Agenda and minutes

Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview And Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 18 August 2016 6.30pm

Venue: Meeting Room 2 - Level 3, Gun Wharf. View directions

Contact: Ellen Wright, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

192.

Tribute to Andy McGrath

Minutes:

At the commencement of the meeting, the Chairman stated that he had been shocked by the recent news that the former Assistant Director of Front Line Services Andy McGrath had passed away following his retirement due to ill health. The Director of Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation paid tribute to Andy as a warm hearted, well known and highly valued officer as well as a true friend. The Committee held a minute’s silence in memory of Andy McGrath.

 

193.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Carr and Saroy.

 

194.

Record of Meeting pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To approve the Record of the Meeting held on 16 June 2016.

Minutes:

A Member referred to Minute 68 recommendation c) and sought clarification on when the two briefing notes would be circulated.  

 

The Director of Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation confirmed that work was in hand to finalise these briefing notes and their circulation was imminent.

 

The record of the meeting held on 16 June 2016 was approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

195.

Urgent matters by reason of special circumstances

The Chairman will announce any late items which do not appear on the main agenda but which he has agreed should be considered by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the report.

Minutes:

There were none.

196.

Declaration of interest and whipping

(A)         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.

 

(B)          Whipping

 

The Council’s constitution also requires any Member of the Committee who is subject to a party whip (ie agreeing to vote in line with the majority view of a private party group meeting) to declare the existence of the whip.

 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

There were none.

 

 

197.

Presentation by the Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority pdf icon PDF 93 KB

The Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority will be in attendance to undertake a brief presentation to the Committee on consultations concerning closure of an area of the estuary to all fishing activities so as to protect juvenile fish that are reliant on habitats.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Chairman welcomed Tom Clegg and Will Wright from the Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (KEIFCA)

 

The Chairman also welcomed Shane Hales, Paul Starling and Peter Starling from Rochester Oyster Floating Fisheries (ROFF).

 

The Committee received a presentation from Tom Clegg on the closure of an area of the estuary to all fishing activities as a ‘no take zone’ so as to protect juvenile fish that are reliant on these habitats.

 

A summary of points raised as a part of the presentation included:

 

·         The preservation of the river as the cultural and historic heart of Medway is of critical importance

·         That the no take zone, as a ‘Medway Nursery Area’, to protect juvenile fish would be vital to replenish adult stocks of fish and would be the largest ‘no take zone’ in the United Kingdom

·         Bass were a species of fish that needed this kind of protected habitat  as they have slow growth and late maturity and were also highly vulnerable to overfishing as they have a tendency to gather in specific sites

·         Surveys have shown a rapid decline in adult Bass populations since 2012 and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) had advised that to sustain their population none should be caught in 2017

·         Saltmarsh and mudflats are vital feeding and shelter areas

·         Medway has lost 70% of its Salt Marshes since 1850

·         The remaining Salt Marshes are the habitat of close to 50 species of rare bird

·         The recent and successful River Festival was used to inform the public of the no take zone to protect fish populations and of its importance

·         The work undertaken to establish the ‘no take zone’ had been undertaken in conjunction with both the Rochester Oyster Floating Fisheries and the Environment Agency.

·         Research projects and surveys still planned on the estuary

 

The Committee then viewed a short video on the estuary and the recent River Festival.

 

Shane Hales, Chamberlain of ROFF, stated that both he and his colleagues fully endorsed the proposals and the presentation by KEIFCA.

 

The Committee discussed a number of the points raised and both KEIFCA and ROFF answered questions as follows:

 

·         In response to a query confirmation was given by Shane Hales that both ROFF and KEIFCA would be responsible for policing the ‘no take zone’. He explained that ROFF had taken action against poaching on the river many times over the years.

·         A Member expressed a view that this project had educational benefits for Medway’s children in explaining the source of food and therefore should be fully supported.

·         In response to a question on the choice of area for the ‘no take zone’, Will Wright confirmed that this site had been selected after consultation with the local fishing community as it was a prime area for a nursery for juvenile fish. He also explained the benefits scientifically in having such a large no take zone in close proximity to London and a number of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 197.

198.

Attendance by the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services pdf icon PDF 170 KB

This report sets out progress made within the areas covered by the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services which fall within the remit of this Committee.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members received an overview of progress made on the areas within the scope of the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services which fell within the remit of this Committee as set out below:

 

·         Local Growth Fund transport projects

·         Parking

·         Public transport

·         Roads

·         Street Cleaning and waste collection/recycling/waste disposal

·         Traffic management

·         Transport Strategy

·         Travel Safety

 

The Portfolio Holder expressed his sadness at hearing that Andy McGrath had recently passed away and explained that Andy had been very proud of Medway and a good friend over the years.

 

The Portfolio Holder responded to Members’ questions and comments as follows:

 

·         Road Safety – A Member referred to the increase in the number of recorded Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) casualties in the 2015 calendar year and asked whether the Portfolio Holder was aware of any reasons for this increase and whether any specific locations could be identified where there were problems. The Portfolio Holder explained that Officer’s regularly monitored the information received so as to assess whether there were any blackspots and were therefore on the case.

 

·         Gully Cleaning – In response to a concern raised that not all gullies had been cleaned when they should have been and a query into what checks were in place to ensure that gullies had actually been cleaned, the Portfolio Holder advised that there were occasions when it was not possible for gullies to be cleaned on the planned cycle e.g. when parked cars created an obstruction but he reassured the Committee that such areas were revisited at a later date. He also confirmed that Officers undertake random checks on gullies to ensure that the cleansing work had been carried out.  In the event that the contractor was found to have underperformed, the contract contained the required conditions to enable the necessary action to be taken.

 

·         Road surfacing and cleanliness of verges – The Portfolio Holder was congratulated on the quality of the road surfaces in Medway and the cleanliness of the verges.  In response to a query on what contact he had with Kent County Council in regards to the quality of roads and verges just outside of Medway’s borders, the Portfolio Holder explained that he is in close contact with Kent County Council concerning these issues

 

·         Resurfacing of The Tideway – A Member questioned when the resurfacing of The Tideway would be undertaken and asked how many roads were on the planned resurfacing schedule that were subsequently delayed to future years. In response, the Portfolio Holder explained that an annual list of planned resurfacing works was produced so that it was possible to see in advance scheduled works and he confirmed that it was not usual for slippage to occur. However, resurfacing was taking longer in The Tideway due to the jointing on the road, which, in this instance, made resurfacing particularly difficult.

 

·         Staffing levels – In response to a concern in regards to whether there were adequate staff to deal with consultations on highway issues e.g. requests for double yellow lines, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 198.

199.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 113 KB

To advise the Committee of petitions received by the Council which fall within the remit if this Committee including a summary of the responses sent to the lead petitioners by officers.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report on petitions received by the Council which fell within the remit of this Committee, including a summary of the responses sent to the lead petitioners by officers. The Democratic Services Officer informed the Committee of the following updated information:

 

·         The lead petitioner on the “Petition to make the crossing on Rochester Road, Halling, safe” had indicated that she wished to wait to see if the petitioners concerns were resolved by Medway Council before referring this to a meeting of this Committee following reassurances she had received from the Director of Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation that this was being looked into.

·         The “Petition to keep the Strand Lido Gillingham open for all” would now be referred to the meeting of this Committee on 25 October 2016 at the request of the lead petitioner.

·         The ‘Petition objecting to the new pavements at William Street Rainham’ would now be referred to the meeting of this Committee on 25 October 2016 at the request of the lead petitioner.

·         The lead petitioner for the petition asking for a speed camera for Walderslade Road, between the Poachers Pocket Public House and Weeds Wood Road, had requested that the petition be referred to this Committee for discussion but had asked that this be held over until the   meeting  on 25 October 2016 as the lead petitioner was unable to attend in August.

 

A Member informed the Committee that he had received an email from the lead petitioner of theKeep Splashes Leisure Pool open until at least 9.30pm on Sunday evenings” petition which stated that they had been disappointed with the response from the Director but had not indicated that they wished the petition to be referred to this Committee.

 

Similarly he had also been contacted by the a petitioner in regards to the petition on the Strand Lido stating that the response had not addressed concerns regarding the change in opening hours which meant that the facility was not available for individuals who work.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to;

 

a)         note the petition responses and appropriate officer actions in

paragraphs 3 and 4 of the report;

b)         note the updated information as to the requests for petitions to be

referred to this Committee on 25 October 2016.

 

200.

Work programme pdf icon PDF 104 KB

This item advises Members of the current work programme and allows the Committee to adjust it in the light of latest priorities, issues and circumstances. It gives Members the opportunity to shape and direct the Committee’s activities over the year. 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Democratic Services Officer reported on the Committee’s current work programme.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to note the current Work Programme.