Communities and Economic Development Cabinet Advisory Board - Wednesday 12 July 2023, 6:30pm - Start video at 0:03:51 - Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Webcasting
Communities and Economic Development Cabinet Advisory Board
Wednesday, 12th July 2023 at 6:30pm
Agenda item : Start of webcast
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Agenda item : 1 Apologies for Absence
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Agenda item : 2 Declarations of Interests
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Agenda item : 3 Notification of Persons Wishing to Speak
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Agenda item : 4 Minutes of the meeting dated 13 April 2023
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Agenda item : 5 Forward Plan as at 23 June 2023
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Agenda item : 6 Economic Development Strategy
Agenda item : 7 Tenancy Strategy
Agenda item : 8 Urgent Business
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Agenda item : 9 Date of the Next Meeting
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Disclaimer: This transcript was automatically generated, so it may contain errors. Please view the webcast to confirm whether the content is accurate.
Good evening. welcome to this meeting of the communities and economic development Cabinet Advisory Board on Wednesday, 12th of July 2023 I am Councillor Waun, Chair of this committee, before we start, please give your full attention to the following announcements by our Clarke, Ms Moran,
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 direct you the most available direct available route, and no one is to use the lift
we will make our way to the fire assembly point which is by the entrance to the Town Hall Yard car park and months away and once outside a check would be made to ensure everyone has safely left, none is to re-enter the building until advised that 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.
it is very important that the outcomes of the meeting are clear at the end of each substantive item, the Chair will ask whether the matter is agreed in the absence of a clear majority, or if the chair decides a full vote is desirable, a vote will be taken by a show of hands, Members should raise their hands to indicate their vote and keep their hands up until the count has been announced. Members requesting a recorded vote must do so before the vote is taken. Thank you Chair,
for the benefit of the recording, we're going to take a roll call, Councillor fairweather.
Councillor Hill present.
Councillor Lewis Besant Councillor March,
not present yet, Councillor Morton,
present sorry, Councillor Palmer, present
apologies from Councillors Wilkinson, Councillor Rutland present Councillor Walmarts, myself and officers, David Conlin present to be Philip prison, James Read
present Louis Smith.
and Gareth Stevenson, present.
members of the committee should be familiar with the process, but for the benefit of any members of the public who may be watching. I would like to explain a couple of things. Committee members have had their agenda packs ahead of this meeting and have had the opportunity to ask any factual questions of the officers ahead of the meeting.
When we come to the stuff substantive items on the agenda this evening, the relevant officer will first set out their report. We will then move into Member discussion at the end of the debate. I will try to summarise the Committee's views and members should ensure that any proposals or actions are correctly captured.
I will remind Members that without prejudice to any other comments that may be raised, the Committee is asked to come to one of the following positions, one that the recommendations to Cabinet are supported by the board to that the recommendations to Cabinet would be supported, subject to a particular issue being addressed or three, that the recommendations to Cabinet are not supported and if this is the case reasons should be stated
1 Apologies for Absence
apologies for absence cheered, we have do, we have any apologies,
we've had apologies from Councillor Wilkinson this evening and, as already said, but for the benefit of the recording Councillor Martin is now here at present.
2 Declarations of Interests
item 2 on the agenda is declarations of interest members of the committee should state at this point if they have any declarations of interest related to any item on the seedlings agenda, does any Member have any declaration to make?
I see none.
3 Notification of Persons Wishing to Speak
agenda item 3 notification of pies persons wishing to speak at this time we note whether any members of the public or visiting members of the Council have registered to speak this evening, do we have any such persons,
we've no speakers this evening to,
4 Minutes of the meeting dated 13 April 2023
agenda item 4 is minutes of the meeting dated Wednesday, the 13th of April 2023
Members are asked to confirm that the minutes of the previous meeting are a true record of proceedings,
please, may I remind members that the only matter for discussion is their accuracy. Do Members have any comments
thank you, the motion is to agree these minutes, are we agreed?
thanks the motion is carried.
5 Forward Plan as at 23 June 2023
agenda Item 4
Forward Plan, as, at the 23 of June 2023, the forward plan is on pages 10 to 26 of your agenda for your information, do Members have any comments on the Forward Plan?
the motion is to note the Forward Plan, are we agreed agreed, the motion is carried.
6 Economic Development Strategy
agenda item 6 draft economic development strategy 2023 2026 this report starts on page 27 of our agenda.
presenting member to introduce the report is Councillor Justin Rutland cabinet member for economic development posting. Thank you.
Thank you Chair. I am pleased to introduce this item, the Borough Council's updated draft economic development strategy for 2023 to 2026, written by our professional, dedicated and energetic economic development team. We are most fortunate to have them. I am especially grateful this evening to Hilary and James, who have compiled the strategy and come along this evening. To present economic development is investment in growing the local economy and enhancing the prosperity and quality of life for all residents. It is about supporting businesses and creating opportunities, but this being local government. It is so much more than that. It encompasses areas including, but not limited to, transport bidding for, and distributing central government funding, culture and participating in the drawing up of the submitted local plan there is close collaboration with a wide range of partners, including town and parish councils and the Royal Tunbridge Wells, business improvement, district West Kent partners, public transport operators, active travel, England visit Kent and many more. the finished strategy will be a tool with which the EDI team can engage with businesses tonight, we welcome your comments and suggestions and hope that you will support the recommendations I will now hand over to Hillary economic development manager.
thank you very much, Councillor Rutland, and thank you committee so this evening, as Councillor Rutland said, we are seeking the Committee's agreement to publish the draft economic development strategy following a consultation period, we would then bring a final version of the strategy back to Cabinet for adoption.
so the last economic development strategy was prepared in 2017 through to 2018 and, as you will all be aware, there have been many changes in both the UK and the local economy since then. so after the over the last few months, we have reviewed the previous strategy strategy and drafted a new version,
it follows quite a similar format to the previous version, which you may or may not recognise it's includes them some background information about the national and local context, a section on current economic development activity that the team is carrying out and key issues, the overarching aims and objectives for the strategy and then towards the rear of the document a detailed action plan which includes information on the partners we're working with on target timescales for projects and also on measures of success.
and although, as I say, though, there have obviously been changes in the in the local economy, there is certainly some continuity from the previous strategy.
so, thinking about the benefits of preparing the strategy,
it is really in order to set out our priorities so that businesses and residents understand these and can support them also to align our work programme with other Council departments and with the many partners that we work with.
to put us in a better position to bid for funding if and when opportunities arise, and also to guide the work of the EDI team in detail over the next three year period.
so, as I've said, this is a draft document for consultation, so we're very keen to seek feedback from businesses and other stakeholders across the borough over the last year, within we have we've we've got a new economic development team with the with additional resources which is great so we've been able to build up our communication channels with businesses and we'll be using these to seek our feedback, so these will include the R E News Letter, our social media accounts
and meetings with business organisations and other networks we speak to regularly,
plan is to launch the consultation in September, after the school holidays and that the consultation would last for six weeks, and following this we would amend the strategy and bring the final document back to Cabinet for adoption.
and this is the timescale for this is light is likely to be the for the Cabinet in December
just to say, we can make amendments to the document prior to publication for the consultation, so again tonight we're very keen to hear your views on the things that you think we could we could amend or add in,
and we are very happy to answer any questions about the documents this evening.
just to reiterate, we are seeking that the committee agrees to the publication of the draft draft document for consultation,
thank you very much Hillary,
I should just say here that James Reed is also from the
Edie team senior officer in the DE team as well, it does do any Members have any questions.
arising out of the report or any points they want to to make
has just a couple of points I wanted to make, really
one of them was on the
the national scene, in that it says.
energy prices, the rise in energy prices,
this is a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I mean, certainly that's one of the factors, but I think it's a bit simplistic, so it's just that and it does present us with an opportunity as well, because
my belief is one of the factors is that our reliance on fossil fuels and
as as a borough we've got we've declared a climate emergency and we we
certainly could make a point of from.
renewable energy sources I mean at Southampton Council, for instance, has.
a new, the new building covered in solar panels,
which is as this meant that when I don't think that paying for electricity at the moment.
in Ireland and there are those opportunities that can come about and certainly if we'd had that foresight before, we wouldn't be in the position we're in now I mean the Ukraine war, doesn't help at all and of course
I would say privatisation of the energy,
companies doesn't help either, so if they could be a little more dialogue about that, that'd be fantastic, I mean
I'd like the report in the main very much the main
it does say about the
the issues about transport within.
Tunbridge Wells about the the the
the single carriageway road, so it is, although it doesn't say that but yeah 26 being the
the major one I mean, but it does mention that there are the other economic areas around the borough.
strategising our economic
would mean that we wouldn't have to use all of those single carriageway roads to move.
goods and people all.
to to the centre of Tunbridge Wells all the time,
thank you for the report and.
it just needs a few tweaks, I think,
OK, thank you, yes, thank you for those comments were well we'll look at that, we'll look at those points that you've raised.
does any other Member have any comments or points live, Councillor Moulton?
thank you Chair.
not to be on this
economic development and communities CAB think of the first time I've been on one actually
so yeah, but I'd obviously followed you know the
yeah, the the sort of strategy for economic development you know of of for the previous one you know for Tunbridge Wells and.
and I thoroughly agree with all of the
strategies, or you know the points that have been made in this report, I think it's very well written thank you,
really what are all I really wanted to say was yeah, and you know we're in a climate emergency, so you know it would be good to see.
lot of emphasis, more emphasis may be made on, you know how we're going to save.
so you've saved the council.
the or how it how they're going to reach this net 0 by you know 2030,
maybe if we could have kind of a pathway included in in in the report,
I know it's you know, I don't want us to repeat what we're saying on on see it, but you know just a just a rough kind of
explanation of the pathway maybe of how we're going to reach net 0 would be would be quite good.
and how it impacts all of our services, basically you know.
I know on transport transport being one of the biggest contributors of
not obviously not the council's own transport or transport, because we have very little borrow, but I'm talking about the borough as a whole.
As you know, most people do travel by you know by private vehicle
there being a lack of public transport basically
and I'd I see that there are, you know, you've mentioned that there are going to be new EV charging points, which is a great you know edition,
maybe a bit more detail on that house. How many charging points are we talking about and where are they going to be situated and maybe what kind of
strengths are going to be out, you know, they're gonna be at 7.00 votes, are they going to be, you know, the fast chargers, you know how many fast chargers will we have?
that that sort of maybe is that sort of detail might help.
thank you very much. so on the
aiming for net 0, so we have, it is the first
objective on on in our list deliberately no deliberately so as they do recognise that.
and I think and again, it's,
the actions are at the top of the action plan at the end of the document. we have, we have talked about aligning the economic development strategy with work that colleagues are doing on the climate change strategy as well, and I think maybe I know I can
maybe talk to them about any additional material we could put in here. Obviously the emphasis of that of this is on encouraging businesses to
to take action on that as well, and you know part of our our will will be signposting them to opportunities as they arise, and obviously we we will you know that will be a high priority for us,
but we'll certainly look at the text again and see if there's anything that we think is useful to add in
and on the EV charging again, I've we we do refer to that it's it's.
this project that we, we would be talking to parking colleagues about, but again I can look into whether there is additional information we could include, that would be helpful.
thank you, Councillor Morton, that's helpful comments do other members have anything
I'd like to
say, Councillor Fairweather?
Good evening, thank you very much, yes, it's really good read actually out of got one one question
on the section titled rural economy where it refers to develop tourist information points across the borough and I was just interested in what was actually meant by a tourist destination, a tourist information point.
so the intention is to work with some of the attractions and accommodation across the borough to try and have smaller, you know to give them a bit of training, one of our colleagues, another colleague in our team, is developing a training pack so they have, they are able to give fuller visitor information to guests in it at their businesses and also we would provide them with leaflets and other information that they could hand out to so it's sort of more informal,
attempted to share you know to share better information about the things that there are to do and see in the borough
thank you very much, thank you.
thank you, Councillor, for whether does anybody else have any comments then wished to make
I did have a couple of comments or sticking on the climate
change theme it was in the section on.
partners to help with carbon reduction,
and I noted that the Parish and Town Councils weren't included various partners, and I I know from chairing
the Paris chairs meeting that this this is something that
parish chairs across the borough would be very keen to engage their own local
communities in income
are doing their bit so if that could be included that would be good.
and also I think I felt reading
I mean that as a whole the document seems really comprehensive and there is mention of agriculture and education industries within the borough, but just where I am in the east of the borough,
I feel it is you know those are the two very strong employers and an economy in the area so we are, you know we're in a farming, a farming community, and there's there's a lot of schools within my patch, so I just kind of felt that may be more, could more reference could be made around better, not just with reference to the the kind of tourist economy
aspect of that and farm diversification but just,
some kind of really recognising that the importance of farming historically and present to to the local economy of the more rural districts really.
and also whether
more opportunities and I might be able to help with with identifying partners in that but haven't been identified with the report, so I did speak to James yesterday and I'm happy to to provide information on that effects if that would be helpful just people that might be able to disseminate information about grants that coming forward for businesses and local area
things like that so if you're happy to include those that would be great, thank you.
thank you, and thank you very much, yes, that's that's very helpful and we've welcome any any additional
contacts you could give us, and we will certainly will certainly review the text under the rural section and and added more reference to.
yeah, the importance of agriculture and horticulture, while I agree, and we will make that change,
that's lovely, thank you, Councillor Hill.
too quickly, for a wonderful document well done.
about the you know South grow and you could be coming through far for a staff group gateway to Tunbridge Wells, the majority of people who come to Tunbridge Wells, probably country south now, but we have the boarded-up building. We have JV IIP and I do not know if there's anything here that we can sort of look at, maybe trying to sort something out there. It looks I mean, it's such a mess that and I know the empty shops we can't help the empty shops to try to get the economy going, but we never going to attract people to come there
and I don't know what's happening with JV IIP and all the boarded-up building, or if it's something that could be incorporated, that we look at the gateway into our town, because if the gateway doesn't look good then
people want to come here on a flight
going through a mess.
sorry, I think that makes sense, but it's just such a big bugbear that we have an old library site there, that we tried to buy the community asset, but we weren't allowed to and if both to be undroppable, it's been there for like three years Nigel derelict. kids, you know, I mean it, nothing happening with it, so these are all things that surely should
be in there like derelict sites.
I see you've got David depth, I just thought Rafa.
David, do you want to comment on that?
I know that talking about the entrances and that there isn't necessarily a lot,
I think it's more in terms of where the panels are actually able to take action against their landowners, who aren't actually dead doing anything with with that opportunity
me we can have a discussion with KCC and see where they are with the the sale and disposal of that site they were meant to have gone through a formal,
process. I don't know whether it has actually all completed and whether the new land order is actually bringing forward as an opportunity there. If they are, it may well be taking them a little bit of time to get get things together and no doubt they will put a planning application in
which planning department will have to make a judgement on.
We can have a look at some of the other elements, but the really isn't
a great deal that we have that we're able to do, and certainly in terms of property elements, we do not want many assets in that area to make any significant change. I think we can have a discussion with KCC in terms of just how how other signage is actually kept,
as as you approach, and as you come into the borough and as you come into the areas of the borough, but
beyond that it is. It is relatively limited
I could just come back thing I mean, one of them is boarded up, it is a listed building,
I mean, it's the no way that you know that both are, I mean, is that if there no way that
we have any jurisdiction over something like that because then the more left, the worse it gets them certainly apply, are welcome to do anything with that.
I can try and pick up with my colleague,
the chief planning officer, because homing in terms of that. in terms of that being a listed building where it is and whether it's actually, and threat, or that or whether the landlord is just aren't doing anything with it
concerned, he took the time to see whether there's anything
that they are able to actually do regarding that at that site.
thank you and. then I'm just thinking there's quite a lot of talk within this
about places that have done neighbourhood plans, and there's the town centre plan coming forward in temperature wells, whether it's something that you could take to the Town Council and say, Have you ever thought about engaging in sunken labour her plan for separate town council for that you are already telecare
stadia versus and one that's
blimey got Councillor who was talking about?
the the issue we've got with derelict buildings in we've always had that with
the we can't do anything about it, and we've we've asked a number of times about the battleborn as well.
we have now got the we, there's another listed building which you'd like approach.
we have similar sites in crepe, brick,
yes and thanks everyone, I think maybe this is something we should have a think about
outside of the meetings I agree with everything empty units have a
and a large negative impact on street scene and the way people feel about their local high streets and communities, perhaps we should think about the partners that we could work with and do something like that. Hilary Benn, perhaps we could take that up, so thank you for raising it.
lovely has everybody had their say on this, so I will.
then go forward with the recommendations to Cabinet.
would be supported, I think it's subject to the following issues being addressed, I think so it is odd Councillor Lewis had brought up issues about opportunities for renewable energy
and that also ties in with what Councillor Morton had said is what
information can be, what work can you do with the with the C EP
group, in terms of anything that can be that's relevant for actually for businesses and the wider borough in terms of?
the addressing the climate emergency and carbon reduction.
and the impacts possible pathways included in the report towards impacts.
whether that's done as an appendix or embedded, I don't know, I think that's your choice and then.
Councillor further, whether this was just a question so mine was 10 parish councils being partners in the carbon reduction actions and just kind of rethinking how the focus on agriculture and horticulture in the rural areas the rural economies is addressed,
and I think that as far as this,
report goes. I think that's the this particular report are the additional issues to be looked at by by cabinet to go forward, so if everybody's happy with that
can I ask, are we agreed, there's nothing I've missed or we agreed agreed OK, so that motion is carried, then thank you.
7 Tenancy Strategy
we now move to agenda item 7, the tenancy strategy.
this report starts on page 70 of the agenda and the presenting officer to introduce the report is Gary Stevenson, head of housing, health and the environment.
yes, thank you very much, I'm gonna pass rate to OBO to Toby to Philip.
so first-time, at Cabinet Advisory Board, so please go generally with him.
let him introduce his ex's report, he's done all the work blindness working with other colleagues in the team, so I will leave Toby to introduce and we'll be got questions and queries from members afterwards, thank you.
we are seeking the seeking approval for the implementation of the new tenancy strategy to align with the Council's current has no objectives of providing generally affordable housing in the form of social rent when the bar
strategy further caps affordable rent within the borough at the local housing allowance low, ensuring that those in receipt of benefits are renting a property with within an affordable rent higher than the maximum entitlement of benefits,
this report highlights the key points of the draft Tunbridge Wells tenancy strategy which covers the council's position towards the type of tenancies and rent structures offered in the general needs social housing sector
the purpose of the strategy is to outline the issues that housing associations must consider when formulating and amending the tenure and rent structure policies. in the bar
of a new tenancy strategy has been updated with the input of housing associations operating within Tunbridge Wells and be Kent Housing Group.
the 2011 Localism Act introduced a duty of local authorities to prepare and publish a tenancy strategy under the terms of the Localism Act councils in England must prepare and publish a strategy or tenancy strategy centred on setting out the matters which registered Richard social providers of housing for his district have regards and regarding formulating policies this includes the kind of tenancies they grant the circumstances in which they will grant those tenancies of a particular kind. where they grant tenancies for a certain term, the length of the term granted and the circumstances in which they will or will not grant a further tenancy on coming to an end of an existing tenancy but tenancy strategy aligned with our homelessness strategy and the Council's allocation policy. it also has regard to policies for the supply of new, affordable housing in the borough set out in the Local Plan,
the recommendation is for maternity strategy to be approved in order for us to comply with the Localism Act 2011 or continue on with our 10 year old tenancy strategy.
thank you very much, taibbi, does any Members have any questions or table?
Elkins, Councillor Fairweather
yeah, sort of connected to this report as as an overview, really it's to do with the sort of
anti-social behaviour which is quite sort of.
mentioned and dealt with within the report
both in Cranbrook and, yes, believe it or not inciting Hirst, we are encountering extremely difficult tenants.
and we find that when we try to work with the registered provider, the the the level of of
consequences etc are very limited sort of to nothing. If, if I'm honest, is that something
the the the your Department would be able to help sort of.
councillors with on or on a ward by ward and sort of addressed by address basis t, do have the the sort of the link in with with the registered providers so that we could utilise the council rather than to bang our heads against a brick wall dealing direct,
what, in terms of a with our relationship with the rich providers we are housing department, we
do have a relationship with all the providers, most
of the providers,
the Kent Housing Group
and one of the one of the other projects I'm working on the nominations procedure is in relation to how
how Richard providers
provide us with the information of residents, for example who provide doing and social behaviour
and having HBO's intervention before it gets to a point of eviction.
so one of the one of the works I am looking at is how are those nominations coming and most the nominations are coming from eviction from providers that we already operating with, so
if we could
have an earlier intervention through that work, working with us providers closely, maybe having suggestions of what we can provide or, for example, what are services we can provide to help alleviate the anti-social behaviour or even merely take that personnel and have an internal transfer boss.
some practices there were were currently looking at,
thank you very much.
has anybody else got any other questions or comments they want to make about the report?
I came back and I understand that this, this has been
been through various management boards and other portfolio holders as as as had a look at it, and it's happy with this approach.
that's great yet, and it's been to the Housing
Advisory Panel, as well as hoping
for a inform women member panel, like
I think can thank you very much for your report to be in that, and I think we should.
I accept the recommendation to the Cabinet.
so that are supported by the board is it would everybody be agreed with that motion
agreed of late, then the motion is carried,
thank you very much.
8 Urgent Business
9 Date of the Next Meeting
agenda item 8, I can confirm that there is no such business this evening and agenda item 9 is the date of the next meeting, the next meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, the 6th of September 2023.
The meeting is now closed and I thank you all for your attendance. Thank you, Joe