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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 R M Currans, P Kelly, D J Mote, D Page and R S L Perfitt.

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 items had been drawn down for debate:

 

10.      Parking Pay and Display Machine Replacement

 

11.      Health Hub at the Co-op Site

 

12.      Update on Progress Made Towards Implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

 

13.      Changes to the Delivery of Supported Housing Services for Dartford Borough Council Tenants over 55 Years Old

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.

Dartford Town Centre Transport and Public Realm Improvements pdf icon PDF 4 MB

Summary:

 

1.           Further to the Cabinet resolutions on 26 January 2017, this report updates on progress and defines the scope of the Dartford Town Centre Transport and public realm improvements and the concept designs developed accordingly.

 

2.           This report seeks approval to progress the concept designs to detailed design and delivery.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.           That the issues considered and the factors influencing the scope of the project and the development of the concept designs, be noted.

 

2.           That the scope and phasing of the ‘Dartford Town Centre Transport and Public Realm improvements’ project enabling the detailed design and delivery of each element referred to in paragraphs 3.6 to 3.14 of the report, be approved.

 

3.           That Cabinet grant delegated authority to the Managing Director in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Head of Regeneration to approve the detailed design of the parking arrangement in Market Street (paragraph 3.17 of the report).

 

4.           That Cabinet grant delegated authority to the Managing Director in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Head of Regeneration, for the approval of detailed design of the scheme (paragraphs 3.19 and 3.30 of the report).

 

5.           That Cabinet note the proposed appointment of Balfour Beatty via the Scape Procure Framework for the delivery of this project (paragraph 3.34 of the report).

Minutes:

Further to the Cabinet resolutions agreed on 26 January 2017, this report provided an update on progress and defined the scope of the Dartford Town Centre Transport and public realm improvements, and presented the concept designs that had been developed. The report also sought approval to progress the concept designs to detailed design and delivery.

 

  • The Head of Regeneration introduced the report and drew Members’ attention to the Town Centre areas that would be enhanced by this project. She described the pedestrian square that was to be created in the Market Street and noted the improved pedestrian and cycling connections that would be created with Central Park and the Acacia site. She also noted how the project would deliver traffic calming measures, which would result in a slowing down of traffic in the Town Centre and an improved environment for shoppers. She then talked Members though the various road junction and traffic routing improvements that were planned and said that this would reduce the number of cars that would need to pass through Market Street and make journeys easier. She referred to traffic modelling that had been carried out but said that there was more detailed analysis still to be done.

 

  • The Head of Regeneration then referred to the parking options that were being considered and noted how 110 new spaces were being created on the Acacia site. She said that parking options at Market Street were still being reviewed as there was a need to consider pedestrian safety, enforcement and disabled parking requirements.

 

  • The Head of Regeneration then advised that 1,400 people had attended the recently held public consultation on the proposed improvements, with the majority of those who had attended expressing support for the proposals. She noted that the consultation exercise had only just ended and that full feedback from the consultation was not yet available. She said that a future report would be presented to Cabinet with the full results and would include responses to the issues raised and questions asked. She said that grant funding requirements meant that the proposals now needed to be progressed quickly and referred to the timetable that had been included as an Appendix to the report. She said that further reports would be prepared for Cabinet as the project progressed.

 

  • Members welcomed the proposed design and asked whether the paving design chosen could be continued through the High Street to provide a uniform finish. The Head of Regeneration replied that it would be good to provide a uniform finish but said that the current funding would not cover this.  She said that the criteria for this project focused on transport improvements and that an alternative funding source were being explored to provide for a revamp of the High Street was to be included.

 

  • In response to a question on the £200,000 of Council money that had already been spent on design consultancy and surveys the Head of Regeneration confirmed that this would be returned to the Council’s budget when the external  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

SD (ES)

8.

New National Planning Policy Consultations pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Summary:

 

1.         This report is produced in response to the latest government planning policy consultations. Two specific consultation documents have been issued: a new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), and a document on developer contributions.

 

2.         The proposed NPPF largely reflects changes to the existing NPPF drawing from previous consultations on which the Council has responded. The developer contributions document is a first consultation but largely concerns more technical matters.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That the Council’s response to the National Planning Policy Framework Consultation as set out in Appendix A to the report, be endorsed.

 

2.         That the Council’s response to ‘Supporting Delivery through Developer Contributions’, be based on para. 5 of the report and that the Head of Regeneration be granted delegated authority, in consultation with the Chairman of the Development Control Board, to approve the final response.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report was produced in response to the latest government planning policy consultations. Two specific consultation documents have been issued: a new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), and a document on developer contributions. The proposed NPPF largely reflects changes to the existing NPPF drawing from previous consultations on which the Council has responded. The developer contributions document is a first consultation but largely concerns more technical matters.

 

  • The Planning Policy Manager described the scope of the two consultations and said that the NPPF was a full text primary document to be used when preparing Local Plans, whereas the developer contributions document was at an earlier stage of development. He then noted how, although some changes had been made, the response to the NPPF raised some similar issues to those that had been fed back in consultation responses to previous versions of the document. He then advised Members that an amendment had been made to the second sentence of the response to question 2 which now read “The NPPF as proposed is unlikely to achieve the social and environmental dimension of sustainability as much as the economic aspects of sustainability”.

 

  • The Planning Policy Manager then referred to the developer contributions document and said that it focused on technical issues and the interrelationships between the current mechanisms available. With respect to the proposed response he said that land values should take account of the costs associated with the provision of supporting infrastructure and affordable housing to ensure that a development remains viable for a developer. He also noted how any contribution system should be kept as simple as possible and said that the practical aspects of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) could be improved. He also noted the need to increase transparency so that the scope of developer contributions are made clear. He said that the ideas contained in the document were logical but also needed to be workable.

 

  • In response to a question on exception sites the Planning Policy Manager said that the glossary defined an exception site as “A site that provides entry level homes suitable for first time buyers (or equivalent, for those looking to rent)”. He noted that exception sites would not be a common form of housing and said that it was one of a range of housing products that Government was promoting.

 

  • Reference was then made to viability and need to ensure that developers are unable to use this as a way of avoiding the delivery of supporting infrastructure or affordable housing and it was asked whether national guidance on the requirement for a viability assessment would be useful. The Planning Policy Manager replied that viability can vary from site to site across the country and so guidance at a national level may not be useful, and added that this was an area that he felt would need to be trialled first. It was also noted how the detailed financial aspects of viability can be withheld. In response the Planning Policy Manager noted that the NPPF  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

SD (IS)

9.

Civic Centre Improvement Works pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Summary:

 

1.         This is a Key Decision as the Council will incur expenditure beyond the threshold agreed by the Council.

 

2.         This report seeks approval from Members to support the refurbishment needed to the Civic Centre and commence the procurement process needed to appoint contractors to deliver the works.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.         That the programme of works for the Civic Centre, as set out in the body of the report, be noted.

 

2.         That the Strategic Director (External Services) be authorised to appoint contractors to deliver the works, on terms to be agreed with the Head of Legal Services.

Minutes:

This report sought approval from Members to support the proposed refurbishment works programme to the Civic Centre and commence the procurement process needed to appoint contractors to deliver the works.

 

  • The Head of Housing drew Members attention to the various areas that were being addressed as part of this project and noted that the reference to ‘Anti-Lightening works’ in the Financial Implications should have read ‘Anti-Lightning’. He said that the investment that was being made in the building would lead to reduced running costs and increased flexibility, and would also make the building more attractive to outsiders who may wish to rent areas of the building that are not being used by the Council, which would deliver additional income for the Council. He said that the IT related improvements would be managed and delivered by the IT department and that all other changes would be managed by the Council’s Housing Maintenance department.

 

  • In response to a question relating to the timing of these works the Head of Housing said that the improvements had been delayed until absolutely necessary and described the actions that had previously been taken to keep the now replaced boilers working. The Strategic Director (External Services) also noted how there had been past proposals to redevelop the area which included the Civic Centre, which would have resulted in the Council being relocated to another building, and said that any money spent on the building at that stage could have potentially been wasted.

 

  • It was also suggested that the opportunity to install a webcam system be considered as part of the IT upgrade as this would increase transparency and allow more public access to the Council’s decision making process.

 

  • The Advisory Panel endorsed the report’s recommendations.

SD (ES)

10.

Parking Pay and Display Machine Replacement pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Summary:

 

This report seeks the approval of Members to support the replacement of 12 existing on-street and off-street Parking Metric pay and display machines with new IPS MS1 terminals / machines and the approve of funding to complete this programme of work.

 

Recommendation:

 

That in order to sustain appropriate and fit for purpose equipment to facilitate effective public parking provision in the Borough, the pay and display machines replacement programme, including budget provision, be approved.

Minutes:

This report sought the approval of Members to support the replacement of 12 existing on-street and off-street Parking Metric pay and display machines with new IPS MS1 terminals / machines and the approval of funding to complete this programme of work.

 

  • The Enforcement Manager explained how the existing machines were now out of date and unreliable and said that by the end of this exercise the proposed number of machines in operation throughout the Borough would have been reduced from 25 to 20. He said that, in addition to the 12 identified in the report, 6 others would be delivered as part of the Acacia regeneration project, and that 2 new machines had already been installed in the Town Car Park, Greenhithe and Priory Hill. He also noted how some parking areas were being reclassified as ‘permit only’ parking.

 

  • In response to a question the Enforcement Manager said that, in the same way as the existing machines, the new machines would not give change. He did however note that the new machines would allow contactless payments to be made.

 

  • Reference was then made to the consultation exercises that are being carried out in relation to the intention to introduce charging at car parks in Swanscombe and Highfield Road South and it was asked whether machines were being bought for these locations in advance of the consultation results being considered. The Enforcement Manager replied that the machines did not need to all be bought together and that they would only be purchased for those locations being consulted on if required. He said that the suppliers had the machines in stock and are able to install them at short notice.

 

  • The process that had been followed when selecting the preferred machine supplier was then discussed and the Enforcement Manager said that reliability, maintenance arrangements and the availability of spare parts had all been taken into account when making the decision. The Strategic Director (External Services) confirmed the importance of ongoing running costs when choosing a preferred supplier.

 

  • The Advisory Panel endorsed the report’s recommendations.

SD (IS)

11.

Health Hub at the Co-op Site pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Summary:

 

The Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley (DGD) Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is looking to develop and deliver a health hub on the Co-op site which will enhance existing health and wellbeing provision and meet the needs of both current and new populations. This report provides an update for Cabinet on the CCG’s proposals.

 

Recommendation:

 

Cabinet to note the report.

Minutes:

The Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley (DGS) Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is looking to develop and deliver a health hub on the Co-op site which will enhance existing health and wellbeing provision and meet the needs of both current and new populations. This report provided an update for Cabinet on the CCG’s proposals.

 

  • Reference was made to the last meeting of the Policy Overview Committee where the representative from the CCG had noted that they were operating under special measures due to the financial difficulties that were being experienced and it was suggested that this should have been highlighted in the report as it could have an impact on this project. It was also noted that, at the same Policy Overview meeting, the CCG representative had also said that he was hopeful that they would be taken out of special measures very soon.

 

  • Members noted the impact that the hub would have on the development partner’s original proposals and hoped that this would not cause them to raise viability issues, which could potentially have a negative influence on the proportion of affordable housing that would be delivered as part of the project.

 

  • With respect to the planning approval process the Strategic Director (External Services) said that once the funding issues had been worked through, and the site development requirements were known, she anticipated that an overall outline planning application for the whole site would be submitted for approval with subsequent detailed applications submitted as necessary.

 

  • The Advisory Panel endorsed the report’s recommendations.

SD (ES)

12.

Update on Progress Made Towards Implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Summary:

 

1.           The Homelessness Reduction 2017 comes into force in England on 3 April 2018. The new Act proposes several new duties on local housing authorities, many of which will require a change in working practices and additional resources.

 

2.           This report provides an update on measures that the Council’s Housing Service has made, and put in place, in preparation for the implementation of the Act.

 

Recommendation:

 

That Cabinet notes the contents of this report.

Minutes:

The Homelessness Reduction 2017 comes into force in England on 3 April 2018. The new Act proposes several new duties on local housing authorities, many of which will require a change in working practices and additional resources. This report provided an update on measures that the Council’s Housing Service has made, and put in place, in preparation for the implementation of the Act.

 

  • In response to a question on the process that would be put in place to regularly monitor and review the new working arrangements the Head of Housing described how the report focused on the practical steps that were being taken to address the anticipated increased workload that would be introduced by the new legislation. He said that although there had been no increase in the first week the situation would be reviewed after 3 months, and again after 6 months, and that the data gathered would be made available for reporting when required. He also noted how the 2 years’ worth of additional funding that was being made available had allowed additional resources to be added to the existing structure.

 

  • It was noted that the associated multi-agency “Homeless Hub” that was being established was not expected to be operational until July 2018. In response, the Head of Housing said that the preparations were well advanced and that he now anticipated that the Hub would be up and running in May 2018. He also noted how the name of the group had been changed to ‘Housing Solutions’ to emphasise its renewed focus and confirmed that the Housing Solutions Manager would be working with other Boroughs in the South East, which would enable the Council to benefit from shared data and experiences. He also described how the Hub would bring together all those agencies who have a role to play in preventing and addressing homelessness, which would allow them to work seamlessly and efficiently on each case.

 

  • The Advisory Panel endorsed the report’s recommendations.

SD (ES)

13.

Changes to the Delivery of Supported Housing Services for Dartford Borough Council Tenants over 55 Years Old pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Summary:

 

1.         Kent County Council (KCC) funding for the Council’s Supported Housing service ceased on 31st March 2018. Changes need to be made to the service in order to mitigate the impact on existing tenants.

 

2.         This report sets out new arrangements for the management of the Council’s supported housing schemes. 

 

Recommendation:

 

That Cabinet notes the contents of this report.

Minutes:

Kent County Council (KCC) funding for the Council’s Supported Housing service ceased on 31st March 2018. Changes need to be made to the service in order to mitigate the impact on existing tenants. This report set out new arrangements for the management of the Council’s supported housing schemes.

 

  • The Head of Housing described how the Supporting People Grant that is provided to KCC was no longer being made available to the Council, and said that this had resulted in the funding arrangement changes that had been described in the report. He said that although the support service was being redefined as intensive housing management the same levels of service and assistance would be available to tenants. He then noted how some of those in supported housing required no assistance and could therefore opt out of the service, whereas others, for example those living with dementia, would need to make use of the service because they require specific help. He said that consultation exercises had been carried out to make tenants aware of the changes and answer any concerns, and confirmed that the changes would have no financial impact on tenants. He also noted that a review of the service would be carried out in 6 months’ time to verify that it was operating successfully.

 

  • In response to a question on the impact that the funding change would have on tenants who are receiving housing benefit the Head of Housing again confirmed that every case had been checked and that no one would be required to pay more, and that many would in fact end up paying less. He also confirmed that the rent adjustments outlined in the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 did not apply to those in supported accommodation.

 

  • The Strategic Director (External Services) confirmed that the services that were being provided were necessary, especially for those who were frail or exhibited behavioural problems due to health conditions. She said that the support structure that was being put in place would enable the service to be targeted effectively.

 

  • The Advisory Panel endorsed the report’s recommendations and welcomed the fact that the assistance being provided to those in supported housing was continuing.