Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend DA12 1AU. View directions

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


An apology for absence was received from Cllr Conrad Broadley and Cllr Jordan Meade attended as his substitute. An apology for absence was received from Cllr Gurdip Ram Bungar and Cllr Lyn Milner attended as his substitute.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 76 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, 8 June 2021 were signed by the Vice-Chair.



Declarations of Interest


Cllr Nirmal Khabra declared an interest in Item 6 Taxi Tariff as he is a taxi driver.



Operational Services Update pdf icon PDF 7 MB


The Assistant Director (Operations) provided the Committee with an update on Operational Services projects and performance. The Chair asked that the report be broken down into sections and Committee could ask questions after each section.


All the teams have continued to provide services throughout the Covid-19 pandemic including refuse and recycling, tending to parks and open spaces, burial services and maintaining council fleet.


Street Cleansing

Parks & Shopping Parades Litter Bin Replacement Programme: Roll-out of the recycling ‘on-the-go’ bins starting at Riverside Leisure Area and Woodlands Park. Together with St Andrews Gardens and Camer Park we will achieve a 168% increase in litter capacity. Litter housings for bulk bins have also been installed to increase capacity. The bins are covered in pictures of landmarks to promote the borough. In conjunction with increased bin capacity, enhanced emptying and litter picking at weekends there has been an improvement in litter management across our open spaces.


Binfrastructure Grant Funding: Following a grant of £13,180.40 towards our shopping parades litter bin replacement programme, shopfronts at 17 locations across the borough will receive new bins as part of the improvement programme. This will increase bin capacity and allow for recycling.


Parks and Town Centre Litter Campaign:  This had been delayed due to Covid-19 but bespoke signage has now been introduced into the town centre. It is very visual and hopefully will make people think more about how to dispose of their litter. Different campaigns will be used across the borough. There is also a campaign with a rural focus as well as a bespoke campaign for Perry Street and the Hive where littering is high e.g. – “Welcome to the Hive, help us keep your area clean and tidy”.


The Assistant Director (Operations) and Waste Projects & Compliance Officer responded to Members comments/questions:


·         There is a community spirit. We have a very good Street Champion programme and a lot of people are litter picking, cleaning up streets and working with us and this is across the borough

·         The dog bins are already being looked at as some are rusty. We have moved to a new model. We are also looking at bins along main roads. We are only using certain types of litter bin across the borough.

·         168% is the total increased capacity over the four sites but against the base line all four sites are increased above 100%

·         The shopping parade at Higham is challenging in the way it is laid out. We have worked closely over the last three years with Higham Parish Council to install litter bins where they are appropriate but we will look at installing some bins which also have a recycling element. We will take the comments on board and see what can be done

·         In the more urban areas we will have mixed bins for litter and dog waste. People don’t like dog bins outside their houses but don’t mind litter bins. It isn’t cost effective having two bins next to each other so we are concentrating dog bins in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Flats Recycling Update pdf icon PDF 2 MB


The Assistant Director (Operations) and the Waste Projects & Compliance Officer provided the Committee with an update on the improvements being made to the recycling provision at flats within the borough to increase resident participation and minimise contamination.


An audit of all flats within the borough is underway including purpose-built flats with communal waste and recycling storage areas to look at how we can improve recycling. The review of all the Housing Revenue Accounts flats has shown that 70% of GBC flats have access to recycling provision but we want to be 100% where that is possible. We aim to look at this in a more structured way. We have tested the concept on some smaller schemes and now want to role this out across the borough including private flats and our desktop exercise has shown that only 32% currently have dry mixed recycling provision.


The project will be delivered in three stages:


Stage 1 Sheltered Flats – To introduce dry mixed recycling at 83 properties in Longferry Court, Blenheim Grove and Cleveland House and to introduce food waste collections at all 16 blocks containing 454 flats.


Stage 2 General Housing Flats – To work with external contractors to improve waste storage provision and to introduce dry mixed recycling to19 blocks (655 flats) that currently don’t have provision.


Stage 3 Private Flats – To audit private blocks of flats identified as being without dry mixed recycling in order to identify managing agents and offer advice on what is required.


Communication – This has increased to educate residents about what should and shouldn’t be put in recycling bins. New stickers and leaflets have been prepared which will catch the eye. Signage is based on what has been tried and tested in many London boroughs.


If it does become a legal requirement to offer food waste collection to everyone we want to be in a position to role that out to flats by trying to future proof what we are doing.


The Assistant Director (Operations) responded to Members’ comments as follows:


·         With regard to having multi-collection points in areas such as the car park behind the houses in Mackenzie Way, potentially this is something we could look at as it has been successful in other areas where there has been flats above garages and we have put in some enclosed storage and the residents have keys. They now have somewhere to store rubbish and fly-tipping has gone away

·         Care has been taken to ensure the signs meet requirements in respect of being suitable for someone who is partially sighted or Dementia. A lot of work in London has been done around signage and this mimics what they have being doing very successfully

·         We have been looking at how we can improve bin store signage and we have been working with private Letting Agents to get something that works across the county and not just Gravesham


Members noted the report and are pleased to see the progress being made.



Taxi Tariff pdf icon PDF 93 KB


The Regulatory Services Manager advised that the purpose of this report is to present Committee with the proposed consultation methodology for the taxi tariff and ask Committee to accept the methodology and give consent to proceed as set out.


The council has an on-going undertaking to review the tariff every two years. It is best practice and not a statutory requirement but seems to work well among local trade. In the past Gravesham has chosen to set a tariff which represents the maximum that can be charged rather than fixed or minimum fares. Committee reviewed the tariff this time in 2019 and we introduced a revised tariff put through by the traders at the time. We haven’t had any complaints brought to our attention by the trade or the travelling public and so the structure seems to be working well.


The tariff is made up of two parts, the ‘flag’ which is the amount shown on the meter at the start of the journey and the minimum fee payable and the ‘yardage’ which dictates how quickly the meter goes up over distance. When we engaged with the trade in 2019 they asked to simplify our consultation going forward so we only consult on those two items.


We are proposing to ask the Hackney Carriage drivers to advise what their preferred option is for the flag – decrease by 20p to £2.60; remain the same at £2.80; increase by 20p to £3.00 or increase by 40p to £3.20. It was requested that any changes are made by 20p.


We now have a very good on-line offering and can reach out to every driver by email and so we are proposing to consult by email only to Hackney Carriage drivers over a period of three weeks.


The Regulatory Services Manager responded to Members’ questions as follows:


·         We don’t know how many of our vehicles are also licensed with Uber, the answer should be zero as our policy prohibits them doing that. There is established case law that once a vehicle is licensed as Hackney Carriage or private hire it remains as only that. Because this consultation is going out to Hackney Carriage drivers it would be unlawful for them to be private hire at the same time

·         We will carry out the consultation and then bring back the results and at that time we will also set out where Gravesham sits in the national league table

·         It was agreed to discuss the issue of Hackney Carriage drivers doubling up outside of the meeting as the concern is that it is a major problem in the borough and we need to crack down on it particularly as those who rely on Hackney Carriage could be disadvantaged

·         There is a cost involved to make changes to the meter as it has to be re-calibrated but the trade are aware of the cost and are used to having a tariff review every two years

·         In terms of what Uber charge, we can try to get  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Corporate Performance Report: Q1 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Additional documents:


The Regulatory Services Manager presented the Committee with an update against the Performance Management Framework, as introduced within the council’s Corporate Plan for Quarter One 2021-22 (April to June 2021).


The following comments were made by the officers during the update:


PI 3 – There has been a drop in Q1 compared to Q4. Having looked at the reported accidents in detail, the small peak in Q4 appears to have been the result of icy conditions resulting in some additional slips and falls.


PI 4 – There is a slow downward trend. It doesn’t reflect a reduction in the level of compliancy. If a food establishment is closed down it is seen as non-compliant if it can’t be inspected. By Q3/Q4 we expect we will see it start to pick up to pre-Covid levels.


PI 5 – This is consistently high at 98% despite an elevated level of complaints and service requests in Q1. This is a positive outcome.

PI 8 – This is slightly up on the last quarter and is a national trend. We are working on strategies to see how we can reduce that.


PI 10 – Working with KCC and continuing to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill which is positive.


PI 11 – There has been a slight increase in graffiti compared to this time last year. Covid had an impact on response time as we have had to prioritise services but we are now getting back to normality and we respond as quickly as possible.


Members noted the information contained within the report.



Corporate Register of Partnership pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Additional documents:


The Service Manager (Property & Regulatory Services) presented this report to inform Committee of the council’s involvement in partnerships that are within the remit of the committee.


Members raised the following questions:


·         Kent and Medway Air Quality Partnership – We are paying £6,000 each to this organisation, are we getting our monies worth and what weight have they on infrastructure projects? Would they fight our corner on projects such as Lower Thames Crossing? Are all the other partners paying their share as well? A number of District Councils across Kent have cut their funds to this organisation and so should we be paying this amount when others are paying nothing?

·         Have we weighed up the benefits of adopting the model that Dartford and Sevenoaks have with King’s College? Do we feel we are getting something out of this group compared to finding our own way particularly around infrastructure projects and would like to see others fighting our corner. Dartford may have paid more but some of the data they have pulled out on Lower Thames Crossing may have gone in their favour


The Regulatory Services Manager responded to Members’ questions as follows:


·         The Kent and Medway Air Quality Partnership is a forum for sharing best practice. The £6,000 is the contribution we have to make towards our air quality network monitoring. It is a statutory requirement and includes our tube networks across the borough and two permanent 24/7 air stations. We have the best monitoring response rate of all the boroughs. Every District is part of the partnership. Dartford and Sevenoaks aren’t part of the monitoring network as they have separate ones with King’s College so they don’t pay in but all the others share the cost

·         I don’t believe the partnership feeds into the local infrastructure projects as it is dealt with through the planning system but it does provide advice and best practice. It would have been a lot more money to go through King’s College. We benefit by economies of scale through the partnership


It was agreed that a meeting would be arranged between the Chair and the Regulatory Services Manager to discuss the two issues raised i.e. Hackney Carriage drivers and air quality monitoring.


Members noted the information contained within the report.