Agenda and minutes
Venue: Committee Room - Swale House. View directions
Contact: Democratic Services, 01795 417330
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. Nobody must leave the assembly point until everybody can be accounted for and nobody must return to the building until the Chairman has informed them that it is safe to do so; 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 outlined the emergency evacuation procedure.
To approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 8 March 2018 and 14 March 2018 (Minute Nos. 532 – 535 and 536) as correct records.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 8 March 2018 and 14 March 2018 (Minute Nos. 532 – 535 and 536) were taken as read, approved and signed by the Vice-Chairman-in-the-Chair 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.
PART A MINUTES FOR RECOMMENDATION TO COUNCIL
The Committee considered the report of the Resilience and Licensing Manager, which asked the Council to delegate authority to officers to exercise powers under Sections 19 – 28 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, with all powers of prosecution and court litigation reserved to the Head of Mid Kent Legal Services Partnership.
The Vice-Chairman-in-the-Chair moved and Councillor Mike Whiting seconded the recommendations in the report.
In response to questions, the Monitoring Officer explained that Managers could delegate additional officers to exercise delegated authority, subject to this being recorded, and it was agreed that the report would be updated to reflect this, prior to submission to Council. A typographical error at 3.2 would also be corrected, and the last sentence at 3.6 would be re-drafted to make it less convoluted.
(1) That authority be given to the Resilience and Licensing Manager to exercise all powers under Sections 19 – 28 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, with all powers of prosecution and court litigation reserved to the Head of Mid Kent Services Legal Partnership.
(2) That the scheme of officer delegations in the constitution be amended accordingly.
The Committee considered the report of the Development Manager which presented an updated version of the Planning Procedure Notes. In introducing the report, the Development Manager explained that the intention of the updated Notes was to clarify the procedures and to make sure they were understandable to all attending Planning Committee meetings. He also referred to the recent advice from the Local Government Ombudsman on the recording of planning decisions.
Attention was drawn to the comments received from Councillor Mike Baldock, which Members discussed together with the updated Procedure Notes.
In respect of the suggestion for the Procedure Notes to be included in the ongoing Scrutiny Committee review, Members did not consider that this was necessary as it was outside the remit of their current review.
In respect of the suggestion to update Paragraph 8, Members agreed that the word ‘should’ would be changed to ‘must’, and that the sentence should be redrafted to read ‘The Chairman will remind the meeting that Members must remain…..’ as there was already reference to declaration of interests elsewhere in the document.
In respect of the feedback regarding Paragraph 11, there was a discussion regarding the ability of Ward Members to speak at Planning Committee Meetings (and vote if they were Members of the Committee) and the Monitoring Officer clarified the rules regarding declaration of interests, predetermination and predisposition. It was confirmed that all Members, regardless of whether they sat on the Planning Committee, should leave the meeting if they had a disclosable pecuniary interest.
The Committee also discussed whether County Councillors should be entitled to speak at Planning Committee meetings, and it was agreed that if they wished to speak then they could register to speak as a supporter or objector in the same way as members of the public had an opportunity to do. No changes were required to the document to reflect this.
The Development Manager also asked the Committee to update the wording at paragraph 22 to reinstate some of the text in the original document ((b) and (c)) which had been omitted from the updated version. Members were in agreement with this.
Members also considered that the wording of paragraph 21b(ii), third sentence, should be updated to make it clearer that the Chairman should propose a short adjournment to draft reasons for refusal, rather than this being optional. This would make the procedure clearer to those attending the meeting.
During the debate, suggestions were made regarding the seating arrangements for the Planning Committee Members, which was a matter for Group Leaders to consider, and whether a laminated copy of the Procedure Notes could be provided for members of the public at Planning Committee meetings.
The Vice-Chairman-in-the-Chair suggested that it would be useful in the report to Council for ‘track changes’ to be used so that it was clear to Members what changes were being proposed to the existing Procedure Note. (Post meeting note – as the document had also been re-ordered and reformatted to make it clearer, the ... view the full minutes text for item 237.
The Committee considered the report of the Democratic and Electoral Services Manager which advised that in preparation for the elections in May 2019, a review of polling districts and places had been undertaken. Attention was drawn to Appendix I of the report which set-out details of polling districts and places where changes had been suggested. Councillor Mike Baldock’s comments were circulated to Members.
In respect of the Borden and Grove Park Ward, Members considered the suggestion that had been made to set up a new polling district for voters in the New Zealand Estate, Sittingbourne. In response to a question, the Electoral Services Officer advised that the cost of hiring a mobile venue would be around £5,000 - £5,500 which also included the cost of a generator. After further consideration, Members considered that given that electors in that area had voted at Grove Park School since 2015, the current arrangements should continue.
There was also discussion regarding the arrangements for voting where Parish and Borough elections were held on the same day.
The Vice-Chairman-in-the-Chair proposed that there should be 84 polling districts (i.e. to agree the additional polling districts set out in Appendix I with the exception of a new polling district in the Borden and Grove Park ward) and this was seconded by Councillor Duncan Dewar-Whalley.
(1) That the Council be advised that the Committee considered Appendix I and recommends that the Council agrees changes to the current polling districts and places so that there are 84 polling districts, with voters in the New Zealand Estate, Sittingbourne, continuing to vote at Grove Park School.
(2) That the arrangements for voting as set out in Appendix II of the report be noted which will continue for the May 2019 elections.