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Agenda item

Coalition Priorities: Update and Next Steps (information report)

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced the item by saying it was an interim report setting out the coalition’s priorities, and invited each Cabinet and Deputy Cabinet Member to give an update on their respective areas.  It was acknowledged that there were many cross-cutting issues.

 

Constitution Review

 

The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning referred to the General Purposes Committee meeting that had been held earlier that day, the recommendations from which would be submitted to the Council meeting on 26 June 2019.  He advised that there would be a report to the next Policy Development and Review Committee on constitution review and this would include consideration of returning to a committee system and the introduction of area committees.  Officers were working on papers for this and the intention was for a report to be considered at the October 2019 Council meeting.

 

Local Plan

 

The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning referred to the recent meeting of the Local Plan Panel where some good suggestions had been made on the future vision and approach to local plan-making.  Work was ongoing and there would be further updates in due course.

 

Climate emergency

 

The Cabinet Member for Environment  advised that a motion would be considered at the next Council meeting on this topic and he outlined the detail of what was proposed.  He gave an update on preliminary meetings that had been held, referring in particular to the carbon management plan and the potential for renewable energy.  He referred to the positive impacts and benefits to everyday lives as a result of improvements such as reducing carbon emissions; insulating housing, particularly social housing; improving electric charging points for cars; and offsetting carbon emissions such as by planting trees and salt marshes.  The positive impacts of this included reducing social exclusion and fuel poverty, and improvements to health as a result of improving air quality.

 

Housing

 

The Cabinet Member for Housing advised that additional meetings had been held with officers and the draft strategy on housing, homelessness and rough sleeping was being reviewed further before being considered again by Members.  Work was also being undertaken to review the department’s structure.  Close attention was being given to the temporary accommodation that was offered and the intention was to end use of bed and breakfast accommodation by December 2019. Meetings were being held with housing providers. 

 

The Cabinet Member for Health referred to paragraph 3.8 of the report and in respect of Sheerness High Street, she suggested that residential options would be better utilised if the access was improved to a decent standard.

 

The Deputy Cabinet Member for Housing gave an update on visits made to temporary accommodation, and he hoped that housing associations would be able to help to increase provision in this area.  He reiterated the need to stop bed and breakfast accommodation and welcomed the restructure in the housing department.

 

Community inclusion and safety

 

The Cabinet Member for Community advised that the CCTV strategy was being reviewed and was being considered by the Cabinet in July 2019.  He gave an update on a meeting he had attended which had highlighted anti-social behaviour and exclusion and he would be attending a safety partnership meeting the following day.  He would give an update on his plans to improve inclusion at future meetings.

 

Health

 

The Cabinet Member for Health gave an update on meetings she and her Deputy had attended with officers and externally.  She advised that officers had been asked to undertake an audit of what the Council did and was involved in in respect of health and wellbeing, and a new post would be created to support work in this area. 

 

The Cabinet Member emphasised that the intention was to add value, to identify gaps and duplication, and for services to be more joined-up to provide the best possible services for residents.  This would also look at options to help promote events being held in the Borough which would help improve attendance and so promote health and wellbeing.  Another Member advised of changes to NHS contracts which would encourage the use of ‘social prescriptions’.

 

Economy and skills

 

The Deputy Cabinet Member for Economy and Property advised that she had been working with the Cabinet Member on a range of priorities in respect of the town centre and tourism and they were looking at initiatives that would help to regenerate and brighten up areas.  The Chairman advised that a meeting was scheduled with further education providers to look to move forward with the provision of a further education college in Sittingbourne, which was a key priority.

 

Public realm and open spaces

 

The Cabinet Member for Environment advised that an initial meeting had been held with officers to look at options to improve public realm and open spaces.

 

The Chairman thanked Cabinet Members for their contributions and emphasised the cross-cutting nature of their priorities. 

 

The Cabinet Member for Health advised that she had received an invitation to meet with a developer who intended to build a GP surgery in a development that would be subject to consideration by the Planning Committee in due course, and so she had declined to meet but would pass the information on to the Cabinet Member for Planning.

 

The Chairman invited a visiting Member to speak, who thanked them for their update.  The Chairman advised there would be further updates at future meetings.

Supporting documents:

 

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