Agenda and draft minutes

General Assembly of the Council - Monday 26 July 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1DR

Contact: Email: 

No. Item


Prayers: Reverend Kenneth Clark


The Mayor’s Chaplain led the Council in prayer. Special mention was made of Mrs Doreen Coleman, who had served as Mayoress on three occasions, and Jo Shippam, both of whom had recently passed away.


Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Ben Moussa, Brown, Butler-Rhule, Gaskin, R Gosine, Grehan, Maddison, Oguntope, Ozog, D Reynolds and Thurlow.


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 by the Chief Officer & Director of Corporate Services.


There were no declarations of interests.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 227 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Annual Council meeting held on 28 April 2021.




The General Assembly of the Council considered the minutes of the Annual Council meeting held on 28 April 2021.




That the minutes of the Annual Council meeting held on 28 April 2021 be confirmed as an accurate record.


Mayor's Announcements


The Mayor expressed her condolences to Councillors Shippam and Ozog and their families following the recent passing of Jo Shippam. She also expressed her sadness at the passing of Doreen Coleman, who had served as Mayoress on three occasions and who had been steadfast in supporting her husband, Pat Coleman, during his 40 years as a Councillor. Doreen had worked tirelessly on the Charity Committee for over 30 years and had been looking forward to returning to attend upcoming meetings.


The Council sent its condolences and best wishes to the families and friends of the deceased.


Leader's Announcements

To receive announcements from the Leader of the Council


The Leader of the Council made the following announcements:


·         Welcome back, Management Team and Direction of Travel


The Leader of the Council welcomed Members and officers to the first in-person Council meeting for nearly 18 months. He introduced Caroline Hicks, the new Director of Growth & Community, who was attending her first meeting of the GAC and said that she was a pivotal part of the new Management Team established following a recent restructure of the organisation which would take the work of the Council forward.



·         Recent Losses


The Leader of the Council explained that a lot had happened since the last physical meeting of the Council and that the world had changed in the interim with a full range of experiences, highs and lows. Some were sad and difficult to fathom, such as the recent death of a child, Lily, following a road accident in Watling Street, and his thoughts went out to everyone who had lost a loved one over recent months. In particular he sent his condolences and best wishes to the family and friends of Doreen Coleman and Jo Shippam. He recalled Jo Shippam as being a very formidable and funny lady, who had once stood for election as a UKIP candidate in the same ward as her own son. Doreen Coleman had been a stalwart supporter of her husband, Pat, and was always by his side. Both would be sorely missed and he sent his condolences to their loved ones.


·         Euro 2021


The Leader said that there had also been some uplifting moments, such as the tremendous achievement of the England football team which had raised the national spirit by getting to the final of the Euro 2021 football tournament. This had been marred by the behaviour of a small number of bigoted people who had tried to make something bad out of something good by their racist attitude. He stressed that they would never succeed and that humanity would prevail. He congratulated the football team on their performance.


·         Councillor Oliver


The Leader of the Council also wished to congratulate Councillor Tom Oliver on his recent marriage to his partner, Kyle, at a lovely ceremony. He commented on how wonderful it was that people who loved each other could freely celebrate and embrace their love.


·         Looking Ahead


The Leader of the Council noted the many challenges and pressures ahead as the nation recovered from the COVID pandemic and the need for space to relax and contemplate. The Planet Dartford initiative had made progress during the pandemic, such as the work undertaken on edible flowers and the creation of two new community orchards, and he hoped that the initiative could now gather momentum. He said that he had been approached by the Leader of the Alliance Group, Councillor Edie, over proposals to create a net work of wildflower meadows which he felt was worthy of consideration. Rather unusually he had asked Councillor Edie to address the Council on her proposals.



·         Dartford Wildflower Network


Councillor Edie addressed the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Questions from Political Group Leaders

To consider any questions (from the Political Group Leaders) to the Leader/Cabinet submitted in accordance with Standing Order 14.


The following questions were submitted by the Shadow Leader of the Council:

Question 1

Has the council included in its equality report for Dartford the views of those with disabilities as you said you would the last time, I asked the question?’

Question 2

Does the Leader of the Council agree with our local MP who voted in favour of our local residents who are lease holders footing the bill to change the cladding on their property despite it not being their fault if it doesn’t meet health and safety regulations?’

Question 3

‘There was a two week suspension of recycle collections by Urbaser in another borough council in Kent due to staff shortages recently. What measures are this council taking to ensure waste and recycle doesn’t suffer the same consequence here at some point?’


In accordance with Standing Order 14 the questions and answers, including any supplementary questions and answers, are recorded in a book kept for this purpose in the Members’ Area.




To consider any Motions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 10.


The Mayor announced that no motions had been submitted under Standing Order 10.


Urgent Items

The Mayor will announce her decision as to whether there are any urgent items.


The Mayor confirmed that there were no urgent items.


Council in Committee


It was moved by Councillor RM Currans, seconded by Councillor J A Kite and



That in accordance with Standing Order 11(13) the General Assembly of the Council go into Committee and the rules of Procedures for Committees do apply.






Reference from the Electoral Provisions Sub-Committee held on 8 July 2021: Review of Parliamentary Constituencies 2023 pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To consider the Council’s response to the Boundary Commission for England’s proposed changes to the Dartford Parliamentary Constituency.

Additional documents:


The General Assembly of the Council considered a report which detailed the initial proposals for revised parliamentary constituencies by the Boundary Commission for England following a nationwide review of parliamentary boundaries to broadly equalise the electorate’s of each constituency by bringing them within a defined range. Dartford’s existing parliamentary electorate was larger than the maximum permitted and consequently the Boundary Commission was proposing changes to bring the electorate within the permitted parameters. The existing constituency comprised the Borough of Dartford plus the Sevenoaks District Council ward of Hartley and Hodsoll Street. The Boundary Commission’s initial proposals were to remove Hartley and Hodsoll Street ward, which would be moved to the Gravesham constituency, and to move the Dartford borough wards of Darenth and Wilmington, Sutton-at-Hone & Hawley to the Sevenoaks parliamentary constituency. These proposals were currently subject to public consultation and had been considered by the Electoral Provisions sub-committee on 8 July 2021which had formulated the Council’s proposed response which asked the Boundary Commission to consider an alternative proposal. This noted the strong historic and community links that both borough wards had to Dartford but noted that the recently created ward of Wilmington, Sutton-at-Hone & Hawley contained two distinct communities which were served by separate Parish Council’s. It was therefore suggested that Wilmington, Sutton-at-Hone & Hawley ward could be split, with part of that ward transferring to the Sevenoaks constituency and  the remaining part being retained in the Dartford constituency, along with Darenth ward. The proposed alternative arrangements would fall within the Boundary Commission’s electorate parameters.


The Leader of the Council said that the proposed changes were unwelcome and created confusion and instability for residents but that some change was unavoidable because the constituency in its current form exceeded the permitted electorate threshold. He stressed that there would be no changes to borough boundaries or wards.


The Deputy Leader of the Council, who was also the Chairman of the Electoral Provisions Sub-Committee, explained that the Commission was just interested in cutting the number of electors so that it was inevitable that some parts of the constituency would be moved elsewhere. The removal of Hartley & Hodsoll Street ward, which was never part of Dartford historically, could be accepted but his concern was to preserve the integrity of Dartford and to keep as much of that as possible within the constituency.


The Shadow Leader of the Council said that he had served on the Electoral Provisions Sub-committee and did not agree with the proposed submission. He said that there were four political groups on the Council but the response seemed to only reflect the views of the majority group which was being expressed as the view of the entire Council. He noted that it was likely that there would have to be further change following another review in eight years’ time as a result of the borough’s growing population.    This view was supported by another Member who felt that the views of other groups were not being fully reflected in the proposed submission.


The Leader of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.


Publication of the Dartford Local Plan pdf icon PDF 268 KB

To consider an updated Dartford Local Plan.




Appendix A – Dartford Local Plan to 2037 - Publication document

(pages 33-248)


Appendix B – Dartford Local Plan to 2037 - Publication Consultation Statement (pages 249-360)


Appendix C – Policies Map information (pages 361-396)


Appendix D – draft Sustainability Appraisal (SA) of the Dartford Local Plan to 2037 – this Appendix is ‘to follow’


Appendix E – Habitats Regulations Assessment of the Dartford Local Plan to 2037 (pages 397-460)


Appendix F – Customer Access Review Full Assessment (pages 461-472)


Appendix G – Local Development Scheme 2021 (pages  473-482).


Additional documents:


Members were reminded that a special meeting of the Council had been held on 1 February 2021, at which the Council agreed the publication of the draft Dartford Local Plan to 2037 as a ‘sound’ plan. However, following the publication of the plan, Natural England had given notification of a significant new proposed Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the Borough. This meant that it was necessary to make focussed amendments to the Local Plan and for it to be published for consultation again. 


The General Assembly of the Council was informed that an updated Local Plan was essential to maximise local influence over the future of the Borough through planning applications, and investment and infrastructure decisions. The report outlined the steps and issues ahead which were necessary to move the Plan towards adoption by the Council, after Examination by an independent Planning Inspector.  Adoption of the Plan was expected to take place in 2022, at which point it would come into fully statutory force.


The revised Local Plan had taken into account evidence and the results from previous consultations, and a further publication would allow final representations to be made on the Plan, as amended. The Plan would not normally be expected to change after this point prior to Examination, unless further issues of significance were raised which would lead the Council to review its position. Members had regard to the revised Local Plan and its appendices, including subsequent updates.


The Leader of the Council reminded Members that the Local Plan had been subject to detailed consideration by the cross-party Member Working Party, chaired by Councillor Hunnisett. He thanked the Working Party and officers for their work in producing a high quality and comprehensive Plan and supporting documentation.


Councillor Hunnisett also thanked the Working Group, the Head of Planning Services, the Planning Policy Manager and the Planning Policy Team for their diligence and commended the revised Local plan to the GAC.


Councillor Davis prefaced his comments on the Local Plan by paying his own tribute to Jo Shippam and sending his condolences to her family. He then went on to comment on the addition of land at Sandpit Road to the strategic extension to employment areas, referenced on page 27 of the agenda. He asked that it be noted that this land was an open space, green-field site, which bordered the Dartford Marshes and the River Darenth, and that this site had never previously been developed. There was however a neighbouring site, of some 12,000sqm, where a warehouse would be closing and which could be developed.


The Head of Planning Services commented that this was actually a water treatment works area which was partially developed, although a significant part of the site was still unused. She explained that there had been representations by other developers about identifying economic development floor-space and that she felt that the site could be retained as ‘employment land’.


The Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance observed that if the Local Plan did not identify  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.


Political Groups, Representation on Committees and Other Ancillary Matters pdf icon PDF 205 KB

To note the Review of Political Proportionality carried out following the by-elections held on 6 May 2021, the formation of a new political group, appointments to committee seats and other ancillary matters.

Additional documents:


The General Assembly of the Council received a report which detailed the outcome of a review of political proportionality undertaken following the results of two Borough Council by-elections held on 6 May 2021, and the subsequent formation of a new political group on the Council, the Alliance Group, by two existing Councillors. The report also advised Members of the political structure of the new group and the appointments made by the political groups to fill new committee seats and seats held vacant pending the outcome of the by-elections. The report also noted the appointment of Councillor D T Nicklen to serve on the Board of the Ebbsfleet Garden City Trust by the Cabinet, and the appointment of Councillor T Oliver as Vice-Chairman of the Crime & Disorder (Overview & Scrutiny) Committee.


The Leader of the Council congratulated Councillor M B Kelly and Councillor

E E Palmer on their election as the new Councillors for Darenth Ward and Wilmington, Sutton-at-Hone & Hawley Wards respectively.


The Leader of the Alliance Group, Councillor L H K Edie expressed the desire of the new political group to work constructively with Members and officers.




That the General Assembly of the Council notes the Review of Political Proportionality and the appointments detailed in the report.



Review of Scheme of Delegation to Officers pdf icon PDF 127 KB

To update Members on the Scheme of Delegations to Officers and to recommend the continued delegation of functions.



Additional documents:


The General Assembly of the Council received an update on the Scheme of Delegations to Officers. The report reminded Members that legislation permitted the delegation of the respective functions of the Council and Executive to officers. The delegation of functions to officers reduced the amount of detailed decision making required to be carried out directly by the General Assembly of the Council and by the Cabinet, enabling those bodies to focus on strategic policy issues, major matters of substance and maintaining oversight of the Council’s activities. The Scheme of Delegations detailed the parameters of the delegations and who could exercise the delegations. To ensure that the Scheme of Delegations remained fit for purpose an annual review was carried out by the Head of Legal Services, in conjunction with Directors and Heads of Service. However, in view of recent organisational change, and the fact that the delegations had not been considered by the Cabinet and GAC for some time, it was considered appropriate to present the updated Scheme of Delegations to them for approval.





1. That the General Assembly of the Council notes the delegation to Officers of executive functions made by the Cabinet on 22 July 2021; and


2. That the General Assembly of the Council, in pursuance of powers under Sections 101, 151 and 270 of the Local Government Act 1972 and all other powers enabling, continues to delegate to Officers, to the extent of its respective powers, the Council functions referred to in the Preamble to the Scheme of Delegations to Officers and the Sub-delegations, at Appendices A and B to the report.


Review of Contract Standing Orders pdf icon PDF 151 KB

To consider the review of Contract Standing Orders.

Additional documents:


The General Assembly of the Council received a report which detailed revised Contract Standing Orders following Brexit and the organisational restructure of the Council directorates.




That, having considered a summary of the amendments set out in paragraph 3.8 of the report, the Contract Standing Orders attached at Appendix A to the report, be adopted.


Capital Programme including Prudential Indicators - Outturn 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 251 KB

To note the Capital Programme report to Cabinet on 22nd July 2021 and to agree the capital budget carried forward into 2021/22.

Additional documents:


The General Assembly of the Council received a report which detailed the final pre-audit figures for the 2020/21 Capital Programme, the capital resources that were used to fund it and those that remained available to fund future investment. There was also an addendum to the report, which had been circulated electronically and published on the Council’s web site, which contained a revised Appendix C and the revised recommendations contained in the addendum.




That the recommendation of the Cabinet to carry forward the total capital budgets set out in revised Appendix C to the Addendum, be approved.



General Assembly of the Council Work Plan 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 120 KB

To consider the Work Plan for the General Assembly of the Council for 2021/22.


The General Assembly of the Council considered its proposed Work Plan for 2021-22.


The Leader of the Council noted the important work ahead for the Council and that it was good to be meeting together. He welcomed back Councillors Burrell and Jones following their recent periods of ill health.




That the Work Plan, attached at Appendix A to the report, be approved as the General Assembly of the Council’s Work Plan for the 2021-22 Municipal Year.



Re-convening of the General Assembly of the Council


It was moved by Councillor J A Kite, seconded by Councillor C J Shippam and


That in accordance with Standing Order 11(14) the General Assembly of the Council now  re-convene.