Matters arising from last meeting
To consider matters arising from the last meeting held on 15 December 2020.
Members noted the progress on actions as set-out on the update attached to the agenda. The Chairman went through each item and the following points were made:
Sheerness Town Centre Regeneration
Councillor Monique Bonney, Cabinet Member for Economy and Property, provided a verbal update on the proposed restoration of the Grade II listed Sheerness clock tower which was in a poor state and would likely need to be removed from the site for specialist restoration work. She hoped Cabinet would agree funding for the work at their meeting on 17 March 2021. Councillor Bonney reported that Cabinet would also be considered a report on the low carbon refurbishment of the Master’s House, Sheerness. Councillor Bonney also spoke about the Sheerness high street project she was currently working on with officers from Kent County Council (KCC). She reported that a deep clean of Sheerness high street was scheduled for early May 2021 and another at the end of 2021.
Tree planting in urban areas
The Head of Commissioning, Environment and Leisure provided an update on tree planting in urban areas. He said that as part of the Council’s commitment to the Climate Emergency 150,000 trees were to be planted around the Borough and officers were currently looking for appropriate Council-owned sites. In response to queries, the Head of Commissioning, Environment and Leisure confirmed that they were liaising with the Kent Wildlife Trust. He asked people to contact either himself or the Council’s Green Spaces Manager if they were aware of sites suitable for tree planting.
Kent County Councillor Andy Booth raised concern that foilage was being removed near Eastchurch prison. The Head of Commissioning, Environment and Leisure asked that he contact him about his concerns.
Safety and upkeep of playgrounds
The Head of Commissioning, Environment and Leisure provided an update on the safety and upkeep of playgrounds. He reported that the Council had over 90 playgrounds and employed two grounds maintenance officers who were Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) qualified. They checked all playgrounds regularly and three times a week during the busy summer months. The grounds maintenance officers were supported by Borough wardens. He further reported that the Council’s grounds maintenance contractor emptied litter bins three times a week. He also spoke about the playground development project which sought to secure funding for playgrounds through Section 106 agreements.
In response to a query from Parish Cllr Paul Day, representing Leysdown Parish Council, about funding for resurfacing local playgrounds, the Head of Commissioning, Environment and Leisure spoke about resurfacing work at Barton’s Point Coastal Park which would be completed once the weather conditions had improved, and he said it might be possible to factor in other sites.
Restoration of the War Memorial, Sheerness
The Head of Commissioning, Environment and Leisure gave an update on the restoration of Sheerness war memorial. He reported that ground works were completed and the York paving had been laid, and commissioning of the wall would be included in the next phase of the project. Councillor Peter MacDonald said that VAT would need to be paid for the wall and then claimed back.
Post Office provision
Ashley Shiel, representing Queenborough Town Council, reported that the Town Council had met recently with representatives from Post Office Ltd. Unfortunately, the current post mistress no longer wanted to be involved in the project so the application for a community post office could not be progressed at this time. The Town Council were exploring other options.