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Agenda and minutes

Venue: online via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: committee.services@tmbc.gov.uk

Link: View Meeting

Items
No. Item

PART 1 - PUBLIC

C 20/20

Declarations of interest

To declare any interests in respect of recommended items

Minutes:

Councillors T Bishop and M Davis each declared an Other Significant Interest in the item on the Tonbridge and Malling Leisure Trust on the grounds that they were members of the Trust’s Board.  Councillor M Davis declared an Other Significant Interest in the item on Appointments to Outside Bodies on the grounds that his father was one of the nominees.  They withdrew from the meeting during consideration of these items.

C 20/21

Minutes pdf icon PDF 253 KB

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of Council held on 18 February 2020

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the Minutes of the proceedings of the meeting of the Council held on 18 February 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.

C 20/22

Mayor's Announcements pdf icon PDF 3 KB

Minutes:

The Mayor advised of the recent death of former Councillor and Mayor, Honorary Alderman Terry Barton and expressed her personal sadness and deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

 

The Mayor thanked Members and officers of the Council, Parish Councils, community groups and local businesses for the support provided to residents across the Borough during the Covid-19 emergency. 

C 20/23

Questions from the public pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No 5.6 pdf icon PDF 3 KB

Minutes:

No questions were received from members of the public pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No 5.6.

C 20/24

Questions from Members pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No 5.5 pdf icon PDF 3 KB

Minutes:

No questions were received from Members pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No 5.5.

C 20/25

Motion submitted under Council Procedure Rule No 5.27 pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To receive a Notice of Motion in respect of transparency and accountability of Borough Council business submitted by Councillor April Clark on behalf of the Green Group.

 

Notice of Motion attached

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a Notice of Motion pursuant to Council Procedure Rule No. 5.27 submitted by Councillor A Clark on behalf of the Green Party in the following terms:

 

Transparency and Accountability Motion

 

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council has stepped up to the challenge of continuing to perform our duties and serve our community - including rapidly identifying, testing and executing a new system of meeting and voting online that meets current regulatory and constitutional requirements. It is a great credit to the Officers and all the Members who have demonstrated flexibility and versatility in order to ensure the success of this new way of working together.

 

We therefore propose that we amend the way that this Council records the business of its meetings beyond the pandemic response period, in order to continue to:

 

-       encourage and enable the greatest possible participation in meetings and local democracy by Members and Residents alike,

 

-       build trust between Residents and Members who represent them, and

 

-       enable greater understanding of how the Council conducts its business and makes decisions.

 

The measures proposed are all designed to complement the Council’s Digital Strategy, and to bring the meeting practices of the Council in line with many other local authorities that have already put such measures in place successfully. At such time as we find ourselves able to meet again in person, the investment already made in the microphone system in the Council Chamber at King’s Hill, as well as a portable system available for meetings held in the Angel Centre, to provide a hearing loop, mean that only a small estimated additional investment will be required, if any, in order to put these measures in place. Electronic voting has also recently been tested by Members with positive feedback on the functionality and security of the system proposed.

 

We believe these measures will also ensure that we respond to the potential equality impact on residents who would like to observe and participate in meetings by asking questions, as well as Members. This especially applies to those with caring responsibilities, short- and long-term disabilities, pregnancy and post-natal care, unavoidable work commitments, illness or who are on low incomes without access to affordable transport in the evenings.

 

To ensure that the objectives above are addressed, this motion proposes that:

 

(1)          Every Council Meeting, Cabinet, Advisory Board and Committee Meeting be live streamed on a secure internet connection, as well as recorded, beyond the pandemic period. Recordings should be made available on the Council’s website for members of the public to access within 2 working days of the meeting having taken place.

 

(2)          Electronic voting be introduced for every Council Meeting, Cabinet Meeting, Advisory Board and Committee Meeting. 

 

(3)          Recorded votes be extended to every Council Meeting, Advisory Board and Committee Meeting on Member request.

 

(4)          As long as government regulation continues to allow (especially in the instance that the current concession introduced during the pandemic response period be made permanent), that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item C 20/25

C 20/26

Leader's Announcements pdf icon PDF 3 KB

Minutes:

The Leader welcomed the opportunity to hold a meeting of the full Council since the emergence of the pandemic and the cancellation of all meetings in recognition of the concerns of many members and those wishing to attend meetings about potential exposure to the virus. In light of Government guidance and officer advice about holding face to face meetings he supported the ability to hold virtual meetings. 

 

The Leader stated that the immediate response to the pandemic had been rapid, with local communities, including parish councils, churches, community groups, families, friends and neighbours, providing assistance to the most vulnerable within the Borough’s communities.  The Borough Council had opened a Community Hub to help get supplies to the most vulnerable, and had worked alongside the Kent Growth Hub, run by the County Council, to provide business support.

 

He commented that, due to previous investment in IT, the Council had been able to react quickly, with a majority of staff working from home and the ability to hold virtual Council meetings, which had ensured the delivery of services and democratic decision making process.  He recognised the enormous amount of work undertaken by all officers and thanked the Chief Executive, Management Team and all the Council’s staff for their responses to these challenging and unique circumstances.

 

He reminded Members that, as with every emergency situation, the Council would review the response to the pandemic.  The review and reorientation process would include the possibility of adjusting how to make best use of buildings in future, further investment in technology and support of the climate change strategy aimed at making the Borough carbon neutral by 2030.  He recognised that these were complex areas and that any decisions would be determined on the grounds of practicality, efficiency and delivering value for money for local taxpayers.

 

He commented that the Government’s support for businesses had involved eye-watering sums of money with just over £19 million of grants awarded to 1,300 businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. He was delighted to announce that, in June, NIAB EMR had secured £18 million ‘Strength in Places’ funding through a consortium-bid which was only 1 of seven in the UK (and one of only 3 successful projects in England). The total project would see £33 million invested into the horticultural sector in Kent and Medway, with East Malling Research Station as the focal point of research activity into emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, automation and smart-packaging for food production to help improve efficiencies and reduce waste. In addition, NIAB EMR had, with the Council’s support, managed to secure £1.7 million of Local Growth Fund investment into state-of-the-art greenhouses and energy centre to ensure that they have the required facilities to continue the world-class research which takes place on site.

 

The Leader reported that a further example of investor confidence in the Borough was evident at the Colas site in Tonbridge, where Chancerygate, the UK’s largest privately-owned, multi-unit industrial developer and asset manager will develop the site with  ...  view the full minutes text for item C 20/26

C 20/27

Tonbridge and Malling Leisure Trust pdf icon PDF 177 KB

Item CB 20/52 referred from Cabinet of 30 June 2020

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Item CB 20/52 referred from Cabinet minutes of 30 June 2020

 

RESOLVED: That the recommendation at Minute CB 20/52 be approved.

C 20/28

Appointments to Outside Bodies pdf icon PDF 24 KB

To consider appointments to the Tonbridge Lands & Richard Mylls Charity

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Director of Central Services regarding a request received from the Clerk of the Town Wardens for the re-appointment of Mr David Davis and Dr Gordon Court to the Tonbridge Town Lands and Richard Mylls Charity for a further four-year term. 

 

RESOLVED:  That Mr David Davis and Dr Gordon Court be re-appointed for a further four-year term of office to the Tonbridge Town Lands and Richard Mylls Charity.

C 20/29

Amendment to Scheme of Delegation - Protocol for meetings held by Video Conferencing Facilities pdf icon PDF 207 KB

This report confirms the amendment to the scheme of delegation agreed by the Leader on 7 May 2020 to enable the Council to hold virtual meetings.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Chief Executive provided confirmation of action taken to amend the Scheme of Delegation, as agreed with the Leader of the Council on 7 May 2020, to include a protocol for the use of video-conferencing facilities to enable the Council to hold virtual meetings.

 

RESOLVED:  That the report be received and noted.

C 20/30

Sealing of Documents

To authorise the Common Seal of the Council to be affixed to any Contract, Minute, Notice or other document requiring the same.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That authority be given for the Common Seal of the Council to be affixed to any instrument to give effect to a decision of the Council incorporated into these Minutes and proceedings.