Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 8th February, 2021 6.00 pm

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Items
No. Item

83.

Apologies pdf icon PDF 4 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence received.

84.

Appointment of Substitute Members pdf icon PDF 4 KB

To note appointments of Substitute Members.

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager advised that no notice had been received for the appointment of substitute members.

85.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 143 KB

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

Minutes:

Councillor S C Manion declared an Other Significant Interest (OSI) in Minute No. 94 (Review of On and Off-Street Parking Charges) on the grounds that he was a parking permit holder and stated his intention to withdraw from the meeting for the consideration of that item of business.

86.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 234 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 30 November 2020 (attached) and 18 January 2021 (to follow).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meetings held on 30 November 2020 and 18 January 2021 were approved as a correct record for signing by the Chairman.

87.

Decisions of the Cabinet Relating to Recommendations from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 62 KB

To receive the Cabinet decisions in respect of recommendations of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Minutes:

The decisions of the Cabinet relating to recommendations made by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting held on 1 February 2021 were noted.

88.

Issues referred to the Committee by Council, Cabinet, or another Committee pdf icon PDF 4 KB

There are no items for consideration.

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager advised that there were no issues referred to the Committee by Council, Cabinet or another Committee.

89.

Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 10 KB

It is intended that Members should use the Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions to identify topics within the remit of the Committee for future scrutiny.

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager presented the Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions to the Committee for its consideration.

 

Members identified the following items for inclusion within the work programme:

 

·         To determine the future use of the Co-Innovation Centre site (former Co-op) at Stembrook, Dover

 

There being no dissent indicated, it was agreed that the Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions be noted subject to the inclusion of item no. 29 (Co-Innovation Centre site (former Co-Op) at Stembrook, Dover) within the work programme.

90.

Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 553 KB

It is intended that the Committee monitor and prioritise its rolling work programme.

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager presented the Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme to the Committee for its consideration.

 

There being no dissent indicated, it was agreed that the Work Programme be noted.

 

91.

Public Speaking pdf icon PDF 5 KB

Please note that in accordance with the agreed Protocol for Public Speaking at Overview and Scrutiny, the right to speak only applies to agenda items 11 to 13.

 

Members of the public wishing to speak must register to do so by no later than 2.00 pm on the second working day (Thursday) before the meeting.

 

For remote meetings, public speaking for those who successfully register will take the form of a statement of up to 500 words that will be read out by a member of the Democratic Services team.

 

 

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that an application for public speaking had been received from Dr Raju Sakaria in respect of Minute 92 (Flooding in Deal).

 

The Chairman read out the statement received.

92.

Flooding Issues in Deal pdf icon PDF 298 KB

An invitation has been made to Southern Water to attend the meeting to answer Members’ questions relating to flooding in Deal.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Ms K Robinson, County Customer Manager for Kent to the meeting. As County Customer Manager she was responsible for the Southern Water network and its response to issues. When a problem occurred, such as flooding at Albert Road, her team would assess the problem and propose solutions.

 

The Committee was advised that some of the questions were the responsibility of other teams at Southern Water and she would not be able to answer them. Ms Robinson indicated that she was happy to come back or provide written answers to the outstanding questions.

 

Q1       Over the last twenty years we have seen a couple of thousand houses built, over that time how much money has Southern Water invested along the main corridor pipeline running along Albert Road to accommodate the extra flow and how much is planned to be spent in future years. Can we also know the details of the major work undertaken?

 

            No answer was provided.

 

Q2       Despite the 11 floods in 15 years and the repeated risks of flooding necessitating in Southern Water having to position tankers in case of flooding when do Southern Water plan to increase the capacity of the Albert Road foul water drains?

 

            No answer was provided.

 

Q3       As houses get built in the Deal region the flooding seems to be getting worse. E.g. Church lane. Southwall road, Allenby road, the bottom of Mill Road where it meets Manor road, middle Deal Road near Grange Road, Park Avenue under the railway bridge and Station Road Walmer near the station just to name a few. As a resident looks like the system cannot cope anymore when heavy rainfall occurs. So why Is Southern Water not fixing the situation and why does Southern Water have not recommended refusal on each housing application in the area on the grounds that the network cannot safely accommodate it without flooding elsewhere in Deal

 

            No answer was provided.

 

Q4       The manhole cover are loose and when we get flooding they are lifting and moving. This presents a real danger until Southern Water or Highways appear. Why can they not be fixed with small opening to allow the water under pressure to escape?

 

The Committee was advised that if manhole locations could be provided they would be assessed and a course of action determined.

 

Q5       When can the residents of Deal and the Albert road residents in particular be able to sleep easily free from the fear of flooding?

 

The Committee was informed that it was not possible to guarantee that there would not be flooding in the future as it was an open network. It was possible that things would get into the network (such as wipes, etc.) that were not meant to be there and that could cause blockages.

 

There were monitors in place that would trigger interventions but in cases such as the rainfall in August, the sudden unexpected heavy rainfall meant there was no advance warning.

 

The question was therefore how Southern Water could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 92.

93.

Housing Stock Compliance pdf icon PDF 354 KB

To consider the attached report of the Strategic Director (Operations and Commercial).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Assets and Building Control presented an update on Housing Stock Compliance.

 

Members welcomed the progress that had been made in respect of compliance and thanked the Head of Assets and Building Control for providing clarification over acronyms in the document.

 

The long terms proposals for dealing with asbestos in properties was discussed and Members were advised that this was the long-term objective. It was pointed out that much of the residential asbestos would be removed as part of capital works to renew affected properties.

 

The Chair thanked the Head of Assets and Building Control for the update.

94.

Review of On and Off-Street Parking Charges pdf icon PDF 390 KB

To consider the attached report of the Head of Commercial Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Commercial Services presented the Review of On and Off-Street Parking Charges. It had been agreed in January 2011 that parking charges would be reviewed annually and in line with that decision it was considered appropriate to review charges at this time.

 

It was recognised that the pandemic had a significant impact across all sectors of the community and in particular in the hospitality and retail sector. It was important that the Council ensured that its parking policies and charging structure recognised this while still providing for the effective management of parking spaces and striking a balance between the use of charges and parking restrictions to ensure the turnover of parking spaces in order to meet demand. While there was no general increase in parking charges proposed, there were several adjustments in respect of specific car parks to balance demand and availability needs.

 

The following points were raised by Members:

 

·         To welcome the introduction of the new charging structure for residents permits based on engine size as an important contribution towards the climate change agenda. In response to concerns raised by Councillor S H Beer in respect of the proposed reduction in the waiting period for non-permit holders within resident zones from 2 hours to 1 hour it was stated that this proposal had been developed after reviewing a range of options and its impact would be reviewed.

 

·         Members discussed the charge for hotelier books and concerns raised by Councillor M Rose over the cost and impact of these books on resident parking availability. The Committee was advised that the Council sold only a small number of these books, but officers would monitor the impact of these books on resident parking.

 

·         The impact of extending the charging period from 5pm to 6pm on local businesses. Members were informed that a survey had found that it would have minimal impact on shopping patterns.

 

·         The status of proposals to introduce charges in rural car parks. Councillor C D Zosseder expressed concerns that the Council was paying to maintain the car parks but not recovering the cost of that maintenance as it did in the urban car parks. The Head of Commercial Services advised that covid had interrupted the review of rural car parks. There had been some discussion with parish councils in December 2020 and the feedback received had been that the majority had been opposed to the introduction of charging.   

 

Councillor C D Zosseder requested that a further report be brought to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the review of charging arrangements at rural car parks. The Head of Commercial Services agreed that this would be possible and that a short could be ready for the March meeting of the Committee.

 

There being no dissent indicated, it was agreed to note the report.

 

(Councillor S C Manion declared an Other Significant Interest (OSI) in Minute No. 94 (Review of On and Off-Street Parking Charges) on the grounds that he was a parking permit holder withdrew from the meeting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 94.

95.

Council Budget 2021/22 And Medium-Term Financial Plan 2021/22 - 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 505 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Strategic Director (Corporate Resources) and the Head of Finance and Investment presented the draft Council Budget 2021/22 and Medium-Term Financial Plan 2021/22 – 2024/25.

 

The Leader of the Council, Councillor T J Bartlett, and the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Governance and Digital, Councillor C A Vinson, were also in attendance at the invitation of the Chairman.

 

Members were advised that the summary of the budget position was as followed:

 

·         The General Fund budget for 2021/22 forecast a deficit of approximately £500,000;

·         The Housing Revenue Account was balanced; and

·         The Capital Programme was fully funded.

 

However, the forecast contained a high degree of uncertainty due to the pandemic and other factors and the general fund would need to use reserves to cover the forecast deficit. It was stated that due to a significant proportion of the support from government to the Council for 2020/21 not being ringfenced it would assist in reducing the impact on the Council's underlying reserves.

 

Councillor C A Vinson pointed out that the Council’s reserves were the product of prudent budgeting and that unlike a number of other council’s there was no need to issue a s114 notice in respect of the council’s finances.

 

Members discussed the report and whether the information could be presented in a more simplified format to assist councillors and the public in understanding it. The Strategic Director (Corporate Resources) advised that he would see what could be done to present some of the information in a more simplified way.

 

RESOLVED:       That it be recommended to Cabinet that decision CAB88 be endorsed as followed:

 

(i)            That the General Fund Revenue Budget, the Capital and Special Projects Programmes, the Housing Revenue Account budget and the content of the Medium-Term Financial Plan (MTFP), as proposed in Appendix 3 of the report, be forwarded to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

 

(ii)           That the draft budget be placed on the Council’s website for comments.

 

(iii)          That it be noted that the remaining annexes, including the Council Tax Resolution and Treasury Management, Investment and Capital Strategies, will be added to the MTFP and other minor adjustments made before being presented to Council in March.