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Part 1 - Public
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Parish Partnership Panel held on 14 November 2019
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the meeting held on 14 November 2019 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Update on action identified in the last Minutes
There were no actions identified that were not covered elsewhere on the agenda. However, the Chairman referred to Minute Number PPP 19/29 (Speedwatch) and advised that he was meeting the Chief Constable on 24 April 2020 and would use this opportunity to raise the concerns of parish councils.
In addition, the Chairman congratulated Wateringbury Parish Council on their recent media publicity to raise awareness of air quality and speeding concerns in their community.
Street Scene Services
Updates will be provided on the following:
- Waste Services Contract
- Provision of Household Waste Recycling Centre in Tonbridge and Malling
- Fly Tipping Enforcement
- Car Parking Charges – Public Consultation
Updates were provided on the following issues:
(a) Waste Services Contract
The Waste Contract Officer advised that the Borough Council recognised that the poor performance related to the new service arrangements were unacceptable and acknowledged that the last few months had been extremely difficult and frustrating.
In response to the contractor’s poor performance, particularly over the Christmas period, the Borough Council escalated contract issues with Urbaser and the Chief Executive wrote personally to the Managing Director. As a result of formal meetings at the highest level the contractor had provided a detailed action plan to address and resolve the performance issues.
A number of measures had been implemented to ensure that all residents received an acceptable level of service. These included:
- Doubling capacity with twenty additional refuse vehicles and fifty more collection staff;
- Changing to new vehicles which focused on collecting either mixed recycling or food waste, not both;
- Re-planning and reducing the size of some collection rounds to ensure they were completed;
- Placing additional inspectors at depots and on collection rounds to monitor performance;
- Reducing the number of agency staff in favour of more permanent staff;
- Improving data handling to identify and respond to repeatedly missed ‘hot spots; and
- Increasing temporary staffing at the Borough Council to deal with complaints and reports of missed bins.
Progress on the action plan was monitored weekly and the Waste Contract Officer was pleased to report that since the implementation of the new measures contract performance had improved significantly. There had been a reduction in the volume of complaints received and the number of calls continued to fall. However, it was essential that the improved level of performance was maintained.
Despite the issues with the contract there had been very positive engagement from residents regarding recycling. It was reported that early indications for October/November 2019 showed an improved recycling collection rate of 50% which was extremely encouraging.
In addition, there had been significant interest in the garden waste collection scheme, with 47% of residents in the Borough subscribing.
Once the service performance was consistent the Borough Council would introduce the collection of communal bins. It was anticipated that the roll-out of this service would not commence until April 2020. Members were also advised that the current bring bank sites would remain in place until after the communal bins service was in operation to allow continuity of service for those residents. There would also now be more focus on the street cleaning programme.
Finally, it was noted that scheduled major road works on the A21 for a 10 day period in February 2020 may have implications for waste collections due to congestion and potential gridlock.
The Chairman, in his role as Leader of the Council, reiterated disappointment and frustration at the poor performance of the contractor during January. However, he was pleased to see an improving position and thanked parish/town councils and their communities for their patience, particularly the positive approach to recycling.
The parish councils welcomed ... view the full minutes text for item PPP 20/3
The Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Infrastructure (Councillor David Lettington) will set out the position of the Borough Council.
The Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Infrastructure (Councillor David Lettington) advised that before deciding a planning application local planning authorities (LPAs) were required to undertake a formal period of public consultation, as prescribed in article 15 of the Development Management Procedure Order (as amended). This included parish/town councils as a statutory consultee.
There was a prescribed period of 21 days from notification for consultation responses. A planning decision could not be made before this time.
Consultation was a valuable part of the planning process and it was important that the public had a say in decisions affecting them and their communities.
It was reported that the Borough Council operated a combination of processes which exceeded the statutory requirements:
- Notifications via publication of a weekly list;
- Specific notifications to Parish and Town Councils (including provision of a full copy of planning applications consulted on);
- Sending neighbour letters to those adjoining any application site;
- Publication of site notices and press notices;
- Specific consultation with statutory and non-statutory consultees; and
- Re-consulted on planning applications where substantive amendments were made.
In addition, Parish/Town Council representatives and local residents who had made written representations were given the opportunity to speak on applications to be heard by the Area Planning Committees.
However, a number of areas for improvement had been identified, especially related to deadline dates for the receipt of consultation responses. Proposals would be reviewed by the Planning and Transportation Advisory Board in March 2020. A further update would be provided at the next meeting of the Parish Partnership Panel.
The Parish Councils welcomed the comments from the Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Infrastructure regarding the potential to align deadline dates for the benefit of parish/town councils’ consultation responses. It was hoped that the proposals arising from the Planning and Transportation Advisory Board would benefit all concerned.
A written response to a number of specific points raised by the Kent Association of Local Councils
Members noted the responses to the specific questions raised by the Tonbridge and Malling Area Committee, Kent Association of Local Councils (KALC) regarding Article 4 Directions (Permitted Development Rights).
The Chairman of KALC – Tonbridge and Malling Area Committee (Sarah Barker) advised that they were scheduled to meet in April and any further questions relating to Article 4 Directions and the responses provided might be submitted at this time for further discussion at the next meeting of the Parish Partnership Panel.
Kent Police Services Update
Representatives of Kent Police to advise of recent initiatives, operations and activities, including issues raised by the Panel.
Due to operational pressures representatives of Kent Police were unable to attend the meeting. However a written report had been submitted for information, which set out details of a number of recent initiatives and operations.
Further information on any of the items raised in the Kent Police Services Update report was available by contacting Kent Police direct. Alternatively, any specific community issues could be passed to the Democratic Services Officer (email@example.com) to forward to Kent Police.
The Cabinet Member for Community Services (Councillor Mark Rhodes) advised that he frequently met the Police and Crime Commissioner as a ‘critical friend’. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the latest meeting which had set the budget for the next financial year. However, meetings could be viewed via the Kent County Council website.
The Parish Councils referred to the lack of police presence at parish council meetings, despite an earlier commitment from Kent Police to attend more regularly. This concern would be raised with Kent Police via the Kent Association of Local Councils and with the Chief Constable via the Chairman.
Representatives from the County Council to provide an update on recent initiatives, consultations and other matters of interest.
Members noted the report of the Kent County Council Member Hub Support Officer which advised that the budget proposals for 2020-21 would be considered by the County Council on 13 February 2020.
The County Member for Malling North (Councillor Sarah Hohler) referred to the significant concerns raised about Smart motorways and advised that Highways England would have to pause the implementation of the M20 until the Secretary of State had reached a decision on their future. However, this did not mean that the current roadworks would be stopped.
Details of a number of County initiatives and consultations were also set out for information. Particular reference was made to the Strategic Statement – Five Year Plan which was out for consultation until 17 February 2020. The draft Plan reflected the rural nature of Kent and there was an ambition to increase the number of community wardens.
All Kent County Council consultations could be viewed online at:
Finally, reference was made to the proposals for the Lower Thames Crossing and the implications for residents in Tonbridge and Malling due to the lack of confirmed infrastructure proposals to support the scheme. Members anticipated that road networks in the Borough, particularly the A227, A228, A229, M2 and the M20 would be affected.
The Borough Council would respond to the ongoing consultation indicating that investment in the Lower Thames crossing was insufficient and impacts on the wider Kent road network should be considered. All parish/town councils were encouraged to submit comments.
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council Services Update
The Chairman, in his role as Leader of the Council, advised that key points of relevance to Tonbridge and Malling had been covered elsewhere on the agenda. However, there would be an update on the Local Centres and Parades Shopfront Grant Scheme provided as part of the Service Updates at the next meeting of the Parish Partnership Panel.