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 it had been Fairtrade Fortnight the previous Saturday. The Deal Fairtrade group had a stand in Deal Market and one outside the Co-Op in Sandwich. He emphasised the importance of promoting Fairtrade.
(b) The ground-breaking ceremony for Dover Fastrack had been held that day.
(c) That he continued to work with Natalie Elphicke MP, the Port of Dover and Kent County Council to improve the Whitfield and Duke of York roundabouts and to upgrade the A2. The Council was asking the government to urgently prioritise the work.
(d) To express disappointment that Dover TAP was still being used as it was only intended to be temporary measure. It had been activated in excess of 420 times since 2016 and this was unacceptable, particularly for people living in Aycliffe.
(e) The importance of taking pride in the district. The local street scene would provide promote, encourage, and empower individuals, communities, and businesses to create, improve and manage their local streetscape. There were also steps being explored to make it easier for councillors to report issues.
(f) To congratulate the Pick Deal Clean community group on being recognised for their work by becoming finalists in the ‘Litter Heroes’ award category at the Keep Britain Tidy Network Conference 2022. He also thanked the regular litter pickers who supported the Council in keeping the District clean.
(g) That he was pleased to report that following a £1 million investment in street lighting the district had brighter, safer and more environmentally friendly lights. The works included the replacement of approximately 2,750 streetlights units with energy saving LEDs and 200 lighting columns.
(h) That on 11 February 2022 he raised the first Green Flag at Kearsney Abbey and Russel Gardens. He took the opportunity to thank the dedicated team, including apprentices and local volunteers for helping the Council achieve its first ever Green Flag Award.
(i) That in support of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Celebrations he encouraged all organisations to go on line for help and advice on planning a street party or community event. He emphasised that any road closures would need to be applied for by no later than 25 March 2022. In addition, funding for Members to help with Jubilee Celebrations was being finalised and would be announced shortly.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition Labour Group, Councillor P M Brivio, included the following matters in her report:
(a) To express support for needed works to improve the road network in the district.
(b) That the problems with the use of TAP needed to be resolved urgently for the sake of local residents. She expressed the view that the reasons given for not moving the location of TAP away from Aycliffe were not justifiable.
(c) To welcome the announcements in respect of the local street scene.
(d) To congratulate Pick Deal Clean on their recognition and award. She also expressed support for efforts by officers to support local litter picks and advised that a litter pick would be held in the Tower Hamlets Ward on 26 March 2022.
(e) To express disappointment that there were no plans to introduce charges for rural car parks, especially in light of the request from Wingham that charges be introduced to stop people using it as a free parking location to go into Canterbury rather than shop in Wingham.
(f) To enquire whether the Council proposed to build a crematorium in the district.
(g) To enquire as to whether there was any further news in respect of the Regent Cinema.
In response the Leader of the Council advised:
(a) That he would press for changes to the TAP scheme as a top priority.
(b) That there had been good feedback from the local litter picks and it had led to increased interest in people becoming community caretakers.
(c) That he had been advised that Wingham Parish Council no longer wanted charging to be introduced at the car park in the village.
(d) That the Council was in talks in respect of a local crematorium.
(e) That he had met with the owners of the Regent Cinema but slow progress was being made in respect of the development.