ModernGov

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Folkestone

Contact: Kate Clark 

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of chairman

The committee must appoint a district councillor to chair the meeting.

Minutes:

Councillor Mrs Jenny Hollingsbee was appointed Chairman for the meeting. 

2.

Declarations of interest

Members of the Council should declare any interests which fall under the following categories*:

a) discloseable pecuniary interests (DPI)

b) other significant interests (OSI)

c) voluntary announcements of other interests

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest. 

3.

Minutes

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 15 March 2018.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 15 March 2018 were submitted, approved and signed by the Chairman. 

4.

Elections 2019 - Update for District and Parishes

The briefing note attached provides an update to the Joint Committee for the progress on planning for the Full Council elections scheduled for May 2019.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

A briefing note provided an update to the Joint Committee for the progress on planning for the Full Council elections scheduled for May 2019. 

 

Mr Paul Butler, Democratic Services Manager, presented the report to members. 

 

Mr Butler took members through the report step by step looking at venue, recruitment processes, training, IT provision and Folkestone Town Council ward boundary changes. 

 

He informed members that approximately between 350 and 400 staff will be required and a budgeting figure of £180,000 (£40k 18/19 and £140k 19/20) is required for the full council elections.  

 

Members asked various questions:

 

·      Election results being more clearly displayed.  Mr Butler advised that this would be looked into.

·      Contested elections and the costs to parishes

·      Nomination papers – which are delivered to clerks, however these can also be downloaded from the Electoral Commission website.

·      Nomination papers ratification carried out at the Civic Centre, however members were concerned that there is normally a wait to do this and although the papers can be left unchecked, this could result in an invalid nomination.  An appointment system was suggested but this goes against legislation allowing nominations to be submitted freely between the hours of 10am and 4pm.  Political parties that are due to submit large amounts of nominations call ahead and prompt when they will arrive which helps with planning. 

 

Members acknowledged the progress report and thanked Mr Butler for the information. 

 

 

5.

Otterpool Park Update

Mr Adrian Tofts, Planning Policy Manager will provide a verbal update to members. 

Minutes:

 

Mr Adrian Tofts, Planning Policy Manager, explained to members that he works on planning policy. 

 

Work continues for a proposed new garden town with the recent publication of a draft Core Strategy Review for consultation. The Core Strategy Review contains policies which look at design, landscaping, energy efficiency, infrastructure and management for the proposed new town. A public consultation has produced 750 comments, which will be responded to, with any necessary changes made to the Core Strategy Review, followed by a Cabinet meeting and then a further more formal consultation towards the end of 2018.

 

Mr Tofts advised that the Core Strategy Review will then be submitted to the Secretary of State where it will be looked at by an Independent Inspector who will then write a report on the proposed development. If the report is favourable, then the council can then proceed to ‘adopt’ the plan and it will be used to guide development across the district. 

 

Mr Tofts was able to provide brief information from the landowner perspective in which he advised that a planning application would be submitted later this year, however no decision will be made on the planning application until the report from the Independent Inspector has been received. 

 

Following this update members commented on water provision, utilities, housing needs and road infrastructure.  The Chairman reminded members that comments/questions can be added to the Otterpool website:  https://www.otterpoolpark.org/

 

 

 

 

 

6.

Grass Cutting in the District

A statement from Mr Andy Blaszkowicz, Head of Commercial and Technical Services  with regard to quality and frequency of grass cutting will be provided to members.    . 

Minutes:

Mrs Amandeep Khroud, Head of Democratic Services and Law, read out a statement provided by Mr Andy Blaszkowicz, Head of Commercial and Technical Services to the Committee as follows:. 

 

‘It has been a difficult season for grass cutting so far with the weather providing perfect growing conditions. The team have experienced many issues this year with the quality of seasonal staff provided by the agency and multiple machinery breakdowns.

 

Unfortunately the arrival of bedding plants also corresponds with the busiest time for grass cutting and sets the teams back further on the grass cutting as many operatives are required to plant bedding for a period of up to two weeks.

 

The team are now getting back on top of the situation, meetings have been had with the agency to remind them of our expectations, we are on top of the machinery breakdowns and everyone across the district should notice a marked improvement in grass cutting standards throughout July.

 

CLT have approved additional management resource and there will be another manager in place to help the team out in July and August.

 

It should be noted that the highways grass in the district is under KCC ownership. Whilst there is a management agreement in place for the district to maintain this grass on behalf of KCC they only pay for 6 cuts per year. Additional cuts to increase the specification are carried out by the district. We endeavour to cut this grass every 3-4 weeks throughout the growing season.

 

All of the Parks in District ownership are maintained to a much higher standard and are looked after by different teams who have not experienced the same problems. The parks take priority over highways grass as we try to ensure that even during the most challenging times of year all of the parks are accessible and useable.

 

The team are very passionate about the service we provide and I can assure you that no one is unhappier when the District is not looking its best’.

 

 

 

Prior to the meeting closing, Councillor Peter Coe, New Romney Town Council, thanked the district council for their advice and guidance with regard to the travellers encampment on St Martin’s Field.    Mrs Khroud said she would pass on his thanks to the relevant team.