Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: The Guildhall, St Peter's Place, Canterbury

Contact: Pippa Tritton  01227 862 009 Email: democracy@canterbury.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

134.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

No apologies for absence were received.

 

135.

Substitute Councillors

Minutes:

No substitute councillors were present.

136.

Declaration of any interests

TO RECEIVE any declarations for the following in so far as they relate to the business for the meeting:-

 

a.       Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

b.       Other Significant Interests (what were previously thought of as non-pecuniary Prejudicial interests)

c.       Voluntary Announcements of Other Interests

 

Voluntary Announcements of Other Interests not required to be disclosed as DPI’s or OSI’s, ie announcements made for transparency reasons alone, such as:

         Membership of outside bodies that have made representations on agenda items, or

         Where a Councillor knows a person involved, but does not have a close association with that person, or

         Where an item would affect the well-being of a Councillor, relative, close associate, employer, etc but not his/her financial position.

 

[Note: an effect on the financial position of a Councillor, relative, close associate, employer, etc; OR an application made by a Councillor, relative, close associate, employer, etc, would both probably constitute either an OSI or in some cases a DPI].

 

Minutes:

In relation to item 7 - Housing Revenue Account Business Plan, Councillor Baker made a voluntary announcement that a family member lived in a property managed by East Kent Housing.


In relation to Item 10 – Water bottle filling points, Councillor Baker made a voluntary announcement that he was a trustee of Whitstable Castle, one of the sites considered by the report.

 

137.

Public participation

The Chairman to report any requests from members of the public who have given notice that they wish to speak on any item on the agenda.  The public must give notice to Democratic Services by 12.30pm on the working day before the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no public speakers for the meeting.

138.

Minutes of the meeting held on 20 March 2019 pdf icon PDF 87 KB

TO CONFIRM as a true record.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting dated 20 March 2019 were agreed as a true record.

139.

Serco six monthly performance update pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Paul Barry – Regional Contracts Director and Jonathan Longley – Contract Manager Canterbury will be in attendance from Serco.

 

TO NOTE the report of David Ford, Director Commissioned Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Strategic Contracts and Commissions Manager introduced the Serco six monthly performance report and advised that it covered waste collection and street cleansing, and grounds maintenance and associated works.

 

Jonathan Longley (Contract Manager) and Paul Barry (Area Manager) from Serco were in attendance for this item and answered questions and provided points of clarification where required.  

 

Points included:

 

1)    Deductions were made for missed bins on a regular basis.  The money was then used for specific projects, such as 1,000 red bin free give away.

2)    A student liaison officer works closely with the student community; leaflets were regularly given out, and during the four week student rubbish amnesty additional sacks were provided along with more collections.

3)    Discussions were held with landlords on a regular basis.

4)    Improvements had been made, but this was as a result of additional budget being made available.

5)    Vehicle breakdowns had become less of an issue due to pro-active new management. It was necessary to hire a number of smaller vehicles at this time of year due to the increase in garden waste collection.

 

The report was NOTED.

140.

Housing revenue account business plan pdf icon PDF 171 KB

TO CONSIDER the report of Tricia Marshall, Deputy Chief Executive.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

 

That tenants be consulted on the HRA Business Plan 2019.

 

Reason for the decision:  Option 1 addressed the important financial and policy challenges facing the HRA.

 

Minutes:

The Strategic Housing Manager introduced the report on the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Plan and explained that it was the council’s strategic plan for its housing stock and was being reviewed for the first time since 2014 due to the changing policy environment.  The plan outlined the current housing situation, what the council wished to achieve and how it would be paid for.

 

It was noted that if the option to consult tenants on the HRA Business Plan 2019 was agreed, the consultation dates would run from 29 July 2019 to 6 September 2019, not as stated in the report.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive advised there were currently a number of issues around the provision of services provided by East Kent Housing.  These would be detailed in a report to the Policy and Resources Committee on 10 July 2019 and the most appropriate place for comments would be at that meeting.  It was noted that a business plan would need to be in place regardless of who was running the service.

 

Councillors asked a number of questions and the Strategic Housing Manager and the Deputy Chief Executive responded and provided clarification where necessary.  These included:

 

1)    The removal of the HRA borrowing cap allowed different options to be considered.

2)    Universal Credit creates a large financial question mark due the lack of firm information available.

3)    Specific savings proposals would be produced and would come back to a future meeting.

4)    If council owned land could be used for building new houses this could reduce costs and was being considered, however, sites tended to be small so economies of scale was lost.

5)    Currently the council charges ‘social rent’.  If ‘affordable rent’ was introduced, it may mean neighbours paying different rents.  Councillors would consider a Rent Policy later in the year which would explore the issues around rent levels in detail.

6)    With regards to the Disabled Adaptations Policy, the document formalised the approach that the council wishes to adopt.

 

Three options were available to councillors

 

Option 1 – Accept the HRA Business Plan 2019 (recommended)

Option 2 – Refuse to accept the HRA Business Plan 2019

Option 3 – Accept the Business Plan in part

 

Option 1 was proposed, seconded and when put to a vote agreed.

 

RESOLVED – That tenants be consulted on the HRA Business Plan 2019.

 

RECOMMENDED (to Policy and Resources Committee) – That the draft HRA Business Plan 2019 and the draft Disabled Adaptations Policy be adopted in full.

 

Reason for the decision:  Option 1 addressed the important financial and policy challenges facing the HRA.

 

Record of voting:

 

For the proposal: Councillors Baker, Butcher, Carnac, Clark, Cornell, Dawkins, Flack, Howes, M Jones-Roberts, Maslin, Sole and Vickery-Jones (12).

 

Against the proposal: 0

 

Abstained from voting: 0

 

 

 

 

141.

Decommissioning of Old Dover Road Hostels pdf icon PDF 108 KB

TO CONSIDER the joint report of Tricia Marshall - Deputy Chief Executive (Housing Lead), Suzi Wakeham - Director of Community Services and Marie Royle - Head of Housing & Community.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the hotels at Old Dover Road be decommissioned and ceased to be used for letting as temporary accommodation.

 

Reason for the decision:  Agreeing to decommission the properties would allow officers to explore the asset value, and if there was a future agreement by the council to sell the properties, this would improve the financial health of the Housing Revenue Account.

Minutes:

Marie Royle, Head of Housing and Community introduced the report which contained details of the properties located on a busy main road which were currently used as temporary accommodation of homeless households.  


She explained that these were period properties which were no longer fit for purpose due to age, layout out condition and access issues.  Decommissioning was considered appropriate as there were replacements properties becoming available later this year.


If the recommended option to decommission the properties was approved, a report would be submitted to Regeneration and Property Committee on 26 September 2019 to make a decision on the disposals of the properties.

 

Councillors discussed the proposals and the Head of Housing and Community provided points of clarification where necessary.  Points included:

 

1)    The hostels would not be decommissioned until there was alternative accommodation available for tenants.

2)    The properties were not suitable at all for families.

 

Councillors had three options available to them:

 

Option 1 – to agree to decommission the Old Dover Road hostels (recommended)

Option 2 – Not to agree to decommission the Old Dover Road hostels, and to refurbish existing units to make them fully self-contained.

Option 3 – Not to agree to decommission the Old Dover Road hostels, and to reconfigure both buildings to make the units larger and to make them fully self-contained.

 

It was proposed, seconded and when put to a vote agreed to decommission the Old Dover Road hostels.

 

RESOLVED:  That the hotels at Old Dover Road be decommissioned and ceased to be used for letting as temporary accommodation.

 

Reason for the decision:  Agreeing to decommission the properties would allow officers to explore the asset value, and if there was a future agreement by the council to sell the properties, this would improve the financial health of the Housing Revenue Account.

 

Record of voting:

 

For the proposal: Councillors Baker, Butcher, Carnac, Clark, Cornell, Dawkins, Flack, Howes, M Jones-Roberts, Maslin, Sole and Vickery-Jones (12).

 

Against the proposal: 0

 

Abstained from voting: 0

 

142.

Environmental Offences Fixed Penalty Level setting pdf icon PDF 66 KB

TO CONSIDER the report of Doug Rattray, Head of Safer Neighbourhoods.

Minutes:

Lacy Dixon, Enforcement Manager introduced the report which contained details of a review of the Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) levels set for Canterbury District and explained that this was to ensure the council has the appropriate consequence to the relevant offence – FPN were a cheaper alternative to prosecution and monies for fines paid returns to the council as opposed to the fines as a result of the prosecution which go to central government.  However, prosecutions would still be used where appropriate.

 

Councillors made a number of comments and where necessary the Enforcement Manager provided points of clarification.  These included:

 

1)    There was no data available that showed the age or occupation of those committing graffiti.

2)    In addition to the use of mobile cameras, there was a £500 reward to anyone who reported graffiti resulting in prosecution.

3)    By increasing the FPN level, it would ensure the most appropriate action for the circumstances.

4)    A ‘graffiti wall’ had been popular in other locations, but there was no data available to show if it had impacted on the amount of graffiti nearby.

5)    Some villages, particularly in rural areas, had been blighted by fly tipping.

6)    Councillors considered that the FPN levels should be considered as two separate items, not together.

 

Councillors were advised that there were two options available to them:

 

Option 1 – Do nothing, do not implement any changes to the FPN fine level.

Option 2 – Increase the level of the FPN for fly-posting and graffiti as well as introduce the FPN for Duty of Care.  No early repayment scheme.

 

It was decided to take each FPN in turn.  It was proposed, seconded and when put to a vote unanimously agreed that the FPN levels in the report for Duty of Care were agreed.

 

It was proposed, seconded and when put to a vote agreed that the FPN levels in the report for Graffiti and fly tipping were agreed.

 

RECOMMENDED (to Policy and Resources Committee) – that the Fixed Penalty Notice level for Duty of Care be set at £300.

 

Reason for decision: The approved option offered a fair and robust approach to the offence of duty of care to ensure that the environment is considered and those responsible were held to account.  The council spends a considerable amount of money to clear up after and to respond to complaints regarding these matters and the fine level would be appropriate to this activity.




Record of voting:

 

For the proposal: Councillors Baker, Butcher, Carnac, Clark, Cornell, Dawkins, Flack, Howes, M Jones-Roberts, Maslin, Sole and Vickery-Jones (12).

 

Against the proposal: 0

 

Abstained from voting: 0

 

RECOMMENDED (to the Policy and Resources Committee) – that the Fixed Penalty Notice level for graffiti and fly posting be set as £150.

 

Reason for decision: The approved option offered a fair and robust approach to the offence of graffiti and fly posting to ensure that the environment is considered and those responsible were held to account.  The council spends a considerable amount  ...  view the full minutes text for item 142.

143.

Water Bottle Filling Points pdf icon PDF 87 KB

TO CONSIDER the report of David Ford, Director of Commissioned Services.

Decision:

That four additional water bottle refill points be installed in Whitstable (at Westbeach public toilets, St Anne’s public toilets, Skinners alley public toilets and Beach Walk public toilets) using the carried forward Whitstable Area Member Panel Opportunities Fund budget.

 

Reason for the decision:  The installation would present environmental benefits and would put the council in a strong position to be able to further promote the Refill scheme.  In addition, the four sites are accessible and easy to maintain within an already established maintenance contract.

 

Minutes:

Alexis Jobson, Head of Corporate Business Support introduced a report which provided recommendations for the installation of four additional water bottle filling points using carried forward monies from the Whitstable Area Member Panel Opportunities budget.

 

She explained that five locations had been considered with four options recommended for approval.

 

Councillors welcomed the report and asked that the taps be as robust and vandal proof as possible, with adequate signage. They also requested that the refill scheme be rolled out more widely if at all possible.


Two options were available to councillors:

 

1)    To install external water bottle refill points at the four recommended locations.

2)    Not to install external water bottle refill points.

 

It was proposed, seconded and when put to a vote unanimously agreed that four additional water points be installed in Whitstable.

 

RESOLVED: That four additional water bottle refill points be installed in Whitstable (at Westbeach public toilets, St Anne’s public toilets, Skinners alley public toilets and Beach Walk public toilets) using the carried forward Whitstable Area Member Panel Opportunities Fund budget.

 

Reason for the decision:  The installation would present environmental benefits and would put the council in a strong position to be able to further promote the Refill scheme.  In addition, the four sites are accessible and easy to maintain within an already established maintenance contract.

 

Record of voting:

 

For the proposal: Councillors Baker, Butcher, Carnac, Clark, Cornell, Dawkins, Flack, Howes, M Jones-Roberts, Maslin, Sole and Vickery-Jones (12).

 

Against the proposal: 0

 

Abstained from voting: 0

 

144.

Date of next meeting

7pm, Wednesday 25 September 2019.

Minutes:

7 pm, Wednesday 25 September 2019.

145.

Any other urgent business to be dealt with in public

Minutes:

There was no other urgent business to be dealt with in public.

 

146.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

TO RESOLVE – That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items of business on the grounds that there would be disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act or the Freedom of Information Act or both.

147.

Any other urgent business which falls under the exempt provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 or the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or both

Minutes:

There was no other urgent business to be dealt with.