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) To praise the work of the Community Roots van and to encourage members to speak to community services if they wanted the van to visit their wards in the future.
(b) To emphasise the importance of everyone having a say in the regeneration of the district.
(c) To announce the relaunch of the Billiards Room at Kearsney Abbey which would be available for hire by local groups and for weddings. This was the culmination of the work since 2014 and had resulted in the best park in East Kent.
(d) To thank all those involved in the Council winning a Great British Spring Clean award. The award was presented to representatives of Dover District Council at the Keep Britain Tidy's Network conference and network awards ceremony which took place in February.
(e) That the Dover Fastrack was on course to open in September or early October 2023.
(f) That Kent County Council had declined to attend this meeting but had agreed to attend a future meeting of the Council to give a presentation on the Kent Levelling Up Fund bid.
(g) That the owners of the former Regent Cinema were liaising with planning on a potential application.
(h) That an expected 40-50 businesses would be at the Skills and Job Fair and Stagecoach had agreed to provide a free loop bus for those attending. There would also be free parking offered at Tides.
(i) That he had attended a Fair Trade Fortnight even organised by the Deal Fair Trade group.
(j) To pay tribute to the Chairman of the Council, Councillor M D Conolly, for his service to the Council and his time as Chairman. Councillor M D Conolly, along with Councillors S S Chandler, N J Collor and D Hannent would be sadly missed.
He looked forward to welcoming a new Conservative Group Chairman of the Council in May 2023.
The Leader of the Opposition Labour Group, Councillor K Mills, included the following matters in his report:
(a) To advise the Leader that it would be a new Labour Group Chairman that the Council would be welcoming in May 2023.
(b) To agree with the Leader of the Council that the Community Roots van was an asset.
(c) To express surprise that Kent County Council had not attended to speak about the Levelling Up Fund bid given the history of gridlock affecting Dover. He expressed concern that infrastructure improvements alone may not be above to solve the issue.
(d) To agree that Kearsney Abbey was an asset for local residents.
(e) To welcome Fastrack but express concern about its viability once the subsidy had ended. He emphasised the importance of promoting the service.
(f) To express concern that TAP had become more frequent in its use and that it was a blight on the residents of Aycliffe.
(g) That it had been a long wait for something to happen with the Regent and it had still not yet happened. He pointed out that the independent cinema in Dover had closed and stressed the importance of provision of a cinema in Deal.
(h) To offer his support for the Skills and Job Fair.
(i) To ask the Leader what the progress on the Banksy had been.
(j) To point out that Kent County Council members voted for an increase in their Members’ allowances while at the same time cutting bus services in the district. The cuts to rural bus services were particularly significant. In contrast, Dover District Council had kept its allowances at a reasonable level.
In response the Leader of the Council advised:
(a) That he will make sure that Kent County Council do attend a future meeting to discuss the Levelling Up Fund.
(b) That he was expecting the submission on the Regent Cinema to happen in the next two weeks.
(c) That he was looking into what could be done with the Banksy.
(d) To point out that in Staple there were no buses anymore and that this would isolate people in the villages. He acknowledged that Stagecoach were also to blame but accepted that they were a commercial business.
(e) To point out that he was not a member of Kent County Council and therefore not responsible for their Members’ allowances. However, he accepted the points raised by Councillor Mills.