Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 1st September, 2020 2.00 pm

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Venue: Virtual Meeting - Online. View directions

Contact: Mark O'Callaghan  Scrutiny and Engagement Officer


No. Item


Apologies for Absence pdf icon PDF 5 KB

Apologies for absence as reported at the meeting.

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Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Chapelard and Ms Palmer. Councillors Bland, Neve, and Mrs Soyke were not present.


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 56 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.

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


Notification of Persons Registered To Speak pdf icon PDF 7 KB

To note any Visiting Members or members of the public whishing to speak, of which due notice had been given in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 18 or 19, and which items(s) they wish to speak on.

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Councillor Pope had registered to speak at OSC31/20.


Items Called in pdf icon PDF 58 KB

To consider any items ‘Called-In’ under Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 13, details of which will have been circulated to Members under separate cover.

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There were no items which had been called-in.


Phased Reopening of Council Sports Centres pdf icon PDF 140 KB

To consider the proposals to Cabinet set out in the associated report.

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Councillor Pope had registered to speak which included the following comments:

·         Fusion Lifestyle had been slow to reopen its sports and leisure facilities in the Borough compared with other companies who ran Council owned leisure facilities across the country.

·         The tennis courts had remained closed where other tennis courts had reopened.

·         Fusion had been poor in communicating with its users about its plans and, from feedback received, contact had almost disappeared during lockdown.

·         It was important to note what other Councils were doing whose facilities were managed by Fusion Lifestyle as their decisions might have an impact on Fusion and any loans the Council provided.

·         The Council already had a contract in place and therefore any decisions should take this into account.

·         This item would normally have been considered by a Cabinet Advisory Board, but as they had been suspended the item had come to Overview and Scrutiny.

·         Items that would have gone to a Cabinet Advisory Board would have had 3 options to provide clear advice to Cabinet. However for this item there was essentially only one recommendation with a number of points. This made adjusting the options or selecting a recommendation more difficult.


Gary Stevenson, Head of Housing, Health and Environment, supported by Carl Bentley, Fusion Lifestyle, introduced the report set out in the agenda.


In response to questions the following comments were made:

·         The Council confirmed that there had been no formal reporting of outstanding debts prior to 23 March 2020.

·         There was an average of 60,000 visitors to the centres each month. This broke down to 41,000 at Tunbridge Wells, 16,000 at the Weald and 3,000 at Putlands. This equated to approximately 700,000 users per year. Actual figures were provided to Council officers on a monthly basis which could be made available if requested.

·         Fusion’s investment in fixed assets was about £2.7m for the Tunbridge Wells contract. This included £530k for equipment, £390k for furniture, fixtures and fittings and £1.9m for leasehold improvements.

·         Opening the tennis centre as a stand alone element was difficult as it relied on other parts of the centre to function properly. It was decided that it was preferable to open the facilities together. It was hoped that most of the coaching courses would be up and running by the end of September.

·         It was paramount that the reopening was done in a Covid secure way. There was a lot for staff and customers to get used to. Small steps would therefore need to be taken – the gym and studio classes opened 1 September and the swimming pools would open on 4September.

·         In terms of the metrics on the Council’s investment, more time would be needed to get greater detail, but it was reported there was a 30,000 uplift per annum in visitors post refurbishment in 2013.

·         Figures were sought on the value of Fusion’s own investment in the centres not including that which had been funded by loans from the Council.

·         Fusion had submitted a bid to the Coronavirus  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC31/20


Cemetery Depot, Benhall Mill Road pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To consider the proposals to Cabinet set out in the associated report.

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Paul Doherr, Architectural Surveyor introduced the report set out in the agenda.


Discussion included the following comments:

·         The new Parks maintenance contractor lease would include the necessary stipulations regarding maintenance of the new depot. In addition, a new property was easier to maintain.


The matter was decided taking the exempt information set out in the agenda as read.


RESOLVED – That the report be noted.


Annual Corporate Health and Safety Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To consider the proposals to Cabinet set out in the associated report.

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Mike Catling, Corporate Health and Safety Advisor introduced the report set out in the agenda.


Discussion included the following comments:

·         Council staff had continued to work throughout the Covid Pandemic to provide the services the public needed. This included working from the Town Hall and the Council’s other buildings.

·         In order to ensure that people worked in a Covid Secure way, numbers were restricted.

·         The Council were keen to keep all their buildings open as much as it was possible to do so.

·         There could be a number of reasons for an increase in the number of incidents that took place in the car parks. There had been a number of issues related to the condition of the car parks, also incidents involving members of the car parking team varied throughout the year and might include a higher presence in the car park at certain times.

·         Statistics were monitored on a regular basis, any significant changes could then be dealt with promptly.

·         Incidents at TN2 might be due to the different departments working there.


RESOLVED – That the report be noted.


Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 6 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.

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There was no urgent business.


Date of the next meeting pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To note the next scheduled meeting is Monday 21 September 2020.

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The date of the next meeting was scheduled for Monday 21 September 2020.