Agenda and draft minutes

Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview And Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 13 October 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

302.

Chairman's Announcements

Minutes:

The Committee held a minute’s silence in memory of Councillor Mick Pendergast, who had recently passed away.

 

The Chairman announced that visitors from Thurrock Council had been expected to attend the Committee meeting in order to see how Overview and Scrutiny Committees were run at Medway. However, they were now unable to attend as they had to attend another meeting.

303.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Carr and from Councillor Browne.

304.

Record of Meeting pdf icon PDF 422 KB

To approve the Record of the Meeting held on 11 August 2022.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 11 August 2022 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

305.

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.

306.

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

 

Councillor Andy Stamp declared an interest in agenda item no.9 (Petitions) as one of the petitions referenced in the report related to the precise area where he lives. Councillor Stamp remained in the room during consideration of the report as the petition was not discussed.

 

Other significant interests (OSIs)

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

Councillor Cooper declared an interest in agenda item no.8 (Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report and Risk Summary Quarter 1 2022/23) as the Medway African and Caribbean Association was referenced in the report and Councillor Cooper is a Trustee. Councillor Cooper remained in the room during consideration of the report.

 

Councillor Andy Stamp declared an interest in agenda item no.7 (Annual Review of Waste Contracts, Contract Year October 2021 - September 2022) as he works for the Environment agency, which was responsible for regulating sites covered by the waste contract. Councillor Stamp remained in the room during consideration of the report.

307.

Attendance by the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services pdf icon PDF 536 KB

This report sets out progress made within the areas covered by the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services 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 Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services as set out below:

 

  • Highways and Street Lighting
  • Parking
  • Public Transport
  • Traffic Management
  • Transport Strategy
  • Travel Safety
  • Waste collection/Recycling/Waste Disposal and Street Cleaning

 

The Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services, Councillor Filmer responded to Members questions and comments as follows:

 

Potholes – In response to concern that repairs to potholes were often temporary and whether this was cost effective, the Portfolio Holder said that general carriageway repairs were undertaken as well as emergency repairs. It was acknowledged that emergency pothole repairs did not last as long and the aim was to increase the number of more permanent repairs made using pothole funding.

 

Deferral of Luton Road Scheme – In view of this being a road safety issue, the Portfolio Holder confirmed that this work would be undertaken when possible.

 

Bus improvement – It was questioned when improvements to bus services and reductions to bus related pollution would be realised. Concern was raised around changing bus routes and timetables and general service reliability. The Portfolio Holder said that bus companies had been significantly impacted by Covid-19 and that passenger numbers of some routes were still below pre-Covid levels. Ongoing conversations were taking place with companies. The Council currently provided around £800,000 of subsidies to bus companies and there was limited funding available. Bus companies could be encouraged to publicise changes to services in Medway Matters.

 

Traffic issues at new superstore – A Member highlighted traffic and parking issues at a new superstore that had opened in their ward. The Portfolio Holder was aware of the concerns and advised that these issues were being investigated.

 

Highways repair following utility works – A Member highlighted some concerns about the quality of repairs following utility works where new surfaces met old as well as likely deterioration during the winter. It was questioned what was being done by highways inspectors to ensure the quality of reinstatement after works and to ensure that the provision of utilities was not affected. Concern was also raised that action was only taken once complaints had been made. The Portfolio Holder agreed that these issues needed to be addressed and said that Medway Matters could be used to publicise works and potential disruption.

 

Installation of Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Points – It was questioned what the plans were for the installation of on-street charging points during the current year. The Portfolio Holder anticipated that a pilot could start early in 2023 and said that Gillingham could be a possible location for this. The usage of EV charging points already installed in car parks had to be monitored to ensure that it did not result in a shortage of parking spaces for residents.

 

Waste collection services and scanning of bus passes – A Member gave his thanks for the excellent waste collection service in Medway. He said that a number of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 307.

308.

Attendance by the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation pdf icon PDF 203 KB

This report sets out progress made within the areas covered by the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation which fall within the remit of this Committee.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members received an overview of progress made on the areas within the scope of Councillor Chitty, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, which fell within the remit of this Committee as set out below:

 

·        Economic Development

·        Employment

·        High Streets

·        Planning Policy - Local Plan

·        Markets

·        Planning - Development Management, including Planning Enforcement and applications for works to protected trees

·        Regulation – Environmental Health, Trading Standards, Enforcement and Licensing (Executive Functions only)

·        Social Regeneration

·        South Thames Gateway Building Control Partnership

 

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

 

Medway Apprenticeships Service – A Member asked whether the Service had facilitated any apprenticeships for people with special needs or for care leavers. It was also asked what progress had been made in relation to the proposed Taxi Private Hire and Feasibility Study and what engagement had taken place. The Portfolio Holder said that apprenticeships were offered to all groups and that uptake and any improvements needed were monitored on an ongoing basis. In relation to taxis, meetings were being held with providers to discuss the challenges. This engagement was ongoing. A briefing note was requested to set out the number of young people with special needs and care leavers who had been offered apprenticeships.

 

Four Elms Hill Pollution Mitigation – In response to a Member’s question that asked what measures were in place to mitigate against pollution and what measures were planned, the Portfolio Holder said that the speed of vehicles was a factor and that this could be monitored. The volume of heavy traffic and the flow of this traffic were also important considerations. Monitoring needed to be continuous to demonstrate the success of mitigations. It was requested that a one page summary setting out mitigations at Four Elms Hill be provided to the Committee.

 

Confidence in the Local Plan – The Portfolio Holder was asked what confidence there was in the leadership of the Council being able to produce a Local Plan. She said that the Council had to follow Government requirements and that the Government had made changes to the requirements. The knowledge that the Council had in relation to the Local Plan was considered to be exceptional and far in advance of many other local authorities, many of whom had experienced significant problems in relation to their draft Plans. The cost of the Local Plan was substantial and there was a need to ensure it was correct. There had been announcements that the number of required houses had been increased. The Portfolio Holder said that it was extremely difficult to prepare the Plan in view of the changing requirements, but she was confident in the work that Medway was doing as a local authority.

 

Neighbourhood Plans – A Member said there had been very good work undertaken in relation to the development of Neighbourhood Plans. The Portfolio Holder agreed that good work had been undertaken by all parties. It was requested that thanks be given to the relevant officers in relation to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 308.

309.

Annual Review of Waste Contracts, Contract Year October 2021 - September 2022 pdf icon PDF 803 KB

This report provides a summary of performance on the Medway waste contracts and performance for the contract year October 2021 to September 2022.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report setting out a summary of performance on the following Medway waste contracts for the contract year October 2021 to September 2022:

 

  • Veolia Environmental Services – providing waste disposal services for residual and recycling waste.

 

  • Medway Norse – providing waste collection, street cleaning services and management of Medway’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC)

 

The following was discussed:

 

  • Nitrous oxide cannisters and verge cleansing – It was questioned whether figures were available for the collection of discarded nitrous oxide cannisters, whether data could be provided and whether litter removal from areas beyond verges was part of the Norse contract. The Council’s Head of Regulatory and Environmental Services said that nitrous oxide use was an emerging issue and that consideration could be given to collecting figures. Litter picks of verges were undertaken when they were mowed. The Partnership Director of Medway Norse added that litter beyond the verge was currently not part of the contract and that consideration needed to be given as to how to tackle this.

 

  • Recycling rates, HMOs, kerbside collections and commercial waste – Noting that Medway’s recycling rate was 40% compared to a national average of 51%, it was questioned why Medway’s rate was falling. It was also asked what was being done to support those living in flats and Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to recycle more, whether there was sufficient capacity to deal with increased volume of kerbside collection waste and whether information could be provided in relation to commercial waste.

 

The Head of Regulatory and Environmental Services said that work was needed to encourage people to recycle and that changes to the materials that could be recycled had led to a small reduction in recycling. Public engagement, particularly with schools was important to increasing rates of recycling. Other communications channels, such as Medway Matters were also important. Work was being commissioned to look at how people in flats and HMOs managed waste. This could be circulated to the Committee when available. The Partnership Director added that the increase in home delivery during the Covid-19 pandemic had resulted in there being additional packaging for kerbside collection and that under the new waste disposal contract, tetra pak could now be recycled, there was therefore a need for this to be highlighted to residents. In relation to commercial waste, the provision of blue bags to High Streets and markets had made it easier to differentiate between household and commercial waste and therefore to take enforcement action against those found to not be paying for the proper disposal of commercial waste. A Member requested that further information be provided in relation to commercial waste.

 

  • Tetra Pak Recycling and Hillyfield Park bins – In response to a Member question, it was confirmed that the promotion of Tetra Pak recycling by supermarkets would be picked up with the Engagement Team and that the two bins that were due to have been provided in Hillyfield Community Park would be looked into.

 

310.

Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report and Risk Summary Quarter 1 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 183 KB

Medway’s Council Plan 2022/23 sets out the Council’s three priorities. This report and appendices summarise how we performed in Q1 2022/23 on the delivery of the programmes and measures which fall under the remit of this committee which are: Place and Growth.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report setting out performance for Quarter 1 against the Council's two priorities Place and Growth insofar as they fell within the remit of this Committee, along with a review of the Council’s Risk Register.

 

The following issues were discussed:

 

HollieGuard vouchers and Safety in Action Day - A Member asked how the HollieGuard vouchers, for victims of domestic abuse, were funded. The Member also considered that the Safety in Action Day held at Chatham Historic Dockyard had been a very good event and asked whether it would be repeated.

 

The Assistant Director, Frontline Services said that HollieGuard vouchers were paid for by Safer Streets funding. Lessons to be learnt would be considered from the Safety in Action Day to consider how to repeat it. It had been one of the most well attended events held at the Dockyard in recent years.

 

Replacing Medway’s streetlights – Clarification was requested around the dates given for the completion of this work as the report made reference to both September 2022 and March 2023. It was also questioned what could be done about any pockets of dark areas.

 

The Assistant Director said that she would look into the possible date discrepancy highlighted in relation to the streetlights. Light settings could be tweaked remotely and Members were encouraged to advise of any dark areas.

 

Street Cleanliness data and risk – It was requested that the Committee be provided with street cleanliness data and that further information about strategic risk scores be given within Committee reports. It was also questioned whether the targets set were ambitious enough given that performance against many of the metrics was green.

 

The Committee was advised that the provision of street cleansing data would be followed up post meeting. Strategic risks were due to be considered and how they were reported could also be looked at. It was confirmed that targets were reviewed each year and that it was rare for performance to be green against so many indicators.

 

Air Quality Management Strategic Risk – Concern was expressed that the air quality strategic risk was being managed within the climate change strategic risk. The Director of Place and Deputy Chief Executive said that this did not affect how the risk was monitored, just that it was fed back as part of climate change reporting. In response to a question that asked how the Committee could receive reports on the status of the climate change risk, the Director said that this would be covered within the quarterly performance monitoring reports considered by the Committee.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)    Considered the Q1 2022/23 performance against the measures used to monitor progress against the Council’s priorities and considered the amended Strategic Risk Summary as set out in Appendix 3.

 

b)    Considered the referral from the Business Support Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 25 August 2022 regarding the suggestion that air quality management areas in Medway should have its own risk. The Committee also considered the comments of the Assistant  ...  view the full minutes text for item 310.

311.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 155 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.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report setting out petitions received by the Council which fell within the remit of this Committee including a summary of the responses sent to petition organisers by officers.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the petition responses and appropriate officer action set out in paragraphs 3 and 4 of the report.

312.

Work programme pdf icon PDF 139 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:

 

In response to a Member’s question, the Director of Place and Deputy Chief Executive said that the River Strategy would be presented to the December 2022 meeting of the Committee as planned. He also highlighted to the Committee that a report in relation to S106 funding was due to be presented in December and that a report on Innovation Park Medway was due to be considered in March 2023.

 

A Member asked whether reference would be made to the Medway Queen within the River Strategy and if not, requested a briefing note on the topic. A response would be provided to the relevant Member after the meeting.

 

It was requested that the Bus Improvement Strategy be considered at a future meeting of the Committee. This would be discussed at the next pre-agenda meeting.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)    Noted the proposed work programme, set out at Appendix A to the report, which included the recommendations of the pre-agenda meeting outlined in paragraphs 3.3 to 3.5 and 4.6 to 4.7 of the report and the proposed deferral at paragraph 3.6 of the report. 

 

b)    Noted the request to receive the following briefing notes ahead of the reports being presented to the Committee:

 

·       Innovation Park Medway.

·       Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicles Strategy.

 

c)    Noted that the possibility of the Bus Improvement Strategy being considered at a future meeting of the Committee would be discussed at the next pre-agenda meeting.