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 (or their nominee) of the Major Opposition Group (Labour Group) shall be allowed up to 10 minutes to respond.
(c) The Leader (or their nominee) of the Other Opposition Group (UKIP Group) shall be allowed up to 5 minutes to respond.
(d) 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 Leaders, whichever is the greatest).
The Leader of the Council, Councillor K E Morris, included the following matters in
(a) The launch of the next phase of the review of the council’s electoral arrangements by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE). The current phase of consultation on ward patterns would run from 30 January 2018 to 9 April 2018.
(b) That the Homelessness PAG had met before Christmas. The meeting had considered a four stage process for intervention in respect of homelessness and the Council was investigating building and buying housing, including the use of modular homes. The January 2018 monthly update was encouraging against performance indicators.
(c) That Kent had been approved as a pilot area for business rate retention. The pilot was for 1 year but could be extendable for an additional year.
(d) The Medium Term Financial Plan would make provision for additional funding for Dover Town Centre. A new town centre officer post would be funded.
(e) That internal changes would being made to put enforcement into one office under one manager. A legal officer would also be co-located with the enforcement team.
(f) That Canterbury City Council, Dover District Council and Thanet District Council had contracted with Civica for 7 years. The contract had transferred 230 jobs to Civica and would also see an East Kent trading hub set up which the three authorities would share in the profits for as new work was taken on. The contract would also deliver savings to be split between the three authorities and safeguard jobs.
(g) That he had met with the new owners of the Discovery Park who remained focussed on the growth of life sciences at the site. They would also look at retail, leisure and new homes opportunities.
The Leader of the Main Opposition Labour Group, Councillor M R Eddy, included the following matters in his report:
(a) To express his disappointment that the LGBCE had decided on 32 councillors as it did not provide enough members to provide for effective scrutiny.
(b) To welcome that the Leader had started the meetings of the Homelessness PAG and to express support for modular homes and buying properties.
(c) To welcome the news of the Business Rate pilot while expressing that as a one year pilot it reinforced the volatility in local government finances. He urged the Council to work through the Local Government Association on this issue.
(d) That while the St James (DTIZ) development was beginning to bear fruit it was important to ensure that work commenced now on developing the rest of the town.
(e) To welcome the creation of a single enforcement team as it was a major issue for the district. He urged a zero tolerance approach to unkempt buildings.
(f) To express concern that the Civica deal while cheap in the shorter term would leave local government with a mess to clean up down the road.
(g) To welcome the news that the Discovery Park would continue to focus on life sciences and express hope that there would be links with local universities and Europe.
The Leader of the Minority Opposition UKIP Group, Councillor G Rapley, included the following matters in her report:
(a) To question what impact homelessness would have on the waiting list for council housing and to advise that she had heard a rumour that the old Buckland Hospital site would be used as accommodation for the homeless.
(b) To welcome the news in respect of Dover town centre.
(c) To state that more enforcement needed to be undertaken in respect of rubbish/litter.
(d) That in respect of the news from the LGBCE, she would have preferred a number of 39 councillors.
In response, the Leader of the Council raised the following matters in his right to reply:
(a) That while homelessness was rising in coastal towns across England, the Dover District had seen a decline in presentations in January.
(b) To respond to the Leader of the UKIP Group to advise that homelessness would have no impact on the waiting list for council housing and that he had not heard the rumour about the old Buckland Hospital site.