Agenda and minutes
Venue: Civic Centre, Gravesend, Kent
Contact: Committee Section
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Leslie Hills and Cllr Alan Ridgers. Cllr Bob Lane and Cllr Les Hoskins substituted respectively.
The minutes of the meeting held Thursday, 19 September 2019 were signed by the Chair.
Declarations of interest
Cllr Broadley declared an interest in regards to Item 6 – Scrutiny Review – Maritime Strategy Review Group as he was the Chair of several boating clubs
Items called in from the Cabinet meeting of 7 October 2019.
The Chair of the Overview Scrutiny Committee has called in the following item:
Item 6. Local Plan - Statement of Community Involvement
Reason: To evaluate the effectiveness and inclusiveness of the proposed consultation as set out in the Statement of Community Involvement (Appendix 2).
Officers: Officer(s) for this area
Members: Cabinet Member responsible for this area
(Please ensure you have access to the Cabinet agenda for 7 October 2019, previously circulated to Members).
The Chair called in the following item from the Cabinet meeting of 07 October 2019:
Item 6. Local Plan - Statement of Community Involvement
The Chair explained that his reason for calling in the item was to evaluate the effectiveness and inclusiveness of the proposed consultation as set out in the Statement of Community Involvement, attached at appendix two.
The Chair thanked the Director (Planning & Development), the Assistant Director (Planning) and Cllr Brain Sangha for attending the meeting at his request. Additionally, the Chair gave his personal thanks to Cllr Brian Sangha for meeting with himself and Cllr Bob Lane recently, delivering on his commitment to work with all parties and maintain a healthy working relationship.
The Director (Planning & Development) presented the Committee with the Statement of Community Involvement, which was approved at the Cabinet meeting. The Statement of Community Involvement sets out the Council’s approach to consultation on planning matters such as the Local Plan, Planning Applications and Neighbourhood Planning. The current Statement of Community Involvement was adopted in March 2007; it was therefore necessary for the Council to undertake a review.
The Chair opened the meeting to the floor and allowed the Committee Members to ask their questions to the officers; the Director (Housing & Development) and the Assistant Director (Planning) explained the following:
· With regard to consultations from the EDC, as the decision-making authority but without plan-making powers, the EDC are expected to deliver Gravesham Council’s planning policies. The Council works with the EDC as it is developing a range of non-statutory guidance. However, the Council is just a consultee on planning applications submitted to the EDC and primarily responds to neighbourhood notifications received when there was a direct impact to Gravesham’s residents, businesses or environment stemming from an application
· The EDC has requested the Council to formally adopt their guidance documents and the Council were previously asked to formally endorse their implementation framework; the Leader is a member of the EDC Board and as such is privy to all of the Part B private information if anything of concern should be fed back to the Council
· Currently the Council has no powers or input with regard to the decision making process of EDC and the Council were only considered a neighbouring consultee. However most of their project work was shared with officers during development. Officer input was also sought from EDC on various issues and projects before the decision making process.
· The Council will reach out to the public, to ask for their input on consultations, through many mediums aside from social media such as releasing press statements, advertisements in the ‘Your Borough’ and links on the website etc. The goal with the consultations was to not only reach the residents but also people with links to the area, workers in the Borough, special interest groups and the youth
· Public/Town Hall meetings were conducted in the past and they were found to be of very little help in taking forward policy formulation by providing a stage for ... view the full minutes text for item 125.
Scrutiny Reviews - Oral Update
Street Cleanliness Scrutiny Review Group
The Chair invited the Vice-Chair to speak to the Committee regarding the Street Cleanliness Scrutiny Review.
The Vice-Chair updated the Committee on the Street Cleanliness Scrutiny Review and its arrangements:
· Firstly, the Vice-Chair apologised to the Committee as he had been very ill since the last meeting to discuss the Terms of Reference and was unable to progress as much as he wanted. Additionally, apologies were given for Cllr Croxston as he was unable to attend the meeting tonight
· Cllr Croxston asked the Vice-Chair, at the request of the Director (Housing & Operations) and the Director (Corporate Services), if he would amend the Terms of Reference to reduce the scope of the review as it was officers view that it was too wide covering and very onerous on the requirements of officers
· After careful consideration, the Vice-Chair advised that he had no objection to reviewing the arrangements for proceeding the review and reminded the Committee that the 6 month target was indeed a target and not a definitive deadline
The Vice-Chair inquired about the comment regarding onerousness for officers and sought clarification if the review asked too much from officers to be achievable.
The Chief Executive clarified that the level of work needed for the climate change working group far exceeded what was originally planned for and it involved a lot of the officers that would be required for the Street Cleanliness Review. Due to that carbon neutral commitment and the requirements under the resolution to bring a report back to Full Council in six months (Decembers Full Council meeting), the officers involved in the review group would be too hard pressed to meet the scrutiny reviews six month target as well.
The Chief Executive had already relayed the concerns to the leader and it had been accepted that a phased approach would be necessary with regards to the review. The Chief Executive asked the Committee if they would be willing to accept a phased approach breaking down the review into smaller manageable chunks.
The Vice-Chair thanked the Chief Executive for the explanation and expressed his concern for officer’s wellbeing as well; he suggested the following way forward:
· The first meeting of the Scrutiny Sub-Group needed to be held during the week of 21-25 October 2019 to investigate what a phased approach would mean and how the review group should operate
· The four work streams noted for the review couldn’t be easily dealt with one by one as they interlinked across the work stream and directorates. The first subcommittee meeting would also ask lead officers to look at how the work streams interlink with each other
· The 6 month target could remain the target; it was not a set in stone deadline and it may take longer. An interim report could be submitted to Cabinet in March detailing the progress made, giving Members a chance to discuss it at the next Full Council meeting
· The suggested start time from the Committee Services Officer (Scrutiny) was 4pm-5pm ... view the full minutes text for item 126.