Agenda and draft minutes

Council
Thursday, 5th September, 2019 7.00 pm

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

Contact: James Clapson 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

2.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 147 KB

    To approve the Minutes of the meeting of Council held on 11 July 2019, copy attached.

    Minutes:

    It was proposed by the Chairman, seconded by the Vice-Chairman and agreed, that the minutes of the Council meeting held on 11 July 2019 be approved and signed by the Chairman.

3.

Announcements

4.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 87 KB

5.

Petitions

5a

Save Our NHS in Kent Judicial Review pdf icon PDF 78 KB

    Minutes:

    Dr Gordon-Nesbitt presented a e-petition regarding NHS stroke services.  Members noted that the following e-petition contained 86 valid signatures:

     

    “We the undersigned petition the council to contribute £5,000 to Save Our NHS in Kent's judicial review of the decision to close the stroke unit at QEQM Hospital.”

     

    In accordance with the Council’s Petition Scheme, the petition was referred to Cabinet without debate for report back to the Council within three ordinary meetings.

     

5b

Petition Regarding the Budget - Report Back to Council pdf icon PDF 155 KB

6.

Questions from the press and public

6a

Question No.1 - Lewis Crescent Waste Issues pdf icon PDF 83 KB

6b

Question No. 2 - Land for Travellers pdf icon PDF 82 KB

    Minutes:

    Mr Wraight asked the Leader the following question:

     

    Has TDC spoken to any private landowners, I.e River Oak Strategic Partnership about temporary use of their land for use by the travellers. Or any other landowners?”

     

    The Leader responded with the following points:

     

    ·  RiverOak had not been approached by the Council, however other landowners have been approached including Kent County.

    ·  Options regarding temporary stop sites had been shared with the Council’s Traveller Working Group.

     

6c

Question No. 3 - Ramsgate Port feasibility study pdf icon PDF 84 KB

    Minutes:

    Mr Byrne asked the Leader following question:

     

    “The Port & Harbour continue to lose millions each year from falling revenue and needless costs such as Berths 4/5. You said the Feasibility Study would be completed in 2019. This is not possible given predicted 6 months delivery time so, what is your plan?” 

     

    The Leader responded with the following point:

     

    ·  The study was programmed to be undertaken before the end of the calendar year. The feasibility scope had been completed and agreed with the Port and Harbour Working Group and a project programme had been prepared. Quotations would be invited shortly.

6d

Question No. 4 - Seaweed disposal pdf icon PDF 88 KB

6e

Question No. 5 - Brexit Funding pdf icon PDF 83 KB

6f

Question No. 6 - Verge Cleaning pdf icon PDF 88 KB

    Minutes:

    Mr Wise asked Councillor Ashbee the following question:

     

    “What plans do the Council have to restore the verge cleaning service to our major through-route roadways? Or do officers and councillors intend that the already unacceptable levels of detritus in these locations be left to lie and accumulate in perpetuity?” 

     

    Councillor Ashbee responded with the following points:

     

    ·  The High Speed Roads Clearance Programme took place each summer. Thanet District Council payed Kent County Council for this and KCC coordinated the works with their contractors alongside the road closures.

    ·  This year the works were carried out in July in accordance with the standards set out in the Defra code of practice on litter and refuse.

    ·  Other main routes across the District were mechanically swept scheduled rounds and on a reactive basis when required.

     

6g

Question No. 7 - Land at Tivoli Park Avenue pdf icon PDF 83 KB

    Minutes:

    Ms Garfield asked Councillor D Saunders the following question:

     

    “Please can you explain why land on Tivoli Park Avenue was sold to a developer at auction despite being covenanted to the people of Margate as green space in perpetuity?”

     

    Councillor D Saunders responded with the following points:

     

    ·  The land had not been designated public open space in the Local Plan, and there were no other policies dedicating it as community land or a village green. 

    ·  The land was sold with a limited title guarantee which meant that the Council had the right to dispose of the land, and had the right to transfer the title to the buyer.

    ·  There were no restrictive covenants imposed on the land including no known covenants about the use of the land.

     

     

6h

Question No. 8 Economic Impact and Value of the Royal Harbour and Marina pdf icon PDF 84 KB

6i

Question No. 9 The Manston Airport site and DCO Examination- pdf icon PDF 85 KB

6j

Question No. 10 Use of Glyphosate in open spaces- pdf icon PDF 84 KB

    Minutes:

    Mr Pressland asked Councillor Ashbee the following question:

     

    “The council has now recognised a climate and ecological crisis emergency, great. However we now need action. Will the council now stop using glyphosate in all open areas and invest in non chemical alternatives like the weedingtech foamstream system? If not, why not?” 

     

    Councillor Ashbee responded with the following points:

     

    ·  The open spaces team, alongside our health and safety compliance officer were looking into alternatives such as hot foam, and other methods to reduce or stop our use of weedkillers.

    ·  Dover District Council (DDC) has trialled the hot foam technique, and the Council had were looking at DDC’s findings.

    ·  In response to the declaration of a climate emergency the Council would be exploring the issue of weedkillers further, alongside many other actions which aimed to change working practices where practicable to support biodiversity across the District’s open spaces.

     

6k

Question No. 11 The deployment of 5G in Thanet pdf icon PDF 83 KB

    Minutes:

    Ms Hynes asked Councillor Game the following question:

     

    “What are the current plans and timescale for the deployment of 5G in Thanet and how well informed is the council on this subject?” 

     

    Councillor Game responded with the following points:

     

    ·  The government was consulting on proposals to reform permitted development rights to support the deployment of 5G and extend mobile coverage.

    ·  The development of improved connectivity for residents and businesses, through the roll out of 5G was supported, however the Council was not currently aware of any specific roll out plans or timescales.

     

6l

Question No. 12 Create a bylaw for the prevention and suppression of nuisances pdf icon PDF 83 KB

7.

Questions from Members of the Council

7a

Question No.1 Viking Bay Lift pdf icon PDF 180 KB

    Minutes:

    Councillor Bailey asked Councillor D Saunders the following question:

     

    Viking Bay is promoted as a having a lift however, it regularly breaks down.  Many elderly and disabled depend on this lift and often can’t manage the alternative steep slopes.  At almost twenty years old, it needs significant investment.

     

    Please can money be found to upgrade this valuable asset?”

     

    Councillor D Saunders responded with the following points:

     

    ·  Replacement parts had recently been received and tested, the lift was now operational.

    ·  The lift would be operational until 6 October.

    ·  The lift had received considerable investment over the last few years.

     

    Councillor Bailey followed up her question by asking if the Council would undertake a commitment to overhaul the lift system rather than respond reactively to issues.

     

    Councillor D Saunders responded that he agreed that ideally the lift would be fully reconditioned however this would leave the lift out of action for a long period of time.  Options for the lift would be looked at when the 2020-21 budget was considered.

     

7b

Question No. 2 Leopold Street Car Park pdf icon PDF 92 KB

    Minutes:

    Councillor Ara asked Councillor Ashbee the following question:

     

    “The harbour multi-storey car park in Ramsgate is in an absolutely filthy state, with graffiti  litter, drug use and public urination. The lift is a potential hazard, especially for families with children, or to those with a physical disability. Does the cabinet have a fixed date to start renovations. ”

     

    Councillor Ashbee responded with the following points:

     

    ·  The Royal Harbour car park was deep cleaned in April 2019,  however the car park suffered regularly form vandalism, graffiti and abuse.

    ·  In January 2019 the Council invested over £30,000 on a state-or-the-art CCTV system for the car park, which has helped the Council identify offenders and abusers of the car park so that the police could take action.

    ·  In September 2019 the Council would undertake another deep clean followed in early October 2019 by a complete repainting of all of the stairways and railings.

    ·  The lifts are were in need of substantial refurbishment/replacement.  The Council was talking to the owners of the building to see how this could be achieved.

    ·  The Leader met with representatives from Ramsgate Town Council and the Town Team and there was a shared action plan and programme of work which will support the delivery of improvements.

    ·  The Council has committed to cleaning the car park daily

     

    Councillor Ara followed up her question by asking if there was an ongoing plan to ensure the car park remained in a good condition following the clean up.

     

    Councillor Ashbee responded that she will keep a close watching eye on the matter to ensure that the action plan was adhered to.

     

7c

Question No.3 Brexit Preparations pdf icon PDF 92 KB

    Minutes:

    Councillor Everitt asked the Leader the following question:

     

    “Is the leader confident that the council is fully prepared for a possible "no-deal Brexit" and that the impacts on the district of Operation Brock, in particular, can be managed within existing council resources and without detriment to the everyday lives of Thanet residents.”

     

    The Leader responded with the following points:

     

    ·  Over the last 12 months the Council had been actively engaged with all the relevant partners through the Kent Resilience Forum at a strategic and tactical level in preparation for the UK leaving the EU.

    ·  The Council and other partners such as Kent Police, Dover District Council and the Port of Dover expressed concerns to the Department of Transport and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.  The potential impact on communities needed full recognition by the Government and allocation of resources needed to reflect the increased risks faced by the District.

    ·  Preparations included:

    o  Duty rotas to ensure the Senior Management Team were engaged and informed regarding arrangements for a no deal Brexit.

    o  Safety Advisory Group arrangements with the Department for Transport to assess the impact of the lorry park and management plans for the Manston site. 

    o  Completion of a detailed community impact assessment .

    o  All services have carried out business continuity impact assessment and developed a Brexit specific risk register. 

    o  The Council’s communication leads engaged with the strategic media cell and were proactive in providing a tool kit for the local community. 

    o  Engagement with local business, led by the Strategic Partnerships Manager. 

    o  Appointed of a Brexit lead officer who was overseeing the range of activities required to ensure that the multiple work streams were well coordinated. 

    o  Testing of the Council’s business continuity plans with specific reference to Brexit.

    o  The Council has engaged in Operation Lundy a multi-agency test for the plans and ensured that our feedback is incorporated into further development of the plans.

    ·  Whilst the Council has, and would continue to do all  it can to mitigate and prepare for a worst case scenario, if a worst case scenario materialised then Council resources would be stretched.  We all need to pull together as a community to get through what will undoubtedly be uncharted and choppy waters.

     

    Councillor Everitt followed up his question by asking if the Leader meet with the District’s Members of Parliament (MPs) in order to make them aware of the challenges that could face the District.

     

    The Leader advised that he regularly met with the Districts MP’s and that they were aware of the challenges facing the District relating to Brexit.

     

7d

Question No.4 Beach Cleanliness pdf icon PDF 92 KB

    Minutes:

    Councillor Rawf asked Councillor Ashbee the following question:

     

    “Protecting the environment is in council plan. But our streets and beaches are covered in rubbish. It is pulled into the sea and causes lasting environmental damage. Volunteers can't clear it. Can the cabinet explain their plan for ending this scandal and when that plan will be published?”

     

    Councillor Ashbee responded with the following points:

     

    ·  The street cleansing and seasonal beach teams had worked hard to clean up after beach users throughout the summer season from March through to October and deserved our thanks for their effort.

    ·  Staff work from 6am until 8pm at peak times throughout the summer.

    ·  The Council has worked on joint campaigns with Southern Water and the Environment Agency to help communicate important messages about how litter can affect water quality and negatively impact the natural environment.

    ·  Possitive feedback has been received at many of the District’s beaches which have won more awards such as Blue Flags and Seaside Awards, than any other area in the country.

    ·  The Council has procured a number of litter vacuums which staff were using, and they were available to community groups to use.

     

    Councillor Rawf followed up his question by asking how often does the Council check on the work of contractors and what penalties were issued to these contractors for poor performance?

     

    Councillor Ashbee responded that the service was in house, although additional agency staff were employed during the summer months to meet the additional work load.

     

7e

Question No.5 Climate Emergency Committee pdf icon PDF 91 KB

    Minutes:

    Councillor Garner asked the Leader the following question:

     

    Will the Leader of the Council agree to set up a cross party Climate Emergency committee of councillors to work with the officers producing the Climate Emergency Report, for the Feb 2020 council meeting, to offer advice and support, demonstrating how seriously the Council takes this issue?

     

    The Leader responded with the following points:

     

    ·  It had been agreed that a cross party working group would be established which would consider, as a first action, the assessment of the implications of achieving carbon neutral status by 2030.

    ·  The cross party group would:

    o  Compile a full report on the current situation with immediate and longer term actions to be taken.

    o  Ensure that the report includes environmental impact of the council, suggestions for actions to address this and any measures to support positive environmental impact across the District.

     

    Councillor Garner followed up his question by asking whether standards for housing developments would be considered by the Group.

     

    The Leader responded that the intention was for the Group to consider all aspects..

     

7f

Question No.6 Email Correspondence pdf icon PDF 84 KB

    Minutes:

    Councillor Duckworth asked Councillor Pugh the following question:

     

    “Does the council block specific residents from contacting members or officers directly by email and if so, how many residents are blocked and on what basis?”

     

    Councillor Pugh responded with the following points:

     

    ·  The Council did not block specific residents from contacting Members or Officers directly by email.  However, in some very limited and exceptional circumstances, it was necessary for the Council to manage or moderate correspondence from specific email addresses, by redirecting the email to a single point of contact in the Council.

    ·  The purpose of this action was to apply a filter process to remove vexatious contact by individuals.

    ·  The Council had a duty of care to its staff to take appropriate lawful steps to prevent this type of behaviour.

    ·  There were at present no redirections in place.

     

    Councillor Duckworth followed up her question by asking if the Council was confident that this practice was lawful?  How could Members be assured that the action was proportional.

     

    Councillor Pugh responded that the Council had received legal advice on the matter that confirmed that the policy of redirecting emails to a single point of contact was lawful.

     

7g

Question No.7 Asset Management Process pdf icon PDF 84 KB

    Minutes:

    Councillor Currie asked Councillor D Saunders the following question:

     

    ”What process is TDC using to actively seek out, engage with, encourage and facilitate community groups to take on council assets that are being disposed of? Please can you lay out the steps that are being taken, when and by whom?”

     

    Councillor D Saunders responded with the following points:

     

    ·  Recently a Members Briefing about asset transfer had taken place.

    ·  Thanet Council had a history of supporting many community groups with property and land,  recent successful freehold asset transfers to community groups included Forresters Hall to East Kent Mencap and Westgate Pavilion to the Westgate Pavilion local project. 

    ·  Successful  leasehold transfers  included the Margate Caves Community project and the Ramsgate Tunnel Project.

    ·  Asset disposals were regulated by law, and the Council had a strategic and proactive approach to reviewing property and land ownership with policies and processes documented in the Strategic Asset Management Plan (2017 - 2021) and the Community Asset Transfer Policy (January 2018 to December 2021). 

    ·  The list of council owned assets available for disposal was on the website with supporting information see https://www.thanet.gov.uk/info-pages/asset-disposal-list/

    ·  As part of the Local Government Transparency Code 2015 the Council published a full list of assets on the website and maintained a public register of assets of community value.  https://www.thanet.gov.uk/info-pages/community-right-to-challenge-and-bid/

    ·  Members were encouraged to share these policies their constituents.

     

    Councillor Currie followed up his question by asking whether the Council would provide support to the new asset holder once a transfer had been made?

     

    Councillor D Saunders responded that the Council would give every assistance possible to the new asset holder.

     

7h

Question No. 8 Street Trading pdf icon PDF 91 KB

8.

Notices of Motion

9.

Leaders Report pdf icon PDF 173 KB

    To receive a report from the Leader of the Council in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 2.4.

     

    Minutes:

    During his report the Leader covered the following areas:

    ?  The Ramsgate Port and Harbour feasibility study specification had been finalised.

    ?  A cross party working group had been set up to look at toilet provision across the District.

    ?  The Chief Executive and Deputy Leader had met with Margate Harbour Arm businesses.

    ?  Beach cleansing team had done an extraordinary job to keep the beaches clean during a busy summer season.

    ?  Following the Council’s declaration of a climate emergency, a working group would be set up, and a situation report would be brought to the February 2020 meeting of Council.

    ?  A Scrutiny working group regarding Travellers had been set up to look at how the Council could address unlawful incursions.

    ?  The Turner Prize 2019 would be hosted in Margate by the Turner Contemporary between 28 September 2019 and 12 January 2020.

    ?  The Council had worked with the Sunshine Café who would host an art exhibition for five weeks from 13 September 2019.

    ?  Ramsgate was one of 50 towns invited to apply for Future High Streets Funding.

    ?  The Council had successfully secured £226,100 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to tackle rogue landlords.

    ?  Cabinet recently held an extraordinary meeting to consider Overview and Scrutiny Panel’s (OSP) recommendations regarding the sale of Dreamland.

    ?  A recent Air Quality Annual Status report had found an improvement in air quality across Thanet.  The Council had been working with partners to encourage more environmentally friendly travel methods.

     

    Councillor Everett as Leader of the Labour Party responded with the following points:

    ?  There were a number of topics missing from the Leaders report, such as a reference to staffing and East Kent Housing.

    ?  Progress on the Ramsgate Port feasibility study was welcome, however there was lots of public concern about the Port and its future.

    ?  Councillor Yates deserved recognition for his scrutiny of the Dreamland sale process.  The Labour Group would continue to seek assurances that the future of the site was protected from property development for as long as possible.

    ?  In Future group leaders should be consulted before a Council meeting was cancelled.

     

    The Leader replied to Councillor Everitt’s comments with the following points:

    ?  The Leader would provide an update regarding staffing and East Kent Housing to Councillor Everitt when they had their next one to one meeting.

    ?  The process regarding the sale of Dreamland had been as open and transparent as possible.  There had been a Members Briefing, an OSP meeting and two Cabinet meetings on the subject.

     

    Councillor Reverend Piper as leader of the Thanet Independents Party made the following points:

    ?  When would the Ramsgate Port and Harbour feasibility study be completed?

    ?  The public outcry following the recent litter incident on Margate beach was understandable, a strong response was needed if it happened again.

    ?  Lessons should be learnt from Hove’s recent traveller incursion experience.  Hove had a dedicated traveller site, however it was not used.  The benefits of a dedicated traveller site should be made clear. 

    ?  The Turner Prize in Margate was a wonderful  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Report of the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel pdf icon PDF 196 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Campbell, the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel (OSP), presented his report and the following points were noted:

    ·  The Panel had met three times; .

    o  18 July  to receive a report on Ramsgate Port

    o  15 August  to scrutinise the sale of the Dreamland freehold

    o  27 August to review the corporate statement and receive a report of Councillor Albon the Chairman of the Travellers Working Party

    ·  Minutes of these meetings were available on the Council’s website.

11.

Representation on Outside Bodies pdf icon PDF 152 KB

12.

Appointments to Committees, Panels and Boards pdf icon PDF 81 KB

    Report to Follow.

    Minutes:

    NOMINATION OF MEMBERS TO SERVE ON COMMITTEES

     

    Members noted the following nomination:

     

    ·  That Councillor Gregory would replace Councillor Constantine on the Overview and Scrutiny Panel.

    ·  That the Thanet Association of Parish Council’s nominate Town Councillor Pennington to the Joint Transportation Board and Parish Councillors Quittenden and Crow-Brown to the Standards Committee.

    ·  That Councillor Reverend Piper would replace Councillor  Dennis on Constitutional Review Working Party.