Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet - Thursday, 22nd October, 2020 10.30 am

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Contact: Caroline Britt  Democratic Services Officer

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Items
No. Item

CAB30/20

Apologies pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no apologies.

CAB31/20

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To receive any declarations of interest by Members in items on the agenda. For any advice on declarations of interest; please contact the Monitoring Officer before the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no disclosable pecuniary or other significant interests declared at the meeting.

CAB32/20

Notification of Visiting Members wishing to speak pdf icon PDF 6 KB

To note any members of the Council wishing to speak, of which due notice has been given in accordance with Cabinet Procedure Rule 28.4, and which item(s) they wish to speak on.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no visiting Members who had registered as wishing to speak.

CAB33/20

Minutes of the meeting dated 10 September 2020 pdf icon PDF 289 KB

To approve the minutes of a previous meeting as a correct record. The only issue relating to the minutes that can be discussed is their accuracy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members reviewed the minutes. No amendments were proposed.

 

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 10 September 2020 be approved as a correct record.

CAB34/20

Questions from Members of the Council pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To receive any questions from members of the Council, of which due notice has been given in accordance with Cabinet Procedure Rule 28.3, to be submitted and answered.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Pursuant to Cabinet Procedure Rule 28.3, Councillor Pound and Councillor Hamilton had submitted questions as follows:

 

Councillor Pound

 

“Will Councillor March please confirm or deny, on record, whether she received an email from the Secretary of Royal Tunbridge Wells Monson Swimming Club requesting an urgent meeting to discuss concerns regarding an opening date and offering to work collaboratively with Fusion, the Council or both, sent on 17 August 2020 and email to date, still not responded to?

 

Can she also, on record, confirm or refute the accuracy therefore of her minuted statement to Overview and Scrutiny Committee of 21 September 2020 that “Correspondence did not get through regarding community groups because of the incorrect spelling of Councillor Mackonochie’s name as the lead in the email” when there is photographic evidence, which Councillor March has seen, to confirm that it did get through to her but not to Councillor Mackonochie and the sender confirms that there was no undelivered response to Councillor March’s copy but that there was to Councillor Mackonochie.

 

I can also confirm that yesterday I had an email from Mid-Kent IT Services which states that the email in question was received by all parties other than Councillor Mackonochie.”

 

Councillor March provided the following reply:

 

“I received an email from the Secretary of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Monson Swimming Club on 17 August as the second named person in the email address, not the lead.  As the secondary person to the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Communities and Wellbeing I would have expected Councillor Mackonochie to reply.”

 

“ The accuracy of the minuted statement is correct.  I was not the lead, as the second name I would have expected Councillor Mackonochie to reply.  There was no misleading of the O&S as implied in the question. “

 

Councillor Pound asked a supplementary question:

 

“Councillor March has seen evidence that on the email it says ‘to Councillor Mackonochie and to Councillor March’ and therefore as Portfolio Holder with responsibility for economic development and leisure why is it that on this occasion she either didn’t see the email and it went to either her trash or her junk or somewhere else or she chose not to reply to it.  But just saying that ‘I assumed that Councillor Mackonochie would be replying’ is not an adequate response to the fact that since August 17I have had private correspondence with Councillor March about this matter and she has not deemed to respond to it.”

 

Councillor March provided the following reply:

 

“I have responded to Councillor Pound about the negotiations and he obviously doesn’t like the response.  But as far as Community Groups are concerned, that in fact Councillor Mackonochie is the Cabinet Member, Portfolio for Communities and Wellbeing and this in fact is a Community Group and would have been responded by her in the first instance.  It is unfortunate that it didn’t get through but I would not have  responded.  I don’t think a sender would have expected two different people  ...  view the full minutes text for item CAB34/20

CAB35/20

Questions from Members of the Public pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To receive any questions from members of the public, of which due notice has been given in accordance with Cabinet Procedure Rule 28.5, to be submitted and answered.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no questions from members of the public.

CAB36/20

Consideration of the Forward Plan as at 29 September 2020 pdf icon PDF 254 KB

To note forthcoming items set out on the Forward Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered the plan. No amendments were proposed.

 

RESOLVED – That the Forward Plan as at 29 September 2020 be noted.

CAB37/20

Revised Statement of Community Involvement 2020 pdf icon PDF 271 KB

To consider and decide on the recommendations as set out in the attached report.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED – That the Statement of Community Involvement as set out in the report and including the amendments as detailed below be adopted. 

1.     That the penultimate sentence of paragraph 2.29 be made into a fresh paragraph, and be amended to state that the ‘the commitments set out in paras 2.28 and 2.29 will be subject to the availability of resources, accommodation and to any restrictions that may be in force (see paragraph 3.22 for further details)’

2.     That paragraph 3.22 be amended to state ‘ There may be consultations where it is not possible to meet face-to-face or to publicise consultations by usual means, due to circumstances beyond the Council’s control, such as the Covid-19/Coronavirus pandemic, by which the Government has imposed restrictions on movement in its efforts to combat the virus (see Government Guidance).  In light of any restrictions, the Council will endeavour to use appropriate temporary methods for consultation on its own and neighbourhood planning documents, such as digital and site notice publications, virtual exhibitions, digital consultations, video conferencing, social media and providing documents for inspection on its website, to ensure that it remains committed to effective community engagement, in line with the most up to date Government Guidance.’

3.     That paragraph 3.14 be amended to state ‘Proposed to amend so that will include reference to the fact that if there any particular groups where communication will be difficult, then questions can be taken away from the exhibition and provided back to that group.’

4.     That paragraph 4.14 be amended to state ‘All members of the public are highly recommended to register their interest, and to regularly review the registered email account.  Registration can be undertaken by clicking here; http://www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/notify .  This includes a document which explains clearly, step-by-step, how one can sign up to register for these emails, and how site notices are and will be displayed based on site configurations.  The document is publicised periodically by the Council, including by social media.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: Approval of the revisions would ensure the changes in both national planning guidance and the ways in which the Council engaged with the Community were endorsed.

 

Minutes:

 

Stephen Baughen, Head of Planning introduced the report that sought approval to adopt the updated Statement of community Involvement (SCI). 

 

Discussion and responses to Members questions included the following:

 

-       The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) set out how the Council would involve the community in the preparation and review of planning policy for the Borough and the decision making on planning applications.

-       It was a statutory requirement for Council’s to have an SCI.  

-       The first SCI was adopted in 2006 and revised in 2016.  Recent regulations had introduced a requirement for the SCI’s to be reviewed within 5 years.

-       The report included a number of reasons as to why the SCI required a review and further revision. 

-       Section 3 of the report detailed the main changes.  In particular there would be an increased ability to engage through the use of digital technology.  Given the restrictions and social distancing requirements that were necessary due to the current pandemic this addition to the SCI was particularly pertinent. 

-       In relation to new planning applications residents, businesses etc. would now be able to sign up to email alerts.  This reflected changes to process introduced in 2017.

-       Since the report had been sent to Cabinet, there had been two updates, both of which had been reported to Overview and Scrutiny at their meeting on 12 October 2020.  A third update was as a result of feedback from that meeting.

-       Given the present circumstances that included the difficulties of operating at times of social distancing, further clarification had now been included in relation to publicity and consultation. 

-       The penultimate sentence of paragraph 2.29 would be made into a fresh paragraph and be amended to state that the ‘the commitments set out in paragraphs 2.28 and 2.29 will be subject to the availability of resources, accommodation and to any restrictions that may be in force (see paragraph 3.22 for further details).’  

-       It was further proposed to amend paragraph 3.22 to state ‘There may be consultations where it is not possible to meet face-to-face or to publicise consultations by usual means, due to circumstances beyond the Council’s control, such as the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic, by which the Government has imposed restrictions on movement in its effort to combat the virus (see Government guidance).  In light of any restrictions, the Council will endeavour to use appropriate temporary methods for consultation on its own and neighbourhood planning documents, such as digital and site notice publications, virtual exhibitions, digital consultation, video conferencing, social media and providing documents for inspection on its website, to ensure that it remains committed to effective community engagement, in line with the most up to date Government guidance.’

-       Further commentary and advice from the Council’s Corporate Governance team  stressed the importance of being mindful that any increase in the use of digital technology did not exclude anyone who was unable to access information in this format.  In response to this it was confirmed that all documents  ...  view the full minutes text for item CAB37/20

CAB38/20

Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To consider any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent, for the reasons to be stated, in accordance with Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

CAB39/20

Date of Next Meeting pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To note that the date of the next scheduled meeting is Thursday 19 November 2020 at 12.00pm.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The next meeting would be held on Thursday 19 November 2020 commencing at 12pm.