Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, ME10 3HT. View directions
Contact: Democratic Services, 01795 417330 Senior Democratic Services Officer
Emergency Evacuation Procedure
The Chairman will advise the meeting of the evacuation procedures to follow in the event of an emergency. This is particularly important for visitors and members of the public who will be unfamiliar with the building and procedures.
The Chairman will inform the meeting whether there is a planned evacuation drill due to take place, what the alarm sounds like (i.e. ringing bells), where the closest emergency exit route is, and where the second closest emergency exit route is, in the event that the closest exit or route is blocked.
The Chairman will inform the meeting that:
(a) in the event of the alarm sounding, everybody must leave the building via the nearest safe available exit and gather at the Assembly points at the far side of the Car Park; and
(b) the lifts must not be used in the event of an evacuation.
Any officers present at the meeting will aid with the evacuation.
It is important that the Chairman is informed of any person attending who is disabled or unable to use the stairs, so that suitable arrangements may be made in the event of an emergency.
The Chairman drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.
To approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 27 November 2018 (Minute Nos. 353 - 358) as a correct record.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 27 November 2019 (Minute Nos. 353 – 358) were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves or their spouse, civil partner or person with whom they are living with as a spouse or civil partner. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
The Chairman will ask Members if they have any interests to declare in respect of items on this agenda, under the following headings:
(a) Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI) under the Localism Act 2011. The nature as well as the existence of any such interest must be declared. After declaring a DPI, the Member must leave the meeting and not take part in the discussion or vote. This applies even if there is provision for public speaking.
(b) Disclosable Non Pecuniary (DNPI) under the Code of Conduct adopted by the Council in May 2012. The nature as well as the existence of any such interest must be declared. After declaring a DNPI interest, the Member may stay, speak and vote on the matter.
(c) Where it is possible that a fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts would conclude that there was a real possibility that the Member might be predetermined or biased the Member should declare their predetermination or bias and then leave the room while that item is considered.
Advice to Members: If any Councillor has any doubt about the existence or nature of any DPI or DNPI which he/she may have in any item on this agenda, he/she should seek advice from the Monitoring Officer, the Head of Legal or from other Solicitors in Legal Services as early as possible, and in advance of the Meeting.
No interests were declared.
The Committee is asked to consider the Homelessness Strategy.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities, Head of Housing, Economy and Community Services, and the Housing Options Manager have been invited to attend for this item.
The Chairman welcomed the Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities, the Head of Housing, the Economy and Community Services, Housing Options Manager, and the Strategic Housing and Health Manager to the meeting.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities introduced the report which provided an overview of the work currently underway to develop, the Housing, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy for Swale for 2019-2023. The Council had commissioned external consultants HQN to work with the Council on producing the Strategy. The Cabinet Member stated that six months into their work the consultants had found “pockets of excellence” within the Council’s Housing services, and some areas where things could be done slightly differently.
The Cabinet Member reported that HQN had identified the housing issues affecting Swale, and from that four objectives and eight priorities had been identified, these were set-out on page two of the Committee report.
The Head of Housing, Economy and Community Services spoke about the excellent work provided by housing. She explained that the Strategy would include the issues affecting Swale, not just national issues.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities asked Members to consider what should be included in the strategy.
Members considered the report, and in the discussion that followed, the following points were made:
· Considered the report was rather “thin” and made a lot of generalities and gave no measurement of local issues so further development required;
· would like a timetable of action to include what was likely to happen and when;
· why were consultants used? We have a Policy unit at the Council so could this not have been done in-house?
· required further explanation on SMEs and the point being made?
· need to explore the reasons why people have become homeless;
· consider that Swale should seize the initiative and develop its own social housing and not outsource to third parties;
· Swale’s Local Plan should be guiding this strategy;
· need to ensure that the right type of property was being provided within the Borough, as there was a lack of bungalows being built;
· option 3 needed to be expanded to include balance of types of housing;
· needed to include high price of established sheltered accommodation;
· objectives needed to be amended so it was clear that the Council were aiming for upper quartile improvements not just average;
· need to ensure that “rogue” landlords were on-board to ensure living conditions were improved;
· need to address the two-month a year homelessness issue caused by the ten-month occupancy rule on holiday camps, and the problems it creates every year for the Council’s housing department;
· welcomed improving social housing conditions, but how could you ensure this stays in place?;
· need to ensure that social housing properties were not sub-let;
· would like to see emergency out of hours procedures included;
· need to find a way of ensuring the final strategy was clear and simple;
· how did the strategy deal with homeless persons from London re-located to Swale?;
· there was a clear link between planning, the local plan ... view the full minutes text for item 447.
The Committee is asked to consider the public space CCTV report.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities, Head of Housing, Economy and Community Services and the Safer and Stronger Communities Officer have been invited to attend for this item.
The Chairman welcomed the Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities, the Head of Housing, Economy and Community Services and the Safer and Stronger Communities Officer to the meeting.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities introduced the report which set out the early stages of a public space CCTV Strategy for Swale. He explained that the current public space CCTV was old and not fit for purpose. Also new legislation meant that the way in which it could be used and the justifications for its use had changed. The Cabinet Member spoke about changes and improvements in technology and considered the proposed strategy gave a clear view on where Swale was going in terms of CCTV provision.
The Head of Housing, Economy and Community Services advised that as well as improvements in technology, it was important to consider the changes in human behaviour in respect of CCTV and also privately run CCTV. She stated that the review was important to assess the future of CCTV in Swale.
Members considered the report and raised points which included:
· Welcomed provision of wi-fi in town centres across the Borough;
· mobile units were a good idea, especially for resolving anti-social behaviour (ASB) issues;
· noted the fall in operational incidents logged which showed the current CCTV system was failing and did not provide evidence;
· concerns that ASB might increase in certain areas if CCTV removed;
· CCTV has been used by the Police to find vulnerable elderly people suffering from dementia and also solve major crime, if there were less cameras these types of incidents would be harder to resolve. Reducing the number of cameras would have a detrimental knock-on effect;
· Eastchurch Parish Council had experienced operational problems with the current CCTV set-up and had pulled-out. Since then they had not experienced any issues without having CCTV;
· wi-fi was definitely the way forward;
· mobile cameras were particularly useful for combating fly-tipping;
· considered the Police should fund CCTV not the Council;
· technology was so advanced that less people were required to work the systems. That should bring costs down and should be included in the Strategy;
· how much would it cost to modernise?;
· areas of public access needed CCTV, especially at night to ensure people felt safe;
· the Council’s street lighting policy needed to be considered in conjunction with this Strategy;
· Spring Street, Sittingbourne was very dark and people felt vulnerable in this public space;
· needed to ensure those in rural areas would be able to access the mobile CCTV;
· the Council should not rely on people using their mobile phones etc. to provide evidence;
· need to liaise with providers to ensure broadband in rural areas was available; and
· CCTV did not just assist the Police, the Council also benefited from CCTV particularly in relation to licensing.
In response to queries, the Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities drew attention to item 4 on page 7 of the Strategy which outlined that one of the purposes of the second generation public space CCTV systems ... view the full minutes text for item 448.
The Committee is asked to note the Committee’s Work Programme (attached) for the year.
The Policy and Performance Officer introduced the work programme. He advised that he was aware of a further item from the Community Safety Unit which would be considered at the next meeting on 12 February 2019. The Tree Policy would also be considered at that meeting, and it was possible that other items might come forward.
In response to a question from a Member, the Policy and Performance Officer confirmed that the Sheerness Vision (regeneration strategy), would not be considered at the next meeting.