Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet - Thursday 27 October 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Room B12, Civic Centre, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1DR

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

57.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of Councillor Mote.

 

The Chairman welcomed Councillor Mrs Thurlow who was joining the meeting remotely via Teams following her recent ill-health. He confirmed that as the Cabinet was a decision making body, Councillor Thurlow could not participate in taking any decisions in view of her remote attendance but could observe the proceedings. He would however give her an opportunity to speak on any of the items under discussion but she could not participate in voting.

 

The Chairman also welcomed Councillor Mrs Storey who was observing the meeting from the public gallery.

58.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or the Chief Officer & Director of Corporate Services.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests.

59.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the Meeting of the Cabinet held on 22 September 2022 pdf icon PDF 351 KB

Summary:

 

To consider the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 22 September 2022.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 22 September 2022 be confirmed as an accurate record.

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered the minutes of its meeting held on 22 September 2022.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet which took place on 22 September 2022 be confirmed as an accurate record.

60.

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.

61.

To receive the minutes of the Cabinet Advisory Panel held on 24 October 2022

To follow

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet Advisory Panel B which took place on 24 October 2022 and had regard to the Panel’s views throughout the meeting.

 

The Chairman also advised the Cabinet that Councillor Davis had asked to stand down from his role as Chairman of the Policy Overview Committee to concentrate on his other duties and constituency work. The Cabinet thanked Councillor Davis for his service as Chairman. Councillor Butterfill had agreed to take on the Chairmanship of the Policy Overview Committee for the remainder of the Municipal Year.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet Advisory Panel B which took place on 24 October 2022 be noted.

62.

References from Committees

None at this stage.

Minutes:

There were no references from other committees.

63.

Lower Darent Riverside Strategy pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Summary:

 

The consider developing a Riverside Strategy for the lower River Darent that fulfils both the Council’s ambition to shape an attractive and more sustainable space along the riverside and to manage increasing flood risk as a result of climate change. The Strategy will leverage the potential environmental, social, cultural, and economic benefits of third party works in the river corridor. The Strategy’s approach is promoted within the Thames Estuary 2100 (TE2100) Plan and this project is supported by the Environment Agency, who will also provide technical advice on matters within their remit. It is proposed to include the tidal Darent (extending into Dartford Marshes) and the fluvial section through Dartford town centre, thereby offering an integrated approach to managing flood risk across different sources. It is here where development and river control works are most likely to take place in the next 5-10 years, providing an opportunity to implement the strategy. A Local Levy grant of up to £50,000 has been recommended by the Southern Regional Flood and Coastal Committee for this project.

 

Recommendations:

 

1. That the proposal to develop and produce a Lower Darenth Riverside Strategy, in accordance with the ‘Towards a Riverside Strategy’ at Appendix A to the report, be endorsed;

2. That the monies accrued in the Dartford Flood Risk Management Project Fund held by the Environment Agency, be utilised to fund:

(a)  50% of the cost of producing the Lower Darenth Riverside Strategy, up to £50,000;

(b)  project management of the Strategy by a Council officer, up to £6,000, until 31 December 2023;

 

3. That the aims, and expected delivery approach broadly set out at paragraphs 3.7 and 3.8 of the report, be agreed; and

4. That the draft Lower Darenth Riverside Strategy be reported to Cabinet (anticipated to be in autumn 2023), for approval.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Planning Services presented a report which proposed the development of a Riverside Strategy for the lower River Darent that would fulfil both the Council’s ambition to shape an attractive and more sustainable space along the riverside and to manage increasing flood risk as a result of climate change. The Environment Agency had originally approached the Council with a view to developing a riverside strategy  extending along the Thames but the Council had worked with the Environment Agency to identify and maximise opportunities and as a result the the proposed area of the Strategy will now extend along the Lower River Darent corridor from the River Thames to Dartford town centre.

 

The report highlighted that, whilst the current system of fixed and active tidal flood defences provided a high level of protection from tidal flooding, major interventions were likely to be needed once these assets reach their end-of-life forecast for 2070 onward and if sea level rise become a reality. The present-day risk of fluvial flooding to Dartford Town Centre was low but modelling showed that climate change could increase the frequency of flooding in the town centre and that new flood risk management works in the river corridor were likely to be required to manage flood increase as a result of climate change.

Some improvements to both flood defences and the river corridor environment had already been delivered through previous development, but this had been piecemeal and inconsistent. The challenge was to integrate a continuous line of defence and a cohesive attractive public realm across multiple developments. The proposed riverside strategy would provide a framework for this integration.

The Strategy would leverage the potential environmental, social, cultural, and economic benefits of third party works in the river corridor, an approach which was promoted in the Thames Estuary 2100 (TE2100) Plan. The project is supported by the Environment Agency, who will provide technical advice on matters within their remit. It was proposed to include the tidal Darent (extending into Dartford Marshes) and the fluvial section through Dartford town centre, thereby offering an integrated approach to managing flood risk across different sources. This was where development and river control works were most likely to take place in the next 5-10 years, providing an opportunity to implement the strategy. A Local Levy grant of up to £50,000 had been recommended by the Southern Regional Flood and Coastal Committee for this project and the Council would also be contributing £50,000 that had been set aside for flood defences. The Strategy would be produced by consultants, who would work closely with Council officers, and would be reported to Cabinet for endorsement once completed.

 

The Chairman noted the concerns that had been raised by Councillor Mrs Storey at the Cabinet Advisory Panel on 24th October regarding the preservation of wildlife habitat along the riverside. He stressed that the Strategy would not bring about new development but focussed upon softening the landscaping of the environment and maintaining habitats as part of a range  ...  view the full minutes text for item 63.

64.

Unparished Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Programme pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Summary:

 

To consider a pilot delivery programme of projects for the unparished areas of the Borough.  The programme of projects outlined will help gather views of the local community within the unparished areas, as required by the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) legislation, and a further report will be submitted to Cabinet on the response to this consultation and, subject to this response, confirming an allocation of funding from the CIL receipts retained by the Council to enable the delivery of projects.  This pilot delivery programme will inform proposals for future unparished CIL arrangements.

 

Recommendations:

 

1. That the pilot programme of projects, shown in Appendix A to the report, be approved for the purposes of consulting the local community in the unparished areas of the Borough;

2. That the form of consultation, as set out in paras. 5.1 to 5.4 of the report, be agreed; and

3. That a further report be submitted in early 2023, on the response to the consultation, with the view to approving a final programme of projects and the allocation of CIL funding for the delivery of these projects.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Planning Services presented a report which detailed a pilot delivery programme of potential projects which could be funded using Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) monies retained by the Council for the unparished parts of the borough.

Given the need to match early projects to the available capacity, as reported to Cabinet in May 2022, it was proposed that projects would be identified through discussions with Council service departments and key infrastructure service providers such as KCC Highways to develop a pilot programme of projects. A cap of £500,000 was also set on the pilot delivery programme.

Following a “Call for Projects” sent out by the Director of Growth & Community  and an invitation to KCC Highways to put forward suitable projects in August 2022,        a total of nine projects were identified with a total bid for CIL funding of £607,400 exceeding the cap of £500,000. Although no limit was set on the proportion of CIL funding that would be granted in relation to the total costs of each project the “Call for Projects” made it clear that CIL funding was not expected to fully fund projects.  However, five of the nine projects submitted did seek 100% funding by CIL.

An initial assessment of the nine bids for CIL funding had been carried out against the eligibility and prioritisation criteria set out in the Principles for Governance of Unparished CIL Portion approved by Cabinet in May 2022.  As a result of this assessment the number of projects retained for the pilot programme was reduced to six, with total bid for CIL funding of £458,100. These projects were detailed in Appendix A to the report.

 

Government guidance on the use of CIL retained for unparished areas stated that Council’s should engage with the local communities where the development has taken place on how best to spend this finding but did not specify how this should be conducted. It did however envisage that existing community consultation and engagement processes should be used.  This should include neighbourhood forums, where these exist, and using the networks that Ward Members use.  It was proposed that consultation on the pilot programme should take place over a 4 week period prior to mid-December

with the aim of using Member knowledge and local understanding to reach community organisations and volunteer groups that may have a view on the pilot programme. Consultation on the pilot programme would also allow Members to start the conversation with the community to identify other potential projects that could be supported in future bidding rounds.

 

The Chairman welcomed this progress in releasing accumulated CIL funding for suitable projects and noted that this was the first stage in a rolling programme. He recognised that it was necessary to hold significant balances within CIL in order to facilitate any major projects which might come forward.

 

The Head of Planning said that the pilot programme was designed to open up funding opportunities to the local communities and to stimulate community engagement through local ward Members. The pilot  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.

65.

Revenue Monitoring 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Summary:

 

To update Members on financial performance against the 2022/23 budget to date for the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account.

 

Recommendations:

 

1. That the monitoring update, for the General Fund and Housing Revenue   Account, at Appendix A to the report, be noted; and

 

2. That key general fund income streams, at Appendix B to the report, be noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer & Director of Corporate Services introduced a report which updated the Cabinet on financial performance against the 2022/23 budget to date for the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account. Overall it was expected that services would remain within the existing budget envelope however there would be a significant overspend on temporary accommodation due to growing demand and a lack of housing supply. It was also noted that the Council might receive a percentage of a surplus above the baseline in the contract for the operation of Fairfield Leisure Centre, although the Council had waived the contracted management payment given the difficulties the operator was experiencing in trying to return to the level of pre-Covid demand.

 

The Chairman said that the increased need for temporary accommodation was reflective of a general economic malaise and market uncertainties. He believed that some landlords were rebalancing their portfolios and taking properties out of the market in order to realise assets and inject cash into their remaining properties.

 

The Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance noted the financial support that the Council was providing for residents which it was proposed to fund from reserves and suggested that it might be more seemly to offset this against the surplus on the overall budget instead. The Chairman said that it would be difficult to do this until it could be confirmed that there would be a surplus, and the level of that surplus, but at the same time it was important to have regard to the potential of using any surplus to improve services.      

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1. That the monitoring update for the General Fund and Housing Revenue Accounts, attached at Appendix A to the report, be noted; and

 

2. That the key General Fund income streams, attached at Appendix B to the report, be noted.

66.

Capital Monitoring 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 211 KB

Summary:

 

To inform Cabinet of the progress to date on the schemes in the approved Capital Programme, and to report the latest position on capital resources.

 

Recommendations:

 

1. That the progress made to date on the 2022/23 Capital Programme, and the budget and resources detailed in Appendices A and B to the report, be noted; and

 

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer & Director of Corporate Services introduced a report which informed the Cabinet of the progress to date on the schemes in the approved Capital Programme, and the latest position on capital resources. The Chairman asked for clarification to be provided on progress on the Temple Hill Community Centre refurbishment.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1. That the progress made to date on the 2022/23 Capital Programme, and the budget and resources detailed in Appendices A and B to the report, be noted; and

 

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

 

67.

Treasury Management Mid-Year report 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 352 KB

Summary:

 

To inform Cabinet of the investment performance of the Council’s internally and externally managed funds, to 30 September 2022 and to update the Treasury Indicators for the six months, to 30 September 2022.

 

Recommendations:

 

1. That the investment performance of the Council’s funds, be noted; and

 

2. That the half-year position of the Council’s Treasury Indicators, as detailed in the report, be noted.

Minutes:

The Chief Officer & Director of Corporate Services presented a report which informed the Cabinet of the investment performance of the Council’s internally and externally managed funds and updated the Treasury Indicators for the six months, to 30 September 2022.

 

The Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance congratulated officers for the Council’s strong treasury management performance.  He noted that the table on page 69 showed a movement of £10M in investment funds and quested whether there would be a waiver this year. The Chief Officer & Director of Corporate Services confirmed that this would be the case for 2022/23 but it was not certain that this would happen in future years.

 

The Chairman noted that the outstanding debt on the £86.95M loan to fund the Housing Self Financing settlement taken out in 2012 was currently £35.75M and asked whether the repayments were on target. It was confirmed that repayments were made according to a schedule and that the borrowing had been on a fixed term interest basis from which the Council continued to benefit. The interest charge on the loan continued to reduce whilst the Council’s income from investments was growing.

 

          RESOLVED:

 

1. That the investment performance of the Council’s funds, be noted; and

 

2. That the half-year position of the Council’s Treasury Indicators, as detailed in the report, be noted.