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Agenda and minutes

Venue: St George's Centre, Pembroke Road, Chatham Maritime, Chatham ME4 4UH. View directions

Contact: Julie Keith, Head of Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

925.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Howard.

926.

Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests

A member need only disclose at any meeting the existence of a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) in a matter to be considered at that meeting if that DPI has not been entered on the disclosable pecuniary interests register maintained by the Monitoring Officer.

 

A member disclosing a DPI at a meeting must thereafter notify the Monitoring Officer in writing of that interest within 28 days from the date of disclosure at the meeting.

 

A member may not participate in a discussion of or vote on any matter in which he or she has a DPI (both those already registered and those disclosed at the meeting) and must withdraw from the room during such discussion/vote.

 

Members may choose to voluntarily disclose a DPI at a meeting even if it is registered on the council’s register of disclosable pecuniary interests but there is no legal requirement to do so.

 

Members should also ensure they disclose any other interests which may give rise to a conflict under the council’s code of conduct.

 

In line with the training provided to members by the Monitoring Officer members will also need to consider bias and pre-determination in certain circumstances and whether they have a conflict of interest or should otherwise leave the room for Code reasons.

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

Councillor Osborne declared an interest in agenda item 11I (Member’s question) because he is a Primary First Trust appointed School Governor at Wayfield Primary School which he stated was potentially connected to his question.

927.

Record of meeting pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To approve the record of the meeting held on 23 February 2017.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 23 February 2017 as agreed and signed by the Worshipful The Mayor of Medway as a correct record.  

928.

Mayor's announcements

Minutes:

The Worshipful The Mayor of Medway thanked the Medway Men in Sheds project for the loan of the handcrafted chair which was on display at the meeting. The Men in Sheds movement was one of the most recent and fastest growing innovations in the UK. The Medway scheme was commissioned by the Public Health team in 2014 with the aim of engaging with unemployed or retired men aged 30+ for the purpose of reducing social isolation, increasing and sharing skills, improving mental health and wellbeing and reducing the risk of suicide. Around 129 people were currently registered with the scheme and the weekly sessions offered covered a range of activities including woodcraft, men’s health, cooking and eating skills and community wellbeing days.

 

The Mayor congratulated Councillors Chishti and McDonald who both had successfully completed the London Marathon last Sunday and were raising funds for Cancer Research UK and CLIC Sargent respectively. He reminded Members that it was not too late to make donations.

 

The Mayor asked Members to avoid repeating points made earlier in each debate so that business could be dealt with efficiently and contributions from across the floor were enabled.

 

Members were asked to speak clearly into the microphones to ensure people in the public gallery could hear and not engage in unnecessary private conversations which could be distracting to others who were speaking or listening in the public gallery.

 

The Mayor reminded those present that the meeting was being audio recorded and the recording would be made available on the Council’s website. In addition, he asked Members to provide written copies of any amendments to Democratic Services and that copies were brought up to the top table first.

929.

Leader's announcements

Minutes:

There were none.  

930.

Petitions

Minutes:

Public

 

There were none.

 

Members 

 

Councillor Stamp submitted a petition containing 1,153 signatures which opposed the recent increases in car parking charges and called upon the Council to reconsider this decision.

 

Councillor Kemp submitted a petition containing 50 signatures from residents of Guardian Court and Avondale Court which requested that the Arriva No. 116 bus service be reinstated to serve this locality.

931.

Public questions

931A)

Patrick Hobb-Chambers of Cuxton asked the Portfolio Holder for Inward Investment, Strategic Regeneration and Partnerships, Councillor Rodney Chambers OBE, the following:

In February a lorry plus a gang of men removed the sundial from one side of Thomas Waghorn, Railway Street, Chatham.

 

My question is why and where is it going next?

Minutes:

“In February a lorry plus a gang of men removed the sundial from one side of Thomas Waghorn, Railway Street, Chatham.

 

My question is why and where is it going next?”

 

Councillor Rodney Chambers OBE stated that the sundial adjacent to the Thomas Waghorn was removed on 2 February as part of the Chatham Regeneration Project by Medway’s Highways Maintenance contractor as the freestanding structure supporting the sundial occupied a significant part of the site which was needed to open up the area for the ramp and steps which would form part of the new St John’s square.

 

The sundial would be retained in storage until a suitable new location could be found in Medway as requested by many Members of the Council.

931B)

Joan Simpson on behalf of the Mid Kent Branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, asked the Portfolio Holder for Adult Services, Councillor Brake, the following:

Over 40 Councils across the country have now signed up to the Motor Neurone Disease Charter.

 

As a Medway resident, I would like to ask the Portfolio Holder if he supports Medway Council doing the right thing and adding their name to this list?

Minutes:

“Over 40 Councils across the country have now signed up to the Motor Neurone Disease Charter.

 

As a Medway resident, I would like to ask the Portfolio Holder if he supports Medway Council doing the right thing and adding their name to this list?

 

Councillor Brake thanked Mrs Simpson for her question. He stated that he was pleased to confirm that he had submitted a Motion which would be discussed at this meeting later this evening where he hoped that the Council would unanimously agree to sign up to the Charter.

931C)

Ashley Halliday of Rainham asked the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, the following:

Taking into consideration Priority 2 and Priority 3 of the Council Plan and the response I received via Twitter from the Council (which is factually incorrect), how will the recently increased Council car park charge revenue actually help the Council “Maximise regeneration and economic growth” and help “Medway’s people to realise their potential”?  

Minutes:

“Taking into consideration Priority 2 and Priority 3 of the Council Plan and the response I received via Twitter from the Council (which is factually incorrect), how will the recently increased Council car park charge revenue actually help the Council “Maximise regeneration and economic growth” and help “Medway’s people to realise their potential”?”

 

Councillor Jarrett thanked Mr Halliday for his question.  He stated that it was worth bearing in mind that Medway’s Parking Charges had been frozen for the last 7 years, and there were higher charges being levied elsewhere in Kent. 

 

He stated that within the Council Plan, under the Maximising Regeneration and Economic Growth priority, there was a target to maintain roads through the successful implementation of a new highways contract in 2017. Through increasing Parking Charges this financial year, the Council had been able to protect Highway Budgets from reductions that, if adopted, would have had an adverse impact on delivering this Council Plan target. 

 

He stated that this Administration continued to make significant investment into Medway’s roads, as it was appreciated how important this was to residents and visitors alike. 

 

He concluded by stating that to continue to do this, the Council would have to raise revenue wherever it could.

931D)

Andrew Lawrence of Hempstead asked the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services, Councillor Filmer, the following:

Medway Council’s contractor ASD operates a very successful subsidised school bus service, the MY School Bus across many routes in Medway. However, not all children have access to this provision. Currently students who attend many of the schools in the authority, including the Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School and Rochester Grammar School and live in Rainham, Hempstead, Wigmore and Walderslade rely on a commercial bus provided by Arriva including the route 659.

 

The MY service has a reputation of punctuality and consistency not demonstrated by Arriva. The cost of the MY bus ticket is also one third the cost of having to buy a monthly Arriva ticket.  The MY service costs £50 per term whereas, typically, the Arriva monthly ticket is £60.

 

Would the Council consider extending the MY School Bus service to children currently having to rely on the Arriva service? This would ensure that all of Medway’s children have access to a high-quality cost-effective school bus service which allows full access to the excellent Grammar Schools in all parts of the authority regardless of where they live.

Minutes:

“Medway Council’s contractor ASD operates a very successful subsidised school bus service, the MY School Bus across many routes in Medway. However, not all children have access to this provision. Currently students who attend many of the schools in the authority, including the Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School and Rochester Grammar School and live in Rainham, Hempstead, Wigmore and Walderslade rely on a commercial bus provided by Arriva including the route 659.

 

The MY service has a reputation of punctuality and consistency not demonstrated by Arriva. The cost of the MY bus ticket is also one third the cost of having to buy a monthly Arriva ticket.  The MY service costs £50 per term whereas, typically, the Arriva monthly ticket is £60.

 

Would the Council consider extending the MY School Bus service to children currently having to rely on the Arriva service? This would ensure that all of Medway’s children have access to a high-quality cost-effective school bus service which allows full access to the excellent Grammar Schools in all parts of the authority regardless of where they live.”

 

Councillor Filmer thanked Mr Lawrence for his question. He stated that he was very pleased to hear Mr Lawrence’s positive feedback about the MY bus routes, which were subsidised by the Council, and the high quality service provided by the operator, ASD.

 

He also stated that as the Council’s budget for providing these services had been set for the current financial year, the Council was unable to fund any additional routes or buses. The financial pressures the Council continued to face unfortunately meant that it would not be able to expand the MY service in the foreseeable future.

931E)

Simon Bolton of Gillingham had submitted the following question to the Portfolio Holder for Adult Services, Councillor Brake:

Can Councillor Brake set out the dates, times and venues for the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) Board meetings for 2017?

Minutes:

“Can Councillor Brake set out the dates, times and venues for the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) Board meetings for 2017?”

 

As Simon Bolton was not present at the meeting, he would receive a written response to his question in accordance with Council Rule 8.6.

 

931F)

Vivienne Parker of Chatham asked the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

Given that the Council feels that the facilities of the green spaces and recreation grounds owned by the Council are not available to the public “as of right”, does this mean that we, the general public are nothing but a bunch of trespassers and we, the general public are about to be barred from accessing the Council’s open spaces?

Minutes:

“Given that the Council feels that the facilities of the green spaces and recreation grounds owned by the Council are not available to the public “as of right”, does this mean that we, the general public are nothing but a bunch of trespassers and we, the general public are about to be barred from accessing the Council’s open spaces?”

 

Councillor Doe thanked Ms Parker for her question. He stated that Medway Council managed the equivalent of some 13 Hyde Parks, which included over 125 play areas, skate parks and multi-use games areas. They offered a wide range of activities for children and teenagers. In addition, the parks were used regularly for a host of healthy activities, such as parkrun, cycling and walks, as well as a host of free events, such as the Capstone Festival and the English Festival which recently took place so successfully.

 

He stated that greenspaces were available for everyone to use and that the use was encouraged in a number of different ways. He also stated that the Council was investing quite a considerable amount in greenspaces, for example, in the play area in the Strand.

 

He concluded by stating that Medway’s greenspaces should be used with consideration for others. He would encourage everyone in Medway to make full use of what he considered to be Medway’s amazing greenspaces.

 

931G)

Paul Chaplin of Rainham asked the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, Councillor Chitty, the following:

The Local Plan is currently being consulted upon.

The previous two Local Plans have both failed to last the expected duration, leading to property developers having a strong hand at appeals when their applications are rejected by the Council.

The last Local Plan was heavily dependent upon a single development, which is currently facing review, the result of which is not expected to be known until sometime in 2018.

The Medway Council Executive has a history of ignoring responses to consultation. I hope that this is a serious process that responds to the issues raised by residents.

What action has the Council taken to ensure the current Local Plan does not face the same fate as its predecessors, and again fails?

Minutes:

The Local Plan is currently being consulted upon.

The previous two Local Plans have both failed to last the expected duration, leading to property developers having a strong hand at appeals when their applications are rejected by the Council.

The last Local Plan was heavily dependent upon a single development, which is currently facing review, the result of which is not expected to be known until sometime in 2018.

The Medway Council Executive has a history of ignoring responses to consultation. I hope that this is a serious process that responds to the issues raised by residents.

What action has the Council taken to ensure the current Local Plan does not face the same fate as its predecessors, and again fails?

 

Councillor Chitty thanked Mr Chaplin for his question. She stated that the Development Options document set out a range of potential locations where development could take place over the plan period and the Council had also carried out a thorough assessment of land availability for development across Medway. This information was published in a Strategic Land Availability Assessment document, in line with Government guidance.

 

She stated that Lodge Hill was noted as a potential location for development, subject to the outcome of the Public Inquiry next year. At this stage, it was considered in the latter part of the plan period, after 2025, to take account of the risk of the proposed development of the site not being supported by the Secretary of State.

 

The Council was carrying out an extensive and robust consultation process, and all responses received would be duly considered in taking forward the Local Plan.

 

She concluded by stating that the Council was collating a comprehensive evidence base to underpin a sound and effective Local Plan, and following Government guidance in assessing and determining development allocations and the policies. The Council was also liaising with officers at the Department for Communities and Local Government to ensure that the plan progressed successfully to adoption.

931H)

Steve Dyke of Strood asked the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, the following:

The decision to site the new Lower Thames Crossing east of Gravesend may lead to a significant increase in traffic through Strood and other areas west of the River Medway. The A226 and A289 are particularly likely to be affected and minor roads in the area could become 'rat runs' in the event of traffic congestion on the main routes. Without positive action being taken the health and wellbeing of Medway residents will suffer as a consequence.

 

What does Medway Council plan to do to reduce the impact of this increased traffic on residents in Strood and other areas and to prevent the further deterioration in already poor local air quality that will result from it, both during the lengthy construction period for the Crossing and once it is operational?

Minutes:

“The decision to site the new Lower Thames Crossing east of Gravesend may lead to a significant increase in traffic through Strood and other areas west of the River Medway. The A226 and A289 are particularly likely to be affected and minor roads in the area could become 'rat runs' in the event of traffic congestion on the main routes. Without positive action being taken the health and wellbeing of Medway residents will suffer as a consequence.

 

What does Medway Council plan to do to reduce the impact of this increased traffic on residents in Strood and other areas and to prevent the further deterioration in already poor local air quality that will result from it, both during the lengthy construction period for the Crossing and once it is operational?”

 

Councillor Jarrett thanked Mr Dyke for his very timely question. He stated that Highways England had proposed two options for accessing the new Lower Thames Crossing, one to the east and one to the west with connections on to the A2.  Medway Council supported the proposal for a Western Southern link on the basis that it provided better access on to the road network and had a much lower impact on the environment, heritage sites and residential and commercial properties.

 

He stated that the A289 was a key route that already linked Medway with the existing crossing at Dartford, via the A2, however, he did acknowledge that the A226 would provide a route to the new Lower Thames Crossing and there may be some displacement of traffic on to this road.  However, Highways England had stressed that they were still at an early stage of the project and that the preferred route announcement would pave the way for the next stage of development. This would comprise the design and assessment of the preferred route in more detail, as well as carrying out traffic modelling and junction design work.

 

He stated that the Council would continue to work with Highways England to seek to mitigate the impact of the new crossing on Medway’s roads, both during the construction phase and when it would become operational. 

 

He also stated that the Council would continue to press the case for improvements to the existing roads network to support the successful implementation of the Lower Thames Crossing, which in itself was to be welcomed.

 

He concluded by stating that this £6bn scheme would create 6,000 jobs and opportunities along the supply chain.  He was keen to ensure that Medway would benefit from this strategically significant project and he referred Mr Dyke to this matter that he would address in his Leader’s speech later on in the meeting.

932.

Leader's report pdf icon PDF 431 KB

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members received the Leader’s Report and raised the following issues during the debate: 

 

·         Plans for Medway in Flames/Battle of Medway

·         Regeneration update

·         Events and Sport in Medway

·         Local Plan

·         Medway Archives and Local Study Centre

·         Eastgate House

·         Rochester Airport

·         Castle Concerts

·         Men in Sheds project

·         New schools

·         Car parking charges

·         General Election

·         Lower Thames Crossing

·         Election expenses

·         Air quality

·         Medway Maritime Hospital

·         Schools performance/Schools places

·         Responsible dog owner code.

 

Members also placed on record their thanks to the outgoing Interim Director of Public Health, Dr Andrew Burnett, and wished him well for the future.

933.

Overview and Scrutiny activity pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members received a report on overview and scrutiny activity and raised the following issues during debate:  

 

·         Housing Revenue Account – Capital and Revenue Budgets 2017/18

·         Draft Capital and Revenue Budget 2017/18

·         Short Breaks Provision for Children with Disabilities and the Local Offer

·         Home to School Transport Policy for Mainstream Children and Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

·         Medway’s Annual School Performance Report for 2016 / Regional Schools Commissioner

·         Sustainability and Transformation Plan – Transforming Health and Social Care in Kent and Medway

·         Medway CCG Operational Plan 2017/2019

·         Annual Review of Waste Contracts

·         Petition – Homeless People in Medway

·         Housing (Demand, Supply and Affordability) Task Group – progress report

·         Dementia Task Group report – ‘How far has Medway gone in becoming a Dementia Friendly Community’

·         General Election

·         Business Rates relief

·         Medway NHS Foundation Trust

·         Air quality

·         Shared Legal Services with Gravesham

·         Lower Thames Crossing

·         Kent & Medway NHS & Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT).

934.

Nominations for Mayor and Deputy Mayor 2017/2018

To receive nominations for candidates for election at the Annual Council Meeting on 17 May 2017 as Mayor and Deputy Mayor for the 2017/2018 municipal year in accordance with Council Rule 20.3, as set out in the Council’s Constitution.

Minutes:

Councillor Purdy, supported by Councillor Griffin, proposed that Councillor Wildey be nominated as the Mayor of Medway for the 2017/2018 municipal year.

 

Councillor Bowler, supported by Councillor Maple, proposed that Councillor McDonald be nominated as the Mayor of Medway for the 2017/2018 municipal year.

 

On being put to the vote, the nomination of Councillor Wildey was agreed. 

 

Councillor Khan, supported by Councillor Johnson, proposed that Councillor Cooper be nominated as the Deputy Mayor of Medway for the 2017/2018 municipal year.

 

Councillor Carr, supported by the Portfolio Holder for Resources, Councillor Gulvin, proposed that Councillor Opara be nominated as the Deputy Mayor of Medway for the 2017/2018 municipal year. 

 

On being put to the vote the nomination of Councillor Opara was agreed. 

935.

Members' questions

935A)

Councillor Freshwater asked the Portfolio Holder for Business Management, Councillor Turpin, the following:

The Chancellor in his budget provided a £300 million discretionary business rates relief scheme.

 

Medway has been awarded £545,000 for the coming year.

 

Can the Portfolio Holder confirm some of this discretionary money will be used to reverse the Medway Council budget demand of £193,000 from charities and not for profit organisations?

Minutes:

“The Chancellor in his budget provided a £300 million discretionary business rates relief scheme.

 

Medway has been awarded £545,000 for the coming year.

 

Can the Portfolio Holder confirm some of this discretionary money will be used to reverse the Medway Council budget demand of £193,000 from charities and not for profit organisations?”

 

Councillor Turpin thanked Councillor Freshwater for his question. He stated that the consultation on this took place between 9 March - 7 April and it sought views on three things; the allocation of resources to local authorities; the arrangements for local authorities’ compensation and; the operation and conditions of the discretionary relief scheme.

 

He stated that since the consultation period had ended, the announcement of the General Election had led to some uncertainty. He confirmed that Medway had been allocated £545,000. However, there had been no confirmation of the second and third elements to the scheme (as set out in the paragraph above). He confirmed that the monies would be paid three months retrospectively.

 

He stated that with regards to the third element of the scheme, given the uncertainty, it would better for Medway to wait until any conditions were clarified by the Government.  Once this clarification was forthcoming, a

scheme would be put forward to Cabinet for consideration.

 

He also stated that given this related to business rates, it would apply to ordinary businesses and charities and the Council would hope to disperse all of the allocation (£545,000). However, if the (Government) conditions were too stringent, there was always the possibility that it would be very difficult for the Council to disperse the money because there would not be enough qualifying businesses and charities. However, he was hopeful that the conditions would not be too stringent and that the Council would be able to disperse the full allocation.

935B)

Councillor Pendergast asked the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, Councillor Chitty, the following:

The Apprenticeship Levy for businesses with a wage bill of more than £3million have to contribute 0.5% of their salary bill to a new fund to help the funding of the government target of three million apprenticeships.

 

Medway Council must not simply shift all the responsibility on to employers. We have currently too many apprenticeships for low-skilled jobs and it is therefore extremely important that the Council is seen to positively promote apprenticeships and ensure the money provides the skills needed for more global manufacturing opportunities for the many small and important Medway business as the UK leaves the EU.

 

The Council is aware of the unsatisfactory situation where the majority of Academies and many schools refuse to promote or discuss apprenticeships as a career and professional training path.

 

Can the Council outline an action plan to ensure everyone has equal access to the higher level of opportunities of a decent apprenticeship?

Minutes:

“The Apprenticeship Levy for businesses with a wage bill of more than £3million have to contribute 0.5% of their salary bill to a new fund to help the funding of the government target of three million apprenticeships.

 

Medway Council must not simply shift all the responsibility on to employers. We have currently too many apprenticeships for low-skilled jobs and it is therefore extremely important that the Council is seen to positively promote apprenticeships and ensure the money provides the skills needed for more global manufacturing opportunities for the many small and important Medway business as the UK leaves the EU.

 

The Council is aware of the unsatisfactory situation where the majority of Academies and many schools refuse to promote or discuss apprenticeships as a career and professional training path.

 

Can the Council outline an action plan to ensure everyone has equal access to the higher level of opportunities of a decent apprenticeship?”

 

Councillor Chitty thanked Councillor Pendergast for his question. She stated that Medway was a pathfinder in identifying the real value of apprenticeship  programmes. She referred to the “one hundred apprenticeships in one hundred days” scheme which the Council had previously introduced and the European funding to start a programme to encourage apprenticeships and this had been very successful. She also stated that following this, and with Councillor Rodney Chambers’ support, a fund of £100,000 for apprenticeships had been added to the budget on a recurring basis.

 

She also stated that there was a dedicated officer who dealt with apprenticeships. This enabled the Council to work with businesses who in turn would identify and interview young people to work within their businesses. She stated that a number of apprentices had been successful and ended up with very responsible jobs.

 

She referred to Medway Council’s own role at the forefront in the development of apprenticeships and she noted that many Members would have met apprentices and would have seen what a sterling job that they did.

 

She stated that with regards to higher education, both the universities and the technical colleges brought businesses together with them. She stated that nobody should be in any doubt as to how important all of these educational bodies saw the value of apprenticeships and recently she met with one of the technical colleges and the work they were doing was highly commendable.

 

She concluded by stating that it was necessary to identify skills and help young people to gain these skills. She added that the universities would like graduates to stay in Medway and one of the options would involve the Innovation Centre. She confirmed that the Council would continue to be dedicated to the apprenticeship scheme.

935C)

Councillor Stamp asked the Portfolio Holder for Resources, Councillor Gulvin, the following:

The former Budgens site is critical to the future of Gillingham High Street.

 

Could the Portfolio Holder update Council on the progress on ensuring the site isn't vacant for a lengthy period?

Minutes:

“The former Budgens site is critical to the future of Gillingham High Street.

 

Could the Portfolio Holder update Council on the progress on ensuring the site isn't vacant for a lengthy period?”

 

Councillor Gulvin thanked Councillor Stamp for his question. He stated that he fully agreed that the former Bugdens premises was an important site within Gillingham Town Centre. After the last tenant, the Food Retailer Operations Limited, went into administration, the lease was taken back by the Council on 15 March 2017.

 

He stated that he was pleased to be able to say that local agents had been engaged to conduct a marketing exercise and there had been some considerable interest shown in that site. This was a good demonstration that Medway was seen as a good place to do business.

 

He stated that the new lease terms would be offered on a very flexible basis in order to encourage as great an interest as possible and, that in the future, there would be a good use for that site.

935D)

Councillor McDonald asked the Portfolio Holder for Resources, Councillor Gulvin, the following:

Would the Portfolio Holder confirm, in a similar way that was considered for the former Tesco site in Chatham, that a potential mixed retail and residential use option would be considered for the Briton Farm Mall site if there are no offers on the current option?

Minutes:

“Would the Portfolio Holder confirm, in a similar way that was considered for the former Tesco site in Chatham, that a potential mixed retail and residential use option would be considered for the Briton Farm Mall site if there are no offers on the current option?”

 

Councillor Gulvin thanked Councillor McDonald for his question. He referred to his previous answer to Councillor Stamp and added that whilst it was sad to see the loss of any jobs here in Medway, he hoped that all of the Budgens’ staff would find jobs quickly and that this would lead to other opportunities.

 

He stated that, with reference to the old Chatham Tesco site, the Council had undertaken extensive work to see if that site could be viably redeveloped. However, Tesco had found a new tenant in the form of Go Outdoors which he believed had made a good contribution to Medway’s retail offer.

 

He stated that last year the Leader of the Council had asked him to get work underway to look at regeneration possibilities in Gillingham Town Centre. This included the Briton Farm site. This work had now been completed and would be appraised shortly. He added that the Council would have to give due regard to the other tenants on the site and the scheme would have to stack up financially.

 

However, given the number of homes that were needed to be provided in Medway in the next few years, inner urban sites like this could make a valuable contribution. In increasing the number of residents living in Medway’s inner urban areas, this would reduce the pressure on greenfield sites and also give extra potential custom to high streets.

935E)

Councillor Cooper asked the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services, Councillor Filmer, the following:

Could the Portfolio Holder give an update on the introduction of parking charges at the Strand - in particular around potential schemes including parking validation / refund options for users of the Strand Lido?

Minutes:

“Could the Portfolio Holder give an update on the introduction of parking charges at the Strand - in particular around potential schemes including parking validation / refund options for users of the Strand Lido?”

 

Councillor Filmer thanked Councillor Cooper for her question. He stated that parking charges for the Strand were scheduled to be introduced in July.  The Council was currently procuring the pay & display machines for installation and putting in place appropriate signage along with the Traffic Regulation Order to enable car parking enforcement.

 

He stated that the parking charges would be on the same tariff bands as all other car parks that were pay and display that had been agreed at Full Council in February 2017. 

 

He also stated that refunds would not be offered for the Strand Lido as the Car Park served all users of the Strand, not just swimmers.

935F)

Councillor Shaw asked the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

Why is there no public consultation on the decision to remove staff from Grain Library?

Minutes:

“Why is there no public consultation on the decision to remove staff from Grain Library?”

 

Councillor Doe thanked Councillor Shaw for her question. He stated that the Council was committed to providing library services to the people of Grain as had been proved for many years, although usage at the moment was very low.

 

He stated that in responding to this situation, the Council had commenced a review as to whether a volunteer led service, which would be supported by professional libraries staff, could be launched.  There would be a clear point of contact for the volunteers who would be trained and given on-going support and some activities may well continue to be led by visiting library staff.

 

He stated that the Council did have a considerable track record of working with volunteers, such as friends of the libraries who worked at events and volunteers who were crucial to initiatives such as the home library service.

 

He referred to Grain Library noting that it was hosted in a community building, The Chapel in Grain. It could be that by a number of partner organisations working together, that all could benefit from such an approach. 

 

He concluded by stating that the reason why there was no consultation was that there should be no diminution of service and that it may even be possible to procure longer opening hours for this library so it was not a question simply of sending libraries to the back of beyond. He stated that the Council would continue to support Grain Library and to make sure that people had access to a reasonable service.

935G)

Councillor Johnson asked the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:

What is your plan if no volunteers come forward for Grain Library?

Minutes:

“What is your plan if no volunteers come forward for Grain Library?”

 

Councillor Doe thanked Councillor Johnson for his question. He stated that the Council did not plan for failure. However, the reality was that the current arrangements were not finding favour with local people and that he believed that the Council could do something better.

 

He stated that there had already been some initial contact on this matter and that as far as he was concerned, the Council had planned for success and he was confident in this proposal. However, if this did not prove possible, the existing service would continue until an alternative option was developed.

935H)

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

With library hours being cut, the potential closure to the public of Thomas Aveling Library, a lack of public consultation over removing all staff from Grain Library isn't it clear that you can't trust the Tories with our Libraries?

Minutes:

With library hours being cut, the potential closure to the public of Thomas Aveling Library, a lack of public consultation over removing all staff from Grain Library isn't it clear that you can't trust the Tories with our Libraries?

 

 

Councillor Doe thanked Councillor Price for his question. He stated that the Library service was one of the Council’s most successful services and would continue to be so.

 

He stated that books issued at libraries in 2016/17 had increased compared to the previous year, bucking the national trend, and that the Council had been congratulated by the Minister responsible for libraries for the innovations the Council had installed in the Community Hubs.

 

He stated that the Council’s investment in libraries had paid dividends. This included the £500,000 on the Twydall Community Hub and £1m at the Strood Community Hub, as well as investment in the neighbourhood Community Hub in Hempstead. This had demonstrated a reasonable record of investment in libraries.

 

He stated that the budget proposals had been well researched, sensibly investigated and were about modernising the excellent library service for customers across Medway.

 

He concluded by stating that where there was a library that was not really used and where there were adequate alternative methods for providing a library service in that area, it would seem perfectly reasonable in such a case that the library be closed. However, the Council was still waiting for the results of the consultation and the Council would consider the results with care.

935I)

Councillor Osborne asked the Portfolio Holder for Children's Services (Lead Member), Councillor Mackness, the following:

Can you guarantee that the Children Centre/Sure Start on Wayfield Road will remain open given concerns expressed by staff around Council funding?

Minutes:

“Can you guarantee that the Children Centre/Sure Start on Wayfield Road will remain open given concerns expressed by staff around Council funding?”

 

Councillor Mackness thanked Councillor Osborne for his question. He stated that the Wayfield Children’s Centre would remain open.

 

He stated that this was a freehold building and the Council intended to keep providing services for children and families from that site.

936.

Planning Application Fees pdf icon PDF 669 KB

This report sets out a proposal to agree that a 20% increase in planning fees be applied from 1 July 2017.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

This report provided details of the Government White Paper ‘Fixing our Broken Housing Market’ which included a proposal to allow Local Authorities to increase the nationally set planning fee by 20% from 1 July 2017 if they committed to invest the additional fee income in their planning department in order to help deliver housing.

 

The Cabinet had considered these proposals on 4 April 2017, details of which were set out in paragraph 7 of the report.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, Councillor Chitty, supported by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, proposed the recommendation in the report with the addition of “…or such other date that may be confirmed by DCLG”.  

 

Decision:

 

The Council agreed to increase all planning fees by 20%, as set out in Appendix 2 to the report, for implementation from 1 July 2017 or such other date that may be confirmed by Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

937.

Establishment of Committees, Appointments and Schedule of Meetings 2017/2018 pdf icon PDF 79 KB

This report sets out the position regarding the overall allocation of seats on committees. The Council is asked to make recommendations to the Annual meeting of the Council on 17 May 2017 regarding the committees and other bodies to be appointed for 2017/2018 and a programme of meetings.

 

The Council is also asked to make recommendations to a Joint Meeting of Committees on 17 May 2017, to be held immediately following the Annual Meeting of the Council, in respect of the establishment and membership of sub-committees and any scrutiny task groups.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

This report provided details of the overall allocation of seats on committees and set out recommendations to the Annual Meeting of the Council on 17 May 2017 regarding the committees and other bodies to be appointed for 2017/2018 and a programme of meetings. The report also set out recommendations to the Joint Meeting of Committees on 17 May 2017, immediately following the Annual Meeting of the Council, in respect of the establishment and membership of sub-committees and task groups.

 

An addendum report was tabled at the meeting which provided details of some proposed changes to the programme of meetings as a result of the recent announcement that a general election would take place on 8 June 2017.

 

It was also reported that Democratic Services had received notification from Lauraine McManus that she was no longer able to continue with her role on the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee as the Teacher representative.  An expression of interest into this role had been received and would be presented to the Committee’s next meeting.  It was therefore anticipated that a new person would take on this role from June 2017 for a two year term

 

Councillor Kemp, supported by Councillor Carr, proposed the recommendations set out in the report with an allocation of Committee seats for 2017/18 as set out in paragraph 3.5 on page 91 of the agenda and amendments to the schedule of meetings as set out in the addendum report.

 

Councillor Maple, supported by Councillor Shaw, proposed the following amendment:

 

“Recommendation 6.1 (i) to read: the establishment of committees, sub committees and task groups, their size and the allocation of seats to political groups as set out in Appendix A to this report, together with terms of reference as set out in the Council’s constitution.”

 

(Recommendations 6.1 (ii) – (iv) to remain unchanged).

 

In accordance with Rule 12.4 of the Council Rules, a recorded vote on the amendment was taken.

 

For – Councillors Bowler, Cooper, Craven, Gilry, Griffiths, Johnson, Khan, Maple, McDonald, Murray, Osborne, Price, Shaw and Stamp (14)

 

Against – Councillors Aldous, Avey, Bhutia, Brake, Carr, Mrs Diane Chambers, Rodney Chambers OBE, Chishti, Chitty, Clarke, Doe, Etheridge, Fearn, Filmer, Franklin, Freshwater, Griffin, Gulvin, Hall, Hicks, Mrs Josie Iles, Steve Iles, Jarrett, Joy, Kemp, Mackness, Opara, Pendergast, Potter, Purdy, Royle, Saroy, Tejan, Tolhurst, Tranter, Turpin, Wicks, Wildey and Williams (39)

 

Note: Councillor Godwin was not present for the recorded vote.

 

The amendment was lost.

 

Decisions:

 

The Council recommended the following to Annual Council and the Joint meeting of all Committees on 17 May 2017:

 

(i)        the establishment of committees, sub committees and task groups, their size and the allocation of seats to political groups as set out in paragraph 3.5 of the report and in Appendix B to the report, together with terms of reference as set out in the Council’s constitution.

 

(ii)       the establishment of an ad hoc committee to consider the removal of Council-appointed school governors as and when necessary  ...  view the full minutes text for item 937.

938.

Use of Urgency Provisions pdf icon PDF 21 KB

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

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

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

 

An exempt appendix contained detail financial implications relating to the HR matter.

 

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, supported by the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, proposed the recommendation in the report.

 

Decision:

 

The Council noted the report.

939.

Motions

939A)

Councillor Brake, supported by Councillor Murray, submitted the following:

Council notes the important work of the Medway Neurological Network and the organisations that are members of the Network.

 

Council further notes a large number of councils across the country, including several across Kent, have signed up to the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Charter.

 

The MND charter is made up of 5 points:

 

1.    The right to an early diagnosis and information;

2.    The right to access quality care and treatments;

3.    The right to be treated as individuals and with dignity and respect;

4.    The right to maximise their quality of life;

5.    Carers of people with MND have the right to be valued, respected, listened to and well-supported.

 

Council agrees to sign up to and support the MND Charter.

Minutes:

Council notes the important work of the Medway Neurological Network and the organisations that are members of the Network.

 

Council further notes a large number of councils across the country, including several across Kent, have signed up to the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Charter.

 

The MND charter is made up of 5 points:

 

1.    The right to an early diagnosis and information;

2.    The right to access quality care and treatments;

3.    The right to be treated as individuals and with dignity and respect;

4.    The right to maximise their quality of life;

5.    Carers of people with MND have the right to be valued, respected, listened to and well-supported.

 

Council agrees to sign up to and support the MND Charter.

 

On being put to the vote, the motion was agreed.

 

Audio Recording of the Meeting MP3 117 MB

Note:

 

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