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To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors P M Brivio, L A Keen, M Rose and R S Walkden.
To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 25 January 2023 (to follow).
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) As it was the last meeting prior to the elections in May 2023, the Chairman thanked councillors for their service and in particular identified the following:
· The Vice-Chairman of the Council, Councillor D Hannent
· The PA to the Leader and Chairman and the Civic Attendant
· Democratic Services
· Councillors T J Bartlett and S S Chandler, current and former ward members with him in Little Stour and Ashstone Ward
· The officers at the Council, praising the healthy relationship between Members and Officers
· The Strategic Director (Finance and Housing) for their close working relationship during his eight years as the finance portfolio holder
· Everyone involved in the Dover Leisure Centre PAG which delivered a new leisure centre on time and on budget
· Members for the courtesy and good humour during full Council meetings
(b) To offered his best wishes to those Members who would be stepping down at the next election – Councillors S S Chandler, N J Collor, D Hannent, S J Jones and L A Keen.
(c) To condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and reflect with pride on the Motion adopted by the Council on the matter.
The Council stood in silence as a mark of respect to remember those Ukrainian civilians and military personnel who had died since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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 praise the work of the Community Roots van and to encourage members to speak to community services if they wanted the van to visit their wards in the future.
(b) To emphasise the importance of everyone having a say in the regeneration of the district.
(c) To announce the relaunch of the Billiards Room at Kearsney Abbey which would be available for hire by local groups and for weddings. This was the culmination of the work since 2014 and had resulted in the best park in East Kent.
(d) To thank all those involved in the Council winning a Great British Spring Clean award. The award was presented to representatives of Dover District Council at the Keep Britain Tidy's Network conference and network awards ceremony which took place in February.
(e) That the Dover Fastrack was on course to open in September or early October 2023.
(f) That Kent County Council had declined to attend this meeting but had agreed to attend a future meeting of the Council to give a presentation on the Kent Levelling Up Fund bid.
(g) That the owners of the former Regent Cinema were liaising with planning on a potential application.
(h) That an expected 40-50 businesses would be at the Skills and Job Fair and Stagecoach had agreed to provide a free loop bus for those attending. There would also be free parking offered at Tides.
(i) That he had attended a Fair Trade Fortnight even organised by the Deal Fair Trade group.
(j) To pay tribute to the Chairman of the Council, Councillor M D Conolly, for his service to the Council and his time as Chairman. Councillor M D Conolly, along with Councillors S S Chandler, N J Collor and D Hannent would be sadly missed.
He looked forward to welcoming a new Conservative Group Chairman of the Council in May 2023.
The Leader of the Opposition Labour Group, Councillor K Mills, included the following matters in his report:
(a) To advise the Leader that it would be a new Labour Group Chairman that the Council would be welcoming in May 2023.
(b) To agree with the Leader of the Council that the Community Roots van was an asset.
(c) To express surprise that Kent County Council had not attended to speak about the Levelling Up Fund bid given the history of gridlock affecting Dover. He expressed concern that infrastructure improvements alone may not be above to solve the issue.
(d) To agree that Kearsney Abbey was an asset for local residents.
(e) To welcome Fastrack but express concern about its viability once the subsidy had ended. He emphasised the importance of promoting the service.
(f) To express concern that TAP had become more frequent in its use and that it was a blight on the residents of Aycliffe.
(g) That it had been a long wait for something to happen with the ... view the full minutes text for item 71.
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).)
There were no notifications received of changes to seat allocations or group appointments.
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.
(1) In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11, a question from Mike Eddy was put to the Leader of the Council, Councillor T J Bartlett:
“Given the scale of expenditure on Dover’s Maison Dieu and the recently announced funding for the Bench Street area, when will Dover District Council take action to assert its rights and duties of ownership of the important heritage asset that is the Dover Roman Painted House?”
In response the Leader of the Council, Councillor T J Bartlett stated:
“The Roman Painted House is leased to the Dover Roman Painted House Trust, a charity established some 50 years ago for the purposes of its stated aims which according to the Charity Commission website are to “preserve the Roman House, Dover, manage it and open it to the public as cost effectively as possible”.
Whilst the Council is very grateful to the work undertaken by you and your fellow trustees over the years, I do feel strongly that the time has come to review this arrangement with the trustees and also those dedicated volunteers that support the work of the Trust.
I am sure you will agree that this heritage asset deserves to be promoted, understood and appreciated by a far wider audience than is the case today.
Hopefully we can work together to create a management structure, which is fit for the 21st century and then work to attract the external funding that will be needed to restore the Roman Painted House as a cultural destination so that it can take its rightful place at the heart of Dover’s historical and cultural offer.”
A supplementary question was asked in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11.8.
(2) In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11, a question from Adrian Sullivan was put to the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Environment, Councillor N S Kenton:
“What actions has the Council taken, and what actions will the Council take in the future, to show it is implementing the Kent Biodiversity Strategy 2020-2045?”
In response the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Environment, Councillor N S Kenton stated:
“The potential for impacts to priority habitats and species identified in the Kent Biodiversity Strategy is currently addressed as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.
The Council’s emerging Local Plan recognises the importance of the Kent Biodiversity Strategy 2020-2045, and planning applicants will need to demonstrate how their proposals align to strategic priorities and actions for the natural environment, including those in the Kent Biodiversity Strategy relating to the priority habitats and species that are present in Dover District. This will ensure that potential impacts are fully addressed and will also contribute to the delivery of Kent Biodiversity Strategy targets such as habitat restoration and creation, and the provision of habitat features including swift boxes.
Through the Kent Nature Partnership, the Council is a contributor to the current review of the Kent Biodiversity Strategy that will ensure that it can be embedded within the forthcoming Kent Local Nature Recovery Strategy, for ... view the full minutes text for item 73.
To consider the attached report of the Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service.
The Strategic Director (Corporate and Regulatory) presented the Pay Policy Statement 2023/24.
It was moved by Councillor C A Vinson, duly seconded by Councillor D A Hawkes and
RESOLVED: That the Council approves the Pay Policy Statement set out at Appendix 1 to this report prior to publication on the Council’s website.
To consider the report of the Strategic Director (Finance and Housing).
This report is to follow.
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 18.6 this item is subject to a recorded vote.
Members were advised that recommendation in Annex 10 to:
“Delegate the approval of projects included in Annex 6D, the Digital & ICT Programme to the Head of Community & Digital Services in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Governance, Digital and Climate Change.”
Had the previous job title for the Head of Transformation and should instead read as followed:
“Delegate the approval of projects included in Annex 6D, the Digital & ICT Programme to the Head of Transformation in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Governance, Digital and Climate Change.”
It was moved by Councillor C A Vinson, duly seconded by Councillor D A Hawkes, that subject to the change of title in Annex 10 above it be
RESOLVED: (a) That the General Fund Revenue Budget, the Capital and Special Projects Programmes, the Housing Revenue Account Budget, the Council Tax Resolution and the content of the Medium-Term Financial Plan be approved.
(b) That the Strategic Director (Finance and Housing) in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Governance and Digital be authorised to draw on the Earmarked Smoothing Reserve to meet in year variations in the budget.
(c) That a Council Tax increase of 2.98% for DDC purposes be approved, resulting in an increase on Band D properties of £6.03 per year and an annual DDC Council Tax of £208.17.
(d) To note that it is the view of the Strategic Director (Finance and Housing) (Section 151 Officer) that, having due regard to the circumstances and the range of uncertainties, the budget has been prepared in an appropriate and prudent manner. As far as can be determined and, based upon the information available at the time of producing this report, the estimates are robust, and the Council’s financial reserves are adequate for its spending plans in 2023/24.
(e) That the various Council recommendations at the end of the sections within the attached budget and Medium-Term Financial Plan, and summarised in Annex 10 to Appendix 1, 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 Strategic Director (Corporate and Regulatory).
The Democratic and Corporate Services Manager presented the report on the Vacancy on the East Kent Remuneration Panel.
Members were asked to consider not filling the vacancy due to the limited number of months remaining on the Panels term of office.
It was moved by Councillor M F Hibbert, duly seconded by Councillor D R Friend, and
RESOLVED: That the vacancy in one of Dover District Council’s two appointees on the East Kent Joint Independent Remuneration Panel remain unfilled for the remainder of the term of appointment.
To consider the attached report of the Democratic and Corporate Services Manager.
The Democratic and Corporate Services Manager presented the Revised Petition Scheme.
Members were advised that it had been over a decade since the scheme had previously been reviewed and that the current scheme was based on statutory guidance that had since been repealed.
Members debated the two proposed amendments from the Governance Committee to the recommendations set out in the report.
It was moved by Councillor S S Chandler, duly seconded by Councillor N S Kenton and
RESOLVED: That the Council approve the new Petition Scheme as set out in Appendix 1 of the report and incorporate it into the Constitution of the Council (Issue 25), subject to the inclusion of recommendation (b) of the Governance Committee that an additional paragraph be added after paragraph 2.13 that reads “Any petition with 1600 or more signatures will automatically be referred to full Council after consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.”
To consider the attached report of the Monitoring Officer.
Due to the size of the document the Constitution will be circulated as a supplementary paper.
The Monitoring Officer presented the Review of the Constitution 2022-23.
Members were informed that the references to the Head of Community and Digital Services in the Scheme of Delegations should instead be to the Head of Transformation following a change to the title of the post holder.
It was moved by Councillor P D Jull, duly seconded by Councillor D Hannent, and
RESOLVED: (a) That the proposed changes in the Review of the Constitution 2022/23, as set out in Appendix 1, and specifically those changes relating to Part 3, Responsibility for Functions, Section 1 (Responsibility for Local Choice Functions), Section 2 (Responsibility for Council Functions) and Section 6, Sub Section C (Scheme of Officer Delegations) that relate to Council functions be approved and incorporated into the Council’s Constitution, issue no. 25.
(b) That references to the ‘Head of Community and Digital Services’ be changed to read ‘Head of Transformation’.
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.
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 13, Councillor H M Williams moved the following Motion:
“This council notes that there is more work to be done to encourage a more diverse range of candidates for elections in future, in order that councillors better represent the diverse communities they serve.
This council therefore resolves to create a working group at the annual Meeting in May 2023 to find ways to encourage a more diverse range of candidates, especially more women, to stand for council in future.”
The Motion was seconded by Councillor S H Beer.
An AMENDMENT was moved by Councillor S S Chandler, duly seconded by Councillor C A Vinson as follows:
“This Council notes that there is more work to be done to encourage more diverse range of candidates for elections in future, in order that councillors better reflect the diverse communities they serve.
This Council therefore resolves to ask the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to include in the Committee work programme consideration of how more residents from across those communities can be encouraged to participate in local democracy and potentially stand as candidates in future council elections.”
On being put to the meeting the AMENDMENT was CARRIED.
On being put to the meeting, the SUBSTANTIVE Motion was
RESOLVED: This Council notes that there is more work to be done to encourage more diverse range of candidates for elections in future, in order that councillors better reflect the diverse communities they serve.
This Council therefore resolves to ask the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to include in the Committee work programme consideration of how more residents from across those communities can be encouraged to participate in local democracy and potentially stand as candidates in future council elections.
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.