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 16 January 2019 (Minute Nos. 444 - 449) as a correct record.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 January 2019 (Minute Nos. 444 – 449) 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 note the amendments made to Swale Borough Council’s Tree Policy following their first review.
The Cabinet Member for Environment and Rural Affairs, the Head of Commissioning, Environment and Leisure, the Leisure and Technical Services Manager and the Greenspaces Manager have been invited to attend for this item.
The Chairman welcomed the Cabinet Member for Environment and Rural Affairs, the Head of Commissioning, Environment and Leisure, the Leisure and Technical Services Manager and the Greenspaces Manager to the meeting.
The Cabinet Member for Environment and Rural Affairs introduced the report. He drew attention, that as a result of the suggestions made by Members when the Tree Policy was considered at the Policy Development Review Committee (PDRC) meeting in November 2018, the Draft Tree Policy had been updated.
Members considered the report and the following points were made:
· the paragraph on Hedgerows (page 7) was not strong or specific enough, the Policy needed to protect ancient hedgerows;
· how were ancient hedgerows identified?;
· lack of information on how Swale Borough Council (SBC) responded to Tree Preservation Order (TPO) applications;
· thanked Officers and welcomed the updated policy;
· suggested re-wording “…..by the developer who paid the Council a ‘commuted sum’ ’’ in the final paragraph of page 7;
· suggested including Councillors as well as staff and public in the first bullet point under ’Who Inspects’ on page 9;
· suggested adding ‘unless urgent’ after ‘…programmed tree works’ on the final bullet point at the bottom of page 13;
· consider a Press Release on who to contact to report damaged or diseased trees;
· the ‘Community support’ heading on page 18 should be titled ‘Advice for public’;
· suggested including a link to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ Magic Maps application which provided geographical information on the natural environment or a link to information on veteran trees;
· the importance of ancient woodlands should be stressed throughout the whole document;
· who carried out the tree inspections and did it impact on staff resource?; and
· information on pages 14 and 15 was confusing and needed to be clearer about how residents or Swale Borough Council could act.
In the discussion that followed, the Cabinet Member for Environment and Rural Affairs advised that the information on enforcement for removing ancient hedgerows was included in the document, and further information was signposted. The Head of Commissioning, Environment and Leisure added that there was a crossover into Planning Legislation and he would discuss with the Head of Planning Services the relevant information that needed to be included in the document.
The Cabinet Member for Environment and Rural Affairs said that follow-up action from TPO applications was dependent on an individual circumstance and incidents were referred to the Council’s Tree Officer.
In response to a Member’s request that officers’ direct phone numbers were included in the document, the Cabinet Member for Environment and Rural Affairs explained that it was more efficient for calls to be logged with Customer Services. The Head of Commissioning, Environment and Leisure added that staff in Customer Services had received updated training on responding to tree enquiries as part of the recent change in software system.
The Green Spaces Manager advised that a combination of contractors and Council staff carried out the tree inspections, depending on staff workloads. In the discussion that followed, the Leisure and ... view the full minutes text for item 493.
The Committee is asked to review the Committee’s Forward Work Programme (attached).
The Policy and Performance Officer introduced the work programme. He advised that the programme might change if further policies came forward.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
To decide whether to pass the resolution set out below in respect of the following item:
That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 7.
7. Information relating to any action taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.
That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act:
7. Information relating to any action taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.
Swale Community Safety Partnership (CSP) Strategic Assessment.
The Committee is asked to consider the Swale CSP Strategic Assessment.
Consultation on the recommended priorities for the Swale CSP Community Safety Plan 2019/20, put forward through the Community Safety Strategic Assessment. The purpose of the strategic assessment is to provide an understanding of community safety problems within the Borough, in order to inform and help determine partnership priorities going forward. The consultation response will be provided to the CSP Executive for consideration.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities, the Safer and Stronger Communities Officer and the Economy and Community Services Project Officer have been invited to attend for this item.
The Chairman welcomed the Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities, the Economy and Community Services Manager and the Economy and Community Services Project Officer to the meeting.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities introduced the report which determined the work programme for the Partnership for the coming year. He highlighted the current priorities and themes on page 29 of the report and sought Members’ views.
The Chairman congratulated the Economy and Community Services Project Officer (Community Safety) and support staff for the production of the document.
A Member sought more information on how partners worked together to prioritise and solve issues and highlighted a lack of communication and feedback after incidents were reported. In response, the Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities said that monitoring of focused areas was carried out after incidents were logged and the community trigger worked well, when reported. He agreed that feedback from some partners could be improved. The Economy and Community Services Manager added that a newsletter update was circulated to Members, and if Members reported incidents to SBC, feedback would be given. A discussion around community engagement followed and a Member suggested local engagement forums and pop-up stands as more effective communication.
In response to a Member expressing concern about the effect that drugs had on the community, the Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities agreed that the use of drugs influenced all the current priorities and themes shown on page 29 of the report.
In response to a Member’s question, the Economy and Services Manager highlighted the Glossary of terms on page 56 of the report and explained that the MARAC (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference) was a regular meeting held to discuss high-risk victims.
A Member referred to Organised Crime Groups (OCG’s) and the Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities said that Kent Police employed dedicated Gang Liaison Officers.
The Economy and Community Services Project Officer agreed to find out the definition of the colours in the graph on page 38 of the report and the Economy and Community Services Manager advised she was seeking more context from Kent Police on the maps produced in the report.
A Member suggested including other Housing providers in the statistics for Anti-social behaviour on page 41 of the report.
The Chairman referred to seasonal trends in crime and commended the Police’s work with the Community Safety Partnership in reducing crime in tourist areas on the Isle of Sheppey.
A Member suggested that fly posting incidents be included in the figures for Fly Tipping and agreed that there should be further re-engagement with the Street Pastors to consider Purple Flag accreditation. Another Member agreed, highlighted the anti-social behaviour of youths and referred to the expected increase in visitors at night when the Sittingbourne Town Centre Regeneration scheme was complete.
There was a discussion around the installation of gates to tackle anti-social behaviour at Galway Road, Sheerness and the Economy and Community Services Manager advised that the situation was being monitored. ... view the full minutes text for item 496.