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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.

 

The Chairman then noted with sadness the recent death of ex-Councillor Dave Baker and also referred to his role as a serving Parish Councillor. Members endorsed the sentiments expressed by the Chairman and asked that their sympathies and condolences be passed to his family.

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors J Burrell, M J Davis, D J Mote, D Page and A S Sandhu.

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:

 

10.      Corporate Plan - Performance Indicators

 

11.      Minutes of the Policy Overview Meeting held on 21 March 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 prejudicial or pecuniary interest.

 

However, as the item on ‘Rail Consultations and Future Infrastructure’ was due to be discussed, Councillor J S Hawkes asked that the fact that he is employed by Transport for London be recorded.

6.

References from Committees

None at this stage.

Minutes:

There were no references from other Committees.

SD (ES)

7.

Response to Consultation on Proposals Regarding the Penalties for Environmental Offences pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Summary:

 

1.            This report brings to Members’ attention the Department for Environment,   Food and Rural Affairs proposals to:

 

·         Increase the levels for section 88 fixed penalties in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for littering and other environmental offences;

·         Change the provision for how councils can use the income from fixed penalties for environmental offences; and 

·         Remove the requirement for parish council enforcement officers to attend a specified training course.

 

2.         This report summarises the proposals in the consultation paper and sets out the Council’s suggested response to the consultation. 

 

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 proposals to:

 

·           Increase the levels for section 88 fixed penalties in the Environmental Protection Act 1990for littering and other environmental offences;

·           Change the provision for how councils can use the income from fixed penalties for environmental offences; and 

·           Remove the requirement for parish council enforcement officers to attend a specified training course.

 

It summarised the proposals in the consultation paper and set out the Council’s suggested response to the consultation. 

 

  • The Enforcement and Regulatory Services Manager explained how the current powers allow for Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to be issued for littering and dog fouling and talked Members through the approach that had been taken by the Council when setting up the current enforcement arrangement with Kingdom Security Ltd. He referred to other authorities that also make use of the services provided by Kingdom and noted how Dartford had achieved a payment rate of 73.5%, which was the best percentage for all Kent schemes. He noted how those that do not pay their fine are prosecuted and said that all court cases progressed by Dartford had been successful. He said that income earned from the operation was used to deliver further environmental improvements and noted how, since its introduction 15 months ago, there had been no evidence of repeat offending.

 

  • The Enforcement and Regulatory Services Manager then referred to the responses that had been given to the consultation and noted that, although an increase to the fixed penalty notice had been supported, Dartford’s intention was to maintain penalties at their current levels for the foreseeable future. He also noted the response’s support for increases to the fixed penalties associated with graffiti, fly-posting and the unauthorised distribution of free literature in a designated area. He then confirmed that the response also stated the Council’s support for earned income to be used in any service area, agreed that data relating to enforcement activity should be published, and supported changes to the legislation associated with littering from vehicles.

 

  • In subsequent debate reference was made to the report’s stated town centre cleanliness improvements and it was suggested that this was a subjective view and that more data related evidence to confirm the impact that the enforcement scheme was having on specific areas should have been included in the report to support the consultation responses. The Enforcement and Regulatory Services Manager replied that the Council’s street cleaning service provider (Amey), Dartford Market traders and staff who work within the town centre had confirmed that the town centre was cleaner. He also noted that the consultation had not asked for detailed data analysis but confirmed that location and time specific data for each FPN issued could be made available and would be used in the planned service review that was soon to be carried out by the Leader of the Council.

 

SD (ES)

8.

Consultation on Application to Vary Condition 3 on the Outline Planning Permission at Eastern Quarry to allow a Change to the Parameter Plans and the Land Use Disposition pdf icon PDF 3 MB

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 more wards.

 

2.         This report is responding to the consultation by the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation on a planning application to vary condition 3 on the Eastern Quarry Outline Planning Permission in order to amend the disposition of land uses in the site to create a different layout to the development. The report addresses the key issues from the proposals that impact on the delivery of the objectives and policies of the adopted Local Plan.

 

Recommendations:

 

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

 

1.    considers that the Section 73 application would result in a development substantially different from the one approved under outline planning permission 03/01134/OUT as amended by 12/01451/EQVAR and that a fresh planning application should be submitted to allow consideration of the impacts of the proposal in a comprehensive manner;

2.    objects to the proposed changes and considers that they are contrary to the adopted Local Plan for the reasons set out in the report and requests that the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation refuses to grant the section 73 permission;

3.    has significant concerns about the proposal to vary the current s106 and to require a new s106 to cover two different landownerships and two different mixed use developments.

 

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 to the strategies, the amendments to the Section 106 agreement, the conditions and the detail of the submission of the Habitats Regulation Assessment.

Minutes:

This report responded to the consultation being carried out by the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) on a planning application to vary condition 3 on the Eastern Quarry Outline Planning Permission in order to amend the disposition of land uses and parameters for the site development to create a different layout to the development. The report addressed the key issues from the proposals that impact on the delivery of the objectives and policies of the adopted Local Plan.

 

  • The Development Manager outlined the scope of the proposed amendments and noted how they were contrary to the Local Plan. She said that the new proposals would result in a reduction in usable public open space and would lead to the creation of a large retail, leisure and office commercial area at the western end of the site, whose size would be similar to the Bluewater shopping centre. She said that as the siting of this complex was no longer central residents would be more inclined to use their cars to reach it. She also noted how the proposed complex could attract visitors from outside of the development and have a detrimental impact on local town centres. She said that this could not be considered as a ‘minor amendment’ and that, because of this, a new planning application should be submitted.

 

  • In response to questions on the approval process the Development Manager confirmed that Dartford was being asked to respond to the proposals as a consultee, and its response would be considered at the same time as the application, which is when EDC’s Planning Committee would make their decision. She said that Dartford would have no right of appeal over the final decision that would be made, but could legally challenge the manner in which the variation had been handled.

 

  • Members asked whether Cabinet’s decision to support EDC’s Ebbsfleet Implementation Framework would influence any decision made. The Development Manager replied that Cabinet’s resolution had made it clear that, when considering planning applications, primacy should be given to Dartford’s Local Plan and Supplementary Planning Documents where conflicts are identified.

 

  • Members expressed concern at the size of the proposed commercial area and noted how, during the development of Bluewater, it had been felt that there should only be one development of this size in north Kent. Members also agreed that changes of this scope should not be considered as ‘minor amendments’ and said that if a change of this size were required it should be considered as a new planning application.

 

  • Members gave their full support for the recommendations in the report and, having noted that Dartford had a representative on EDC’s Board, asked that Cabinet do everything possible to discourage acceptance of the proposed variations.

SD (ES)

9.

Rail Consultations and Future Infrastructure pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Summary:

 

This report is produced in response to two related public consultations (Kent Area Route Study by Network Rail and South Eastern Rail Franchise by the Department for Transport) on the train network and rail services in the Borough.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That the Council’s response to the Kent Area Route Study by Network Rail, as set out in the Appendix A to the report, be endorsed.

 

2.         That the Council’s response to the South Eastern Rail Franchise by the Department for Transport, as set out in the Appendix B to the report, be endorsed.

 

3.         That progress with partners in exploring a potential Crossrail extension east of Abbey Wood set out in paragraphs 3.7-3.9 of the report, be noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report presented the proposed responses to two related public consultations (Kent Area Route Study by Network Rail and South Eastern Rail Franchise by the Department for Transport) on the train network and rail services in the Borough.

 

  • The Policy Planner noted how the two consultation responses had highlighted similar issues and explained how the Network Rail consultation was focused on changes that might be required to the track, signals and infrastructure to meet long term demands on the lines running into the London termini, whereas the Department of Transport consultation was looking for views on the operator franchise and the identification of areas where improvements or changes would be beneficial. She then noted how Dartford station was considered to be a key hub and said that slow journey times, timetable delays, punctuality, overcrowding, fare anomalies and the shared use of the track for passenger and freight transport had been identified as key issues in the responses. She also referred to future investments that were already planned (i.e. Thameslink and Crossrail) and noted how they would deliver benefits for Dartford passengers. She also noted the co-operative work being carried out with partners in London and north Kent to encourage the extension of Crossrail to Dartford and beyond and noted how this would help address peak time capacity issues and reduce journey times.

 

  • The Policy Planner then referred to the South Eastern Franchise and said that the operator chosen to deliver the service should be aiming to provide a high quality and cost effective alternative to car travel. She said that when considering future capacity requirements all planned new development in the area, together with the proposed construction of a theme park, should be taken into consideration, as it was unclear if these factors had been taken into account. She added that ways to improve journey times needed to be investigated and that the current London destination choices should be kept. She also highlighted the need for Network Rail and the Department of Transport to co-ordinate their approach and work together to understand and address the issues that exist currently, and those that will arise in the future.

 

  • Members welcomed the comprehensive responses that had been proposed and expressed concern at the fact that the report had noted that action to address overcrowding issues at Dartford station may not occur until 2044. It was also suggested that some of the problems currently being experienced by passengers using Dartford station were being caused by the existing franchisee.

 

  • In response to a question on the extension of Crossrail to Dartford the Policy Planner confirmed that the co-operative approach being taken included the office of the Mayor of London, Transport for London, other local authorities and Kent County Council, and was looking to promote the benefits and growth opportunities that it would deliver to Dartford and other areas. She also noted that partners were considering future work including lobbying for the line’s extension.

 

SD (IS)

10.

Corporate Plan - Performance Indicators pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Summary:

 

This report provides the latest set of Corporate Plan performance indicators for quarter 4 of 2016-17.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Members note the contents of the Performance Indicators Monitoring Report attached at Appendix A.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

11.

Minutes of the Policy Overview Meeting held on 21 March 2017 pdf icon PDF 42 KB

Summary:

 

To present to Cabinet the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 21 March 2017.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 21 March 2017, be considered and noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.