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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 his first meeting as Chairman and noted the appointment of Councillor Perfitt as the Panel’s new Vice-Chairman. He then went on to thank the Leader for his appointment as Chairman and confirmed that he was pleased to have been nominated.

 

Members offered their congratulations to the new Chairman and Vice-Chairman.

 

The Chairman also wished to pass the Panel’s thanks to Councillor Armitt for his successful role as Chairman at previous meetings.

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors I D Armitt, P Kelly, J A Hayes and D Page.

 

Members were advised that Councillor D Page was unwell and asked that the Panel’s best wishes for a swift recovery be sent to her.

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 the following agenda item had been drawn down for debate:

 

11.      100% Business Rates Retention Pilot 2018/19

 

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

 

10.      Acceptance of Tender - Estate Cleaning and Window Cleaning Contract

 

12.      Revenue Budget Monitoring 2017/18

 

13.      Capital Budget Monitoring 2017/2018

 

14.      Treasury Management Mid-Year Report 2017/2018

 

15.      Report of Delegated Action Taken Under Standing Order 38: Appointment of a New Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Cabinet Advisory Panel B and Appointments to the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust Stakeholder Council

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 (IS)

7.

Land at Stone Lodge - Disposal of Land for 8 Form Entry Secondary School and Update on Development Proposals pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Key Decision

 

The disposal of part of the Stone Lodge site is of such significance to the locality that the Managing Director is of the opinion that it should be treated as a key decision.

 

Summary:

 

To update Members on the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government revised proposals to proceed with the purchase of part of the land at Stone Lodge for an 8 form entry secondary school, to seek authority to agree the revised terms and to update Members on the other development proposals.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That, having considered the Council’s Consultant Valuer’s report in confidential Appendix A, no less than 7.7 acres of land at Stone Lodge (as shown on the Master Plan at Appendix B) be disposed of to the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government for an 8 form entry secondary school, at potentially less than best consideration, on the terms set out in confidential Appendix A.

 

2.         That the Managing Director be granted delegated authority to agree the exact size of the land take for the 8 form entry secondary school and, if necessary, make amendment(s) to the Master Plan.

 

3.         That the Managing Director, in consultation with the Head of Legal Services, be authorised to finalise the Heads of Terms and complete the transaction.

 

4.         That a report on the appropriation of the land at Stone Lodge for planning purposes be presented to a future Cabinet meeting.

 

5.         That Members receive a presentation on the development proposals at Stone Lodge.

 

6.         That the Managing Director be authorised to submit a hybrid planning application for the site, as set out in para 3.17 of the report, comprising an outline application for the site as a whole and incorporating a detailed application for a rugby club and associated playing pitches.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report updated Members on the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government revised proposals to proceed with the purchase of part of the land at Stone Lodge for an 8 form entry secondary school and sought authority to agree the revised terms. It also updated Members on the other development proposals for the area.

 

  • The Heritage, Events and Projects Manager displayed a map of the Stone Lodge site and explained how meetings were still taking place to agree the exact locations of the various elements. He then referred to the siting of the proposed school in the south west corner and said that the technical issues associated with providing access from either Cotton Lane or London Road were still being assessed. He then drew Members attention to the two residential areas, one near to the existing Judo facility and one in the south east corner of the site, and said that independent access to these areas was being proposed. He then noted how the proposed rugby club site would be located to the north and said that later work would be undertaken to improve the areas of green space by introducing new paths and recreational areas.

 

  • The Heritage, Events and Projects Manager then noted the intention to submit a detailed planning application for the rugby club and an outline planning application for the whole site by the end of November and said that a public exhibition would also be held to gather resident feedback prior to their submission. He then said that the two power lines on the eastern side of the rugby club site were going to be buried underground. He also noted how the first playing pitch to be delivered would be a floodlit all-weather pitch and that the second pitch, to be constructed after the cables have been buried, was likely to be grass. He also showed pictures of the proposed rugby club building and said that it would have a room with views of the river and playing pitches available for community use on the first floor, and a club bar and changing facilities on the ground floor.

 

  • The Heritage, Events and Projects Manager then displayed a plan of the current proposals for the school site and said that ways to address the fact that a public right of way currently passed through part of the site were being considered. He also noted how the school building itself had been sited away from the residential area but said that the current plan would need to be revised following recent discussions, and that the revised versions should be made available for consideration in 6 to 8 weeks.

 

  • In response to a question the Heritage, Events and Projects Manager confirmed that the Judo Club were aware of, and had welcomed the proposals, and had helped by contributing some land for use as a car park.

 

SD (ES)

8.

Refuse Collection and Street Cleansing Contract pdf icon PDF 87 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 seek approval to the retendering of the Council’s contract for refuse collection and street cleansing services post June 2019.

 

Recommendations:

 

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

 

2.         That, following completion of the procurement process, a further report be submitted seeking approval to award the new contract.

Minutes:

This report sought approval to the retendering of the Council’s contract for refuse collection and street cleansing services post June 2019.

 

  • The Waste and Parks Manager talked Members through the Council’s current waste, recycling and street cleansing responsibilities and noted how the new contract would be worth approximately £3m a year and would run for 8 years with an option to extend for a further 8 years. He then noted how services vary between local authorities and said that the current service being provided in Dartford delivered approximately 25% of all rubbish to be recycled, 1% to be sent to landfill, and the remainder sent for incineration. He then noted that if the current arrangements were continued then these figures were unlikely to change. He then said that the need for a new contract gave the Council an opportunity to change the collection arrangements and referred to the Nominal Optimal Method (NOM) being used by other local authorities, which delivered a weekly food waste and fortnightly garden, recycling and general waste collection service. He said that the NOM service option would enable the Council to achieve a recycling rate of around 45%. The Waste and Parks Manager then referred to the associated costs and said that by combining the tendering process with other local authorities (in Dartford’s case this would be with Tonbridge & Malling and Tunbridge Wells Borough Councils) cost reductions could be achieved, and that the resulting overall contract value of approximately £80m would make it attractive to bidders. He also noted the intention to consult further with residents on the services that they would prefer to receive. He then advised that this report only gave authority to progress with the tendering process and said that the final decision relating to the services that will be provided by the new contract would be contained in a future report.

 

  • In response to a question on associated timescales the Waste and Parks Manager anticipated that the request for tenders would be issued in December 2017 with responses being received back by March/April 2018. These would then be assessed and the associated decision on the types of service to be provided would be made by May/June 2018, which would allow a year for the new service to be prepared and put in place.

 

  • Members noted how those local authorities that had been proposed as tendering partners were not those who have boundaries with Dartford. The Waste and Parks Manager explained that Gravesham and Sevenoaks had originally been part of the group but had since dropped out and had decided to arrange their waste collection services independently. He then said that the sharing of a border was not a requirement for two or more local authorities to tender together and noted how, by combining their needs, specialised vehicles, such as those designed for the collection of clinical waste or the sweeping of wide roads, could be purchased and shared between authorities in a cost effective way.

 

SD (ES)

9.

Response to Government Consultation: "Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places" pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Summary:

 

1.         This report is produced in response to the government’s consultation on the document ‘Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places’ (September 2017).

 

2.         The main proposals: a new method for calculating local housing figures, and mandatory Statement(s) of Common Ground between authorities, have potentially significant implications for the Council and these are set out in the report.

 

3.         The recommended response to the consultation questions is set out at Appendix A.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That Appendix A to the report be submitted to government as the Council’s official response to the consultation.

 

2.         That Cabinet note the proposed introduction in 2018 of mandatory Statement(s) of Common Ground, to be negotiated with other Local Planning Authorities (see paragraphs 4.10-4.19 of the report).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report proposed a response to the Government’s consultation on the document ‘Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places’ (September 2017). The potentially significant implications for the Council of the proposed new method for calculating local housing figures, and the creation of mandatory Statement(s) of Common Ground between authorities, were set out in the report.

 

  • The Planning Policy Manager first referred to the standardised approach that had been used to assess housing need for each district and said that there was no immediate concern for Dartford as the figures presented were within the levels specified in Dartford’s current Local Plan. He did however voice concern that the levels currently defined could increase in the future and that any change, up or down, would likely impact targets defined in the Local Plan. He then noted how the Government still wanted Local Plan delivery targets to meet national housing need and said that this may require house building requirements to be redistributed because of relevant constraints in certain areas. He said that the proposed way of addressing this would be to introduce negotiated ‘Statements of Common Ground’ across Housing Market Areas and noted the increased levels of risk and complexity that this would introduce as Dartford begins to prepare the next version of its Local Plan, which is due to start  this winter.

 

  • The Planning Policy Manager said that the new proposals could have simplified things further but noted that calculation changes, the lack of geographic guidance, and the fact that the Local Plans in each local authority area can be at differing stages of development, added to the complexity. He then said that there were no incentives for those who encourage housing growth and development, and noted that the source of associated funding for the development of the infrastructure required to support the new housing being delivered was unclear. He also noted that there were no proposals in the consultation that would allow Councils to penalise those developers who are granted planning permission but then fail to start development.

 

  • The Planning Policy Manager said that, overall, the consultation response welcomed the aim of simplification but expressed concern over the housing demand methodology. He said that extra guidance on the ‘Duty to Co-operate’ was welcome but that mandatory requirements that lead to delay and a potential increase in bureaucracy were not.

 

  • Members referred to the pressures that could be put on those developers who fail to develop areas that have been given planning permission and suggested that the renewal of permission once the period for development has expired should be reconsidered, and that the response should suggest that developers have to resubmit their application from the start in order to regain planning approval. The Planning Policy Manager said that this had not been included and the extent to which this would have a major impact or not would need consideration. He also noted that the ability to charge Council Tax on dwellings that have been given planning permission, but have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

SD (ES)

10.

Acceptance of Tender - Estate Cleaning and Window Cleaning Contract pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Summary:

 

To advise Members of the outcome of the tender for the Housing Estate Cleaning & Window Cleaning Contract to deliver an estate cleaning and window cleaning service to the Council’s housing stock and to seek approval to enter into a contract with the successful tenderer.

 

Recommendation:

           

That subject to the completion of the consultation in relation to s20 Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, and the OJEU standstill period that the Housing Estate and Window Cleaning Contract be awarded to ‘Company A’, referred to in Appendix A to the report, in the exempt part of the agenda for a period of 3 years from 01/01/2018, with the option to extend the contract for a further two years.

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

11.

100% Business Rates Retention Pilot 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Summary:

 

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has invited local authorities to participate in a pilot of 100% Business Rates Retention in 2018/19. The local authorities in Kent have worked together to develop a Kent Pilot proposal. This report asks Members to note that this pilot proposal has now been submitted which includes Dartford Borough Council.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Members note that a proposal has been submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government, to include Dartford Borough Council’s participation in the Kent wide 100% Business Rates Retention pilot for 2018/19.

Minutes:

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has invited local authorities to participate in a pilot of 100% Business Rates Retention in 2018/19. The local authorities in Kent have worked together to develop a Kent Pilot proposal. This report asked Members to note that this pilot proposal has now been submitted which includes Dartford Borough Council.

 

  • The Strategic Director (Internal Services) explained how the Government wished to run the pilot in a two tier area and that Kent’s bid had also included Medway Council and so would also give the Government the opportunity to see how the scheme worked for a Unitary authority. She then said that if Kent’s bid was successful there would be minimal risk to the Council as, under the safety net mechanism, any potential losses caused by reduced business rate income would reduce from 7.5% of baseline business rates income to 3% under the pilot scheme. She also pointed out that the Kent authorities had seen strong business rate growth over the last few years and it would therefore require a significant setback to offset this growth. She then referred to the rewards that would be delivered by the pilot and said that, based on modelling, it would result in approximately £18m being kept for use in Kent rather than being passed to the Treasury. She said that 70% of this would put into a financial sustainability fund and shared between the local authorities in the pilot and that Dartford, where there is significant business and population growth, was predicted to receive £460,000 from this fund. The remaining 30% would be split between the Kent clusters with the North Kent cluster, which includes Dartford, receiving £3m to support housing and commercial growth. She then noted how Kent’s bid had been one of a number that had been submitted and said that they now had to wait to see if their bid had been successful.

 

  • Members asked whether benchmarks had been set to enable the Government to assess whether the pilot had been successful or not and whether the Council would be setting its own parameters to gauge the impact that the pilot was having on the area. The Strategic Director (Internal Services) replied that the Government had specified criteria that they were expecting to be met from the pilot and that the impact of the pilot could be fed back to Members. She said that the aim of the pilot was to encourage sustainability and economic growth and would initially be run for 1 year, with an option for it to be extended by the Government. She then noted how the Government’s original plans for business rate changes had been suspended following the General Election but said that the results from this pilot would feed in to future 100% business rate retention related decisions.

 

  • In response to a question the Strategic Director (Internal Services) confirmed that the ability to collect business rates in other parts of Kent was as good as that being achieved in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

SD (IS)

12.

Revenue Budget Monitoring 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 46 KB

Summary:

 

To update Members on financial performance against the 2017/18 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:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

13.

Capital Budget Monitoring 2017/2018 pdf icon PDF 74 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.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         Progress made to date on the 2017/18 Capital Programme, be noted.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

14.

Treasury Management Mid-Year Report 2017/2018 pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Summary:

 

1.         To inform Cabinet of the investment performance of the Council’s internally and externally managed funds to 30 September 2017.

 

2.         To update the Treasury Indicators for the six months to 30 September 2017.

 

Recommendations:

 

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

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

15.

Report of Delegated Action Taken Under Standing Order 38: Appointment of a New Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Cabinet Advisory Panel B and Appointments to the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust Stakeholder Council pdf icon PDF 48 KB

Summary:

 

To report to Cabinet, in accordance with the requirements of Standing Order 38(2)(b), the delegated action taken under Standing Order 38(2)(a) by the Managing Director, in consultation with the Cabinet Chairman, relating to the appointment of a new Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Cabinet Advisory Panel B and appointments to the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust Stakeholder Council.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Cabinet note the action taken by the Managing Director, in consultation with the Cabinet Chairman, under Standing Order 38(2)(a), relating to the appointment of a new Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Cabinet Advisory Panel B and appointments to the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust Stakeholder Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

16.

Land at Stone Lodge - Disposal of Land for 8 Form Entry Secondary School and Update on Development Proposals - Exempt Appendix A
(Exempt Category SO 46 (1) (b) Annex 1 Paragraph 3)

Minutes:

Members noted the contents of this Appendix.

SD (ES)

17.

Acceptance of Tender - Estate Cleaning and Window Cleaning Contract - Exempt Appendix A
(Exempt Category SO 46 (1) (b) Annex 1 Paragraph 3)

Minutes:

Members noted the contents of this Appendix.