Agenda and minutes
Venue: Committee Room, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne Kent ME10 3HT
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 20 November 2019 (Minute Nos. 368 - 371) as a correct record.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 20 November 2019 (Minute Nos. 368 – 371) were 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.
Councillor Ken Ingleton declared a disclosable non-pecuniary interest in Item 5 – Swale Heritage Strategy as he was a trustee of the following charities:
Sheppey Local History Society, Sheppey Heritage Trust Ltd, Bluetown Remembered Ltd and Historic Swale.
During the discussion, Councillor Mike Dendor declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in Item 5 – Swale Heritage Strategy as he had previously been employed by Peel Ports.
During the discussion, visiting Councillor Steve Davey declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in Item 5 – Swale Heritage Strategy as he managed The George Public House (Listed Building) in High Street, Sittingbourne.
The Committee is asked to consider the Swale Heritage Strategy 2020 – 2032.
The Chairman welcomed the Cabinet Member for Planning, the Conservation & Design Manager and the Economy and Community Services Manager to the meeting and invited the Cabinet Member for Planning, to introduce the report.
The Cabinet Member for Planning said that the strategy outlined the at-risk heritage in the Borough and was a positive step forward in promoting the heritage and visitor economy in Swale. He said that there had not been a review of the 50 Conservation Areas in the Borough for many years and the strategy would help to identify future development risks.
The Conservation & Design Manager said that the strategy was long-overdue and good progress was being made on it. He explained that the strategy was currently out for formal consultation and so far approximately 50 responses had been received with generally positive comments including suggestions of future sites to consider. The Conservation & Design Manager said that there had already been discussions with Historic England, liaison with officers about implementing the work programme and he welcomed community group involvement. He outlined the process for the strategy to be adopted.
Members of the Committee raised issues which included:
· Who would fund the works needed to salvage properties?;
· suggested help and support for voluntary and community groups to access funding;
· suggested adding the date of when each Conservation Area was last reviewed to the strategy document;
· suggested a priority list of buildings that needed attention;
· some information needed updating on the Appendix (p.98 Kemsley Arms);
· spoke of previous sites where pressure to carry out work was unsuccessful; and
· sought clarification on spending plan of £250k.
In response, the Conservation & Design Manager said that Swale Borough Council’s (SBC) role was an enabling role and it only had the resource to tackle the worst issues. He said that there were limited heritage grants and funding from various sources. The Conservation & Design Manager said that SBC had powers to put buildings back into order and each case would be considered individually, but if more drastic action such as a compulsory purchase order was necessary, more funding would be required.
The Conservation & Design Manager advised that there would likely be additional entries to the At Risk register (Appendix II). He agreed that there had been issues on a difficult site and said that communication with owners on another site was being re-established.
The Cabinet Member for Planning clarified that £250k was the lifetime of the budget over three years. He referred Members to the alternative options at paragraphs 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 on page 9 of the report and said that the progress made would be considered after 3 years. The Conservation & Design Manager added that any further action after the initial 3 year Action Plan would have to be considered by Cabinet for further funding or managed within existing resource.
In the discussion that followed, Members gave examples of buildings and issues in the Borough that required attention including addressing the access issues to the Faversham engine and carriage shed buildings and works ... view the full minutes text for item 489.
The Committee is asked to consider the Corporate Plan 2020 – 2023.
The Head of Policy, Communications and Customer Services gave apologies from the Leader.
The Head of Policy, Communications and Customer Services said that the comments from the Committee’s first discussion on the Corporate Plan in September 2019 had been incorporated into the document which was now open for public consultation until 1 March 2020.
Members were invited to ask questions and make comments.
Priority 1: Building the right homes in the right places and supporting quality jobs for all
Page 108 1.3
Members sought clarification on what was meant by ‘brownfield land’ in ‘urban centres’. In the discussion that followed, the Head of Policy, Communications and Customer Services explained that the focus was on town centres and priorities should not define or limit areas in a document of this level. He reminded Members that this was a high level document from which much more detailed pieces of work would subsequently flow. The Head of Policy, Communications and Customer Services agreed to add ‘suitable’ to brownfield land.
Page 108 1.4
A Member highlighted the many commuters to London from the Borough and said there was nothing in the document to address how to attract roles in the Borough. In response, the Head of Policy, Communications and Customer Services said that development of higher skilled employment opportunities was likely to encourage higher wages. A Member said that the Borough needed houses that residents could afford to live in near their place of work.
The Cabinet Member for Planning said that Gordon Henderson MP would be lobbying Central Government to expand the outer London weighting to Swale and encouraged Members to support the MP.
Page 108 1.5
A Member suggested including apprenticeships with further and higher education.
Priority 2: Investing in our environment and responding positively to global challenges
Page 109 2.5
A Member said that it was unachievable to keep the Borough clean by SBC alone and he said that recycling should be a priority not a focus. Another Member suggested including ‘Work with other agencies to ensure that the borough is kept clean’ . The Chairman drew attention that the priority was expanded on pages 114 – 115. A discussion ensued and the Head of Policy, Communications and Customer Services explained that the current waste contract ran until the end of this Corporate Plan. The Cabinet Member for Planning said that recycling remained a priority.
Priority 4: Renewing local democracy and making the council fit for the future.
A Member said that there should be more forward thinking and consideration of what SBC were doing inwardly.
(1) That the comments on the consultation draft of the corporate plan 2020-2023 from the Policy Development and Review Committee be included and the draft plan be noted.
The Committee is asked to consider policies, plans, strategies and decisions due for review in 2019/20.
The Policy and Performance Officer explained that the Overarching Enforcement policy would be considered at the next meeting on 4 March 2020. He advised that the first meeting of the next civic year would take place in June 2020.
The Chairman asked Members for suggestions of policies to review.
A Member suggested reviewing the policy on Borough-wide parking/residents permit parking. The Policy and Performance Officer said that there had been a previous Scrutiny review on this topic, and suggested a review on whether it was working efficiently. A Member said that roads were not designed for the amount of parking and more awareness of parking across the Borough was needed.
A Member spoke about the lack of a Biodiversity Enforcement Officer to advise on hedgerows within Planning applications. The Cabinet Member for Planning agreed to discuss this with the Head of Planning Services.
(1) That the report be noted.