Agenda and minutes

Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview And Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 14 June 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

75.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Griffin and Williams.

76.

Record of Meeting and record of Joint Meeting of Committees pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To approve the Record of the Meeting held on 28 March 2018 and record of the Joint Meeting of Committees held on 16 May 2018

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 28 March 2018 and the record of the Joint Meeting of Committees held on 16 May 2018 were signed by the Chairman as correct.

77.

Chairman's announcements

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Councillor Paterson to his first Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting since becoming a Medway Councillor.

 

The Chairman also informed the Committee that Lord Brighouse who had been a Ward Councillor for Rede Court Ward between 2000 – 2003 had recently passed away.

78.

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:

The Chairman drew attention to the supplementary agenda and informed the Committee that he had accepted this item as an urgent item so as not to delay scrutiny and discussion on this matter until August.

79.

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 (OSIs)

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

Councillor Josie Iles referred to agenda item 7 (Member’s Item – Co-ordinated approach for initiatives and projects in Rochester) and informed the Committee that she was the Treasurer of the Friends of Medway Archives which was one of the organisations referred to within this report.

 

Councillor Osborne referred to agenda item 7 (Member’s Item – Co-ordinated approach for initiatives and projects in Rochester) and declared an interest in so far as he lives on Rochester High Street.

80.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 159 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 responses sent to the petition organisers by officers.

 

There are two petition referral requests 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, two petitions had been referred for discussion by the Committee and the lead petitioners were in attendance and invited to address the Committee.

 

1)            Maidstone Road/Pattens Lane pedestrian access and road safety

 

The Committee welcomed Mrs E Turpin to the meeting and she set out her reasons for requesting a review of her petition.

 

She circulated photographs of the junction and advised that pedestrian use of this junction was busy as it abutted a church, a pharmacy and several schools. She explained that pedestrians were unsure from which direction cars were coming from and referred to the number of vehicular accidents at this junction and near misses.

 

Mrs Turpin expressed concern that the central islands at this junction were too small and stated that other junctions of a similar size in Medway had pedestrian crossing facilities.

 

She commented that nationally people were being encouraged to pursue a healthy lifestyle and increase physical activity and more people would be prepared to walk to their destination if this junction was safer for pedestrians to cross.

 

She referred to the various options outlined in the Director’s response and, in particular, the impact that each of the individual options would have upon the traffic flow at the junction and expressed the view that there may be other options available that would keep traffic flowing.

 

In response, the Acting Head of Integrated Transport confirmed that  pedestrian crossing facilities were not provided at this junction and accident statistics only showed vehicular traffic incidents. He also advised that there were approximately 200 pedestrian movements between 7am – 7pm at this junction.

 

He reported upon the various options that had been investigated as outlined in the report and advised that traffic modelling indicated that should any of the options be introduced, the junction which was currently operating within capacity would, as a result, operate at over capacity.

 

He referred to the third option which involved the possible provision of Puffin Crossings on Maidstone Road to the North of the junction, and on Walderslade Road in the vicinity of its junction with Park Avenue. Such crossings would operate independently of the junction but would be located someway from the desire line and therefore may not be used. He reiterated that the road safety data indicated that the current design of the junction was not unsafe for pedestrians.

 

The Committee discussed the petition and the officer’s response and whilst a number of Members had sympathy with the lead petitioner, it was recognised that road safety schemes were prioritised based on road safety data. From the information received, this junction did not rank sufficiently high enough to justify the implementation of a scheme at the current time.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 80.

81.

Member's Item - Request for provision of stairwell in Nelson Terrace, Chatham pdf icon PDF 139 KB

This report sets out a response to an issue, raised by Councillor Osborne, concerning the possible provision of a stairwell to help elderly and disabled residents gain access to the footway in Nelson Terrace.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Councillor Osborne referred to his Member’s Item requesting that officers consider the possible provision of a stairwell to help elderly and disabled people gain access to the footpath in Nelson Terrace, Chatham.

 

A copy of photographs of Nelson Terrace and a staircase plan had been circulated at the meeting.

 

Councillor Osborne referred to the Director’s comments at paragraph 3 of the report and thanked officers for the work that they had undertaken to investigate whether the provision of a stairwell was feasible. He accepted that as a result of investigations, it was not possible for steps to be constructed in accordance with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act due to the narrow width of the landing area and the maximum depth of each step which also fell below the standards required.

 

Councillor Osborne accepted that this was now out of the Council’s hands and advised that he would follow this up with the housing providers.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee thanked Councillor Osborne for his Member’s Item and requested that officers make the housing providers aware of the issue in order that they may consider how accessibility between the dwellings and the privately owned path at street level may be improved.

82.

Member's item - Co-ordinated approach for initiatives and projects in Rochester pdf icon PDF 111 KB

This report sets out a response to an issue, raised by Councillor Paterson, concerning projects in and around Rochester and a request for provision to be made for bringing local stakeholders together to consider a proactive, co-ordinated strategy to safeguard historic buildings and secure the long-term economic success of Rochester.

 

As the request for this Member’s item was received on 25 May 2018, just preceding a Bank Holiday weekend and the half-term week, it was not possible to finalise the report in time for despatch with the main agenda. Under Section 100B of the Local Government Act 1972, the Committee may consider the report, even though it has not been open to public inspection for five clear days before the meeting, as long as the Chairman is satisfied the item should be considered as urgent business by reason of special circumstances, which must be specified in the minutes. On this occasion the Chairman has confirmed he is satisfied that the report should be considered as an urgent item, as the next meeting of the Committee is not until 23 August 2018, which would involve a delay in scrutiny and discussion of the matters raised by Councillor Paterson on behalf of local residents.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Councillor Paterson thanked the Chairman for agreeing to accept his Member’s Item on the agenda at short notice.

 

He referred to a number of issues affecting Rochester, in particular the  proposed hotel, replacement coach park, short and long term car parking and the proposed sale of the Conservancy Board Building and expressed concern that these issues were being dealt with in isolation and without a co-ordinated approach. Whilst he appreciated that the involvement of a number of groups and bodies had been referred to within the Director’s response in the report, he expressed concern that there was not an over-arching body co-ordinating a strategic vision for Rochester. Therefore, in his Member’s item he was seeking provision for bringing together local stakeholders to enable a co-ordinated, joined-up approach so that all projects could be considered in the round.

 

Councillor Paterson expressed concern that the response from the Director, set out at paragraph 4 of the report, failed to address the question asked and did not provide a response to the issues that would arise in the future affecting Rochester.

 

In response the Director for Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation and Deputy Chief Executive stressed the critical role that Rochester plays in the rich heritage of Medway. He set out that the Council’s approach to Rochester was underpinned by a strategic view and he referred to the Cultural Strategy which had been recommended to Cabinet for approval by this Committee and subsequently approved by Cabinet and endorsed by the Arts Council and a number of other bodies. In addition, Medway’s Destination Management Plan was developed with Visit Kent, the leading destination management organisation in the country. The Council also worked closely with the Medway Tourism Association which represented people across Medway and was independently chaired. All of these were encompassed within a wider strategic approach through the Medway Local Plan which would set out a vision for Medway for the next 20 years. The Council had also been commended on its Strategic approach, its consultation and engagement through the recent Corporate Peer Challenge.

 

The Director also referred to the free events and festivals programme offered throughout Medway, many of which were held in Rochester, and which is one of the largest in the country.

 

Cllr Paterson advised that he was specifically concerned with the built heritage of Rochester and therefore any reference to the events and festival programme was irrelevant in this context.

 

The Director responded by confirming that all Council property holdings in Rochester were currently being assessed so as to identify those that were of specific historic importance following the review announced by the Leader.

 

The Committee discussed the item having regard to the points raised by Councillor Paterson and the Director.

 

A Member referred to the existence of the Rochester City Centre Forum and advised that this Forum encompassed a broad range of representation from stakeholders in Rochester and dealt with local issues. Representatives included traders, residents, historic associations, the King’s School and the City of Rochester. In  ...  view the full minutes text for item 82.

83.

Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report Quarter 4 and end of Year 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 295 KB

This report sets out the quarter 4 and end of year 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 4 and end of year 2017/18 for the key measures of success and projects relevant to this Committee.

 

The following was discussed:

 

·         GH6 CP – Satisfaction with parks and open spaces

 

A Member referred to the performance statistics for satisfaction with parks and open spaces and stated that whilst these statistics looked good, there was not the opportunity to scrutinise the challenges presented by those maintaining parks and open spaces. He expressed concern that there appeared to be a lack of both equipment and maintenance of equipment and expressed the view that the performance statistics in Quarter 1 may show a reduction in satisfaction.

 

In response the Director of Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation and Deputy Chief Executive advised that this issue had been raised at the Business Support Overview and Scrutiny Committee and a response provided by NORSE to the Member concerned.

 

He commented that the weather and growing conditions had been a challenge for NORSE in recent months and that they were now trying to get back on track. He also confirmed that NORSE were acquiring new equipment to assist with this.

 

·         NI 195a – Improved street and environmental cleanliness: Litter

 

A Member expressed concern that there appeared to be a discord between the statistics that the Council were reporting and the general feeling expressed by residents, in particular in areas in Chatham, Luton and Gillingham.

 

The Head of Performance and Intelligence advised that this performance target related to the inspection of streets as opposed to public satisfaction and she referred to a briefing note which had been circulated earlier in the year at the request of Business Support Overview and Scrutiny Committee specifically relating to performance indicator NI 195a.

 

A Member referred to the increased use of social media and digitalisation and drew attention for the need for the Council to be responsive to reports of incidents e.g. flytipping via different media forums.

 

In response, the Director of Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation and Deputy Chief Executive confirmed that increasingly, the use of digital and social media was becoming the method of reporting by choice by some members of the public and the Council needed to move forward and ensure that systems were in place to respond to this; a key aim of the Transformation programme.

 

A Member questioned whether it was possible to have a breakdown of the statistics per area. In response, the Head of Performance and Intelligence confirmed that officers take full account of the demographics in statistical data. She stated that the Council was currently seeking to recruit to the Citizen’s Panel via social media and in doing so would ensure that the Panel had a representative mix of respondents.

 

Decision:

 

a)            The Committee note the quarter 4 and end of year report on the performance of the measures of success used to monitor progress against the Council’s priorities;

b)            A report be submitted to a future meeting on the systems that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 83.

84.

Work programme pdf icon PDF 85 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 work programme and was advised that a new Forward Plan was published on 11 June 2018. Those additional items on the new Forward Plan, relevant to the work of this Committee were reported.

 

A Member referred to the item scheduled for 16 August 2018 on the levels of finance needed to be invested in the highways network in order to maintain current levels of technical performance and requested whether this report could also capture problems experienced as a result of the recent severe weather. The Director of Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation and Deputy Chief Executive reminded the Committee that this was a long standing item on the work programme and he agreed that if possible, officers would seek to include this additional information in the report.

 

A Member also requested that the report include reference to the National Highways and Transport (NHT) Survey results. In response the Head of Performance and Intelligence advised that the 2017 NHT survey results were now available and had been the subject of discussion at a focus group on 21 May 2018. She agreed to liaise with the Head of Highways and Traffic to include reference to the survey results in the report.

 

Decision:

 

a)            The work programme be noted;

b)            The report on the levels of finance needed to be invested in the highways network in order to maintain current levels of technical performance, due in August 2018, include the following additional information:

 

·         Information on the challenges that the recent severe weather had on the highway network.

·         The outcome of the NHT 2017 survey.