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To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors N J Collor, R S Walkden and C D Zosseder.
To receive any declarations of interest from Members in respect of business to be transacted on the agenda.
There were no declarations of interest made by Members.
To receive any announcements from the Chairman of the Council, the Leader of the Council, Members of the Cabinet or the Head of Paid Service.
The Chairman of the Council, Councillor M D Conolly, made the following announcements:
(a) To announce the sad news of the death of Councillor J P Haste (St Radigunds Ward). The Chairman spoke to Councillor Haste’s service on the Council since his election in 2019 and invited Members to share their memories of him. Members spoke of his unique character and Councillor S J Jones recounted a memory of his generosity in giving apples from his farm to local residents in their ward. The Chairman announced he would be attending Councillor Haste’s funeral on 1 February 2023.
(b) To announce the sad news of the death of former District Councillor P J Hawkins (Middle Deal and Sholden Ward 2011 – 2019). The chairman spoke to her service and his memories of her as a passionate community representative. He invited Members to share their memories of her. Members spoke of her passion for helping people and how she would be missed.
(c) To advise that it would be Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday 27 January 2023.
The Chairman asked Members to stand in silence as a mark of respect.
To receive an oral report at the meeting from the Leader (and Cabinet) on the business of the Executive or on any topic or subject that it is felt should be brought to the attention of the Council.
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10 (Leader’s Time):
(a) The Leader (and Cabinet) shall have up to 15 minutes to make within this report any statements that they wish on any topic or subject that they feel should be drawn to the attention of the Council.
(b) The Leader of the Main Opposition Group (or their nominee) shall be allowed up to 10 minutes to respond.
(c) The Leader of the Council shall be allowed up to 5 minutes to exercise a right of reply (or 25% of the time given to the Opposition Group Leader(s), whichever is the greatest).
The Leader of the Council, Councillor T J Bartlett, included the following matters in his report:
(a) To advise that both Dover District Council and Kent Country Council had been successful with their Levelling Up Fund bids worth a total of £63 million. The two projects would boost town centre jobs, skills, and education, and keep traffic flowing in Dover. He thanked Members for their support of the project and particularly thanked the three local MP's - Natalie Elphicke, Craig Mackinlay and Sir Roger Gale.
Dover District Council had been awarded £18.1 million for the Dover Beacon project which would transform Bench Street in the heart of the town centre and provide for (a) an educational campus in the fast growing creative and digital industries and which would expand access and the curriculum for local students; (b) a business centre, providing flexible, affordable facilities for start-ups and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to attract and retain local skilled workers and provide new employment opportunities; and the creation of the Riverside parklet, an accessible green space linking to the River Dour and St James's.
Kent Country Council had been awarded £45 million for the Dover Access improvements project which would improve the flow of traffic from the UK to the Europe. This would include additional border control points and a new exit route which would reduce congestion on local roads.
He thanked the Head of Place, Growth, Investment and Creative Services and his team for their work in respect of the Council’s bid.
(b) To update Members on two events that had been held in December 2022 – the Lantern Parade and Father Christmas’s visit to Market Square, Dover.
He advised that he had led the Lantern Parade with the Mayor of Dover and that it had been wonderful to see people enjoying themselves on such a cold evening. He thanked all the local schools that had taken part and the groups, including Dover District Council, that had made the event possible - Future Foundry, Destination Dover, Dover Town Team, Port of Dover and Dover Town Council.
The Council’s Events and Community team had held a Christmas event funded by the UK Prosperity Fund which allowed many families to meet Father Christmas and his two reindeer. There was a stage in the Market Square which provided music and entertainment. He thanked everyone involved for making a marvellous festive experience and advised that there were plans to hold the event again as well as other special events in Deal and Sandwich in 2023.
(c) That the Council had been given by the Federation of Small Businesses the award for 'Best Programme of Business Support in the South East' due to the number of grants that the Council awarded to businesses. The funding enabled the Council to support 66 small businesses, bring 22 empty properties back in use, renovate 31 shop fronts and assist 13 businesses with sustainable and carbon-free measures.
(d) To advise that on 19 January 2023, the Chairman and ... view the full minutes text for item 56.
To receive a presentation from the Head of Place, Growth, Investment and Creative Services.
There are no papers accompanying the presentation.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor T J Bartlett, introduced the presentation on the Council’s Levelling Up Fund (Round 2) Application, welcoming the news of the successful bid.
The Head of Place, Growth, Investment and Creative Services gave a presentation setting out more detail on what the Levelling Up Fund bid would deliver for the district.
Members welcomed the news and asked questions relating to the delivery and timescale of the project.
To receive from Group Leaders any changes to seat allocations or appointments.
(Note: Any changes must be within the approved allocation of seats to political groups in accordance with the political balance rules (where applicable).)
It was moved by Councillor K Mills, duly seconded by Councillor S H Beer, and
RESOLVED: That the following changes be made to the Labour Group seat allocation to fill the vacancies created following the death of Councillor J P Haste:
To receive answers in respect of questions from the public to Members of the Executive asked in accordance with Rule 11 of the Council Procedure Rules.
(a) Questions will be asked in the order in which notice of them was received, except that the Chairman may group together similar questions.
(b) The period for questions by the public shall be limited so that no further questions shall be put after the elapse of 15 minutes from the commencement of the first question.
(c) A maximum of three minutes is allowed for the each question to be read.
(d) A questioner who has put a question in person may also put one supplementary question without notice to the member who has replied to his or her original question. A supplementary question must arise directly out of the original question or the reply.
(e) Afterwards, any other Member at the Chairman's discretion may speak for up to two minutes on a question or reply.
Questions from the Public
The questions received during the notice period are set out in the agenda papers.
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11, a question from Sarah Waites-Gleave was put to the Leader of the Council, Councillor T J Bartlett:
“Does the cabinet agree that with the national shortage of adult social care staffing running at 10%, and our Dover district characterized as having a rapidly aging population, it would be sensible for DDC to send a letter to Minister for Care and Mental Health (Helen Whately) and to the KCC cabinet member for adult social care (Clair Bell) urging them on behalf of Dover, to repair the damage of recent years and take steps to pay care workers substantially more than the minimum wage and thus recruit people to fill the 10% of adult social care vacancies, the staff needed to care for our vulnerable Dovorian neighbours; many of us would appreciate knowing the numbers of people affected by problems in the care sector in Dover district, both in domicilary social care and the number of local care homes going bust or closing since July 2020?”
In response the Leader of the Council, Councillor T J Bartlett stated:
“Whilst adult social care is not a direct responsibility of Dover District Council I do share the concern expressed in this question regarding the shortage of care workers (which is what I think the question refers to) for our elderly and vulnerable population. I am happy to write to both the KCC Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and the Minister for Care and Mental Health to ask what plans there are to support the care market and encourage greater recruitment to the care sector.
I will also ask the KCC Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care to provide the statistical information regarding Dover residents requiring care and information on care homes in the District.”
A supplementary question was asked in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11.8.
To consider the attached report of the Democratic and Corporate Services Manager.
The Democratic and Corporate Services Manager presented the report on the Calendar of Meetings 2023-24.
Members were advised that the report set out the timetable in principle for 2023-24, with the timetable due to confirmed at the Annual Meeting in May 2023. As per a previous resolution of the full Council, wherever possible meetings during the school holidays had been avoided.
It was moved by Councillor D A Hawkes, duly seconded by Councillor C A Vinson, and
RESOLVED: That the Draft Calendar of Ordinary Meetings for 2023-24 be approved in principle subject to final ratification at the Annual Meeting of Council on Wednesday 17 May 2023.
To consider the report of the Strategic Director (Corporate and Regulatory) (to follow).
The Democratic and Corporate Services Manager presented the report on the Members’ Allowances Scheme 2023/24.
Members were advised that the East Kent Joint Independent Remuneration Panel (EKJIRP) had advised that, recognising the pressures on local authorities, it would support a decision ranging from not increasing the current allowances levels through to any increase in the allowances up to but not exceeding the levels recommended in its last full Review, as set out in Appendix 2 of the report.
Members were advised that the proposed Members’ Allowances Scheme set out in Appendix 1 of the report represented no increase in the Basic or Special Responsibility Allowances.
It was moved by Councillor C A Vinson, duly seconded by Councillor M Bates, and
RESOLVED: That the Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2022-23 be made at the levels set out in Option 1 (as per Appendix 1) of the report.
To consider the report of the Strategic Director (Finance and Housing)(to follow).
The Strategic Director (Finance and Housing) presented the Council Tax Base and Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2023/24.
It was moved by Councillor C A Vinson, duly seconded by Councillor D R Friend, and
RESOLVED: (a) That for the financial year 2023/24, the empty homes discount for properties unoccupied and unfurnished remain at 0%, so that Council Tax will be payable in full on these properties.
(b) That the District's Council Tax Base for 2023/24 as 39,974.37 and the tax base for the towns and parishes in the Council’s administrative area, as set out in the table at Appendix 2, be approved.
(c) That the “Long Term Empty Premium” for properties that have been left empty and substantially unfurnished:
(i) for periods of 2 years but less than 5 years, a Long Term Empty premium to be charged at 100%; and
(ii) for periods of 5 years but less than 10 years, a Long Term Empty premium to be charged at 200%; and
(iii) for periods of 10 years or more a Long Term Empty premium to be charged at 300%.
(d) That the three minor changes to CTRS as set out in the report, effective from 1 April 2023 be approved.
(e) That the use of the CTRS ‘protected’ income grid in the CTRS, as set out in Appendix 3, be approved.
(f) That the application of the 100% Council Tax premium on properties empty for 1 year but less than 5 years, applicable from 1 April 2024, should the Regeneration & Levelling-Up Bill receive Royal assent, be approved.
(g) That the application of a 100% Council Tax premium on ‘second homes’, applicable from 1 April 2024, should the Regeneration & Levelling-Up Bill receive Royal Assent, be approved.
In accordance with Procedure Rule 18.6 (voting on budget decisions) a recorded vote was held. The manner of voting was as followed:
To consider the attached report of the Head of Finance & Investment and the Monitoring Officer.
The Strategic Director (Finance and Housing) presented the report on the Revision to Contract Standing Orders.
Members were advised that a correction to the report would need to be moved at paragraph 14.2.2 and 14.2.3 to replace ‘Solicitor to the Council’ with ‘Section 151’ as followed:
“14.2.2Subject to a written report in an approved format
to be submitted to the Monitoring Officer (or his nominee) and
14.2.3 Subject to approval by the
Monitoring Officer and the
It was moved by Councillor P D Jull, duly seconded by Councillor D A Hawkes, and
RESOLVED: That the Council, acting on the recommendation of the Governance Committee and the Monitoring Officer, adopt the revised Contract Standing Orders appended to the report subject to the amendments at paragraphs 14.2.2 and 14.2.3 set out below:
“14.2.2Subject to a written report in an approved format to be submitted to the Monitoring Officer (or his nominee) and Section 151 (or his nominee); which shall include reasons for the extension or other variation which demonstrate that the need for the extension or other significant variation is genuinely exceptional.
14.2.3 Subject to approval by the Monitoring Officer and the Section 151, who shall record that they have considered the reasons for the extension or other significant variation and that they are satisfied that the circumstances justifying the extension are genuinely exceptional.”
Up to 60 minutes is allowed for this part of the meeting unless extended by the Chairman of the Council or on a motion moved, duly seconded and approved by the Council. Members may ask one supplementary question in addition to their original question.
Members may ask one supplementary question in addition to their original question.
The questions received are set out in the order received in the agenda papers.
In accordance with Rule 12(1) of the Council Procedure Rules, Members of the Cabinet responded to the following questions:
Motions for which notice has been given are listed on the agenda in the order in which notice was received, unless the Member giving notice states, in writing, that they propose to move it at a later meeting or withdraw it.
If a Motion set out in the agenda is not moved by the Member who gave notice thereof it shall, unless postponed by consent of the Council, be treated as withdrawn and shall not be moved without fresh notice.
The Motions received are set out in the agenda papers.
(1) In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 13, Councillor D R Friend moved the following Motion:
“Debate Not Hate motion
The intimidation and abuse of councillors, in person or otherwise, undermines democracy; preventing elected members from representing the communities they serve, deterring individuals from standing for election, and undermining public life in democratic processes.
This council notes that increasing levels of toxicity in public and political discourse is having a detrimental impact of local democracy and that prevention, support and responses to abuse and intimidation of local politicians must improve to ensure councillors feel safe and able to continue representing their residents.
This council therefore commits to challenge the normalisation of abuse against councillors and officers and uphold exemplary standards of public and political debate in all it does. The council further agrees to sign up to the LGA’s Debate Not Hate campaign. The campaign aims to raise public awareness of the role of councillors in local communities, encourage healthy debate and improve the response to and support those in public life facing abuse and intimidation.
In addition, this council resolves to;
• Write to the local Member of Parliament to ask them to support the campaign
• Write to the Government to ask them to work with the LGA to develop and implement a plan to address abuse and intimidation of politicians
• Regularly review the support available to councillors in relation to abuse and intimidation and councillor safety
• Work with the local police to ensure there is a clear and joined-up mechanism for reporting threats and other concerns about the safety of councillors and their families and discuss the need to take a preventative approach that accounts for the specific risks that councillors face, as they do with other high-risk individuals, like MPs.
• Take a zero-tolerance approach to abuse of councillors and officers.”
The Motion was seconded by Councillor M Bates.
Councillor S H Beer moved as an AMENDMENT as followed:
Insert new bullet point after second bullet point:
· Recognise that members who are women or from minority groups are more likely to receive personal attacks, threats of violence and ongoing harassment.
Amend fourth bullet point as followed:
· Regularly review the support available to councillors in relation to abuse and intimidation and councillor safety and add special training sessions for women if requested, in line with Council’s commitment to equalities.
Councillor D R Friend and his seconder, Councillor M Bates, agreed to accept the amendment which became the SUBSTANTIVE Motion.
Councillor C A Vinson moved an AMENDMENT as followed:
Add the following to the end of the Motion:
Councillor D R Friend and his seconder, Councillor M Bates, agreed to accept the amendment, whereupon with the consent of Council it was put to the meeting as the SUBSTANTIVE Motion and it was
RESOLVED: The intimidation and abuse of councillors, in person or otherwise, undermines democracy; ... view the full minutes text for item 65.
To consider any other items deemed by the Chairman of the Council to be urgent in accordance with the Local Government Act 1972.
There were no items of urgent business for consideration.