ModernGov

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Kate Clark  Email: committee@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

18.

Appointment of chairman

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

Minutes:

Proposed by Councillor Frank Hobbs

Seconded by Councillor Paul Thomas

 

RESOLVED:

That Councillor Mrs Jenny Hollingsbee be appointed as Chairman for the meeting. 

 

On taking the Chair, Councillor Mrs Jenny Hollingsbee welcomed Councillor Lesley Whybrow, Cabinet Member for the Environment, to the meeting.  

19.

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

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest. 

20.

Minutes

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 18 November 2021.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 18 November 2022 were agreed subsequent to the following comments relating to November’s meeting. 

 

Councillor Hollingsbee is hoping to meet the medical student who is being supported by the Council after securing a scholarship to the Kent and Medway Medical School in Canterbury.  The student has commenced year one. 

 

It would be unlikely that the Council will look to support another student at present. 

 

A question was asked about the availability of the Romney Marsh Action Plan and it was suggested that contact is made with the Romney Marsh Partnership, who would be co-ordinating the plan. 

 

 

21.

Carbon Action Plan Update

A presentation to members giving an update on the Carbon Action Plan as well as a general update on the different areas of work carried out. 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

A presentation was given to members on the Carbon Action Plan as well as a general update on the different areas of work carried out.  The presentation is attached to these minutes. 

 

Mr Adrian Tofts, Strategy, Policy & Performance Lead Specialist and Ms Olu Fatokun, Low Carbon Senior Specialist, gave the presentation, asking for any questions or comments along the way. 

 

Carbon Action Plan Update

  • Funding provided from the Council’s budget and a variety of other sources. 
  • Any help with training available for PCs/TCs? 
  • Members were pleased to see roll out of EV charging points across the district’s car parks and asked for a map identifying where the charging points will be situated. 

 

Solar Together Kent

  • An initiative for existing homeowners to register. 
  • Members asked if there would be support available for solar panels and battery storage for community buildings. 
  • Mr Tofts will come back to memberson thepointsregarding training, EV charging points and solar panels/battery storage for community buildings with a follow-up note.

 

Social Housing Decarbonisation Funding Bid

Councillor Whybrow advised members a huge amount of funding would be needed to bring housing stock up to EPC standards by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2050. Ultimately, any actions moving towards carbon neutrality would help alleviate fuel poverty.  The biggest carbon emitter across the Council’s stock comes from sheltered housing. 

 

Design Codes and Planning Reforms

Councillor Thomas asked how the Council’s Planning & Licensing Committee is being briefed on these reforms and whether PCs/TCs could have a bigger input to the committee and developers.  Mr Tofts said he would defer to the Chief Planning Officer however, the position is set by the Local Plan.  This could eventually be replaced by Design Codes. 

 

It was noted that each planning application is judged on its own merits. 

 

District Wide Carbon Plan

Ms Fatokun spoke on this, advising initial information had been sought from ScatterCities with regard to district wide emissions.  The Council are looking to encourage residents to engage with the plan, steps to be taken and collaboration. 

 

Councillor Thomas advised that KALC had produced a Carbon Footprint Calculator for town and parish councils, which he was sure would be of interest to the Council.  Ms Fatokun was grateful for this information and would await to hear further details.  

 

Members were advised of the Carbon Innovation Lab which would include key stakeholders of which town and parish councils would be part of the main consultee process. 

 

UK100 Local Climate Engagement

The District Wide Carbon Plan is a new plan for the Council in that it is intended to deal with emissions from the district as a whole, such as the housing stock, business premises and transport, where the Council cannot enforce changes but can only act in an encouraging and facilitating way. In this respect it is important to engage with people early on.  We have put in a bid to the UK100’s Local Climate Engagement Prospectus for help with public engagement. 

 

UK100 is a group of Local Authorities with expertise  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Budget Strategy and Draft General Fund Budget 2022/23

Report FH/21/01 sets out the Council’s Draft General Fund budget for 2022/23 as well as summarising the overall Budget Strategy for the same period.  The report seeks to outline the proposals being consulted upon. 

 

In accordance with the Local Government Finance Act 1992 full Council will consider and agree the budget and council tax for the coming financial year 2022/23, this meeting will be held on 23 February 2022.  Both the draft budget and the Budget Strategy will build into the final position, which is also affected by the Local Government Finance Settlement. 

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Report FH/21/01 set out the Council’s Draft General Fund Budget for 2022/23 as well as summarising the overall Budget Strategy for the same period.  The report sought to outline the proposals being consulted upon. 

 

In accordance with the Local Government Finance Act 1992 full Council will consider and agree the budget and council tax for the coming financial year 2022/23, this meeting will be held on 23 February 2022.  Both the draft budget and budget strategy will build into the final position, which is also affected by the Local Government Finance Settlement. 

 

Mrs Charlotte Spendley, Director of Corporate Services, presented the report with the following comments: 

 

·         Process starts with the medium term financial strategy (MTFS) for the period 2022 – 2026. 

·         Initially there was an anticipated budget gap of £1.6mn.

·         Budget Managers were asked to look at services across all areas for possible savings as well as identifying necessary growth. 

·         Fees and Charges were reviewed. 

·         Cabinet then considered the Budget Strategy report in December 2021.

·         At present the budget gap stands at £1.1mn for 2022/23.  There will be no cuts to services however, there is a possibly reserves will be utilised to close the gap. 

·         The Budget Consultation is open at present, closing on 1 February 2022. 

·         One of the next stages is the setting of the Council Tax for 2022/23 which will be considered by Full Council in February 2022. 

 

Mrs Spendley advised she had received a number of questions on report FH/21/01 prior to the meeting and answered these in the meeting as follows: 

 

1. How is the Council ‘engaging with stakeholder groups and local residents’?

The Council has launched a public consultation exercise through its website.  This includes the relevant budget setting documents including those that focus over the medium term and those focused specifically on the coming financial year.  The consultation exercise has been promoted through the councils website (on the home page for two weeks), a press release on 23 December (which was shared with District Councillors and Town/Parish Councils), through social media both at the launch and more recently this week.  In addition, 100 posters promoting the consultation have been placed at key sites including with the community hubs, sports facilities and sent to residents groups, community groups, libraries and with Community Safety Unit colleagues.  Emails have also been sent to local business leaders through the Business Advisory Board.  As a new initiative this year the council has developed a short video explaining Council Tax, which has also been promoted online this week to encourage residents to have their say.   

 

2. Is there any prospect of focus groups meetings with chairs of F&A Committees of Town and Parish Councils or Is there any prospect of local public meeting?

The Council does have limited resources available so encourages all interested parties to engage through the questionnaire.  We don’t currently have any plans for focus groups or public meetings, but the budget proposed is considered at various stages by the Overview & Scrutiny Committee,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.