Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Virtual Meeting Via Skype. View directions
To approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 5 October 2021 (Minute Nos. 324 – 331) as a correct record.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 5 October 2021 (Minute Nos. 324 – 331) were taken as read, agreed and signed by the Chairman 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 Interests (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 meeting 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.
Councillor Denise Knights declared a Disclosable Non-Pecuniary Interest as she worked for the East Kent College Group.
There will be a verbal update from the Cabinet Member for Economy and Property.
Update from the Cabinet Member for Community attached.
The Cabinet Member for Community introduced the community portfolio update which was attached to the agenda and welcomed questions from Members. He also advised that: two members of the Community team had left the Council; the Milton Creek CCTV cameras would be going “live” on 12 January 2022; and he had attended a White Ribbon Campaign Awareness event at Sittingbourne Rugby Club.
The Cabinet Member for Community also referred to the Swale Community Safety Partnership (CSP) Strategic Assessment report, due to be considered under Item 8 of the Agenda and explained that the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) were very keen to get feedback on that document.
Members considered the update and raised points which included:
· Concerned that the Covid-19 vaccine bus at Kemsley Community Centre had not been publicised by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG);
· how could problems with Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) in Kemsley be enforced?;
· was the Prevent scheme still in operation?
· concerned about the turn-over of staff currently at the Council and Members needed to be informed of new officers and their specific roles within the Council;
· what were the benefits of the Community Renewal Fund bid for East Kent College?;
· what type of support were the Council providing to trusts in respect of assets transferred to them and was it financial?; and
· could more information be provided on the Xantura pilot?.
In response the Cabinet Member for Community agreed that information to residents about where they could receive vaccinations locally was not being communicated properly by health providers. The Director of Regeneration & Neighbourhoods advised that the Council had pressed the CCG via the Kent County Council led Strategic Command Group and the Kent Resilience Forum to co-ordinate better. The Council had also pushed for more vaccination centres in Swale and hoped that the Covid-19 vaccine bus would be able to visit Sittingbourne again. She added that the bus had been publicised via the social media channels with the agreement of the CCG.
The Cabinet Member for Community asked any Member concerned that ASB issues in their areas not being dealt with the contact the CSU direct. A Member advised that Police had recently launched “My Community Police” which helped Kent Police update users with news, alerts, appeals etc. and encouraged Members to join-up to the scheme. The Economy and Community Manager advised that the Prevent Team were still delivering regular schools inputs.
The Cabinet Member for Community said that there may be a limited amount of funding from the Council required in respect of asset transfers and they would also be seeking grant support to ensure work was completed particularly at Thistle Hill, Minster.
The Cabinet Member for Community gave a brief outline of the Xantura pilot scheme. He explained that it would ensure early intervention for families that required support and hopefully as the scheme progressed more information would become available. The Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing reported that it was an extremely valuable tool that would assist Members in identifying those in their wards ... view the full minutes text for item 510.
The Director of Regeneration and Neighbourhoods introduced the report which set-out the draft 2022/23 revenue and capital budgets and the draft Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP). Members were asked to comment on areas relating to the Community portfolio and Economic Growth and Property portfolio.
A Member drew attention to page 21 of the report and applauded the efforts to provide decent housing but asked where £11.5million was coming from? He also noted that there had been large increases in the cost of building materials. The Head of Housing & Community Services referred the Member to a report considered by Cabinet in October 2020 which set-out the business plan and further details of the £11.5million and agreed to forward that report to the Member after the meeting.
The Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Property introduced the report which outlined the developing Levelling-up Fund project. She advised that the criteria was still unclear and the timelines had not been confirmed.
The Head of Regeneration and Economic Development provided background on the fund as set-out in the report and drew attention to the table under paragraph 3.1 of the report which provided a summary of ideas proposed for consideration of the funding and comments from officers and Members on each suggestion. She said that the Sheerness regeneration scheme would be progressed as it was the best “fit” under the Levelling-up Fund priorities, she drew attention to paragraph 3.5 of the report which set-out the four elements to be developed: Beachfields; East Kent College Expansion; Master’s House Completion; and Wider Placemaking.
The Head of Regeneration and Economic Development sought comments and views from Members on the development project proposals and referred to the questions set-out in paragraph 6.1 of the report.
Members raised points which included:
· Disappointed to see some of the ideas for consideration discontinued due to lack of capacity by other agencies;
· employment on Isle of Sheppey was appalling and starter units needed to be provided for businesses;
· concerned that the competition for the second round of funding would be a lot harder and not so much funding available;
· was there a risk that projects put in round one had been refined based on feedback?;
· could other projects be put forward again at a later stage?;
· supported the proposed college expansion;
· agreed the swimming pool needed to be improved but did not see how that would improve the visitor economy as it was mainly used by local residents;
· there would always be connectivity issues between the sea and the High Street due to the sea wall and a lot more work was required to resolve this;
· there should have been more consultation on the Beachfields element and concerned that was being told what we wanted rather than being asked;
· what element of the proposed projects would be contributing to the Net Zero Strategy?; and
· the beach at Sheerness was unavailable to most people as the beach had been washed away. The Council needed to put pressure on the Environment Agency to put back the groynes and ‘recharge’ the beach. The Cabinet Member for Economy and Property agreed to look into the matter for the Member.
In response the Cabinet Member for Economy and Property considered that the regeneration of Sheerness High Street was key to encouraging local people to spend money locally and improve the visitor economy. She also spoke about the importance of improved connectivity between the High Street and seafront area of Sheerness and welcomed local Member input on how that could be achieved. The Cabinet Member for Economy and Property said that she had discussed with cabinet colleagues other potential projects for consideration. She spoke about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Council resources, but agreed that this project was a priority. The ... view the full minutes text for item 512.
The Economy and Community Services Manager introduced the report which provided a brief overview of current employment on the Isle of Sheppey using limited area data. He drew attention to an error in paragraph 3.3 of the report which should read “….historically there has been a significantly higher propensity for residents on the Isle of Sheppey…..” rather than lower.
There were no questions from Members.
Report published 5 January 2022.
The Economy and Community Services Manager introduced the report which summarised the findings from the Swale Community Safety Partnership (CSP) Strategic Assessment and sought feedback and comments, on behalf of Swale Borough Council, ahead of their agreement of the priorities of the CSP for 2022/23 within the Community Safety Plan (CSP). She drew attention to the questions for the Committee set-out on the last page of the report.
A Member considered that the recommended priorities and focus areas reflected areas of concern within Swale and welcomed the refinements made to the CSP.