Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Democratic Services, 01795 417330 

No. Item


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. 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 Vice- Chairman in-the-Chair outlined the emergency evacuation procedure.



To approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 29 October 2018 (Minute Nos. 288 - 292) as a correct record.



The Minutes of the Meeting held on 29 October 2018 (Minute Nos. 288 – 292) 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.


Landscape Designation Review pdf icon PDF 161 KB

Additional documents:


The Senior Planner introduced the report which updated the Panel on work connected with the preparation of the Local Landscape Designation Review.  The Senior Planner drew attention to Appendix II of the report, which set out the review and recommendations document which presented the findings of the review of local landscape designations (LLDs), conducted by independent landscape consultants LUC.


The Senior Planner explained that the aim of the review was to prepare a robust and consistent approach to landscape designations across Swale.  She stated that the nationally designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)s, were not included, and the review identified the most special local landscapes, and defined and identified the qualities of those landscape designations through a criteria-based approach, informed by local values.


The Senior Planner stated that the report had been prepared with stakeholder input including Members, Parish Councils, amenity groups and other interested parties who had been asked to map the landscapes they valued and explain the reasons for their choices.  The landscape consultants appointed to carry out this study, LUC, had used a matrix approach, and identified 13 separate areas based on the Council’s existing Landscape Character and Biodiversity Appraisal Supplementary Planning document 2011 which they had carried forward for more detailed evaluation.  These included landscapes from Medway Marshes in the west; to The Blean in the east; Eastchurch uplands in the north; to North Street Dip Slope in the south.  The results of their evaluation and recommendations were outlined in Chapter six of their report (Appendix III).


The Senior Planner reported that across Swale there were areas of locally valued landscapes which were not designated.  This was generally because they did not meet all of the five criteria, or they did not make up a coherent landscape entity, or were not of sufficient scale.  The five criteria were: (1) Local distinctiveness and sense of place; (2) landscape quality; (3) scenic qualities; (4) landscape values (including stakeholder values); and (5) National and Cultural Associations.


The Senior Planner explained that all rural landscapes in Swale had been assessed as part of the comprehensive Landscape Character and Biodiversity Appraisal, which advocated an ‘all-landscape’ approach, recognising key characteristics for all areas of the borough and giving guidelines for their management.


The Senior Planner reported that as a result of feedback from the review, in the updating of the local plan’s landscape policy, officers would be looking to more clearly define what was meant by the setting of the AONB, in consultation with the AONB unit.  Officers considered that the areas which bordered the AONB, where the special qualities of the AONB could be appreciated and which impacted on the AONB itself, should be specifically mentioned and landscapes with shared features with the AONB should be identified.


The Vice-Chairman in-the-Chair proposed the recommendations in the report, which were seconded by Councillor James Hunt.


A Member considered that the review process had been predetermined by officer led designations.  He considered that no real explanation had been given as to why some  ...  view the full minutes text for item 372.


Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Additional documents:


Gypsy and Traveller and Travelling Showperson Accommodation Assessment


The Planner introduced the report which highlighted the key findings from the new Gypsy and Traveller and Travelling Showperson Accommodation Assessment (GTAA), outlined the options, and sought agreement on how to meet the identified need.


The Planner explained that the Council was required to prepare and maintain, an up-to-date understanding of the likely accommodation needs of the travelling community over the lifespan of the development plan.  As such, and to fall in-line with the emerging Local Plan period to 2037/38, consultants arc4 had been appointed in September 2017, to complete a new Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment for the Council.


The Planner reported that the study had identified a need for 30 pitches for the first five years to 2022, with a longer-term need amounting to a further 29 pitches from 2022 to 2038, for a total need of 59 pitches.  However when taking into account natural turnover, the total need reduced to 51 pitches.  The study identified potential for the intensification and expansion of existing sites to provide a supply of 54 pitches.  The Planner drew attention to the recommendations in the report.


The Planner also drew attention to the issues faced at The Brotherhood Woodyard site.  He explained that whilst the household surveys were being carried out, the consultants had not been able to obtain any information on, or interviews with, any gypsies or travellers at that site, therefore, the figures they had for the site had not been included in any met need or supply calculations in this GTAA.  The Planner stated that officers in Development Management had been carrying out visits to the site and remained of the view that the site would be able to function as an authorised site.  The Planner considered it right to argue that the Council should not rely on Brotherhood Woodyard to contribute to its supply, and officers were not proposing to do so.


The Vice-Chairman in-the-Chair proposed the recommendations in the report, which were seconded by Councillor James Hunt.


Members considered the GTAA and made the following comments:


·        A well written extensive report.

·        The Council needed to be clear that it did not support any imbalance towards settled communities.

·        Important to ensure that Policy DM10 referred to the necessary infrastructure being provided so that the Council did not lose applications for sites in inappropriate areas at the appeal stage.

·        Needed to be careful that Brotherhood Woodyard was not used as evidence of availability, as it would not accord with human rights guidelines.

·        Considered one large public site would be the wrong approach.

·        Important to consider the Irish Traveller community which was growing in Swale.

·        Major concerns about the numbers of traveller sites appearing across Swale. 

·        In Newnham the settled community were now in the minority.

·        Currently traveller sites dominated the Syndale Valley area of Swale.

·        Considered that Swale was the “destination of choice” for the travelling community, due to weaknesses in the Council’s policy.

·        There was previously a committee at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 373.