Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 22nd January, 2024 6.00 pm

For those meetings that are being broadcast (as agreed by Council in July 2022) there will be a link to view the live broadcast under the ‘Media’ heading below. Guidance on how to watch live broadcasts of meetings.

The link to view a recording of a meeting that was broadcast can be found on the Council’s YouTube channel (@doverdc)

Venue: Council Chamber. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: democraticservices@dover.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

76.

Apologies pdf icon PDF 31 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors M W Rose and L M Wright.

77.

Appointment of Substitute Members pdf icon PDF 33 KB

To note appointments of Substitute Members.

Minutes:

It was noted that in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 4, Councillors M Bates and S Hill had been appointed as substitute member for Councillor M W Rose and L M Wright respectively.

78.

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.

79.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 112 KB

To confirm the attached Minutes of the meetings of the Committee held on 13 November 2023 and 11 December 2023.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meetings held on 13 November 2023 and 11 December 2023 were approved as a correct record for signing by the Chairman.

80.

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 15 January 2024 were noted.

81.

Issues referred to the Committee by Public Petition, Council, Cabinet, or another Committee pdf icon PDF 36 KB

To receive any public petitions or issues referred by Council, Cabinet or another Committee.

Minutes:

The Head of Corporate Services and Democracy advised that there were no issues referred to the Committee by Council, Cabinet or another Committee.

82.

Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 73 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 Head of Corporate Services and Democracy presented the Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions to the Committee for its consideration.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions be noted.

 

83.

Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 118 KB

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

Minutes:

The Head of Corporate Services and Democracy presented the Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme to the Committee for its consideration.

 

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

 

·         Street Cleaning

 

RESOLVED:   That the Work Programme be noted, subject to the inclusion of the item on Street Cleaning.

84.

Public Speaking pdf icon PDF 54 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 and 12.

 

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.

Minutes:

The Democratic and Corporate Services Manager advised that no members of the public had registered to speak on items on the agenda to which the public speaking protocol applied.

85.

Update from Port of Dover pdf icon PDF 49 KB

To receive an update from the Port of Dover on the Dover Strategic Masterplan 2050, the Dover Access Improvement Project and other associated issues.

 

The key questions submitted by Members are attached.

Minutes:

The Committee welcomed Doug Bannister, Chief Executive at the Port of Dover to provide an update on the Port of Dover.

 

In his introduction, Mr Bannister covered the following points:

 

·         That the Port of Dover had recovered well since the covid downturn and year-on-year (2022 v 2023) overall passenger growth had increased 36%, cars by 25% and coaches by 120%. In 2021 the Port handled 4,000 coaches which by 2023 had increased to 58,000 coaches. The Port of Dover was now the primary gateway for coaches. While he didn’t have the breakdown for the origin of the coaches, traditionally it was more UK originating coaches than European.

·         Prior to the summer an additional four positions for checking coaches were implemented. It took 8 minutes to process the quickest of the coaches (school group of EU passport holders) and 45 – 60 minutes (multi-pick up and drop off coaches such as Flix Bus) for the slowest. All coach passengers were required to debark and have their passports checked, so had an area set up for those that were expected to the quickest to be processed.

·         In preparation for the 2023 summer season, they had been speaking to the coach sector and tourism and installed  approximately 130% more capacity for coaches.

·         There had been work with Kent Police, National Highways and Kent Count Council on keeping junctions open and there was better traffic management overall. Those lorries that had been coming from Jubilee Way were directed to the back of TAP to avoid congestion on the A2.

·         Summer 2023 waiting times at the Port were on average 41 minutes and it only reached the 2 ½ hour waiting time on one occasion for one hour during the busiest Saturday the Port had experienced in 4 or 5 years. Prior to the summer season they had been warning travellers to expect delays of 1 ½ hours to clear border controls and 2 ½ hours on the busiest days. This had resulted in more traffic overall as people had not been put off by reporting of long delays at the Port.

·         That the Port of Dover had achieved a positive outcome with the anglers on the matter of fishing at the Admiralty Pier. This had been the reason for his last attendance at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

·         Freight volumes at the Port were up 8% year-on-year (2022 v 2023), which compared favourably to many other ports in UK that had seen a decrease in freight volume.

·         2023 saw new cruise lines interested in using Dover as a port of call. While cruise ship call numbers were down, the passenger numbers were up so the number of cruise passengers was broadly in line with expectations.

·         The cargo business was doing well, with the refrigerated cargo business doing particularly well. A third of all bananas consumed in UK now arrived through Dover. The Port had also secured a Brazilian seasonal melon contract and ad-hoc shipments of South African grapes. It was exploring opportunities for new  ...  view the full minutes text for item 85.

86.

Fees and Charges 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To consider the attached report of the Head of Finance and Investment.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Strategic Director (Finance and Housing) and the Strategic Director (Place and Environment) were present to answer Members questions on the proposed Fees and Charges for 2024/25.

 

 

Q1.    More detail on the forecast increase in subscriber numbers for the garden waste service

 

The Council was not forecasting an increase in subscriber numbers. It was expected that there would be a reduction in existing subscribers as part of the transition to containerisation.

 

Q5.    On page 59 the list assumes that there will be an increase of 500 subscribers for 2023/24 but on page 50 item 231 predicts a reduction in 2023/24 of 156 subscribers from the previous year. How do you explain the contradiction?

 

          The Council anticipated a slight reduction in subscriber numbers as some 700 current subscribers would not be able to use the new service. The figure of 500 was an estimate of those who may join the service after the end of February or subscribe for an additional container who would need to purchase it.

 

Q2.    Impact of the changes agreed at Cabinet yesterday on the £200K additional income figure that was in the parking report.

 

This would be answered as part of the next agenda item.

 

Q3.    Overall change in forecast income that will result from the fees and charges changes agreed by Cabinet yesterday (i.e. what will be included in the Budget)

 

The starting point was, as in previous years, that the Council had an extremely challenging financial situation and needed to maximise income while continuing to set reasonable fees and charges.

 

The total income from fees & charges (excluding parking income) in the 2023/24 budget was c.£5.2 million. The forecast level for 2024/25 was £5.6 million. The total increase was approximately £400,000.

 

Q4.    On page 51 of the list of fees and charges for Environmental Health it does not indicate whether they are statutory or not. Are we meant to assume that they are all statutory?

 

These all related to statutory functions. The fees listed on this page all related to fixed penalties. They were a power rather than a duty and local authorities may issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) offering the alleged offender the opportunity to discharge their liability to conviction. A parameter for the level of the FPN is usually set by legislation which then allows the authority to set it within that parameter.

 

There needed to be a balance when setting the amount of the fine to encourage payment to be made and therefore avoided the costs of taking a prosecution should the payment not be made. If a fine was unpaid within the requisite period, the alleged offender became liable to prosecution through the Courts, which could then become more costly for the authority. Fines through the Courts were retained by the Court, not the Council.

 

Q6.    On page 67 can finance provide data on the number of court summons and liability orders served per annum.

 

The Strategic Director (Finance and Housing) advised that the charges were based around cost recovery.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 86.

87.

REVIEW OF ON AND OFF-STREET PARKING CHARGES pdf icon PDF 91 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered the report on the Review of On- and Off-Street Parking Charges.

 

The following had been carried over the Fees and Charges questions:

 

Q2.    Impact of the changes agreed at Cabinet yesterday on the £200K additional income figure that was in the parking report.

 

There was no income assumed from the new car parks in the budget for the first year as there was no way to accurately forecast usage levels. Accordingly, there was no impact from the changes to charging for rural car parks.

 

The same situation existed in respect of the proposed charges for disabled parking bays as this had not been included in the budget as income.

 

Q12. Re: parking charges, Is the use of RingGo going to be rolled out across the district? If so will this be the sole method of payment? An increase in 20p across the district for an hour will mean an hour's parking will cost £2.20 via RingGo. What will be the saving to DDC of using RingGo. How does that compare with using card payments only at machines?

 

RingGo was available in all DDC Off-street chargeable car parks and on-street chargeable parking. The charge was an extra flat rate 20p across all sites. That was the only charge that Ringo kept. This was on top of the Council’s set charges. Currently 62% off all transactions were through RingGo (increasing 10% per annum over last 3 years). The cost of a card transaction was a 2% fee which came from DDC income.

 

Q13. Item 3.3 no charge car parks. Stated that poor turnover therefore parking availability is actually limited and payment will reduce congestion. Do we have figures for this? Has a full review been done on these car parks as to current usage and future impact if charges are introduced. Has an hour free approach been considered? Will there be a step wise fee as in other car parks?

 

This was to be factored in as part of full parking review commencing in April 2024.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Community and Corporate Property, Councillor C D Zosseder, stated that the first hour free approach was something that would be considered as part of the review. The review would involve consultation with the parish councils.  

 

Q14. What would be the cost of policing the allocated disabled bays?

 

There would be no extra cost as it would be part of routine patrolling.

 

Q15. I understand parking charges had been trialled very briefly at barrow pit. What was the rationale/evidence that this was appropriate and what was the rational/evidence presented that enabled the decision to be reversed?

 

This had been trialled but there was insufficient evidence arising from the trial. It would be covered as part of full parking review commencing in April 2024.

 

In respect of the ‘Free from Three’ offer in the run-up to Christmas, the Portfolio Holder for Community and Corporate Property stated that this would be looked at as part of the parking review. Any feedback from businesses  ...  view the full minutes text for item 87.

88.

Exclusion of the Press and Public pdf icon PDF 49 KB

The recommendation is attached.

 

MATTERS WHICH THE MANAGEMENT TEAM SUGGESTS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED IN PRIVATE AS THE REPORT CONTAINS EXEMPT INFORMATION AS DEFINED WITHIN PART 1 OF SCHEDULE 12A OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 AS INDICATED AND IN RESPECT OF WHICH THE PROPER OFFICER CONSIDERS THAT THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN MAINTAINING THE EXEMPTION OUTWEIGHS THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN DISCLOSING THE INFORMATION

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor H M Williams, duly seconded by Councillor M J Nee and

 

RESOLVED:     That, under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the remainder of the business on the grounds that the items to be considered involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part I of Schedule 12A of the Act.

89.

Sale of Guide Hut at Land Adjoining 107 Sandwich Road, Whitfield

To consider the attached report of the Head of Property Assets.

Minutes:

The Head of Property Assets presented the report on the Sale of Guide Hut at Land Adjoining 107 Sandwich Road, Whitfield.

 

It was moved by Councillor C A Vinson, duly seconded by Councillor D R Friend, and

 

RESOLVED:       That it be recommended to Cabinet that decision CAB68(b) be amended as follows to include the 2 Members for the Whitfield Ward:

 

“That the Strategic Director (Place & Environment) be authorised to agree detailed terms for the disposal, acting in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Community and Corporate Property and the 2 Members for the Whitfield Ward.”