Agenda item

Leader's Time

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)  That the resignations of Councillors M J Holloway and J Rose was a sad loss to the Council and that he wished them both well in their future endeavours. He also wished good luck to the candidates standing for election in the vacant seats.


(b)  That the Council had launched its Tourism Strategy during an organised visit from the Tourism Minister.


(c)   To thank everyone who participated in the Great British Spring Clean event and also to thank the officers involved in organising it.


(d)  That he had been a judge in a local photography competition for children. There had been 73 excellent entries which had been reduced to a shortlist of 25 entries. There would be a prize giving held to congratulate the winners.


(e)  That he had attended the opening of the Clock Tower Square which was part of the Dover Wester Docks Revival redevelopment. He welcomed the modern and vibrant new public space.


(f)    That he had met the first tenants of Bomford Place, named after a prominent member of Dover’s suffrage movement, and advised that all 24 units were now occupied. That the Burgess Place development was also expected to go live this week. He had also viewed four other sites as part of the Council’s target of developing 500 new homes.


(g)  That possible sites for the Dame Vera Lynn Footpath had been identified in discussion with her family at the Western Heights.


(h)  That the Council had made an ambitious bid to the Levelling Up Fund. This included the development of a memorial park and amphitheatre. If the bid was successful, the Council would undertake consultation and stakeholder engagement on the proposals.


(i)    To highlight the great work at Kearsney Abbey and Russell Gardens and celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Russell Gardens. The new landscaping, new café and new play area had received a lot of positive feedback.


(j)    To acknowledge the disappointing performance of the waste contract operated by Veolia and the frustration experienced by residents affected by it. Veolia advised that they had been affected by the shortage of HGV drivers and the ‘pingdemic’. The Council was working with Veolia to get performance back on track.   


(k)   That following public feedback the Government had amended its proposals for the Inland Border Facility and it was now proposed that there would be two sites with a reduction in the size of the original proposed site.


(l)    That £80,000 had been awarded in community grants and that he was looking forward to further grant rounds.


(m) The celebrate the success of the 149th Open Golf Championship and highlight the potential inward investment opportunities. He thanked the Council’s team working on the project for their work and advised that the Open Golf Championship would return to St George’s in the future.


(n)  To thank the NHS staff who were present at the 149th Open Golf Championship.


(o)  To thank the Head of Inward Investment and Tourism for his 45 years of public service and wish him best for his retirement. He noted that there would be a legacy of investments to proud of.


(p)  To offer his thoughts and prayers to the family of PCSO Julia James whose funeral would be held on 22 July 2021. 



The Leader of the Opposition Labour Group, Councillor K Mills, included the following matters in his report:   


(a)  To echo the Leader’s comments in respect of PCSO Julia James.


(b)  To state that the Head of Inward Investment and Tourism would be greatly missed and stress the importance of continuing the efforts to attract inward investment and regeneration.


(c)   To state that the Council would miss Councillor M J Holloway’s drive and to wish Councillor J Rose the best for the future.


(d)  That the Council needed to be clear to local people how the Levelling Up Fund would benefit them and to be ambitious in the Council’s bid. However, most important was to ensure that something useful came out of the bid.


(e)  To welcome the community grants made but highlight that demand for the grants was increasing.


(f)    To thank the NHS for their work and acknowledge the pressure they were working under.


(g)  To ask when the Dover Schematic would be shared with local residents so they could see the plans for the future. 


(h)  To point out that some of the problems with the waste contract pre-dated its start in April. In respect of the new contract, he highlighted that the new rounds were not working and questioned what service the Council was getting for its money. He emphasised the need to monitor the contract and communicate clearly with local residents about the problems. He noted that some residents had resorted to private collections to clear their uncollected waste.


(i)    To ask what discussions the Leader had undertaken with Southern Waste about the flooding problems affecting Deal.


(j)    To point out some residents in Dover received the Deal Reconnect leaflet.


(k)   To ask when the benefits and costs of the Open Golf Championship would be evaluated and what had been done to address the concerns of local residents.


(l)    To note that the issue that had led to concerns over the use of S106 money in Aylesham had now been rectified.


(m) That the Council needed to work with Kent County Council over the future of the Blackfish Theatre.


(n)  That the Council had been too quiet in opposing racism and that it had a responsibility in taking a lead against racism.



In response the Leader of the Council advised:


(a)  That succession planning for the Head of Inward Investment and Tourism was in place and that a Head of Growth would be appointed soon.


(b)  That the Council had been advised not to share information at this time on some aspects of the Levelling Up Fund but accepted that the Council did need to share more information when it was able to do so.


(c)   To welcome the transformation of the Sunrise Café and express support for its good work.


(d)  That the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Environment would keep pressing Veolia to resolve the problems with the performance of the waste contract.


(e)  That he would be providing an update to a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in the autumn on discussions with Southern Water.


(f)    That the £7 million spent on the Discovery Centre would hopefully bring the building back into better use.


(g)  To agree that there was a need to assess the benefits of the Open Golf Championship.


(h)  That the district needed to stand united against racism.

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