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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:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors J Burrell and C S McLean.

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.       Parking Consultation: Longfield Ward

 

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

 

9.         Review of Discretionary Local Business Rates Relief Scheme

 

10.       National Non-Domestic Discretionary Rate Relief 2018/19

 

12.       Calendar of Meetings of the General Assembly of the Council, Cabinet, Committees and Boards

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.

Consultation by Mayor of London: Draft London Plan pdf icon PDF 161 KB

Summary:

 

1.         This report is produced in response to consultation on a new London Plan by the Mayor of London.

 

2.         This new London Plan has been drafted to introduce new strategic planning policies, including targets for increased house building, and policies regarding the relationship between development and infrastructure within Greater London and the surrounding ‘wider south east’ regions. 

 

Recommendation:

 

That a response be submitted by the Head of Regeneration in consultation with the Chairman of Development Control Board, based on the draft response set out in Appendix A to the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report was produced in response to a consultation on a new London Plan by the Mayor of London. This new London Plan had been drafted to introduce new strategic planning policies, including targets for increased house building, and policies related to the relationship between development and infrastructure within Greater London and the surrounding ‘wider south east’ regions.

 

  • The Planning Policy Manager drew Members’ attention to the background behind the consultation and the fact that it will be used by individual London Boroughs to guide the production of their own Local Plans. He then noted how its content had implications for Dartford and referred to an annual summit, which was due to be held on the 26 January, where local authorities from the South East and Eastern regions of England would be able to raise concerns or formal queries.

 

  • The Planning Policy Manager then referred to the proposed response and noted how the need for more clarity on the cross boundary issues associated with policies SD2 and SD3 had been requested. He also noted the response to the Green Belt related policy (G2) and the fact that, as London Boroughs were being given no flexibility to de-designate Green Belt areas, and were being encouraged to support their extension, there may be implications for Green Belt areas outside of London if London is unable to meet its housing need. He then noted the objection that had been made to Policy H2 and the impact that the forced delivery of small development sites in Bexley could have on Dartford. He also noted the support that had been expressed for the extension of Crossrail but said that help would be required from the London Mayor to enable an extension to be delivered.

 

  • In response to a question the Planning Policy Manager confirmed that the consultation was open for anybody to respond.

 

  • Members expressed full support for the objection to Policy H2 due to the pressures being places on local schools by developments in Bexley. Reference was then made to the response to the Green Belt related Policy and the fact that Dartford was already committed to protecting its areas of Green Belt. The Planning Policy Manager replied that, although the London Mayor’s policy to protect London Green Belt land was laudable, as their projected level of housing delivery up to 2029 was 1000 less than that needed, and land for employment and industrial use was being retained, there may be an indirect effect on surrounding authorities, who, as well as trying to meet their own housing need, may be required to make allowances for London’s need as well. He said that the policies developed in each area needed to work together and anticipated that the Planning Inspectorate would consider this as the London Plan is progressed. It was suggested that the response be enhanced to say that the ability for an authority to deliver housing beyond its own identified need should be subject to the limitations and conditions defined in its own Local  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

SD (ES)

8.

Draft Better Care Fund Discretionary Assistance Policy pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Summary:

 

1.         The Better Care Fund allows discretionary financial assistance to be provided by a local authority to enable residents to leave hospital and return to a suitable home environment; thus reducing bed blocking.

 

2.         This Council is in receipt of Better Care Funding from Government to enable it to assist vulnerable client groups.

 

3.         This report provides examples of real life scenarios, and proposes a draft Better Care Fund Discretionary Assistance Policy that will assist this client group, by allowing the Council to fully utilise its Better Care Funding. The Policy is also aimed at preventing admissions/readmissions to hospital by providing funding to eligible households for, for example, essential repairs or heating installation, which, if not carried out, may have a detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That the draft Better Care Fund Discretionary Assistance Policy, attached at Appendix A to this report, be approved.

 

2.         That for the reasons outlined in paragraph 3.3. of the report, Cabinet approve an increase in the current Discretionary Assistance Grant from £5000 to £7500 as the maximum assistance available per approved application.

 

3.         That the Strategic Director (External Services) be granted delegated authority to make in-year amendments to the approved Better Care Fund Discretionary Assistance Policy, as necessary.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Better Care Fund allows discretionary financial assistance to be provided by a local authority to enable residents to leave hospital and return to a suitable home environment; thus reducing bed blocking. Dartford Borough Council receives Better Care Funding from the Government to enable it to assist vulnerable client groups. This report provided examples of real life scenarios, and proposed a draft Better Care Fund Discretionary Assistance Policy that will assist this client group, by allowing the Council to fully utilise its Better Care Funding. The Policy was also aimed at preventing admissions/readmissions to hospital by providing funding to eligible households for, for example, essential repairs or heating installation, which, if not carried out, may have a detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing.

 

  • The Head of Housing noted how an associated report on Better Care Funding had been considered by Cabinet in July 2017 and that any investments made as a result of this funding would lead to future savings. He said that they were looking to work with health care stakeholders to establish community contacts which would enable the available funding to be spent. He then said that this report specifically proposed a Discretionary Assistance Policy and asked that, as it had been found that the current £5,000 grant limit was not sufficient for much of the specialised work that might be required, the maximum grant level be increased to £7,500. He said that, as the existing spending rules had been deemed to be too prescriptive, this more flexible policy would enable more cases to be addressed and, following the spending of relatively small amounts, allow Dartford based residents to be released from, or kept out of, hospital.

 

  • Members welcomed the new Policy and asked how eligible cases are made known to the Council. The Head of Housing replied that 40% of referrals come from Darent Valley Hospital and said that they had also been working with pharmacy groups and GPs to make them aware of the funding available to support those requiring financial assistance to enable them to remain living in their own home. Members suggested that health care facilities outside of Dartford, which may be used by Dartford residents, such as the Minor Injuries Unit in Gravesham, also be made aware of the scheme.

 

  • In response to a question related to improvements that are deemed to be a landlord’s responsibility the Head of Housing replied that the Council could not force a private landlord to carry out this work and that it had to be careful in case increased pressure might put the tenancy at risk. In the case of the Council acting as landlord he said that the Disabled Adaptations budget could be used to address work that was outside the scope of the Better Care Fund.

 

  • Members questioned the £7,500 maximum level that had been requested and asked whether authorisation could be delegated to the Strategic Director (External Services) to approve higher spending in exceptional circumstances. The Head of Housing replied that they had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

SD (IS)

9.

Review of Discretionary Local Business Rates Relief Scheme pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Summary:

 

To review and approve changes to Dartford’s Discretionary Local Business Rates Relief Scheme.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That Members approve the proposed increase to the maximum percentage relief available for 2017/18 to 2020/21 and allow this to be retrospectively applied to existing recipients.

 

2.         That Members approve the proposal to make automatic awards for 2017/18 (subject to a State Aid declaration) to potential recipients who have not yet claimed.

 

3.         That Members approve the proposal to apply relief automatically for 2018/19 to 2020/21 (subject to a State Aid declaration).

 

4.         That delegated authority be given to the S151 officer to amend the scheme in future years to ensure relief is properly targeted and fully utilised for the benefit of ratepayers.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (IS)

10.

National Non-Domestic Discretionary Rate Relief 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Summary:

 

To consider granting discretionary rate relief to ratepayers who have made applications in respect of 2018/19.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the level of discretionary rate relief for 2018/19 for the organisations listed in Appendix A to the report be determined in accordance with the detailed recommendations set out in that Appendix.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.

SD (ES)

11.

Parking Consultation: Longfield Ward pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Summary:

 

1.          Some of the residents of Kent Road and Essex Road, Longfield ward reported numerous parking related issues. The Council has undertaken a number of consultations on proposals for managing the reported issues.

 

2.          This report summarises the results of the statutory traffic regulation order consultation undertaken from 21st September to 18th October 2017.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.          That the making of the traffic regulation order in accordance with paragraph 3.6 of the report and the implementation of the scheme, be approved.

 

2.          That households within the consultation areas be informed of the consultation outcome and the applicable installations, subject to the traffic regulation order making process.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Some of the residents of Kent Road and Essex Road, Longfield had reported numerous parking related issues. The Council therefore undertook a number of consultations on proposals for managing the reported issues culminating in a statutory consultation. This report summarised the results of the statutory consultation and asked that a number of associated traffic regulation orders be approved for implementation.

 

  • The Principal Transport Planner explained the process that had been followed during consideration of the requests for parking controls that Councillors had received from residents. He said that an informal workshop had been held to discuss various options before the statutory consultation exercise had been carried out. He then outlined the parking controls that were being proposed and noted how, although the implementation of parking controls in each road usually required majority support of all households in that road, some discretion had been used when interpreting the consultation results received as many households in the area being consulted already had access to off-road parking. He also added that the proposed controls were aiming to address those who park and then commute to London and, in response to comments received through the consultation, were therefore only being applied from Monday to Friday.

 

  • One Member referred to the process that needs to be followed when establishing parking controls and said that a clear pathway and guidance was needed. He noted how, following the submission of a petition to the Joint Transportation Board, a previous scheme had only been progressed when residents had made a direct approach to the Leader and questioned whether there might have been a conflict of interest in this case when deciding whether to progress this scheme as these parking controls were located within the Leader’s ward. The Principal Transport Planner confirmed that there was a documented process and said that it had been included as part of the Parking Services Annual Report when it had last been presented to Members. He also noted how a previous decision to cease the introduction of new parking controls had been suspended due to resident demand and that each parking management request is considered on a case by case basis to see if the concerns being raised are justified, and added that an informal online consultation is carried out and assessed before deciding whether to carry out an associated statutory consultation exercise.

 

  • In response to a question on the budget required to introduce new parking management schemes the Principal Transport Planner confirmed that it was included within the overall highways budget. The Strategic Director (External Services) added that resourcing limitations meant that the number of schemes that could be introduced each year had for some time been limited to two and that any requests received are added to a list for future consideration. She also noted how resourcing priority was now being given to the Town Centre regeneration project which would further limit the Council’s ability to introduce new parking management schemes in other parts of the Borough.

 

SD (IS)

12.

Calendar of Meetings of the General Assembly of the Council, Cabinet, Committees and Boards pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Summary:

 

To seek Members’ views on the proposed calendar of meetings for 2018/19 and the provisional calendar for 2019/20.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the proposed calendar of meetings for 2018/19 and the provisional calendar of meetings for 2019/20 be submitted to the Annual Meeting of the Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members endorsed the recommendations in the report.