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Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

434.

Fire 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.

 

Minutes:

The Vice-Chairman-in-the-chair drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.

435.

Minutes

To approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 7 November 2018 (Minute Nos. 312 - 321) as a correct record. Link to Minutes

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 7 November 2018 (Minute Nos. 312 – 321) were taken as read, approved and signed by the Vice Chairman-in-the-chair as a correct record.

436.

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.

 

Minutes:

No interests were declared.

437.

Sittingbourne Town Centre Update pdf icon PDF 168 KB

The Cabinet Member for Regeneration, the Director of Regeneration and the Sittingbourne Town Centre Scheme Manager have been invited to attend for this item.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Vice-Chairman-in-the-chair welcomed the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, the Director of Regeneration, the Sittingbourne Town Centre Scheme Manager and Huw Evans, Richard Blackwell and Steven Lee Sang from Spirit of Sittingbourne (SoS) to the meeting.  The Cabinet Member for Regeneration introduced the report and invited questions from Members.

 

Members asked questions which included:

 

·        Were the schedule of the works in Station Street, the station forecourt and the new bus hub area on target?; (bullet point 3 in the report);

·        at what stage was the piling at?; (bullet point 6 in the report);

·        what progress had been made with implementing Central Avenue one-way, and had the concerns of businesses been addressed?;

·        who decided that SoS could give free parking at Christmas and who funded the promotion?; and

·        were any further changes to the roundabout planned to assist HGV’s and buses?

 

In response, Richard Blackwell said that the works at Station Street were on target and that surfacing would be laid once the surface temperature had increased.  Steven Lee Sang said that piling to the hotel was complete and was due to be finished at the cinema next week.  The Sittingbourne Town Centre Scheme Manager said that the Central Avenue design was complete and Kent County Council (KCC) would be issuing a formal notice with a start date.  He added that businesses would be notified in advance once a start date was agreed.  The Director of Regeneration advised that the free Christmas parking was funded by SoS.

 

Richard Blackwell advised that any improvements on the roundabout were still being agreed with KCC, although the modelling appeared to work.  He added that maintenance of the roundabout would be picked up as part of the 12 months maintenance period.

 

A Member asked why Wildwood withdrew from the development?  In response, the Director of Regeneration said that this was down to the national trend of Wildwood and nothing to do with the Sittingbourne Town Centre Regeneration project.  She advised that of the seven units, three were currently let and one was currently in negotiation to be let.  She added that she was confident that once the physical build of the units was under way by April 2019, there would be more interest in the final three units.   

 

In the debate that followed, a Member questioned the timing of the press release and how accurate it was.  In response, the Director of Regeneration said that Wildwood had withdrawn from the project some time ago but in order not to affect the market, the information was not released until Nando’s had agreed to come on board.  The Cabinet Member for Regeneration explained how the pattern of recruiting businesses to the scheme operated and advised that there were originally only six units.

 

In response to a Member’s question, Huw Evans agreed to find out the actual cost of the free parking promotion at Christmas and confirmed that it was paid for by SoS.

 

A Member asked a question about advertising of partners involved in the scheme.  In response,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 437.

438.

Updates on recommendations by the Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 62 KB

(a)  Leisure and Tourism – The Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the Economy and Community Services Manager have been invited to attend for this item.

 

(b)  Housing Services – The Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities has been invited to attend for this item.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Tourism Scrutiny Review

 

The Economy and Community Services Manager introduced the report and drew attention that of the 16 recommendations by Scrutiny Committee, ten were accepted and three remained pending.  She advised Members that there would be a Member Briefing on the Visitor Economy Framework, including a presentation from Visit Kent, on Tuesday 12 March 2019 at which all Members were welcome to attend.  The Economy and Community Services Manager drew attention that the workshop event scheduled in February was on Wednesday 27 February 2019, not 28 February as printed in the report.

 

A Member said that it was too early to tell whether residents were more informed and looked forward to future updates.

 

The Cabinet Member for Regeneration thanked the Scrutiny Committee and highlighted and thanked the contribution made by the Policy Development Review Committee (PDRC).

 

Members agreed that monitoring of implementation of the review recommendations was complete.

 

The Vice-Chairman-in-the-chair thanked the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and officers for their attendance.

 

Housing Review

 

The Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Families introduced the report.  He highlighted the progress that had been made since he and officers attended the Scrutiny Committee meeting in July 2018 and reminded Members that the Housing, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy would be discussed at the PDRC meeting the following evening.  He thanked the Scrutiny Committee for their direction and work on the review.  In response to a question from a Member, the Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Families clarified that the need to build affordable housing was in areas of the Isle of Sheppey and Sittingbourne, where viability was at its lowest.

 

Members agreed that monitoring of implementation of the review recommendations was complete.

 

The Vice-Chairman-in-the-chair thanked the Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Families for his attendance at the meeting.

 

Development Management

 

Members agreed to postpone the review and reconsider it in the new municipal year as part of the Committee’s work programme for 2019/20.

439.

Performance Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 2 MB

The Committee is asked to consider the Performance Monitoring Report for the 2nd Quarter.

 

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance, the Deputy Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance and the Business Improvement Officer (Policy) have been invited to attend for this item.

Minutes:

The Vice-Chairman-in-the-chair welcomed the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance, the Deputy Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance and the Business Improvement Officer (Policy) to the meeting, and went through the Balanced scorecard report for 2018/19 Quarter 2.

 

Corporate Overview

 

A Member drew attention to the improving sickness absence levels.  The Business Improvement Officer (Policy) confirmed the levels remained good going into Quarter 3.

 

Environment and Rural Affairs

 

There were no comments.

 

Finance and Performance

 

A Member sought clarification on why some large projects were amber and not green.  The Business Improvement Officer (Policy) advised that once a project had been delayed, it could remain amber if the information was based on the original target dates of the scheme.  The Vice-Chairman-in-the-chair suggested that a new schedule should be produced.  The Business Improvement Officer (Policy) agreed to look at this in the future.

 

In response to a question from a Member on why the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) was green, the Deputy Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance agreed to find out.

 

There was a discussion on the Transformation Team working on other projects.  The Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance explained that the staff had been diverted to work on the Council’s new website which was a key corporate priority.

 

Housing and Safer Communities

 

A Member highlighted  the increase in crime levels and asked what could SBC do? The Deputy Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance drew attention that figures for crime were now reported differently and this could have added to the increase.  A Member said that the figures still indicated that crime in Swale was worsening.

 

In response to a request from a Member, the Business Improvement Officer (Policy) agreed to provide figures for the breakdown of crime.

 

Planning Services

 

In response to a request from a Member, the Business Improvement Officer (Policy) agreed to provide performance data relating to Freedom of Information requests.

 

A Member asked what the additional, unpredicted, revenue from planning fee income was spent on?  The Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance explained that the money was retained and went into the General Budget or Planning Services budget.  He warned that, in some years, there had been an over-estimate of the expected revenue.  The Deputy Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance said that recruitment of Planning Officers was difficult.  A discussion ensued focusing on the statutory timescales for completing planning applications, and the Business Improvement Officer (Policy) clarified that there were statutory requirements to meet before a planning application became valid, but there might still be insufficient information to progress the application, which caused delays.

 

A Member asked about funding from developers as part of a Planning Performance Agreement to provide Planning Officers for major planning applications.  The Deputy Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance agreed to find out more information on this.

 

Regeneration

 

There was no discussion.

 

Health and Well-being

 

The Chairman sought clarification on the figures for staff receiving safeguarding training.    The Deputy Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance explained that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 439.

440.

Other Review Progress Reports

The Committee is asked to consider updates on other reviews.

Minutes:

The Development Management Review was discussed under Item 6.

441.

Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 73 KB

The Committee is asked to consider the Forward Plan with a view to identifying possible items for pre-decision scrutiny.

Minutes:

A Member highlighted the Disposal of 17/17A Station Street, Sittingbourne on Page 3 of the Forward Plan and asked for an update to be provided on plans for the building.

 

A Member disagreed  that the impact of the closure of public conveniences on page 5 of the Forward Plan was not a key decision as he considered that if the facilities were brought back to use, they could be used by drivers travelling through the Borough.

442.

Urgent Business Requests

The Committee is asked to consider any requests from Committee Members to commence a review.

Minutes:

There were none.

443.

Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 89 KB

The Committee is asked to note the Committee’s Work Programme (attached) for the remainder of the year.

Minutes:

The Chairman suggested inviting the Utility companies to attend the Scrutiny Committee meeting scheduled for 27 February 2019.  In the discussion that followed, a Member suggested the topic should be discussed early in the next municipal year for completeness. 

 

The Policy and Performance Officer agreed to contact the Utility companies and update Members.

 

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