Agenda and draft minutes
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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.
In introducing the report, the Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance advised that it had already been considered by both Cabinet and Scrutiny Committee. The Leader said that the aim was to freeze charges at the current rate as much as possible or increase fees and charges by indexation. He drew attention to Appendix I which gave points of explanation from questions raised at the Scrutiny Committee, and Appendix II which set out the proposals for 2021/22. The Leader said that Appendix III set out the fees and charges set nationally by the Government and Appendix IV set out the fees and charges budget for the current year. He highlighted that on page 4, paragraph 2.1 should refer to Appendix IV not Appendix III and at paragraph 3.1, Appendix II not Appendix III. He proposed the recommendation which was seconded by the Deputy Cabinet Member for Finance.
The Leader of the Conservative Group asked the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee to respond. The Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee referred to the in-depth discussion on the report at Scrutiny Committee and reminded Members of the change proposed by the Committee on Gambling Licensing, as highlighted on page 45 of the report. He gave his support for the fees and charge 2021/22.
Councillor Nicholas Hampshire spoke on the index increase in burial fees as on pages 22/23 of the report, highlighting the financial difficulties experienced by residents in the current Covid-19 pandemic. He proposed the following amendment which was seconded by Councillor Mike Whiting:
That this Council freezes burial costs at the previous year’s level for 2021/22.
On being put to the vote, the amendment was agreed.
In response to a Member’s question on the Pest Control contract, the Leader agreed to update the Member outside of the meeting.
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 19(5), a recorded vote was taken, and voting was as follows:
For: Baldock, Beart, Bonney, Bowen, Carnell, R Clark, S Clark, Darby, Davey, Dendor, Ellen, Fowle, Gibson, Gould, Hall, A Hampshire, N Hampshire, Harrison, Horton, Hunt, Ingleton, Jackson, Jayes, Knights, MacDonald, Marchington, Benjamin A Martin, Ben J Martin, McCall, Neal, Nissanga, Palmer, Perkin, Pugh, Rowles, Saunders, Simmons, Paul Stephen, Sarah Stephen, Tatton, Thomas, Truelove, Valentine, Whelan, Whiting, Winckless and Woodford. Total equals 47.
(1) That the proposed fees and charges 2021/22 be agreed as set out in the report subject to the following:
(a) that this Council freezes burial costs at the previous year’s level for 2021/22.
(2) That, regarding Pest Control, delegated authority be given to the Head of Commissioning, Environment and Leisure Services in consultation with the Chief Financial Officer and the Cabinet Member for Environment to amend the fees and charges, and/or the wording to the Pest Control charges based on the outcomes from industry research and expressions of interest over the coming months, and to implement the revised charges to reflect any new pest control contract start dates (which may be before or after 1 April 2021). If ... view the full minutes text for item 436.
Report and Appendices added 28th January 2021.
In introducing the report the Cabinet Member for Planning proposed an amendment to include the following recommendation, as the result of the Planning Appeal at Wises Lane, Borden was not yet known and he considered the site should be included in the consultation until its outcome. He said that Members would be kept informed of progress on the site’s inclusion in the plan.
That delegated authority be given to the Head of Planning Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Planning, to include site MU3 in the draft plan for the purposes of the Regulation 19 consultation, and to determine the ongoing appropriateness of this site’s inclusion within the plan based on the Secretary of State’s decision on the related appeal once this is known.
Members agreed to the amendment.
The Cabinet Member for Planning spoke positively on the additional affordable housing, improvements in environmental standards and the increased delivery of housing for the elderly and disabled, and the start of a regeneration strategy for Sheerness, in the draft Local Plan. He went on to describe the difficulties faced in meeting the unwelcome 10,000 additional houses set by Central Government and warned that not approving the document would mean that Swale Borough Council (SBC) would lose control of the process and where to allocate housing in the Borough.
The Cabinet Member for Planning referred to criticism that the process had been rushed to avoid the Government’s changing targets, and warned that the Government were unlikely to set the targets any lower in future. He spoke of the negative consequences of delaying the approval of the consultation and the likelihood of receiving planning applications for development in the area for various sites, some of which had already been rejected by the Local Plan Panel (LPP) as suitable sites as part of the Settlement Strategy.
The Cabinet Member for Planning advised that the next Local Plan review was due for adoption in late Spring/early Summer 2022 and any delay to the consultation would result in a challenge in meeting this timescale, and could lead to opportunistic planning applications.
Finally, the Cabinet Member for Planning spoke about the plan’s proposals in Teynham. He explained that Policy AO1 required a Masterplan for the village, in consultation with the residents, and that no development would take place in the village until the Masterplan was agreed. He said there was an opportunity but not a requirement to build a bypass for Teynham, and this Local Plan review was the last opportunity to offer this. The Cabinet Member for Planning referred to the inclusion of the countryside gap between Teynham and Bapchild in the plan, and said that there would be no additional development until 2028 at the earliest, if the document was approved.
In seconding the recommendation, the Deputy Cabinet Member for Planning drew attention to the Development Management Policies within the plan and highlighted that the Climate Change plans and policies were targeted, measurable and timed, and aimed to deliver the Climate Change agenda ... view the full minutes text for item 437.
The meeting was adjourned at 8.20pm and reconvened at 8.25pm.