Agenda and minutes

Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview And Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 28 March 2018 6.30pm

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

Contact: Ellen Wright, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

878.

Appointment of Chairman

Minutes:

Decision:

 

Councillor Kemp was elected Chairman for this meeting.

879.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Carr and Ruth Du-lieu, Assistant Director Front Line Services.

880.

Records of Meeting held on 23 January 2018 and Special Meeting held on 12 March 2018 pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To approve the Records of the Meeting held on 23 January 2018 and the Special Meeting held on 12 March 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The records of the Ordinary Meeting on 23 January 2018 and the Special Meeting held on 12 March 2018 were signed by the Chairman as correct records.

881.

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/she has agreed should be considered by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the report.

Minutes:

There were none.

882.

Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Other Significant Interests pdf icon PDF 212 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 4.

 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other Significant Interests

 

There were none.

 

Other Interests

 

Councillor Stamp referred to Item 8 – Annual Review of Waste Contracts and advised the Committee that he worked for the Environment Agency and that the Agency had a responsibility for regulating the Waste Industry. However, he was not involved in any sites regulated in Medway or by Veolia and therefore he did not consider that this precluded him from taking part in the debate on this item.

 

883.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 141 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 lead petitioners by officers.

 

There is one petition referral request to be considered at this meeting.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report setting out a summary of petitions received by the Council which fell within the remit of this Committee.

 

Paragraph 3.1 of the report set out a summary of the responses to petitions that had been accepted by the petition organisers.

 

In accordance with the Council’s petitions scheme, one petition had been referred for discussion by the Committee and the lead petitioner was in attendance and invited to address the Committee.

 

The Committee welcomed Ms Hufton to the meeting and she set out her reasons for requesting a review and the concerns of petitioners. She advised the Committee that parking at the bottom of Ordnance Street, Chatham was inconsiderate and anti-social and in some cases broke the law. It was also having a negative impact on local businesses. Whilst she accepted that the outcome advised by the Director Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation and Deputy Chief Executive was adequate to address the problems, the timescales were not considered acceptable and she felt that there should be sufficient funding in the budget for the works to proceed immediately.

 

The Acting Head of Integrated Transport confirmed that the Council understood residents concerns and explained that works were in hand to place an order for bollards in the first few weeks of the new financial year. Arrangements would then be made for their installation as soon as possible.

 

A Member suggested that the mobile traffic enforcement vehicle visit the area to assist with alleviating the problem of anti-social and illegal parking until the bollards were in place.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)            thanked the lead petitioner for attending the meeting to address the Committee on her petition.

b)            noted the petition response and appropriate officer action set out in the report, including that for the referred petition.

c)            noted that the Acting Head of Integrated Transport will liaise with the Parking Manager for the mobile enforcement vehicle to visit Ordnance Street in Chatham to assist with alleviating the problem of anti-social and illegal parking until the bollards are in place. 

884.

Attendance by the Portfolio Holder for Business Management pdf icon PDF 281 KB

This report sets out progress made within the areas covered by the Portfolio Holder for Business Management Councillor Turpin which fall within the remit of this Committee.

 

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members received an overview of progress on the areas within the terms of

reference of this Committee covered by Councillor Turpin, Portfolio Holder for Business Management as set out below:

 

·    Community Officers

·    Emergency Planning

·    Registration

·    Bereavement.

 

Councillor Turpin responded to Members’ questions as follows:

 

·         Issue of Community Protection Warnings (CPWs) – A Member referred to the issue of Community Protection Warnings and in particular the intention to specifically target the subject of refuse being placed out early in Hartington Street, Chatham and Gardiner Street, Gillingham. He sought an assurance that the scheme whereby CPWs were issued would be implemented proportionately and fairly.

 

In response, the Portfolio Holder confirmed that the two roads named within the report were not the only roads in Medway where this issue was a problem. He explained the process of CPWs and reassured the Committee that the initial stage involved a warning letter, which in most cases resolved the problem. However, if the problem persisted a fine would be implemented. He advised that this scheme was not intended to affect those individuals who put their refuse out the evening before the collection day but those who missed the collection and left their refuse on the street until the next weekly collection. To leave refuse on the street could subsequently result in litter if the refuse bags became split or torn.

 

·         Visitor Parking Permits – Whilst recognising that Visitor Parking Permits did not fall within Councillor Turpin’s Portfolio, a Member asked whether the Portfolio Holder had a role in overseeing the impact on local residents following the recent change to Visitor Parking Permits.

 

In response, the Portfolio Holder confirmed that he had previously worked with the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services on parking issues but that he was not overseeing this particular issue.

 

·         The Mayfair Project – A Member referred to the Mayfair Project completed in August 2017 and commended the Community Warden for the work she had undertaken within the community on this project. She added that the Mayfair Project had been funded by Ward Improvement Funds, in addition to funding from the Street Cops Trust.

 

·         Dog Chipping – A Member commended the Community Wardens on the work undertaken on microchipping dogs.

 

·         Emergency Planning – A Member sought information as to action being undertaken to reduce the level of homelessness and begging in Chatham High Street.

 

In response, the Portfolio Holder advised that homelessness was not within his Portfolio. However, he advised that this was a complex issue and involved a multi-agency approach including Housing, Police, PCSOs and the Community Wardens. Members of the public were being encouraged to channel financial assistance to agencies and charities helping homeless individuals rather than provide money to individuals on the street.

 

·         Community Wardens Facebook Page – A Member sought further information as to the teething problems experienced with the launch of the Community Wardens Facebook page.

 

The Portfolio Holder advised that there had been an initial issue with posting before and after photographs as part of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 884.

885.

Annual Review of Waste Contracts - Contract Year: October 2016 - September 2017 pdf icon PDF 388 KB

This report provides an update on the activity carried out by the following contractors to Medway Council for the contract year October 2016 to September 2017:

 

Veolia Environmental Services – providing waste and recycling collection, waste disposal and street cleansing services

 

FCC (formerly Waste Recycling Group) – providing management of the three household waste recycling centres

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a comprehensive report and presentations providing an update on the activities carried out by Veolia Environmental Services on the provision of waste and recycling collection, waste disposal and street cleansing services and FCC (formerly Waste Recycling Group) providing management of the three household waste recycling centres.

 

It was noted that the FCC contract for the management of the Household Waste Recycling Centres ended on 26 September 2017. Therefore, the report placed before the Committee reviewed performance from the last 7 years (October 2010 – September 2017). From September 2017, management of the household waste recycling centres had been taken over by Medway NORSE.

 

Kim Savil, Contracts Manager Medway – Veolia was in attendance at the meeting to answer questions and Andy Mann, Operations Director from Medway NORSE was also in attendance.

 

The Committee discussed the following issues:

 

·         The possibility of providing Dementia Awareness Training for Veolia staff.

·         The potential need to re-assess whether it was practicable for weekly recycling collections to be fulfilled over the Christmas/New Year period when there was an increased level of general refuse. In response, Kim Savill confirmed that in 2018, the collection of green waste would be suspended for one week over the Christmas/New Year period so as to ease pressure on general waste collections.

·         The need to consider additional methods of informing the public of suspended refuse collections when there was snow taking into account that some people do not have online access.

·         Whether lessons had been learnt from the incident involving an individual who was sleeping in a trade refuse bin in Rochester High Street. In response, Kim Savil advised that all Veolia staff undergo extensive training to raise awareness of the potential issue of rough sleepers using trade refuse bins for shelter. She gave an assurance that all necessary procedures had been followed by staff on the day of the incident. The matter was currently being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The Head of Waste Services also confirmed that officers had been in contact with landlords advising upon the HSE’s best practice on bin storage.

·         The restrictions put in place by China on plastics and low grade paper and whether this had impacted on the contract price for recycling. In response, the Head of Waste confirmed that the changes in market costs had not affected Medway and officers continued to work closely with the Southwark MRF (Materials Recycling Facility) on this matter.

·         The introduction of charges for the disposal of tyres at Household Waste Recycling Centres and how this will be implemented. The Head of Waste Services advised that officers were currently considering the implementation of this scheme including where and how payments would be taken. 

·         Whether the new Refuse Collection Contract would result in a reduction in weekly collections of household waste. In response, the Head of Waste confirmed that the new contract had been let on the same basis as the existing contract.

·         A request that future reports include more detailed information  ...  view the full minutes text for item 885.

886.

Member's Item: Ban on Alcohol being brought into the Rochester Castle Concerts pdf icon PDF 199 KB

This report sets out a response to an issue raised by Councillor Patterson concerning the ban on alcohol being brought into the Rochester Castle Concerts.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

With the agreement of the Committee, Councillor Paterson outlined the reason for his Member’s item concerning the decision to ban alcohol being brought into the Rochester Castle Concerts in 2018, with the exception of the Proms Concert.

 

He stated that his concern was not about individuals’ right to consume alcohol, but the lack of rationale for the different treatment of concert goers attending the Castle Concerts and why the ban had been introduced in 2018. In his view, the ban on alcohol being brought into the concerts, with the exception of the Proms Concert, was inconsistent and the only difference appeared to be that the public were admitted to the Proms at an earlier time of day.

 

He expressed concern that the decision was being made for financial reasons, as opposed to health and safety and that those individuals attending the ‘pop’ concerts were being treated differently.

 

He expressed concern that paragraph 5.5 of the report recognised potential discrimination from the inconsistency in the treatment of prom goers and pop music fans and he questioned why pop concerts could not also be classified as ‘picnic concerts’.

 

The Assistant Director Physical and Cultural Regeneration informed the Committee that the difference in classification of the type of concert held at Rochester Castle was from the Safety Advisory Group which comprised of the Police, Health and Safety representatives and Security Companies involved in the event. Such classification was considered necessary having regard to incidents at the pop concerts held at Rochester Castle over the past few years, whereas the Proms event had proceeded without cause for concern.

 

The terms and conditions of the sale of tickets to the Castle Concerts had been strengthened over the past two years to restrict the type of items that could be brought into the concerts and in 2017 no glass was permitted to be brought into the concerts other than in pressurised bottles.

 

The restriction imposed in 2018 was also in line with policies imposed at other pop concerts held at similar locations outside of Medway.

 

The Assistant Director Physical and Cultural Regeneration drew attention to paragraph 5.3 of the report, which set out the potential risks of allowing members of the public to attend concerts with their own alcoholic beverages, including the risk of terror related injury through the concealment of liquid explosives or other dangerous substances in non-transparent beverage containers.

 

The Committee discussed the report and the points raised by Councillor Paterson and the Assistant Director Physical and Cultural Regeneration.

 

A Member stated that treating the Proms event differently to the other Castle Concerts was inconsistent and it was clear from the views expressed by local residents and on social media that there was a perception of class distinction, despite this not being the Council’s intention.

 

He expressed concern that the decision to impose a restriction on alcohol being brought into the Castle Concerts, other than the Proms Concert, was alienating residents and could result in a decline in ticket sales and it could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 886.

887.

Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report Quarter 3 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 253 KB

This report sets out the quarter 3 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 3 for 2017/18 for the key measures of success and projects relevant to this Committee.

 

The following was discussed:

 

  • NI 154 Net additional homes provided - A Member sought information on the number of affordable homes delivered in the past year. The Head of Performance and Intelligence advised that this data would be included within the report to the Business Support Overview and Scrutiny Committee. However, she undertook to obtain this information and respond to the Member direct.

 

  • NI 167A Wainscott Bypass (part A289) – A Member referred to performance indicator NI167A and expressed concern about the delays experienced by motorists leaving Medway City Estate during peak hours of 4.30pm – 6pm. He felt that the data, as presented, did not accurately reflect motorists’ experiences.

 

  • NI 167– Average journey time along 5 routes across Medway – A Member thanked officers for the additional information supplied on the breakdown of the 5 routes and referring to comments made under NI 167A above, expressed the importance of taking into account motorists’ experiences and how this matched the data collected. This would assist the Council to ensure that the data collected was appropriate and sufficient.

 

He referred in particular to the Wainscott Bypass and the exit route from the Medway City Estate and expressed concern that the traffic lights at Medway Tunnel had not been operational for a while. This had resulted in an increase in journey times for this route. In addition, the parking of HGVs in St Anthony’s Way was increasing the difficulties experienced by motorists.

 

He also expressed concern as to traffic congestion around Medway Hospital and the effect that this had on ambulances getting to the Hospital, particularly when roadworks were taking place.

 

In response, the Head of Performance and Intelligence advised that officers were only able to report on the measures approved within the Council Plan signed off for 2017/18. She explained that the overall measure related to the average journey time across all 5 routes and that the 5 routes had been selected based on bids for funds.

 

It was confirmed that funding was available from the Local Enterprise Partnership and the Local Growth Fund for works to be undertaken at the Four Elms Hill Roundabout and Medway City Estate and this was currently the subject of consultation with businesses located on the Estate, with a closing date of 10 April 2018.

 

  • Green Flag Parks – A Member referred to the achievement of Green Flag status for 7 parks and open spaces and in particular the award for Gillingham Park, a significant Edwardian Park.

 

  • Jackson’s Recreation Ground – A Member asked for information on the landscape masterplan for Jackson’s Recreation Ground. It was agreed that this would be supplied direct to the Member concerned.

 

  • Funding opportunities to develop innovative public service solutions -  A Member thanked officers for the work undertaken in securing £150,000 from One Public Estate to fund feasibility works at a number  ...  view the full minutes text for item 887.

888.

Work programme pdf icon PDF 86 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 copy of its current work programme and was advised that at the agenda planning meeting on 15 March 2018 it had been agreed that the report on the information on the levels of finance needed to be invested in the highways network in order to maintain current levels of technical performance be rescheduled from March 2018 to August 2018.

 

In addition, it was suggested that the report back on the Member’s item concerning Parking in Gillingham North and South Wards be rescheduled from June to August 2018 to permit more time for the Working Group to complete its work. A Member advised that as this Working Group had yet to meet, it would be more appropriate to leave the date for a report back flexible.

 

A Member also requested an update on the Motion approved by Council on 25 January 2018 asking Cabinet to:

 

·         become a ‘single-use plastic-free’ Council by phasing out the use of unnecessary ‘single use plastic’ (SUP) products such as bottles, cups, cutlery and drinking straws in all Council buildings and at all Council events as soon as is reasonably practical;

 

·         to encourage our facilities’ users, local businesses, stakeholders and other local public agencies to do the same, by championing alternatives.

 

It was confirmed that this issue was in the process of being investigated and if referred to an Overview and Scrutiny Committee, would be more appropriate for the Business Support Overview and Scrutiny Committee as it was a procurement issue. However, this issue also had implications for the Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation Directorate and therefore may also be relevant to the work of this Committee.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)            noted the current work programme;

b)            noted that the report on the information on the levels of finance needed to be invested in the highways network in order to maintain current levels of technical performance had been rescheduled to August 2018.

c)            agreed that the report back on the Member’s item concerning Parking in Gillingham North and South Wards be placed in the ‘dates to be determined’ section of the work programme on the basis that the Working Group has yet to meet.

d)            noted the information on the phasing out the use of unnecessary ‘single use plastic’ (SUP) products, and that this be referred to Business Support Overview and Scrutiny Committee.