Agenda

Council - Thursday, 22 April 2021 7.00pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Wayne Hemingway, Interim Head of Democratic Services 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

2.

Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Other Significant Interests pdf icon PDF 371 KB

Members are invited to disclose any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests in accordance with the Member Code of Conduct.  Guidance on this is set out in agenda item 2.

 

3.

Record of meeting pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To approve the record of the meeting held on 18 February 2021.

4.

Mayor's announcements

5.

Leader's announcements

6.

Petitions

7.

Public questions pdf icon PDF 164 KB

7A)

Thelma West of Rochester will ask the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, Councillor Chitty, the following:

In spite of efforts made by Medway Council to deal with air quality, such as testing air pollution and investigating electric vehicles, Medway residents suffer a particularly poor quality of air. The World Health Organisation designated Gillingham, Kent as 6th worst town in the UK in 2018. The Centre for Cities think tank reported in 2020 that one in 16 deaths in Chatham were due in part to exposure to particulates in the air.

 

The recent inquest of Ella Adoo Kissi Debra at Southwark Coroner’s Court (December 2020) pointed out the responsibility of poor air quality for her death, and Lewisham Council, while it had begun to create policies to deal with air quality, was accused of a “glacial” pace in the actions taken (or not taken). Medway residents suffer similarly.

 

Meanwhile, huge numbers of new houses being built in Medway are causing higher domestic emissions and bringing increased traffic.

 

Will Medway Council commit to seriously improving air quality by insisting that all new houses are built ready to cause zero carbon emissions and zero carbon footprint, and that increased traffic will be prevented from causing a rise in the numbers of Medway residents whose deaths are attributed to poor air?

7B)

Nigel Pargetor of Chatham will ask the Portfolio Holder for Business Management, Councillor Rupert Turpin, the following:

In the report you gave to the Cabinet called Norse Update there is no amount of money showing for how much Medway Norse will have to pay out when all the workers sacked for their PPE Protests win their Unfair Dismissal Cases. 

 

Can you explain why not and how much the potential liability to Medway taxpayers is going to be?

7C)

Betty Logan of Rochester will ask the Portfolio Holder for Business Management, Councillor Rupert Turpin, the following:

Of the 270 workers who transferred over under TUPE, when the waste collection service transferred to Norse, I would like to know how many of those 270 are still employed by Norse?

7D)

Christopher Barnard of Chatham will ask the Portfolio Holder for Business Management, Councillor Rupert Turpin, the following:

There was a recording made of the disciplinary hearing regarding the COVID-19 PPE protest and Norse told everybody they could have a copy. On that recording Norse Director Andrew Mann admits he could have stopped the protest which automatically makes the dismissals unfair. Despite lots of requests no copies have been provided. Why is Medway Norse not providing copies of that recording?

7E)

Kristian Middleton of Chatham will ask the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, Councillor Chitty, the following:

My question relates to a new planning application (reference MC/22/0564) for 24 flats to be built on Upper Mount Car Park.

 

When this application - which is for a three storey building with a series of balconies overlooking the back of New Road houses, and which will also overlook the backs and gardens of properties on Old Road and Westmount Avenue - has received a series of objections from local residents on the basis of impact upon privacy and light, how can the Planning officers of Medway Council possibly consider residents' objections with proper, detached objectivity, given the Council's relationship with the Medway Development Company?

7F)

Brian Franklin of Strood will ask the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, the following:

How will Medway Council respond to the moral approach to housing suggested by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in their Coming Home Report 2021?

7G)

Chris Ricketts of Rochester will ask the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services, Councillor Filmer, the following:

I would like to request controlled parking in Sir Evelyn Road as during the daytime the employees at the three prisons in Rochester park in the road, even though they have been provided their own parking, which is not available to residents.

 

The residents only have a short section to park and during weekdays, this is overrun with prison employees who will not park in their own car parks as it is a longer walk. It would also generate a small income for the Council in permits and fines.

7H)

Tracey Wilson of Gillingham will ask the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

What is Medway Council going to do with Lower Lines Park? I believed it to be a Heritage Park and protected as such. Whatever the plans, it is being kept very quiet as nothing is evident on the website, this should be a publicly visible plan.

7I)

Roy Panting of Brompton will ask the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services, Councillor Filmer, the following:

I have been in correspondence with the Council for four years requesting yellow lines on Middle Street. There were yellow lines there which were removed when works were completed previously. I would like confirmation when in 2021/22 they will finally be reinstated?

7J)

Peter Bonney of Strood will ask the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services, Councillor Filmer, the following:

Could we have a 20-mph speed limit in the area of Weston Road in Strood?

7K)

Stuart Bourne of Rainham will ask the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

I’m glad to hear that the Council will never close Splashes leisure centre permanently and are going to rebuild it into something even better than before.

 

I have a two year old daughter and I wish for her to start to learn to swim as soon as possible, but I understand that swimming classes are already full at the Medway Park. Therefore, what is the new estimated opening date for Splashes, and in the meantime what is the extra swimming class provision the Council will provide for the myself and other Rainham residents?

7L)

Daniel Burgin of Wainscott will ask the Portfolio Holder for Adults' Services and the Chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board, Councillor Brake, the following:

As the Health and Wellbeing Board seeks to 'provide collective leadership to improve health and well-being across the local authority area’ and understanding that 'Medway Council has a statutory duty to protect the health of its residents, the Council is obliged to work towards achieving the national air quality standards.' (Medway Air Quality Communication Strategy December 2017).

 

I assume the Portfolio Holder is satisfied that the Council's Housing Infrastructure Fund proposals won't actively damage the health of the residents of Wainscott. The HIF proposals will create elevated slip roads on the A289, bringing thousands of vehicles a day in close proximity to homes and residents in Wainscott, who are already suffering from low air quality, with PM2.5 levels in excess of WHO limits (source: Imperial College) and living in close proximity to an existing Air Quality Management Area at Four Elms Hill.

 

Knowing that in December 2020, for the first time a Coroner found that air pollution was a significant contributory factor in the tragic death of a 9 year old girl (source: DEFRA), would the Portfolio Holder agree with that the HIF team should wait for the Coroners upcoming Prevention of Future Deaths Report, and implement its recommendations into their proposals?

7M)

Sal Bragg of Rochester will ask the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services, Councillor Filmer, the following:

Is there any chance the Council could be persuaded to provide collection points for single use masks at the local mini-collection sites, such as off the Rochester Maidstone Road, perhaps on lamp posts and recycling them if that is possible?

 

Obviously, it’s better to use cloth but if it were made easier for those who don’t dispose of single-use variety perhaps so many wouldn’t end up on the paths, common land etc.

7N)

Kayleigh Ward of Gillingham will ask the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

Please can you let me know if working with community groups that are focussed on the environment are going to form part of your plan on climate change?

7O)

Jodie Buckton of Chatham will ask the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

Is engaging with community groups going to be/form part of your plan on climate change?

7P)

Susan Deaves of Gillngham will ask the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

Are you going to engage with community groups as part of your plan on climate change?

7Q)

Richard Smith of Rochester will ask the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, the following:

I would like to understand the whereabouts of the feasibility study as regards the road and rail proposals in the HIF and why this feasibility study was not included as it should have been as part of the consultation process?

7R)

Rob Auger of Gillingham will ask the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, Councillor Chitty, the following:

Does the Council fully understand the reason for so many objections to the explosion of planning applications for new housing in the Medway area and do they actually want to stand up to this assault on our green spaces?

7S)

James Chespy of Gillingham will ask the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, the following:

I ask this question not only as a resident of the Medway Towns but as a former wearer of the Uniform of the Crown. I want to ask the Leader of the Council the following:

 

What if anything is the authority doing to support our armed forces community and our veteran community and their families, particularly?

7T)

Stephen Dyke of Strood will ask the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, the following:

In April 2019, Medway Council declared a climate emergency. Like many others, I looked forward to positive steps being taken by the Council urgently to reduce emissions and to adapt to the changes that we can already see happening.

 

However, in the two years since, very little seems to have been achieved. I appreciate there have been studies, reports and an ‘action plan’, but it is not clear what has actually been done. The strong words of the Climate Emergency Declaration have been superseded by an ‘advisory group’ which meets occasionally and has no power. You cannot find any reference to the Emergency on the Council’s website without using the ‘search’ function.

 

In October 2018 the UN warned we had 12 years to avert catastrophe. Two and a half years on, why is your administration still not taking the climate crisis seriously?

7U)

Vivienne Parker of Chatham will ask the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services, Councillor Filmer, the following:

As I was out driving recently during rush hour, I noticed a cyclist weaving in and out of the busy traffic, even though there was an overgrown and poorly signposted cycle path right next door.

 

What is the Council going to do to ensure these off-road cycle routes are more usable and more visible?

 

The particular path runs along the western side of the Bridgewoods Roundabout to the top of Chatham Maidstone Road. Much of the path has been cleared of undergrowth but is still poorly marked as are most of the cycle routes running down the Chatham and Rochester Maidstone Roads. There are few signs anywhere in Medway instructing cyclists to give way to pedestrians and the blue signs on the lampposts road have a diameter of only two inches and are barely visible.

7V)

Julian Quinton of Chatham will ask the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, Councillor Chitty, the following:

Why is Medway Council accepting planning applications for flats in Old Road, Chatham, some of which are below the minimum space standards specified in the Medway Housing Standards 2011?

7W)

Bryan Fowler of Chatham will ask the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, the following:

What does the Leader of Medway Council think of planning applications which state that affordable residential units, related to the Mountbatten House development, should be built over half a mile away in a car park owned by Medway Council?

7X)

Alan Collins Rosell of Gillingham will ask the Portfolio Holder for Business Management, Councillor Rupert Turpin, the following:

Given the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet passed and a large proportion of people have not yet been vaccinated, I am sure the Portfolio Holder will share my concern that statutory provision for virtual council meetings is not being renewed.

 

One of the positives to have come out of a challenging year is the increased accessibility of council meetings, allowing people to follow proceedings online. Even before the pandemic, many local authorities allowed remote access to council meetings for residents, ensuring people who, for whatever reason, could not attend meetings in person could still see their elected representatives working for them.

 

Will the Portfolio Holder, therefore, commit to ensuring live streaming of meetings continues, even beyond 21 June, so that the increased accessibility and transparency of Council meetings continues when the Council returns to physical meetings?

7Y)

Paul O'Neill of Chatham will ask the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, the following:

The HIF consultation, New Routes to Growth, does not contain a Higham curve, enabling a service covering all of Medway.This option was present on early designs by consultants. I have sought the GRIP 2 and 3 reports, but these are unavailable.

 

This also misses an opportunity for a station at Cooling to serve the surrounding residents.

 

Does the Council agree that an integrated train service covering all Medway Towns is a key ingredient for an integrated transport system in Medway?

7Z)

Chris Spalding of Gillingham will ask the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services, Councillor Filmer, the following:

It is understood plans are in advanced stages to carry out the long awaited repairs to the road surfaces on Grain Bridge and by Grain Fire Station. 

 

Following another fire locally, can the Portfolio Holder confirm the road resurfacing plan includes all of Chapel Road into the Village to ensure the Fire and Rescue Service, whether locally or coming from elsewhere, does not lose vital life saving time due to the extremely poor road surface?

7AA)

John Castle of Chatham will ask the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, the following:

The HIF consultation, New Routes to Growth is in danger of being rushed and as a consequence may not be fit for purpose.

 

The idea of putting infrastructure in place before housing is built is a good one, adopted by many countries using good design principles for house building. Consulting on the infrastructure without knowing where the housing is going to be built, undermines this principle and leads to poor outcomes.


Does the Council agree that the consultation is being rushed ahead of the Local Plan in order to ensure that money allocated is spent, rather than taking measures to ensure sustainable development?

7BB)

John Castle, on behalf of Medway Liberal Democrats, will ask the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, the following:

Currently the HIF consultation, new Routes for Growth, contains a road running through Deangate. The environment section fails to use most of the money allocated, only committing to Cockham Community Parkland.

Medway Liberal Democrats believe the SSSI sites North of Hoo, with the addition of Deangate, should be protected from housing and available for the increased local population to use as vital greenspace.

Does the Council agree that the Great Wood at Chattenden, Lodge Hill and Deangate should be designated as a country park?

 

7CC)

Andrew Millsom of Rochester will ask the Leader of the Council, Councillor Alan Jarrett, the following:

The highways section of the Hoo - Routes to Good Growth document contains proposals that many who live locally, with particular reference to groups like Stop the Wainscott Flyover, consider to be weak and ineffectual. I have been informed that the consultant for the highways portion is Project Centre, part of Marston Holdings. It is a company that doesn't have significant highways case studies on its website and therefore may not have good highway experience.

 

In light of the poor design quality, the ineffectual proposals and the high number of responses to consultation, will the Council commit to a further round of consultation when there are better prepared highway proposals for review?

8.

Leader's report pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Additional documents:

9.

Report on Overview and Scrutiny Activity pdf icon PDF 308 KB

10.

Nominations of Mayor and Deputy Mayor 2021/22

To receive nominations for candidates for election at the Annual Council Meeting on 5 May 2021 as Mayor and Deputy Mayor for the 2021/2022 municipal year in accordance with Council Rule 20.3, as set out in the Council’s Constitution.

11.

Members' questions

11A)

Councillor Paterson will ask the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, the following:

With its proud Royal Navy roots, Medway's thoughts are with all those mourning the loss of HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. Medway is grateful for his distinguished Naval service during the Second World War and we recognise his enduring commitment and public service to Her Majesty The Queen.

 

Will the Leader of the Council commit to work on a cross party basis and with other key community stakeholders to ensure suitable recognition for HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, in Medway?

11B)

Councillor Andy Stamp will ask the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

Following the recent Budget announcement that the £5 million refurbishment of Splashes leisure pool ‘was not expected to proceed at the current time’, can the Portfolio Holder advise us when the public can expect the new Splashes leisure facility to re-open?

11C)

Councillor Howcroft-Scott will ask the Portfolio Holder for Education and Schools, Councillor Potter, the following:

In October 2020’s Medway Test, only 6% of the total cohort of Pupil Premium pupils were assessed for grammar school. This figure is lower than the 9% of the Pupil Premium cohort in 2019 that was assessed as grammar and is well below the proportion of 23% assessed as grammar for the cohort of all pupils in 2020. Further, only 23% of the total Pupil Premium cohort took the Medway Test in 2020 compared to 51% of the total cohort. In view of the additional pressures which result from the Covid-19 pandemic, what is the Portfolio Holder doing to address this issue?

11D)

Councillor Price will ask the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

The level of anticipation for the safe reopening of the Strand Lido is high having been closed for the 2020 season. Will the Deputy Leader commit to working with the Friends of the Strand Lido and ward Councillors to ensure that, if COVID safe, extended opening hours are implemented for the 2021 season?

11E)

Councillor Bowler will ask the Portfolio Holder for Business Management, Councillor Rupert Turpin, the following:

Does the Portfolio Holder agree with me that Medway Council staff in the Democratic Services, Members’ Services and IT departments have done a fantastic job this past year in facilitating virtual meetings ensuring democracy can continue during the ongoing global pandemic and it is incredibly short sighted by Government to have not found parliamentary time to have extended that provision whilst a call for evidence on the future use of virtual meetings is ongoing?

11F)

Councillor Johnson will ask the Portfolio Holder for Education and Schools, Councillor Potter, the following:

In view of the Leigh Academy Trust’s renewed proposal to merge Stoke and Allhallows schools, what is the Portfolio Holder doing to protect local educational provision for rural communities?

11G)

Councillor Adeoye will ask the Portfolio Holder for Education and Schools, Councillor Potter, the following:

How much will Medway schools lose on average as a result of the change to how the government calculates Pupil Premium?

11H)

Councillor Murray will ask the Portfolio Holder for Portfolio Holder for Children's Services (Lead Member), Councillor Mrs Josie Iles, the following:

The Cooperative Party is currently campaigning on the vital issue of Healthy Start Vouchers for those who are pregnant or have children under the age of four. 

 

Does the Portfolio Holder share my concern that research shows that in Medway only 47% of vouchers are claimed and that £7,488.50 worth of healthy food goes unclaimed and will you undertake to take immediate action to promote the scheme, encourage take-up among eligible families and aim for 100% of vouchers to be claimed to ensure that hungry Medway children receive the food they are entitled to?

11I)

Councillor Maple will ask the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, the following:

The Government has announced there will be 12 regional hubs to welcome Hong Kong British National Overseas residents. Will Medway be seeking to host the South East regional hub?

11J)

Councillor Khan will ask the Portfolio Holder for Adults' Services, Councillor Brake, the following:

Many people who have been infected with Covid-19 are suffering long term and debilitating symptoms known as Long Covid.

 

The Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee has agreed that this should be an item for their committee. So can the Portfolio Holder tell me what he is doing to support Long Covid sufferers in Medway and will he ensure resources are made available to work in partnership with the NHS to ensure those affected receive the treatment and support they need?

11K)

Councillor Pendergast will ask the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, the following:

In July 2019 with a merger of two local schools being proposed Council carried my motion as follows:

 

"Following events concerning Stoke Primary School, this Council requests the Cabinet to commit to keeping rural and village schools open for the benefit of the local communities in so far as its powers allow".

 

At the time, the merger was refused but it is now back on the table.

Leigh Academies Trust ‘listening exercise’ for ‘all relevant stakeholders’ closed at midnight on 31 March 2021. It appears Medway Council had not submitted a response to the Trust by that time.

 

Councillor Potter, the schools’ Portfolio Holder, in an email dated 6 April 2021 stated a copy of the Council response "..will be copied to the MP and Ward Councillors this week.”Nothing was received by myself.

 

Does the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet intend to commit to keeping all rural schools open and if so what is actually being done to ensure this?

 

The view was taken that in order to once again defeat the proposal a combined joint effort was required and to that end I have sought a meeting with Councillors Filmer and Potter, at which at least one of the campaign committee would be present.There has been no meeting. In fact nothing has been heard from Councillor Potter at all.

 

Councillor Filmer advised in a phone conversation last week that he and Kelly Tolhurst would "put something together", but again nothing has been forthcoming.

 

I appreciate that to many of you this is just a small village school. I realise that Academies are Conservative Party policy which allows a select few to benefit from unjustified eye watering six figure salary packages at the expense of each child's education.

 

However, having seen numerous disagreements with national government and policy I considered Medway Council to be different but clearly I was mistaken.

 

It is disappointing that once again those in charge choose to forget about a certain part of Medway.

12.

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy 2021-2026 pdf icon PDF 202 KB

This report seeks Council approval of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy 2021 – 2026.

Additional documents:

13.

Licensing Act 2003 - Proposed Amendment to the Cumulative Impact Policy pdf icon PDF 174 KB

This report requests that Council approves an amendment to the Council’s Cumulative Impact Policy, following a recommendation from Kent Police that the policy should no longer apply to premises license applications for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises.

Additional documents:

14.

Counter Fraud and Corruption Strategy - Review pdf icon PDF 207 KB

This report requests that Council adopts the proposed Counter Fraud and Corruption Strategy.

Additional documents:

15.

Establishment of Committees, Appointments and Schedule of Meetings 2021/2022 and Constitutional Updates pdf icon PDF 208 KB

This report asks the Council to make a number of recommendations to the Annual meeting of the Council on 5 May 2021 regarding the committees and other bodies to be appointed for 2021/2022 and a programme of meetings and also provides an update on a number of related matters.

Additional documents:

16.

Use of Urgency Provisions pdf icon PDF 157 KB

This report provides details of recent usage of urgency provisions contained within the Constitution. 

17.

Motions

17A)

Councillor Andy Stamp has submitted the following:

Chatham Docks is under threat of development from landlords Peel Land and Property, who continue to claim that the site is no longer financially viable, despite having used their ownership of the land to demonstrate their commitment to employment when applying for residential planning permission on the adjacent Chatham Waters site.

 

The Docks has a 400-year history but has been designated for ‘mixed use – housing & employment’ in the current version of the Medway Local Plan.

 

This Council notes that:

 

·         Chatham Docks is a thriving commercial port which directly provides over 800 skilled local jobs and 16 apprenticeships. The Docks indirectly support an additional 640 jobs through the supply chain.

 

·         The businesses located at Chatham Docks make a significant positive contribution to Medway’s economy, with £150 million of annual investment into Medway. The Docks use environmentally sustainable methods to transport goods, which would otherwise be exported by road.

 

·         The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated Medway’s economy. Unemployment in Medway has more than doubled since the start of the pandemic, with 12,110 residents currently out of work. The loss of jobs at the Docks would cause further, irreversible harm to Medway’s economy at a time when we should be protecting skilled local jobs.

 

·         The closure of Chatham Docks would have a disastrous impact on the employees and their families because they would either lose their jobs or have to relocate; and some of the businesses at Chatham Docks are physically unable to relocate due to the nature of their operation.

 

·         Medway’s Local Plan has not yet been approved, and previous iterations have been criticised for failing to designate sufficient levels of employment land.

 

This Council resolves to:

 

Remove the ‘mixed use – housing & employment’ designation for Chatham Docks from the emerging Local Plan to safeguard employment, skills and the local economy and re-designate Chatham Docks as solely for employment use before the Local Plan is submitted for approval.