Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday 13 March 2023, 6:30pm - Start video at 2:24:06 - Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Webcasting

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 13th March 2023 at 6:30pm 

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  1. Webcast Finished

thank you good evening and welcome to the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Monday, 13th March, at 22 on on in 2023. I'm Councillor, Sean Holden and I'm the chairman of this committee, before we start, please pay attention to our good clot,
thank you Chair Good evening everybody. In the event of the fire alarm ringing continuously, you must immediately evacuate the building at walking pace officers will escort you by the most direct available route, and no one is to use the lift. We will make our way to the fire assembly point by the entrance to the Town Hall Yard car park, on one some way, once outside a check will be made to ensure everyone has safety left and no one is to re-enter the building until advise it is safe to do so. This is a public meeting and proceedings are being webcast live online. A recording will also be available for playback on the council's website shortly afterwards. Any other third party may also recall or fill meetings unless exempt or confidential information is being considered, but are requested, as a courtesy, to give others notice of this to the clock, the council is not liable for any third party recordings. Can I remind everyone to use microphones when speaking and turn them off when you're not that the red light indicates that the microphones are on any comments that are not recorded for the webcast may not be included in the minutes of the meeting
is very important that the outcomes of this meeting are clear. At the end of each substantive item, the Chairman will ask whether the matter is agreed in the absence of a clear majority or if the chairman decides the full vote is desirable. A vote will be taken by a show of hands. Members requesting a recorded vote must do so before the vote is taken. Thank you Chair,
good, thank you very much right for the record, we're going to take a roll call, so the clock will call your name and if you're here then please say so,
Councillor Atkins.
reason.
Councillor Peter Allen
present, thank you Councillor good ship.
and thank you Councillor Johnson present, thank you, Councillor Knight
Bruce, thank you, Councillor Page,
Britain, thank you, Councillor McMillan,
present, thank you, Councillor Morton present, thank you, Councillor Palmer present, thank you Councillor Rogers present, thank you Councillor Ellis. for thank you, Councillor Holden here and it officers this evening, Terry Hughes, present, thank you, Gary Stevenson, present, thank you, Stuart Clifton present, thank you, Claudette Vollmond present, and we also have Councillor pound present, thank you inspector Jones because thank you thank you Chairman, thank you.
thank you.
I'll start again. because needs to be recorded, thank you, so if you're not familiar with our proceedings,
the committee members have had their agenda papers for more than a week and have had the opportunity to ask questions of officers ahead of this meeting, and when we come to the substantive items on the agenda, there'll be an introduction by the relevant officers

1 Apologies for Absence

or councillors and following the introduction any visitor will be invited to speak,
we then move into member discussion and I'll first ask four questions before opening the floor to debate, the end of the debate will formulate a resolution and Members should ensure that any proposals or actions are correctly captured before we move to the vote. Okay right so agenda item 1 apologies for absence
apologies Chair, thank
you, declarations of interest.

2 Declarations of Interest

any declarations
0
Councillor Palmer, yes, I'm a director of property holdings, so I do need to declare that on item number 9
think it's number 9 on the local authority as and from thank you.
I didn't say to everybody, I just suddenly thought of it, you should put your friends on silent.
I am the only one, apparently
no other declarations of interest, thank you good declarations of a party whip. has anybody been whipped,
no

3 Declarations of a Party Whip

people registered to speak,
any non committee members, we have nothing.

4 Notification of Persons Registered to Speak

excuse me, minutes of the meeting held on we've got two sets of minutes, the one on the Thursday of the 10th of November.

5 Minutes of the meeting dated 10 November 2022

and we want to improve the accuracy, are you satisfied that they're accurate, or does anybody have any thing they want to say about the minutes?
now, on the 10th of November, in which case, shall I sign them, I propose that I sign them agreed,
OK, which ones are the 10
right ones, in that this is the 10th verse on to them.

6 Minutes of the meeting dated 21 November 2022

they won, and now the minutes for the meeting on the 21 of November 2022 does anybody have any points to make for accuracy about them, are you happy to lash at some yeah?
OK, good, thank you.

7 Items Called- In

I just recall in any item is called in, we have no item called in.

8 Community Safety Partnership Plan 2023-24

so agenda item 8 is the Community Safety Partnership Plan for 2023 24, the report set out on pages 27 to 95 of the agenda back and Terry Hughes, a community safety manager, is going to introduce the report.
there are no members of the public or visiting members of the site, and so
I would like to just make
in total
all right Councillor warned you'd like to introduce Mr. Hughes yeah, please go ahead, he's an excellent officer,
thank you Chair.
yes, before the community safety manager presents his report on the Community Safety Partnership Plan, I would just like to say a few words
as Cabinet Member for responsibility for community safety during the last 10 months it's been a privilege to have had the opportunity to gain a greater insight and understanding into the workings of the council community safety unit and the members of the Community Safety Partnership.
I am extremely grateful for where men's work that goes on largely behind the scenes by the Council's officers, in particular Terry Hughes and Denise Haylett, as well as the police and all the professionals and volunteers who are dedicated to ensuring our residents, businesses and visitors remained safe throughout the borough, I'm pleased to be able to report the Tunbridge Wells is amongst the safest places to live in Kent with the lowest overall reported crime.
That said, it has been a challenging year particularly for anti-social behaviour in a number of wards,
I'm I'm grateful for ex Inspector Jones attendance this evening to field any questions
but now I'd like to hand you over to community safety manager, Terry Hughes, for a brief introduction to the strategic assessment and partnership plan. Thank you Chair.
thank you, Councillor, I think Cher
good evening, members, it has been a challenging year as Councillor Wall said, we're a small team, the community safety team, we had some passionate challenges this year and some staffing challenges too, we are just about to employ a new community safety officer have been lost on Paulina after five or six years a very good officer for us, and we've got to workload challenges as well, particularly around anti-social behaviour
in terms of crime
and 2% increase over the preceding year, but the the lowest overall reported crime in Kent, drugs, hate crime and shoplifting being our highest crime types, and but we've seen some welcome reductions in as sexual offences and violence against the person over the last 12 months.
domestic abuse second lowest in Kent and a decrease on 2019 rates. You'll see that I have included some 29 re rates, quite a lot in the report, just just to look at the pre COVID years for a better comparison, perhaps
complex or high need cases are still coming in, but in lower numbers. Calls to the helpline for dabs our domestic abuse service
remained high, but they've retained their six hour helpline five days a week, which is really helpful for for West Kent.
You'll know all you may know. Also, I did send out an invite to councillors for the domestic abuse conference s, elements on white ribbon day last year and I was for stakeholders and service providers. I was well attended and it focused on positive masculinity. We're also pleased to say that we achieved White Ribbon accreditation for the council last year
for 2023. We do provide significant funding for through the police and crime, commissioner, and through the three West Kent, local authorities supporting victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse.
and last year or 2021, rather, the new domestic abuse Act brought in some more responsibilities, some new burden of responsibilities for local authorities, including KCC,
we've got, got some new burden funding for that. and we have, we've we've recruited a domestic abuse coordinator between Tonbridge and Malling and Tunbridge Wells.
to make sure that we're implementing the domestic abuse are correctly and safe and secure accommodation provision and for support therein. which may well be refugees or or securing a victim's home.
On that basis, we would recommend retaining domestic abuse as a priority for this coming financial year
substance and alcohol possession of controlled substances was down on last year, but it was up on 2019 trafficking was up, that was doubled, over 2021 grew slightly less of an increase against 2019 data, the committee police intake busy as usual, stopping cars and crushing grow rooms around the borough.
for 2023 misuse and open spaces, particularly around the allotments at the moment. is still prevalent and has been widely reported and is closely linked to other reports of anti-social behaviour as well, we've also got some work to do in the night-time economy, with alcohol abuse related to issues in general violence and, in particular violence against women and girls,
so we would recommend retaining substance misuse and supply and alcohol related behaviour as a priority.
anti-social behaviour
reduction on last year. and 2019,
but still a similar pattern of reductions were seen across across the whole of Kent. but still we had persistent anti-social behaviour in Paddock Wood, in Southborough and Cranbrook and in the town centre, car parks and parks.
for this year.
some key individuals have been or are currently or will soon be taken out of the equation, but there's potential for continued anti-social behaviour from small groups of young people with large gatherings, also an issue I think anti-social, there's gonna be a strong focus for the year ahead and the spectrum I've been discussing ways of better communicating what we are doing with councillors with other local reps.
about those issues that are persistent and damaging for the local community, and we would recommend retaining anti-social behaviour as a priority for this year.
road safety, a 30% increase on 2021 down on 2019, as with most local authorities, and the lowest in Kent, overall, we do have no, we do now have some near miss data about two years' worth of data now, which gives us a little bit more to seek some patterns. within that data, KCC were good enough to cross, reference it with crash data, and we've received a report of that this is a piece of work that still needs to be completed, and we know there are ongoing issues with poor or inconsiderate parking, particularly around schools,
and it was a petition just gone on late last week for
a big crossing on Burton Road after a young child was it was knocked over, thankfully, it wasn't a serious injury and led to believe
we do have fewer opportunities, I'm sure you're aware to make a positive impact impact on road safety stats, particularly given that we are quite low anyway and certainly a lot fewer opportunities than our other priorities. but an important theme for residents and for councillors, and we would recommend retaining road safety this year.
VAWG violence against women and girls, small rises or reductions in some of the key crime types associated with VAWG, and I would direct members at the leisure or if you haven't already done so, to review page 34 to 36 for a national view that takes in more than just incidents reported to police some data in from the the crime series of for England and Wales.
locally, very few night-time economy reports, night-time economy report related to spiking and sticking
non have been proven so far, certainly not for the drugs that we are used to looking for
lots of night-time economy, related activities and operations have been undertaken over the last year, including Best Bar None where we've got seven local.
hostelry is on the books for that six key ones.
we've done some work surveys with members of the public, the SA optimist also did a survey of their own, we've been promoting the Ask for Angela
and we've had some operations, including grip Blitzen heart and goalie I'm sure you can guess what some of those were for where we've put front line officers or overtime for police officers out on the front line of an evening during key times of the year to address
or to to provide some reassurance and to address violence as well.
CCTV the Safe Town Partnership and the business improvement district, working well together to improve safety and the poor perception of the town
to 2023, there will be a violent duty for local authorities coming along with the police and crime commissioners, violence reduction unit tasked with the and with undertaking a strategic needs assessment for each local district in Kent and I will be doing that this year.
venerated workshops are being held by the violence reduction unit I was at 1.00 a couple of weeks ago, which was very good when we did we determined some of the baselines that we might need to progress with that work once we got the strategic needs assessment in place and Kent county council's community safety team are also running
a VAWG conference later this year as well, with similar with similar outcomes hopefully
and we're also considering a West Kent action plan for violence against women and girls to run alongside the domestic abuse action plan that is currently being drafted for West Kent,
there's still more to be done in the public realm and the night-time economy using data from various surveys, so we would recommend that violent behavior including violence against women and girls and night-time economy is a priority for this year.
that's my introduction, thank you Chair.
good, thank you very much.
now does anybody have any questions
cancel a poem?
thank you.
can I just ask please, because I know there's been issues in the past, particularly at Cranbrook, and about county lines, and much of an issue is that now, in the rural areas.
thank you, Councillor, from my perspective, if not, we haven't seen any active county lines, we were
calling my colleague here chairs the serious organised crime board on a monthly basis where partners come in to look at what we might be able to do to to discourage some of it going on or to displace it or to cause them more aggro than the worth by using other methods than just looking at them for drug dealing
we've been pretty successful in that and as far as I know there's no active county lines through Tunbridge Wells at the moment. but it's something that we are closely sited on, given our location.
at the moment we get any intelligence on any line that's coming through any mobile phone is being used on a particular line, we act on it, our community policing team are very proactive in dealing with trafficking,
that's probably why you see trafficking. as a as a crime type going up because those crimes are discovered by police, it doesn't just go up because of that type of thing going up it's because we're policing it
and we're very keen to place it, because of course it drives other crime times.
thank you.
Councillor Knight.
thank you Chair, and thank you, Terry, for that a detailed report very interesting on listening hard, there's lots of information coming out there, I think one of the categories you mention was complex and high needs, I'm still interested to know what crimes come into that what particular crimes come into that category number one and the second question, if I may, I noticed under the ward reports on page 30
and the Council of a grotesque lamppost and it looks like we have more than double the number of slight.
injuries, and I was just wondering why our ward particularly had such a high number of slight injuries,
thank you very much.
thank you, Councillor yeah, I will all come back to you on the slight, I can do a bit of digging onto that stat, go back to KCC's crashed team, as we do occasionally from the Overview and Scrutiny, and ask them just to dig a little deeper into that.
I am the yet the high needs of that was around domestic abuse cases apologies if I confused her that was around the domestic abuse priority and sometimes they get a different grading of of report but high need isn't necessarily a grading sought a forum for the for the teams to look at higher harm, it's just that there might be some issues going on with that household that need do that need addressing before it gets before it turns into high crimes that makes sense.
yes, thank you very much, as indeed thank you, Terry chairs,
Councillor Bridge, Allen.
yes, thank you, Terry's excellent report, as always from me very detailed,
I'm I mean looking at the priorities, I think they're well justified those ones.
in being the priorities that we're looking for for next year, but I noticed that the
crimes
surrounding race also seemed quite high, as is wondering if there are any plans to integrate any education, training materials, anything like that within those other ones which I'm sure cover all bases without any intention to just sneak a bit of extra.
awareness in within the existing
proposed priorities
and key.
yeah, thank you, Councillor, I was discussing this with the Committee liaison officer who addresses all hate crime reports and tries to put in some signposting and some preventative
work following an issue with reserved one to one with them, I did ask about the schools, unfortunately they're not able to deliver in schools, we did have some schools officers for a little while I'll let you in come in the second
we would hope to try and get some, because I noticed the trends, issues were all school-based and that had doubled over this year, and we've noticed similar rises around the country for trans issues or abuse and they were all about schools and I think it was two or three victims, although it looked high it was, I think it was one issue or one incident generated three reports so it looked worse than it was when we dug into it
lay in a pickup on the schools thing but from our perspective from the resources we've got we don't have any officers at the moment that are able to go into schools to deliver that hate crime.
yeah, I'll just take that point in relation to schools officers, we did have a team of schools officers, but that's now been put on hold because of other issues that we had to address with the new organisation.
however, as from June, we're going to have what we call a child centre policing team, which we resource by surgeons, police constables and police community support officers, so what will happen is that they will also be looking at this issue
from the perspective of education and getting into schools and seeing what we can do around educating young people around what's acceptable and what's not.
or just to I'm I'm really comfortable with the fact that we're getting hate crime being reported, because that means people have the confidence to report it,
and you know it's important that people feel that they can come forward and talk about these issues because I'm sure there's probably a lot more that goes on out there that just goes unchecked, so I'm very comfortable with people reporting issues, no matter how minor they think it is, or what have you I? The bottom line is that we want to make sure that the door is open, so people can do that
and when they do report it, it gets.
You know, I am a top class service to be honest with you, because, of course of the nature of the crime and the fact that it is hate based it's passed through a specialist team is passed, community liaison officer support person.
and everything is done that is humanly possible to try and detect that crime and bring the perpetrators to justice, so it does get him.
I'm not saying that any other crime doesn't get that kind of service, what I am saying is that we've got to look after the victims here because they need to feel confident in coming forward.
thank you, Chair,
you mentioned the need when they miss register,
I'm just one of wondering how useful the data is, I think it's only this second year, I think it is now, and where do we advertise it because I have to be honest I can't remember being advertised anywhere at all so,
thank you.
thanks, Councillor, I don't think it's, I don't think it's pushed out regularly through social media or the the newsletter, but I think that's something that we could we could put out fairly regularly for that. I'll take that away as an action.
Yes, two years we've got about 2 50, I think 250 incidents are recorded on their. We did discuss this Cabinet Advisory Board as to whether we can tighten it up a little bit because it then there's there's a free form text box which takes quite a bit of time to unwrap and to understand what's going on, and I think we might do better with a multiple choice option going forward. So this year to my intention to analyze that data alongside the KCC crash data at this year, once they did for year one and then I will
probably bring that back either to cabinet or to the
to the transport group.
and see if that's possible for KCC to keep doing it, if it proves useful, I'm not sure, on its usefulness at the moment, I've read through it, some of the reports are quite detailed and quite good around parks where kids might be run out of parks. Some of the other ones are not so clear and would require visits to those locations to fully understand, so it's not been it's not been that helpful, but I think if we tighten up the criteria when people can use, it might be a little better, but we've had a say over 250 submissions, so
there are some people I do know about it, but I think we could likely do a better job in pushing it out a bit further.
if they wanted to just put more, thank you go just to pick up on, you said, so there are a now some cluster areas you can identify.
yes, there are, yes.
Councillor Morton,
thank you Chair.
I've got three years years actually, and I do do do you want me to dust yet, thank you,
so the first one probably is very brief, it's about hate crime and I noticed that the the increase in race haters
increase quite a lot, it's it's gone a lot.
is there again, is there any breakdown of the the the actual race of the person you know the?
that component, please, that's one thing,
but should I go on,
so secondly,
I have to come back to the problems of traffic in St John's.
because I've been dealing with quite a lot of it recently, and if you have a look at the
overall.
injuries,
it's slight injuries, but also those that are
killed or seriously injured,
they have actually jumped
in St John's and.
it's interesting that Councillor run retrial and, I think,
addressed the near miss register or sorry Councillor Atkinson,
because God it's it's worrying if one child gets killed, but you know it's jumped to three and of course you know that's still not a lot in comparison to other places but,
it is an indication, isn't it,
and you can you know if you've got a near miss register, that should tell you you know if certain.
junctions certain roads are dangerous and maybe you know something more can be done about it or crossing or whatever it is, in fact I had to report the,
occlusion at
Marin with Road and East Cliff Road. where the the the the driver was going through, the junction didn't stop didn't give way where there she should have done and there was another car coming from the other direction you're across that way,
and therefore there was a collision and the person in the first car who didn't stop actually.
you know was was
no.
what
sort of jack-knifed and?
you know hit a stationary car on the opposite side and that car actually belongs to one of the residents,
and she asked for a give way, sign you know
on the corner where where the accident happened, because there isn't one, and she was told that again you know there wasn't sufficient crash data. 2 to warrant one,
you know, how many ME incidents, do you need, does it have to be a fatality or serious injury? You know that that's really my question, surely you know an incident like that is serious enough to take to take note of and bring attention to were to the authorities.
so that's St John's and then thirdly,
is also in regard to
our favourite topic, which is anti-social behaviour in parks.
again, I spoke to a resident who who lives near the park, in fact she is one of the key holders, and she said to me that
the you know the incidental of. now music and no just just noise, has started again this weekend,
but you know we know what happened last summer over and over last summer, and you know last six months and
so I guess you know what we're asking is she didn't feel that reporting it to the police.
you know, brought any any any action at all, and she is very disappointed by it and other residents around the park, you know, say the same thing, you know, they've reported it, they've got photographs and so on and so forth, and nothing seems to happen.
I told her that we were actually, you know,
you know we were looking at. these incidents and we did have reports, you know that that we were, actually
you know, the C issue we're dealing with and the police and so forth,
but I think she still feels that come the summer or come
Easter holidays, etc and you know that are coming up it will get worse
and so you know what are we going to do about it? really.
you've got the such odd centre team, as you say, policing team.
Will that be deployed, you know in the parks
so that you know what more the there's more action, there's more visible policing, I think that's really what people are asking for, you know, visible, visible policing, OK, thank you.
thank you, Councillor, I know you're not jumping on a couple of topics,
I'll take the the traffic one at St St John's.
when we passed the day when we asked KCC to look at that near miss register and and cross-reference it with their crash data, there were a little bit reluctant to do that because they have certain criteria for what will generate projects to change road layouts and add signage and such like so they've got their own criteria and they didn't want to raise any expectations that we might have insane. Here's some criticism near miss data. Can you please now alter your work schedules because of these localised incidents or these issues that we've got a number of complaints? So they were quite determined and were to you know, sort of accepted that we provided them wouldn't change the way they work, that's the way it is at the moment,
so whether or not what we produce this year, Councillor is sufficient for them to see that there is hotspots in that's what our mapping system shows, where I think around the parking rustle there's a number of issues down there that we've spotted from from a report from
a complainant, and I think if we can report back to them that we've after a couple of years' worth of data, that this is reliable
and we are now seeing spikes in this area not just because we've got a complainant there who likes to complain, but because there are a number of complaints from a number of people showing that there's actually a pinch point or an issue with this location so it could be on the misery register might support that, but I don't I don't know whether that's going to be the case or not
in towns, in terms of the anti-social behaviour,
St John's
yeah, I will be. There will be a challenge for this year. It will we've got some officers out at the moment, we're doing an engagement
project at the moment, we've got what we've got 12 evenings four hours per evening off of some security officers. They're out there to do some engagement with retailers with members of the public. They were out on Friday and Saturday and they'll be out for another 10 spots this year. That's from the PCC's funding and they've been to St John's, they've been to Paddick Woods yesterday, sorry on Saturday, and they've already diverted some young people away from various
places. They've confiscated some grinders or some cannabis
stuff as well from the centre of town, so we will be able to put some people out. Occasionally, I think, on that kind of project, but whether or not we be able to have people
in the amount of time that these young people would chase them around is just questionable, so we will have to look at an action plan, I think, for St Johns, where we can combine it with other agencies so we can dovetail and we're not all. At the same time, you will be aware I know that we put a PS PO, a public space protection order on the park, so it's basically you're not allowed to be in apart from 11 pm to 5 am, because of all the loud music and people are going late, that seems to have reduced a little bit last year, and it's common to daytime and we've got the schools, we're trying to get the schools to do some work during the daytime during a lunchtime because of the amount of young people that go in there, and then our provision may be just after school for a capitulate
and then after that, unfortunately, we're often relying on policing or other agencies, like, can we trust in the street pastors to go out who are not really confrontational, they just are responsible adults and such like, so I think we will have to have an action plan not just for St John's this year but for our open spaces. given what we will, we will be suffering last year.
I don't have any particular figures on hate crime and relationship breakdown, I can tell you now that I look at every hate crime that comes in each day.
and I look at it to try and pick up. Are there any traits or any threads of behavioural things like that, where any particular group was being targeted,
and in all honesty anecdotally, now I can tell you why I'm not picking up any particular traits in that in any particular group. I was just wondering, Councillor Morton, do you have any any information yourself? That's creating a concern that triggered the question that you asked, because then I can match perhaps maybe look at some analysis to see whether there is a particular problem that is perhaps being underreported or or whatever you know.
sorry.
yes, I believe Councillor Brand the page will does have an incident that he can tell you about.
whatever?
can you put your thing on?
yes, this is actually just a reminder, this is a questions session rather than discussion session that Councillor Page.
yeah, I have some actual questions, if it's
okay,
I'll put you on the list then, but Councillor M first.
sorry, my apologies, I was just going to say I've got a third some further.
information in relation to anti-social behaviour could raise the issue of ants in council raises the issue of anti-social behaviour in parks, open spaces.
so do you want me to take answer that question now, who
want to answer all of Councillor Morton's questions,
OK, so in relation to hate crime, I'd like to know if there's a particular issue that you want looked at, because then we can do some analysis round that and then from that we can address it.
because I don't have an exact breakdown in front of me but, like I say, academically, I can I can tell you that that actually there's there's no particular traits that I'm identifying in our crime figures at the moment. in relation to anti-social behaviour. One of my frustrations
I have to say, personally, is that I am always encouraging people to call in to police and report everything that's going on. Of course, what what happens is that when people do call in that, their needs looked at in relation to what else is going on for police at the time and is prioritised according to risk, and if, because there's something where there's a threat to life or public safety going on elsewhere, that's taking police resources that we have to prioritise that core, and of course I am as only as good as the information I get some time, so if I'm not getting the calls coming in, when I do my analysis, they know you know, I'm gonna, be looking at putting more resources where the calls are coming in, so I'm always encouraging people to call it
certainly parks and open spaces. I've been putting patrols in the parks and spaces to proactively patrol and indeed, yes, we do get to two calls every now and again and deal with it, but all I can say to you is, you know, a heartfelt plea, please keep encouraging people to call in don't be put off if they're not getting an immediate police response, because what we do is we will. If we get the call, we will look back, we'll look back at CCTV, we've identified perpetrators through CCTV evidence in our office. At the moment, we have whole a whole wall dedicated to CCTV footage of young people and anti-social behaviour, because the perpetrators are young people, their children. So of course up our approach has to differ in relation to those people
and as a result, we are taking action with individuals and we've got to the point where we've had to arrest and charge people across the district, so we do take action, but it may not necessarily be that somebody gets the response there and then perhaps they're looking for which which I get frustrated with
but please don't let that put people off reporting things to us we want to know what's going on, thank you,
I think that if you've had quite a go and one of the things I wanted to say was, can we not concentrate on single incidents because I think we're looking at the general terms here of an inspector Jones spoke about traits and whether or not an and discussing single syndrome incidents doesn't give us an idea of
the overall picture,
which is what I think we are here to do.
Councillor McMillan, I'm going to ask you if you put your questions next, please,
thank you Chair got a couple of questions actually
Terry front lights, say thank you for all your hard work and the priorities. I completely agree the priorities that you set out,
so I'm very
happy that it's just a little bit more of a retrospective inspection. Can I ask, did you say you didn't believe we have any county lines drug the
drug problems that it is? I get that right or do I misunderstand you
because my identity, I would say that's not the case, I mean I can or the evidence that I see and the people that I know or know what people, for example
you can you can have a drugs menu delivered to your house within about 10 minutes if you want to and that those kind of drugs that the state must be counting lines. Drugs
groups coming into Tunbridge Wells, and you know through
through I
have daughters and friends who's what younger, to younger children, young people and they have easy access to to this this type of stuff, so the fact that we don't have we think that we don't have Councillor Lyons issue, I think is probably incorrect. I'm just interested in your thoughts,
yet we are gathering intelligence on county lines all the time, and we act very quickly on all community policing team acts very quickly on that intelligence at the moment there's nothing current that's coming through, however, a county lines is a specific type of drug dealing we've got drug dealing throughout the district, let's make no bones about that it is happening out there is just a council answers a particular way of doing it.
we are arresting drug dealers all the time, the hen to see why drug trafficking is quite high for the the district in relation to arrest, that's what we're producing, that's what we're discovering and if you claim to the police station and show lots of mugshots of people who've been locked up by our teams in relation to drug dealing, so so yes is ongoing. It's just that every time we identify a council and we we, we jump on it very, very quickly because it involves young people and children that we know and there's that risk that sits around and people being exploited. So of course we act very quickly on that too to address it and but, yes, drug dealing is still actively taking place within the borough and it's something that we take very seriously and we act upon it since we find out about the about it basically.
thank you, and my second question is. expect changes that I just noticed in my in my ward that we have got the second highest incidents in terms of traffic in terms of traffic
kind of what is becoming more of a and airing of frustration, really because my that speedwatch, you know spats obviously about Speedwatch 3, which is a group of volunteers that sit around in various various different wards, trying to help the traffic, please, and I'm recording these things and they do it voluntarily at their own their own position.
My speedwatch tell you and I one or two others, now disbanding, because they feel that the input that they are putting into the time and effort they're putting into recording these. The these the offences speeding offences are clearly going on, especially in the rural villages. It's quite extreme at some points. The fact is that we've now found out the information that we should put. We pushed through to the to the the police themselves, which we didn't understand, run voluntarily, or the there's a group of volunteers that had to take on that information, and what we've also found there is that the cars are speeding on necessarily reported unless they've been caught two or three times, so it is completely disincentivised a whole group of people. We're trying to do something voluntarily for the benefit of the community and I know that we're despite spreading throughout and I have a this why my frustration of this to the police commissioner as well as I please
event by police of the the elected police commissioner and it is of some concern, I think if we if we were disincentivising communities, we're trying to do something that speed surely that's got to be there's a wrong way round. Surely we should be a little bit more resource in and really incentivise people to try and help there was one and help and support the place really
the complete take your comments on board, I have dealings with the speedwatch scheme, I'm not responsible for how the speed watch scheme operates.
However, I've taken notes in relation to that I I have correspondence with and Watson who's a speedwatch manager, so I'll take those concerns back to him just to provide you with some reassurance, so if I get any correspondence from any that residents, or what have you in relation to speeding, I will send an officer to go out and assess that and actually look at doing some enforcement around it, so I do act on any complaints that we get in relation to speeding by sending somebody out there to go and deal with it, because it may well be that Speedwatch have preferred locations where they want to be and where they want to do speed checks, but it might be that you get your location coming in which sits outside of that, so why act on all those complaints? so if you do have issues in particular part of your parish or ward, you must, let me know and write to me, tell me where your concerns lie, I will send an officer to go and look at that.
thank you for that, and I said I just done what I think SpainWhat is such a good thing, such a community thing, and I'd really like the place to grab hold of this issue now, before the every word starts disbanded because it is a support to the work that you and Taryn do
just come back on that's big washes excellent bass it's it does a great job of actually just calming traffic down basically and and setting the onus on people to drive responsibly.
it's also a community based thing and one and you know it, it saddens me when people want to walk away from that, but at the same time that we are supporting Speedwatch by acting on individual people's complaints as well, so we do get out and about
you know we were making contact with parish councils as well in relation to particular issues, so if any Councillors have any issues whatsoever in relation to this, I would welcome the correspondence and we will act on that to support what local speed watches are doing.
perhaps that's on us that we need to communicate that just a little bit better and to say to people, please tell us what the issues are and but of course please keep running Speedwatch is because they do have a great effect on the traffic and calming speeding down.
thank you, Councillor
Ellis, I've got next.
thank you gerund,
thank you, Terry as well
of the had the presentation last week, 1 m missed one presentation last week was the
bombings against women and support women and girls initiative onstage you'll set up a new system, West Kent she mentioned on the discussion here could be a bit more about your house work in, and that's how you're going to be involved in a community in connection with it.
yeah thanks, Councillor, we haven't set it up, yet we've got a meeting between the three community safety managers, but West Kent Tunbridge and and Sevenoaks later this month, I believe we're hoping to back the the VAWG meeting on the back of our domestic abuse forum which has a quarterly meeting so we've run the VAWG straight after that, and we should have the same kind of people that may well have sort of an interest in the bog
agenda, so that's how we're hoping to do it but it will be,
it will be an outside West Kent action plan, but it will have to be at a local flavour because we've got night-time economy whereas Tonbridge and Malling and Sevenoaks don't so there will be some very calm, local authority, specific actions in there I would presume, but we're hoping by combining it we might be able to make better use of the resources that we've got.
OK.
I've got to cancel the page and then you.
cancelled or paid.
I can just a very few things,
one is.
the pupil referral unit, which is not called Two Bridges for the whole of the borough, is in software, which is my patch, and I know that they've been instances of people from that school who've been involved in.
in anti social behaviour, violence, and I just wondered if there was a particular
relationship that you have between the police in the schools in that school to try and stamp on before it happens.
yeah, thank you, Councillor, yes, we we, we, we, we've got a few prose around, I didn't realise, that was the last one now in the borough that's that's unfortunate,
but I've visited that quite a lot of times over the last 15 20 years.
We do I, my my community safety officer would be the person to link in with them, typically maybe alongside the anti-social behaviour officer for the police, and they would do some joint visit
Mike officers start next Monday, so I'll be happy to have a conversation with you outside of here as to what's going on there that you think might be my if you've got any information on, might be helpful, but I do appreciate that some of the young people from there are causing issues around southborough.
I think you have got by more forensically.
the other one, the other one, is about female genital mutilation, because I wondered if that was on your radar,
especially considering that the population make-up of the borough is changing and I know, for example, is practice in Afghanistan, and I know it's also.
something that people are very concerned about in the school curriculum, to try and help people reported
a wondered Mark Quinsey in particular, may or may not have read carefully, not I didn't see a particular reference to that.
yeah, thank you, Councillor, though that comes under our domestic abuse, priority and daffs have tried to address that they've run some workshops for GPs, I believe, and for schools and for other community leaders
a couple of years ago the previous
the previous CEO did, I believe, so it is something that they are aware of the numbers, as I saw last year, were quite horrendous there, the amount of potential that's going on in this country, so it is something that they will be sighted on
again. I'd be happy if there's a particular issue around that, or if you'd like some additional information, I'd be happy to link in with the with our DAB so we we support fund for our domestic abuse provision to get some more information on that, but but they are sited on it. There's no question about that,
thank you, can I indulge in what was one more quickly the other question is, I think the inspector
raised the issue of encouraging people to report, so it seemed to me that kind of if there was, if there was no reporting, there would be no crime, so I just wondered how you were able to
be confident in the reporting relating to the figures that you show and also what you can do about
how you go about encouraging people to report.
yes, it is always an issue for police in relation to.
what people report and what they choose to report because it's about people having confidence in policing services, so I'm always very open, when dealing with councillors and and local residents,
partner agencies, that we need to be aware of exactly what's going on and yes, we do get lots and lots of reports about issues going on within particular neighbourhoods and we will always investigate those, but I'm always aware as well that there are some people at times who get very frustrated and because they don't get an immediate police response, so then less inclined to report matters to us, but actually there's a lot that we can do after the fact, and there's a lot we can do around identifying people after the fact as well. So
my plea to people is to keep reporting issues because it's very, very important to us that we find out exactly what is going on and when it's going on as well, because if they don't report things at the time,
we don't actually get the opportunity to do temporal analysis so that we can actually say when was the right time to put our resources in a particular location
we need that quality of information, so please encourage people to keep reporting.
thank you, that seems to be something that.
the council and the councillors could take on them, and amendments could take on as part of their responsibility as well.
Councillor Johnson.
I see both here.
just a few points back to the near near misses,
it seems very obviously all over the country, but all over Tunbridge Wells, as well as my area and spoke to KCC, they came out to the local school with the area dry wood and and it was about the reporting,
you know, they said, if more people could report it, you know the name is at the traffic light people going through.
I witness it loads of times and then KCC can do more about it, but it's just when we sort of spoke about it at the school, so many people didn't know that there was like in the Ms register
and it's off again I know you doing what you can getting that out there so people realise that the more it can be reported
it will have a greater effect but the other the other thing was is that,
where we are, we've got a speed camera.
Joseph Ramsey and it's wonderful, like the Pembury Road, one, they are fantastic because people know it's there and they just slow straight down
and the school, and I have we suggested, Joe could we have another speed camera here and all these other areas?
and that you're doing the speed watches.
when when we mentioned it, of course, it the problem was was funding, which of course your your understanding about, I just wondered, is if all of us. because they must make a fortune out of speed cameras. I don't know, but I just it's how much more sensible because if you had in all these areas,
the speed cameras, not only would money be made out of them, but people would slow down, and I mean, is there any way that that can be helped, because you know I say when it was mentioned it was,
it was good, it was too expensive for Casey, save spirit speed and then I thought Why is it too expensive, should it really be that expensive, or is it just whoever's doing, because its camera shouldn't be that expensive? Surely
so that was just one of the only.
and carry on.
then the teenage girls yeah the violence gets women and girls the other thing
it's been reported to me, there's been a lot of girls, teenage girls causing a lot of problems in Tunbridge Wells and surrounding areas I just wondered if that was just
if it had increased or whether yourselves have noticed that goes will become a lot more of a problem then. do you know,
or would it just something, that's just been
something this been happening all the time, what it's something, that the last few years it suddenly got gold have got worse, that was just the
second thing.
and that the last thing I wanted to mention.
this again, I've noticed around, while definitely on board order area, there's been
a few,
is it right to child abduction?
situations that and why I've mentioned, that is that
there was a lot of confusion from this, from the scores, where there was paramount, put out, saying you know stranger danger, be careful and then when I heard about one of the incidents, it sounded very severe, but then speaking to the school they said 0 no, it's been, you know it, it's not as bad as that, but then speaking to another teacher privately, they said Yes, it is as bad as what you've heard
and then I discovered that it was another school
also, I think I believe there were three incidents with this.
adoption and the parents, the community so occupied our community, we didn't, know what was right and what was wrong.
and that was really confusing for the community, the people, the community had it just been played down, or was it real, and if it's real we need something out there, as all communities would know to know, you know, it's OK, it was so-and-so exaggerating it wasn't anywhere near as bad as that, but all actually was it that there were these three incident so.
I just thought of Oscar actually what he because it and if there are, if it was the incident, some it hadn't come out
as it does a lot to say yes, that's a serious crime we're talking about if you're talking about child abduction, and I think that should be reported to the police directly and maybe you should speak outside. Would it be right to say it's because outside this meeting on continuing to talk specifically about a specific school, and so
yes, I think I think that would be better, I think it the police were involved,
that's why sort of I brought it up. You know the police did go to the school and it was through the police that they
that the school put out the parent now saying stranger danger, and it's just you know yet I would like to speak to you
afterwards or whenever that's all possible
would that be better Inspector Jones, rather than running this through?
the Committee agreed that these things are not sometimes as they appear on face value, can I just say that
you know
that there's a lot of things that I mean certainly being a governor of a school previously, in a previous life being a parent or school in a previous life, a lot of these things can be made out dot be not what they actually are what's actually happened?
yes, it is a very serious allegation that's why, on on quite shocked actually, because I get made aware of all of these sort of issues that come through,
and I'd need to look at that specifically just to see exactly how that has started and how it's ended up becoming a child abduction
because these things invariably can get blown out of proportion through word of mouth and one person saying I saw it this way and another person saying I saw it this way so I just want to put a health warning on that. you know.
because you know that they could be all sorts of things going on that in relation to that or not, but I would be definitely aware of child abduction if the or attempted child abduction if that were the case and I and I'm not immediately, so I'd need to look at that and see what's happened.
yes, that thank you very much good,
thank you,
I have no more people indicating
they won't ask questions, does anybody else want to ask more questions?
I've got some questions if it
did, you want to ask a question of yourself.
why am I here?
sorry, yes, yes, yes, thanks yeah, the near miss register. I think we could promote that to schools as well. I think they're key key locations either to directly to schools or perhaps through councillors, to to go to their luxuries, where they see an issue and try and push it a little bit stronger, as as a colleague said a little while ago, so I think that might be helpful, I don't know whether that would change the outcome or the outcome of getting a camera in there, and we'd certainly try and get some funding for it. If we saw an issue in a location where we could see some progress or see numbers come down and it would be tricky, but I'd be happy to work with your native. We can
and the other one about forgave, how have girls got worse
anecdotally? Yes, I think, certainly from from my perspective, Justin in the mix of boys and girls going out, I mean anecdotally you could say it was typically more boys with a few girls hanging on now, it doesn't seem to be that way, I couldn't put a scientific element to that, but yes, I think does I think there is a bit of a switch around there as well.
thank you very much. Thank you.
I just want to come in just on the point said, Mitchell, about speed cameras,
yes, that would take a lot of workload away from police officers if we had speed cameras everywhere,
but we won't because there's a lot considerable out on the investment and to do that. However, what I will say to you is that, as from June, more police officers are going to be coming into the community safety unit at Tunbridge Wells. My intention is that each of those police officers eventually will be trained on a speed
device so that they can go out and do enforcement based upon complaints from members of the public. So they can go out and dynamically do that. We used to have PCSOs go out and do it, and what they couldn't do enforcement, but what they could do is they could record the Vic registration things like that, but my intention is I want all of those officers to be
the speed enforcement trained so they can go out and dynamically deal with complaints, so there will be the opportunity
to actually act on people's concerns around speeding very quickly.
in relation to the male-female split around anti-social behaviour, yes, we are seeing more girls doing it, absolutely we are
and we're arresting more girls, so
why that is I don't know you know, I think there's probably lots of reasons for that around social in issues and what have you? But yes, we are, and you know, we've recently charged a young lady from Paddock Wood, with multiple offences around theft, assault,
you know, and sadly you know, it's you know, the parenting has failed, but you know the the the social side of things has failed and when it's all failed it comes to us to charge them with criminal offences. Unfortunately, because we're kind of the last stop
so yes, it's an unfortunate trait of of modern society, we are seeing a a male-female balance now we've with criminal offences and letters by
thank thank you very much, I just wanted to
can I just say one quick, quick thing totally about the speed cameras can I just ask the question I don't know who would know the answer.
the only one I said, Why is a speed camera costs so much money, and I just leave that with you because just
why is it something that's somewhere down after the box somewhere a speed camera shouldn't cost this, that money and they would be brilliant everywhere, and then we could save lives
or just leave that.
I can help, I think, if you wanted to member of current Kent County Council, the
egg speed cameras are expensive and on top of the cost of buying them, there is the cost of maintaining them, which can be considerable, especially as they are prone to being vandalised and and and it's not Kent County Council which actually puts them out it's the speed camera partnership or safety camera partnership as they call it.
and and and they make their decisions on locations based on and is famous thing of two and a half people being killed in Seoul,
and we have had actually the police commissioner and the MP for Tunbridge Wells out to Hawkhurst some years ago to meet speed, watch people to talk about why there weren't put cameras in and
ultimately they say Well we have to make a decision about,
priorities, and so if you're saying here, we have
a crash record of a number of slight incidents and we have somewhere else in the county two people killed, then where do you think the speed camera should go and that would be their answer and that's that's the thinking because there are limited resources I mean you couldn't put a speed camera on every road because of 5,000 miles of road in Kent, but that's a bit of an explanation of what you're asking about, I think,
so it will then become political priority, I guessed as to whether I want to put more money into such a thing as the camera, the safety camera partnership.
can I thank you very much Chair for that and I do think that
speed cameras would be the answer to say so much for the police and everything, and I really think somewhere
you know aspiring scrutiny, okay,
we're in we're in question session at the moment, yes, that's for the debate
all right thank you.
any other questions, any other questions.
I've got some and you'll be amazed to know.
the first thing is, I think, I mean staying with speed.
in 2014 working with.
the MP on that side of the borough of Helen Grant, I formed a speed group
because even then, speed
camera or speed watch people were giving up because they're saying what's the point, you know, we collect all this information and nothing happens and the truth is that the only thing that's really going to stop people speeding if they're going to get nicked. and speed cameras do that, so the police officers and what happened as a result of that speed group
for a couple of years, I think we had police officers on rotas going out and supporting Speedwatch people so they felt there was something really valuable in what they were doing because they were identifying where the opposite should be and the work they did was not kind of thrown in the sort of
on the endless shelf if you like.
and so.
and what arose from that was basically that the police had given up on enforcing that police particular law, what you said tonight suggest that's not quite the case, but it is the case, isn't it, that we have very much fewer police presence on on the roads
and as a county councillor in particular the thing I get more complaints about than anything else is speeding
and so,
can the police not be doing more is something that the the the Community Safety Partnership could be doing with the police to say give it a higher priority?
yeah, I agree with everything you just had to say there, the policing has many many priorities, one of which, of course is speeding, but costs are a priority for this Community. Safety Partnership is road safety, which is why, when I'm gonna, be getting more police officers coming into community safety unit, I won't be supporting speed watches with enforcement. I won't be putting police officers with them shoulder to shoulder when they are running their schemes, which is why I feel disheartened when people are saying they want to give up on it, because actually it's a major contribution to the road safety plan of the, or that the partnership is setting out, so I will be training and making sure those officers that come to me are trained in the use of the speed enforcement device so that they can actually enforce it and we can then feed back to wards, making the complaints that this is what we've done. This is how many people we stuck on.
Unfortunately, it's gonna be something that is gonna be an ongoing process because people
it, despite us doing enforcement and advertising, that people will continue to speed, so I can see it becoming a consistent and constant theme of what we do day in day out,
I think the committee will feel that's a very reassuring commitment that you've made there and and I think does mark a different
process and different way of thinking which I'm glad to see.
I have a couple of other questions, is that right champion, yes, it's OK.
one of the
the things I note about your excellent report.
Terry is that Mr. Hughes, I should quote your initial now.
is that we see the numbers going up and down and the various
categories of crime going up and down, but for no apparent reason it's not really clear why that would be,
and one of the things that might be more apparent was if we were to see some police numbers in there. and whether or not the changes in crime. a current were related to any police activity and I think that the police have a job to do across the country, there's been a sort of falling away of confidence in the police, which I mean that you acknowledge and need to be rebuilt,
would it be possible in future reports to include
police statistics like numbers of arrests if you've got burglars or numbers of arrest or burglaries, convictions
and or prosecutions and convictions and so on
so that we can see 0 look, they've arrested 28 burglars this year and which I doubt that they will have done and and, and Birmingham has gone down by 25% and we can see something like that, any kind of relationship.
between the police action and and the community safety partners figures. I think that would be quite valuable if we could put that into future reports as a bit more work for you, but I think it would be meaningful
and I see that it's sorry,
yeah and Inspector Jones, you won't say something about that
coin. What you're asking for is very doable, so if you want to know how many people have arrested this year, I can tell you that I can tell you that right now, but I can have a look on the system and I can tell you how many people have been. I can even tell you how many people have been arrested in each ward
and of course there is always a caveat for that in the
you know, you're going to get people coming in from outside of wards and outside it you know so people coming down from London and what have you to commit crime?
So you know there's always going to be sort of like anomalies within those figures, but I could you know as a basic tool I can tell you roughly how many people have been arrested in in in your wards and for what,
and I can tell you how many people have been convicted
but again, it's about.
I think you also need to and know what you exactly want from those figures as well, you know, it's about asking the the the the right question, if you see what I mean so that you want you know, so if there's a particular issue you've got within your ward around a crime type or something like that that you got concerned about then by all means vocalise that and then we can then refocus
our sucking in Jenin in in towns across the borough those numbers there in that in that this grid I'm looking at
Page.
however, it is sorry.
on page.
for 42, the the list of types of crime.
for instance, we've got
violence against the person 3,277, it would be interesting to see arrests, convictions or arrest prosecutions and convictions against that number
because that
happily Vänskä has fallen by 6.3% now if we might see that that was because of a police initiative or some kind that would be quite useful and interesting, so we could say Well that's having an effect here how about there that's that as well as asking,
and and and, I have to meet and talk with you and Terry to say how we can refine that, but I mean do people generally think on the commitment that would be
worth doing,
then we could we could do something like that to get a broader picture and I'll tell you what has made me think about this one and the question of confidence in the police is that a story came out about three months ago. that police forces representing fully half of England had not had a single conviction for burglary in three years.
and that was half of England, and so
people read stories like that and they think more how's that working out here and, and that's what we show up better in these.
the figures that would be
a that would be my questions.
and
yes, the final thing I want to ask is near miss data, how much of it you recording in the rural areas I heard a lot about Tunbridge Wells Town, but how much is in rural areas?
I am not entirely sure off the top of my head, but I can come back to outside of this meeting, the split between the Royals and no
one in the town centre.
you
get any more questions,
loads of hands that
I don't even know who was first any meeny, miny moe you,
thank you, Chairman
just
speak about your idea of think prosperity report. I think we need to be careful, because if you put prosecutions and convictions in then they might actually be result for crime from the previous year and you know, if you look at the year data, obviously some of those will have happened this year might be next year, so you could be drawn to the fact Dino I those 8,000 crimes committed or some other and 6,006 thousand convictions. You might think there's pretty good but you know, 1,000 convictions could have come from previous year, so
the data you can't really correlate quite so well, so I think we need to be careful about
just an observation, thank you.
OK, we're into that, that's a debating point as a debating point, let's stick with Christian any more questions, Councillor Morton, you are Joanna questions, OK, yeah.
do you want to go to bed with, we're going to be very formal about this, they make a presentation, we have questions, then we have a debate and then we have a vote and somebody in that debate may move a motion
all right, OK now any more questions to the officers or to to Mr. Hughes and and Inspector Jones any more questions
now.
OK, it's not, that will forever ban them, I mean if you feel we're going to have a debate now, if you want to join in just your hand up
and we can we can do that alright
good to go into debate now says anybody want to say anything
if said it yes say yes, so you jumped in the head of a thing.
Councillor Johnson, you look like you wanted to say something.
I read that.
it's the way that we can find out exactly why there was speed cameras, they are to die, whoever they are to our side or it's so expensive it's science, but why are they so expensive, what is making a simple camera in today's wonderful world of technology why would this why would it be so expensive, it doesn't.
I think that I think you have to do that in your own time, OK, yeah, and they're not just simple cameras, I think it would be right so
the
because their number plate reading cameras, their reporting cameras and somebody's got to process it and so on so but take it up with them outside this meeting
who else wants to say something in a debate Councillor Morton,
so thank you very much, for you know the the presentation and he was extremely helpful and very interesting,
I do want to come back to when the road casualties
and in particular, really you know the reporting, as you say you want people to report collisions, you know or near misses and you know all the rest of it but,
I can I can tell you that actually up to well, I've seen statistics that say up to about 80% of accidents just don't get reported.
because people
just don't feel confident enough that any actions going to be taken,
and therefore you end up with very low crash data statistics, and this is what I'm afraid of you know that your crash data doesn't really reflect the real.
lack of safety on all, or you know really, what's happening on the roads
up because I know in my own ward how many?
pinch points there are, and you know it isn't just that one incident, I'm talking about Debbie, there have been lots of incidents.
and and at different
junctions as well, and some of them are just horrendous, you know, you have almost stand-up fights between people because they are the they get frustrated and you know they.
the traffic just gets
snarled up and nothing moves,
but people don't report that because that's not the sort of thing that they would want to report, but it is, it is serious because it will eventually lead to an accident I feel, and that's why you know it's
doesn't seem.
effective just to rely on crash data in order to take any action in that land that, it seems to me is what Casey is case KCC, bases its action on
what I'm talking about road.
you know.
yeah solutions to to to you and to prevent these accidents from happening.
good thank you, and I think that was verging on a question and we're in to pay for
that depose made it, and what do option would be Councillor Morton, as you might want to think about whether or not the committee should be making a recommendation out of this discussion about what you're talking about
and
that's that's where we go from a debate.
anybody else.
Councillor McMillan, is Chair and I was wondering, is you you meant a recommendation? Do you think there's ability? The ways, as a committee could make a recommendation that we try and sort of develop some sort of strategy around speed cameras? I know it's not our responsibility, but is there a way to this committee consider to try and get some information and try and bring bring it down back to us that we can start maybe a process where we can have some input? I'm just wondering if that's something? This committee could do
not come into pedestrian report on and speed cameras and and the process of
of how they come about
mullahs sense KCC doesn't do speed cameras, it's the speed, the safety camera partnership, of which KCC is one component police or another nothing.
and so you would have to be the safety camera partnership that there was explored, and yet the committee can make a recommendation, there should be a report on that that how feasible would that be, Mr. Hughes?
I couldn't tell you if some had to be honest
and we will make the proper inquiries and go to the right agencies to get that information, but
we have will do what we can, but I couldn't I can say of Tom Head
right, okay,
Councillor Palmer.
going back to the visit where we had a R and A and we had the police Commissioner and with the Parish Council, and I was there and you would care.
and they point blank, even with the MP there, even when the police commissioner, there refused to even consider speed cameras without the fatalities, not a little while after that we did have some fatalities, three youngsters were killed in a car and we were told sorry they believed in the police so it didn't count.
I think that's the first point, that's the point is the fact that we as Councillors are sitting here and I'm from was aware, and Parish Councillors as well, were saying to us at speed is a major issue, as I've just lost my speed watch group because they've just said we're giving up.
and I think that speed is something that impacts everybody around all our wards so that we're all considered concerned about, but we have no power to do anything about a when, even when we volunteering, where information in we get nowhere with it because the the police themselves don't have the resources to follow up on information that we've got, so I'm just trying to think about how ways committing salesmen will. If this this partnership that Miss check, the chairman has talked about there's been charge. We mean stopping pressure on that group was asking whether it's not that they shouldn't have the God-given right to decide where they go. We we, my parish, and probably contribute towards putting a speed camera in things like that. I'm sure other wards would probably do the same, so so parish councils might do the same, so I'm just wondering where how weak ways committee can put pressure onto this, this group, that the that you've mentioned, share and or request them to come and stand in front of us maybe and explain that for reprocess well,
I think that that's probably a good suggestion and do feel that group, as a committee that are asking them to do that I can invite the speed that they don't like me call the speed camera partnership and they like the euphemism of safety camera,
could we plot, invite them to
come and speak?
what should we do that, can we do that I write, I think, that I think that's a good suggestion.
Councillor Johnson, just just to say, yes, that's
an absolutely excellent idea and and.
how did I have the who are they who do they think they are too to say? sitting behind a desk, I know this is not the time to that and I, I think, that right, and I will fight any way I can to officially have them here or stop this, because it's ridiculous, we are the borough council with county councillors when we know our wards, we know what happens and the police you know, your hands are tied because the people who are saying no, we've got a fatality utterly disgusting, and it has to be stopped and Wilden hasn't relied on everybody else. thank you,
OK,
anybody else, so well, I think we would like to do that and to invite the the can't the safety camera partnership to come to this committee to the next one, if possible,
but that's after the election isn't it so
it might be a different,
commitment, then, that.
that's what this committee is minded to do,
I think,
taking the pot of next year's work programme,
yes, yes, yes, we put it on the work programme, yes. can I do gosh all brimming with good ideas, only say.
councillor Ellis.
the right kind of along similar lines are I used before a school governor and I used to men watchdog member of the St John's Community Speedwatch as well.
one of the things I found spirits, wise and pets. A suggestion we could take forward is that we do tend to over engineer school crossings
because, particularly in say, slow roads and things we tend to spend a huge amount of money KCC, as well, in order to get everything right, if in well where the problem place like a certain place, like in Holland, they tend to have lower cost speed crossings actually clearly indicates where they are in order gross, but the problem is that because they are so expensive, there are so few of them, and I know this initiative, the KCC's other Safer streets initiative, where you actually take in schoolchildren walking to school, some strongly believe in active travel and making sure that children do walk to school rather than to be driven about. Is that perhaps we should be suggesting to KCC that this should be read blinkin about how they approach across the school, I know, certainly, three or four schools in my ward there's no crossing.
their all
when the sculpture costumes are actually grated, like a Berlin crossing, it may have a timer which gives them eight seconds across every free minute's worth of traffic going for a which is not enough for the the sheer volume, as children don't across that road, which come dangerous as a result of it, so I think there needs be some kind of change in strategy overall perhaps by taking force to KCC.
OK.
anybody else would say.
no.
Councillor Hopkins,
thank you, Chairman.
I have heard Osborne said, I think, about priorities because.
it does come down to that, as many say it is in the report, it mentions about speeding Warrington Road, but it also comes down to probably who you ask as well, because
if you look at the social media, Facebook, posting and other social media that particular patch of wood, you'll probably see the the reports of anti-social behaviour, particularly the group of girls which could be mentioned that's quite right widely over there.
but in the not too far from that occurs,
the Mornington Road you go there and there because concerned will be parking and speeding, you know anti-social Begum shall feature in it, but to them it's speeding is a different priority, so I think it's what it needs be focused and I understand his limited resources, so I think we need to be careful and on not just concentrating solely on speeding which
surprised maybe if you could come in,
yes, right. The not speed cameras are safety cameras because I believe in also check catch'em
seatbelt and also mobile phones as well as well as speeding.
it does come to priorities and to see there's limited resources, and I think we just need to be careful. It's not solely speeding, thank you,
a good interesting point, Councillor Bruce Allen.
thank you Chair, yes, just thinking actually looking at when it's looking at the figures that crime has generally fallen with the figures going out of it, but it was a new referred to earlier, the fact where it has become a slight more allergies, but obviously you're aware lack of faith in the police, whether actually reporting figures are dropping, which goes back to your point as well that we had and I appreciate we'd have to be careful where numbers are coming from but actually a reflection over what's being reported to prosecutions
if two arrests that would be interesting so whether that
whether there are less crimes being committed or whether less crimes being reported because of the trust that general public have, within the effectiveness of the police to action lies with the various nationally affecting events of happen, you know prominent.
event, so I think it's just as we go forward in these reports coming to us,
I think we did have, as he suggested something going forward, something that was reflected for the figures we'd be able to analyse that more and if it does seem there is an issue within the BHA that there is a lack of faith within the police or trust within policing whether that needed some focus on. without some borough council or work within schools or community groups or in a more community, please please have marking events and coming round to local areas that will be well worth focusing on, and I'd like us also to be able to keep, as has just I appreciate that the
transgender issue was was a limited,
you know there's two people with different reports, but
looking at the increase in,
as I said earlier, again, involving paper involving rice, if that is something that we're starting to see within the borough whether that's because of
getting global issues with with.
families coming out from different countries, so you know refugees coming over to be housed and support it, or whether that's something else, but whether it's in a specific have we got some information on that, but just to keep an early doors heads up as say whether it said I don't even just mean in schools education but it's education within the community as well,
I think that would be a good area to keep an eye on three go forward. Thank you
good. What I'm thinking is that we should actually
formulate something from this
talking.
one of which would be
because we have as recommended recommendation, that the the report is approved, which I think it should be, but I think we should say other things add to it, for instance, that the future reports should contain information about
police performance, arrests,
prosecutions and convictions, plus.
an invitation to the speed of the safety camera to attend
the committee.
following discussion about this report.
is there anything else which is that's gonna be my suggestion to put in the recommendations, outcome or formulated as a recommendation, but is there anybody want to add anything else?
I mean the two things that have come out, it seems, are the speeding and
one, and I think police performance I mean I increase, I appreciate what you saying,
Councillor Atkins, about being careful about statistics, but if you,
look for just a broad picture. So, for instance, do that burglaries, arrests, none convictions, not then you might say well, there's something to talk about, you know whether or not it's gone up from 520 to 472, whatever that's another matter, but
but that would be the reason for that kind of thing, and is that's so I'm going to propose written down that the
the committee approves the Community Safety Partnership Plan,
but with a recommendation that future plans
plans he has reports, plans should contain information about police performance
and also that for the next committee or as soon as possible, the Community Safety Partnership should attend
and have given a presentation to this committee.
is it OK for us to get that,
is it OK for a recommendation, would anybody else like to stick it in the Council, and second that thank you?
well, I don't think we need to speak to it because we've all said on our stuff and right, okay,
so now I'll nets, and that's the end of the debate now I'm going to do the Chairman's summary, Jan summary, is pretty much what we're calling in the recommendation. OK, so you don't need to detain ourselves too long, except to say thank you for the work that you do and everybody appreciates it and I particularly appreciate absolutely Terry Hughes, I've worked with him on at least three occasions and he's an outstanding, so thank you very much for what you do.
and so that's that's the recommendation I'm going to put.
are we agreed yes, thank you, and
I know that much.
are we agreed
anybody not agree, OK, good and right, that's the lamp, thank you good.

9 Local Authority Housing Fund

right, so the next is a number 9 local authority housing funded see report set out on page 96 to 104 in your agenda pack.
Stuart Clifton Housing Services Manager introduced the report I think Councillor Pound is going to introduce Mr. Clifton
and there are no members of the public of visiting members part from Councillor Pond,
so I'm not going to move straight to members cousin Pat and please go ahead.
thank you Chair.
I was just waiting for the creeping floorboards to go.
yeah
I thank you very much before handing over to Stuart Clifton, who is the Housing Services Manager, just want to say a few words
of thanks as well. Firstly, thanks to the Chair for waiving this committee's right to call in on this matter,
it goes before a special cabinet meeting tomorrow afternoon at 4.45 a.m. At which a final decision on how to proceed will be taken, the reason for certain
can I just interrupt you because I should explain to the committee that what has happened is that this proposal to accept this money and to spend Sunday 1 6 money has come to the chairman of the committee to say, can we forego the usual democratic things because it would otherwise put in peril the proposal to get this money, and so that's quite a regular thing within the constitution, but I said OK, it'll go ahead.
and then Councillor Pond is here to say what's happened, OK.
yes, thank you.
and, as the Chair has just said, the reason for the
Rush on this matter is that, essentially, the government only gave us notification of this new fund in the first week in January.
and if you look at your the first page of your report, you'll see that very quickly, both I, as the portfolio holder and the management board were in discussion and a paper was being prepared, it has been to the Housing Advisory Panel and I'm grateful for the comments that they have made, it's also this in this cycle being to communities and economic development last week
and I'm grateful for their comments to
and the government requires us to come back with an undertaking, which is the memorandum of understanding by Wednesday, the 15th of March, and that is why we are meeting this evening, and that is why there will be a Cabinet meeting tomorrow.
some of my first thanks to the Chair, my second one is to Stuart Clifton sitting to my left here.
who will do the report in a moment, suede is actually on annual leave at the moment, but by his own volition has come in this evening
for this meeting on this matter, because it is clearly of great importance to Housing Services both in its long-term planning and its delivery. But I'm grateful for Stuart for coming in.
Thirdly, thanks to the CAB last week, communities and economic development. I do have some comments and challenges from last week, which I'm very happy to share with this committee either before Stuart presents or afterwards, but it might be valuable for you to hear those before asking further questions because it may be a repetition of what has already been asked
also to the Housing Advisory Panel, whom I said have already gone through this process and approved it at their meeting in February, and so what we're doing is that there's a new Local Authority Housing Fund and it could be, if approved and developed a powerful and useful addition to our offer to residents across the borough in the first instance to Ukrainian and Afghan families because they are the people whom we will be housing and in accordance with the requirement and from central government. but the point at which they vacate those properties in the future and all of the properties that we hope to acquire will then revert in perpetuity to the Council for housing at social level, rents for
families, on our housing register, and so in the short term we are housing refugees because that's the right thing to do and and Tunbridge Wells has a proud tradition of supporting refugees over the last few years particularly but at some point in the future all of those properties will revert to the Council.
so as I say, I have some comments from the caddie if you wish to hear them, I do commend the report to you and I commend the four recommendations which are on page 96 of your paper, I'll hand over to Stuart Clifton, thank you.
thank you, Councillor Parnell, thank you Chair.
so this report just. details of the level of party housing fund. it's a new 500 million capital funding, a project from
aimed directly at English councils. in areas have been assessed as having the most significant housing pressures because of recent Ukrainian arrivals at right, move on accommodation and as well as Afghan families who are currently occupying bridging hotels funded by the Home Office
as an authority we facing significant housing pressures and the housing options service is seeing an increase in number of households presenting for housing advice and assistance.
we've also seen a 22% increase in the number of households currently in temporary accommodation provided by the authority in comparison to the same period last year.
the Fund, as well as supporting the the initial eligible cohort A is aiming to provide a lasting legacy of new and permanent supply of affordable housing
the programme is is split into two elements, the main L, the main element and the bridge element which I will give you some some details about
with regards to the main element. The funding from government is quite equitable to 40% of the total capital costs based on average of 120,000 pounds per property.
the British element is equal, 50% of the total capital costs are based on average, grant per property of just over 285,000.
what that means in terms of overall capital funding for that main element, it's just over 1.9 million pounds of government funding and there was an expectation that a minimum of 14 homes will be delivered with regards to the bridging element
the expectation is one property of a size of at least four bedrooms would be would be delivered so the total capital funding from the Gatlin it is quite suggest over 2.2 million for the 15 properties.
within the perspective of the funding, it is dreams of a basic acquisition model of accommodation,
and the corner sets out some examples of around how local authorities may wish to do so in terms of looking at refurbishing local authority owned, non-residential residential properties that aren't currently in use, acquiring, refurbishing or converting,
empty properties within the borough, acquire new-build properties so essentially off the shelf or developing sort of or on our own properties.
it's expected that all the homes delivered through the programme are at affordable, low cost rent in order to support with the housing or homelessness pressures.
as we mentioned, the the timelines are very tight in terms of signing the memorandum of understanding and that the government expects all 15 properties would be acquired by the 30th November, however, the perspective does refer to this being a target date and that the capital grant payment would be honoured assuming delivery by the end of the next financial year so end of March 2024.
as I mentioned, the the the programme is is government contributing 40 or 50% of the capital fund,
subject to the the different elements, and obviously the council is expected to contribute the remaining capital costs, the minimum amount that the council would have to contribute in order to achieve those levels is just over 2.8 million
the Council currently holds 4 point free 9 4 million in section 1 0 6 affordable housing contributions and these are full, these are contributions collected from developers, in lieu of on-site, affordable housing so where, for reasons of viability, affordable housing couldn't be delivered on site.
it is proposed, therefore, that the Council uses a proportion of these affordable housing contributions up to a maximum of a free point 2 million, as the council's contribution towards the local authority housing fund
this would equate to approximately 213,000 pounds per property.
it's worth noting that we the
are currently working on a section 1 0 6 commuted sums policy and a separate section 1 0 6
position statement and calculator which will be presented to cabinet in the coming months, and this policy will set out different ways in which those section 1 0 6 affordable housing contributions can be used towards delivering more affordable housing within the borough so the local authority Vande and proposing new sort of the ones it funds is just one part of the the overwork that's got ongoing in terms of looking at how we can use those sums to deliver more affordable housing within the borough.
it's proposed that the council doesn't restrict itself to commit into one particular method of acquiring the 15 properties under the fund.
as we need to convert, explore and appraise the the different methods in order to
be able to acquire and deliver these properties within the the the quite tight timescales
so options under discussion have been speaking to Town and Country registered provider of social housing in terms of a partnership arrangement with themselves around some some of the delivery of the properties,
considering purchase of open market properties and lease in either to a newly established Ford warehousing company or Tunbridge Wells property holding company as low cost private rental. looking at what properties that the council owns, it may be able to be brought back into use currently empty,
as well as considering approaching owners of empty properties.
it must be noted that there will be some resource m revenue budget implications dependent on the delivery methods, so that is what is work that would need to be ongoing to appraise the those different methods and work out of the that at the cost of those different methods.
as has been mentioned by Councillor Pound the
report has gone to house Advisory Panel and the kind of economics and development communities
cabinet advisory board just last week so happy to take any questions.
anybody got any questions, Councillor Rogers.
and thank you I was just wondering with Warsi will you aim to spread the properties across the borough, or will it just be a matter of getting properties wherever they're available?
in terms of the acquisition, the properties, the affordability of procuring the properties at an average cost of 300,000 per property is gonna be quite challenging, but certainly in terms of the wet where we'd be seeking to why those properties would only be considering a variety of factors to ensure that they are within reasonable travel distances from local amenities, schools,
because of the the annual cohort between Ukrainian refugees and Afghan families of the wanting to build those data links within the of the community so and avoiding the route rural locations where it will become more difficult for a kind of transport, but I think one that connects the key fact is going to be one of affordability within the borough.
as Councillor Moulton.
thank you, Chair,
when you say acquire these properties. are they existing properties, yes, as the that you use, so you're bringing them back into use, or will you also be
purchasing, or rather
building, commissioning new new new builds,
I suppose it depends on where and you know what affordability and so on, but that that was really one question
if I can just follow up will you?
you know, require the developer to install you know the the Intikhab carbon emissions, low low carbon emission features such as.
solar panels and and so on, thank you.
so
thank you, Councillor Donington, to your your first question, tender the acquisition
they are very tight timescale, so the likelihood of being able to build in in that time is gonna be
pretty very challenging, so it's unlikely that that will be any kind of juggling method for for delivery.
acquisition, the process is to convert allows for flexibility, so he is considering and appraising the various methods, so the likelihood is is.
purchase of of market properties likely to be one of the quickest waste of wide properties.
looking at current developments are
been been built and can have been off, the shelf properties could be met with affordability challenges, but that will be certainly different ways that we would consider to the best method of acquiring we've been quite of the difficult portability challenges.
in relation to the second point, regarding carbon emissions, certainly sustainability the key factor in terms of the the properties and
ensuring that they are sustainable, there is only a small amount 20,000 pounds per property towards
other capital costs as well, so of the we'd be certainly looking at how be able to create sustainable properties.
but we've been incredibly quiet, quite tight budgets.
please, Councillor Shah, thank you very much.
there are, as I said earlier chair, a number of questions were asked at the Cabinet Advisory Board last week and, rather than
maybe replicating those questions, would it be helpful for me now just to quickly run through the questions and answers that were given at the cab which may stave off some yes, go ahead, having again really made on this as a right, so I've just very quickly just to give you a heads up on and some of you were there, I think anyway, so some of the questions that arose were around sustainability. For instance, it does say within the report that we will ensure that we acquire properties at the minimum MBC standard and the question was, can we look at more than the minimum because if they're going to come back into our housing stock at some point in the future,
then clearly it would be more appropriate to go for higher than the minimum APC, and I think that Housing Services has acknowledged that that is correct and we will aspire to do so.
secondly,
if we could acquire properties that have air source, heat pumps, for example, then that would ensure as little refit as necessary, but the requirement for as little refit as necessary after the original acquisition would be the favoured route that the cab suggested.
there was a request whether there could be a covenant for local use upon release and that they would be available for local use. My understanding is that they will be available to those families on the on the housing waiting list, and there wouldn't be any specificity about local use any more than there currently is in relation to our our current policy,
we will not be purchasing properties outside the borough. I think that we've already discussed that and decided as some authorities are considering, but we will not do so simply because you don't want to start buying properties, cheap properties in Hastings, pushing everybody down to the south coast, we're taking responsibility for providing people with housing here and also for future generations.
the minimum there's no minimum size or maximum size we do are required within the structure that Stewart has explained to buy one four-bedroomed house, but the others will be two and three bedroom houses because they are for families,
and that is what we are looking for. It is possible, apparently, to find properties in appropriate locations, as Stewart has described, with access to transport, access to schools, etc within the thresholds that the government has set. I think it's going to be a struggle, but that is the anticipated size
I think that's about it there we were not allowed to use any revenue funding in I went to the funding that is available from central government and from our own section 1 0 6 money is the only money that is allowed to be used for the acquisition of the properties so we won't be using any other streams of income to acquire properties if we can't find properties in the numbers that are required probably by next March it may be that some of that money has to be returned to government because we'd been unable to acquire the enough properties and in accordance with the memorandum of understanding,
so I hope that may have anticipated one or two questions, but maybe it's made made it worse.
transactions.
thank you.
Councillor Parish is slightly touched on when I was going to ask me to the report addresses the housing, but these these refugees would come over.
the bigger the need for the families they need education, employment,
thing to have simple things like language barriers. I guess I'm looking for reassurance that they're not going to be dumped in a house and just left and faced with those issues by themselves, what are we doing?
In addition, I guess to providing housing for be slightly outside the report, but I'd like to know, I understand there's no money, there are many has to get the housing, but what else facilities are we providing them? Thank you
thank you, Councillor, so yeah, in terms of the the the ongoing supports that we have a IV Ukraine team within the council, it's a small team with Ukrainian speaking
nationals who are providing that support to those families who are here under the and V Ukraine scheme that a lot of support that that's ongoing as well as working with the voluntary sector September 12 welcome refugees for example, so there's an a number of and support for those families,
the Afghan families who are currently occupied bridge and hotels are also engaging in support as well. It's a slightly different arrangement with KCC kind of been the the lead in terms of broaden the support to those families in conjunction with the Home Office successfully, the
would be the case that it would be just guessed the housing with no support there is the variety of different elements of support and ensuring that those families are fully integrated in the community and receiving all the support that they they would need.
can I just I just act, so it is do or add to that further that that social network, particularly of Ukrainian families, is is particularly strong during the Ukrainian independence day celebrations at the end of last year.
in the last year
there were 170 people at the T and twos community centre celebrating that which were families from babies right through to fourth generation, and I think that that is actually what families are looking for is that social network within this community to be able to support them and once they find they're in housing.
thanks I've got Councillor Ellis.
thank you Chair, and again, thank you Stewart and Buik as well, for with said the proposed and no, it's been really hard work, helped get this up and running so quickly, one from Mischin last week, particularly and often the questions about this
we have obviously the conflicts in Afghanistan which is gonna go on some Syria and Ukraine as well.
obviously we need to house people in need.
at what point
do we come to a conclusion where we're looking at Sir, replacing refugees? with perhaps people with local housing needs globally, one's interest to find out either different point has a government setting the guidelines attached to this as well.
so the perspective is is allows for quite a lot of flexibility, so they certainly, with regards to the the Afghan, cohort, an expectation that we work with the Strategic migration Partnership to identify families for those local acute units.
It's kind of one of the the questions that authority the last government is. As part of this, this funding being announced they haven't given any guidance, it's it's kind of for for local authorities to kind of determined based on local needs and demands as to whether or not there are any further social property comes back up for use. Were there any further eligible cohort families that require that property
before coming, it is not considering that for for use as part of the ongoing meeting, ongoing housing need of of the local communities.
Councillor Rogers
and I was just wondering whether you saying there might be difficulty finding the properties within the budget the
from relating to the government funding.
are we allowed to put in more than the 60% or the 50% for the each property? to ensure that we get them, as you said here, that this we've got 4.3 9 4 million of section 1 0 6, but we're only planning to spend up to 3.2, so could we spend more if we need to to ensure that we get the 15 properties with the money that the government's providing,
yes, so the government's contribution cannot exceed the 40 slash 50% contribution, so are minimum contribution the council would have to be 2.8 million to ensure that the government's contribution doesn't come exceed those limits, it's proposed that a there is a a bit of leeway there because obviously there are gonna be some challenges
likely to be faced in terms of affordability so, conscious, it didn't want to kind of propose use in all our section 1 0 6.
Ford were held in contributions that were held in for this justice, one scheme so kind of propose up to.
the free point 2 m O'Connor 400,000 extra of amounts it can help
breach some of those difficulties and the it's based on
an average and average petrol price of 300,000, so obviously if we can
purchase properties for the lesson, obviously it means at some compares more so long as the average per property. the quite different from Jefferson.
councillor Macmillan.
thank you Chair. just a couple of pages, by the way, are massively supportive of this anything that we can do together for affordable housing into our bar on absolutely lighter. So thank you for all your work to get this to where it is. If we don't get to 15 it is it is it is it does, are we allowed to get to 13 and we still with the funding, but only up to 13 houses, and if we don't get the 4 bedroom house does that, what impact does that have on the whole whole structure, bill
so on to your second question better. So that's OK. So it needs a requirement for the programme that we delivered the four-bedroom house so that, under the bridging element we can't with words enabled us to opt-in to the main element it was required at the we we had to do to do, both
in terms of if we were unable to acquire all those notifying properties, then we would have to return proportionately the amount that we were unable to today versus only able to deliver 10 properties. In. Obviously we'd have to return that the contribution for the remaining properties that we were unable to deliver,
so it's OK to be so if I do this right that eventually that the even though it's a four-bedroom property as part of the process, the amount of money the government would look back for would be 1 50th per house, regardless of whether we got a four-bedroom two bedrooms, whatever if we only done 13, their one to 15 so their money back, Even though we've we've or haven't succeeded in getting 15 properties, I think, because obviously you could see the situation where we could say we got to 12 properties.
we've got a four-bedroom one, we got short properties, but we've got to run out of money or we've only got a little bit left, that's one question I get is what the there seems to be a bit of a.
we're aware of the constraints, where does it come back to the point that if we don't do something, what do we have to give back, I can't quite get my head round it.
I think your your your right there, so it is the it's
we've been informed that we'd have to cannot give the proportion
amount of capital.
grant back to government if we are unable to deliver those 0 say, the government's contribution for the main element equates to 120,000 pounds per property, so if we were only able to acquire
10 of the 14 properties then it would be four times the 120,000 contribution that we would have to return the calculation for the for the bridging elements so that the four bedroom properties is slightly different around we've been 50% and that's
based on 210 285,000. is that a 50% contribution?
if that was the only property we wasn't able to deliver, I think we would have to have conversations going back to the the programme advises around that particular issue, because they either requirement that we we commit to that as well, but if that was the only property we were then able to deliver
then we need to come to seek some some guidance from from government so what that meant for us,
so if you could see the situation where we could make it, I think we'd get a four-bedroom house for 300,000 pounds or that it could turn into 3,000 pounds or something where there is only one, I know we can average down, we can flip between them we get if we get some properties up to 50 the extra money coming into nothing, but it seems to me he's gonna be a bit of a hell of a challenge to get 15 properties on an average of 300,000 pounds across our borough who's going to be responsible for actually running that process and finding those properties.
so just to clarify them and positivity for the confusion, so under the the main element, which is 14 of the properties that is based on her an average, so the government contribution 120,000 at 40% of that equates to to 300,000 per property for the the bridging element so that one four-bed plus bedroom property becomes contribution of 50% is 285,000 so obviously with our 50% contribution then you're looking at some of the right 570,000.
for for the for that property.
in terms of the other, you have a question, there is around the looking for the properties, it will be subject to the acquisition method, so say the report sets out some.
flexibility and one of the recommendations is flexibility around that particular acquisition method to try one of the chief all those properties, so that would be.
potentially working in partnership with registered providers open somewhere like Town and Country, Housing who kind of this is their part of their their everyday work
as well as of the looking internally, but obviously one of the concerns is of the resources, and that's something that we'd have to factor in in terms of the decision around the acquisition method.
if there is it to see how she this this this gets approved, do we go Care Kenya again, thanks for all the hard work on this
is, is there something where where the parishes can consider good, because obviously we wait lots of us know our local areas and no know what properties are coming up on what can becomes available sometimes before there's estate agents because we know that estate agents is there or is there a means by which we might be able to push properties to the the wherever it is the decision-makers to try and help you succeed in achieving this fairness which affect the charity,
yes, certainly to the any kind of intelligence and yeah information around chronic properties come to come to market, then then that would be be helpful.
so I just got one question, is this goes to Cabinet tomorrow and then the
manager commemorating Einstein needs to be returned by the 15th of March, he says an obvious question, but the letters ready to go that can be signed, as this is not a case until a draft is we might not just miss the date simply because we've not prepared, I'm sure we have but,
so the the MOU is provided to us by government, and it's just a case of dying elected seats already
God been reviewed by our mica legal services, who confirmed that there are they happy with the draft of that not that
much influence over a change in it because deeds the government is providing the funding under the basis of the MOU so but it is already too yet to be sought.
Councillor pound
just in response to that, yes, the Emma you it is, is a predetermined document, the decision tomorrow by Cabinet, having heard from the Housing Advisory Panel from the CAB and from Overview and Scrutiny is, do we sign it or not, that's all,
Councillor Morton,
this is quite an unusual scheme, isn't it, and it's quite quite novel, you know one, that's been been provided
and is in rises because of the Afghan.
you know.
refugee scheme, I guess
and the Ukrainian, so so I just wondered,
I don't know, I just wondered, how widespread it was, you know, is it being offered to authorities
or are we just
pinots that fortunate that
we're we're one of the few or it's just just?
curiosity really.
so it's been offered to those authorities who have considered his base in my significant pressures, I don't know Deco's of every local authority that's been invited, but certainly each district, within Kent and Medway have been invited,
say it's a 500 million pound programme.
focus on nights like theirs, with it back to the most significant pressures, but this can be some area of the country that
the on face in those, but certainly when Kent it's been offered to to each of the districts.
I just wondered whether you know the
the figures that she had provided us with are you know,
because obviously property in in in south-east is is so much more expensive than you know in the north-east,
so therefore I don't know if the government is in the Union.
it takes that into account, you know so presumably you know the
what the grant is her property in the north-east may be less than what than what we're getting
this is,
there is a, I presume, a
sort of.
the difference in the price differential.
what they're offering,
yes, that's right, yet it's based on the lower quartile, I think, percentage of property sales, all property prices by bicycles as a garment for me that they've used to work out their capital contribution, so it will be different per district.
Councillor McMillan, thank you, Chair and chick-lit questions. it was 15, the maximum we could do. We have gone further, our it anyway, just don't lose a decision made by Council-wide. The group is your group and to say Well, this is what we think is fair in terms of the amount of sexual politics money we're going to use versus who's getting this opportunity, which is a fantastic opportunity, get funding by government so wedded enough to think I'm up from, and secondly, hopefully as the families get that get themselves
settled and integrated into into into into the all our fantastic Barrow, hopefully the number of them will be finding work and jobs and integrating themselves fully, is there a process by which that one at some point they may pay the social rent for the properties or how would that work on when would that work?
so the the numbers of properties were we were invited by by Gavin, and they were the the numbers that we were invited
in terms of capital funding, so it was 14 plus', though the one large property.
the the rents we got are an ambition for the properties to be asexual went if it aligns with a local
low-key local plan in terms of properties being delivered at social rents, recognising some of the difficulties that the sort of affordable rent levels have in terms of households being able to afford for the rent for their properties.
sorry, my question is to those, though some of those families might not be working at times, they might not be able to afford social rent, because there you have it.
I don't know that though their personal circumstances bracket imagine that every family is going into these properties that don't I might not have an income, so how how could they pay a social return, and that's
what I'm saying is how will we have them, how is it going to be monitored or looked after or helps because we want them to be integrated and we'd like to be in a position where they are obviously for this I cannot say but I just wanna understand what the process is from outside.
apologies for your misunderstand your question, so so social rent levels are typically say anywhere between 20 and 40% of market rents, the families who are
eligible for the properties are entitled to full welfare benefit support, so any families are on working and many of the families have already secured in employment,
but for those are working they're entitled to universal credit and the housing element. one of the social rent levels estates within the that they are eligible to receive.
thank you very much, thank you Chair.
yeah and sorry just just to add to that, it's a, it's a conversation actually that I've had with a representative from Tunbridge Wells, welcomes refugees,
the view of that organisation is that we hope that in the some point in the foreseeable future the Ukrainian families will return to Ukraine.
or will tend increasingly to cluster around community support groups that image all over all over the country I presume. the certainty about the Afghan families is is much less clear, of course.
and the expression of concern by some members, was that, while actually one wants the Afghan families on in the large property and possibly others as well, will they ever be moving on because we don't know what will happen in Afghanistan but the Tunbridge Wells, welcome refugees view is that most of those families will very much aspire to having their own properties, making their own way in life, finding work
and, having committed to the UK, probably then settling in the UK and they won't therefore become long-term tenants either on benefit or employed and in or occupation of our properties. So at some point all of the properties will then revert back to the council that that's the view at the moment
any more questions.
I've got some.
the
I won I wanted a festival because it's interesting and the question was raised about.
basically, how much would the administration be prepared to use out of the section 1 0 6 pot that is over and above the
the 3 point to 2 million, and we're asking, would you be ready to use all of it if that was the only way you could provide
the 14 houses plus plus the 1?
yeah, it's very much appreciated as it's a, it's me,
I think.
it is a fact that I think that if we are struggling to find properties, but we are not far away from being able to do so, then we may have to return and through a whole cycle again seeking consent to use more Section 1 0 6 money. I don't think that that would be at the behest of the portfolio holder to sign off
that way. So if, if we were close to it, I think we might have to come back and ask for more money personally, and I don't know what any new
portfolio holder in this position might might consider. I would be loath to use all of our sex and one in six months, because we have other schemes that we're also considering currently to provide social housing within the borough. So I don't think that we should be using up all of our section 1 0 6 money on this one initiative, when there are other schemes that we would have to weigh up
and make a judgement about which one gives us the best return.
thank you,
I thought they do say that,
but it's important to ask it now
they're not not actually in this scheme, creating new housing within the borough, not new housing stock and the customer, I wondered about, was the the relationship between the section 1 0 6 money and the houses that you're proposing to get because
section 1 6 1 is quite tightly bound about.
it's made for given for a specific purpose in this case for
in lieu of building new, affordable homes on developments for viability reasons
Services, section 1 is 6 money is given actually to build new, affordable homes, how compatible is that with the council simply going out and buying houses and then converting them into affordable loans,
are there any more I presume you may have looked at the legal implications of that have you and what are they?
so in relation to to using section 6, funds would have to refer back to the section 26 agreement for the for the wording
and also in looking at the
once the affordable housing policy at the time they were collected, we it's been one of those those questions a week we've looked at successfully just going back to the actual funding, 1, the questions asked of the government was can't actually 6 funds be used and there's been because yes, as long as this,
it's in accordance with the agreement in which they were collected and is not going to.
impact on current delivery safe if those answers, section 96 funds had already been committed to use for affordable housing, it has to be.
the fund, the local housing authority fund, would have to deliver more than one that, with the section minus 6 funds that we currently hold, they haven't been committed for for any particular purpose, so we're confident that,
just by ensuring that we follow the section 86 agreement,
that those funds are for the delivery of affordable housing and it's compatible with this programme.
I think that's quite important because the the the
developers who paid those one in six months might say Hang on a minute, I didn't give you those that money for that purpose, I gave it to you to build new, affordable homes and one, and so I want my money back because you're not using it for the purpose for which it was given cash Mr. Stevenson
that's going to cover things. Stuart may think it's because at the top
each one of six
will be scrutinised definitely, but it doesn't talk about building, is about providing and delivering, yes, I'm not this year so there's there's a quiet, clear distinction between the two, so we are confident that once we've looked at that they can get used for this purpose.
it's good because it would be too sad to come unstuck, and that's one word that alright good, thank you.
excuse me.
I presume, and I hope that you won't be entertaining buying, leasehold
flats or
things on Woody, would you would you entertain a leasehold flat?
so the programme is to deliver family sites accommodation, it's
not something the working group, the thanks Converse talks about in terms of whether leasehold or freehold insisting we'd only have to consider the cost of if it was to be leasehold, I think the preference would be be Freeheld.
houses as opposed to flats, but then I think that's something that we'd have to kind of consider them and weighing up the the option for acquisition, but in terms of suitable family homes freehold is it's it's not merely the vegetable,
yes no
and for the long term assets of the borough where as leasehold is declining asset?
I want to sack him, and maybe this is something for Ms Vollmond is the under the proposed.
recommendation number 3 that the delegated authority be given to the Head of Housing, etc to sign the Memorandum
with the Department of blow of law
should it be, or does it matter that it doesn't say and accepts the 1.9 million pounds should we actually be recommending that you do accept the 1.9 million pounds?
in just plain speak, as it were,
I have not seen the emo, but Emma you bought, I would expect that that would also make reference to the moneys that are payable and therefore.
that would already be covered.
I would expect it to
sorry
I mean we can stick this in,
as a recommendation to the MoU, does specify the sum that the government will be giving us and therefore the matching funds that need to be provided by the Council and and their proportion cannot be more than 40% of the cost
is just on other occasions I've seen and run through, we've said
and we give authority to accept the money which is always a nice thing to
to devote through.
OK, well, I'm sure that you've got that taped and
and that's the end of my questions, so are now going to debate and less than it is got any further questions, although I did
have one question.
you mentioned town and country, but they're not listed as a as a
as a partner in this, is that correct,
would we not be going through them?
within the report, it's kind of recommended or propose that we keep our options open, Essex, flexibility to kind of appraise the the the the best options are to deliver
intended budget and timescales, and some initial conversations have taken part of reference within the report with Town and Country around how we could work in partnership.
but it's not going to park doesn't form part of one of the other main recommendations it is intended that being the actual delivery delivery method,
so members could, if they wanted, to make recommendations that they don't have a great record on some things
Councillor Palmer, you want to say, then I
was just going to say if I, if I direct the Committee to 2.7 of the report, it's as the Council may choose the most appropriate delivery mechanism to achieve the fund's objectives and to bring on stream the approach the accommodation as quickly as possible. Town and Country undeniably will be one partner with whom we will be talking, but we will also talk to other housing associations. We will also consider whether we will acquire properties for ourselves and Rondón through the Tunbridge Wells property Holdings limited.
you know there are other other methods by which we might be able to manage the properties because of the deadlines that have been given to us by government, some of that it's not the the neatest parcel to package yet and some of that work needs still to be done.
thank you Chair, yes, I'd like to propose that recommendation.
OK, I was just to think about what to say, actually, I'm sorry if I didn't make it clear that I had something to say and one is about the risk management in section D.
that's boilerplate, council policy, including the rest of the council, does not act, and all of that stuff, and it's signed by one Stewart Clifton, is used. We take a lot of responsibility for the management of risk, and I wondered if they know whether they may be should be a little bit more detail about this particular issue as far as the risks and so on. Councillor Holden referred to a few things that would come under the heading of risk,
so
it was my sort of comment
the other one was about.
the section 1 0 6 money, which is on page 100.
I'm still learning how this goes, but my added up that the Council currently holds 4.3 9 million. and is expecting 716,000 from the Paddock Wood development and another 1.7 9 million of committed fans, so that's just a few pennies short of 7 million pounds and it seems to me a bit like
on another bank of 1 0 6 and on 3.7 it does say the council's affordable housing and enabling Officer has been developing a section 1 0 6 commuted sums policy
and a separate community commuted sums position statement and a calculator it seems to me that that should debts. I'm really surprised that there hasn't been one, and it seems to me that pretty urgent, rather than over the coming months
that was those want two points.
the lesson now.

10 Draft Annual Report 2022-23

yes, I'll be brief,
this is something that happens each year and what you see before you is the draft
that will then have comments following this meeting that comments raised at the meeting, it will then go forward as a final draft at the next meeting scheduled for the 19th of June.
and all things being equal,
will be approved and at full council, there's a slight air on report, it should be the 5th of July, the next full Council, not for 2 October.
the appendix is works is the main content of the report and gives details of what the Overview and Scrutiny Committee has done over this municipal year, including statutory functions.
obviously, if things like today, we've had the Community Safety Partnership, and you'll note in the report
that there's a gap, this needs updating following tonight's meeting,
obviously there was a lot of discussion tonight and the additional recommendation and views will be taken into account safety partnership
and
thank
the activity of the police activity certainly an hour ago sorry,
he also gives details of Collins, which there have been a couple of this this municipal year,
and it will also is also covers the local authority housing fund that we've just had a discussion on because that was waived, the call-in was waved, and so we need to make reference to that in the annual report.
the report goes on to include topics that the committee had discussed and dealt with over the year, including task and finish groups of which there's the poverty task and finish group which had largely delivered on the objectives agreed in 2020, and so this group has now been closed, there's one there was an update on the council's climate emergency and carbon reduction which is was presented to the committee and the comments noted
the Tunbridge Wells Borough Plan had been discussed and debated and subsequently adopted by Full Council on the 1st of March.
the other thing that's the group, that's in progress is
the one on procurement and contract management and our relationship with them, and a final report I understand, is in progress, happy to take any comment.
no comments,
Councillor Atkinson,
just one,
I think my name is missing from the membership.
dear
any more.
Councillor Page.
which minute?
that you are referring to.
so level been approved,
so we're missing the meeting as of January.
so this one is going to the next meeting in June, so those minutes apologies, there has been a delay on some of the minutes being drafted and cleared, and that's due to absence
they're in progress, so they'll be published in good time.
before this goes to the next meeting.
sorry,
I want to do it is a private of your you're looking at the draft at the moment.
so yes, so the minutes of the meeting in January, the minutes of tonight's meeting will be published before we have, we have a little bit of a gap now between the end of this meeting and the next, so you will have them in good time.
yeah and this and this report which we approved tonight, but it'll be adopted by the next meeting, because then it will be complete, which of course it obviously isn't tonight. as for the work programme and we do actually
have it as an item on the end of the agenda, so
whether we need to have a separate meeting for that, I'm not sure, as we ask every time
if, if we want to move to the we know the
agenda.
OK. okay right well, then, the motion here for that is that the draft Overview and Scrutiny Committee annual report be approved, subject to update, following March, meeting and presentation for the next meeting for adoption of agreed on that.

11 Work Programme

anybody against no OK, good that's adopted, and then the work programme is to consider the work programme, and are you going to say something about that,
just be very brief, obviously where at the end of the municipal year and if you if Members note, the work programme is all but completed, so there's very little. Obviously we had this conversation this evening about a couple of items that we could now consider to put on the work programme very happy to include those, but obviously it is now time for the committee decide what their priorities are for 23 24 and to feed those ideas to the Chair
and they can be included on the work programme and obviously then the work programme can be updated and presented at the next meeting.
nobody can put anything towards the work programme.
so Councillor Moulton,
so
the contracts, the contracts task and finish group
is ongoing, so it will be taken forward to to the next, yes,
total report, and that report will come to this committee in due course.
OK,
Councillor Miller,
sorry, Chair, are you asking for what purpose, potentially what sort of projects we could look look, look at I've got online, to propose one, then please, I'd like to propose that we have a better understanding. Wiser committee have review the local the the
that the advises or the the the consultants of the Local Plan, how they were, how they were chosen and what work they've done, and how we've judged their success,
fine SEN, to understand that to me as as an e-mail, I just thought if you guys you actually get OK do that.
anybody else.
now.

12 Urgent Business

their next meeting as another urgent business, we've got no urgent business, I can confirm that, and the next meeting is the 19th of June 2023,

13 Date of the next meeting

and that's the end of the meeting, thank you very much.