Agenda and minutes

Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview And Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 21 January 2020 6.30pm

Venue: Meeting Room 9 - Level 3, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham ME4 4TR

Contact: Ellen Wright, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

584.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Carr, Fearn, Sylvia Griffin and Thompson.

585.

Record of Meeting pdf icon PDF 273 KB

To approve the Record of the Meeting held on 5 December 2019.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 5 December 2019 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

586.

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.

587.

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests and Whipping 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 Curry referred to Item 6 (Attendance of the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services) and informed the Committee that he was Chairman of the Medway Urban Greenspaces Forum.

588.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 222 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 lead petitioner was supported by Councillor Hubbard at the meeting.

 

The Committee welcomed Mr Bonney to the meeting and he set out set out his reasons for requesting a review of the petition and the concerns of petitioners summarised as follows:

 

·         Residents are asking for the introduction of a 20mph speed limit (or preferably a 10mph limit) in the area of Strood identified by the petition.

·         Roads within the area identified and, in particular, Weston Road are being used as a ‘rat run’ when there is traffic congestion in central Strood and whilst road works have been ongoing. This is causing problems of congestion in residential streets and damage to residents’ vehicles and has led to confrontation when drivers are faced with oncoming traffic in narrow roads.

·         Whilst the current works in Strood are welcome and making improvements to the area, residents are fearful that that as drivers have become used to using residential streets as a short cut to avoid congestion, once the works in central Strood are complete, they will continue to use these alternative routes for their journeys.

·         There are three local schools within the area which generate a number of movements twice a day for the school run. In addition, from a recent assessment of movements along Weston Road, a number of vehicles were transit vans and the times of these journeys aligned to the closure times of businesses on the Medway City Estate.

·         Vehicles frequently drive at excessive speed to get through the area as quickly as possible and to intimidate oncoming drivers.

·         Vehicles reversing quickly into a parking space to make way for a car to pass often results in damage to parked cars. Such damage tends to be minor and therefore does not get reported and logged as an incident.

·         Whilst speed humps were installed in Weston Road 25 years ago, car design has progressed and these are now largely ignored by drivers.

 

In support of Mr Bonney and the petitioners, Councillor Hubbard addressed the Committee as Ward Councillor and endorsed the points raised by Mr Bonney. In addition, he referred to the proposed expansion of schools in Strood which would exacerbate the problem.

 

The Committee discussed the points raised and noted that there were other areas in Medway with similar issues where a 20mph zone had been requested. However, it was acknowledged that even if an area was designated a 20mph zone, this would only be effective if enforced. It was suggested that other alternative measures may be more appropriate for Weston Road such as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 588.

589.

Attendance of the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services pdf icon PDF 297 KB

This report sets out progress made within the areas covered by the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services Councillor Doe which fall within the remit of this Committee.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members received an overview of progress on the areas of work within the terms of reference of this Committee and covered by the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe as set out below:

 

·         Archives

·         Armed Forces Covenant

·         Events and Festivals

·         Greenspaces

·         Heritage

·         Leisure Services

·         Sporting Legacy

·         Theatres and Arts

·         Tourism

 

The Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe responded to Members’ questions and comments as follows:

 

·         Benchmarking the Council’s events programme – In response to a question as to whether Medway benchmarked its events programme with other Local Authorities, the Portfolio Holder informed the Committee that whilst no formal benchmarking was undertaken, it was clear from information gathered that events in Medway attracted tourism into Medway. In addition, Medway’s events programme received the support of the Arts Council. Early indicators were that the Arts Council were supportive of the Cultural Compact which would act as a catalyst to invigorate the creative arts scene in Medway, with the support of the Universities, thus increasing employment in the creative sector.

 

·         Geographical coverage of events across Medway - In response to a question concerning the location of events in Medway, the Portfolio Holder commented that whilst many events took place in Rochester due to the rich heritage of the town, there were a number of successful and popular events held at other locations in Medway such as the English Festival at Riverside Country Park and the Will Adams Festival in Gillingham Park. He confirmed that in 2020 the Will Adams Festival would include a service at St Mary Magdalene Church, Gillingham to commemorate 400 years since the death of Will Adams.

 

·         Corn Exchange Business Plan - The Portfolio Holder advised that following the sale of the Conservancy Building to Nucleus Arts, the building had been transformed and now complemented the creative offer in Rochester. Funds from the sale of the Conservancy Building would enable the Corn Exchange to be developed into a facility that would be offered for hire on a commercial basis and could be adapted to suit a client’s needs. He confirmed the recent receipt of a detailed Business Plan for the Corn Exchange, which had yet to be assessed before it could be shared more widely.

 

·         Investment at the Guildhall Museum – The Portfolio Holder advised that work was underway on a new permanent exhibition at the Guildhall to commemorate Dickens 150.

 

·         Numbers of visitors attending events – Referring to paragraph 4.11 of the report, it was suggested that it would be helpful for future reports to include attendance figures for events in previous years to aid comparison.

 

It was also suggested that it would be helpful if each event could include performance statistics as to whether they generated an underspend or overspend and the impact of the event on the local economy.

 

In response, the Portfolio Holder advised that each event had a set  budget which was closely monitored by officers and there was no reason why  ...  view the full minutes text for item 589.

590.

Work programme pdf icon PDF 102 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.

 

The Democratic Services Officer reported that in response to a request at the pre-agenda meeting for a date to be identified for Volker to be invited to the Committee for scrutiny of the Highways Contract, it was proposed that this be added to the Committee’s work programme in January 2021. Whilst this was considered acceptable, it was requested that in the interim, the Committee receive an update on Volker’s performance on the contract as part of the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services holding to account report in 2020.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)            noted the current work programme;

 

b)            agreed the suggestions of the pre-agenda meeting set out at paragraph 3.3 in the report.

 

c)            agreed that scrutiny of Volker’s Highways Contract be added to the work programme for January 2021 but in the interim, the Committee receive an update on Volker’s performance on the contract as part of the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services holding to account report.