Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, ME10 3HT. View directions

No. Item


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 drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.


Confirmation of Chairman and Vice-Chairman

To confirm the Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the Municipal Year 2021/2022.


Following a query from a Member on whether the correct procedure to elect the Vice-Chairman had been followed at the previous meeting, Members agreed that the Committee would vote again.  However, Councillor James Hall, who was previously nominate, stated that he was happy that Councillor Tony Winckless had been elected Vice-Chairman, so it was not necessary to vote again.


Councillor Corrie Woodford was confirmed as Chairman, and Councillor Tony Winckless was confirmed as Vice-Chairman.



To approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 6 July 2021 (Minute Nos. 133 – 139).


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 6 July 2021 (Minute Nos. 133 – 139) 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.



No interests were declared.


Verbal Updates from Cabinet


The Chairman welcomed the Cabinet Member for Community to the meeting.


The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – Thursday 2 to Sunday 5 June 2022


The Cabinet Member for Community reported that further information about the event and grants available would be sent out to Members.  He asked Members to liaise with the Council’s Economy and Community Services Manager, and the Economy and Community Services Project Officer about any known activities or events in their Wards to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.  This would allow officers to engage with organisers and use the Visit Swale web portal to promote if suitable. 


The Cabinet Member for Community gave a verbal update on various projects currently being supported by the Community Team which included:


·         the 1920s festival held in Sittingbourne High Street which had been well attended and supported by local traders;

·         a grant awarded to Sheerness Town Council for an event held on 31 August 2021;

·         the Kent Isolation Support Fund which provided support to those having to self-isolate during the Covid-19 Pandemic;

·         the recently launched Sheppey Community Bus which was supported by Swale Borough Council (SBC) and Kent County Council (KCC); Age Concern (Sittingbourne and Faversham) including exploring possible dementia services for the Sittingbourne area;

·         the Sheppey Digital Inclusion project which aimed to improve digital accessibility for residents on the Isle of Sheppey;

·         local food banks;

·         the Re-Connect Fund and events they had worked with at The Light Cinema, Sittingbourne;

·         local arts and crafts; and

·         The Raybel Heritage Workshop.


The Cabinet Member for Community outlined the various workshops and meetings he had attended.


Referring to Parking Services the Cabinet Member for Community advised that Members would be aware that revenue had dropped significantly during the Covid-19 Pandemic, and income levels were not back to pre-covid times, but things were starting to get back to normal.  The Cabinet Member reported that the agency that collected the cash from the car park ticket machines had recently gone into receivership.  However, officers had done an excellent job in ensuring a replacement company were in post very quickly and there were no issues to report.


The Cabinet Member for Community advised that the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) had reported an increase in domestic violence.  He reminded Members that a briefing from the CSP for all Members was scheduled for Tuesday 12 October 2021.


In response to a Member’s question on the shortfall in revenue from Council car parks because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Cabinet Member for Community said it was approximately £400,000 and there was an anticipated shortfall for 2022.  He added that there had been financial support from Central Government in the last financial year but that had not covered the whole shortfall.


A Member welcomed the provision of the Sheppey Community Bus but was disappointed that the scheduled trip to Leysdown and Warden had been cancelled.  The Cabinet Member for Community agreed to look into the reason for the cancellation.  


A Member asked specifically what projects the Cabinet Member for Community and the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 328.


Covid-19 Memorial Garden Project pdf icon PDF 575 KB


The Cabinet Member for Community introduced the report which set-out proposals for a Covid-19 Memorial Garden in Swale.  He spoke about the lives lost during the pandemic and the impact it had had on all of our lives.


The Cabinet Member for Community drew attention to the specific questions outlined in the report and welcomed the Committees comments.  He advised that the Area Committees would also be consulted on the proposals.


Members considered the report and points and comments raised included:


·         Suggested a possible site for Sittingbourne was where the war memorial used to be near Borden Grammar School;

·         considered that it was a bit premature to be considering a memorial garden as the Covid-19 Pandemic was far from over;

·         welcomed Area Committee input;

·         welcomed the idea and there may be funding coming forward from central government;

·         needed to involve Town and Parish Councils;

·         could include an area within the existing war memorials;

·         would need to bear in mind the on-going maintenance costs once the gardens had been set-up;

·         suggested granite sets be used instead of planting to keep maintenance and costs down and keep the area presentable;

·         there were four towns in the Borough not three; and

·         parish councils had interest in some council land and might be prepared to dip-into their precept to fund and assist with the maintenance.


Swale Volunteer Awards pdf icon PDF 588 KB


The Cabinet Member for Community introduced the report which set-out proposals to run a daytime networking and awards event for the Swale Volunteer Awards on 26 March 2022.  It was proposed that there would also be a Community Inspiration Award chosen from all the nominations.


Members considered the proposal and comments made included:


·         Considered the award categories were too specific and needed to be more general;

·         considered the awards event should be separate from the networking event;

·         needed to consider the legal implications and any liabilities for volunteers;

·         needed to consider that a lot of volunteers did not like the limelight so might not want to come forward;

·         promotion for the event was key and suggested the name “The Volunteers In Swale Exhibition (The VISX)”;

·         needed to involve young people in the project;

·         the CVS were the umbrella for this sector so need to include the word community;

·         requested that a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) over 18 year olds or a Special SEND Award be included to recognise the great work that they did;

·         the events should be separate as some volunteers did not put themselves forward and might feel uncomfortable attending a networking event;

·         suggested that the networking event be scheduled for May/June 2022 and the awards event held in October 2022;

·         welcomed the proposed networking event which was a good way for groups to publicise their activities;

·         welcomed the report and the importance of the volunteer awards in creating a network of volunteers; and

·         it was important to ensure a fair judging system.


The Cabinet Member for Community thanked Members for their comments and stated that it was for all Members to ensure that they were aware of all volunteers in their area and to nominate them.


Parking Services pdf icon PDF 239 KB


The Cabinet Member for Community introduced the report which set-out how the Covid-19 Pandemic had impacted on town centres and the downturn in income from the pay and display car parking machines. 


The Chairman drew attention to the questions outlined in the report and welcomed comments from Members.


A Member asked whether blue badge holders using electric vehicles (EVs) were able to park for free or whether they received free electric?  The Head of Environment and Leisure advised that the current Council Fees and Charges for 2021-2022 was a combined parking and electricity charge which meant that the EV user would get a subsidised lower charge for parking.  The Council proposed to make that a far simpler process within fees and charges and that EV usage was a growth area.  The Head of Environment and Leisure advised that currently disabled users paid the same rate as the able bodied when using an EV space.


Members considered the report and comments made included:


·         Considered that the Pay and Display replacement needed to be bottomed-out before it was considered who got charged;

·         liked the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system they had in Canterbury and considered it was easier to use;

·         simple payment was the way forward;

·         the Council should consider providing disabled only car parks that were closer to town centres;

·         should explore whether the Forum car park should be used as disabled parking only and able bodied use the multi-storey car park?;

·         did not think that the Council should look at parking just as a way to make money;

·         the Council should not subsidise disabled drivers using EV charging points in council car parks;

·         did not favour the ANPR system;

·         essential that contactless was offered as a payment option on all pay and display machines; and

·         supported the provision of blue badge car parks only and referred to an underused car park in Sheerness which was always empty which could be considered for this use;

·         the ANPR system did not work as well for visitors to the Borough especially those with a blue badge;

·         would advocate that disabled EV drivers pay via the machines and the Council collected electricity charges via the App per kilo watt hour;

·         needed to encourage people to drive EVs so needed competitive electricity charging points;

·         blue badge holders should have free car parking;

·         EV charging points should be contactless;

·         the Council could have an announced policy that EV charging would be charged at cost.  This would be fair and encourage people to buy EVs and would be no detriment to council tax payers;

·         bulk buying of electricity by Local Authorities was not necessarily the cheapest option; and

·         how much could SBC do to meet the private industry innovations in respect of EV charging to ensure efficient and cost effective EV charging points in Swale?


In response to comments about the ANPR system, the Cabinet Member for Community explained the downside of that system.  He stated that it resulted in a loss of parking spaces and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 331.