Venue: Council Chamber, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1RS
Contact: Mathew Jefferys Democratic and Electoral Services Manager
Note: Please note that the public proceedings of the meeting will be recorded and made available for playback on the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council website
Apologies for absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Councillors Dr Hall, Hannam, Holden, McDermott and Noakes.
Declarations of Interest
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.
No declarations of disclosable pecuniary or other significant interests were made.
To receive announcements from the Mayor, the Leader of the Council, members of the Cabinet and the Chief Executive.
The Mayor advised members that a written summary of his engagements since July 2018 had been provided.
Councillor Moore announced:-
· The West Kent Jobs and Skillsfest on 19 September 2018 had over 30 employers attend and 100's of jobs on offer.
· The Council would be hosting a procurement event on 27 September 2018 at the Spa Hotel about how to register on the Council’s procurement portal and how businesses can be a local supplier to the Council. There were already over forty businesses registered to attend.
· The Council would be hosting a buyer event on 2 October 2018, which would be an opportunity for local suppliers to meet the contractor for Calverley Square, MACE.
· There would be a Skillsfest on 16 October 2018 with over sixty local employers and a thousand students expected to attend.
· Royal Tunbridge Wells Together had an upcoming Business Improvement Districts (BID) ballot. The ballot would commence on 11 October 2018 and proceed for 28 days.
Councillor March announced:-
· Another important milestone in the Cultural and Learning Hub project has been achieved; as the collaboration agreement with Kent County Council had been jointly signed and submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
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.
RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 25 July 2018 be approved as a correct record.
Questions from members of the public
To receive any questions from members of the public, of which due notice has been given in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8, to be submitted and answered.
The Mayor advised that no questions from members of the public had been received under Council Procedure Rule 8.
Questions from members of the Council
To receive any questions from members of the Council, of which due notice has been given in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10, to be submitted and answered.
The Mayor advised that there were seven questions pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 10.
1. Question from Councillor Williams
“Can the Portfolio Holder please outline the arrangements for those receiving benefits, such as Housing or the forthcoming Universal Credit, concerning payment for the new brown bin tax to secure disposal of their green waste?”
Answer from Councillor Dr Basu
“I’m afraid I have no idea what Councillor Williams is talking about, there is no ‘brown bin tax.”
Supplementary question from Councillor Williams
“Is there any concern by the Portfolio Holder, that in a predominately wealthy middle class area not enough is being done to reduce charges for the less well off?”
Answer from Councillor Dr Basu
“Actually there aren't any charges; this is a fair and equitable solution, as users of the service pay. Resident’s without gardens won’t be subsidising people in larger properties.”
2. Question from Councillor Bullman
“Given that the collection of garden waste was previously included in the general charge for waste collection, how does the Council claim that this new charge is anything other than an additional cost levied on residents who avail themselves of the service?”
Answer from Councillor Dr Basu
“We have always been clear that we will continue to pick up household waste including food waste for free. Garden waste collections will be an optional, opt-in service as is the case with the rest of Kent.”
Supplementary question from Councillor Bulman
“Given that the charge is going to be £52 going forward, can the Cabinet member explain to us please why Tonbridge and Malling manage to do this for £30 and some council's don't charge for it at all. How can we explain this discrepancy?”
Answer from Councillor Dr Basu
“These questions have already been answered at the last three meetings. If Councillor Bulman had attended those meetings, he would not be asking this question. If he had this question he could have clarified it with the officer concerned.”
3. Question from Councillor Stewart
“At a meeting of Paddock Wood Town Council last week there was an attempt to halt the development of a Community Hub on the Memorial Ground in Paddock Wood. This project, on this site, to be partly funded by Section 106 Developer contributions, has received brilliant officer support from the Borough over the last two years.
Last week the Town Council voted overwhelmingly in favour of continuing with the project.
As it is one of the Borough Council's 8 big projects as identified in the Five Year Plan as adopted by this Council, can the leadership confirm that the Paddock Wood Community Hub still has their full support?”
Answer from Councillor Weatherly
“We are committed to delivering all the projects within the five year plan and we are making good progress. I can confirm that we will continue to support Paddock Wood Town Council to deliver their aspirations for a community Hub on the proposed site.”
4. Question from Councillor Williams
“Can the Portfolio Holder please confirm whether it ... view the full minutes text for item FC27/18
Notice of Use of Urgency Procedures
To note the use of the Special Urgency procedure in accordance with Access to Information Procedure Rule 16, in respect of Cabinet decision CAB59/18 (Household Recycling, Waste Collection and Street Cleansing Contract Procurement).
The Chief Executive, William Benson, advised members that the purpose of the item was to note the use of the Special Urgency procedure in accordance with Access to Information Procedure Rule 16, in respect of Cabinet decision CAB59/18, namely: Household Recycling, Waste Collection and Street Cleansing Contract Procurement on 30 August 2018.
Mr Benson advised that “Special Urgency” was the procedure whereby a key decision may be taken with less than 5 days notice with the prior agreement of the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee that the taking of the decision cannot reasonably be deferred.
Details of the decision and the reasons why the procedure was used was set out in the Special Urgency Notice available to all Members at the time. The procedure also requires that its use be reported to the next available Council meeting.
The Mayor advised that, as a procedural matter, the item was not open for discussion and that members were asked to note the use of the procedure rules.
RESOLVED – That the use of Special Urgency procedure in accordance with Access to Information Procedure Rule 16, in respect of Cabinet decision CAB59/18, namely: Household Recycling, Waste Collection and Street Cleansing Contract Procurement, be noted.
Councillor Jukes moved, and Councillor Reilly seconded, the recommendation set out in the report.
There being no comments, the Mayor sought the affirmation of the meeting.
RESOLVED – That the Timetable of Meetings for 2019/20, as at Appendix A to the report, be agreed.
Councillor Reilly moved, and Councillor Jukes seconded, the recommendations set out in the report.
The discussion included consideration of the following matters:
· The scheme for 2018/19 was a continuation of this scheme with no changes being made apart from technical changes to allow for the introduction of universal credit later this year.
· The impact of the introduction of universal credit in Nov 2018 would represent a significant change for households in receipt of welfare benefits.
· Funding for council services was due to reduce significantly after 2019/20 and fundamental changes may need to be considered to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2020/21.
· Option 4 would be reviewed at the next available opportunity.
1. That the current existing Council Tax Reduction Scheme be carried forward un-amended to 2019/20.
2. That, in the absence of any changes, it be noted that no public consultation will be undertaken.
To consider two Motions on Notice, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11, the first submitted by Councillor Jukes and the second submitted by Councillor Lidstone.
Councillor Jukes moved, and Councillor Hill seconded, the motion as set out in the agenda.
The following points were raised in Councillor Jukes’ moving of the motion:
· The redistribution should be within the county boundary
· The changes, were in his opinion, a fundamental error on behalf of the Boundary Commission
The discussion included consideration of the following additional matters:
· Tunbridge Wells constituency was the only constituency in Kent that has been carved up in this fashion.
· Dealing with three MP's would make the work of the council more difficult and the administration of elections more complicated and costly.
· Parliamentary boundaries which go across county boundaries were ill thought out and complex.
· Need to send a message to local MP's to reject the results of this review.
Members who voted in favour of the motion: The Mayor Councillor Horwood, The Deputy Mayor Councillor Scholes, Councillors Backhouse, Dr Basu, Chapelard, Mrs Cobbold, Dawlings, Elliott, Ellis, Gooda, Hamilton, Heasman, Hill, Huggett, Jukes, Lewis, Lewis-Grey, Lidstone, Mackonochie, March, Moore, Neve, Nuttall, Ms Palmer, Podbury, Pope, Reilly, Simmons, Soyke, Stanyer, Mrs Thomas, Thomson, Uddin, Weatherly, and Woodward. (35)
Members who voted against the motion: None.
Members who abstained from voting: Councillors Barrington-King, Bland, Bulman, Hastie, Oakford, Scott, Stewart and Williams. (8)
RESOLVED – That whilst recognising the motivation driving the boundary review, this Council regrets that the final proposals have failed to take account of the views of this Council and local people. The proposals fail to recognise natural and historic communities of place, are administratively burdensome and would impact adversely on democratic representation. We urge our local MPs to reject these proposals and to seek revisions that better reflect the views of local people.
Councillor Lidstone moved, and Councillor Chapelard seconded, the motion as set out in the agenda.
The following points were raised in Councillor Lidstone’s moving of the motion:
· The motion was submitted after being contacted by a number of residents asking for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to support a peoples vote on the final EU deal, including the option to reject it and rescind Article 50.
· A No-Deal Brexit would be disastrous for Tunbridge Wells and Council services.
· Brexit was the defining issue of our generation. Everything would be affected by this; national, local government, businesses and residents in Tunbridge Wells.
· Public funding problems at local government level would get worse.
· As the deadline for leaving drew nearer the public mood had changed and a majority of Britain's now say they would have voted to remain.
· 72% percent of the public believed a No-Deal Brexit would be bad for the country.
· 80% of local businesses were pessimistic about their prospects after Brexit and 60% of whom think it would be harder to recruit staff after Brexit. Not one of them believed it would be easier.
Councillor Jukes moved, and Councillor March seconded, an amendment to the motion.
The following points were raised in Councillor Jukes’ moving of the amendment:
· It had been an established tradition within the ... view the full minutes text for item FC31/18
To consider any other items which the Mayor decides are urgent, for the reasons to be stated, in accordance with Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.
The Mayor confirmed there was no urgent business to consider within the provisions of Council Meetings Procedure 2.1.12.
Common Seal of the Council
To authorise the Common Seal of the Council to be affixed to any contract, minute, notice or other document arising out of the minutes, or pursuant to any delegation, authority or power conferred by the Council.
RESOLVED – That the Common Seal of the Council be affixed to any contract, minute, notice or other document arising out of the minutes or pursuant to any delegation, authority or power conferred by the Council.
Date of next meeting
To note that the date of the next meeting is Wednesday 12 December 2018.
It was noted that the next meeting of Full Council would take place on Wednesday 12 December 2018 at 6.30pm.