Agenda and draft minutes

Full Council - Wednesday, 7th July, 2021 6.30 pm

Download documents using the MOD.GOV app

Venue: Council Chamber, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1RS

Contact: Democratic Services Team 

Media

Items
No. Item

FC13/21

Apologies for Absence pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bailey, Everitt, Holden, Stanyer and Willis.

FC14/21

Minutes of the meeting dated 21 April 2021 pdf icon PDF 278 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:

No amendments were proposed.

 

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 21 April 2021 be approved as a correct record.

FC15/21

Minutes of the annual meeting dated 26 May 2021 pdf icon PDF 177 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:

No amendments were proposed.

 

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the annual meeting dated 26 May 2021 be approved as a correct record.

FC16/21

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 65 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:

No declarations of pecuniary or other significant interest were made.

FC17/21

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor announced:

·         The Council hosted a thank you event on 5 July 2021 and was flying a special flag for NHS, care home and other key workers involved in the effort against Covid-19. The Council further recorded its appreciation.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transportation announced:

·         Further to a statement made at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 21 June 2021 relating to the Council’s bid, via KCC, to South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) for the retention of £623k left over from A26 improvements. SELEP had agreed at its Accountability Board meeting on 2 July 2021 that the money would be held until September 2021. This provided the Council with the opportunity to submit an updated business case for updated proposals for improvements to the A26 between Southborough Common and Mabeldon. Funding was not guaranteed and there would be challenges to overcome, however, recent changes to national transport policy on decarbonisation of the transport network had significantly shifted the approach. Engagement would start shortly on the potential scheme to facilitate road improvements and access to Tunbridge Wells seeking to reduce congestion for all road users.

·         Complementary to the SELEP scheme, the Council submitted its priorities to KCC for tranche 3 of the DFT Active Travel Fund which included further improvements to cycle facilities on A26 between Grosvenor Road and Speldhurst Road, a low traffic neighbourhood in Tunbridge Wells and infrastructure in Paddock Wood.

FC18/21

Questions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 31 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 one question from members of the public had been received under Council Procedure Rule 8.

 

1. Question from Dr Robert Chris

 

“After the May election, the Conservative Party has exactly half of the 48 seats on the Council. In the wards contested in this election, the Conservatives received 37% of the votes cast across the borough. Including the previous two elections, all the Conservative councillors now in post received only 35% of the votes cast. Moreover, only 9 of the current 24 Conservative councillors received a majority of the votes cast in their wards, the remaining 15 all being elected courtesy of vote splitting among the opposition parties, and one on the toss of a coin. By any reasonable measure, Tunbridge Wells Conservatives are a long way from being the majority, or even representative of the majority, of the borough’s residents and taxpayers.

 

No one disputes that our first past the post electoral system legally entitles the winner to take all. Tunbridge Wells Conservatives have done precisely that. After using the device of the mayoral casting vote to elect the new Mayor and then again to elect the new Council Leader, they have appointed only Conservatives to the Cabinet, and every council committee has a Conservative chairman.

 

In short, councillors representing little more than one third of the electorate have excluded councillors representing the other two thirds from all key positions in the Council.

 

Would the Council Leader explain how assembling such an unrepresentative Council Executive and set of committee chairmanships will engender confidence and respect among the majority of borough residents and taxpayers that their concerns and interests are finally being listened to and heeded?

 

Answer from Councillor Dawlings

 

“I am fully aware of the outcome of the last election but the implication that I determined not to work with the opposition parties could not be further from the truth. Since the Calverley Square project was abandoned two years ago we have had a cross-party group looking into the matters that project was intended to address. I’ve been involved with this group since it was formed, and a report was presented to Full Council in December 2019. Covid stopped the work of the group for some months after March 2020 but we have had constructive discussions in the last few months addressing how to make the best use of the surplus office space, likely to arise in the Town Hall, to the benefit of both the Council and the town.

 

After the May election, which left the Council evenly divided, all the opposition groups announced they would not work with the Conservatives. Having worked constructively with opposition members for two years, the first thing I did after being elected leader of the Conservative group was to contact the opposition group leaders and asked to meet to consider how to run an evenly divided Council – beginning with the annual council meeting, the appointment of a mayor and committee positions. In subsequent email exchanges I proposed  ...  view the full minutes text for item FC18/21

FC19/21

Questions from members of the Council pdf icon PDF 31 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 Atkins

 

“Could you please respond, as I have received no reply from my emails of 11th February and 3rd April and social media post where a member of the public asked the same question, if there are any dual waste/recycle bins, like those used by other local authorities such as Gravesham, anywhere in the borough?”

 

Answer from Councillor Dawlings on behalf of Councillor Bailey

 

“Councillor Bailey sends his apologies for not being here tonight. A member of his household has tested positive for Covid-19 so he is currently self-isolating.

 

To answer your question, there are currently no dual waste and recycling bins in the borough. This is mainly due to concerns that the quality of the recycling material will be low, and it will need to be treated as residual waste. This has been an issue with similar bins in other areas.”

 

Supplementary question from Councillor Atkins

 

“Gravesham [Council] actually reported that only 10 per cent was foreign waste, or not recyclable, which they were able to cater to. I wonder if it could be looked at again as to whether or not dual bins could be provided and what the timeline would be?”

 

Answer from Councillor Dawlings on behalf of Councillor Bailey

 

“I will have that looked in to by the Head of Service.”

 

2. Question from Councillor Pound on behalf of Councillor Everitt

 

“At Full Council 16 December 2020 a motion I moved regarding an increase in on-street electric vehicle charge points was referred to Cabinet for consideration and report, can Cabinet advise why they have not considered this report and when they are planning to do so?”

 

Answer from Councillor Dawlings

 

“A survey was undertaken to establish resident and visitor views on the potential provision and use of further elective vehicle charging facilities in our car parks. The survey ran for six weeks, closed on 4 July 2021, and had 766 responses.

 

There was no reference within the survey to on-street provision although some respondents have commented on this in the free-text section. Kent County Council, as the highways authority, have indicated that their preference is for publicly available electric vehicle charging facilities to be provided off-street, hence our decision to take this approach with public engagement.”

 

Supplementary question from Councillor Pound on behalf of Councillor Everitt

 

“When Council refers a matter to Cabinet, as it did, does Cabinet have a right to choose when and whether to respond – because the decision to refer to Cabinet was made in December 2020? If it does not, then why has Councillor Everitt neither been advised of a date for the consideration of a report nor, as he was advised at Overview and Scrutiny [Committee] on 14 June 2021, has he not received a written reply to his question at that committee? Essentially, he has had, near enough, radio silence for six months.”

 

Answer from Councillor  ...  view the full minutes text for item FC19/21

FC20/21

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2019-20 and 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 120 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Thomson moved, and Councillor Hills seconded, the recommendation set out in the associated report.

 

Debate on the motion included consideration of the following points:

·         The report had been approved by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and was presented for noting.

·         The committee was not fully meeting its duty to scrutinise, examination of several key issues had been denied and certain reports had lacked detail.

·         The committee had not acted impartially, the chair and vice-chair should not be from the majority party.

 

Mayor took a vote on the motion by affirmation.

 

RESOLVED – That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Annual Report for 2019-20 and 2020-21 be noted.

FC21/21

Motion on Notice from Councillor Rands pdf icon PDF 73 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Rands sought consent to alter the motion of which notice had been given. Consent was granted by affirmation.

 

Councillor Rands moved, and Councillor Atwood seconded, the motion set out in the notice tabled at the meeting and to be published as a supplement to the agenda.

 

Debate on the motion included consideration of the following points:

·         The importance of sport and active lifestyles was self-evident.

·         Local policy backed up national policy that sports facilities should not be lost unless there was an assessed lack of need, reprovision elsewhere or the benefit to the community outweighed the harm.

·         Motion is not about a particular site.

·         Understand financial pressure to sell valuable land.

·         If sites were closed the Council needed to ensure no gaps in provision, temporary closure often lead to migration to other clubs and decline.

·         Reprovision before closure would also avoid costly replacement facilities in future.

·         The motion was seeking to address an issue through the Planning system and would more appropriately be dealt with through, initially, the Planning Policy Working Group where existing policies (particularly OSSR2) could be reviewed.

·         The ability to reprovision sites would come from Section 106 funding which was only payable after development started.

 

Councillor Hayward moved, and Councillor Pope seconded, a procedural motion under Council Procedure Rule 11.4 to refer the matter to the Planning Policy Working Group.

 

Councillor Rands replied to the procedural motion:

·         The motion sought to put an obligation on Cabinet when it considered the disposal of sites, not to amend planning policy.

 

The Mayor took a vote on the procedural motion by show of hands. Votes cast were 7 for, 33 against with 3 abstentions.

 

PROCEDURAL MOTION NOT CARRIED

 

Debate proceeded on the original motion.

 

Debate on the motion included consideration of the following points:

·         The motion highlighted a problem with the planning system in that Section 106 moneys were only playable when development started. Provision of social infrastructure prior to developments were at the Council’s risk.

·         Facilities should be retained within communities.

·         Centralisation of sports facilities and the need to travel would dissuade casual activity.

·         Phrases such as ‘all reasonable efforts’ were insufficient to protect important services.

·         Open spaces would be even more important post-Covid. Anything to increase protection should be welcomed.

·         Being ‘reasonable’ allowed flexibility which could be to the benefit of residents in certain circumstances.

·         Centralisation of sports facilities would lead to increased journeys through town.

·         A duty to reprovision lost facilities was not incompatible with retaining facilities locally.

·         The motion deliberately referred to sports and open spaces and would not apply to all community services.

·         Sports clubs, some with long histories, should be given fair chance to continue in the event a particular site was to close.

·         The motion sought to strengthen the Council’s commitment to both the letter and spirit of national planning policy.

·         National policy referred to provision of ‘suitable’ alternative sites which should give comfort to those concerned about centralisation of sports services.

 

The Mayor took a vote on the motion by show  ...  view the full minutes text for item FC21/21

FC22/21

Motion on Notice from Councillor Morton pdf icon PDF 74 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Morton sought consent to alter the motion of which notice had been given. Consent was granted by affirmation.

 

Councillor Morton moved, and Councillor Patterson seconded, the motion set out in the notice tabled at the meeting and to be published as a supplement to the agenda.

 

Debate on the motion included consideration of the following points:

·         The motion was intended to make roads safer.

·         Kent County Council would adopt a Road Action Plan for the next five years and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council should support Vision Zero.

·         The Council should support 20mph on built up roads, particularly outside schools.

·         Safer roads would encourage children to walk or cycle to school.

·         Some country lanes within the limits to built development had national speed limits allowing up to 60mph in built up areas.

·         One such road, Reynolds Lane, was very narrow and had a school and playing fields but the speed limit could not be reduced 20mph as it was designated a national speed limit.

·         The matters addressed in the motion were the responsibility of Kent County Council therefore the Joint Transportation Board would be the most appropriate body to consider the motion.

·         The concept of 20mph near schools and generally making roads safer was widely supported.

 

Councillor Hayward moved, and Councillor Pope seconded, a procedural motion under Council Procedure Rule 11.4 to refer the matter to the Joint Transportation Board.

 

Councillor Morton replied to the procedural motion:

·         The motion sought to establish Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s position on the matter which could then be transmitted directly to Kent County Council.

·         If members were supportive of the motion, it should not be delayed by referring it elsewhere.

 

Councillor Pound raised a point of order that the procedural motions moved by Councillor Hayward on this and the previous item (FC21/21) should have been decided without discussion. The Mayor, on the advice of the Monitoring Officer, ruled that a procedural motion should be voted on without debate.

 

Councillor March requested a recorded vote on the procedural motion.

 

Members who voted for the motion: Councillors Allen, Atkins, Atwood, Backhouse, Barrington-King, Britcher-Allan, Dawlings, Fairweather, Goodship, Hamilton, Hayward, D. Hill, B. Hills, Knight, Lewis, March, McDermott, Morton, Ms Palmer, Pope, Pound, Roberts, Scholes, Scott, Simmons, Thomson, Warne, White, and Woodward. (29)

 

Members who voted against the motion: Councillors Chapelard, Ellis, Fitzsimmons, Funnell, C. Hall, Lidstone, Patterson, Poile, Rands, Rutland and Wormington. (11)

 

Members who abstained from voting: Councillors Bland, Dr L. Hall and Hickey. (3)

 

RESOLVED – That the motion be referred to the Joint Transportation Board.

FC23/21

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

FC24/21

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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.

FC25/21

Date of Next Meeting pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To note that the next scheduled meeting is Wednesday 06 October 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The next scheduled meeting was Wednesday 6 October 2021.