Agenda and minutes

Council - Wednesday, 6th March, 2024 6.00 pm

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Media

Items
No. Item

61.

Apologies pdf icon PDF 52 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors J S Back, D G Cronk, M F Hibbert and D P Murphy.

62.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 47 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 31 January 2024.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 31 January 2024 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

63.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To receive any declarations of interest from Members in respect of business to be transacted on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made by Members.

64.

Announcements pdf icon PDF 57 KB

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.

Minutes:

There were no announcements.

65.

Leader's Time pdf icon PDF 89 KB

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).

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council advised that members of the Cabinet would provide updates in respect of the following matters as part of his report:

 

Councillor P M Brivio discussed the work underway in Poulton Close to prepare the site for the construction of new temporary accommodation units. This was part of the work to increase the Council’s housing stock.

 

Councillor C D Zosseder raised the following matters:

·         To praise the on-going restoration works at Maison Dieu.

·         To update Members on the progress of Kearsney Abbey Café and its progress on becoming a wedding venue. There had also been a defibrillator installed at the Café.

·         The out-of-hours service had received no complaints about accessing the service or the service itself since being moved in-house in July.

 

Councillor E A Biggs raised the following matters:

·         To inform Members that the containerisation of green waste was on target with 500 new subscribers added.

·         That preparations were underway for a highspeed road clean.

·         That the Beacon Project was progressing week,

·         That the Local Plan had only required 2 amendments following its examination and it was progressing on target.

 

Councillor S H Beer informed Members that despite challenges the overall message on the Council’s finances was positive and that no cuts to services had been required in the budget.

 

Councillor J L Pout raised the following matters:

·         The launch of the Great British Spring Clean in March and how it brought people together.

·         To praise the Reach Awards which actively recognised those who were seeking to improve the environment.

·         That he was liaising with Stagecoach on reinvigorating the Quality Bus Partnership.

·         That Fasttrack had been pushed back as there was a need to make sure everything was in place for its launch. It was expected to launch in Summer 2024.

·         That he had written a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport about the impact on Dover of traffic when Operation TAP or BROCK were in effect and the potential impact of the European Entry-Exit System (EES). He would be meeting with the Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) to find out about their plans for dealing with these matters, particularly with the prospect of 14-hour delays at the Port of Dover due to the introduction of the EES.   

 

Councillor K Mills raised concerns over the impact of EES on the town of Dover, the wider district, Kent and the UK. He stressed that Dover would the only town that would be gridlocked as a result of this which would impact of schools, shops, businesses and local residents. He had a meeting with local businesses coming up.

 

The Leader of the Opposition Group included the following matters in his report:   

 

(a)  To emphasise the importance of the budget meeting and to point out that the Council had always had a balanced budget in the past.

(b)  That the letter on Port Health concerns had been sent to the wrong minister and that his Group could have assisted with this.

(c)   To ask if the Leader  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.

66.

Seat Allocation and Group Appointments pdf icon PDF 37 KB

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).)

Minutes:

There were no changes made to seat allocation and group appointments.

67.

Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 63 KB

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.

 

The questions received are set out in the order received in the agenda papers.

Minutes:

In accordance with Rule 12(1) of the Council Procedure Rules, Members of the Cabinet responded to the following questions:

 

QUESTION 1 RAISED BY COUNCILLOR M BATES UNDER COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE 12:

 

Is the Portfolio Holder for Transport, Licensing and Environmental Services aware that HGV commercial vehicles are still causing disturbance and damage in the Aycliffe Estate when seeking to use the lorry park at South Military Rd. Our local MP has addressed the matter to the senior highways manager for KCC and the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport and could he provide details of the representations he has made to KCC to have this situation resolved.”

 

REPLY BY THE PORTFOLIO HOLDER FOR TRANSPORT, LICENSING AND ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES:

 

In respect of your question, having raised this with the Community Services Manager whose remit of responsibility include both the Community Safety and Resilience Team and the Parking and Transport Team, I can confirm that neither of these teams have received any complaints on this matter for many months. If you are in receipt of recent complaints, can I request that you ensure that officers are provided with them or encourage the reporters of these matters to report them direct to the council, so that the officers can help take whatever action is feasible to prevent any nuisance to local residents.

 

In the meantime we will continue to press the Highways Authority to look to reposition the Dover TAP further back up the A20, to prevent the nuisance caused by stationary lorries and the ancillary noise effecting the local residents in Aycliffe.”

 

There was no supplementary question asked.

 

QUESTION 2 RAISED BY COUNCILLOR D R FRIEND UNDER COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE 12:

 

Could the Leader of the Council provide an update on what action he has taken regarding planning enforcement activity related to the unlawful occupation of land south of Summerfield House in Woodnesborough, following the commitments he made in his response to a question from a member of the public at the Council meeting on 19th July 2023.”

 

 

REPLY BY THE LEADER OF THE COUNCIL:

 

“Officers are continuing to work on this matter and are considering the Council’s position.  At this stage no further update can be provided as this is a live planning enforcement matter.”

 

There was no supplementary question asked.

 

QUESTION 3 RAISED BY COUNCILLOR C A VINSON UNDER COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE 12:

 

Could the Leader of the Council confirm how many service-by-service reviews have been completed since the cancellation of the Council's transformation programme in 2023?”

 

 

REPLY BY THE LEADER OF THE COUNCIL:

 

“All Heads of Services undertook service reviews as part of the budget setting process for 24/25. Many identified savings and efficiencies which will be given effect during the next financial year.

 

In addition to this, we are currently working on a more structured programme of service reviews, with a request to be made for a Continuous Improvement Officer through the Council’s Authority to Recruit Group  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67.

68.

Redistribution of Functions Amongst Chief Officers pdf icon PDF 77 KB

To consider the attached report of the Head of Paid Service.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Strategic Director (Corporate and Regulatory) presented the report on the Redistribution of Functions Amongst Chief Officers.

 

Members were advised that the Governance Committee had made the following recommendation:

 

“That it be recommended to Council that ‘climate change’ be included in the list of functions of the Strategic Director (Place & Environment), and that the proposed changes to Article 12 and the Scheme of Officer Delegations be approved and be incorporated into the Council’s Constitution version 25a.”

 

It was moved by Councillor S H Beer, duly seconded by Councillor H M Williams, and

 

RESOLVED:       (a)     That the re-distribution of functions between the Chief Officers who form the Council’s Corporate Management Team be approved as per the report subject to ‘climate change’ being included in the list of functions of the Strategic Director (Place & Environment).

 

                            (b)     That subject to the agreement of 1 above, Council approves resultant changes to Article 12 and the Scheme of Officer Delegations (Council Functions) as outlined in the appendix to the report.

 

69.

Members' Allowances Scheme 2024-25 pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To consider the attached report of the Head of Corporate Services and Democracy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Members’ Allowances Scheme 2024-25 was presented to Members for their consideration.

 

It was moved by Councillor C A Vinson and duly seconded by Councillor N S Kenton

 

“That the Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2024-25 be made as set out in Appendix 1 of the report subject to the allowances being index linked to the staff pay award on an on-going basis.”

 

On being put to the meeting, the Motion was LOST.

 

The Leader of the Council stated that he didn’t necessarily disagree with the principle but suggested that it should be explored further by a cross-party working group.

 

It was moved by Councillor K Mills, duly seconded by Councillor J L Pout and

 

RESOLVED:   (a)     That the Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2024-25 be made at the levels set out in Option 1 (as per Appendix 1) of the report.

 

                        (b)     That officers report to a future meeting on proposals for a cross-party working group to look at the issue of index-linking members allowances.

70.

Pay Policy Statement 2024-25 pdf icon PDF 120 KB

To consider the attached report of the Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service.

Minutes:

The Strategic Director (Corporate and Regulatory) presented the Pay Policy Statement 2024-25.

 

It was moved by Councillor K Mills, duly seconded by Councillor T J Bartlett, and

 

RESOLVED:       That the Pay Policy Statement 2024-25 as set out at Appendix 1 to the report be approved prior to publication on the Council’s website.

 

 

71.

Section 25 Report pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To consider the attached report of the S151 Officer.

Minutes:

The s151 Officer presented the Section 25 report to Members.

 

Members were advised that the Local Government Act 2003 (Section 25) required that the s151 Officer reported to Members on the robustness of the estimates made for the purposes of the budget calculations and the precept for the Council’s council tax and the adequacy of the proposed financial reserves, so that Members could have regard to them when considering the annual budget and precept.

 

It was the opinion of the s151 officer that the Council’s budget had been prepared on a rigorous and robust basis and the Council’s reserves were sufficient for its immediate needs. However, it was also the opinion of the s151 officer that there were two significant factors that could undermine the budget over the next year or two because of the actions of the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). Accordingly, the Council faced the choice of either maintaining border controls to protect UK farming and the food chain, at the Council’s own expense or effectively follow the logic of DEFRA’s withdrawal of Dover Port Health Authority (PHA) funding and cease the limited controls at the border and expose the UK to the high risk of African Swine Fever and other Products of Animal Origin (POAO) risks.

 

If the Council continued at its own expense, it risked massively depleting its reserves, and greatly increasing the risk of the chief finance officer being required to make a report pursuant to s.114 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 in 2025/26.

 

Members considered the report and discussed the potential impact on the Council’s resources.

 

It was moved by Councillor K Mills, duly seconded by Councillor S H Beer, and

 

RESOLVED:       That the report be received and taken into consideration when approving the Council Budget 2024/25 and Medium-Term Financial Plan 2024/25-2027/28 (MTFP).

72.

COUNCIL BUDGET 2024/25, MEDIUM-TERM FINANCIAL PLAN 2024/25–2027/28 AND 2024/25 COUNCIL TAX SETTING pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To consider the report of the Strategic Director (Finance and Housing).

 

Recorded Vote

A recorded vote will be required in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 18.6 (Voting on Budget Decisions).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance and Investment presented the Council Budget 2024/25, Medium-Term Financial Plan 2024/25–2027/28 and 2024/25 Council Tax Setting.

 

It was moved by Councillor S H Beer, and duly seconded by Councillor J P Loffman

 

(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 MTFP be approved.

(b)  That the Strategic Director (Finance and Housing), in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Governance, Climate Change and Environment, 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 £6.21 per year and an annual DDC Council Tax of £214.38.

(d)  To note that it was the opinion of the Section 151 Officer that the Council’s budget had been prepared on a rigorous and robust basis and the Council’s reserves were sufficient for its immediate needs. However, it was also the opinion of the Section 151 Officer that there were two significant factors that could undermine the budget over the next year or two because of the actions of the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). Members were referred to the Section 25 Report included separately on the agenda for further information.

(e)  That the various Council recommendations at the end of the sections within the attached budget and MTFP, and summarised in Annex 10 to Appendix 1, be approved.

 

Councillor C A Vinson, duly seconded by Councillor M Bates, moved an AMENDMENT as followed:

“The first bullet point in the recommendation from Cabinet to Council, beginning “That the General Fund Revenue Budget….”, be amended with the addition of the following text to the end of the sentence ‘…subject to the removal of the £2.8m transfer from DDC earmarked reserves to the Port Health service in 2024/25 indicated in Annex 1, replacing it with a £2.8m transfer to the Tides Replacement project in Annex 6A, and a corresponding reduction in the 24/25 Port Health Authority budget in Annex 3B.”

On being put to the meeting the AMENDMENT was LOST.

A recorded vote was held in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 18.6 (Voting on Budget Decisions).

 

FOR (11)

AGAINST (16)

ABSTAIN (1)

T J Bartlett

S H Beer

M W Moorhouse

M Bates

E A Biggs

 

D G Beaney

S B Blair

 

D R Friend

P M Brivio

 

N S Kenton

G Cowan

 

R M Knight

S Hill

 

S C Manion

J P Loffman

 

M P Porter

S M S Mamjan

 

O C de R Richardson

K Mills

 

M W Rose

M J Nee

 

C A Vinson

D J Parks

 

 

J L Pout

 

 

H M Williams

 

 

C F Woodgate

 

 

L M Wright

 

 

C D Zosseder

 

 

In the absence of any further AMENDMENT, the original Motion was put to the meeting and

RESOLVED:  (a)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 72.

Recorded Vote
TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
Amendment Amendment

“The first bullet point in the recommendation from Cabinet to Council, beginning “That the General Fund Revenue Budget….”, be amended with the addition of the following text to the end of the sentence ‘…subject to the removal of the £2.8m transfer from DDC earmarked reserves to the Port Health service in 2024/25 indicated in Annex 1, replacing it with a £2.8m transfer to the Tides Replacement project in Annex 6A, and a corresponding reduction in the 24/25 Port Health Authority budget in Annex 3B.”

 

Rejected
SUBSTANTIVE (FINAL VOTE) Resolution

(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 MTFP be approved.

(b)  That the Strategic Director (Finance and Housing), in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Governance, Climate Change and Environment, 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 £6.21 per year and an annual DDC Council Tax of £214.38.

(d)  To note that it was the opinion of the Section 151 Officer that the Council’s budget had been prepared on a rigorous and robust basis and the Council’s reserves were sufficient for its immediate needs. However, it was also the opinion of the Section 151 Officer that there were two significant factors that could undermine the budget over the next year or two because of the actions of the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). Members were referred to the Section 25 Report included separately on the agenda for further information.

(e)  That the various Council recommendations at the end of the sections within the attached budget and MTFP, and summarised in Annex 10 to Appendix 1, be approved.

 

Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 73.

    Urgent Business Time pdf icon PDF 83 KB

    To consider any other items deemed by the Chairman of the Council to be urgent in accordance with the Local Government Act 1972.

    Minutes:

    There were no items of urgent business for consideration.