Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday, 9th July, 2020 5.00 pm

Venue: Online Only

Contact: Charlotte Crowley 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

2.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 130 KB

    To approve the Minutes of the meeting of Council held on 27 February 2020, copy attached.

    Minutes:

    It was proposed by the Chairman, seconded by the Vice Chairman and agreed that the minutes of the meeting of Council held on 27 February 2020 be approved and signed by the Chairman.

3.

Announcements

    To receive any announcements from the Chairman, Leader, Members of the Cabinet or Chief Executive in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 2.2 (iv).

     

    Minutes:

    Congratulations were offered to all Councillors and Council staff regarding their efforts in supporting the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Condolences were given to the families of those who have lost their loved ones during this time.

     

    Members also noted the passing of former Councillor Victor Harris who represented Birchington for four years and former Chairman’s attendant Keith Hauxwell. Tributes were paid and Councillors paused for a minute’s silence.

     

    Councillor Reverend. S Piper and Councillor Tomlinson paid tribute to Keith Hauxwell, noting his exceptional knowledge of those he worked with and his good nature.

4.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 87 KB

5.

Petitions

5a

Adequate Toilet Facilities at Thanet Beaches Petition pdf icon PDF 79 KB

    Minutes:

    Mr Adrian Smith presented an e-petition regarding adequate toilet facilities on Thanet Beaches. Members noted that the following e-petition contained 147 signatures:

     

    “We the undersigned petition the council to hold a thorough review of the facilities available around the Thanet beaches to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both visitors and residents and to invest in adequate infrastructure to meet the outcomes.”

     

    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

Postpone Dog Restrictions on Thanet Beaches Petition pdf icon PDF 80 KB

    Minutes:

    Members noted that the e-petition regarding dog restrictions on beaches contained 27 signatures:

     

    “We the undersigned petition the council to Postpone the regular dog walking restrictions on Thanet beaches for a month. With social distancing still in place, we are extremely lucky to have the beaches as an extra space to walk our dogs whilst keeping our distance. It seems extremely short sighted that, when other councils have lifted restrictions TDC have decided not to. Walking on the beach is an ideal way to keep the space between yourself and others. We will not have day trippers, visitors or holiday makers. The beaches will not be any busier than they are at the moment. We urge TDC to reconsider their decision.”

     

    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.

     

6.

Questions from the press and public pdf icon PDF 79 KB

6a

Question no1 - Emergency Powers

    Minutes:

    Ms Austin asked Councillor Whitehead the following question:

     

    “In my years of working in and with Local Authorities, I’ve only seen Emergency Powers used in very exceptional circumstances, but in Thanet they seem to be used frequently.

     

    Could you please advise how many times such powers have been used over the past year and why this was necessary?”

     

    Councillor Whitehead responded with the following points:

    ·  Emergency powers refers to the Council’s ability to make urgent decisions. These are made across all Councils for a variety of purposes, in four circumstances:

    o  General exception - decisions that have not been included in the Forward Plan, but where there are still at least five days between the date of decision and the date of publication.

    o  Special urgency - decisions which have not been included in the Forward Plan, and where there are not five clear days between the date of decision and the date of publication

    o  Urgent implementation - decisions that are taken that require the need to waive the conventional call in period

    o  Urgent items - items that are to be considered by a committee which have not been placed on to an agenda at least five clear days prior to publication

     

    ·  The Council had used these powers three times in the last 12 months, relating to the sale of Dreamland in July 2019, updating the IT housing system in preparation for moving the service ‘in-house’ on 1st June 2020 and lastly relating to the replacement of 11 refuse freighters on 8th June 2020.

    ·  This last decision relates to section 13.03b of the Constitution, which required the approval of a key decision to commit the £2.2m funding for the delivery of an already approved project. This was a procedural omission due to the pressures on the Operational Services team, the project already having been approved, and a General Exception Notice route was then followed rather than delaying the purchase of the vehicles which could ultimately have impacted on the future delivery of the waste service.

    ·  In comparison to other local authorities, in the last year, Dover District Council took 11 urgent decisions and Folkestone and Hythe took five urgent decisions, in comparison to Thanet’s three.

    ·  It is entirely right to ask questions surrounding our usage of these powers, and it is also right to note and expect that these powers will only be used in exceptional circumstances. Time pressures are a constant consideration, but justification and reason must always be sound and backed up by public accountability, both in terms of forum questioning, and in publication of all Urgent Decisions, as already practiced.

    ·  The details of all our “Urgent” decisions can be found in the Delegated Decisions section of the TDC website.

     

7.

Questions from Members of the Council pdf icon PDF 83 KB

7a

Question no1 - Anti-Social Behaviour

    Minutes:

    Councillor Taylor asked Councillor Whitehead the following question:

     

    “With increasing criminal activity and Anti Social Behaviour notably in Dane Park and parts of Dane Valley can we be assured that when the Thanet Community Safety Partnership next meets with the police this issue and safety of the residents will be on the agenda for discussion and action.?”

     

    Councillor Whitehead responded that:

    ·  The Council is aware of the spike in behaviour and would like to express sympathy to those affected. The Community Safety Team are aware of incidents and are liaising with Kent Police to make sure public spaces are safe.

    ·  The Council are aware of the on-going issues relating to an unauthorised encampment in Dane Park and long term plans are being developed to help resolve this (with operational detail remaining confidential), to ensure that all communities are safe and provided for.

    ·  If residents are experiencing issues related to Anti-Social Behaviour, in any area, the Council would urge them to report them either via 101 to Kent Police or community.safety@thanet.gov.uk.

    ·  The partnership is committed to tackling Anti-Social Behaviour in all forms so please do not hesitate to raise your specific concerns either directly with myself or with relevant officers.

     

    Councillor Taylor followed up his question by asking that since the question had been submitted, there had been two assaults in Dane Park, and whether it was possible to have CCTV in the park.

     

    Councillor Whitehead responded that any interventions will be done alongside Kent Police and the Community Safety team who are working out the best way to deal with these issues, but this is an on-going process at the moment. The measures are under constant discussion.

     

     

7b

Question no2 - Ramsgate Pontoons

    Minutes:

    Councillor Towning asked Councillor Everitt the following question:

     

    “Have the fees been paid to TDC for the mooring of the two pontoons at Ramsgate harbour since September 2019 , how much was paid, over what period, who are the owners and any agreement for how long they will be moored?”

     

    Councillor Everitt responded that:

    ·  Fees have been paid by the customer Bam Nuttall for the mooring of the two pontoons.

    ·  The customer is being charged a published tariff rate however, it should be noted that the schedule of fees and charges does not include a specific tariff for a pontoon as this is not classed as a vessel. 

    ·  Ramsgate Harbour is run on a commercial basis and the nature of individual transactions between the Harbour and any of its customers must remain confidential.  This is not only to protect the confidentiality that must exist between the harbour and its customer but is also to protect the Council's position in terms of competition that exists in the wider maritime market.

    ·  It is for the customer to decide how long they wish for the pontoons to remain at Ramsgate, there is no agreement in place for this.

     

    Councillor Towning followed up his question by asking if it would be possible if he could find out what period the money has been paid over and how much.

     

    Councillor Everitt responded that the Monitoring Officer can explain the Council’s legal position, but the amount paid is substantial and appropriate.

     

7c

Question no3 - Waste Vehicles

    Minutes:

    Councillor Wing asked Councillor Albon the following question:

     

    “Why was it necessary to use 'emergency powers' to spend £2.2 million on replacement waste and recycling vehicles?”

     

    Councillor Albon responded that

    ·  The 2020/21 capital programme includes an approved budget for the replacement of a substantial proportion of the council’s refuse vehicle fleet. The expected economic life span of a refuse collection vehicle is 7 years; this is because of the heavy nature of the work and type of load the vehicles carry.

    ·  The vehicles to be replaced were purchased in 2013.  These vehicles can no longer be economically maintained and it will quite simply leave the council unable to deliver a full household waste service if they are not replaced.  The project delivery has therefore been programmed to coincide with the end of the existing vehicle's economic life.

    ·  Section 13.03b of The Constitution requires the approval of a key decision to commit the £2.2m funding for the delivery of this approved project.

    ·  Unfortunately due to considerable pressures on the Operational Services team as a result of maintaining a full household waste service during the COVID-19 pandemic, the proposed spend was not included on the Forward Plan in accordance with standard timescales. 

    ·  This was a procedural omission and a General Exception Notice route was then followed rather than delaying the purchase of the vehicles which could ultimately have impacted on the future delivery of the waste service.

     

    Councillor Wing followed up her question by asking: since the current lifespan of a refuse vehicle is seven years, their replacement should have been predicted. This should not have been an emergency situation. While there is no disagreement about the purchase of the vehicles, given the Council did not go through a formal tendering process, how would TDC guarantee the best value for public money.

     

    Councillor Albon asked the Director of Operations, Gavin Waite, to respond. TDC used a framework, that was similar to the one used by Councils across the country, designed to undertake the procurement and make sure all due diligence is done. They host the competition process to deliver best practice and therefore best value to the Council. This process is quicker and easier as it solves any issues regarding procurement rules, and was able to be completed quickly at the time. Further, this was a procedural error which should have been on the Forward Plan, as it has been on the Project Plan for the last two years.

7d

Question no4 - Jetskis

    Minutes:

    Councillor Farrance asked Councillor Albon the following question:

     

    “TDC works very hard  to ensure the safety of residents and visitors. In this regard, what steps are being taken to ensure that jetskiers only launch from the designated four slipways, and those who come into the swimming areas and 'buzz' kayakers and paddle boarders will be dealt with appropriately?”

     

     

    Councillor Albon responded that:

    ·  A communication has been sent out to all members of the water user group reminding them of the rules and what is expected of them.

    ·  Any individuals identified as breaching the rules continuously will be contacted and their permits revoked.

    ·  The RNLI will tackle those breaking the rules on beaches they patrol.

    ·  The Council are designating a summer beach & coastal supervisor who can support us by being the eyes and ears on the ground, closing barriers, engaging with water users and reminding them of the rules.

    ·  This ideally would be a longer term position, as it is very much needed with our increasingly busy beaches and coastline, particularly in providing weekend support for our staff and partner agencies as well as gathering intelligence on the problems.

    ·  From this monitoring and reporting, the Council wants to review the effectiveness of the signage, barriers and bollards at some of the problem hotspots this summer. This would also look at some effective ways of communicating with the public on the rules and regulations moving forwards.

    ·  Furthermore, the Council intend to meet with the local jet ski clubs to find some better ways of holistically managing the issues faced, finding solutions by working in partnership.

    ·  Longer term, the Council aim to strengthen our powers over the coastal by-laws to make them more easily enforceable with more serious penalties, and are exploring doing this through a Public Spaces Protection Order encompassing all old by-laws and new requirements.

     

    Councillor Farrance followed up her question by noting that this was a reassuring report and of course it was an excellent idea to work with the clubs, but the issue is with the people launching jet skis illegally who don’t want to join local clubs. When Councillors or members of the public see individuals misbehaving what should be done to tackle this and who should the issues be reported to.

     

    Councillor Albon responded that he is always available, and that there is an out-of-hours Council phone number to call and the message will be passed on to the relevant officer. Once a coastal supervisor has been recruited, they would be able to deal with these matters too.

     

8.

Notices of Motion

8a

Notice of Motion - Fireworks pdf icon PDF 91 KB

    Minutes:

    It was proposed by Councillor Gregory and seconded by Councillor Rawf that:

     

    The Council recommends to Cabinet that Cabinet reviews the Council's legal powers in relation to public firework displays and the use of fireworks generally in the District, and in particular:

    ·  a requirement that all public firework displays within the local authority boundaries to be advertised in advance of the event, allowing residents to take precautions for their animals and vulnerable people;

    ·  the promotion of a public awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people – including the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks;

    ·  lobbying the Government urging them to ‘utilise any levers at their disposal to mitigate any negative impacts on animals and vulnerable people of the hosting of firework displays;

    ·  lobbying the Government to impose tighter controls on the use of fireworks;

    ·  encouraging local suppliers of fireworks to stock ‘quieter’ fireworks for public display.

     

    In accordance with council procedure rule 3.7, Councillor Whitehead provided a response to the motion.

     

    Members chose to debate the motion.

     

    A recorded vote took place on this item due to the nature of the meeting being completely virtual.

     

    The Monitoring Officer conducted a recorded vote on the motion as follows:

     

    49 Members voted in favour of the motion: Councillors Albon, Ara, Ashbee, Bailey, Bambridge, J Bayford, R Bayford, Boyd, Campbell, Coleman-Cooke, Currie, Day, Dexter, Duckworth, Everitt, Farrance, Fellows, Garner, Green, Gregory, Hopkinson, Huxley, Keen, Kup, Pat Moore, Paul Moore, Ovenden, Parsons, L Piper, Potts, Pugh, Rattigan, Rawf, Rogers, Roper, Rusiecki, D Saunders, M Saunders, Savage, Scobie, Scott, Shrubb, Taylor, Towning, Tomlinson, Whitehead, Wing, Wright and Yates.

     

    No Members voted against the motion.

     

    1 Member abstained from voting on the motion: Councillors Rev. S Piper.

     

    2 Members were unable to vote due to technical difficulties: Councillors Crittenden and Dennis.

     

    The motion was carried.

9.

Leaders Report pdf icon PDF 87 KB

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

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    In summary, the Leader’s report commended the efforts of the Council staff, Members, and the workers on the frontline who have helped to fight COVID-19, through continued service delivery, handling beach management challenges and supporting businesses and will now begin to move on and recover from this. Additional detail to the report is attached as Annex 1 to this minute item.

     

    Councillor Ashbee as Deputy-Leader of the Conservative Party responded on behalf of Councillor Game  with the following points:

    ·  There was agreement with the comments sending sentiments to families who have lost loved ones and thanking the staff members who stepped up to help at this difficult time to keep services going and providing an outstanding response to the needs of our community.

    ·  The behaviour of those visiting our beaches cannot be condoned. But it is good to see our residents enjoying the opening of pubs and bars once again.

    ·  The assistance central government will give local authorities for recovery is uncertain

    ·  A cross-party finance working group should be set up to assist in reviewing a future emergency budget, with the input of all elected Members.

    ·  On the subject of Uncle Mack’s plaque, its future should be decided through consultation with the Overview and Scrutiny panel and the town council, rather than one person. The Pleasurama development will be an undoubted improvement to Ramsgate and a site that has sat derelict for many years.

    ·  In regards to the earlier news surrounding the granting of the Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Manston site, the Conservative group welcomed the decision and is pleased to move on in a time of uncertainty. Districts across the country will now struggle to attract inward investment and create jobs at a time when many businesses will be struggling as a result of the pandemic. Thanet is fortunate to have private investors willing to put £300m towards a project that will create good long term work and lay the foundations for a solid economy for the future

     

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

    ·  A common appreciation was shared for the efforts of the Council staff during this emergency situation.

    ·  There was agreement that Uncle Mack should be called in; Councillors have the right to air their views and the Leader is looking forward to hearing them.

    ·  The DCO decision was announced a few hours prior to the Council meeting and even normal arrangements for the Leader’s speech wouldn’t allow lengthy reflection on the matter. As the Secretary of State has overturned the Planning Inspectorate’s decision on the application, it is expected that the decision will be challenged and that the uncertainty is not over. The Council will engage constructively with whichever decision comes from this.

     

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

    ·  Congratulations were shared to the officers of the council for their sterling efforts during this crisis. Commitment across all teams, including the finance team, refuse collection and even the digital team to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Report of the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel pdf icon PDF 100 KB

11.

Thanet Local Plan - Inspectors’ Report (Reg 25) And Adoption (Reg 26) pdf icon PDF 170 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    After the Leader presented his report, it was proposed by the Leader and seconded by Councillor Bob Bayford and Members agreed by recorded vote the recommendations detailed in the report, namely to:

     

    1.  Adopt the Thanet Local Plan, subject to the modifications set out in the Inspectors’ Report;

    and

    2.  Adopt the Landscape Character Assessment as a Supplementary Planning Document.

     

    A recorded vote took place on this item due to the nature of the meeting being completely virtual.

     

    The Monitoring Officer conducted a recorded vote on the motion as follows:

     

    41 Members voted in favour of the motion: Councillors Albon, Ara, Ashbee, Bailey, J Bayford, R Bayford, Campbell, Coleman-Cooke, Currie, Day, Duckworth, Everitt, Farrance, Garner, Green, Gregory, Hopkinson, Huxley, Keen, Pat Moore, Ovenden, Parsons, L Piper, Rev. S Piper, Pugh, Rattigan, Rawf, Rogers, Roper, Rusiecki, D Saunders, M Saunders, Savage, Scobie, Shrubb, Taylor, Towning, Tomlinson, Whitehead, Wing, and Yates.

     

    1 Member voted against the motion: Councillor Kup.

     

    8 Members abstained from voting on the motion: Councillors Bambridge, Boyd, Dexter, Fellows, Paul Moore, Potts, Scott and Wright.

     

    2 Members were unable to vote due to technical difficulties: Councillors Crittenden and Dennis.

     

    The motion was carried.

12.

Draft Homelessness, Housing and Rough Sleeping Strategy pdf icon PDF 118 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    After the Deputy-Leader presented her report, it was proposed by the Deputy-Leader, seconded by the Councillor Everitt and Members agreed by recorded vote the recommendations detailed in the report, namely that:

     

    1.  Agree to adopt the draft Housing, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2020-2025, attached at annex 1.

     

    A recorded vote took place on this item due to the nature of the meeting being completely virtual.

     

    The Monitoring Officer conducted a recorded vote on the motion as follows:

     

    50 Members voted in favour of the motion: Councillors Albon, Ara, Ashbee, Bailey, Bambridge, J Bayford, R Bayford, Boyd, Campbell, Coleman-Cooke, Currie, Day, Dexter, Duckworth, Everitt, Farrance, Fellows, Garner, Green, Gregory, Hopkinson, Huxley, Keen, Kup, Pat Moore, Paul Moore, Ovenden, Parsons, L Piper, Rev. S Piper, Potts, Pugh, Rattigan, Rawf, Rogers, Roper, Rusiecki, D Saunders, M Saunders, Savage, Scobie, Scott, Shrubb, Taylor, Towning, Tomlinson, Whitehead, Wing, Wright and Yates.

     

    No Members voted against the motion.

     

    No Members abstained from voting on the motion.

     

    2 Members were unable to vote due to technical difficulties: Councillors Crittenden and Dennis.

     

    The motion was carried.

13.

Members Allowances Scheme 2020/2021 pdf icon PDF 88 KB

14.

Confirmation of Independent Person and the Independent Chairman of the Standards Committee pdf icon PDF 63 KB

    Minutes:

    It was proposed by the Chairman, Seconded by the Vice-Chairman and Members agreed to the confirmation of the Independent Person and the Independent Chairman of the Standards Committee:

     

    1.  Mr Dennis James should be appointed as Thanet District Council’s Independent Person for a new four term from this meeting.

     

    2.  Mr Peter Tucker should be appointed as the Chairman of the Standards Committee for a four year term from this meeting.

     

    There were no objections to these recommendations and it was agreed by all Members

15.

Outside Bodies pdf icon PDF 63 KB

    Minutes:

    It was proposed by the Chairman, Seconded by the Vice-Chairman and Members agreed to the recommendation set out in the report, namely:

     

    1.  That Council agrees that Councillor Rattigan is appointed as representative to PATROL (Parking And Traffic Regulations Outside Of London)

     

    There were no objections to these recommendations and it was agreed by all Members.