Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Argyle Road, Sevenoaks. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 01732 227165  Email: democratic.services@sevenoaks.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

51.

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 20 February 2024 pdf icon PDF 222 KB

Minutes:

Resolved: That the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 21 February 2024, be approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

Cllr. Robinson requested her vote against the Minutes to be recorded.

52.

To receive any declarations of interest not included in the register of interest from Members in respect of items of business included on the agenda for this meeting.

Minutes:

No additional declarations of interest were made.

53.

Chairman's Announcements.

Minutes:

The Chairman started his announcements by advising that the Council’s Better Together project which had been shortlisted for the iESE Public Sector Transformation Awards, was awarded the Bronze award for ‘Working Together’ for its work helping to empower local residents and groups by providing advice, support and grants to make things happen in their neighbourhoods.  

 

Keeping on the theme of awards, he had the pleasure of awarding Joel Kentish, an award for his efforts for keeping his community clean for more than a year. He advised that it was a delight to meet Joel, with Cllr McArthur and be able to thank him for his commitment to improve his local neighbourhood for both people and wildlife.

 

The Council has also been awarded £612,950 to fund new solar panels at White Oak Leisure Centre in Swanley, to help cut the centre’s carbon footprint following a successful grant application to the Government’s Swimming Pool Support Fund. The solar panels would further reduce energy use and running costs. Work on their installation is expected to start later this year.

 

On Sunday, like many others he attended the St George’s day parade in Sevenoaks and it was wonderful to see so many people turning up to join in the celebrations. He was also looking forward to attending the Royal Garden Party in early May, as one of his last events as Chairman.

 

Finally, he reminded Members of the community engagement events seeking early views to help shape possible improvements to Land East of Sevenoaks High Street. Events are taking place in person and online. Information available at the events, and an online survey for the public to express their views and offer their ideas, will be available on the website from Wednesday 24 April until midnight on Monday 6 May 2024.

54.

To receive any questions from members of the public under paragraph 17 of Part 2 (The Council and District Council Members) of the Constitution.

Minutes:

No questions had been received.

55.

To receive any petitions submitted by members of the public under paragraph 18 of Part 2 (The Council and District Council Members) of the Constitution.

Minutes:

No petitions had been received.

56.

Matters considered by the Cabinet and/or Scrutiny Committee: pdf icon PDF 37 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

a)      High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Management Plan

 

It was moved by Cllr. Reay and duly seconded by Cllr Thornton that the recommendation from Cabinet, to adopt the High Weald AONB Management be agreed.

 

Cllr. Reay spoke to the motion stating that the plan was a statutory document required every five years and put together by the High Weald Joint Committee with input from affected Local Authorities. The Joint Committee approved the plan on 27 March 2024 he thanked Officers for their work.

 

Members debated the motion noting that the Plan referred to a climate emergency which the Council had not adopted. Concerns were raised as to the monitoring of the ambitions set out in the plan and how these would be monitored. Further concerns were raised as to how the conservation area would be enhanced, and flightpaths over the High Weald and how this would affect the rural communities.

 

In Cllr. Reay’s right of reply, he advised that he would address the points raised with the Councillor at the meeting he had previously suggested for arrangement, and would take on board the comments raised for future plans.

 

The motion was put to the vote and it was

 

Resolved: That the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Management Plan, be adopted.

 

b)      Sevenoaks District Community Safety Partnership Strategy & Action Plan 2024-25

 

It was moved by Cllr. Dyball and duly seconded by Cllr. Thornton that the Sevenoaks Community Safety Partnership Strategy and Action Plan, be adopted.

 

The Council had a statutory responsibility together with other key partners to undertake an audit of crime and disorder in the district and cooperate in the development and implementation of a Strategy and Action Plan on local crime and disorder. The audit was known as the Strategic Assessment and sets the safety priorities identified for the District. Seven priorities were agreed in December 2023, and within each of the priorities were five to six actions. The action plan was a multi-agency document and was monitored on a quarterly basis by the Community Safety Partnership. In addition to the action plan the Council also had a duty to include the serious violence, such as homicide, knife crime, robbery, gun crime, hate crime and where serious violence or its threat was inherent.  A multi-agency partnership would also be working to prevent and reduce serious violence in Kent and Medway.

 

Members debated and raised questions in regards to CCTV and whether there were any financial contributions from Kent Police to assist in funding the service which had helped to assist with arrests. It was highlighted that Kent-wide, regular requests were made to Kent Police to assist with the funding of the service. Some Members questioned why there was an increase in business crime, and how the Police could assist when calls were made regarding shoplifting.   It was noted that the report highlighted that Sevenoaks District remained one of the safest places to live. Concerns were raised as to where national and county budget cuts  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

Matters considered by other standing committees:

Minutes:

There were none.

58.

To consider the following reports from the Chief Executive or other Chief Officers on matters requiring the attention of Council: pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

a)      Draft Calendar of meetings 2024/25

 

Cllr. Thornton moved and Cllr. Perry Cole seconded the recommendation for the approval of the draft calendar of meetings 2024/25, which would need formal agreement at Annual Council in May 2024.

 

Resolved: That the draft calendar of meetings for 2024/25 be approved, subject to formal adoption at the Annual Meeting of Council on 14 May 2024.

 

 

59.

To consider any questions by Members under paragraph 19.3 of Part 2 (The Council and District Council Members) of the Constitution, notice of which have been duly given. pdf icon PDF 32 KB

Minutes:

One question had been received from a Member, in accordance with paragraph 19.3 of Part 2 (The Council and District Council Members) of the Constitution.

 

Question 1: Cllr Robinson

“This month last year, on 4th April 2023, the Emergency Council passed a motion on the future of the Leisure Centres in Sevenoaks and Edenbridge and the Lullingstone Golf Course.   As well as allocating £1.83 million for the rescue, the Council resolved that

“an investigation by its Internal Auditors, be agreed, as to establish

i)          why Sencio had gone into administration/insolvency,

ii)         who was responsible, and

iii)        report lessons to the Council to inform the Council’s contractual relationship and governance with a future long term provider.”

 

My question is: When does the Council plan that this investigation will report to us?”

 

Response: Cllr Dyball

 

“Members debated this matter at the Audit Committee meeting last Tuesday, 16 April. A recording of which was available online.

 

The investigation report will be shared with all Members. Any findings or actions will be embedded into the project plan for the new leisure operator procurement contract exercise, which will have oversight from the Cabinet Members for People and Places, to ensure there is no delay to the procurement commencing on 20 May. It will support a leisure operator being appointed when the interim contract ends in May 2025. The report will be included on the agenda for the next Audit Committee meeting which will be held on 9 July 2024

 

The audit report will also be included on the agenda for the next Audit Committee meeting which to be held on 9 July 2024.”

 

Supplementary Question: Cllr Robinson

 

Will the report be presented to Council before the procurement exercise takes place?

 

Response: Cllr Dyball thanked Cllr Robinson for her question and advised that she would respond in writing.

 

In accordance with the constitution, no further discussion was allowed.

 

60.

To consider any motions by Members under paragraph 20 of Part 2 (The Council and District Council Members) of the Constitution, notice of which have been duly given. pdf icon PDF 43 KB

Minutes:

Cllr. Leaman proposed and Cllr. Alger seconded the following motion.

 

“This Council notes:

1.     the Council’s consistent and continuing failure to meet its target for the percentage of household waste sent for re-use, recycling and composting;

2.     that, while SDC’s re-use, recycling and composting rate is around 30-35%, many comparable District and Borough Councils achieve rates of 55-60%;

3.     the November 2023 report for the Council prepared by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE);

4.     APSE’s conclusion that “the service cannot continue as it is”, drawing attention to its high cost as well as poor performance;

5.     government requirements for the Council to collect food waste separately on a weekly basis and to collect glass from the kerbside from all households by 31st March 2026;

6.     Defra’s announcement (25th March) of a grant to SDC of £1,181,206 to assist with the transition to weekly food waste collection;

7.     that the Council has not complied since 2015 with the regulatory requirement to carry out a TEEP (Technical, Environmental, Economic and Practical) assessment of its waste collection method;

8.     that the Cabinet has yet to provide a detailed response to the request of the Scrutiny Committee of July 2023 to review the Council’s performance on re-cycling.

This Council regrets:

1.     that the Cabinet has so far failed to engage with members or local residents on the need to reform waste collection in the District;

2.     that the recent cancellation of free black waste sacks for all went ahead without a thorough review of waste collection practices and a new strategy in place;

3.     the risks to the Health and Safety of Council employees from existing waste collection practices;

4.     that local residents are only informed of decisions after they are taken, and not engaged in consultation on the options before decisions are taken.

This Council resolves to:

1.     adopt the following goals for a reformed system of waste collection:

·       A re-use, recycling and composting rate at least as high as the average of our closest neighbours;

·       Separate collection of food waste as early as possible, as part of a wider strategy to reform waste collection in the District;

·       Improved value for money for residents of Sevenoaks District.

2 launch an open, structured and public debate and consultation on how to achieve these goals, engaging all members, experts, Council staff and the wider public;

3 promote a sustained public information campaign to draw attention to the benefits of greater re-cycling and the costs incineration as well as landfill to the environment;

4 provide a full explanation of the costs and benefits of options for change, with an analysis of the impact on the Council’s budget for future years, together with a regular report to members on consultations with government and KCC.”

 

 

Cllr. Leaman spoke to his motion stating that the issue of waste and recycling was first raised through the Scrutiny Committee and no formal responses had been received from Cabinet. It was noted that a report was due to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.

61.

To receive the report of the Leader of the Council on the work of the Cabinet since the last Council meeting. pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council reported on the work that she and the Cabinet had undertaken since Council on 21 February 2024. She brought to Members’ attention that the West Kent Expo’24 which had taken place on 14 March, had over 50 exhibitors and workshops event showing and celebrating the business of West Kent. There had been excellent feedback received. Members were also reminded of the opportunity to attend the public engagement sessions on Land East of Sevenoaks High Street.

 

62.

Annual report on Special Urgency decisions. pdf icon PDF 31 KB

Minutes:

The report was noted.

63.

To receive reports from the Chairmen of the Audit and Scrutiny Committees on the work of the Committees since the last Council meeting. pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

a)      Audit Committee Annual Report 2023/24

 

The Chairman of Audit Committee commended her report to the Council, thanking Members and Officers for their work. She expressed her thanks to the Independent Persons and with particular thanks to Lynda McMullan who was stepping down. There were no questions.

 

b)      Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2023/24

 

The Chairman of Scrutiny Committee commended her report to the Council, thanking Members and Officers for their work. There were no questions.

 

Back to top