Agenda item

Matters considered by the Cabinet and/or Scrutiny Committee:


a)           Homelessness Review 2022 and draft Homelessness and Rough Sleepers Strategy 2023-2028


Councillor Fleming proposed and Councillor Maskell seconded the recommendation from Cabinet. The report detailed the feedback from the public consultation and sought approval for the Strategy to be adopted.


Resolved: That the


a)   feedback received from the public consultation, be noted; and


b)   Homelessness and Rough Sleepers Strategy 2023- 2023, be adopted.



b)          Treasury Management Strategy 2023/24


Councillor Fleming proposed and Councillor Dickins seconded the recommendation from Cabinet. The report sought approval for the Treasury Management 2023/24.


Resolved: That the Treasury Management Strategy 2023/24, be approved.


c)               Property Investment Strategy 2023/24


Councillor Fleming proposed and Councillor Dickins seconded the recommendation from Cabinet. The report sought approval for the Property Investment Strategy 2023/24.


Resolved: That the Property Investment Strategy criteria, be agreed.


d)               Budget and Council Tax Setting 2023/24


Councillor Fleming proposed and Councillor Dickins seconded, the recommendation from Cabinet. The report sought approval of the proposed budget and required level of Council Tax for 2023/24, and proposed a net expenditure budget of £18.533m with the District Council Tax increasing by 2.98% resulting in Band D Council Tax being £236.70.


The Leader spoke to the motion stating that “Last year we met at the Stag Theatre, one of the last meetings we had away from this Chamber, we were at what we believed was the tail end of the pandemic and the budget position of the council was overshadowed by the significant impact that it had had on the council, the districts residents, and businesses. We met days before Russia’s major escalation of its illegal invasion of Ukraine and the terrible impact this continues to have on that country and its people, and the global economic shockwave that followed.


Whilst I spoke at the time of some of the pressures that were building, including rising inflation, at that stage no one could have predicted what we have seen, financial impacts on a global scale down to family and individual budgets with the rising cost of living.The council found itself moving from the support given to communities during the pandemic to supporting those most impacted by the economic pressures that followed.We saw an almost immediate rise in approaches to the council for housing support, financial and benefit advice.


We faced double digit inflation coupled with increasing demand for almost all our services.Government schemes to support those fleeing Syria, Afghanistan and Hong Kong were supplemented with numerous schemes in support of individuals displaced by the conflict in Ukraine.Sevenoaks residents opened their doors to this latest refugee crisis and the district council alongside our partners supported and continue to support them.This year we had hoped to pause and recharge, but as this was not the case, we threw ourselves into the service of those residents most in need, both old and new, lifelong, and those here for a short time.


Throughout, we continued to provide over 80 services to the public, we continued our capital programme, investing in the future of our district, provided homes, jobs and the infrastructure that will move the district forward, we continued to work with partners and charities, we promoted the districts tourism and economic opportunities though our place campaign, we protected the districts environment, whether challenging inappropriate development, focusing on reducing our use of natural resources, improving air quality, prosecuting fly tipping criminals. All this, and so much more, made possible by the sound financial management of council taxpayers' money that you see continued in the budget before you tonight.


Throughout, all this uncertainty, rising costs,  increasing demand, we have been as equally focused on delivering value for money to every single household in the district, we have made savings, we have reduced bureaucracy and embraced new ways of working. Sometimes we feel the impact of these changes, this year the district went through a waste round review, why?


We have seen consistently 20% more waste and recycling collected during and since the pandemic, with people spending more time at home and producing more waste, we saw double digit increases in fuel costs. Implementation was always going to be painful and unfortunately it didn’t disappoint, whilst many of the issues have been ironed out, we will continue to make any small changes necessary. However, we stand to save residents thousands of pounds a month, we will purchase new vehicles to join our fleet, making the service more reliable and lessening the impact on the environment, and we have secured the weekly collection of waste and recycling for every household in the district.


Chairman, tonight you have before you a ten year balanced budget, we maybe in the 13th year, we may now take it for granted, nay Sayers said it wasn’t possible, they said that you couldn’t make a decade’s worth of assumptions.  A ten year balanced budget is not normal! This remains something we do, uniquely in the Sevenoaks District. This remains the sole reason that tonight we can protect services to the public. Enhance those services that are most needed to support residents. Continue to deliver our largest capital programme in decades. Reduce our proportion of the overall council tax bill with a below inflation rise, meaning more money stays in the pockets of Sevenoaks residents.


Why does any of this matter? It is a year and a week since the opening of the White Oak Leisure Centre, the council’s largest single capital project in over 40 years, a year that has seen record breaking attendances, the centre is back at the heart of the Swanley and wider northern parishes’ communities. The success of this project has redoubled our resolve to rebuild and refurbish the districts other leisure centres so they can continue to serve their communities for decades to come, the investment in leisure centres show this councils ongoing commitment to the health of the residents it serves, access to sport and leisure activities builds the foundations of an individual’s health throughout their lives.


There is another reason that it is the right decision to look to improve the infrastructure around our sport and leisure provision, that is our ongoing commitment to Net Zero 2030.This Council’s Carbon Reduction Plan is nearly complete, we have had detailed surveys carried out to assess the councils’ buildings and fleet and the possibility and cost of moving away from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources.The plan also looks at how we can meet our ambition for the district, particularly how we can work with our partners. Taking all the calculations together it will provide the Council with a costed pathway to Net Zero, that will allow members to make fully informed decisions around this crucial agenda.


This year we launched the districts first Local Cycling and Walking Strategy, preceded with a successful bid for over one million pounds in Active Travel funding to deliver the first route across Sevenoaks. We have secured funding not only for the preparatory work needed to take forward the second highest ranked LCWIP route but also monies to deliver a Swanley LCWIP


These projects alongside the District Council’s Movement Strategy, ongoing work to deliver e-bike hire and a car club model for larger developments, show that we don’t have to operate within the tightly drawn boundaries of a district council but with vision and commitment we can lead on initiatives that bring lasting benefits to the district and its environment.This year we have invested not only in Net Zero but in improving the wider environment, the ending of the successful, but of its time, joint Environmental Health partnership, bringing the team home has allowed us to be more flexible and focus on the issues that matter most to residents, currently most prominent is Air Quality, we have dedicated resources to make sure that the significant improvements in the districts air quality continue.


Chairman I could go on and on, this has been one hell of a year, for the Sevenoaks district and local government as a whole, particularly set against the backdrop of the preceding 18 months, when seen through this lens it is a wonder we are still on our feet, but we are more than just standing, more than merely surviving. We are pushing on, delivering for all the residents of this district.


Another year where residents come first, investing in support of those within our communities most in need, investing in the future health of generations of residents, building and buying properties that will house future generations and give them the best start in life.”


In closing the Leader stated that he commended the budget to members, a balanced budget, a commitment to quality services, ambitious plans for the future delivered to each and every resident of the District.


A Member expressed his thanks for the balanced budget once again and for the continuation of services to the residents of the District.


The vote was taken by all those present in the Council Chamber.





Cllr. Abraham

Cllr. Andrews

Cllr. Ball

Cllr. Bayley

Cllr. Bonin

Cllr. Brown

Cllr. Bulford

Cllr. Cheeseman

Cllr. Clack

Cllr. Penny Cole

Cllr. Perry Cole

Cllr. Collins

Cllr. Dickins

Cllr. Dyball

Cllr. Edwards-Winser

Cllr. Esler

Cllr. Eyre

Cllr. Fleming

Cllr. Harrison

Cllr. Hogarth

Cllr. Hudson

Cllr. Hunter

Cllr. Kitchener

Cllr. Layland

Cllr. London

Cllr. Maskell

Cllr. McArthur

Cllr. McGarvey

Cllr. Morris

Cllr. Pender

Cllr. Purves

Cllr. Raikes

Cllr. Reay

Cllr. Roy

Cllr. Thornton

Cllr. Waterton

Cllr. Williams






 It was therefore resolved that


(a)        the Summary of Council Expenditure and Council Tax for 2023/24 set out in Appendix F, be approved;

(b)        the 10-year budget 2023/24 to 2032/33 which was the guiding framework for the detailed approval of future years’ budgets set out in Appendix C(i) to the report, including the budget changes set out in Appendix E to the report, and that where possible any variations during and between years be met from the Budget Stabilisation Reserve, be agreed;

(c)        the Capital Programme 2023/26 and funding method set out in Appendix J(i) and Capital Strategy 2023/24 set out in Appendix J(iii), be approved;

(d)        the changes to reserves and provisions set out in Appendix K, be approved;

(e)        the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2022/23, be rolled forward to 2023/24, with effect from 1 April 2023 (Appendix M), be approved;

(f)         the Council Tax premium on long term empty dwellings, be shortened from the current 2 years (empty) to 1 year from 1 April 2024 (Appendix N), be agreed in principle for implementation following Royal Assent to the relevant Act of Parliament;


(g)        the 100% Council Tax premium on all second homes from 1 April 2024 (Appendix N), be agreed in principle for implementation following Royal Assent to the relevant Act of Parliament;


(h)        SCIA 18 be reviewed by Officers with the intention of the retention of the Out of Hours service during the peak months of the year;


(j)               that it be noted that at the Cabinet meeting on 12 January 2023 the Council calculated as its council tax base for the year 2023/24:

        (i)         for the whole Council area as 51,990.30 being Item T in the formula in Section 31B of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as amended, (the “Act”); and

(ii)             for dwellings in those parts of its area to which a parish precept relates as in the attached Appendix P;

(k)             that the council tax requirement for the Council’s own purpose for 2023/24 (excluding Town and Parish precepts) be calculated as £236.70;

(l)               that the following amounts be calculated for the year 2023/24 in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Act:



being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(2) of the Act taking into account all precepts issued to it by Town and Parish Councils.



being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(3) of the Act.



being the amount by which the aggregate at (l)(i) above exceeds the aggregate at (l)(ii) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31A(4) of the Act, as its council tax requirement for the year (Item R in the formula in Section 31B of the Act).



being the amount at (l)(iii) above (Item R), all divided by (a)(i) above (Item T), calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31B of the Act, as the basic amount of its council tax for the year (including Town and Parish precepts).



being the aggregate amount of all special items (Town and Parish precepts) referred to in Section 34 (1) of the Act (as per the attached Appendix P).



being the amount at (l)(iv) above, less the result given by dividing the amount at (l)(v) above by the amount at (j)(i) above (Item T), calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 34 (2) of the Act, as the basic amount of its council tax for the year for dwellings in those parts of its area to which no Town or Parish precept relates.

(m)       that it be noted that for the year 2023/24 the Kent County Council, the Kent Police & Crime Commissioner and the Kent & Medway Towns Fire Authority have issued precepts to the Council in accordance with Section 40 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, for each category of dwellings in the Council’s area as indicated in the table below:-

Valuation Bands

Precepting Authority


Sevenoaks District Council

Kent County Council


Kent Police & C.C.


Kent & Medway Towns Fire Authority










































(n)             that the Council, in accordance with Sections 30 and 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, hereby sets the aggregate amounts shown in Appendix Ras the amounts of council tax for the year 2023/24  for each part of its area and for each of the categories of dwellings; and

(o)             that the Council’s basic amount of council tax for 2023/24, shown in (l)(vi) above, is not excessive in accordance with principles approved under Section 52ZB of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.



Supporting documents:


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