Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence


An apology for absence was received from Cllr Brian Francis and was substituted by Cllr Baljit Hayre.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 317 KB


The minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Environment Cabinet Committee held on Monday, 20 June 2022 were agreed and signed by the Chair.


Declarations of Interest



No declarations of interest were made.


2021 Census Update pdf icon PDF 2 MB


The Committee were provided with a presentation from the Assistant Director (Planning).


The full presentation can be accessed through the following link:


(Public Pack)Supplementary Presentations Agenda Supplement for Strategic Environment Cabinet Committee, 10/10/2022 19:30


The Census took place on the 21 March 2021 and it is mandatory to complete. It takes place every 10 years so the previous Census was completed in 2011. We are very fortunate to have some 2021 data already and it is giving us initial findings. The Government will be publishing lots of information and there will be the option for bespoke information to be produced.


           There were 59,597,300 people living in England and Wales on 21 March 2021, over 3.5m more than in 2011 (6.3% increase)


           The region with the highest increase was the East of England. South-East was quite high, with the lowest in Wales


           The East grew by 8.3% or 488,000


           The North-East grew by 1%


           In Gravesham there was a 5.1% increase in population from 101,700 to 106,900 which is a modest increase compared to places like Maidstone. In Gravesham we have more people in the younger age group of 25-39. There has been an increase of 13% in people aged 65 years and over, an increase of 2.5% in people aged 15-64 and an increase of 6.9% in children aged under 15 years. It is good news as people are living longer


           Dartford and Thurrock increased significantly by around 20% and 11.6% whilst others such as Medway saw an increase of 6% and Sevenoaks 4.9%


           There are areas of population falls, generally in more expensive areas with an older population such as New Forest at -0.4% and Gosport -0.9%


           Maidstone has the most households and this has increased. Gravesham is at the bottom in terms of overall number of households 41,700 compared to Maidstone at 71,200. There may still be overcrowding. Dartford has seen the biggest increase in households at 14%, Gravesham 3.2% increase.


The Census informs our understanding of the community and how best to target our services to address local needs and feeds into the Corporate and Local Plans. It enables us to lobby government and partner agencies for better support with bids.


Following the presentation the Assistant Director (Planning) responded to questions as follows:


           What are we doing as a borough council to campaign to make sure our housing targets are representative of the population growth?

Back in 2012 when the Gravesham Local Plan Core Strategy was being produced, the requirement was that you had to evidence what your assessed need level was. We used the latest population projections and set out a target and included that within the submission version of the Core Strategy. At that time migration was static, with flows in and out of the Borough being about even and this meant that our growth was primarily based on natural change. Developers considered that our figure was too low and we had to explain to The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 112.


Strategic Regeneration Update pdf icon PDF 9 MB


The Assistant Director (Strategic Regeneration) provided the Committee with an update on strategic regeneration in the borough.


The full presentation can be accessed through the following link:


(Public Pack)Supplementary Presentations Agenda Supplement for Strategic Environment Cabinet Committee, 10/10/2022 19:30


The aim of this presentation is to give a sense of the range of strategic and regeneration activities that have been undertaken or are in progress. It sets out activity in Delivery, Strategy and Vision.


Gravesham has 11km of riverfront. The Thames is a vital part of the DNA of Gravesham – it’s past, present and future. It is a big part of the future of the regeneration plans. Brownfield regeneration is key in the plan (Corporate Plan vision objective), delivering housing and employment opportunities.


The Charter - delivering 242 homes in the heart of the town centre and is a catalyst to stimulate the economy. Target completion 2023. A tender process for the Management Provider has been undertaken.


The Former Police Station site which has been vacant for several years went to planning committee in September 2022 for 75 later living homes, target start on site late 2022.


Former Maternity Block - Strawberry Star – target start on site 2023.


St George’s Square – creating a new civic and cultural hub and new homes. As part of the Levelling Up Fund Round 2 bid, 30 letters of support were secured from regional and local stakeholders.


Albion Waterside – potential to unlock delivery of 1500 riverside homes and 4500sq.m. of riverside commercial space.


Since February (first presentation to Committee), economic conditions have made regeneration/development even more difficult. To counter this, regular dialogue with key stakeholders is maintained, relationships with potential strategic partners are being strengthened and funding bids have been made.


Importance of Community and Place led regeneration noted. Update provided on Ward Walks with Members and offer made by ADSR to Members for future Ward Walks.


Design for Gravesham – ITT issued August 2022 - 923 views on Linked-in, 39 expressions of interest and 11 tenders returned. Evaluation of tenders progressing and interview process to be convened.


Understanding Gravesham’s unique heritage, character and identity is key. Gravesham has many opportunities but is in much need of levelling up with a low wage, low skill and low economy and areas of high crime, deprivation and health inequalities. Clarity of and co-production of the vision is important. How do we co-produce the 21st vision – we are finding ways for the community to help shape this vision.


We are working to put Gravesham on the map, we have produced videos which showcase the place and what it is to be proud to be Gravesham. We will also be attending a number of regional events with speaking opportunities and will be attending the Thames Estuary Conference in November.


Next Steps:


           On-going progress on key regeneration projects

           Continue to strengthen relationships with strategic partners

           On-going ward walks and community engagement

           Development of Design for Gravesham

           Develop a holistic regeneration  ...  view the full minutes text for item 113.


Digital infrastructure - Session 1 pdf icon PDF 919 KB


The Senior Economic Development Officer gave an overview of what is currently happening with the Digital infrastructure.


The full presentation can be accessed through the following link:


(Public Pack)Supplementary Presentations Agenda Supplement for Strategic Environment Cabinet Committee, 10/10/2022 19:30


The main initiative is around high-speed connectivity. There are three parts:


           Commercial roll-out – there are lots of new companies rolling out connectivity quickly. That work is being privately funded


           Work that KCC is taking forward which is taking longer to resolve


           The Broadband voucher scheme - There has been a voucher scheme for 10 years. Residents can come together to take advantage. There are concerns around connectivity, speed, dealing with large amounts of data. It is primarily focused on rural areas where they don’t get commercial roll-out because there aren’t enough properties. There are a number of criteria to access the vouchers. It depends on where your speeds are currently to what level of support you get. Business and residents and community groups can bid for the scheme. There does have to be a contribution but if there is a larger contribution it becomes more affordable. There are a number of organisations who can help with applications.


There are now more options for the consumer as there are a lot less well-known but quite active new providers. The role for central and local government is being on the front foot of when new development comes on the table to make sure they are compliant and for social housing it is about acting responsibly and proactively making sure fibre is plugged in to our developments. It is a legal agreement that allows transit over our land to plug in fibre. There is more onus on landlords to respond in a timely way. It doesn’t require investment from us other than clarity about how we will engage with residents, making sure they have access to everything that Broadband brings with it.


Following the presentation the Senior Economic Development Officer responded to questions as follows:


           By the end of the year it is hoped to bring a paper to Committee setting out information on where we have providers and where more information can be found


           Generally speaking, there is a concentration of Fibre in the urban areas owing to economies of scale. Discussions are taking place with a company providing open access where they are putting their own ducts in. If the council engage with them now they can plan their roll-out most effectively, particularly for our social housing stock and multiple dwelling units which require access over our land. The more we engage with commercial roll-outs, the more areas locally will benefit from additional infrastructure and improved broadband services.


           A question was raised about the viability of schemes in more remote rural areas, even allowing for financial support through Broadband voucher schemes. In response, there was an undertaking to circulate details of the latest government-backed Gigabit voucher scheme which it is hoped will address some of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 114.


Dropped Kerb/Driveway Draft pdf icon PDF 2 MB


The Assistant Director (Planning) provided the Committee with a presentation on the Dropped Kerb/Driveway draft.


The full presentation can be accessed through the following link:


(Public Pack)Supplementary Presentations Agenda Supplement for Strategic Environment Cabinet Committee, 10/10/2022 19:30


Since preparing our draft, Kent County Council (KCC) have published their guidance and there are some questions around components that are now different, for example, they now seem to be supporting parallel parking - KCC have always resisted this but they seem to have changed their position. Our Highways Development Management Engineer has gone back to them for clarity.


The Highways Act requires a dropped kerb if you are going to park on the front of your property but KCC doesn’t enforce that very much. It is an offence as the pavement has not been strengthened. It is to allow vehicles to cross pavements in a safe and legal manner. There is a greater demand due to the increased car ownership, lack of on-street parking, EV charging etc.


We advise customers to look at KCC’s guidance first because if you don’t meet their criteria you are wasting your time contacting us. There are 17 points including next to a road junction, near a bus stop etc. KCC needs to have a copy of the planning permission or our written authority that planning permission is not needed. Key is whether it is a classified road, a road maintained by the Highways Authority. Is it within a designated area, is it a non-classified public highway, does it have to cross a highway verge or would it harm a tree, is it related to another piece of framework, are they requiring engineering works.


If planning permission is required, the applicant will require permission from the owner. If they are not the sole owner then they will need to serve a Notice. They may also need to obtain landlord consent. If it needs planning permission we will look at how the application complies with legislation and local planning policies.


Issues we don’t consider:


           Applicant’s personal circumstances

           Private rights and covenants

           Boundary disputes, ownership matters

           Other legislation such as Party Walls


If they can’t get off your drive that is a Police matter as obstruction, but if you can’t get on your drive that is a private matter.


In London Boroughs they have By-laws that say explicitly you are not to park on footpaths and you will get an automatic fine if you do. We don’t have that in Kent but if you go right across it, it is an offence. It is a highway issue


It was agreed that once the draft document has been updated with KCC’s changes, it will be circulated to Members for comment before going out to public consultation.


Members noted the presentation.


Corporate Register of Partnership - July 2022 pdf icon PDF 292 KB

Additional documents:


The Assistant Director (Planning) informed Members of the council’s involvement in partnerships that are within the remit of this committee.


There is only one partnership directly related to this Committee and that is the North-West Kent Countryside Partnership. The council does not provide Core Funding to this partnership.


Members noted the report.


Q1 2022-23 Corporate Performance Report pdf icon PDF 217 KB

Additional documents:


The Assistant Director (Planning) provided the Committee with an update against the Performance Management Framework, as introduced within the council’s Corporate Plan, for Q1 (April to June 2022).


PI 33 and PI 34: % rate of resident unemployment and % rate of youth unemployment.  Unemployment (4.1%) and youth unemployment (6.2%) has continued to fall at a time when vacancy levels within many sectors remained high.


The Kickstart programme has benefitted 8 young people who were offered permanent employment within the council. The council is also expanding its apprenticeships and provided a wide range of work experience opportunities for 17 young people during this quarter.


Members congratulated officers involved with the Kickstart programme. Local government is about improving the quality of life for local people and Members are really encouraged by this. Youth unemployment falling is something to be commended.


Members noted the information in the report