Agenda item

Review of Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme for 2023/24


Councillor Davis proposed that the Panel considered a new scrutiny topic on a sea link project at Minster marshes. This issue should be considered on an urgent basis as this was a serious environmental matter that was emerging and would affect the local area. Councillor Davis suggested that the National Grid representatives be invited to a Panel meeting to discuss their intentions and how this was going to affect the local communities.


The Chair agreed to discuss with the Democratic Services how to progress this request.


Councillor Britcher, Chair of the Tourism Working Party gave an update on the work of the working party and said that they had held two meetings, investigating the negative impact of tourism for the district. Bob Porter, Louise Askew and Mike Humber made presentations at one of the meetings. The working party Chair said that he hoped to bring the final report to the Panel in January 2024.


Responding to the Working Party update, one Member requested that the working party include in its report the positive contributions tourism was bringing to the district. However, the Panel was advised that the purpose of the review was to consider the negative impact of tourism to the district and suggest ways to mitigate that impact and learn some lessons from other councils who had faced similar circumstances.


Councillor Currie suggested and Members agreed that the Panel invites Councillor Albon to the next scheduled Panel meeting on 21 November 2023 to discuss the issue regarding broken bins.


The Panel Chair sought Members views regarding a request by a Member not in attendance at the meeting to consider inviting Manston Airport representatives to a discussion on how they going to get the site open for business. The Panel had agreed at a previous meeting to invite the representatives but further agreed that this should be done after the DCO decision had been made by the Courts.


Members made comments as follows:


·  Thanet District Council a statutory duty regarding Manston Airport and this was a planning issue. There was no point in the airport representatives attending a Panel meeting;

·  Another Member said the DCO resolved the planning issue. They said this was not a planning issue at all;

·  The principles of scrutiny as set out to Members during the induction training supported the idea that the Panel ought to review any matters affecting the local communities. The Panel needs to get update information about the airport site. The Panel needs to hear their plans about the airport being carbon neutral;

·  One Member said that as an authority TDC should be weary to invite the airport representatives;

·  Another said that the object of scrutiny is to scrutinise something that has been presented to the Panel. At the moment nothing had been presented to Thanet District Council. That meant the Panel could not scrutinise anything.


Sameera Khan, the Interim Head of Legal and Monitoring Officer advised the Panel that because there were Panel members who are also members of the Planning Committee, it was therefore not appropriate to consider this matter at Scrutiny as this would amount to pre-determination. It was therefore advisable for the Panel to invite the airport representatives when all planning matters were concluded.


Councillor Austin proposed and Councillor Kristian Bright seconded that Levelling Up Fund and Town Deal projects updates be presented at all future in the form of Gantt chart, for Members to stay informed of the implementation progress. However, this would not require officer attendance at each meeting.


The Chair agreed to take this proposal forward and discuss with the officers.


Members noted the report.

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