Decisions

Decisions published

03/01/2019 - Asset Management Plan Review - Third Stage - Rent Reviews & Lease Renewals for the Next 6 Months ref: 2979    Recommendations Approved

To appoint GEN2 Property Limited to undertake and complete the material rent reviews and lease renewals due in the next 6 months, including the updating of the UNIFORM database.

Decision maker: Managing Director

Decision published: 17/01/2019

Effective from: 03/01/2019

Decision:

To appoint GEN2 Property Limited to undertake and complete the material rent reviews and lease renewals due in the next 6 months, including the updating of the UNIFORM database.


06/12/2018 - Street Naming and Numbering - Eastern Quarry Phase 5, Parcel 1 ref: 2977    Recommendations Approved

Decision maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/01/2019

Effective from: 07/12/2018

Decision:

The Cabinet received a report which proposed a new road name for Phase 5 (Parcel I) of the Eastern Quarry development and described the consultation process and alternative names considered. It was proposed to name the road  Norman Lane in line with the approach taken to naming surrounding roads which had been named to reflect the link to the Norman built castle which once stood on the site.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the new road name for Phase 5 (Parcel I) of the Eastern Quarry development be approved as Norman Lane.

 

 


06/12/2018 - Financial Contributions to Parish and Town Councils ref: 2975    Recommendations Approved

Decision maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/01/2019

Effective from: 07/12/2018

Decision:

The Cabinet considered a report which detailed the proposed financial contributions to be made by the Council to Parish and Town Councils in 2019/20 and the continuation of the Capacity Building Fund.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.  That, subject to recommendation 2 below, the Council, under the provisions of Section 136 of the Local Government Act 1972, make the following contributions towards the expenses of Parish and Town Councils’ concurrent functions in 2019/20:

 

Bean

£666

Darenth

£1,464

Longfield

£1,225

Southfleet

£0

Stone

£4,151

Sutton at Hone and Hawley

£1,752

Swanscombe and Greenhithe

£5,440

Wilmington

£2,655

 

2.  That the contributions be made subject to the Parish and Town Councils submitting suitably analysed details of estimated net expenditure for the ensuing year by 31 January each year, and actual net expenditure for the preceding year no later than six months after the end of each financial year, in a format prescribed by the Council;

 

3.  That the payments be made in two equal instalments; the first on 30 April (or next working day) and the second, the latter of 30 September (or next working day) or seven days following receipt of the Parish or Town Councils’ 2018/19 accounts, certified as correct by their Clerks;

 

4.  That the Council continues to operate the Capacity Building Fund and makes a contribution of £40,000 into the fund in 2019/20;

 

5.  That the Managing Director, in consultation with the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council, be granted delegated authority to agree the Capacity Building Fund bidding criteria and approval of awards through a Grants Panel process; and

 

6.  That the Council make the following contributions to Parish and Town Councils to compensate for lost council tax income in local areas for the introduction of the council tax support scheme:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bean

£334

Darenth

£1,923

Longfield

£631

Southfleet

£198

Stone

£7,021

Sutton at Hone and Hawley

£1,737

Swanscombe and Greenhithe

£14,435

Wilmington

£1,317

 

 


06/12/2018 - Revenue Budget Monitoring 2018/19 - Projected Outturn and 2019/20 Budget Process ref: 2976    Recommendations Approved

Decision maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/01/2019

Effective from: 07/12/2018

Decision:

The Cabinet considered a report which presented the projected outturns on the General Fund and the Housing Revenue Account, detailed the reasons for significant variances and sought approval for the budget setting process for 2019/20.

 

The Cabinet had regard to the comments made at the Cabinet Advisory Panel.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the projected outturn position for the General Fund and the Housing Revenue Account be noted; and

 

2.    That the Managing Director be granted delegated authority to determine and publish the 2019/20 draft budget, in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Finance Portfolio Holder prior to the budget being presented to the General Assembly of the Council for approval in February 2019. 


06/12/2018 - Orchard Theatre Auditorium Refurbishment ref: 2974    Recommendations Approved

Decision maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/01/2019

Effective from: 07/12/2018

Decision:

The Cabinet received a report which detailed proposed refurbishment works to the Orchard Theatre auditorium in the summer of 2019. The theatre operator, HQ Theatres wished to improve the customer experience and generate increased revenue through the improvements which would include the replacement of all of the seats and increasing capacity by c.80 seats, redecoration, improving sightlines of the stage and enhancements to venue flexibility and accessibility. It was proposed that the Council, as the owner of the theatre, would undertake the works at a cost of around £490,000 as part of the capital Programme for 2019/20. Following completion of the works it was anticipated that additional revenue would arise and HQ Theatres had agreed to adjust their annual management fee downward to reflect this.

 

The Cabinet sought, and received, clarification on the likely level of the adjustment to the management fee and noted that the refurbishment would open up new performance opportunities and a greater likelihood of touring productions visiting the theatre.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the Cabinet approves the funding of the refurbishment of the auditorium at an approximate cost of £490,000 subject to funding for the works being agreed as part of the Capital Programme for 2019/20; and

 

2.  That the Cabinet agrees that the annual payment to HQ theatres be adjusted as a result of the Council undertaking the works.

 


06/12/2018 - Dartford Town Centre Transport and Public Realm Improvements ref: 2972    Recommendations Approved

Decision maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/01/2019

Effective from: 07/12/2018

Decision:

The Cabinet received an update on progress with the Dartford Town Centre transport and public realm improvements since the previous report to Cabinet on 12 April 2018. The report presented the finalised outline design for Market Street, summarised progress made to date on the project and set out the planned progression of the scheme design, consultation and engagement and installation works.

 

The Leader of the Council welcomed the recent progress on the proposed improvements but said that he wished to see what advice had been received from Transport for London in terms of bus routing and the location of bus stops, and whether these would be limited to stops in Home Gardens or could be located elsewhere in the town. He also said that arrangements for the Iceland car park needed to be finalised.  

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.     That the finalised outline design for Market Street, as shown at Appendix A to the report, be agreed as the basis for developing the detailed design for the Market Street Scheme, with delegated authority granted to the Managing Director in liaison with the Leader of the Council to agree the detailed design;

 

2.     That Officers continue to liaise with bus operators to identify the most appropriate arrangement for bus stop provision;

 

3.     That the Cabinet notes the proposed appointment of Amey via the KCC Framework to carry out the construction works for the Market Street Scheme; and

 

4.     That the High Street area be added to the scope of the project, with Officers seeking to identify appropriate funding to this additional element. In the event that insufficient funding is identified, that delegated authority be granted to the Managing Director, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, to meet any funding shortfall from the Council’s earmarked reserves.

 

 


06/12/2018 - Local Plan Review - Progress ref: 2973    Recommendations Approved

Decision maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/01/2019

Effective from: 07/12/2018

Decision:

The Cabinet considered the work being undertaken to prepare a revised Local Plan. The Council completed the first stage in this process in July 2018 with a consultation on ‘Strategic Issues’ and the report detailed the outcomes of the consultation and associated developments that would impact on how the Local Plan and further consultations were taken forward. Since the last report to Cabinet in May 2018 the Government had published several new policies including the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which would impact on Local Plans  by increasing the presumption in favour of sustainable development, requiring Strategic policies to plan 15 years ahead from their implementation date and that Statements of Common Ground should be agreed with other bodies and local authorities in order to justify Local Plans that cover an individual local authority. The NPPF would be a central consideration in preparing the Local Plan. Since May the Council had also adopted the Framework Supplementary Planning Document for Dartford Town Centre which would help to deliver the aspirations of the current Local Plan and stimulate further opportunities for investment in the town. The Thames Estuary Growth Commission had also reported in the summer with its “2050 Vision” which included a medical campus at central Ebbsfleet and the extension of Crossrail 1 eastwards from Abbey Wood. The Council and its strategic partners (including London Borough of Bexley and the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation) had prepared a Strategic Outline Business Case in support of a full examination of the potential extension of Crossrail to Dartford/Ebbsfleet.

 

The report detailed the principal outcomes of the Local Plan ‘Strategic Issues’ Consultation. There had been strong support for continuing focus on development in the north of the Borough to protect the Green Belt and support regeneration of the urban area including Dartford Town Centre. The high level strategy for the overall distribution of development in Dartford had also been broadly accepted as was the pressing requirement to plan for a range of transport improvements. The consultation also suggested a need to confirm the future approach to a number of key themes including the scope of the content of the Local Plan, the approach to parts of the north of the Borough where development was not occurring as planned or where new proposals were coming forward, partnership working and funding for infrastructure and achieving efficient use of land in the local context. Responses to the consultation from the London Borough of Bexley and Sevenoaks and Gravesham Councils were also reported.  Moving forward it was clear that further technical evidence would be needed to support Local Plans and work was being undertaken to develop a suitable evidence base. The Council was also refreshing its Brownfield Land Register and its Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA). The next stages in the development of the Local Plan, including further public consultation in summer 2019 and early 2020 were outlined.

 

The Leader of the Council sought clarification on whether certain SHLAA sites, which were clearly contrary to the Council’s policy of not permitting development on ‘green belt’ land, could be rejected now. The Head of Regeneration explained that in view of Government guidance the assessment of SHLAA sites had to be undertaken through a robust process. It was not possible to eliminate Green Belt sites at this stage before this assessment had been carried out.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the responses to the Strategic Issues Local Plan consultation, including summaries at paragraphs 4.2 and 4.3 and Appendix A to the report, be used to inform the next stage in the preparation of the Local Plan;

 

2.  That the Local Plan evidence base position, summarised at paragraphs 5.1 to 6.5 in the report, including ongoing technical work for the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) refresh be used to inform the next stage in the preparation of the Local Plan; and

 

3.  That the Council’s Five Year Housing Land Supply detailed in Appendix B to the report be approved for publication.


06/12/2018 - New Build Council Housing Project - Update ref: 2970    Recommendations Approved

Decision maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/01/2019

Effective from: 07/12/2018

Decision:

The Cabinet received an update on progress made towards the Council’s current and future new build housing projects. Good progress was noted on the second phase of the project at Coleridge Road where the first phase of the project (8 units) would be handed over in December 2018 followed by the remaining units between January and April 2019 in accordance with the lettings plan agreed by the Cabinet in September. The development of six one bedroom units for rent on the former cash office at Temple Hill Square was also due for completion by summer 2019. Details of four potential new build sites for inclusion in phase 3 of the project were also reported, although these could be subject to change. The next stage of the process would be the detailed design of the sites and to seek planning permission. It was expected that the proposed plans would be submitted in early 2019.

 

The Cabinet welcomed these developments and looked forward to the next stages in the building programme which would seek to expand into different areas of the Borough. The quality of the buildings was praised and it was felt that this was a major benefit for Council tenants.

 

The Cabinet was also advised that the family of the late Councillor John Muckle had agreed to the building at the former cash office at Temple Hill being named in his honour.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the Cabinet notes the contents of the report;

 

2.  That the Cabinet approves the progression of the proposed new build sites as detailed in the report; and

 

3.  That delegated authority be granted to the Managing Director, in consultation with the Housing Portfolio Holder, to award a contract to the successful tenderer and to progress the construction phase of the projects.

 

 


06/12/2018 - Joydens Wood Community Centre - Lease Surrender, Grant of a New Lease and Grant Funding ref: 2971    Recommendations Approved

Decision maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/01/2019

Effective from: 07/12/2018

Decision:

The Cabinet considered a report which proposed to provide grant funding to the Joydens Wood Residents’ Community Association to enable it to continue to provide valuable community services subject to the Association entering into a Service Level Agreement with the Council. The Association had approached the Council with a view to extending its current 20-year lease of the Community Centre, which was due to expire in December 2025, by 13 years to provide a term of 20 years in order for it to be able to secure funding for future plans.  The Council’s Consultant Valuer had advised that the best way to achieve this was for the current lease to be surrendered and for a new 20-year lease to be granted on the basis outlined in the report.

 

The Cabinet welcomed the work undertaken by the Residents’ Community Association and was informed that the Association were happy with the new lease and service level agreement.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.  That, subject to the Joydens Wood Residents’ Community Association agreeing to entering into a Service level Agreement with the Council, on terms to be agreed by the Consultant Valuer, the Council grant funds the Association the sum of £7,300 (seven thousand three hundred pounds) per annum, reviewable annually, in accordance with the Service Level Agreement; and

 

2.  That, subject to para. 2.1 of the report and for the reasons outlined in the body of the report, the Council agrees to the surrender of the current lease to the Joydens Wood Residents’ Community Association and that a new 20 year lease be granted, at an annual rent of £8,800 (eight thousand eight hundred pounds), on terms to be agreed by the Consultant Valuer in consultation with the Head of Legal Services.

 

 


06/12/2018 - Local Scheme of Support for Council Tax 2019/20 ref: 2969    Recommendations Approved

Decision maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/01/2019

Effective from: 07/12/2018

Decision:

The Strategic Director (Internal Services) presented a report which outlined details of proposed changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2019/20 and provided Members with the detailed results from the recent Council Tax Reduction Scheme consultation process and the findings from the revised Customer Access Review that had been carried out.

 

The need to change the current scheme had arisen as a result of the introduction of the Universal Credit Full Service (UCFS) in Dartford and the complexities that this would involve in calculating people’s entitlement to Council Tax Reduction. The current Scheme for Council Tax Reduction, which was completely reactive to any change to a person’s circumstances, would become unworkable requiring frequent and confusing adjustment and the re-issuing of Council Tax bills. The proposed new scheme was designed to make the system clearer, simpler and fairer as well as being workable for staff. The overall cost of the scheme would be broadly the same as the current scheme and the changes would only be made to the scheme for working-age applicants as the current scheme for pensioners was prescribed by Central Government. The current means tested scheme would be replaced by a simple income grid model, which had been revised from the draft considered by the Cabinet in July as the ranges had proved to be too narrow and had therefore been widened to be as inclusive as possible and to minimise the impacts on applicants. 

 

The main features of the Scheme were outlined in paragraph 1.8 of the report.  The new scheme included a simplified claiming process and in the case of Universal Credit (UC) applicants any Universal Credit data received from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) would be treated as a claim for Council Tax Reduction and be processed automatically without the need to request further information from the tax payer. This would maximise the entitlement of every applicant and maintain collection rates. The new sliding scale income bands were sufficiently wide to avoid constant changes in discount and adjustment of bills. The new Scheme also contained additional provisions to protect individuals who experienced exceptional hardship.

 

The proposed new Scheme had been widely consulted over an eight week period which ended on 30 September 2018. This had included writing to all working-age claimants, Registered Social Landlords and third sector organisations and the use of a questionnaire on the council’s web site. The responses to the consultation were detailed in Appendix A to the report and overall were in favour of the proposed changes. The Council had also consulted with the major preceptors who had agreed the changes and the approach taken by the Council. If agreed by Cabinet and the General Assembly of the Council the new scheme would take effect from 1 April 2019.

 

A Member of the Cabinet Advisory Panel had questioned the need to introduce the new Scheme in April 2019 given that the mass migration to Universal Credit had now been put back to November 2020. He felt that there were currently many uncertainties and that by implementing the Scheme now the opportunity to undertake more detailed modelling was being lost. He also felt that the proposed income bandings were too narrow and would still require frequent recalculations of entitlement and that the narrowness of the bandings could also deter those people wanting to work additional hours.  

 

The Strategic Director (Internal Services) explained that although the timing of the mass migration to Universal Credit had changed, 10% of applicants had already moved across to the Universal Credit Full Service and that number would grow as any claimants with changes of income would also move across, as would any new applicants. The Cabinet felt that given the fact that 10% of applicants had already moved across to Universal Credit it made sense to change the Scheme now rather than delaying until the mass migration took place. Another of the drivers behind the revised Scheme was to make it more simple to understand and fairer. The income bands had been revised from those originally proposed as a result of the consultation and on the basis of experience from existing caseloads. The Cabinet Advisory Panel had also drawn attention to the fact that the new Scheme would appear to have a disproportionate impact on female applicants. The Strategic Director (Internal Services) said that this was as a result of the decision to use an upper limit of two children in calculating entitlement which would impact on more female than male claimants. Some Members at the Cabinet Advisory Panel had challenged the proposed reduction of the Capital Limit from £16,000 to £6,000. The Strategic Director (Internal Services) explained that this was perceived to be a fairer limit and was in line with the limits in the Council Tax Reduction Schemes of other authorities in Kent.

 

The Cabinet recognised the concerns expressed at the Cabinet Advisory Panel about the possibility of errors occurring through the importation of data from the Department of Works and Pensions and that it would be important for the Council to work sympathetically with applicants where errors were identified to address any mistakes.   The Council should act as an advocate for Universal Credit users to ensure that their information was being recorded and used correctly. 

 

The Cabinet noted the strong reservations expressed by the Labour Group at the Cabinet Advisory Panel about the timing and contents of the proposed Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

 

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the Cabinet recommends to the General Assembly of the Council the adoption of the new Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2019/20 with effect from 1 April 2019.

 

 

 


06/12/2018 - Government Consultation on Planning Reform: Supporting the High Street and Increasing the Delivery of New Homes ref: 2966    Recommendations Approved

Decision maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/01/2019

Effective from: 07/12/2018

Decision:

The Head of Regeneration outlined the proposals contained in the Government consultation paper on ”Planning Reform: Supporting the High Street and Increasing the Delivery of New Homes” to extend the range of developments that can take place without the need for planning permission and to extend local authorities’ freedoms to dispose of surplus land. The document was divided into four parts:

 

·         Permitted development rights and use classes;

·         Disposal of local authority land;

·         Canal and River Trust: Draft listed consent order; and

·         New Town Development Corporations: Draft compulsory purchase guidance.

 

The Head of Regeneration explained the proposals in respect of changes of use and the limits of permitted development and the advantages and disadvantages in each case. It was proposed to extend permitted development to cover new types of development or where permitted development had been granted on a temporary basis to make these rights permanent. This reflected the Government’s desire to increase the housing supply and to provide greater flexibility in areas such as change of use in the High Streets. Permitted development rights were already quite wide but the proposals would make the permitted development rights of landowners and developers even wider, including the building of additional stories on existing buildings and change of use from retail to residential. It was also proposed to encourage developers to install electric charging points in developments. The Government was also proposing to extend local authorities’ freedoms to dispose of surplus land at less than best consideration without the need to obtain consent from the Secretary of State thereby providing greater flexibility to dispose of surplus land in support of local development objectives and it was felt that this should be supported.

 

Suggested responses to the consultation exercise, which would end on 14 January 2019, were contained in Appendix B to the report. Many of the changes such as the greater flexibility to dispose of surplus land were welcomed but there were concerns about more development taking place without the need to go through the planning process and the potential for development to change the existing mix of uses and character of areas, and in particular town centres. The Council could not support changes which could threaten the vibrancy of town centres. There was also some concern that the changes could result in a two tiered regime for planning consent and that the Council would still be responsible for residual burdens.

 

The Cabinet noted the provisions around the disposal of surplus land at less than best value but felt that there were already powers available to do this and that, in fact, the existing processes provided more protection for local authorities when disposing of surplus land for a fair price.

 

The Cabinet had regard to the views raised at the Cabinet Advisory Panel.

 

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the responses to the questions, set out in Appendix B to the report, form the Council’s response to the Government’s Consultation on Planning Reform.     


06/12/2018 - Draft Gambling Policy 2019-2022 ref: 2968    Recommendations Approved

Decision maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/01/2019

Effective from: 07/12/2018

Decision:

The Cabinet considered the Draft Gambling Policy 2019-2022. Licensing authorities were required to prepare and publish a statement of their Gambling policy every three years. The existing Gambling Policy for Dartford was adopted on 3 January 2016 and was due to expire on 2 January 2019. The draft Gambling Policy was approved for consultation purposes by the Cabinet on 26 July 2018. Consultation had been carried out in accordance with national guidance. The draft policy was made available on the Council’s web site, at the Civic Centre and public libraries. It was also sent to all “responsible authorities” as defined by the Gambling Act 2005, as well as to numerous trade associations and persons representing gambling businesses in the area. A comprehensive review of the draft Gambling Policy was also undertaken by the Licensing Committee at its meeting on 26 September 2018. The Licensing Committee did not make a formal response to the consultation but requested that two additional conditions should be added to Appendix 2 of the draft Gambling Policy relating to overt advertising and doors remaining closed. No other responses were received to the consultation.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the Cabinet notes that no responses were received to the consultation on the Draft Gambling Policy 2019-2022; and

 

2.  That the Draft Gambling Policy attached at Appendix A to the report, be recommended to the General Assembly of the Council for adoption. 

 

 

 


06/12/2018 - Draft Licensing Policy 2019-2024 ref: 2967    Recommendations Approved

Decision maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/01/2019

Effective from: 07/12/2018

Decision:

The Strategic Director (External Services) introduced the draft Licensing Policy 2019-2024. Licensing authorities were required to prepare and publish a statement of their licensing policy every five years. The current Statement of Licensing Policy for Dartford was adopted on 7 January 2014 and was due to expire on 6 January 2019. The draft Licensing Policy was approved for consultation purposes by the Cabinet on 26 July 2018. Consultation had been carried out in accordance with national guidance. The draft policy was made available on the Council’s web site, at the Civic Centre and public libraries. It was also sent to all “responsible authorities” as defined by the Licensing Act 2003, as well as to numerous trade associations and persons representing licensing businesses in the area. A comprehensive review of the draft Licensing policy was also undertaken by the Licensing Committee at its meeting on 26 September 2018. Although the Licensing Committee did not make a formal response to the consultation it felt that the Licensing policy should be supported by an additional Code of Good Practice for Licensed Premises to reflect the aspirations and visions of the Council as the Licensing Authority. No other responses were received to the consultation.

 

The Cabinet had regard to the views of the Cabinet Advisory Panel.

 

The Cabinet discussed the scope of the Code of Good Practice and received assurance that it was complimentary to licensing legislation.

 

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the Cabinet notes that no consultation responses were received to the draft Licensing Policy;

 

2.  That the draft Licensing Policy 2019-2024 at Appendix A to the report, be recommended to the General Assembly of the Council for adoption, at its meeting on 10 December 2018; and

 

3.  That the draft Code of Good Practice on Promoting the Four Licensing Objectives in Appendix B to the report be recommended to the General Assembly of the Council for endorsement.

 

 

 


06/12/2018 - Lower Thames Crossing - Second Consultation ref: 2965    Recommendations Approved

Decision maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/01/2019

Effective from: 07/12/2018

Decision:

The Cabinet considered a report on the Council’s suggested response to the second public consultation by Highways England on the detailed proposals for the Lower Thames Crossing.

 

The Head of Regeneration reminded Members that the Council had responded to the initial consultation on the alternative options for the route of the crossing in 2016 strongly supporting a new crossing east of Gravesend (Option C). Following the consultation the Secretary of State had announced that this was the preferred route for the crossing. Since that announcement Highways England had been progressing the design of the scheme and details of the precise route, carrying out more detailed transport modelling and talking to affected authorities and parties. Some details of the routing and construction had been amended as a result of this work. The main focus of the latest consultation was on the details of the scheme, the routeing, design of junctions, structures, connections with the surrounding road network and environmental impacts.

 

The new crossing was one of the largest single road investment projects in the UK since the M25 was completed and would be one of the largest bored tunnels in the world. The latest traffic modelling predicted that once the new crossing opened there would be a reduction in passenger traffic using the Dartford Crossing of 24% and 19% in 2041 in peak hours compared to the situation without a new crossing. The proportion of HGV’s using the Dartford Crossing was predicted to fall from 18% to 14% once the new crossing opened and was projected to remain at this level in 2041. This was an improvement from the original traffic modelling which had predicted an overall decrease in traffic using the Dartford Crossing of 14% once the new crossing opened. The original design for the tunnel had provided for two lane traffic each way but the revised design now provided for three lanes each way and for an extended approach to the tunnel and a simplified junction from the A2/M2.

 

The Council’s proposed response to the consultation exercise, which was due to end on 20 December 2018, strongly supported the need for the Lower Thames Crossing, its proposed location east of Gravesend and some of the changes to the preferred route which had been made since the last consultation. The proposed location would provide a faster, more reliable route to the Midlands and the North from Kent ports but it was disappointing that the opportunity was not being taken to provide a link from the Lower Thames Crossing onto the A13 westbound towards the Port of Tilbury. The proposals would see a genuine improvement in the resilience of the strategic and local road network, boost British business and the national economy whilst the changes to the design of the route since the first consultation should also be beneficial and help to alleviate some of the negative impacts of the scheme on neighbouring authorities. It was however acknowledged that some areas would experience increased traffic flows due to other factors such as development and the Council’s response urged Highways England to address issues on those parts of the network where there would be pressure. The Council also supported a free-flowing e-charging system with differential charging for the new crossing and urged Highways England to implement the new crossing as soon as possible and to bring forward arrangements to improve traffic flows at the Dartford Crossing and its approach in the meantime.

 

The Cabinet had regard to the comments made at the Cabinet Advisory Panel.

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the response to the consultation questions set out in Appendix A to the report be agreed as the Council’s response to the second consultation on the Lower Thames Crossing.

 


06/12/2018 - Community Infrastructure Levy: Governance and Spending Review 2018 ref: 2964    Recommendations Approved

Decision maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet

Decision published: 07/01/2019

Effective from: 07/12/2018

Decision:

The Head of Regeneration introduced a report which set out an updated five year programme of potential infrastructure projects that could be supported by the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which had partially replaced s106 funding.  The report outlined the Five Year CIL rolling programme together with the CIL Annual Report and details of CIL receipts and forecasts. The amount of CIL income distributed to the Parishes and Town Council were detailed along with the amounts available to spend on projects in unparished areas. Progress to date on mechanisms to release unparished neighbourhood funding to locally focused projects was also reported.

 

Appendix B to the report detailed the Infrastructure Delivery Plan which was divided into three sections. Section 1 described the fully funded projects where funding was provided by s106 contributions or funding from the Government and other agencies and included public realm and other works to Dartford Town Centre, expanded junctions from the A2 at Bean and Ebbsfleet, and at St Clements Way and plans for two new primary schools. Section 2 described projects with potential to be enabled by CIL funding in addition to funding from other agencies. These projects were those that were considered to be well defined and where there was confidence that they could be delivered. These included the Health and Wellbeing Hub in Dartford Town Centre, a pedestrian bridge over the River Darent, a new Primary care facility in Stone/Greenhithe the upgrading of the Darenth Valley path, a new school at Stone and to provide additional school places in the North West of the Borough. As the plans for the Health hubs were more advanced the Cabinet was being asked to take an ‘in principle’ decision to allocate CIL funding subject to the provision of further information on other funding approvals. Earmarking projects for CIL funding in the Delivery Plan provided greater certainty for partner organisations in making their own funding decisions and supported their funding bids. The final section detailed those schemes that were less advanced and which required further definition.

 

The Cabinet noted that a Member had raised concerns at the Cabinet Advisory Panel about the work of the Leader’s Advisory Group on CIL from which it was clear that the Member had little appreciation of the role of the Group and the mechanisms by which CIL funding decisions would be made, possibly because nobody from his political group attended the meetings despite being invited. The Leader’s Advisory Group did not make funding decisions and any recommendations would be made for consideration and decision by the Cabinet. However the Advisory Group did have an important role in helping to take matters forward in a timely fashion to a point when recommendations could be made.

 

The Cabinet felt that CIL funding was an important mechanism for working together with other partners and funders to provide infrastructure and that it was important to support well defined projects such as the proposed health hubs. Clarification was also provided on the possible location of the primary care facility in Stone/Greenhithe.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the CIL Indicative Five Year Programme as set out in paragraph 4.4 of the report and Appendix A to the report, be agreed as a basis for ongoing liaison with relevant infrastructure providers and further development of the identified schemes, subject to availability of CIL funding and approval of individual schemes by Cabinet;

2. That  an ‘in principle’ commitment for CIL funding to support two new health hubs in Dartford town centre and at Stone be agreed, subject to the level of CIL funding being clarified through the finalisation of the business case for each;

3. That a final decision on the agreement to and level of CIL funding for the health projects identified in paragraph 4.2 of the report, as well as any further potential projects identified in paragraph 4.4, be considered either as part of a subsequent annual CIL report in December 2019, or mid-year, if there is a need for urgency;

4. That Dartford’s CIL Annual Report, attached at Appendix C to the report, be agreed for publication; and

5. That the progress on identification and delivery of CIL projects funded through the neighbourhood element in unparished areas, as set out in paragraph 5.6 of the report, be noted and to agree to receive further reports as matters are progressed.