Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Suite. View directions

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies of absence were received from Cllr Alan Ridgers, Cllr Conrad Broadly and Cllr Emma Elliott.

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 12 February 2019 were signed by the Chair.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.   

 

4.

Community Payback DOTX 30 KB

To provide Members with a summary of the role of the Community Payback Service and a joint working initiative to improve the street scene environment with the town centre.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed the new Members to the Committee and gave an introduction as to how he wanted the Committee to be run and how they should all work together apolitically during their time on the Committee.

 

Members were provided with a summary of the role of the Community Payback Service and a joint working initiative to improve the street scene environment within the town centre

 

The Assistant Director Environment advised Members of the background information relating to the Community Payback Service Scheme and the benefits of it to the Community.

 

The Community Payback Manager – KSSCRC was welcomed to the Committee and he delivered a presentation to Members explaining who the KSSCRC were and what rehabilitation services they could offer Gravesham (please see supplementary).

 

Following the presentation, the Community Payback Manager – KSSCRC fielded questions from the Committee explaining that:

 

  • Roughly 50% of those in custody re-offend but a more accurate statistic of reoffenders in Gravesham can be circulated via the Assistant Director Environment

 

The Chair invited Andrew Young to address the Committee and offer his insights into the Community Payback Scheme.

 

The Committee were in agreement that the service was very worthwhile as it helped clean up Gravesham while also giving ‘service users’ work to do and knowledge to help gain future employment.

 

The Assistant Director Environment suggested the following locations, to the Committee, that could benefit from the work of the service:

 

  • Love Lane alleyway – It is a long alleyway around the back of Wellington Street that is often used by school children and is in disrepair with litter and overgrown shrubbery 

 

  • River Walk – The River Walk is a walkway along the river running in two sections from the Town Pier through to Clifton Marine Parade.  The River Walk is very visible as the public and tourists frequently use it

 

  • Public right of way/Cycle Path near the Canal Basin heading East of Gravesend – The cycle path is heavily used by the public and there are several parts which have been neglected and need maintenance work such as litter picking and tree/bush trimming

 

The Committee agreed with three areas that were put forward but one Councillor countered on suggested that in respect of Love Lane alleyway; that the alleyway be incorporated into a wider area including the surrounding roads of Saddington Street, Edwin Street and Wellington Street etc. That the quadrant adjacent to the Gurdwara had many problems and would benefit from the service, the Councillor highlighted key problems:

 

·         The trees located on the pavement were unkempt and hung over the walkways

·         The wooden frames that surrounded the trees were broken in places The ‘No Flytipping’ signs were very old and needed replacing to make them more prominent and fitting in with the local area

·         The rubbish that is strewn across the pavements

·         Grass pockets which could be used for green activities such as flower meadows etc 

 

The Director (Environment & Operations) agreed that it would be a good idea to look expand the proposed work  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Overview of Operational Services Portfolio pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To provide the Cabinet Committee with an overview of the service areas included within the Operations Services Portfolio.

Minutes:

Members were provided with an overview of the service areas included within the Operational Services portfolio.

 

The Assistant Director Environment guided Members through pages 14-19 of the report explaining key information regarding the overview of the service area, activities/current issues and the officer contact for each of the below areas covered under the remit of the Committee:

 

  • Waste & Recycling
  • Street Cleansing
  • Horticulture
  • Cemeteries
  • Vehicle Workshop

 

The Regulatory Services Manager guided Members through pages 19-21 of the report explaining key information regarding the overview of the service area, activities/current issues and the officer contact for each of the below areas covered under the remit of the Committee:

 

  • Environmental Health
  • Licensing
  • Health & Safety

 

The Assistant Director Environment and the Regulatory Services Manager fielded questions from the Committee and further explained that: 

 

  • Mandy Cartwright is the Corporate Health & Safety Advisor for the Civic Centre and she is located on the 3rd floor in the Environmental Health section
  • The £250K that Kent County Council set aside to help tackle and clear flytipping is for the whole of Kent
  • There are a number of ideas that have been put forward as to how that £250K could be spent; one such idea is to pay to have mobile cameras installed in flytipping hotspots to catch fly-tippers in the act
  • Village greens were not within the remit of the Committee; they fell under the remit of the Strategic Environment Cabinet Committee
  • Creating and setting up new allotments is a very costly process so current tenants that haven’t maintained their lots well enough are being encouraged to give up their leases for new tenants to take over. Additionally when a full allotment is given back to the Council, that allotment is then split in half to make two smaller allotments which can be leased out and are more easily maintained
  • The Council has been pushing on increased communication with the public especially now with the new charges that have been implemented at KCC Household Waste Recycling Centres such as Pepperhill. More people are likely to use waste carriers and so more information will be rolled out which advises the public of what a proper waste carrier licence looks like, who they should be giving their rubbish too and the consequences  of getting it taken away by an unlicensed carrier and dumped illegally
  • An accreditation system is currently being investigated where the public can search for waste carriers that are fully licensed and have been vetted etc; it would allow the public to confidently get rid of their waste
  • A high proportion of the flytipped waste comes from London and can be linked to organised crime
  • The Pepperhill Household Waste Recycling Centre  will be closed  for 9 weeks for roof repairs and that will have a negative effect on Gravesham; however the Council is more prepared than with the previous closure and KCC will be providing financial support during the length of the closure period. The refuse crews will have to travel further to empty their vehicles such  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Review of Taxi Tariff pdf icon PDF 101 KB

To present Members with:

1.      Details of the local taxi trade’s request to review the current table of fares (“taxi tariff”) in the Borough.

2.      A revised taxi tariff proposed by the local taxi trade.

3.      The proposed consultation methodology relating to the requested revision of the taxi tariff.

Minutes:

Members were presented with:

 

1.         Details of the local taxi trade’s request to review the current table of fares ("taxi tariff") for licensed Hackney Carriages (taxis) in the Borough

 

2.         A revised taxi tariff proposed by the local taxi trade

 

3.         The proposed consultation methodology relating to the requested revision of the taxi

Tariff

 

The Regulatory Services Manager gave background information to the Committee explaining that the taxi tariff was last reviewed in 2018 in accordance with the previously agreed two-yearly timescale. It resulted in the previous two-tier taxi tariff structure (of one tariff for vehicles carrying 1 – 4 passengers and another for vehicles carrying 5 – 8 passengers) being replaced with a single, clear tariff structure. 

 

The Regulatory Services Manager advised following the implementation of the current tariff structure, some members of the local taxi trade voiced a strong opinion against it; citing issues with the setting of meters, an adverse impact on the income of some drivers, and concerns over risks to their own health and safety arising from potentially disgruntled passengers. Subsequently, a small representative working group of four taxi drivers was formed to liaise with the wider trade with a view to creating a revised tariff structure to present to the council for consideration and consultation on.

 

Following discussions and meetings between the working group, Regulatory Services Manager and Licensing Officer, a revised tariff was drawn up in accordance with the trade’s proposals.

The Regulatory Services Manager advised that at the request of the Chair, a member of that working group had come to the meeting; Denise Stewart addressed the Committee regarding the proposed tariff.

 

The Regulatory Services Manager fielded questions from the Committee explaining that:

 

  • The clock starts on the taxi as soon as the wheels start to move and it measures the tariff price based on the distance the vehicle has travelled; when it is completely stationary that method ceases and the clock bases the tariff price on the amount of  time spent there
  • Paragraph 3.1 has an error within the text, it should read that ‘It is proposed that the Licensing Team invite its licenced Hackney Carriage (Taxi) Drivers to advise, over a one month period commencing no later than 31 July 2019’

 

Members considered the taxi trade’s request to review the current taxi tariff, the tariff proposed by them, the proposed consultation methodology and instructed the Regulatory Services Manager to consult with the local taxi trade as proposed.

 

7.

Recycling Update DOTX 30 KB

To update Members of the Committee on the performance of the recycling service and area s for future development of the service.

Minutes:

Members were updated on the performance of the recycling service and areas for future development of the service.

 

The Assistant Director guided Members through pages 25-26 of the report updating them on statistics of recycling in Gravesham, the progress made since the rollout of the wheelie bins and what Gravesham would do to improve the recycling rates in the future:

 

  • Ensure that all blocks of flats have access to the recycling service

 

  • Implement a recycling solution for hard to reach areas such as Ridge Lane in Culver stone

 

  • Reduce the amount of contamination found in domestic recycling bins, items such as clothes, food and textiles, by providing even more information to households explaining what materials can and can’t be recycled

 

The Assistant Director Environment advised that to help combat some of the issues, the Council had been driving forward the progress of educational videos which showed residents what happened to their waste and recycling once it had been collected. Following the creation of successful Gravesham-based videos on contamination, Christmas and food waste, the Council are working with KCC and the Kent Resource Partnership to film a suite of videos that will clearly show residents the journey that the materials collected in their recycling bin follow to end up as raw materials for re-processing and conversion into new products. The aim of those videos is to provide residents with a clear, factual ‘picture’ of exactly what happens to those materials, with a view to dispelling some of the commonly held myths regarding what happens to the items placed in their recycling bins.

 

The Assistant Director Environment fielded questions from the Committee explaining that:

 

  • The Service does have stickers which the team should be putting on all bins which aren’t collected due to contamination; all of the crews can report any problems during the round using their computers in the refuse vehicles
  • The Service is also looking into creating stickers that inform residents what items should go into the recycling bins. The educational videos and recycling information has helped but not entirely stopped residents putting wrong items in the recycling bins such as textiles and nappies
  • The Council ensured that all recycling  collected is distributed to reputable reprocessors; they have all been sought out through contracts with KCC and all of GBCs  recycling currently goes though Viridor to Crayford. Crayford have a recycling sorting facility and they go through stringent audit processes;
  • A review of split commercial/domestic premises can be carried out to ensure that they have proper commercial and domestic  collections at the premises; the Assistant Director Environment asked that Members email him if they were aware of particular premises with that issue
  • The food waste that is collected is sent to Blaze Farm in King Hill where it is treated inside big warehouses; they heat it up until it breaks down into compostable material which is then sold to farms to be put back into the land
  • The Service receives a high number of reports for flytipping which makes it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.