Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday, 4th December, 2014 7.00 pm

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

Contact: James Clapson 

Items
No. Item

178.

Apologies for Absence

179.

Minutes of Previous Meetings

179a

Minutes of ordinary meeting of Council held on 2 October 2014 pdf icon PDF 143 KB

179b

Minutes of the extraordinary meeting of Council held on 18 November 2014 pdf icon PDF 120 KB

    Minutes:

    An amendment was noted as follows:

     

    The reference to the recommendation as set out in Minute No. 177 should read paragraph ‘11.1’, relating to the Review of Polling Districts and Polling Places 2014.

     

    It was proposed by the Chairman, seconded by the Vice-Chairman and agreed that the minutes of the extraordinary meeting of Council held on 18 November 2014 were, subject to that amendment, approved by Council and signed by the Chairman.

     

180.

Announcements

    To receive any announcements from the Chairman, Leader, Members of the Cabinet or Chief Executive in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 2.1 (iv).

    Minutes:

    The Chairman announced that Dennis Hart, former Labour Councillor for St Lawrence Ward and Nethercourt Ward had recently passed away.  Tributes were paid to his character and accomplishments, and all present stood for a minute silence as a mark of respect.

181.

Declarations of Interests

    To receive any declarations of interest. Members are advised to consider the advice contained within the Declaration of Interest form attached at the back of this agenda. If a Member declares an interest, they should complete that form and hand it to the officer clerking the meeting and then take the prescribed course of action.

    Minutes:

    There were no declarations of interest.

182.

Petitions from the public

183.

Questions from the press and public

183a

Question No. 1 From a Member of the Public - Dickens House Museum pdf icon PDF 84 KB

    Minutes:

    Mr Kirkpatrick asked Councillor Johnston the following question:

     

    “Despite repeated discussions, and further assurances prior to the previous full Council meeting, no action has been taken to use the £50,000 bequest for improving the Dickens House tourism product.  The initial offer was reaffirmed over two years ago.

     

    Does the Council intend to ever take advantage of this money?”

     

    Councillor Johnston replied:

     

    “Mr Kirkpatrick contacted me earlier this year, because he had been in contact with officers regarding the £50,000 legacy from Joyce Smith, somebody much loved by all of us, who was a curator at the museum. When we met my immediate feeling was that I had never seen the Will, nor had our officers seen the terms of the Will.  There was also an issue about the actual ownership of the Dickens House Museum. 

     

    I’m sorry that this has taken a long time, but I’ve asked the officers for a timeline, because I came into this story probably about March time.  An Economic Development Officer spoke to you on the 1st October and noted that the £50,000 was for the Dickens House Museum, and could not cover anything that the Council should already be paying for.  Then we asked to see the Will around the 20th October, I had asked for it before but it needed to be formally done.  So we requested to see the Will to understand what implications the £50,000 funding had for the Council from a legal perspective. 

     

    We were advised that once we had the relevant legal advice we could arrange a meeting to discuss what the options might be. We were then advised that we could not discuss options until we understood fully any legal implications in relation to the Council’s ownership of the Museum. In all the years I have been here, I thought the Council fully owned it. 

     

    Officers continued to get on with this, and on the 23rd October, Mr Kirkpatrick, you sent an extract of Joyce’s Will to us which is what we really needed.  It said that the sum of £50,000 was to go to the Dickens House Museum Broadstairs, on condition that it was set aside in a separate endowment fund to be administered jointly by the museum and the Dickens Fellowship, Broadstairs.

     

    Officers took legal advice on two issues:

     

    Firstly, what the options were for the future ownership, management and operation of the Dickens House Museum based on Miss D.L.Tattam’s Will and subsequent assent.  This included the view that the Museum could be put into an external trust and be run separately.  For this, officers from the legal team sought external counsel who had more experience in the area, obviously we would have to pay for this.

     

    Secondly, what the legal implications are in relation to the monies from Mrs Smiths Will?

     

    On the 21st November we received complex advice from Legal Counsel in relation to the Council’s ownership of the museum.

     

    On the 27th November we received advice from the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 183a

184.

Questions from Members of the Council

184a

Question No. 1 - Migration in Thanet pdf icon PDF 75 KB

    Minutes:

    Councillor Moores put the following question to Councillor Johnston:

     

    “Given the growing media interest in Thanet's immigration figures. Is the Leader able to provide a figure which reveals the true picture of migration in Thanet and in particular figures for Margate Central, Cliftonville West and Ramsgate?”

     

    Councillor Johnston responded to Councillor Moores’ question as follows:

     

    “I contacted officers who have provided both of us with so much material that it took some time to unravel.  It looked at the 2011 census down to where we are now.  This included breakdowns of nationality in quite some detail.  It is important to note that migration figures are generated from two sets of data, immigration – people coming in, and emigration – people leaving the area. The Council has access to district level data from 2003 to 2013 showing the patterns of movement in and out of the area, in terms of national and international movements.  It should be noted that the data is not definitive as it is based on surveys of international entrants that do not necessary give their final destination. However the quality of the data is improved by linking with national insurance number statistics.

     

    Over the last decade international immigration is exceeding international emigration.  More people are coming into the area than are leaving. Although more people have moved into the area than have moved out the difference between the two has decreased to 0.22% of population in 2012/13, from 0.39% of population in 2003/4. Internal migration from within the country has remained considerably higher than international movement for the last decade. However the 2011 census shows that 97% of Thanet’s population has lived here for more than five years.  The 2011 census also provides additional information at ward level.  It shows that 93.3% of Margate South’s population have lived here for more than five years, but 86.1% of Cliftonville West residents have lived here for five years.  It also shows that the proportion of the population that have lived in for Thanet for less than two years was 1.2% of the population, that figure is 3.25% for Margate Central and 6.3% for Cliftonville West.  The picture that emerges is that there is a small area that is considerably more diverse than the rest of Thanet.  There is the 2011 census data for the parish of Ramsgate which was the final part of your question.  That data showed that 92.1% of Ramsgate residents were born in the UK, 94.8% of residents have lived here for more than five years, and 92.3% have lived here for more than ten years.  This suggests that Ramsgate has a lower migrant population than is average for Thanet, and the region is typical of the rest of the county.

     

    I have a lot of information that we can share on a breakdown by nationality.”

     

    Supplementary Question

     

    Councillor Moores then asked Councillor Johnston a supplementary question:

     

    “In the last couple of weeks we have heard that the 2011 census figures are unreliable, in fact the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 184a

185.

Question No. 2 - Houses in Multiple Occupation, Wimpey Estate, St Peter's pdf icon PDF 75 KB

    Minutes:

    Councillor Matterface asked Councillor Nicholson the following question:

     

    “Have investigations been concluded into the number of HMOs (houses of multiple occupation) on the Wimpey estate in St Peter’s ward”

     

    Councillor Nicholson responded:

     

    “Housing Regeneration and Enforcement were tasked to investigate allegations of HMO’s containing student occupants in the premises on the Wimpy estate. The information that was received via Councillor Wiltshire initially referred to 35 premises to investigate.  Of those 35 premises, 19 were found to be lawful HMO’s, and the remaining premises were found to be family homes.  Of the 19 lawful HMO’s, three were found not to be on the Wimpy estate and five were on the periphery.  This information was investigated by sources including council tax records, the M3 protection database and door to door calling.  Following further communication with Councillor Wiltshire we received another list alleging another 76 student HMO’s, this was checked against the existing list of 35 and it was found that some of the addresses had been duplicated.  The total premises remaining was 69.  Of these 69 premises on this list, 19 had previously been investigated and were either lawful HMO’s or family homes.  There were also two addresses that did not exist.  The remaining 50 premises were investigated between the 17 October 2014 and 6 November 2014.  None of the addresses supplied were found to be student HMO’s.  In this case the evidence was confirmed by council tax records, talking to the named occupants at the address (where no answer was received a letter was left explaining why the Council had called), and by talking to neighbouring premises either side or in the vicinity of the address.  The local people on the Wimpy estate were asked if they had experienced any problems with student HMO’s and we received varying responses from ‘no problems at all’, to ‘some problems’ stating anti-social behaviour and noise issues.  Overall only a small percentage said they had any problems with student HMO’s.  All that were spoken to were advised that they can call Environmental Health in relation to noise problems and Community Safety in relation to anti-sociable behaviour.  Where we left a letter at the premises, people were understanding of why we had called and were happy to confirm the current status of their premises.  However a small percentage were upset, and slightly distressed to think that they had been targeted or noted as a HMO.  In the course of this investigation it was highlighted that some properties on the Wimpy estate do have, now or in the past, foreign students staying at their homes for a short term.  Overall 104 premises have been investigated and after looking through all the information, there are 16 HMO’s that are all lawful.”

     

    Councillor Matterface then asked a supplementary question:

     

    “What controls does the Council have in place to deal with HMOs?”

     

    Councillor Nicholson’s reply to that supplementary question was as follows:

     

    “The council bought in the Article 4 Direction in February 2012,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 185.

186.

Notices of Motions

187.

Leader's Report pdf icon PDF 61 KB

    Minutes:

    The Leader of the Council advised that many of the issues in her report had been covered in Cabinet meetings, Members’ briefings, other Council reports and press releases.  She expressed her thanks to Individual Cabinet Members and for the cross party support demonstrated through some pretty heavy work schedules.  She then highlighted some good news stories such as the receipt of Coastal Community Funding of over £1.8 million for Dreamland, and that eight local businesses obtained Success Support.

     

    The Leader advised on progress of a number of items including:

     

    The Local Plan, would go to public consultation from 5 January; Dreamland, procurement of an operator was with officers, a full report would follow upon formal conclusion; Manston Airport, a report would go to Cabinet on 11 December about the market testing, the Leader was in touch with the new owners and understood that they were working on plans to develop the site, any building plans that were not aviation related would need planning permission.  The Leader had asked Sir Roger Gale to reconvene his Taskforce and was awaiting an invitation to the Select Committee; Pleasurama and Victoria Pavilion Sites, work was on-going and positive, thanks were expressed to Mrs Crowley and Councillor Everitt for their work; The Fort Hotel, officers were working on a scheme for social housing flats; 19 Hawley Square, work was progressing; The Theatre Royal, the future would need to be resolved next year through discussion with Kent County Council and The Arts Council about funding; A Meeting with Southern Water, was held at Foreness Point. As a result a stakeholders group had been set up which would meet regularly; Pierrement Hall, arrangements had been made to move HomeStart and another business into the Kent Innovation Centre, Folk Week and other businesses were helped as much as possible, the boiler and electrical repairs would be costly; The East Kent Maritime Museum, an update was planned for the Ramsgate Matters meeting on 12 December; Heritage Bids for the Margate Museum, Mayors Parlour, Tudor House - particularly the barn, were underway by officers; Community Safety Partnership, the Leader expressed thanks to everyone who attended these meetings, particularly to the Executive Board, Councillor Campbell and his working party, a conference would take place on 10 December; Neighbourhood Engagement Meetings, these were well attended, the Leaderthanked Councillor Cohen and others who chaired the meetings, she also thanked Councillor Matterface on her street light campaign.  The Leader advised that she had visited children’s homes to look into rumours that children were being moved into the area from other authorities; Dispersal Orders, the last dispersal order under the old system was in Westgate, the Leader expressed thanks to Ward Councillors Scobie, Moores and King for alerting her to issues which were being dealt with; Anti-social Behaviour Changes, a briefing session was held for members; The Margate Task Force, had continued to deliver positive outcomes, had received national press coverage and is a template for others; Tourism, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 187.

188.

Report of the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 71 KB

    Minutes:

    Councillor Gideon, as Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny, introduced her report, offering thanks to the Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and its sub groups for their hard work and commitment.  She outlined a number of issues which had been reviewed, and explained the importance of the committee in scrutinising the work of the Council.

     

    After receiving comments from Members, the report was NOTED.

189.

Fees and Charges 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 68 KB

190.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme pdf icon PDF 72 KB

191.

Constitution of Committees, Political Balance, Appointments to Committees, Panels and Boards pdf icon PDF 94 KB

192.

Members' Allowances Scheme 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    It was proposed by Councillor Johnston, seconded by Councillor Bayford and RESOLVED:

     

    “THAT the recommendation as set out at paragraph 5.2 be adopted, namely:

     

    ‘To remove paragraph 1.43 of the Members Allowances:

     

    1.43  It is hereby provided, the Independent Remuneration Panel having recommended that all Members of the Council should be eligible for pensions, that:-

     

      a) As from 1st May 2003, all Members of the Council are to be entitled to pensions in accordance with a scheme made under Section 7 of the Superannuation Act 1972; and

     

    b) Both Basic Allowance and Special Responsibility Allowance shall be treated as amounts in respect of which such pensions are payable in accordance with a scheme made under Section 7 of the said Act of 1972.

     

    And to replace it with the following:

     

    1.43  Any Member of Council that joined the Local Government Pension Scheme prior to 1 April 2014 may remain a member of the Scheme until such time as they cease being a Member of Thanet District Council. No Member of that Thanet District Council is entitled to join the Local Government Pension Scheme after 1 April 2014 in accordance with the Local Government Pension Scheme (Transitional Provisions, Savings and Amendment) Regulations 2014.”’

193.

Exclusion of public and press pdf icon PDF 66 KB

    Minutes:

    It was proposed by the Chairman, seconded by the Vice Chairman and RESOLVED:

     

    “THAT the recommendation as set out at paragraph 7.1 of the report be adopted, namely:

     

    ‘That the public and press be excluded from the meeting for agenda item 16 as it contains exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).”’

ADJOURNMENT OF MEETING

The meeting was adjourned for five minutes to allow the press and public to leave the meeting.

194.

Report Regarding Chief Executive