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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre, Folkestone

Contact: Kate Clark 

Items
No. Item

17.

Declarations of Interest

Members of the committee should declare any interests which fall under the following categories*:

 

a)    disclosable pecuniary interests (DPI);

b)    other significant interests (OSI);

c)     voluntary announcements of other interests.

Minutes:

Councillor Patricia Rolfe made a voluntary declaration with regard to Agenda items 5 and 6 as she owns a business in New Romney town and is Chair of the New Romney Coastal Community Team.  She remained in the meeting and took part in discussions and voting.

 

Councillor Tim Prater made a voluntary declaration with regard to Agenda item 6 as he lives and works in Sandgate High Street.  He remained in the meeting and took part in discussions and voting. 

18.

Minutes

To consider and approve, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting held on 16 July 2019.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting dated 16 July 2019 were approved subject to an amendment to Minute Item 16:

 

Proposed by Councillor Lesley Whybrow

Seconded by Councillor Laura Davison and

 

RESOLVED:

That Minute item 16 dated 16 July 2019 is amended to reflect the resolution below:

 

Proposed by Councillor Lesley Whybrow

Seconded by Councillor Laura Davison and

 

RESOLVED:

A very risk project, more information needs to come back to the Overview & Scrutiny Committee so that an opinion can be given in public. 

 

(Voting: For 7; Against 1; Abstentions 1)

    

19.

Key Performance Indicators Review 2019-20

This report sets out a proposed list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to be monitored during 2019/20 in line with the Council’s Corporate Plan strategic priorities and objectives.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Report C/19/20 sets out a proposed list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

to be monitored during 2019/20 in line with the Council’s Corporate Plan

strategic priorities and objectives.

 

Comments from members as follows:

 

-       Litter picks - officers advised that the removal of this KPI from “Health Matters” reflected changes to the team this service falls within, with the data now being captured under the Community environmental events as part of the “Appearance Matters” targets managed by the  Area Officers team. 

-       Unauthorised encampments - a target of one is shown but the officer agreed that this should be 100% removal of unauthorised encampments. 

-       Flyposting - It was queried why no Flyposting KPI had been set as it was felt paramount that unauthorised posters are taken down quickly, officers advised this data is contained within the  Fixed Penalty Notice KPI. 

-       More Homes - it was suggested that we look to strengthen the information particularly regarding the effects on children in temporary accommodation.  Members were advised that homelessness prevention is the main priority.

-       Housing Waiting List - It was suggested that this is part of the KPIs, officers advised this was possible, although it is a constantly fluctuating figure. 

-       FOI - members were advised the target of 90% is in line with KCC guidelines. 

-       Website/social media – is used as part of the Corporate Plan in Delivering Excellence.  It is seen as an important communication method. 

-       Street Cleansing - Detritus KPI has been removed but officers advised that monitoring of street cleansing would continue with more emphasis on litter. 

-       Delivering Excellence - the KPI for customers seen within 10 minutes has been removed, officers advised this was due to there being no electronic queuing system available to capture this data. 

-       Benefit claims - days to process while monitored as an operational measure (PI), members suggested it would be useful for it to be part of the KPI. 

-       Caravan site inspections - officers advised this is covered under Licensed premises KPI now. 

-       Number of days to remove fly-tipping - officers advised this shows a maximum target and depending on the size & complexity of the fly-tipping will depend on the time to remove it. 

 

Proposed by Councillor Rebecca Shoob

Seconded by Councillor Susan Carey and

 

RESOLVED:

1. To receive and note report C/19/20.

 

(Voting: For 5; Against 0; Abstentions 4)

20.

Romney Marsh Employment Hub (Land at Mountfield Road Industrial Estate, New Romney)

This report seeks Cabinet agreement to a financial contribution from Folkestone & Hythe District Council towards the development of a new business centre at Mountfield Road Industrial Estate, New Romney and delegated authority to the Corporate Director for Place and Commercial to finalise the terms of the legal agreements with co-funders.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Report C/19/19 seeks Cabinet agreement to a financial contribution from Folkestone & Hythe District Council towards the development of a new business centre at Mountfield Road Industrial Estate, New Romney and delegated authority to the Corporate Director for Place and Commercial to finalise the terms of the legal agreements with co-funders.

 

Members showed strong support for this project and were appreciative of the background information given.  It will be a good boost for the Romney Marsh and a key project for various bodies including the Romney Marsh Partnership and New Romney Coastal Community Team. 

 

With regard to the grant funding to be sought from Magnox, members were interested to know what would happen if this funding did not materialise.  The project would struggle to happen if alternative funding was not available.  However, commitment from all parties is key and members were informed that East Kent Spatial Development Company had earlier that day agreed to co-fund in principle.

 

Members were informed that as part of the Masterplanning process, consideration had been given to components of BREEAM although this had not proceeded to a formal pre-assessment required at the design stage.   The location of the proposed building and the poorer access to public transport than in urban areas meant some credits would be difficult to achieve. Members were advised the development will be considered with regard to the Climate Change motion.

 

It is important to consider that as the businesses and start-ups grow that there will be opportunity to expand within the overall development.  

 

Members felt job creation is extremely important to the area. It was noted that there is land for sale in the development and any expressions of interest received need to be carefully considered and a broad approach taken.

 

Proposed by Councillor Peter Gane

Seconded by Councillor Michelle Dorrell and

 

RESOLVED:

  1. To strongly support, receive and note report C/19/19.
  2. To recommend to Cabinet to add a resolution that if Magnox funding is not forthcoming then this proposal returns to Council for further discussion. 

 

(Voting: For 9; Against 0; Abstentions 0)

21.

Folkestone & Hythe District High Streets Fund

This report sets out proposals for investing and managing the Council’s £3 million High Streets Regeneration Fund that has been established to support and help high streets in the district adapt for the future.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Report C/19/21 sets out proposals for investing and managing the Council’s £3 million High Streets Regeneration Fund that has been established to support and help high streets in the district adapt for the future.

 

Dr Katharine Harvey, Chief Economic Development Officer, presented this report and advised members that it is proposed to earmark £2.5 million of the funding for Folkestone with the remainder for the High Streets across the District. 

 

Members commented that there should be more funds for the more rural High Streets rather than concentrating on Folkestone High Street.  

 

Members were advised that the split was based on Folkestone being the main town in the district, so the majority of the funding is proposed for Folkestone which is the most important town in the district and whose success will impact on the whole of the district. However, the split will also depend on the quality of the bids received for the funding and the applicants will normally have to 50% match fund

 

Members also queried the  proposed decision making process and the appropriateness of  funding decisions on schemes taken forward by FHDC in Folkestone being made by a smaller group - the Leader and the Corporate Director for Place and Commercial.  Decisions on external applications for all other areas are to be taken by a wider group – the Leader, Cabinet lead member for the District Economy and a ward councillor for the area relating to the application.  Concerns were expressed about the decision-making group for the council-led investments in Folkestone.  It was suggested that a cross party Folkestone Town Centre working group of councillors is proposed and that they would be consulted about any major capital investments in Folkestone.

 

The evaluation of externally proposed projects across the district needs to be fair and a consistent approach adopted.  Therefore the membership of the wider decision-making group needs to be consistent in assessing all projects.

 

Dr Harvey confirmed that ìt is not proposed for these funds to support sub high streets, such as Golden Valley and Dover Road, and maps will be available to show the properties and areas within the named high streets that will be eligible for grant funding.

 

The assessment of projects should consider the wider impact with projects that improve the environment supported.  Dr Harvey pointed to the assessment criteria shown in Appendix 2 which includes this.   

 

Proposed by Councillor Tim Prater

Seconded by Councillor Laura Davison and

 

RESOLVED:

  1. That Cabinet are requested to include in the recommendations that Sub Shopping areas are involved in the application process.
  2. That Cabinet are requested to consider altering the decision making process for the council-led investment proposed in Folkestone.

 

(Voting: For 7; Against 1; Abstentions 1)

 

Further comments were made with regard to the split of funds but members were reminded that any monies are welcomed where investment for the future can be made. 

 

Proposed by Councillor Michelle Dorrell

Seconded by Councillor Terry Mullard and

 

RESOLVED:

  1. That Cabinet consider amending the split of funds for this proposal to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

East Kent Housing Update

This report provides members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee with an update on the performance of East Kent Housing (EKH) during the first quarter of 2019/20.

 

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Report C/19/03 provided members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee with an update on the performance of East Kent Housing (EKH) during the first quarter of 2019/20. Deborah Upton, Chief Executive of EKH, was in attendance to address questions and points of interest raised by members.

 

Dr Susan Priest, Head of Paid Service, explained to members the reasons for the exempt items on this agenda item. 

 

The exempt items make reference to a separate entity and refers to properties outside the District which are yet to be considered by other Local Authorities.  The EKH item will be coming back to the Committee in October for further updates. 

 

The report made reference to complaints received from April 2019 and members asked for complaints prior to this.  Ms Upton, Chief Executive of East Kent Housing, explained that complaint numbers are similar in 2018/19, but she asked that members bear in mind the thousands of repairs made. 

 

Cllr Davison was concerned about the complaints policy version provided to members as this differs from the policy that is shown online.  Ms Upton will check this and would be happy to meet Cllr Davison to discuss any further concerns.

 

Ms Upton went on to explain to members the reporting problems and inconsistency of data which has led to the problems at East Kent Housing.

Spreadsheets have now been recreated and locked to prevent any erroneous deleting or additions.  Contractors have been asked to feed into these and weekly reports are provided to the four Local Authorities.   

 

Questions arose about the exempt items and when the documents can be made public. It was suggested that the reports could be made public in a co-ordinated way with the other three Local Authorities.   Report OS/19/04 which is exempt relates to this district only and members believed this should not be exempt. 

 

In making the exempt reports public members felt this may give a clearer, less concerning, picture to tenants and an opportunity to come forward with concise and informed comments.  The Local Tenants Group are aware of the issues raised in the internal audit. 

 

Turning to finances, Ms Upton confirmed that rent collection targets have been met and this is due to staff helping residents especially through their transition to Universal Credit.  

 

Proposed by Councillor Tim Prater

Seconded by Councillor Michelle Dorrell and

 

RESOLVED:

  1. To release exempt papers Appendix 3 and Appendix 3 (2) of report OS/19/03 to the public.
  2. To release exempt report OS/19/04 and East Kent Housing Compliance Report (4 Sept 2019) to the public.
  3. To invite tenants to make representations to this Committee with regard to their experiences with East Kent Housing. 

 

(Voting: For 6; Against 3; Abstentions 0)

 

Members agreed, that in making all exempt papers public that all tenants are aware of this information as soon as possible.  Ms Upton advised that tenants are actively being contacted to discuss various health and safety items on a regular basis.

 

Looking at Appendix 3, members raised concerns with regard to the gas and other safety  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.