Agenda and minutes

Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview And Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 7 December 2017 6.30pm

Venue: Meeting Room 2 - Level 3, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham ME4 4TR

Contact: Ellen Wright, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

562.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Gilry, Hicks and Josie Iles.

563.

Record of Meeting pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To approve the Record of the Meeting held on 19 October 2017.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 19 October 2017 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

564.

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.

565.

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

 

Councillors Carr and Steve Iles declared interests in the Annual Scrutiny of the Community Safety Partnership on the basis that they both serve as Council representatives on the Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority and advised the Committee that whilst they would remain as part of the Committee for this item, they would not ask any questions of the Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority.

566.

Annual Scrutiny of the Community Safety Partnership, including an update on the Community Safety Plan 2016 to 2020 pdf icon PDF 156 KB

This report provides information on the operation of the Community Safety Partnership from October 2016, which summarises the findings of the strategic assessment and provides information on the proposed plan to cover the period from 2016 to 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Chairman welcomed all the partners of the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) to the meeting.

 

The Chairman of the CSP, Councillor Gulvin, introduced the report and reminded the Committee that if Members wished to refer to specific policing issues, these should be addressed at the monthly Police surgeries held at Gun Wharf.

 

The Chairman of the CSP highlighted the following three achievements for the CSP for 2017:

 

·         The introduction of the Cumulative Impact Assessment resulting in Licensing Hearing Panels having statistical evidence to identify problem areas when considering licensing applications.

·         An engagement event held at Mid Kent College involving discussions on the issues of homelessness, rough sleeping and begging.

·         A Safety in Action event staged by students at Mid Kent College aimed at delivering sessions for older primary school children on road safety and drug and alcohol use.

 

The Committee then discussed the following topics:

 

·         Community engagement – A Member requested whether there would be an opportunity for further community engagement sessions on topics such as anti social behaviour.

 

In response, the Chairman of the CSP commented that whilst community engagement sessions were considered valuable, Police resources were stretched, therefore it was necessary to strike a balance between community engagement and tackling the problems that exist.

 

Chief Inspector Marsh gave an assurance that Community Policing was at the heart of the restructure of Kent Police and this had encouraged increased reporting of crime. He reassured the Committee that the Police had a good awareness of the issues that exist in Medway.

 

·         Mental Health – In response to questions about the possible extension of Safe Havens to other areas of Medway, the Chairman of the CSP advised upon the work undertaken by the CSP and Medway Street Pastors to introduce a multi-purpose mobile street triage service capable of delivering health, mental health, wellbeing and community services to the night time economy in Rochester. Medway Norse had donated a vehicle for use by the Street Pastors and there were proposals for the Street Pastors and other services to use the Safe Haven Bus during the day to offer simple health checks on Gillingham Market days.

The Chairman of the CSP also referred to the lack of acute mental health care in Medway and confirmed that all partners of the CSP considered it inappropriate for an individual with mental health issues to be held in a police cell if there was no other place for them to be taken.

 

Chief Inspector Marsh advised that the Police had a good record of  responding to the challenges of identifying suitable placements for individuals with mental health issues and he gave a reassurance that such individuals were a high priority for the Police.

 

He also confirmed that the Police had recently appointed a Vulnerable Intervention Officer to work with vulnerable individuals. He agreed to provide information on the name and contact telephone number of this Officer and to notify Members should the postholder change at a future date

 

Sara Vaux confirmed that the NHS  ...  view the full minutes text for item 566.

567.

Member's item: Update on a proposed implementation plan for the Challenge 25 initiative pdf icon PDF 173 KB

This report sets out a response to an issue raised by Councillor McDonald concerning an update following his motion at Council on 12 October 2017 on Acid and Challenge 25.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

At the request of Councillor McDonald, the Committee received a report setting out actions taken in response to a motion at Council on 12 October 2017 on Acid and Challenge 25.

 

Councillor McDonald thanked officers for the swift response in taking action arising from the motion and sought further information on future test purchasing exercises, information on the Council’s marketing strategy and the number of retailers signed up to Challenge 25.

 

In response, the Trading Services Team Leader advised that the test purchasing exercise would be followed up in late January and that to date 100% of retailers approached had agreed to sign up to Challenge 25.

 

He advised that in addition to the press release, Trading Standards had a booklet that was available to traders and that when re-printed, this would be expanded to include a section on the sale of corrosive substances.

 

He also reported receipt of a response to the Council’s representation to the Home Secretary asking for further details on proposed legislation to regulate the sale of corrosive substances to persons under the age of 18 years.

 

Decisions:

 

The Committee:

 

a)           noted the report and the arrangements for progressing the voluntary application of Challenge 25 to the retail sale of corrosive substances.

b)           noted officers’ intention to respond to any Government consultations on the implementation of legal controls on the sale of corrosive substances to persons under eighteen years old to ensure that the prospective legislation is robust and fit for purpose.

c)            agreed that a copy of the letter from the Home Secretary be circulated to all Members of the Council.

d)           agreed that a further update be provided to Members via a briefing note in six months.

568.

Attendance of the Portfolio Holder for Resources pdf icon PDF 137 KB

This report sets out progress made within the areas covered by the Portfolio Holder for Resources 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 Resources which fell within the remit of this Committee.

 

The Chairman reminded the Committee that some areas of the Portfolio Holder’s report did not fall with the remit of his Portfolio but had been included in the report to provide context in their relationship with Community Safety issues.

 

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

 

·         Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) – In response to a suggestion that PSPOs to be expanded to cover areas where alcohol and drug related litter was evident, the Portfolio Holder agree to refer this to the Police to assess whether such orders would be appropriate to address issues of this natue.

 

In noting that the former Designated Public Places Orders (DPPOs) or Alcohol Control Zones in Chatham, Gillingham, Rochester and Strood had automatically become PSPOs on 20 October 2017, a Member sought clarification as to whether it was possible for boundaries of the areas to be extended. In particular, he wished to see the Chatham PSPO extended to cover Luton. In response the Portfolio Holder suggested that once the PSPOs had been given time to settle, it may be possible to investigate possible expansion.

 

·         Safe Haven and the work of the Medway Street Pastors -  A Member sought clarification as to the services that would be on offer when the Safe Haven and Medway Street Pastors visit Gillingham High Street.

 

In response, the Portfolio Holder outlined the work that was currently undertaken by the Street Pastors in Rochester and advised that the Gillingham initiative was in early stages as a location for the Safe Haven bus had yet to be identified.

 

·         Community Safety Team – A Member requested whether the  Community Safety Team was a new addition to the service or would involve the redeployment of existing staff. He referred to an underspend in the Safer Communities Budget which had arisen due to staff vacancies and he expressed the view that this could have provided additional staffing.

 

The Portfolio Holder confirmed that the Community Safety Team would involve existing staff and the re-targeting of existing resources. Referring to the underspend in the Safer Communities budget this could not be allocated for additional staffing, owing to the existing budget pressures facing the Council.

 

The Member concerned requested that he be provided with specific information on the underspend in the Safer Communities budget.

 

·         Illegal tobacco sales – In response to a question concerning progress in tracking the sale of illegal tobacco, the Trading Services Team Leader confirmed that six shops had been closed down and 2 cases were pending.

 

·         Police resources for Gillingham and other urban areas – A Member sought information on whether the Portfolio Holder was satisfied there were sufficient Police resources to cover Gillingham and other urban areas. In response, the Portfolio Holder stated that he was satisfied with the allocation of resources by the Police. He confirmed that he  ...  view the full minutes text for item 568.

569.

Draft Capital and Revenue Budget 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 284 KB

This report provides an update on progress towards setting the Council’s draft capital and revenue budgets for 2018/19.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report providing an update on progress towards setting the Council’s draft capital and revenue budgets for 2018/19.

 

The Head of Finance Strategy outlined the report and the process by which the budget would progress through to Cabinet and Council in February 2018.

 

A Member referred to Parking Services and Sport, Leisure and Tourism and questioned whether realistic target income levels had been set. He suggested that if the target levels were unrealistic, then the Directorate would be facing similar problems in 2018. In response, the Assistant Directors for Front Line Services and Physical and Cultural Regeneration advised upon the measures currently being taken to reduce the income shortfalls in these areas.

 

A Member requested that detailed information on the investment plan for ICT be supplied to him outside of the meeting.

 

It was confirmed that the outcome of the Council’s bid to the Government to participate in a pilot 100% Business Rate Retention Scheme during 2018/19 was still awaited.

 

In discussing the budget report, Members expressed concern that the report did not provide sufficient detail to enable the Committee to scrutinise the budget and requested that this be conveyed to the Business Support Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)     noted that Cabinet has instructed officers to continue to work with Portfolio Holders in formulating robust proposals to balance the budget for 2018/19 and beyond.

b)     agreed that the Business Support Overview and Scrutiny Committee be advised of this Committee’s concern that the budget report and appendix contain insufficient information to enable this Committee to undertake a robust review of the capital and revenue budgets

c)     noted that detailed information on the ICT investment plan will be supplied to the Member direct outside of the meeting.  

 

570.

Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report Quarter 2 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 240 KB

This report sets out the quarter 2 2017/18 performance summary against the Council priorities relevant for this Committee: Medway: a place to be proud of and maximising regeneration and economic growth.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report setting out performance in Quarter 2 for 2017/18 for the key measures of success and projects relevant to this Committee.

 

The following was discussed:

 

·         Major incidents on the M2 and the impact on traffic through Medway  - A Member requested that consideration be given to negotiating with various agencies a contingency plan or ways of rectifying traffic congestion when there are major incidents on the M2 so as to avoid Medway’s road network becoming gridlocked. In response, the Assistant Director Front Line Services advised that she had recently requested a meeting with Highways England and the Department for Transport to discuss highway issues and she would take this forward with them.

·         Street Cleanliness – A Member requested that in future performance monitoring reports, the information in NI 195a (Improved street environmental cleanliness) be expanded to include the number of streets that have been surveyed so as to make the statistics meaningful.

·         Dog fouling – Arising from discussion on fouling by dogs, the Assistant Director Front Line Services agreed to circulate a copy of the Medway Dog Code.  

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)            noted the Quarter 2 2017/18 performance against the measures of success used to monitor progress against the Council’s priorities.

b)            noted that the Assistant Director Front Line Services has requested a meeting with Highways England and the Department for Transport to discuss highway issues and will take forward the concern that major incidents on the M2 have an impact on traffic movement through Medway and seeking possible alternative contingencies and the outcome of such discussions be notified to Members via a briefing note.

c)            agreed that future performance monitoring reports include the number of streets that have been surveyed in NI 195a (Improved street environmental cleanliness).

d)            noted that a copy of the Medway Dog Code will be circulated to Members.

571.

Member's item: Parking in Gillingham North and South Wards pdf icon PDF 163 KB

This report sets out a response to an issue raised by Councillor Johnson to review arrangements for parking in Gillingham North and South Wards where residents are experiencing a lack of parking capacity within controlled parking zones.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report setting out a response to a Member’s Item from Councillor Johnson, concerning parking in Gillingham South and North Wards.

 

Councillor Johnson explained the difficulties that residents in both Gillingham North and South Wards were having in parking their vehicles. This was particularly of concern for shift workers returning home late evening or early morning and who were unable to park near their home and were often driving around for up to an hour trying to find somewhere to park. Other concerns included the inability to have family visits and emergency vehicle access.

 

He appreciated that there was no easy solution but welcomed the suggestion that there be an informal meeting between officers, the Portfolio Holder, Councillor Stamp and himself to discuss possible ways forward. He requested that a formal record be taken of the discussions at such meetings and that the work be time-limited with a report back to the Committee in the summer of 2018.

 

The Assistant Director Front Line Services briefly outlined the following four work streams that could be investigated:

 

·         How to rationalise the space available in Controlled Parking Zones.

·         Investigations into how other local authority areas managed parking.

·         Tackling the parking of works vehicles in residential areas and how this has been addressed in other local authority areas.

·         Investigating the possible use of car parks and Council land to increase parking capacity.

 

It was intended that the first meeting of the group would take place in January 2018.

 

A Member informed the Committee that Watling Ward adjoined Gillingham South Ward and constituents in Watling Ward also suffered parking problems as residents from Gillingham South preferred to park in roads in Watling Ward rather than purchase permits for a Controlled Parking Zone in Gillingham South. She therefore requested that she be permitted to be involved in the informal discussions on this matter.

 

The Committee noted the proposed way forward and also recognised that parking was an issue that affected all Wards across Medway and it was  suggested that an officer from Planning also be involved in the group discussions so that the parking issue can be borne in mind when considering planning applications for future housing developments.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)            noted the report and the suggestion that a meeting take place comprising the Chairman, Vice Chairman and Councillors Stamp, Johnson and Saroy, along with the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services and the Assistant Director Front Line Services to discuss Councillor Johnson’s suggestions and possible ways forward for future consideration.

b)            a Planning officer be requested to attend the meetings.

c)            formal notes be taken of the meetings and the outcome be the subject of a report back to this committee in June 2018.

 

572.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 138 KB

This report advises the Committee of any petitions received by the Council which fall within the remit of this Committee including a summary of the response sent to the petition organisers by officers.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report advising of those petitions received by the Council which fell within the remit of the Committee, including a summary of the responses sent to the petition organisers by officers.

 

One petition had been referred to the Committee for consideration by the lead petitioner, Councillor Stamp.

 

Councillor Stamp advised the Committee that in signing the petitions, a number of comments had been made by individuals who considered that the introduction of parking charges at The Strand Leisure Park had affected their decision to use the Leisure Park. This was considered to be contrary to the Council’s strategy on reducing obesity and undermined the health and well being of individuals.

 

Councillor Stamp advised that the Junior Park Run, which was a free weekly event at the Leisure Park on Sundays, had witnessed a decline in volunteers since the introduction of parking charges and was now under threat of closure.

 

Whilst it was recognised that the Council was under financial pressure and was seeking to maximise income opportunities, Councillor Stamp suggested that alternative options were available including:

 

·         Changing from £5.20 a day to a nominal fee of 50p or £1.

·         Introducing a specified period free of charge before charges were applied.

·         Enabling a refund system for users of the Leisure Park

·         Limiting the time when charges are applied e.g. free at weekends.

·         Shorter charging periods e.g. 10am – 6pm

 

Councillor Stamp referred to the review being undertaken by the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services and expressed concern that with the review ending in February 2018 and a report planned to come to this Committee in March 2018 this would be too late for any recommendations from this Committee to be made prior to budget setting in February 2018.

 

He pointed out that the parking charges had not been introduced until part way through the Summer of 2017 and therefore it would be difficult to quantify the affect that the parking charges had had on usage of facilities at the Leisure Park. He expressed concern that The Strand Leisure Park was the only out of town leisure facility where parking charges were levied.

 

The Committee discussed the report and it was suggested as a way forward the Portfolio Holder’s review be brought forward to this Committee at its meeting on 23 January 2018, it being noted that owing to the timescales for the production of reports for that date, it may be necessary to have supplementary information circulated close to the date of the meeting for consideration by the Committee. This would enable the Committee to consider this matter with the necessary data available and prior to budget setting in February 2018.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)            noted the petition responses and appropriate officer action set out in paragraph 3 of the report.

b)            agreed that a report be submitted to the 23 January 2018 meeting of this Committee setting out the outcome of the Portfolio Holder’s review of car parking charges at The Strand Leisure Park, it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 572.

573.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 217 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 Committee received a report setting out the Committee’s work programme for 2017/18 and noted the suggestion from the pre-agenda meeting on 17 November 2017 that the Cultural Activities Programme be removed from the list of reports scheduled for the January 2018 meeting and produced as a briefing note.

 

The Committee was reminded that at this meeting, it had also requested that a report be submitted on 23 January 2018 on the outcome of a review of parking at the Strand Leisure Park.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)     noted the current work programme;

b)     agreed that the Cultural Activities Programme be produced as a briefing note and therefore removed from the Committee’s work programme for January 2018; and

c)     noted that a report will be submitted to the Committee on 23 January 2018 setting out the outcome of the review of parking at The Strand Leisure Park.