Agenda and draft minutes

Full Council - Wednesday, 21st April, 2021 6.30 pm

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Contact: Mathew Jefferys  Democratic and Electoral Services Manager

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Items
No. Item

FC69/20

Apologies for absence pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no apologies.

FC70/20

Minutes of the extraordinary meeting dated 03 February 2021 pdf icon PDF 208 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.

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Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 03 February 2021 be approved as a correct record.

FC71/20

Minutes of the meeting dated 24 February 2021 pdf icon PDF 251 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:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 24 February 2021 be approved as a correct record.

FC72/20

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To receive any declarations of interest by members in items on the agenda in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct. For any advice on declarations of interest; please contact the Monitoring Officer before the meeting.

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Minutes:

No declarations of pecuniary or other significant interest were made.

FC73/20

Announcements pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To receive announcements from the Mayor, the Leader of the Council, members of the Cabinet and the Chief Executive.

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Minutes:

The Mayor announced:

·         Details of Mayoral activities would be circulated with the Members’ Newsletter.

 

The Mayor and Leader of the Council thanked those who would be leaving the Council at the forthcoming elections for their years of service, especially Councillors Neve, Mrs Thomas and Williams who had been councillors for a very long time.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development announced:

·         The Amelia Scott would benefit from Arts Council England funded commissions to elevate normal everyday aspects of the building to works of art for all to enjoy.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Sustainability announced:

·         No idling zone signs had been installed in cooperation with KCC. Further sites were being investigated.

·         The Council had received a grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for £103k to create digital educational materials for children on the importance of air quality.

·         The electricity generation grid nationally set new records over the Easter period for renewable energy contributing to the Council’s energy saving targets.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Governance announced:

·         Covid-19 had caused extraordinary demands on the Council’s staff.

·         During the first national lockdown, business grants totalling £28 million were paid to small businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

·         Following restrictions in November 2020, further targeted grants had been introduced.

·         When the current allocations were complete the Council would have delivered grants to over 9,000 small businesses totalling more than £51 million.

·         Mid Kent Audit Services had been shortlisted by the Institute of Internal Audit for Outstanding Team in the Public Sector. Winners would be announced on 25 June.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Communities and Wellbeing announced:

·         Emergency housing had been provided to 140 single people or couples due to Covid-19 in addition to those with a priority need under the homelessness legislation. 119 of these had since left emergency housing and 21 single people still remain in emergency housing on a temporary basis.

·         Work on six units in Crescent Road was nearing completion which would provide accommodation for those leaving emergency housing whilst finding a more permanent residence.

FC74/20

Questions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 105 KB

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that eight questions from members of the public had been received under Council Procedure Rule 8.

 

1. Question from Michael Tapp

 

“I understand the unfortunate need for new housing in the South East but we must balance this with protecting the environment and combating climate change. Can we expect to see every new house built with solar panels on the roofs, electric charging points in the driveways and the highest standards of insulation? This will cost developers less than retrospective fitting and will help balance our impact on the environment.”

 

Answer from Councillor McDermott

 

“The Pre-Submission Local Plan, currently subject to Regulation 19 consultation, recognises the mitigation of climate change to be a priority when planning for future growth. The Plan incorporates strategic planning on climate change (STR7) and also has specific development management policies to cover these (EN1, EN2 and EN3). Policy EN3 in particular, incorporates specific targets regarding the provision of renewable energy technologies such as solar panels and the energy performance of new buildings. Until central government provides an uplift to current building regulations, these policies ensure that housing is built to a far higher standard than is required. Electrical vehicle charging points are expected to be mandatory in all relevant new developments and this requirement is detailed most clearly under policy EN21. The Local Plan will also give benefits such as net gains for biodiversity, dark skies, active travel (which includes walking, cycling and horse riding), infrastructure to broadband and importantly lets people start on the housing ladder with more affordable homes or, for those wanting rent, social housing.”

 

Supplementary question from Michael Tapp

 

“I have had the pleasure of perusing EN2, EN3, etc. so I was aware of much of what you said. I also did pick up the Council are going to be using a green method for carbon offsetting. Have you considered, as a Council, using the passive house standard that we have seen work so effectively across other councils (Leicester, Norwich, Fife, Lewisham to name but a few)? Essentially what that does is lowers the energy costs for residents as well as reducing the environmental impact.”

 

Supplementary answer from Councillor McDermott

 

“Everything is under consideration. I can’t say exactly what we will come up with but we are looking into every detail for whatever is happening elsewhere as well as what is happening around us in Kent and Sussex.”

 

2. Question from Marieke de Jonge

 

“Whereas a Citizens’ Assembly prescribes engagement of trained and impartial facilitators and includes a period of deliberation amongst participants allowing them to put their ideas forward and come to a conclusion, a Panel or a Jury do not offer this level of engagement. Instead, a Citizen’s Panel merely puts matters in front of some participants for consultation rather than seeking ideas generated by the public. Given that the original motion sets out an ambition to reduce not just the Council’s own, but the wider borough’s carbon emissions to achieve net zero by 2030, does  ...  view the full minutes text for item FC74/20

FC75/20

Questions from members of the Council pdf icon PDF 73 KB

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that two questions from members of the Council had been received under Council Procedure Rule 10.

 

1. Question from Councillor Scott

 

“I would like to congratulate all those Council officers and employees who have worked hard to provide support to residents and local businesses during the Pandemic and the long periods of lockdown. Looking towards the ending of the lockdowns, I ask the Portfolio holder to advise what work is being done by the Council, Tunbridge Wells Together and other supported organisations, to reinvigorate the town during this summer and the remainder of 2021?”

 

Answer from Councillor March

 

“A range of officers and volunteers across the borough have provided support to our residents and businesses since the start of the pandemic last year. The Restart grants were launched on 12 April for retail and hospitality in rateable property and the ARG restart grants to address other sectors and businesses not in rateable value property is to be launched later this week, so we would encourage businesses to check the council website for eligibility. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is a paid-up levy member of the Business Improvement District and as part of Royal Tunbridge Wells Together we promote the reopening through the latest Royal Tunbridge Wells video, in the Welcome Back campaign, and the new loyalty scheme, which is a free of charge loyalty card with a programme funded by Royal Tunbridge Wells Together. When a customer makes a purchase, the business stamps the card with their unique code. At 10 stamps you pop the card into one of the allocated boxes around the town and once a month a winner is drawn and the prize is £100 of gift vouchers to spend in any store in the scheme. Royal Tunbridge Wells Together is also providing ‘reopening kits’ to businesses as well. Across the borough the ‘Say Hi to Your High Street’ campaign for Paddock Wood, Southborough, Hawkhurst and Cranbrook has been launched with press coverage and social media promotion. The ‘Visit Tunbridge Wells’ website has been revamped and recently relaunched including listings for events, attractions and accommodation across the borough. The Community Safety Unit and Environmental Health are overseeing and supporting businesses in reopening and responding to any Covid security breaches. Working with West Kent Partnership, Kent County Council and The Growth Hub on business support programmes for later in the year. Also on the High Street in Royal Tunbridge Wells there is an improved scheme of planters and parklets. The West Kent Kick Start programme, a jobs programme for 18-24 year olds already has young people recruited to Tunbridge Wells businesses.  The first Kick Starter started on 25 February this year and since then another 10 have gone into the workplace. In total, 129 placements have been approved. Finally, there is wraparound training support for young people on the Kick Start West Kent scheme and this is being delivered by North Kent College.”

 

Supplementary question from Councillor Scott

 

“I ask the cabinet member if she would  ...  view the full minutes text for item FC75/20

FC76/20

Notice of Use of Urgency Procedures pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To note the use of the Council’s Urgency Procedures, as set out in the associated notice, in accordance with the Constitution.

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Minutes:

Councillor Podbury moved, and Councillor Woodward seconded, the recommendation set out in the agenda.

 

The Mayor took a vote on the motion by affirmation.

 

RESOLVED – That the use of the Call-In and Urgency procedure, in accordance with Overview andScrutiny Procedure Rule 14, in respect of the Cabinet decision: Amelia Scott Construction Delay made on 11 March 2021 be noted.

FC77/20

Community Safety Partnership Plan 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 182 KB

To consider and, if thought fit, to approve the recommendations set out in the associated report.

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Minutes:

Councillor Mackonochie moved, and Councillor March seconded, the recommendations set out in the report.

 

Debate included consideration of the following points:

·         Annual presentation of the Community Safety Strategic Assessment and Partnership Plan which set the priorities for the financial year.

·         The assessment and plan had been discussed at the Community and Safety Partnership Board in February where the priorities for 2021/2022 were agreed.

·         The reports were further discussed and debated at Cabinet Advisory Board in March where the road safety priority was strengthened before being presented to Cabinet.

·         Tunbridge Wells remained the safest borough in Kent with data for the reporting period showing a nine per cent reduction in overall crime, building on the six per cent reduction reported last year.

·         2020 had brought new challenges and some of the reductions in crime were largely due to Covid restrictions e.g. reduced residential burglaries, robberies and shoplifting. Reports of anti-social behaviour increased by 58 per cent due to residents reporting breaches of Covid regulations.

·         The situation in Tunbridge Wells was consistent with Kent.

·         The use of Public Space Protection Orders had been successful in addressing particular issues and anti-social behaviour in St. John’s Park.

·         Thanks were given to the Community Safety Unit for their responsiveness this year.

·         There were many good charities in the area making an important contribution and special thanks was given to Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Service for the work that they do in making Tunbridge Wells one of the safer places to be, especially as there was a concern that the lockdown conditions would lead to a rise in domestic violence.

 

The Mayor took a vote on the motion by affirmation.

 

RESOLVED – That the Community Safety Partnership Plan 2021-22 be approved.

FC78/20

Report of the Climate Emergency Advisory Panel - Citizens' Assembly pdf icon PDF 244 KB

To consider and, if thought fit, to approve the recommendations set out in the associated report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Bailey moved, and Councillor Scott seconded, the recommendations set out in the report. Comments included:

·         a Climate Emergency had been declared in July 2019, the motion also included a recommendation to run a Citizens’ Assembly as a way of involving local residents in tackling climate change.

·         The cross-party Climate Emergency Advisory Panel had been formed and it was decided that this panel would undertake further research into this area.

·         Following talks with providers, it had become apparent that this was a complicated field with many different options and high potential costs for Cabinet’s consideration.

·         CEAP also requested that its report go back to Full Council so that all councillors could examine the issues in more detail and make their own views known.

·         There were three different options presented in the report: Citizens Assemblies, Citizens Panels and Citizens Juries – they all had different numbers of participants, different structures and varying costs.

·         The report also contained two important caveats: the Council should explore the possibility of outside funding to pay for any such event; and prior to the Council committing significant amounts of it’s own resources (if indeed Cabinet chose to) that consultation should be undertaken with residents to ensure that local taxpayers were happy with any funding proposal.

·         The final decision on whether to run such an event was one for Cabinet and no binding decisions would be made at this meeting.

 

Ms Townend (Head of the secretariat organising Scotland’s Climate Assembly) had registered to speak. Comments included:

·         Scotland had just concluded 7 weekend meetings and published their interim report.

·         Citizens’ Assemblies were a more expensive option than a consultation so would not be right for every situation but were particularly useful in addressing complex and contested questions.

·         Scotland had challenging climate change targets and meeting them would require changes that impact on almost every aspect of people’s lives; taking a participatory approach to decision-making should mean better, and more accepted, policy interventions.

·         Independence from government and Parliament increased the recommendations’ credibility.

·         Members had been selected to be representative of Scotland including age, income and attitude to climate change – this gave the recommendations legitimacy.

·         Participants were compensated, this helped include a wider demographic, not just the committed or the available.

·         Assemblies had three parts: learning, deliberation and decision-making.

·         The learning phase had over 100 speakers, but more important than the number was ensuring a range of views and options was presented and that the evidence was available through our website and social media – so the evidence was transparent.

·         The deliberation allowed members time to discuss the evidence they heard and also bring their own lived experience into the debate.

·         Professional facilitation of these group discussions was expensive but essential to ensure all voices were heard.

·         Decision-making – Scotland’s assembly had made over 80 recommendations covering transport, diet, and work amongst others, so while the process was resource intensive, the outputs were rich.

·         It was worth agreeing from the outset what would happen with the recommendations. This meant  ...  view the full minutes text for item FC78/20

FC79/20

Appointment of the Deputy Mayor pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To consider and, if thought fit, to approve the recommendations set out in the associated report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor McDermott moved, and Councillor Dawlings seconded, the recommendation set out in the report.

 

Members recorded their agreement and appreciation of Councillor Bland.

 

The Mayor took a vote on the motion by affirmation.

 

RESOLVED – That Councillor Godfrey Bland be appointed as Deputy Mayor for the municipal year 2021/22.

FC80/20

To Record the Council's Appreciation for the Mayor pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To consider and, if thought fit, to approve the Motion as set out in the associated notice.

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Minutes:

Councillor McDermott moved, and Councillor Mackonochie seconded, the motion set out on the agenda.

 

Members recalled the Mayor’s achievements during their mayoral year and thanked her and the Mayor’s Escort for their service.

 

The Mayor returned thanks.

 

The Deputy Mayor took a vote on the motion by affirmation.

 

RESOLVED – That Tunbridge Wells Borough Council records it’s appreciation for valuable services rendered by the Mayor and the assistance given to them by the Mayor’s Escort during their period in office.

FC81/20

Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 28 KB

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.

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Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

FC82/20

Common Seal of the Council pdf icon PDF 28 KB

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.

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Minutes:

Councillor Podbury moved, and Councillor Woodward seconded, the recommendation set out on the agenda.

 

The Mayor took a vote on the motion by affirmation.

 

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.

FC83/20

Date of Next Meeting pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To note that the next scheduled meeting is Wednesday 26 May 2021.

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Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for Wednesday26 May 2021.