Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, ME10 3HT. View directions

Contact: Email: democraticservices@swale.gov.uk 

Note: Report and Appendices for Item 9 added 11.10.2023 

Media

Items
No. Item

343.

Emergency Evacuation Procedure

Visitors and members of the public who are unfamiliar with the building and procedures are advised that:

(a)      The fire alarm is a continuous loud ringing. In the event that a fire drill is planned during the meeting, the Chair will advise of this.

(b)      Exit routes from the chamber are located on each side of the room, one directly to a fire escape, the other to the stairs opposite the lifts.

(c)      In the event of the alarm sounding, leave the building via the nearest safe exit and gather at the assembly point on the far side of the car park. Do not leave the assembly point or re-enter the building until advised to do so. Do not use the lifts.

(d)      Anyone unable to use the stairs should make themselves known during this agenda item.

 

 

Minutes:

The Mayor outlined the emergency evacuation procedure.

344.

Minutes

To approve the Minutes  of the meeting held on 26 July 2023 (Minute Nos. 216 - 225) as a correct record.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 July 2023 (Minute Nos. 216 – 225) were taken as read, approved and signed by the Mayor as a correct record.

345.

Declarations of Interest

Councillors should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their families or friends.

 

The Chair will ask Members if they have any disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) or disclosable non-pecuniary interests (DNPIs) to declare in respect of items on the agenda. Members with a DPI in an item must leave the room for that item and may not participate in the debate or vote. 

 

Aside from disclosable interests, where a fair-minded and informed observer would think there was a real possibility that a Member might be biased or predetermined on an item, the Member should declare this and leave the room while that item is considered.

 

Members who are in any doubt about interests, bias or predetermination should contact the monitoring officer for advice prior to the meeting.

 

Minutes:

During the discussion on the urgent motion, GP Provision, Councillor Alastair Gould declared a non-pecuniary interest as he was a GP in Swale and Councillor Monique Bonney declared a non-pecuniary interest as she was a Governor on the East Kent Care Hospital Trust.

346.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor said she had been very busy since the last Council meeting in July, attending 30 events which she thanked organisers for, and which included:

 

·                Dedication service at the new Faversham Crematorium;

·                Master’s House, Sheerness;

·                Opening of Fenner Forst’s second hand record shop, in Sittingbourne;

·                Communication Café project run by the song signing academy choir at the Healthy Living Centre, Sheerness;

·                Dreamscapes Arts Exhibition at Swale Media Arts Centre;

·                International Film Festival at The Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne;

·                opening of Pine Lodge Care Home Summer fete;

·                Blair Park Care Home Dementia Charity Walk;

·                Faversham Hop Festival;

·                Murston Heart Project;

·                National Heritage Week at Criterion Theatre, Bluetown, Sheerness

·                Newington Historical Group walkers;

·                Ceremonial March past for HMS Kent at County Hall, Maidstone;

·                Royal British Legion Coronation dinner;

·                Dedication of Exhibition space in memory of former Councillor, Alderman Ken Ingleton;

·                Leysdown and Deal Carnivals; and

·                Charity Quiz nights;

 

The Mayor advised Members of her charity event scheduled for 9 December 2023 at the Old Forge Wartime House museum, Sittingbourne further details to follow.

 

Finally, the Mayor asked Members to send their thoughts to all those impacted by the events in the Middle East.

347.

Questions submitted by the Public

To consider any questions submitted by the public.  (The deadline for questions is 4.30 pm on the Wednesday before the meeting – please contact Democratic Services by e-mailing democraticservices@swale.gov.uk or call 01795 417360).

 

 

Minutes:

There were no questions from the public.

348.

Questions submitted by Members

To consider any questions submitted by Members.  (The deadline for questions is 4.30 pm on the Monday the week before the meeting – please contact Democratic Services by e-mailing democraticservices@swale.gov.uk or call 01795 417360).

 

Minutes:

The Mayor advised five questions had been received from Members.

 

Question 1 – Councillor Tara Noe

 

The closure of the Eastchurch Gap has been a monumental victory for the Isle of Sheppey but there is great concern that the fly tipping that has been happening there has now been displaced to the Warden Bay site.

Can the leader share if the Warden Bay site is being monitored and any measurements taken to determine if the Eastchurch gap closure has had a negative impact elsewhere?

 

Response – Leader

 

Can I join you in congratulating all of the agencies that were and remain involved in this operation. Cases like the one we have seen at Eastchurch are complex and involve a huge amount of evidence gathering and consideration. Whilst the operation remains live, we can confirm there has been no further dumping of illegal waste at Third Avenue.

 

Legislation allows some disposal of material under permitted conditions which is regulated by the Environment Agency. The agencies continue to monitor all sites where we believe there is no permit in place or where conditions are not being met.

 

Unfortunately, the stopping of illegal activity in one location can end up in movement of the issue elsewhere. This is why it is not always the correct thing to stop the activity immediately. We need to gather evidence so we can make a long lasting legal intervention and prevent it moving elsewhere.

 

Question 2 – Councillor Lee-Anne Moore

 

Excluding those who pay council tax on their primary home address in Swale and those who own and run holiday parks in Swale, can The Leader tell me how many holiday-home owners in Swale pay Council Tax to Swale Borough Council?

 

Response – Leader

 

Thank you for your question. I understand that this question was also asked at the member finance training in July and the answers shared with members in August and so to confirm the information already circulated the total number of holiday homes/chalets registered for council tax in the borough is 1,400.

 

Question 3 – Councillor Julien Speed

 

New night-time parking charges were introduced by your administration earlier in the year. For both Q1/Q2 2022 and for Q1/Q2 2023, what are the total figures for a) parking income b) parking fines, c) cost of enforcement?

 

Response – Leader

 

The answers to the questions are set out in the table below. However please note the comments/context around the figures;

 

2022/23

Q1

Q2

a

Parking Income (P&D)

£623,882

£580,979

b

Parking Fines (PCNs)

5,416

5,129

PCN Income*

£134,026

£132,270

c

Cost of Enforcement

£101,849

£107,799

2023/24

Q1

Q2

a

Parking Income (P&D)

£630,650

£710,430

b

Parking Fines (PCNs)

4,723

5,422

PCN Income*

£128,499

£146,842

c

Cost of Enforcement

£120,173

£117,168

 

*PCN income has no direct relationship to the number of PCNs issued in this period, as income will be collected at different stages of the process and from PCNs issued within an earlier timeframe.

 

The cost of enforcement rose due to contractual conditions  ...  view the full minutes text for item 348.

349.

Leader's Statement

Minutes:

The Leader said:

 

“In commencing my leaders statement this evening as you will be aware, following the sad passing of Cllr Ken Ingleton a byelection was held for the Minster Cliffs seat. The election was won by Peter MacDonald (Swale Independents) and I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Councillor MacDonald back to the chamber and to inform you that Councillor Ann Cavanagh has now joined the Labour group.

 

At a personal level I had the privilege of attending the Seashells Centre on the Isle of Sheppey and had the honour of presenting a Royal Humane Society certificate to a young lady called Emma Page. Emma, one of the staff at seashells, administered CPR to a man that she encountered while out driving, he had fallen from his cycle and was laying in the roadside entangled in it. Emma stopped her car and approached the man. It soon became apparent to her that the man’s life was ebbing away and she commenced CPR.

 

The impressive citation on the RHS certificate read “for restoring a man to life” and this feat was even more remarkable given that Emma had only completed her training the week before. At the ceremony I was able to speak to the man who’s live she saved and whilst expressing his eternal gratitude to Emma he also extolled the virtues of people being trained in CPR.

 

For that reason alone I would implore each and everyone of you to consider accessing CPR training, it is doesn’t need to be anything particularly formal and it is quite easy to access training online. There is very little not available on you tube these days, other channels are available of course.

 

I also had the pleasure of opening our Council’s “Domestic Violence the Hidden Harm” seminar, a multi agency event that showcased the benefits of working collaboratively with  external partners and organisations. The event demonstrated how this council is not reticent in leading the way in challenging arenas and I cannot praise our officers highly enough and congratulate them for driving this agenda forward. What really struck me about this event was the clear integration of partnership working and a willingness for sharing support, advice and skillsets and the not insurmountable barriers to addressing the hidden harm, which I for one would never have considered prior to attending this seminar.

 

I attended a seminar in Clacton the theme of which was “Turning the Tide” addressing health inequalities in seaside towns. The event had many eminent speakers not least of which was Professor, Sir Chris, next slide please, Whitty, Government’s Chief Medical Officer. In Sir Chris’s briefing he asserted that even after adjusting for well recognised factors such as age, smoking, and deprivation, there remains a “coastal excess” of disease. Life expectancy, healthy life expectancy, and disability free life expectancy are all considerably lower in coastal areas and the Mortality Ratios for a range of conditions, including preventable mortality, are significantly higher too.

In terms of our own Borough,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 349.

350.

Allocation of Committee Seats pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Report and appendices added 11.10.23

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor confirmed with Members that they had received all tabled papers.

 

The Leader introduced the report and proposed the recommendations which were seconded by the Leader of the Conservative Group.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)  That the political balance calculation as set out in Appendix II of the report be agreed.

 

(2)  That the allocation of seats of Members to Committees, in accordance with the wishes of Group Leaders, as set out in Appendix III of the report, be agreed.

351.

Urgent Motion - GP Provision pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Urgent motion added 5.10.23

Minutes:

The Leader of the Conservative Group, Councillor Lloyd Bowen, proposed the motion as set out on the Agenda. He referred to comments made by the public in respect of GP salaries, in the newspaper report on the motion online, which were factually incorrect. The Leader of the Conservative Group said GPs had a huge responsibility, earned low salaries and there was little incentive to become a GP. He spoke of the wellbeing of GPs, the GP shortage and recruitment difficulties.  The Leader of the Conservative Group referred to the quality of care and access to services and how the increased cost of housing, particularly in the south east, precluded GP’s from living in the area. He said funded solutions needed to be sought and the motion had brought all Group Leaders together.

 

In seconding the motion, the Leader gave an example of the unbalanced ratio of patients to GPs in his ward and said GPs were stretched to the limit.  He highlighted the excessive hours worked by GPs for poor pay and said that GP's were not valued in this country, resulting in some looking to emigrate.

 

The Leader of the Swale Independent Alliance referred to Central Government’s high housing targets and its nonsensical approach of Councils having to prove GP’s were needed to challenge targets. He said Central Government should ensure the necessary infrastructure was in place when setting targets. The Leader of the Swale Independent Alliance said GP services were critical and had to be provided at the rate people needed. He spoke of the cross party support for the motion.  All Group Leaders had given their strong support for the motion.

 

In the debate that followed, Members raised points including:

 

·         Pleased to support the motion and supported collaborative working;

·         initiatives such as key worker housing brought in by Government would take time to work and action was needed now;

·         providing affordable housing for GPs to live and work in the area was vital;

·         the internal housing market was impacting availability of GP premises;

·         the struggles faced by GPs and the NHS was devastating to watch;

·         housing development added to the issue, suggested taking Legal advice to consider a planning condition to ensure manageable GP ratio was in place before development;

·         letter should be sent to both Integrated Care Partnerships (ICP) and Integrated Care Board (ICB);

·         highlighted the lack of space to accommodate GP’s and the ICB’s Estates review of Community Services carried out which stated that Swale did not need more space;

·         referred to the lack of other options if unable to book a GP appointment;

·         lack of GPs had an impact on hospital services and raised concern over the poor care many residents had received at Medway Maritime Hospital;

·         gave an example of a successful project out of the borough to recruit and house newly-qualified GPs that could be considered in Swale; and

·         spoke about the impact that poor housing and relocating due to high rent cost had on health.

 

Councillor Alistair Gould spoke passionately about  ...  view the full minutes text for item 351.