Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Mark O'Callaghan  Scrutiny and Engagement Officer

Note: The public proceedings of the meeting will be recorded and made available for playback on the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council website 

Items
No. Item

FC19/19

Apologies for absence pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Fairweather, Dr Hall, Holden, Podbury and Simmons.

FC20/19

Minutes of the meeting dated 24 April 2019 pdf icon PDF 240 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.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 24 April 2019 be approved as a correct record.

FC21/19

Minutes of the meeting dated 22 May 2019 pdf icon PDF 182 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.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 22 May 2019 be approved as a correct record.

FC22/19

Minutes of the meeting dated 17 June 2019 pdf icon PDF 55 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 17 June 2019 be approved as a correct record.

FC23/19

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.

Minutes:

Councillor Pope declared an ‘Other Significant Interest’ and recused himself from motion 3 under item FC29/19 on the basis that his wife owned a flat in Grove Hill House which was adjacent to, and affected by the Compulsory Purchase Order related to, the Calverley Square development. He also noted that comments attributed to him at the previous meeting had been taken out of context.

 

Councillor Ms Palmer noted that she was a director of Tunbridge Wells Property Holdings Limited but that as she did not benefit financially from the office this did not constitute a beneficial interest.

FC24/19

Announcements pdf icon PDF 5 KB

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

Minutes:

The Mayor announced:

·         Details of the Mayor’s civic activities had been circulated separately.

 

The Leader announced:

·         Questions raised under the standing item ‘Questions from Members of the Council’ that were of a factual nature could easily be raised with the relevant officer.

 

Councillor March announced:

·         British Land had released plans to change Ely Court into a food and entertainment market due to open in late summer. This was on top of an £11m refurbishment of Royal Victoria Place.

·         Elysian Residences had confirmed they would be starting work on the former cinema site by the end of the year.

·         These updates and other similar developments demonstrated confidence in Tunbridge Wells.

·         Applause Rural Touring, an arts and community organisation based in Southborough, had secured £525k Arts Council funding for a project called ‘In Crowd’.

FC25/19

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 Council Procedure Rule 8, to be submitted and answered.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

1. Question from Dr Robert Chris

 

In relation to climate change, does the Council have any policies regarding greenhouse gas removal or adaptation?

 

Answer from Councillor Dr Basu

 

The Council adopted the Kent Environment Strategy in October 2016 and through the strategy we aim to address the risks, impacts and opportunities from environmental and climate change, whilst delivering wider economic and health opportunities. To this end we have worked in partnership with Kent to develop the draft energy and low emission strategy, which is currently out for public consultation, with actions aimed to reduce our carbon emissions not just across our Borough but for our own activities.

           

The draft Local Plan, on which consultation will take place from September to early November 2019, proposes a strategic climate change objective and draft policies that cover a range of issues including climate change adaptation, sustainable design and construction and transport design and accessibility.

 

Supplementary question from Dr Robert Chris

 

How could carbon neutrality be achieved without greenhouse gas removal? If there was not a policy for adaptation, what did the Council consider its responsibility to be to mitigate the effects of climate change?

 

Answer from Councillor Dr Basu

 

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which I suggest you might like to read. The Government is taking full action from what the IPCC are asking – which is quite right, if we don’t take this forward, and go at the rate we are going, the temperature will go up by 3 degrees. A 2 degrees rise would cause havoc all round. The Government has got a very big plan. Kent County Council and Medway Council have joined in and are planning in great depth. Also, we have to understand that by 2031 it is anticipated that there will be 180,000 new homes and nearly 400,000 extra people, a 24 % increase from 2011 levels. Increase in local economy 170,000 jobs by 2031, a 21% increase from 2011 levels in line with forecast operation growth. If it is a clean growth – which you are aiming for, which hopefully I also think will probably take place – this will be very good for us. Basically we, as individuals and as a Council, are trying our best to do things, but it will be a huge effort by all people and that should take place which includes promoting walking, cycling and in London they have started using scooters. I suggest you read the article because the Government has got a detailed plan, not the scope of this place, if you want to know something you can ask our officers, they will be able to tell you.

 

2. Question from Robert Atwood

 

Whilst the Council is to be congratulated on finally including in its risk register under the risk scenario no 10 – Calverley Square -  the following risk “Lack of political support to deliver  ...  view the full minutes text for item FC25/19

FC26/19

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 Council Procedure Rule 10, to be submitted and answered.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

1. Question from Councillor Hill

 

The Overview and Scrutiny Reduction of Single Use Plastic Working Group made the recommendation to install water fountains in key areas of the Town.

 

Can you say if any drinking water fountains have been installed or are planned to be installed?

 

Answer from Councillor Dr Basu

 

From discussions with British Land about their £11 million refurbishment of RVP and Elysian’s development of the cinema site both are considering installing water fountains.

 

Royal Tunbridge Wells Together Business Improvement District is also exploring options for water fountains in the town centre. Discussions have started with the water company about providing assistance with this.

 

We are working with the Friends of Dunorlan to find a location for a water bottle filling station in the park and we have plans bottle filling stations in The Grove and St John’s Park.

 

Supplementary question from Councillor Hill

 

In Britain we get through £8b single use plastic bottles of water each year with only a fraction being recycled. Could we look at doing what many towns are doing, and put one in the centre of our town, now would perhaps be the time to put one in front of the Amelia Scott Cultural Hub for the students who could fill their water bottles up with that?

 

Answer from Councillor Dr Basu

 

Yes, we can certainly do that. But also, I am sure you are aware of, Government is already on the way to resolving this issue. They are going to do this charge for these bottles, and are trying to find a better way of doing it and how this charge will be repaid. So that will be more effective, than putting plastic bottles here and there. 

 

2. Question from Councillor Warne was withdrawn

 

3. Question from Councillor Rands

 

In the early July, TWBC announced that survey work was being carried out in Calverley Grounds; however it was unclear why they were there. Could the Cabinet explain what the purpose of this survey was?

 

Answer from Councillor Scott

 

The Council is completing ‘RIBA Stage 4’ of Calverley Square. As part of this the Council is undertaking scheduled archaeological investigation in compliance with the planning conditions. This work carried out on the 4 July was non-intrusive geophysical investigation. You may be familiar with this from Time Team. The survey work included a gradiometer (a cart which was pulled/pushed across the area) scanning the area non-intrusively. In addition a GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) survey was also undertaken.

 

The Geophysical Survey undertaken was to try to locate a well shown on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map. Preliminary results from the Ground Penetrating Radar Survey show that the well has been located within the approximate position of the well shown on the mapping, however further processing and a report will be produced in due course. The detailed gradiometer survey attempted across the remainder of the site  ...  view the full minutes text for item FC26/19

FC27/19

Audit and Governance Committee Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 109 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Barrington-King moved, and Councillor Reilly seconded, the recommendation set out in the report.

 

The debate on the motion included the following points:

·         The final decision maker, as noted in the report, had changed from Cabinet to Full Council.

·         The Committee formed an integral part of the Council in delivering services by acting on behalf of residents, holding councillors and staff to account regarding the important decisions and providing an essential check on corporate governance.

·         The Committee was independent and had direct access to the Council’s direct Auditor.

·         In the forthcoming year, the Committee would:

o   aim to be constructive and critical, taking the views of the public when the Council take important decisions;

o   help monitor external and internal audit activity;

o   review and comment on the effectiveness of the Council’s regulatory framework and facilitate the approval of the Council’s annual statement of accounts; and

o   Create a strong organisational culture to support the work and add value to policy decisions with the aim of an efficient delivery of public services.

·         To support this work, and especially for new members, a new programme of Continuous Professional Development had been introduced that aimed to help new members perform their role effectively, regardless of party and contribute to the effectiveness of this Committee.

 

The Mayor took a vote on the motion by affirmation.

 

RESOLVED – That the Audit and Governance Committee Annual Report 2018/19 be noted.

FC28/19

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 106 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

The debate on the motion included the following points:

·         The Committee was a back-bench challenge to the executive.

 

The Mayor took a vote on the motion by affirmation.

 

RESOLVED – That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2018/19 be noted.

FC29/19

Motions on Notice pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To consider and, if thought fit, to approve the Motions on Notice as set out in the report, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that in a change to the agenda papers, an alternative cross-party motion had been put forward to replace Motion 1 and Motion 2. The meeting consented to the change by affirmation.

 

The Mayor further advised that in taking this forward, and to allow the six members of the public who had registered to speak on the two previous motions, it was necessary to pass a motion to suspend and replace the procedural rules on speaking to extend the time.

 

Councillor Scholes moved, and Councillor March seconded, the motion: “That during the consideration of the alternative motion at item 11 on the agenda, Council Procedure Rule 19.2.1 be suspended and replaced as follows: The total time limit allocated to members of the public for speaking on an item on the agenda is 18 minutes.”

 

The Mayor took a vote on the motion by affirmation.

 

RESOLVED – That during the consideration of the alternative motion at item 11 on the agenda, Council Procedure Rule 19.2.1 be suspended and replaced as follows: The total time limit allocated to members of the public for speaking on an item on the agenda is 18 minutes.

 

 

Alternative Motion (combined Motion 1 and Motion 2)

 

Councillor March moved, and Councillor Everitt seconded the motion: “Tunbridge Wells Borough Council recognises the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence pointing to man-made climate change and the harmful impacts this is having on natural habitats and ecosystems, biodiversity and our lives in general. It notes the early work undertaken to date by the Council including efforts to promote active travel, increase recycling and the reduction of plastic usage in the Town Hall but understands it needs to do more. It recognises that it has a responsibility to take a firm lead on reducing the council’s and the wider borough’s carbon emissions and in furtherance of this responsibility agrees to:

·         Declare its recognition of global climate and biodiversity emergencies;

·         Set up a climate cross party task force to start a dedicated report within the fiscal year with actions that it needs to take to address this emergency including how the wider community including businesses, organisations and individuals can be encouraged to make their own contributions to meeting a goal to make the Borough carbon neutral by 2030. This report will include a plan to conduct a green audit of all council services to ensure that weight is given to the environmental and sustainability impact as well as cost and which will inform the next iteration of the Council’s five year plan;

·         Ensure that forthcoming plans and strategies (including the Local Plan and the next iteration of the Five-Year Plan) set out ways in which the Council can make its contribution to reduce carbon emissions, the degradation of the environment and combating climate change by agreeing an ambition to make the Council’s operations carbon neutral by 2030;

·         Lobby central government to provide additional resources and to grant the necessary freedoms to deliver the above.

·         Take steps with partners to proactively include  ...  view the full minutes text for item FC29/19

FC30/19

Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 5 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.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

FC31/19

Common Seal of the Council pdf icon PDF 5 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.

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.

 

FC32/19

Date of next meeting pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To note that the date of the next meeting is 25 September 2019.

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for Wednesday 25 September 2019.

 

A - Z of council services