Agenda and minutes

Venue: Sheerness East Working Men's Club, 47 Queenborough Road, Minster, Sheerness, Kent ME12 3BZ

Contact: Democratic Services, 01795 417330  Democratic Services Officer


No. Item


Emergency Evacuation Procedure

The Mayor 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 Mayor will inform the meeting that: there is no scheduled test of the fire alarm during this meeting. If the alarm does sound, please leave the building quickly without collecting any of your possessions, using the doors signed as fire escapes, and assemble outside where directed. Await instructions  before re-entering the building. Should anyone require assistance in evacuating the building, please make the Swale Borough Council Democratic Services Officers aware of any special needs so that suitable arrangements may be made in the event of an emergency.


The Deputy Mayor outlined the emergency evacuation procedure.



To approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 23 June 2021 (Minute Nos.109 - 117) as a correct record.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 23 June 2021 (Minute No. 109 – 117) were taken as read, approved and signed by the Deputy Mayor 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 Mayor 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 Interests (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 meeting 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.


Deputy Mayor's Announcements


The Deputy Mayor explained that he would be chairing the meeting as the Mayor was unwell. He wished the Mayor a speedy recovery.


The Deputy Mayor said that he had attended a Dyslexia Awareness event in Faversham the previous evening with Councillor Ben J Martin and the Mayor of Faversham, Mrs Alison Reynolds BEM.


The Deputy Mayor welcomed Councillor Mike Henderson to the meeting after his victory in the recent Priory Ward by-election.


Leader's Statement


The Leader opened his statement by saying how pleased he was that the meeting was being held at the Sheerness East Working Men’s Club and said he would concentrate his statement on the Isle of Sheppey exclusively.


He said that he played football for the Sheerness East Working Men’s Club in the 1970’s and he lived on the Isle of Sheppey as he taught at the Sheppey Upper Comprehensive School, including teaching two current Swale Borough Councillors. 


The Leader spoke of the importance of investing in the Isle of Sheppey.  He referred to the collapsed Lion Hope project in the 1990’s, although one of the project’s targets, the Second Sheppey Crossing, was built several years later.  He said that the coalition was determined to increase the resources that came to the Isle of Sheppey, not just core services but additional items from capital spends, special projects or from Government funding.  The Leader listed the following projects that had been carried out and those that were planned:


·       Funding for Sheppey Hall and the War Memorial in Sheerness;

·       improvements to disabled people’s parking with additional bays at Sheppey Leisure Centre and the Little Oysters;

·       new off-street parking for Kingsborough Manor woodland;

·       a continuing programme of refurbishment of playgrounds at Queenborough, Sheerness and Eastchurch;

·       new modern toilets at The Leas, Minster and refurbishment of the toilet at The Spinney, Leysdown;

·       the Special Projects Fund support for CCTV and refurbishment of kitchens at the village hall, in Leysdown;

·       supported the Sheppey Community bus service and Government Welcome Back funding supported the successful Hoppa Service;

·       the Barton’s Point Crossing bridge was replaced and car park improvements made in that location; and

·       the Council had, and continued to support, community groups especially for children and young people such as the Early Childhood Development Scheme.


The Leader highlighted many significant projects still in progress:


·       The repair of the Sheerness Clock Tower;

·       regeneration of Master’s House;

·       continuing makeover of Sheerness Town Centre; and

·       recovery of the pond at The Glen, Minster; and new drainage, toilet and shower block at Barton’s Point Coastal Park.


Future projects included:


·       Working with Sheerness Port and Historic England to develop the Sheerness Port and Dockyard initiative;

·       reviewing the Mile Town and Marine Town Conservation areas; and

·       working with the Ministry of Justice to secure the conservation of World War 2 aircraft carriers at Stanford Hill prison, Eastchurch.


Moving on to external funding and support, the Leader said that Swale had recently been visited by the High Street Task Force who initially considered Sittingbourne to be the priority for working around High Street improvements but it was Cabinet’s view that Sheerness should be first.  He added that the Isle of Sheppey had been made the priority for any scheme to submit to Government for levelling up and would remain a priority  whether Government support was received or not.


The Leader said there were some issues that Cabinet had no direct control over but should speak for the Isle of Sheppey, and he spoke on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 339.


Questions submitted by the Public

To consider any questions submitted by the public.  (The deadline for questions is 4.30 pm on the Wednesday before the meeting – please contact Democratic Services by e-mailing or call 01795 417330).




The Deputy Mayor advised there were 4 questions submitted by members of the public.


Question 1 – Mr Chris Williams


Can the Cabinet Member for Economy and Property explain what, if any, projects are being considered for a bid to the levelling up fund in Faversham, and if no bid is being considered, explain, why not?


Response – Cabinet Member for Economy and Property


For the Faversham and Mid Kent Constituency, Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) had submitted a bid for a highways project that had been subject to considerable work in the preceding years.  This had the support of the Member of Parliament and was able to demonstrate that it could meet the requirement for first round bids to begin spending within the current financial year.  The outcome of this bid was awaited, and should it be successful it would be very unlikely that any bid could be successfully submitted for Faversham or Swale East.  If MBC’s bid is not successful, then proposals for that part of the Borough falling within the Faversham and Mid-Kent Constituency could be developed for submission.  Some ideas had been discussed with the Faversham Borough Councillors, but at present no one proposal has been decided upon for this eventuality.


Supplementary question


There was no supplementary question


Question 2 – Linda Brinklow


Climate Change is a very big issue. I was one of the local residents, that took part, around 8 years ago in the Coastal Communities Consultation on Shaping Our Future by the Coast.


There were 3 areas covered. Thanet, Romney Marsh and Sheppey – all areas where climate change will have the greatest impact.  Under the developing Business and Tourism section, the very first proposed action, was to support the development of a cross island cycle way.


Many of the other proposals have been implemented. Very little had been done about the cycle way.  Plans were put forward by SUSTRANS, working with local councillors, residents and the tourism industry. These have been shelved.


If and when money becomes available to develop such a scheme, how many of your councillors would support its development. Currently we are trying to get the Leysdown to Eastchurch part of the project initiated.


Response – Cabinet Member for Economy and Property


SBC was a key partner in the European funded project -  Coastal Communities 2150 - and had continued to use this work to inform and develop a number of our current key priorities – our commitment to the Climate Change and Ecological Emergency, the  Visitor Economy and  the Cycling and Walking Statement. 


During the last decade the Council  worked very closely with SUSTRANS in developing a number of priorities for leisure routes on the Isle of Sheppey some of which were delivered (Harty Trail and Sheerness Trail) with others remaining under review and/or aspirational.  More recent technical reports commissioned through SUSTRANS have informed other initiatives and demonstrate our commitment to working with funding bodies such as Kent Highways and the Department for Transport.


The cross Sheppey Cycle  ...  view the full minutes text for item 340.


Questions submitted by Members

To consider any questions submitted by Members.  (The deadline for questions is 4.30 pm on the Monday the week before the meeting – please contact Democratic Services by e-mailing or call 01795 417330).



The Deputy Mayor advised that five questions had been received from Members.  Each Member was invited to put their question which was responded to by the relevant Cabinet Member. The questioner was then invited to ask a supplementary question:


Question 1 – Cllr Cameron Beart


Following the Leaders announcement at Full Council in June 2021 that he was to create yet another two paid cabinet positions, adding £18.5k a year to the allowances budget and bringing the total SRA spend to nearly £200k a year, could the Leader please explain to the local electorate how his ever growing allowances budget burden on the taxpayer is justified?

Despite his own election manifesto pledge of cutting the number of special responsibility allowances paid, in two years he has increased the annual spend by nearly £45k. Is this the real cost of loyalty in this coalition?


Response – Leader


I would like to thank the Member for his question and the opportunity to demonstrate how parsimonious we have been over the last two and a half years.


Under section 9c of the Local Government Act of 2000 our Cabinet can consist of 10 members, including the Leader. That we have worked so successfully with 7 Cabinet Members, during a period when we had no Chief Executive,  of unmitigated challenge due to a pandemic and, frankly, when we felt there were changes needed after years of Conservative rule, will be appreciated by fair minded members of the public. It was our view when taking office that SBC needed to expand its vision, to recognise the significance of climate change, to do a lot more about the homelessness crisis, to be more engaged with the community, to show greater concern for our public environment and to broaden the meaning of supporting the local economy. For 27 months we have followed these aims with only 7 Cabinet Members. They have been well supported by deputies, who it was clear played a key role in expanding the vision of this Council.


The total saving by having 7 Portfolios rather than 10 over the last 27months is just under £125,000


We have been able to limit Cabinet posts to just 7 in part because I personally have looked after two portfolios, those of the Leader and those of Cabinet Member for Finance. Councillor Mike Baldock had combined being Deputy Leader, with responsibility for Planning and Constitutional change. He was also chairing the Western Area Committee, for which he receives no SRA. Other administration members have taken on other key roles without SRA recognition, Councillor Gould as Chair of Policy Development Review Committee for two years and Councillor Carnell as Licensing Committee Chair. These selfless commitments add a further £19,045.22 to the savings made on SRAs by this administration


It may be protested that 10 portfolios were not necessary for a Council of our size. Well, they were in 2010 and 2011 and it was thought necessary to have 9 from 2013-2016. As my memory serves me, these were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 341.


Motion for free Saturday parking in town centres

To help town centre traders, this Council would support the piloting of a scheme to allow free parking on Saturdays.  Council therefore requests the Cabinet member to undertake the necessary work to determine whether such a pilot is feasible and to bring a report to a future Council meeting for a decision.


Proposed:  Councillor Oliver Eakin

Seconded:  Councillor Mike Whiting


In proposing the motion for free parking in Town Centres on Saturdays, Councillor Oliver Eakin said that high streets in the borough were in need of a boost and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic had led to residents shopping elsewhere.  He drew attention to the popularity of online shopping and said that high streets needed to attract more customers.  He acknowledged the decrease in revenue that free parking would bring but said it was up to the Council to introduce polices to improve lives.


In seconding the proposal, Councillor Mike Whiting reserved his right to speak.


In the discussion that followed, Members raised points including:


·       Similar motions had been proposed unsuccessfully in 2017 and 2019;

·       free parking might lead to increase in traffic and pollution;

·       should discourage online spending and support local shops instead;

·       car parks in some areas of the Borough were already full;

·       there was already free parking in some areas of Swale;

·       the times of free parking proposed should be more specific;

·       would prefer free transport and improving cycle and pedestrian routes;

·       roads were already congested;

·       praise for listening to community and bringing the motion forward;

·       need to reduce the numbers of cars but increase the numbers of people shopping local;

·       loss of revenue to the Council would be too high;

·       needed to look at the issue but this was not the solution;

·       this was a feasibility study for free parking on Saturdays;

·       the financial implication had not been costed;

·       suggested looking at the pedestrianisation report discussed at Swale JTB – needed to get footfall into town centres on the least busiest days;

·       better products and facilities such as cinema and bowling encouraged shoppers into Town Centres; and

·       improvement and ease of payment of parking tickets encouraged shoppers.


Councillor Whiting spoke in support of the motion and reminded Members that the motion called for a feasibility study.  He highlighted that supermarkets offered free parking and said that options should be considered to assist retailers in the post recovery period.


In summing up, Councillor Eakin said this was not a reward for the motorist but with limited public transport, it was not reasonable for everyone to use public transport instead of a car.  He acknowledged similar motions had been proposed before but said the issue needed to be looked at to assist traders.


In accordance with Procedure Rule 19(2), five Members requested a recorded vote, and voting was as follows:


For:  Councillors Beart, Bowen, Dendor, Eakin, Fowle, Hunt, Ingleton, MacDonald, Neal, Pugh, Simmons and Whiting. Total equals 12.

Against:  Councillors Baldock, Bonney, Carnell, S Clark, Darby, Davey, Henderson, Gibson, Gould, Hall, Harrison, Jackson, Jayes, Knights, Martin, Palmer, Rowles, Saunders, Tatton, Thomas, Truelove, Valentine, Whelan, Winckless, Woodford. Total equals 25.


Abstain:  Councillors Horton and Marchington. Total equals 2.


The Deputy Mayor advised that the motion was lost.


Motion - Southern Water

This Council notes that

·       This summer Southern Water (SW) was fined a record £90m for deliberately dumping between 16 billion and 21 billion litres of raw sewage into the seas off North Kent and Hampshire over a 7 year period.

·       The judge in the case stated that these offences show a shocking and wholesale disregard for the environment for precious and delicate ecosystems and coastlines, for human health and for fisheries and other legitimate businesses that operate.  He also stated that the company had a history of criminal activity because of its previous and persistent pollution of the environment.

·       The dumping afforded the company considerable financial advantages at a time when infrastructure in the 17 wastewater treatment works (including 4 in Swale) investigated was crumbling and SW did not maintain, repair or replace vital machinery.

·       This criminal activity has put the health of residents and visitors to Swale at risk through the contamination of the seas of the North Kent coast and the contamination of local sea food, damaged the reputation of local beaches and the local environment and harmed local businesses involved with the harvesting of sea food.

·       The water industry has accumulated debts of £48billion since 1989 which cost £1.3billion in annual interest.  In that time the industry has paid £57billion in shareholder dividends, while customer bills have increased by 40% above inflation.

It further notes that

·       A number of incidents have taken place during the summer along the North Kent coast involving the release of raw sewage which emphasise the need for urgent investment in the area’s wastewater treatment facilities.

·       A series of heavy storms during the summer led to a number of flash flooding incidents in Swale towns during which sewage escaped onto local streets posing a potential health risk to local residents and illustrating the need to upgrade the waste water infrastructure servicing our local communities

·       SW has approved an additional investment programme of £230m and declared an ambition to cause no serious pollution incidents affecting local rivers, streams and beaches by 2025.

·       That the Council Leader is writing to the Chief Executive and Director of the Environment at SW insisting that they meet with the Council to account for the impact of SW’s criminal behaviour on local communities, to give a clear picture of the current inadequacies of the waste water infrastructure servicing in Swale and to lay out their plans for how they will remedy the situation.


The Council resolves to:

·       Support the administration in demanding that Southern Water make the  investment needed to:

-        ensure that local water treatment works are functioning legally and safely and that our rivers, streams and shoreline are not affected by serious pollution incidents in the future

-        improve the capacity and effectiveness of the local waste water infrastructure so that sewage is not discharged into local streets during periods of heavy rain.


·       Write to local MP’s and the Department of the Environment asking that

-        Fine income be used to support improvements in the regulatory arrangements  ...  view the full agenda text for item 343.


In proposing the motion as set out on the Agenda, Councillor Julian Saunders set out the recent court case of Southern Water (SW) being find £90million.  He said between 2010 and 2015, SW had dumped between 16 billion and 21 billion litres of raw sewage into the sea from 17 waste water treatment plants, 4 of which were in Swale at Eastchurch, Queenborough, Sittingbourne and Teynham. Councillor Saunders explained the impact and said that national statistics showed that Southern Water were responsible for 4 times as many pollution incidents per mile than the national average.  He added that the Environment Agency (EA) considered SW’s performance consistently unacceptable. Councillor Saunders highlighted several recent incidents including sewer overflows.


Councillor Saunders said that the Council would be writing to MP’s and the Department of the Environment seeking their investment in greater regulations and to revise management arrangements for the water industry.  He referred to the profits made by SW and said the motion sought to ensure that the company's future pledges of £230million of investment and accelerated spending for future years were carried out and that there would be no serious pollution incidents affecting local rivers, streams and beaches caused by their operations by 2025.


He referred to the proposed £2million investment by SW to the Faversham Wastewater Works but said there was still much to be done.


In seconding the motion, Councillor Tim Valentine said that SW had promised to improve its service since 2015 but matters had worsened and he outlined the increase in self-reported raw sewage spillage incidents in Thanet from 2017 – 2020 which had increased by 160%  He said that SW had said they were working to reduce the number of historic Combined Sewer Outfalls (CSO’s) with investment and nature based solutions but this did not appear in their Pollution Incident Reduction Plan. Councillor Valentine compared information collected on rainfall with SW’s spill data for 2020 and said that discharges occurred more frequently during periods of low and medium rainfall. Further data showed there had been an increase in the discharge of raw sewage in recent years.


During the discussion that followed, Members raised points which included:


·       SW had an appalling record and were criminally irresponsible;

·       was not in favour of basic human needs being put in the market place;

·       SW had not invested and infrastructure had suffered

·       needed to do more than just write a letter;

·       a Scrutiny committee meeting with attendance by SW was being pursued;

·       highlighted the reputational damage caused to coastal towns with beaches and the possible decrease in visitors;

·       the impact on marine life;

·       gave examples of where lack of investment had caused long term leaks;

·       SW had failed;

·       the Council should claim financial compensation for damage inflicted on the community;

·       spoke of the knock-on effect of not discharging correctly;

·       highlighted the impact on businesses;

·       encouraged working together to hold SW to account;

·       spoke of negative experiences when dealing with SW;

·       control of industry was inadequate - Ofwat and the EA should be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 343.


Updated Cabinet Portfolio Responsibilities pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Additional documents:


The Leader proposed the recommendations which were seconded by the Deputy Leader.




(1)  To note updated Cabinet portfolio responsibilities set out at Appendix I on the report.


(2)  To note that the scheme of delegations set out in Part 3 of the constitution remains otherwise unchanged.


Governance Model Change pdf icon PDF 150 KB


The Deputy Mayor advised Members that in accordance with Article 17 of the procedure rules, an amendment to the recommendations had been proposed by Councillor Tim Valentine and seconded by Councillor Monique Bonney.


The Deputy Leader introduced the report and said that moving to the Committee system was an important step. He referred to Area Committees and Cabinet Advisory Committees in widening engagement and in proposing the recommendations said that Committee Structure was more transparent.  In seconding the recommendations, the Leader reserved his right to speak.


Councillor Tim Valentine proposed an amendment to the recommendations to change the date of implementation to May 2023 from May 2022.  In proposing the amendment, Councillor Valentine said that he supported moving to the Committee system but in considering officer resource, a longer lead in time was preferable.  He said implementing the Committee system earlier might be a diversion to the Council’s priorities.  Councillor Bonney seconded the motion and reserved her right to speak.


In the discussion that followed Members raised points including:


·       Why wait another year to improve democracy?;

·       the Committee system should be tested prior to 2023 new Members being elected;

·       delaying implementation was more of a diversion;

·       it was unreasonable to elect new Members at the same time as a new system;

·       some Members might not wish to stand in an election with a Committee system;

·       a delay gave officers time to deliver on priorities that had been delayed due to Covid-19;

·       should implement in 2022 or not at all;

·       Members needed to see it through;

·       was a step too far for new Members and a new system;

·       current Members needed to be responsible for their actions and decisions;

·       it was dishonest to agree the Committee system but defer the start start;

·       officer resource needed to be considered; and

·       rewriting the constitution was a big project that needed a lot of resource.


Councillor Bonney said that officers were already very overstretched and delivering on projects within the Council’s priorities would be very difficult if the Committee System was implemented in 2022 and careful management of officer resource would be needed.


In response, the Deputy Leader said he had listened to a number of different options and a number of valid points had been raised but on balance, any problems needed to be ironed out before new Members joined the Council.

In accordance with Procedure Rule 19(2), five Members requested a recorded vote, and voting was as follows:


For:  Councillors Bonney, Darby, Henderson, Gould, Jackson, Jayes, Knights, Martin, Tatton, Thomas, Valentine. Total equals 11.


Against:  Councillors Baldock,  Beart, Bowen, Carnell, S Clark, Davey, Dendor, Eakin, Fowle, Gibson, Hall, Harrison, Horton, Hunt, Ingleton, MacDonald, Marchington, Neal, Palmer, Pugh, Rowles, Saunders, Simmons, Truelove, Whelan, Whiting, Winckless, Woodford. Total equals 28.


Abstain: 0


The Deputy Mayor announced that the amendment was lost.


Members then debated the substantive recommendations. 


Under Council Procedure Rule 16 (19)(b) Councillor Ken Ingleton proposed the substantive recommendations be put to the vote.  This was seconded by Councillor Mike Whiting and on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 345.


Statement of Principles Under the Gambling Act 2005


The Deputy Mayor advised that this item was added to the Agenda in error and the report would be considered at the next Council meeting in November 2021.


Local Area Profile under the Gambling Act 2005


The Deputy Mayor advised that this item was added to the Agenda in error and the report would be considered at the next Council meeting in November 2021.


Recommendations for Approval pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Council is asked to note the recommendations from the following meetings:


Licensing Act 2003 Committee (09.09.21)




(1)  That Minute Nos 253 – 254 from the Licensing Act 2003 Committee held on 9 September 2021 be noted.


Independent Person extension of contract pdf icon PDF 111 KB


The Leader introduced the report  and proposed the recommendation which sought to extend the period of appointment of Patricia Richards and Christopher Webb as Independent Persons for a further four years to September 2025.  In seconding the recommendations Councillor Alan Horton thanked the Independent Persons for their service.




(1)  That Council extend the period of appointment of Patricia Richards and Christopher Webb as Independent Persons for a further four years to September 2025.


Exclusion of 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 from the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1 and 2.


1.     Information relating to any individual

2.     Information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual


It was not necessary to pass the resolution to exclude the press and public.


Exempt Appendix - Independent Person extension of contract


There was no discussion on the Exempt Appendix.


Decisions from Emergency Committee

To follow report and appendices added 5.10.21




That Council noted the decisions made by the Emergency Committee that agreed:


(1)  Lisa Fillery be designated as the Section 151 Officer for Swale Borough Council


(2)  Health grounds were an appropriate reason to waive the requirement under s85 (1) of the Local Government Act 1972 to Councillors Roger Clark, Mini Nissanga and Bill Tatton to attend a meeting within six months of their last attendance




The meeting was adjourned from 8:53pm to 9pm.


Extension of Standing Orders


At 10pm Members agreed to the extension of Standing Orders in order that Council could complete its business.