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Agenda item

Announcements of the Leader of the Council

To receive a report from the Leader of the Council on the business of the cabinet and on matters that the leader considers should be drawn to the council’s attention. The leader shall have 10 minutes to make his announcements.

 

The opposition group will have an opportunity to reply to the leader’s remarks.  The opposition group leader shall have 5 minutes to respond after which the Leader of the Council will have a right of reply.  Any right of reply will be for a maximum duration of 5 minutes.

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council gave the following announcements:

 

“Good evening to you all.

 

I am going to talk to you about an emerging problem, that of discarded needles.  Due to recent publicity you might think that there is an increasing problem of substance misuse in the District, but this is not the case.  Rather it is a result of our old friend “unforeseen consequences”.  There was running a comprehensive service for substance abusers which included a needle exchange service and the operators actively encouraged their clients to use it.  The contract was then re-let and the comprehensive service is now located in Dover, and while there is still a needle exchange facility available in Folkestone, it is a public building and does not offer the intervention and counselling that the previous system did.  The NHS are the commissioners for this service and our officers along with our partners in the Community Safety Unit are pressing them to resolve this problem.

 

As the year draws to a close we can look forward to an exciting 2018, especially on the implementation of some of our Corporate Plan aspirations with the Princes Parade scheme going before the Planning and Licensing committee in the New Year,  and the Otterpool Park Masterplan by the summer.

 

We have just completed the purchase of the old Highview School site which will allow us to meet part of our commitment to build 200 council homes within 10 years and I expect to see significant progress on both the Biggins Wood and the Ship Street sites.

 

On the homeless front, we will have purchased accommodation so that we are not reliant on costly B&B placements which have cost us in excess of, an unbudgeted £500k. 

 

In supporting the Districts tourism industry we will be considerably increasing our litter collection capacity so that our beautiful parks and beaches are not marred by overspill from our bins.

 

We have signed up for a peer review by the Local Government Association which will, again I hope, show that we are a well run and progressive council but will also give us an insight to the best practise from other councils as is the intention of the scheme.  In saying that we are well run, you do not have to take my word for it. I quote from the Annual Audit Letter from Grant Thornton – “we gave an unqualified opinion of the council’s financial statements on 7 September 2017”.  “We are satisfied that the council put in place proper arrangements to ensure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources during the year ended 31 March 2017”.

 

This years financial settlement from the Government on the whole has been a good one for us.  The New Homes Bonus has not been altered and this will have a beneficial effect on our MTFS, there is also an option for slightly raising the level of Council Tax without having to hold a referendum.  Staying with the good news on the financial front, Kent has been confirmed as one of the pilot areas for a one year 100% business rate retention which will give us a substantial one off windfall.

 

As you know we had to, once again, shut the Hythe pool this time because of severe leakage problems.  These were remedied and the pool was due to reopen this Monday but not one but two pumps failed and so it could not.  I am pleased to say that our staff have worked miracles in resourcing spare parts and that, fingers crossed, we will be open this Saturday in time for the Christmas holiday.  The sooner the new pool is built, the better, as there is no doubt that the existing is way past its design life.  As of this afternoon, the pool had been running for one hour.

 

I will finish by wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a healthy new year”.

 

Councillor Meyers, Leader of the Opposition, responded to the comments made by the Leader, stating that the substance would be in the detail.  He then wished Peace and goodwill to all men, a Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.

 

Proposed by Councillor Monk;

Seconded by Councillor Love; and

 

RESOLVED

 

That the announcements of the Leader of the Council be noted.