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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 3HT

Contact: Democratic Services, 01795 417330 

Items
No. Item

570.

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.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman outlined the emergency evacuation procedure.

571.

Minutes

To approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 22 January 2020 (Minute Nos. 471 - 477) as a correct record.

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 22 January 2020 (Minute Nos. 471 – 477) were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record, subject to adding the following additional wording to Minute No. 475, Budget 2020/21 and Medium Term Financial Plan, under the paragraph with the heading Page 34 paragraph 2.13:

 

“A Member asked the Leader whether the £1.7 million he, as Leader and Finance portfolio holder, was intending to use to cover the finance costs on the £10 million loan for housing, was the same £1.7million set aside for job creation and commercial growth in Faversham.  The Leader confirmed that it was?.”

 

 

 

572.

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.

573.

Sittingbourne Town Centre Regeneration Update

The Director of Regeneration, the Cabinet Member for Economy and Property, the Sittingbourne Town Centre Scheme Manager, and representatives from KCC and Spirit of Sittingbourne have been invited to attend for this item.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed the Cabinet Member for Economy and Property, the Deputy Cabinet Member for Economy and Property, the Head of Housing, Economy and Community Services (the Director of Regeneration had sent her apologies), the  Sittingbourne Town Centre Scheme Manager, and a representative from the Spirit of Sittingbourne to the meeting.  The Chairman referred to the tabled update for this item and expressed disappointment that although a representative from Kent County Council (KCC) had been invited to attend, no one from KCC was present at the meeting.

 

The Cabinet Member for Economy and Property gave an update and explained that the Travelodge was now open and consequently the multi-storey car park (MSCP) would now be open 24 hours a day, and the new opening times would be publicised.  She added that the restaurant below the Travelodge was being fitted-out, and work had commenced on the new footpath between the High Street and the MSCP and this would be completed in 5 weeks.  The Cabinet Member said that she had met with KCC officers regarding issues with the road layout outside the station where lorries were getting stuck trying to navigate the mini-roundabout, and also the need for improved signage for the one-way system.  The Sittingbourne Town Centre Scheme Manager explained that one sign near the traffic lights was partially obscured by construction hoarding at the moment and from the other direction, the location of the sign was incorrect and it would be relocated within a week.

 

Members were invited to comment and ask questions on the tabled update.  A summary of the topics raised and answers given are set-out below:

 

Highway Works

 

Some Members raised concern with the unfinished road surfaces, with dips in the road, poor quality finish, road surfaces not lining-up, and pot holes.  These issues were located from Dover Street to Fountain Street and Spring Street, from the railway bridge.  The Sittingbourne Town Centre Scheme Manager referred to the update and advised that the final surface would be laid in May 2020.

 

A Member sought clarification on whether cars were permitted to go through the bus stop hub to access the Forum car park.  The Sittingbourne Town Centre Scheme Manager explained that this was not the intention.  However, from the MSCP end there needed to be access to the service yard, but this was a no through road for other vehicles.  The Member suggested a sign stating ‘Buses and Service Area Only’ be installed. 

 

A Member stated that buses were reversing and turning around in the bus hub area, rather than using the Forum road, and were unsatisfactorily trying to get around the mini-roundabout near the station.  The Cabinet Member said there was an issue with lorries as well and she had spoken to KCC about this.

 

The Sittingbourne Town Centre Scheme Manager explained that a road safety audit would be carried out in April 2020 and this would look at the actions of motorists, identify any other issues and recommendations from the audit would be taken  ...  view the full minutes text for item 573.

574.

Performance Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 242 KB

The Committee is asked to consider the Performance Monitoring Report 2019/20 Quarter 3 (October – December 2019).

 

The Leader and the Business Support Officer – Policy have been invited to attend for this item.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed the Leader, the Policy and Performance Support Officer and the Environmental Services Manager to the meeting.  The report set-out the quarterly performance management report for the third quarter of 2019/20 (October – December 2019) as previously reported to the Strategic Management Team and informal Cabinet.

 

The Leader explained that there were signs that a few of the indicators were improving, but had remained red because of their performance in the second quarter.  He said that he had met with Biffa, and with a better fleet, things should now improve.  The Leader welcomed the increase in affordable homes being delivered, as noted on page 11 of the report.

 

Members were invited to make comments and ask questions page-by-page.

 

Table 1

 

A Member asked why the number of refused planning applications had risen.  The Policy and Performance Support Officer explained that this could be because of the lower take-up of pre-application advice.

 

Members discussed the number of missed bins per annum and the following points were raised:

 

Some streets had their bins emptied and others off the main road did not.  The Leader explained that there was a chronic shortage of drivers, and the agency drivers did not know their way round.  The Environmental Services Manager said that he would look into this further.  He did say that Biffa were looking at solutions to retain their drivers.  He added that operatives had a hand held Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) device which showed which streets had been visited.

 

A debate took place regarding whether brown garden waste bins were included in the missed bin figures and it was determined that they were.

 

A visiting Member considered 70 missed bins a week out of 60,000 was not too bad, and he suggested there were more complaints of missed bins than was noted in the report.  The Policy and Performance Support Officer said that the figures may be ‘flipped’ to show the amount of bins collected, rather than not collected.

 

A Member asked how the figures were collected and the Environmental Services Manager advised that they came from calls to the Customer Services Centre (CSC) or were logged online.  The Member suggested that the figure in reality was greater as it would be the whole street that had not been collected.

 

Some Members said that parked cars hampered access for the freight vehicles.

 

The Environmental Services Manager confirmed that he would look into whether once a call had been made, and the bin later collected, whether the call stayed as a missed bin.

 

There was some discussion on the performance measures used for bin collection.

 

Councillor David Simmons proposed that the Cabinet Member considered a performance measure more suitable for the refuse indicator.  This was seconded by Councillor Tim Gibson and agreed by Members.

 

In response to a question, the Environmental Services Manager confirmed that all freighters were fitted with CCTV and this helped to investigate missed bins and encourage operatives to improve performance.

 

Percentage of calls to Customer Service Centre answered  ...  view the full minutes text for item 574.

575.

Other Review Progress Reports

The Committee is asked to consider updates on other reviews.

Minutes:

The Policy and Performance Officer explained that the Regeneration (other than Sittingbourne Town Centre) review had not progressed since it was paused for the snap General Election in December 2019.  He said that he was meeting with the review co-ordinator soon.

 

A visiting Member asked whether the Scrutiny Committee would continue into the next municipal year.  The Chairman advised that the dates for meetings had been agreed at Council on 26 February 2020, including dates for Scrutiny Committee.

576.

Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 74 KB

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

Minutes:

There was a tabled paper for this item with an additional item added to the Forward Plan.

 

The Joint Transportation Board on 2 March 2020 was included twice on the Forward Plan which the Democratic Services Officer noted for correction.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)      That the Forward Plan and tabled paper be noted.

577.

Urgent Business Requests

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

Minutes:

There were no urgent business requests.

578.

Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 41 KB

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

Minutes:

Members noted the work programme.

 

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