA released the ‘UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations; this plan was discussed at Policy Overview Committee in September 2017 and had been subject to legal challenge by Client Earth.  In February 2018 the High Court confirmed that the measures proposed by this plan were insufficient and ordered DEFRA to make changes.  Of concern to the Council was an apparent divergence between NO2 levels predicted by the modelling within this plan and those measured by the Council.  It had been shown that these discrepancies resulted from DEFRA using a method of modelling and prediction, whilst the Council took actual measurements. 

The Government’s draft Clean Air Strategy examined other sources of air pollution and proposed measures to reduce emissions. The Strategy was broken down into 10 chapters and these were summarised in the report along with the consultation questions and the Council’s proposed responses for consideration by Members. 

A Member asked for clarification on a number of the matters contained in the report. He referred to the serious concerns that the Council had about how DEFRA was recording and calculating air quality but that it appeared from the report that the Council was not challenging this matter any further. He asked why this was the case given that the DEFRA methodology was seriously flawed and he contended that an accurate measurement would probably have resulted in Dartford being included in a Clean Air Area. The Scientific Officer explained that the Council had challenged DEFRA’s methodology and that DEFRA had modified this as a result but the Council still considered it to be inaccurate. DEFRA had been challenged by Client Earth in the High Court and although DEFRA had been told to make changes to its plan it had been confirmed that DEFRA’s methodology was in accordance with the relevant European directive and there was no basis for further challenge. However this matter would be reconsidered by Policy Overview Committee in September when a decision would be made as to whether to write to DEFRA again. This being the case the Member felt that any response agreed by Cabinet should not close down the prospect of further representations being made on this issue.

A Member asked for clarification on the Government proposal to address emissions from road transport via a shortly to be published “Road to Zero” and UK plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide (paragraph 3.65 of the report refers). He asked what were the “meaningful options” referred to in the proposed consultation response. It was explained that there were 33 areas that had been identified by the Government as requiring additional assistance to meet EU emission limits and for whom additional resources would be provided. The Member felt that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Local Scheme of Support for Council Tax pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Summary:

 

To provide Cabinet with outline details of proposed changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2019/20 and ask Members to approve that consultation on the proposals be undertaken with the Precepting Authorities, taxpayers and other relevant stakeholders.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.    That Members note the outline proposed changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2019/20.

 

2.    That Members agree that consultation on the proposed changes be undertaken with the Precepting Authorities, taxpayers and other relevant stakeholders and that the Strategic Director (Internal Services) be granted delegated authority to agree the consultation material in liaison with the Leader and the Finance Portfolio Holder.

 

3.    That a further report be presented to Cabinet on the results of the consultation, together with recommendations for revisions to the scheme, for approval by the General Assembly of the Council.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Advisory Panel considered a report which outlined details of proposed changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2019/20 and sought approval for consultation on the proposals to be undertaken with the Precepting Authorities, taxpayers and other relevant stakeholders.

 

The Benefits Manager introduced the report and explained the need to change the current scheme as a result of the full introduction of Universal Credit in Dartford from July 2018 and the complexities that this would involve in calculating people’s entitlement to Council Tax Reduction. The current scheme for Council Tax Reduction would simply become unworkable requiring frequent and confusing adjustment and the re-issuing of Council Tax bills and the experience of other authorities operating similar schemes after the move to Universal Credit supported these conclusions. The proposed new scheme was designed to make the system clearer, simpler and fairer as well as being workable for staff. It was not designed to save money and should be cost neutral overall.

 

The main features of the Scheme were outlined in paragraph 3.7 of the report. The current means-tested scheme would be replaced by a scheme based on a sliding scale of discount based on a number of income ranges and taking other factors and parameters into account. It was anticipated that the simplicity of the new scheme would make it easier to implement and explain whilst also addressing the complexities associated with Universal Credit. The new scheme would be fully consulted with the Precepting authorities, council tax payers and other stakeholders. It was noted that the proposed changes to the Scheme only affected working age applicants and that the Scheme for pensioners was determined by the Government and they would not be affected. It was intended to write to all existing working age recipients as part of the consultation process. A further report would be presented to Cabinet on the results of the consultation and recommendations on revisions to the scheme for ultimate agreement by the General Assembly of the Council. 

 

Members welcomed the need for a simpler and fairer scheme and felt that the proposals largely delivered this. Some clarification was sought over the assessment of entitlement to benefit reduction in households where non-dependent working adult children were resident and there was concern that this could be an area where there still could remain an element of unfairness. The position was clarified although it was recognised that depended upon the individual circumstances of each case and that this would only impact on a very small number of cases.

 

A Member said that whilst he welcomed the consultation he asked, in light of the poor response to consultations prior to the introduction of the previous Council Tax Reduction Scheme, what steps were being taken to publicise the consultation and whether an Equality Impact Assessment had been carried out on each of the options in the new scheme to ensure that these would not have a disproportionate negative impact on the groups concerned. It was explained that in addition to writing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

SD (IS)

12.

Capital Programme - Monitoring 2018/2019 pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Summary:

 

To inform Cabinet of the progress to date on the schemes in the approved Capital Programme, and to report the latest position on capital resources.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the Cabinet note the progress made to date on the 2018/19 Capital Programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

 

SD (IS)

13.

Revenue Budget Monitoring 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 32 KB

Summary:

 

To update Members on financial performance against the 2018/19 budget to date for the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account.

 

 

This report is “to follow”.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

 

14.

Parking Services Annual Report 2017/2018 pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Summary:

 

To consider the Parking Services Annual Report 2017/2018.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the Parking Services Annual Report 2017/2018 attached at Appendix A to the report be noted and the report published on the Council’s web site.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Enforcement Manager presented the Parking Services Annual Report for 2017/18 which set out the Council’s approach to parking management and provided information about parking provision as well as statistical and other relevant and comparative data and information on parking related projects undertaken during the past year.  He confirmed that it was a statutory requirement to produce such a plan and that it was necessary to publish this on the Council’s web site by October.

 

A Member congratulated Parking Services on their hard work during the year and in particular in tackling anti-social parking. He sought clarification on the uses to which the Council’s CCTV Camera Car could be put and questioned why there was only one vehicle. He was told that the use to which such vehicles could be put was now limited to enforcing restrictions outside of schools, zig zag lines and bus stops which was more limited than the uses that had applied when the vehicle was originally purchased, and had been very successful. The Enforcement Manager explained how there had been a cultural improvement in terms of parking directly outside schools on zig-zag lines by parents but there were still issues around anti-social parking on yellow lines. These were easier to enforce during the afternoon school run than in the morning where parking was more of a drop-off and go nature. The Member asked whether there were adequate resources in place to enforce parking restrictions around schools and cited problems around the Brent and Hayes Road and the likely addition of a new secondary school in Stone. The Enforcement Manager explained how resources were targeted to deal with particular hotspots and also mentioned the work of the Leader’s Working Group in looking at these issues and ways of addressing them. The Working Group had met twice and brought together residents, parents, local representatives, Kent Police and Fire Services and parking officers. One of the clearest points to emerge from this was the need to engage urgently with local school leaders and to capture their own experiences, support and ideas. The Member said that he was interested to see how this developed but was a little concerned that this seemed to be education-led rather than driven by parking enforcement and safety. He expressed concerns that this could be placing additional burdens on teachers and schools. Members also noted the improvements in parking services reported during the year and the improved performance by the Council’s 7 Civil Enforcement Officers.    

 

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

 

15.

Disposal of Land at Stone Lodge, Dartford for the Development of a Secondary School pdf icon PDF 48 KB

Summary:

 

To note action taken by the Managing Director under delegated authority from the Cabinet to dispose of land at Stone Lodge, Dartford for the development of a Secondary School.

 

Recommendation:

 

That action taken by the Managing Director on 14 June 2018 to dispose of land at Stone Lodge, Dartford for the development of a Secondary School, by exercising powers delegated to him by Cabinet on 2 November 2017, be noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

 

16.

Policy Overview Committee minutes - 12 June 2018 pdf icon PDF 33 KB

Summary:

 

              To present to Cabinet the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 12 June 2018.

 

       Recommendation:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 12 June 2018, be considered and noted.

 

This item is “to follow”.

Minutes:

It was reported that the minutes of the Policy Overview Committee held on 12 June 2018 had not yet been agreed by the Chairman of the Committee and were not available for discussion at this meeting.

 

17.

Tender Return - Acacia Hall Redevelopment - Exempt Appendix B - Tender Report and Recommendation(s)
(Exempt Category SO 46 (1) (b) Annex 1 Paragraphs 3

This item is “to follow”

Minutes:

This item was discussed as part of agenda item 7 (minute 7 refers). Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.