Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Panel - Tuesday, 16th January, 2024 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent. View directions

Contact: Charles Hungwe 


No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Councillor Paul Moore, substituted by Councillor Manners.


Declaration of Interests pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To receive any declarations of interest. Members are advised to consider the advice contained within the Declaration of Interest advice attached to this Agenda. If a Member declares an interest, they should complete the Declaration of Interest Form


Councillor Whitehead declared a pecuniary interest on agenda item 10 (Land at Shottendane Road).


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 120 KB

To approve the Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 21 November 2023, copy attached.


Under minute item 11 (Cabinet Member Presentation), one of the responses by Mr Mike Humber should read “the Council had not charged residents for a bin replacement as yet.”


Subject to the above amendment, Councillor Kup proposed, Councillor Austin seconded and Members agreed the minutes to be a correct record of the extraordinary Panel meeting held on 21 November 2023.


Minutes of Extraordinary Meeting pdf icon PDF 138 KB

To approve the Minutes of the Extraordinary Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 6 December 2023, copy attached.


Councillor Britcher proposed, Councillor Austin seconded and Members agreed the minutes to be a correct record of the extraordinary Panel meeting held on 6 December 2023.


Land at Shottendane Road pdf icon PDF 124 KB

  • View the background to item 27.

Additional documents:


Bob Porter, Director of Place introduced the report and made the following comments:


  • The purpose of the proposals was to enable the delivery of affordable homes in Thanet;
  • This would contribute towards the delivery of 548 homes that Cabinet agreed to deliver each year for the next four years;
  • Land for potential delivery of homes was put forward in the Local Plan;
  • The Local Plan process would need to be concluded that would include any identified land for new housing developments;
  • Gypsy and Traveller Communities: TDC study identified five transit and seven permanent sites to be established;
  • The Council had legal obligations to provide the traveller communities with facilities;
  • Government directed that these facilities be included in the Local Plan;
  • No decision about the specific sites had been made;
  • Four sites might be forwarded to the Planning Committee for decision;
  • These applications should not have detrimental impact on the local surroundings;
  • The sites should have access to health and education facilities;
  • Any applications submitted outside the Local Plan process would be to be assessed using the four criteria;
  • The proposals in the officer report were recommendation a public consultation on any proposals and the consultation would include traveller representatives;
  • A road network was being proposed to support new housing development. Cabinet would be asked to approve the disposal of a piece of land to Kent County Council for road network construction.


Councillor Whitehead, Deputy Leader of Council and Cabinet Member for Housing only spoke on the part of this item that referred to the consultation relating to Shottendane. She made comments as follows:


  • It is exceptionally important that we consider this evening what we are discussing, and what we are not discussing;
  • It is recommended that the Overview and Scrutiny Panel consider the contents of this committee report and make any recommendations that it would like Cabinet to take into account when considering the matter at its meeting on 25 January 2024; 


  • The proposed recommendations to the Cabinet are: 


  1. To conduct public consultation with the Gypsy and Traveller community and neighbouring residents about the proposal to establish a number of Gypsy and Traveller pitches on land off of Shottendane Road (area shown in annex 6 to the report).


2.  Subject to the outcome of the consultation, submit an application for outline planning permission for the provision of Gypsy and Traveller Pitches on the land marked 1aii in annex 5 to the report.


  • This was a proposal to recommend to Cabinet that a consultation be undertaken with residents and Travelling community to consider the potential of a managed site on land we own at Shottendane;
  • This was not a new idea, but choosing to consult on it and asking for input from local resident input and the Travelling community was new;
  • The discussion was about the legal requirement to plan for sites for the Gypsy and Traveller community. This task was not optional. It was a legal requirement, as well as a moral requirement;
  • The Council had a legal duty to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.


Cabinet Member Presentation - Background to the Council's Parking Strategy Review


Councillor Keen, Cabinet Members for Neighbourhoods gave a presentation to the Panel and made the following comments:


  • The request for a parking strategy review was proposed by Councillor Crittenden and Full Council agreed the proposal;
  • This would be a district wide review to establish the view of service users and then get down to the detail of what needed to be done for the district;
  • Council draw up a brief that was used for the tender to secure a consultant for the review;
  • The intention was to make the review as broad as was possible, bearing in mind that parking had to support the economics growth for Thanet;
  • Significant investments were coming into the district and the Council needed to be prepared for that;
  • The review would look at the daytime and night time economic activities in the district and aligning with Net Zero Strategy, the Local Plan and government policy like the Green Agenda;
  • The review would take into consideration the changes in shopping habits that were emerging with more online shopping and delivery of purchases to residents' homes;
  • The four week review would start on 29 January 2024. A councillor consultation was planned for 30 January 2024 with the public consultation starting on 5 February 2024;
  • Public consultation meetings would be both in-person and online;
  • The Comms team would work alongside the delivery of the Strategy and Action Plan;
  • The tender for the review was put out in August 29023 and awarded in December 2023. Twelve companies had submitted bids for this tender;
  • It was important for the public to take part in this review through the consultation process.


Members asked questions and made comments as follows:


  • One Member asked if this review was going to be backed by the Joint Transportation Board;
  • Would cyclists and other road users be part of the consultation process?
  • Was the four week consultation period long enough for this piece of work?
  • A significant amount of what TDC would do after the review depended on KCC, the Highways Authority. With this in mind, how was the Council going to engage KCC?
  • There currently was no budget associated with this review process. How were the review results going to be implemented?
  • Some Members understood that KCC was going to take back responsibility for the Decrim reserves. Was that still going ahead?
  • One Member said that they welcomed the approach that would see the public being consulted on the current situation regarding parking in the district. What level of autonomy did TDC have over residents parking schemes?
  • Could parking schemes have their own budgets in order to fund their own activities?
  • Would this review give residents an opportunity to give feedback regarding yellow lines?
  • There was a need to enforce the strategy once the review had been concluded. There was therefore a need for a recommendation for robust recruitment of enforcement officers.


Penny Button, Head of Neighbourhoods and Councillor Keen responded to Member questions and comments as follows:



HRA Budget 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 141 KB

  • View the background to item 29.

Additional documents:


Matt Sanham introduced the report and said that Cabinet had agreed on an ambitious housing development programme, which now needed to be funded through the annual budget allocation.


Councillor Whitehead made the following comments:


  • In order to explain the rent structure and context of the HRA budget further, it was important to look at what was currently being delivered and what needed to be delivered in terms of capacity;
  • TDC used two forms of rental rate within the general housing stock; social rent and affordable rent;
  • The Council’s version of affordable rent was very different from the central government definition, which generally defined affordable rent as being up to 80% of private rental rates. For Thanet, that would be far from affordable. TDC therefore used a dual definition; affordable housing was classed as up to 80% of private rent, but not to exceed Local Housing Allowance rate (which historically for this area never met 80% of the private rental market). Simply, Thanet’s affordable housing would never go above Local Housing Allowance;
  • The vast majority of the Council’s housing stock was at social rent; social rent was a lower rent than affordable rent, and much lower than private market rent;
  • At a social rent, a three bed house would cost approximately £452.52 per month; at TDC affordable rent, it would cost approximately £704 per month;
  • On the private market, three bed homes were currently renting at between £1,100 and £1,600 per month;


  • The current Local Housing Allowance rate for a three bed house was £797.81, meaning that for both forms of rental that TDC offer would be more than covered by housing benefit/universal credit, making both accessible for even the most vulnerable or disadvantaged residents. It was worth noting that the vast majority of individuals who rely on LHA to afford their housing were currently trapped within the private rental market. This was one of the principal reasons for creating and adopting the accelerated delivery programme, as the most disadvantaged residents in terms of housing affordability (and therefore cost of living) were currently within the private sector; to help them the Council had to expand its provision;
  • In April the Council was also likely to see a significant increase in the LHA rate; in all likelihood this would mean that even the affordable rental would fall within the mid range of LHA; 
  • The Council portfolio currently consisted of 3,460 properties; only 165 of these were at an affordable rent; the rest were let at social rent. The vast majority of the residents had access to support with rental costs through housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit, and therefore any increase was covered by benefits in those cases;
  • Each year, councils were permitted to raise rents, with the addition of 1% to the Consumer Price Index. This September CPI stood at 6.7%; which meant that Councils were permitted to raise rents by 7.7%. Information received from 19 other Councils regarding their rent increase this year indicated that all were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Purchase of 7 Homes at Northwood Road, Broadstairs for Affordable Rent pdf icon PDF 151 KB

  • View the background to item 30.


Bob Porter introduced the report and said that the project had been negotiated with the developer. Some of the properties would be acquired on completion. For this property the Council would agree a development agreement with the developer and work with them to completion. The project would move into a surplus in year 13.


Councillor Whitehead made the following comments:


  • This item ties in well with the earlier discussion of the HRA budget; 
  • The Council had a duty to not only look after those residents who were already within the protection afforded by a Council tenancy, but also expand this care to those who were currently trapped within insecure and unaffordable private tenancies;
  • The new acquisitions strategy, which as of tonight would have delivered a significant number of homes in five months more than the average annual delivery of 18 homes per year that were delivered over the last ten years. This was a perfect example of how using the HRA and thinking creatively could produce outstanding outcomes for residents;
  • With this purchase the Council was not only providing a balanced mix of much needed homes, including three bed houses, but also providing them in St. Peter’s Ward, which as with some of the previous acquisitions was a difficult area to access in terms of affordable tenancies;
  • Using the new strategy and working consciously to support all of our residents, across housing sectors, had produced an approach that was producing genuinely affordable homes across Thanet; 
  • The portfolio holder thanked officers wholeheartedly for the level of work that had gone into and continued to go into this project.


Members noted the report.


2024/25 Fees and Charges pdf icon PDF 126 KB

  • View the background to item 31.


Matt Sanham, Head of Finance and Procurement led the discussion and said that inflation levels had decreased and the fees and charges had been reviewed taking into consideration the changes to inflation levels.


Members made comments and asked questions as follows:

  • Would the Council consider suspending charges for parking bays during events?
  • Event organisers were made to pay for non-paying parking bays. Why was that the case?
  • Did the Council keep the profit they received from charging event organisers or was all the income forwarded to KCC?
  • There was a need for the Council to review events and come up with a heritage stratum of events so that such events were not charged a high fee.


Matt Sanham and Councillor Yates responded as follows:


  • All on-street parking income belonged to KCC;
  • Unfortunately, there were instances when event organisers were charged for a full day;
  • Cabinet was considering those issues and discussions were on-going;
  • The Portfolio Holder would ensure that charges for events would not be increased.


Members noted the report.


Draft 2024/25 Budget pdf icon PDF 76 KB

  • View the background to item 32.

Additional documents:


Matt Sanham introduced the report and made the following comments:


  • The government settlement statement made little difference to the assumptions that had been made by the Council;
  • However, the government funding had contributed significantly to the Council budget and had freed up £250k;
  • Additional money had therefore been allocated for weed control which would use hot foam;
  • The same weed control method would also be used for cleaning graffiti;
  • £50K had been set aside for football development for communities and £116k had been set aside for managing the effects of inflation.


Councillor Yates, Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources said that the Council had accumulated reserves which were now at a 10 year high. The focus was on what residents wanted, including a clean environment.


Members asked questions and made comments as follows:


  • One Member said that this was a fair and balanced budget. There was a healthy increase to the budget;
  • Members thanked officers for drafting the proposals for this balanced budget;
  • Members further thanked officers particularly in Chris Blundell and Matt Sanham for the stewardship in the treasury management approaches used since 2016 which had built these reserves;
  • Other Members welcomed the proposed cleaning of beaches after summer.


Members noted the report.


Temporary Staff Contract pdf icon PDF 78 KB

  • View the background to item 33.

Report to follow


Matt Elmer, Head of Cleansing Services introduced the report and made the following comments:


  • This report was about arrangements for temporary staff i.e. agency workers across a number of Council services;
  • The current contract was coming to an end in April this year and proposed options were for the future procurement of temporary staff arrangements;
  • The current contract was a “call-down” contract and this was therefore not an obligation to spend the total value of the contract. Cabinet had requested a report into the use of temporary staff, which would be forthcoming and also shared with members of Overview and Scrutiny in due course;
  • The value of the contract is approximately £1,3m per annum - 80% of which was within Cleansing Services which includes household waste collections, street cleansing and seasonal beach cleansing;
  • Members were being asked to comment on the recommendation for Cabinet to agree a competitive procurement approach under the agreed framework.


Members then asked questions and made comments as follows:


  • One Member said that this was a big counteract with one contractor. Had the Council looked at other contractors in order to secure the best possible terms?
  • What was the procurement process that had identified HR-GO?
  • How much agency staff was the Council using for activities that the Council knew would need to be planned for?
  • The Council needed to widen its search to recruit to those difficult to recruit roles;
  • Members welcomed the review that would be conducted on how the Council used agency workers to deliver services;
  • The Council should develop its own bank of staff;
  • Another Member asked how many agency staff ended up being permanent TDC staff.


Matt Elmer responded to Member questions as follows:


  • Officers were going to investigate the issue raised by Members;
  • HR-GO was the first place to go for agency staff. Their staff cover mostly sickness leave. The Council considered two other agencies but HR-GO had the best offer;
  • It was difficult for the Council to attract staff for short term roles. That was why agency staff were being used;
  • The hourly rate that agency staff were paid was the same rate that Council staff were also paid;
  • The best approach to resolve the staffing issue was for the Council to consider a procurement framework.


Councillor Austin proposed, Councillor Wing seconded and Members agreed Option 3, (Further Competition under a Framework for a 3 year contract with a 12 month extension option with a value of approximately £1.3m per annum).


Decision for Coastal & Beach Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) renewal to 2027 pdf icon PDF 112 KB

  • View the background to item 34.

Additional documents:


Tony Marmo, Head of Coastal and Public Realm introduced the report and requested Members to review the proposals in the report and make suggestions for consideration by Cabinet.


Members asked questions as follows:


  • Would there be warranted enforcement officers to enforce the conditions of the PSPO?
  • What was the area to be covered by the PSPO in addition to the beaches?
  • Was there a designated telephone number that the public could call to report incidents?


Tony Marmo and Lisa Collingwood, Beaches Services Manager responded to Member questions as follows:


  • Currently there were two enforcement officers and the Council was in the process of recruiting additional staff in the next three months;
  • These officers would be trained to issue penalty notices;
  • The Enforcement Team would have regular enforcement meetings with Kent Police;
  • The Council worked closely with Broadstairs Town Council over the last three years;
  • TDC Officers also patrolled Stone Bay area in Broadstairs;
  • TDC held discussions with Town Councils on the Council’s enforcement activities;
  • It was worth noting that resources were low to cover adequately the 19 miles of coastline;
  • E-bikes had been introduced to be used by the enforcement team, which would help speed up patrols;
  • There was no designated telephone number that the public could call.


Councillor Manners proposed and Councillor Green seconded and the Panel agreed to recommend Option.


Draft Corporate Plan for 2024-28 pdf icon PDF 111 KB

  • View the background to item 35.

Additional documents:


Hannah Thorpe, Head of Strategy and Transformation introduced the report and said that a public consultation was conducted in December which ran through the Christmas period. The results were now being reported to Council with the final recommendations on the new corporate priorities.


One Member said that the Council ought to learn from the responses received through this residents’ survey, to determine who the respondents were, their age groups and find ways of engaging young people and professionals in order to improve the feedback from similar consultations.


Members noted the report.


Review of Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme for 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

  • View the background to item 36.

Additional documents:


One Member requested for a cabinet member presentation on expenditure for the Ramsgate Port and Harbour.


Another Member requested for a cabinet member presentation on the Council's commercial property assets and how rental reviews were conducted.


One member also added that they would like to know more about how these commercial properties were tendered out and could this review cover a number of years in order to provide a viable context for discussion.


The Chair said that the Leader would be approached to make a presentation to the Panel on what lessons had been learnt regarding the Ramsgate Port and Harbour.


Another Member suggested that the topic regarding the port and harbour would best be covered as a members Briefing session topic.


The Chair also said that the Tourism Working Party would be ready to present their report to the Panel at the 15 February meeting.


Members noted the report.


Forward Plan and Exempt Cabinet Report List pdf icon PDF 74 KB

  • View the background to item 37.

Additional documents:


Members noted the report.


Treasury Management Strategy Statement, Minimum Revenue Provision Policy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy for 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 62 KB

  • View the background to item 38.

Additional documents:


Members noted the report.