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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
No. Item

1.

Election of Chairman

Minutes:

In the absence of both the Chairman and Vice-Chairman an election was carried out to appoint a Chairman for the meeting.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That Councillor B Garden be appointed to chair the meeting.

 

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Armitt, Butler-Rhule, Cutler, R Gosine, S Gosine, Hunnisett and Maddison.

 

Councillors Gaskin, Oakley-Dow, Mrs Storey and Swinerd attended the meeting as substitute Members for Councillors R Gosine, S Gosine, Hunnisett and Armitt respectively.

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 that no items from Parts B, C and D of the agenda had been drawn down for debate:

 

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

 

12

Upgrade of the Housing Services Integrated Management System

13

Revenue Budget Monitoring 2019/20

14

Capital Budget Monitoring 2019/20

15

Treasury Management Mid-Year Report 2019/20

16

Appointment of a 4th Independent Person to the Deed, Trust and Obligations Committee

17

Minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 10 September 2019

A

Housing Repairs and Maintenance Contract – Acceptance of Tender – Exempt Appendix A

 

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 in any of the items for debate in Part A of the agenda. No items had been drawn down for discussion from Parts B, C and D of the agenda.

6.

References from Committees

None at this stage.

Minutes:

There were no references from other committees.

7.

LA Support (Environmental Enforcement Contract Extension and Further Offences Proposal pdf icon PDF 296 KB

Summary:

 

To approve proposed new contract arrangements with LA Support Limited (formerly Kingdom Services Group Limited) that would see an agreed financial split between it and the Council and expand the current Litter and Dog Fouling Enforcement Scheme for a further 2 years from 25th January 2020 to include a range of other offences, including Littering from Vehicles, Commercial (Trade) Waste offences, Fly Posting, Graffiti and Public Space Protection Order breaches.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.    That the extension of the existing LA Support Limited contract for a further two years period from 25th January 2020 to January 2022 be approved;

 

2.    That an additional range of offences be included in the contract, as detailed in Appendix A to the report; and

 

3.    That the revised financial split proposal, as detailed in paragraph 6.3 of the report, be approved.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Enforcement and Regulatory Services Manager presented a slightly revised tabled report which proposed new contract arrangements with LA Support Limited (formerly Kingdom Services Group Limited) that would see a new agreed financial split between it and the Council and expand the current Litter and Dog Fouling Enforcement Scheme for a further 2 years from 25th January 2020 to include a range of other offences, including Littering from Vehicles, Commercial (Trade) Waste offences, Fly Posting, Graffiti and Public Space Protection Order breaches. The background to the existing contract, which had been introduced in 2016 for a trial period, following public consultation in 2015 and extensive public support, had been awarded for a 3 year period beginning in January 2017. The current contract had proved to be very effective in dealing with littering and from 25th January 2016 until 31st August 2019 11,435 fixed penalty notices (FPN’s) had been issued with a payment rate of 72%. The litter FPN’s were issued at £75 and £50 for dog fouling, which was at the lower end of the spectrum where fines were issued by local authorities. £42 of each litter FPN was retained by LA Support Limited to fund the Enforcement Officers and £33 retained by the Council. So far the Council had paid LA Support Limited £466,450 and collected £602,680 realising an income of £136,230. The Council also took legal action against offenders who did not pay the FPN and had been awarded court costs of £50,980 against expenditure of £25,100.

 

The Enforcement and Regulatory Services Manager explained that the contract helped to deliver current corporate objectives and had been highly effective in changing behaviour as there had been no recidivism. The terms of the existing contract with LA Support Limited contained a provision for the contract to be extended by a further two years and for the addition of the additional offences and the contractor was keen to broaden the pool of offences. Officers had examined the experience of other authorities where a wider range of offences were enforced and concluded that the enforcement delivered positive results. The proposed financial split of 70:30 on all Fixed Penalty Charges (FPN’s) that had been paid by offenders would deliver a projected annual income to the Council of £133,995 which could be reinvested to support the Council’s corporate priorities and keep the borough clean and tidy. These extended activities would complement the Council’s existing enforcement activities on such matters as fly tipping and fly posting and it made sense to use the Enforcement Officers’ ‘eyes on the ground’ to help to take action on these matters.

 

The Chairman sought and received clarification that currently LA Support Limited received payment on all FPN’s issued rather than the FPN’s that were paid but that in future the financial split between the company and the Council would apply only to the FPN’s that had been paid. He also received clarification on the work carried out by the Council to address fly tipping through issuing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Consultation on the Dartford Local Plan Review Preferred Options pdf icon PDF 307 KB

Summary:

 

To consider the current consultation on the review of the Local Plan at the mid-stage phase and the ‘Preferred Options’ document indicating the proposed direction of travel in producing a new Local Plan. The report summarises the content, including the vision/objectives, preferred options and alternatives. The report also outlined studies carried out to support the new Local Plan and the proposed public consultation. 

 

Recommendations:

 

1.      That the Preferred Options Local Plan (attached at Appendix A to the report) be approved for public consultation, for a six week period, starting in early November 2019;

 

2.      That authority be delegated to the Head of Regeneration for non-material and minor editing amendments to the text, tables and illustrations and amendments to layout and formatting of the Preferred Options consultation document (attached as Appendix A to the report);

3.   That authority be delegated to the Head of Regeneration, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, for amendments and inclusions which are non-minor or additional, including illustrations to the Preferred Options consultation document (attached at Appendix A to the report), providing these are consistent with the principles and policy approaches set out in the document at Appendix A;

4.   That the consultation arrangements set out at paragraph 5.1 to the report, be agreed; and

5.  That evidence, including the 2019 Five Year Deliverable Housing Land Supply, attached at  Appendix B to the report, be noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Senior Policy Planner introduced a report which presented the current consultation on the review of the Local Plan at the mid-stage phase and the ‘Preferred Options’ document indicating the proposed direction of travel in producing a new Local Plan. The report described the direction of travel for long term development in the Borough until 2036, and summarised the content, including the vision/objectives, preferred options and alternatives and timetable for submission with a view to the plan being formally adopted in 2021 following publication of a final document in Spring 2020, submission to the Secretary of State and examination by an Independent Planning Inspector. The report also outlined studies carried out to support the new Local Plan, the Five Year Deliverable Housing land Supply and the proposed public consultation process.  Members’ attention was drawn to the key diagram on page 66 of the agenda which illustrated the long term sustainable development pattern for Dartford and it was confirmed that there would be no strategic release of green belt land.  The Local Plan would focus development in Dartford Town Centre and Ebbsfleet Garden City.  Ebbsfleet Central, Kent Road/Hythe Street and the former Littlebrook Power Station site were proposed as strategic sites for development. There were still uncertainties over the theme park development on the Swanscombe peninsula so the preferred approach was for this to be potentially developed as a lower density mixed use development including some residential, enhanced employment and a park. The ‘Preferred Options’ document would go through a six week public consultation process starting in early November.

 

The Chairman explained to Members that whilst the government had the over-arching responsibility for development it was important for the Council to ensure that it shaped that development locally by having robust plans in place in order to manage and regulate future development opportunities.

 

A Member welcomed the aspects of the plan which related to development in  Ebbsfleet Garden City and asked whether the Council was aware of a proposal to install a tram network along the new fastrack route to Bluewater. The Planning Policy Manager confirmed that there had been some exploratory contact by an organisation looking to promote tram services in Kent and Essex but that there had been no demonstration of how these might be delivered. He said that he was not aware of any proposal to use the forthcoming Fastrack route to Bluewater for trams. The Chairman said that fastrack was an important service and welcomed the extension of the service. However he was concerned that the service was not available in more areas and felt that there was a need to improve bus services in the north of the borough.  

 

The Chairman thanked the Planning Policy Manager and the Senior Policy Planner for their report.   

 

The Cabinet Advisory Panel endorsed the recommendations contained in the report.

 

9.

Acceptance of Tender - Housing Repairs and Maintenance Measured Term Contract pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Summary:

 

To consider the tenders for the Housing Repairs and Maintenance Measured Term Contract to deliver reactive repairs, void property works, disabled adaptations, out of hours repairs and programmed works to the Council’s housing stock and appoint a successful contractor from April 2020.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.    That Cabinet agrees to enter into a contract with Company A (as detailed in Exempt Appendix A) on terms to be agreed by the Head of Legal Services for all repairs and improvements to the housing stock for an initial period of 5 years, from 1 April 2020, with the option to extend the contract for a further two 5 year periods, respectively, at year 5 (1 April 2025) and at year 10 (1 April 2030).

 

2.    That an informal body, namely the Housing Maintenance & Monitoring Project Board, be established and responsible for ongoing oversight and monitoring of the contract and that membership of the Board, include three Councillors, politically balanced and officers.

 

3.    That the contract be reviewed on a yearly basis, by the Housing Maintenance & Monitoring & Project Board.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Housing presented a report which provided details of the tenders for the Housing Repairs and Maintenance Measured Term Contract to deliver reactive repairs, void property works, disabled adaptations, out-of-hours repairs and programmed works to the Council’s housing stock and appoint a successful contractor from April 2020. The report explained the detailed tender and evaluation process and consultation carried out with tenants and leaseholders. By combining housing responsive and planned works elements and increasing the overall value of the contract, economies of scale could be achieved to deliver savings and efficiencies whilst delivering a high quality of service to the Council, its tenants and leaseholders.  Five of the six companies that had been invited to submit formal tenders had submitted bids and the outcome of the evaluation process was detailed in exempt Appendix A to the report.

 

A Member asked whether the new contract would contribute anything towards environmental sustainability as this was not apparent in the report. The Head of Housing confirmed that this had formed an important part of the quality assessment that had been carried out as part of the contract process and that, in reality, most of the large contractors were fully alive to the need to deliver sustainability. A Member asked what quality checks were carried out following repairs and also questioned the level of charges levied on leaseholders following works. The Head of Housing explained that with over 10,000 repairs being carried out each year it was inevitable that there would be some issues but that in 99% of all cases the tenants were happy with the standard of the work carried out, the silent majority compared with the relatively small number who were dissatisfied. Cost wasn’t an issue for tenants as they were not billed for works. The case was different with leaseholders as they were required to contribute directly to the cost of works in communal areas and frequently challenged the charges. However he confirmed that the charges levied on leaseholders were calculated in a fair and equitable manner and officers took care to explain the costs and to offer suitable options for payment. In terms of the schedule of rates and other prices these were considered in detail during the tender process and kept under regular review under the contract management arrangements. The Housing Maintenance Manager confirmed the Council’s commitment to quality and that this was constantly checked and followed up. 10% of all repair work was routinely quality checked and there were various additional checks carried out with all complaints being followed up and it was unlikely that many Council’s achieved the 99% satisfaction rate experienced by Dartford’s tenants.

 

The Head of Housing also explained that the contract evaluation process had focussed heavily on quality as well as price and that whilst the recommended contractor had not been the cheapest, it had also not been the most expensive and delivered reasonable prices and the highest quality rating. He also explained that tenants and leaseholders had also been involved  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Parking Consultation: West Hill Ward - Priory Gardens pdf icon PDF 330 KB

Summary:

 

To consider the outcome of the first stage of public consultation on the introduction of a permit parking management scheme in Priory Gardens, West Hill Ward.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.    That the Cabinet agree not to proceed with proposals consulted on in view of the outcome of consultation set out in paragraph 3.4; and

 

2.    That households within the consultation area be informed of the outcome of the consultation and Cabinet’s decision accordingly.

 

Minutes:

The Temporary Principal Transport Planner presented the outcome of the public consultation on the proposal to introduce a permit parking management scheme in Priory Gardens, West Hill Ward following a petition from residents of Priory Gardens complaining about inconsiderate on-street parking on the road and at the junction of Priory Hill. Possible options for managing the parking issues were put out to public consultation including the introduction of waiting restrictions and permit parking. Whilst a high proportion of respondents supported the introduction of a permit parking scheme, only 45% of all of the households in the affected area gave their support for the introduction of such a scheme which fell below the Council’s threshold whereby there would need to be support from the majority of the households in the area in order to introduce a scheme. There was also concern about possible parking displacement to neighbouring streets. There was very little support for introducing waiting restrictions to regulate parking times with 40% of households and 66.7% of respondents against the proposal. In view of this the Cabinet was asked not to introduce a parking management scheme.  

 

A Member noted that the report referred to the consultation having been carried out on-line and asked whether any provision had been made to consult residents who did not have this option to respond. A local Member confirmed that he had knocked on the door of all affected properties to ensure that they were aware of the consultation and that there were other ways for residents to respond.

 

The Chairman thanked the Temporary Principal Transport Planner for his report.

 

The Cabinet Advisory Panel endorsed the recommendations contained in the report.

 

11.

Parking Consultation: West Hill Ward - Shepherds Lane pdf icon PDF 360 KB

Summary:

 

To consider the outcome of the consultation on extending the hours and days of operation of the existing permit parking scheme in Shepherds Lane.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.    That the completion of the Traffic Regulation Order in accordance with paragraph 3.5 of the report and the implementation of the scheme be approved; and

 

2.    That households within the consultation area be informed of the outcome of the consultation and the applicable installations.

Minutes:

The Temporary Principal Transport Planner presented the outcome of the public consultation on proposals to extend the hours and days of operation of the existing permit parking scheme in Shepherds Lane following a request by some residents living opposite Dartford Grammar School for Boys to extend the existing permit scheme because more people were visiting the school premises beyond the school day which was reducing their ability to park close to their homes. The consultation looked at various options including extending the hours and days of operation, doing both or retaining the existing arrangements. The overall response rate was very high (81.3%) and although the Council’s threshold of 50% or more households in an area being in favour of proposals for them to be introduced had not been achieved a combined percentage of almost 47% of households had supported proposals to extend the days of operation into the weekend and/or to extend the hours of operation into the evening and the weekend. There were also concerns about the safety of school pupils due to reverse parking taking place at the end of the school day and, given these special circumstances, although the Council’s usual threshold had not been reached it was therefore proposed to extend the days and hours of operation to Monday to Sunday from 9.30am to 8.00pm.

 

A Member asked why it was not proposed to extend the hours of operation at the start of the day as the safety concerns surely applied then as well as at the end of the school day but was advised that reverse parking was not as significant then because it was less easy to do during the ‘rush hour’. A local Member also confirmed that she had knocked on doors in the affected area to ensure that residents were aware of the consultation. 

 

The Chairman thanked the Temporary Principal Transport Planner for his report.

 

The Cabinet Advisory Panel endorsed the recommendations contained in the report.

 

12.

Upgrade of the Housing Services Integrated Management System pdf icon PDF 242 KB

Summary:

 

To consider options for upgrading the existing Housing Services Integrated Management System which is used to facilitate the delivery of housing services for the Council and the reasons why the current system needs to be replaced, the issues considered and the proposed action to be taken.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the Council upgrades its Housing Services Integrated Management System to the Capita One Housing IHMS platform, on terms to be agreed by the Head of Housing Services in consultation with the Head of Legal Services.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Advisory Panel endorsed the recommendations contained in the report.

13.

Revenue Budget Monitoring 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 113 KB

Summary:

 

To update Members on financial performance against the 2019/20 budget to date for the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Members note that the overall level of spend and income for the year is expected to be within the parameters of the budget.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Advisory Panel endorsed the recommendations contained in the report.

14.

Capital Programme Monitoring 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 298 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.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.    That progress to date on the 2019/20 Capital Programme be noted; and

 

2.    That the current position on the Capital Prudential Indicators, as shown in Appendix C to the report, be noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Advisory Panel endorsed the recommendations contained in the report.

15.

Treasury Management Mid-Year Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 257 KB

Summary:

 

To inform the Cabinet of the investment performance of the Council’s internally and externally managed funds to 30 September 2019 and to update the Treasury Indicators for the six months to 30 September 2019.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.    That Cabinet notes the investment performance of the Council’s funds; and

 

2.    That the Cabinet notes the half-year position of the Council’s Treasury Indicators.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Advisory Panel endorsed the recommendations contained in the report.

16.

Appointment of a 4th Independent Person to the Deed, Trust and Obligations Committee pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Summary:

 

To consider and confirm the appointment of a 4th ‘Independent Person’ to serve on the Deed, Trust and Obligations Committee upon the recommendation of the interview panel held on 15th October 2019.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the appointment of Mr Ken Moore as the 4th Independent Member (voting co-optee to the Deed, Trust and Obligations Committee recommended by the interview panel held on 15th October 2019 be approved, for an initial period of one year and subsequently confirmed at the Annual Council meeting.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Advisory Panel endorsed the recommendations contained in the report.

17.

Minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview held on 10 September 2019 pdf icon PDF 343 KB

Summary:

 

To receive and note the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 10 September 2019.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee on 10 September 2019 be noted.  

Minutes:

The Cabinet Advisory Panel received the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 10 September 2019.

 

18.

Housing Repairs and Maintenance Contract - Acceptance of Tender - Exempt Appendix A
(Exempt Category SO46(1)(b) Annex 1, Paragraph 3)

Minutes:

The Cabinet Advisory Panel noted Exempt Appendix A to the Housing Repairs and Maintenance Contract.