Agenda and draft minutes

Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview And Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 9 June 2022 6.30pm

Venue: St George's Centre, Pembroke Road, Chatham Maritime, Chatham ME4 4UH. View directions

Contact: Jon Pitt, Democratic Services Officer 

Media

Items
No. Item

41.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Stamp.

 

42.

Record of Meeting pdf icon PDF 364 KB

To approve the Record of the Meeting held on 22 March 2022 and the record of the Joint Meeting of Committees held on 18 May 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The record of the Meeting held on 22 March 2022 and the record of the Joint Meeting of Committees held on 18 May 2022 were agreed as correct and signed by the Chairman.

 

In relation to Minute No. 769 of the record of the last meeting of the Committee, a point was made that the reference to the re-positioning of the flood defence wall was in relation to the former Civic Centre site in Strood and the site visit would include both the latter site and the Canal road site.

 

43.

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.

44.

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests and Whipping pdf icon PDF 471 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

 

There were none.

 

45.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 144 KB

This report advises the Committee of petitions received by the Council which fall within the remit of this Committee including a summary of the response sent to the petition organiser by officers. One petition has been referred to the Committee for consideration at this meeting.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report which advised the Committee of petitions received by the Council which fell within the remit of the Committee, including a summary of the response sent to the petition organiser by officers.

 

One petition had been referred to the Committee for consideration which asked for speed calming measurers at Edwin Road, Rainham.

 

A representative of the lead petitioner was invited to speak to explain why the Council’s response to the petition had been referred to the Committee and made the following points:

 

-       the 30mph speed limit was often exceeded.

-       This was a busy road and used as a cut through by commuters as well as being on a school run.

-       There had been several near misses and there were concerns about potential fatalities.

-       Residents wished to see a reduction in the speed of vehicles, a change in driver behaviour, the Speed Indicating Device (SID) reinstated as soon as possible and for the Council to reconsider if speed calming measures could be introduced. How the SID captured data was also queried.

-       Local residents had agreed to join aKent police pilot Speed Watch volunteers group.

 

The Head of Transport and Parking advised that the road carried around 2,000 vehicles per day and the last survey showed 85% of vehicles travelled at just under 30mph. 2% of vehicles travelling north were at, or in excess of, 40mph and 4% of south bound vehicles.

 

The Council intervened on the basis of road safety and prioritised interventions based on road casualties. The number of crashes in Edwin Road had been low. The SID had been installed but this moved around according to need, although it was possible it could be brought back to Edwin Road in the future. How the SID secured data would need to be looked into. The Council was happy to support the Speed Watch pilot where it could.

 

In discussing the petition the following responses were made to comments from  Members:

 

-     Police enforcement – there were no police mobile speed cameras on Edwin Road.

-     Live traffic monitoring and data – traffic cameras were placed in strategic places and not usually in urban areas. The data from cameras was used to monitor traffic flows and not crashes. The Council would only collect data from cameras in response to concerns from residents or councillors.

-     Police reports – the official report from the police on accidents could take some time to be sent to the Council but the authority would be aware of such incidents soon after they occurred and would start to consider a response before receiving the police report.

-     Police speed camera – Members were advised Edwin Road was unlikely to meet the criteria for this.

 

Some Members felt the Council should use data from other sources when considering whether an intervention was justified and also considered that, in effect, the Council’s approach was that a poor accident record was needed before it would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

46.

Member's Item - Sewage Discharges pdf icon PDF 442 KB

This report sets out a response to an issue, raised by Councillor Osborne, concerning flooding.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report which set out a response to an issue, raised by Councillor Osborne, concerning flooding.

 

Councillor Osborne commented that he had requested this item as he wanted to see public reporting mechanisms introduced of major flood events, greater transparency around data held by Southern Water and a programme to reduce storm overflows.

 

Southern Water representatives made the following points:

 

-       Storm overflows contained rain and sewage and were an essential part of the sewage system to prevent flooding.

-       Their aim was to dramatically reduce storm overflows by 80% by 2030.

-       One option would be to increase the size of size of sewers but this would be expensive and disruptive. The preferred option was to tackle the problems at source and remove rainwater elsewhere. Southern Water wanted a sustainable and affordable solution and would be working with its partners on this.

-       Work was underway to produce a Drainage and Wastewater Management Plan.

-       Southern Water were testing how inland bathing waters could be shown on the Beachbouy website to provide near real-time information about releases of stormwater or wastewater along the South East coast, with a view to rolling out in 2023 and into 2024.

-       Data was currently hard to digest and a summary would be provided to Members.

-       Members were invited to visit a wastewater treatment works.

 

Members discussed the following issues:

 

-       Internal Drainage Boards – Southern Water confirmed they were working with the Boards.

-       BeachbouyWebsite – following a request to accelerate the roll out of the website as referred to above, Southern Water commented the delay was about improving the user interface and it was possible the new website could be piloted in Medway.

-       Current sewer sizes – in terms of whether capacity standards in new developments were sufficient, Southern Water advised they had provided planners with the standards they expected to see. 

-       Expansion of hard standing areas expansion – Southern Water noted this had doubled in recent years but enforcement was a challenge. However, they were keen to co-operate with partners on education and enforcement.

-       Wastewater discharges into the River Medway – the extent of this and how this compared to similar areas was queried. Southern Water advised that in 2021, for the whole river, there had been 121 storm overflows activated on 1663 occasions. Gillingham had been the second worst affected. Data on this would be shared with Members. The proportion of these overflows by rainwater and wastewater would be looked at.

-       Flood risk in Medway – in terms of the risks to the public, Southern Water stated this was a complicated picture. Responsibility for dealing with flooding depended on where it occurred. There was a need to find a way to make flood risks clearer to the public. The Drainage and Wastewater Management Plan would increase transparency by showing which areas were at risk of sewage flooding. Southern Water advised there was an emerging risk relating to the Medway and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report and Risk Register Quarter 4 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 259 KB

Medway’s Council Plan 2021/22 sets out the Council’s three priorities. This report and appendices summarise how we performed in Q4 2021/22 on the delivery of the two priorities relevant for this Committee: Place and Growth.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report on performance in Quarter 4 2021/22 on the delivery of the two priorities in the Council Plan relevant for this Committee: Place and Growth.

 

The following issues were discussed:

 

  • Measure W6CP, Satisfaction with refuse collection – Citizen Panel result – concern was expressed that this was at amber, particularly as the recycling rate was now under 50%. The Deputy Chief Executive commented that performance stood at 84.8% against a target of 85%. Although recycling rates were not as high as he would like, the Council was committed to increasing them.
  • Climate change and the Local Plan – in response to whether the lack of a new local plan would affect progress on climate change, the Deputy Chief Executive assured Members that this would not be the case.
  • Measure NI 154, net additional homes provided – how confident the Council was that this target could be met was questioned, and the Deputy Chief Executive commented that the target last year had been 1,000 but this year was around 1,500/1,600, which would be a significant challenge. 
  • Cultural Strategy – the importance of this having tangible benefits was emphasised. The Deputy Chief Executive agreed with this point and noted the strategy had been developed in consultation with the public, with high levels of engagement and support.
  • Measure NI 195a, Improved street and environmental cleanliness: Litter – given the litter problems caused by some fast food outlets, some surprise was expressed that during Quarter 4, 97% of streets surveyed had been free from litter at the time of the inspections. Members were advised that any concerns about litter hotspots would be responded to. The Council carried out regular surveys to arrive at the 97% figure. A briefing note on the surveys, including how regular they were and where they took place was agreed.

A point was made that the level of service received differed according to where a person lived and priority areas should be tackled first.

  • St John Church improvements – details of this were requested.
  • Citizens Panel – whether this represented a cross section of Medway’s population and whether sample sizes could be increased were queried. It was agreed that a briefing note on the Citizens Panel would be produced.
  • Parks and open spaces – a point was made that the reasons for the drop in user satisfaction should be examined and Member requests for repairs or interventions should be included in the statistics. The Deputy Chief Executive commented that satisfaction rates were over 80%, but he would reflect on this and acknowledged the important links to public health. While not complacent, there were eight green flag accredited sites in Medway.
  • Street parties – a suggestion was made that the Council should encourage residents to hold street parties in a specific week of the year.
  • City Status – a point was made that the Council should talk to residents before making another bid as there were mixed feelings about achieving city status. The Deputy Chief Executive commented  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.

48.

Work programme pdf icon PDF 134 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:

 

Members discussed a report regarding the Committee’s work programme.

 

A suggestion was made that the issue of the relationship between grass cutting by MHS Homes and the Council and the possibility of this becoming a sole responsibility of the Council be added to the work programme. It was agreed that a briefing note should be provided on this in the first instance.

 

It was also suggested that the condition of piers on the Medway and also the impact of storms and flooding on the North Kent marshes be added to the work programme. The connections with the River Strategy were noted.

 

In relation to the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regeneration being held to account, Members were advised that the report for this item would make clear the status of Local Plan documents referred to in October 2021 when the Portfolio Holder was last held to account.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a) Agreed the Committee’s proposed work programme, attached at Appendix A to  the report.

 

b) Agreed that the timing of the first report in relation to spend of S106 developer contributions be discussed at the next pre-agenda meeting.

 

c)  Agreed that whether the impact of storms and flooding on the north Kent marshes and also the condition of the piers on the river Medway should be added to the work programme be discussed at the next pre-agenda meeting.

 

d)  Agreed that a briefing note be provided on the relationship between grass cutting by MHS Homes and the Council before any decision on whether to add this to the work programme was taken.