Cabinet - Thursday 21 September 2023, 6:30pm - Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Webcasting

Thursday, 21st September 2023 at 6:30pm 









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Seat 3 - 0:00:00
good evening, my name is Councillor Ben Schaeffler and, on the leader of Thomas Ross Borough Council, I will be cheering this meeting of Cabinet on Thursday, 21 St of September 2023, before we start, please could you give your full attention to the following safety and broadcasting announcements?
thank you Chair. In the event of a fire alarm ringing continuously, he must immediately evacuate the buildings at walking pace officers will escort you via the most direct available route, this is a public meeting and proceedings are being webcast live online, a recording will also be available for playback on the
the third-party recordings.
It is very important that the outcomes of the meeting are clear at the end of each agenda 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 and vote will be taken by a show of hands.
Members should raise their hand to indicate their vote when called and keep their hand up until the count has been announced. Members requesting a recorded vote must do so before the vote is taken. Thank you Chair,
thank you, Caroline, for the benefit of a recording the following members of Cabinet. At present Councillor Elin level, Councillor Hugo pounds, Councillor Justin Rutland Councillor Jane Sharratt, Councillor Pamela Wilkinson, Councillor Ben Schaeffler.
In addition, we have the following members of staff from Thomas Ross Borough Council, William Benson, Lee Collier, Paul Taylor, Claudette vulnerable, Jane Feynman is expected and will be here shortly. Peter Benfield, Pamela Grover, Morgan, David Scully, Carlos Hone, Gareth and Gary Stevenson

1 Leaders Introduction and Announcements

also for the benefit of any members of the public who may be watching. I would like to explain a few things. Each report on the agenda this evening has previously been considered by the relevant Cabinet Advisory Board, and the views expressed by the Cabinet Advisory Board have been taken into consideration. Members of Cabinet have had their agenda was for over a week and we've had the opportunity to study the papers and to ask any factual questions of the council's staff ahead of the meeting. When each agenda item is being considered, the Cabinet Member will provide an overview of the report. Members of staff who have written the report will be available to answer any questions we might have. we will then move into a member sorry Councillor discussion and we will first ask for questions before opening the floor to debate at the end of the debate, I will ask Cabinet Members to confirm they have understood the matter and are content, that any proposals and or actions have been fully captured will then proceed to the recommendations and vote.
agenda Item number 1
announcements from the Leader and Cabinet at first of all, I'd like to thank the 1,500 residents who took part in our borough wide survey, which was a fantastic result, and secondly, I'd also like to thank
Councillor Wendy Fitzsimons who, as,
decided to stand down from cabinet for personal and family reasons and like to welcome Councillor Parnell Wilkinson as Cabinet Member for sport, leisure and health, does any body else have any announcements?
Councillor Jane Sharratt,
thank you.
as the portfolio holder for carbon reduction and sustainability. I was dismayed by the announcements by the prime minister yesterday. Delaying targets for Net Zero and prolonging reliance on fossil fuels, which will damage nature, public public health and fail future generations. I feel it is important to make clear that, as a Council, we are still absolutely committed to net 0 by 2030, as agreed with cross-party consensus at Full Council in 2019, and I know from my interactions with councillors across the country and from all political parties. But local authorities are making incredible groundbreaking progress towards their own net 0 goals, despite inadequate funding from central government, and I know that they will continue that progress. We know that acting early and carbon reduction and sustainability Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and residents in a stronger position and locally welcome support from all political parties for our Net Zero policies.
I want to be clear that we can look after people and planet together. It's not either or and I'd like to commend council officers for the fantastic work they have already done in working towards our net 0 policies by 2030
there are going to be 28 new EV charging points going into Council owned car parks soon.
Work to decarbonise the Wealden Leisure Centre, and the North Farm Depot is on target for completion by the end of the year,
we're recruiting to increase our staff resources for a sustainability strategy as a whole organisation challenge, and as a borough partnership we're looking at the business case for producing our own clean energy for an income that will help protect frontline council services and give us energy independence so.
just to conclude, we are
proud to be fully committed to
the Net Zero target by 2030, thank you.
thank you, Joan, and do we are proud to spoke on the 23rd to target by I was very amused by whatever had launched from one of the newspapers survey which refer to the prime minister as a fossil fuel?
and does anybody else have any items just Justine Roberts Councillor Josie Long?
thank you Chair. Yesterday we learned that Heather Stracey senior collections officer at the immediate Scott, has been awarded the accolade of young, easy and professional of the year 2023. This is a national award given by the British Association of friends of museums to a professional under 30 years of age who work in museums whose friends are bf. M members delighted that Heather has won this award and the Amelia Scott team are justifiably proud of Heather. I would like to offer her our warmest congratulations on before. Half of all the members of the Borough Council Heather is, in fact the second young museum professional of the year the Council has produced, and clearly our culture team are also doing a tremendous job. Thank you
thank you just in congratulations to have a

2 Apologies

anybody else, got any items. Simon will move over to item number 2, which is apologies for absence, and we've had apologies for Councillor Nancy Wall and Councillor Christopher Hall,
moving over to.

3 Declarations of Interest

4 Notification of Visiting Persons wishing to speak

item number 3, declarations of interest are members of a Cabinet asked if they have any declarations of interests to make on any of the items on this evening's agenda, does anybody have any declarations of interest, No, we have none, so we'll move on to Item 4 notification of visiting persons registered to speak and I'm and I can confirm that we have known

5 Minutes of the meeting dated 27 July 2023

item number 5 are the minutes of the meeting dated the 27th of July 2023.
is for recording the facts, and does anybody have any
amendments to those minutes at all, no, then can I just ask if we are agreed

6 Questions from Members of the Council

a great, thank you very much, we'll move on to Item 6, which are questions from members of the Council and I can report that we have none.

7 Questions from Members of the Public

item number 7 is questions from members of the public and we also have none.

8 Consideration of the Forward Plan as at 13 September 2023

so I will go on to item 8, which is a consideration of the Forward Plan as at the 13th September 2023. does anybody have any comments to make on the forward plan at all,
are we agreed,

9 Annual Corporate Health and Safety Report

thank you very much, we're now going to move on to Item 9, which is the annual Corporate Health and Safety report, and I'm going to ask Councillor Ellen Neville.
cabinet Member for
Environmental Services to introduce the item, please, thank you.
thank you Chair,
the annual report has been prepared by Mike Catling, the council's health and safety advisor and takes account of the Health and Safety Executive guidance on managing health and safety risks.
the report reviews and provides an assurance that incidents involving our staff contractors and customers have been followed up and action taken to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence
the report proposes a set of priorities for the following the coming year and these have been set with the involvement of the H and S Committee which brings together managers and officers from across the organisation and representation from Unison I now hand over to Gary Stevenson, a head of housing, health and environment, thank you Gary
thank you, Chair, and I was just going to draw Members' attention to the priorities for the coming year, so they are on page 45 at 1.1 8
cabinet members said they were agreed by the Health and Safety Committee
and then subsequently, following some recent incidents of anti-social behaviour within our premises an additional priority was added, which is at the top of page 46, just making sure that we're doing as much as we can to protect, particularly our staff, and that customers are operational our operational site so I'm happy to take any questions thank you.
thank you, Gary very succinctly put, does anybody have any questions for Gary
Note, does anybody wish to comment on the item?
no, nobody OK, so I've moved to the recommendations, there are two recommendation 1 that Cabinet note the contents of the report, along with the work undertaken to secure a safe and healthy work environment recommendation 2, that Cabinet approve a corporate priorities for 2023 2024 are we agreed?
thank you very much moving on to Item number 10

10 Performance Summary Quarter 1

performance summary for Quarter 1 and in Councillor Christopher Hall's absence, I'm going to go straight to Pamela Groovin Morgan, our performance and governance manager to introduce the item, please, thank you.
thank you Chair,
the performance report summarises the performance of the Council's projects and services and quarter 1 23 23 24 Appendix A summarises the projects in the Council's Borough Partnership Plan and legacy projects from the five-year plan, the corporate plan and the previous administration.
appendix B summarises performance of the new indicators introduced for this year
for the first quarter and we're under performance as identified recovery plans who are included at Appendices.
C to E at the back to give details of actions to bring service performance back on track.
the report at Appendix B includes 20 indicators, 15 of which have targets that's fewer than we have before, of those indicators with target 11 are performing 3 or not, and one is unavailable,
the underperforming indicators are the number of homeless prevention, the number of direct debits as a proportion of garden waste transactions. and the percentage of parking transactions paid by Ringo happy to take any questions.
thank you Pamela, does anybody have any questions for Pam Norma autumn,
does anybody wish to comment on the item at Councillor Hugo Palmer,
thank you very much and thank you Pamela for that report.
I think that is Cabinet we probably will acknowledge these performance metrics some of which, as you say, our legacy matters from a previous administration and previous plans, my understanding is that Cabinet will be engaging with officers fairly soon to update both of the matters being
considered and reported on the metrics associated with them, so I think that there will be an update on the manner in which these,
these data are reported both to cabinet and to the public going forward, which I think we would all appreciate thank you.
thank you, can you get as anybody else wish to comment on the item no, in that case I'll move straight to the recommendations of which there are three recommendation read number 1 reads that the Cabinet notes the summary of projected performance over quarter one for 2023 2024 at Appendix A
recommendation 2 that the Cabinet notes the summary of service performance over quarter 1 2023 2024 at Appendix B. and recommendation 3 that the Cabinet notes the recovery plans for Quarter 1 2023 24 Appendices C to E, are we agree?

11 *Showfields, Tunbridge Wells - Disposal of Parcels of Land

thank you very much. we're going to move on to Item 11, which is show fields at Tunbridge Wells disposable of parcels of land as Biff Peter Benfield, a senior Estate Survey, will introduce this report, but before I pass over to him I would like to note that this item contains an exempt appendix which sets out the restricted papers at agenda item 22 the report we discuss now maybe this discussed and decided upon a public session provided that no exempt information is disclosed and Members are happy to take the exempt information as read.
Alternatively, if members of the Cabinet wish to discuss anything which appears in the exempt appendix please indicate during the discussion the decision will then be held over and discuss the item 22
in the private session later in this meeting.
OK, so I'm gonna, pass over to Peter thank you.
thank you Chair
good evening,
I'm hipster, presenting the current report on the proposed disposal of a series of parcels of land on the Schofield's estate.
to the Town and Country Housing Association.
there are, as there were currently sort of 13 small plots of land that are.
leftover from the original sort of asset transfer to the housing association,
the intention of the of this proposal is to tidy up the land, some issues of historic land ownership on these states ahead of the townland country's planned redevelopment,
none of the plots
of land have any
real purpose
or use for the council. there's no real obligation to retain these these these these plots of land,
it will produce a small but not unwelcome capital receipt for the Council,
the other those sums are listed within the year within the report and exempt or exempt part of but part of the report.
the proposal is is an option, it all is sort of logic dependent on on the at the Town and Country, bringing all their development plans forward, and ones are ones that is in place, then the transaction will be will complete,
it also may involve some additional plots of land on the sort of on the borders of the development site which links in with the proposed. cycle path that that will bordered the the western side of the estate, as it heads heads north into the towards the town centre.
certainly the recommendation that the
decision is to agree the dispose, thank you.
thank you, Peter, does anybody have any questions for Peter on the item,
no does anybody wish to comment on the item?
OK, so in that case, I will move to the recommendations there are three. A recommendation reads that Cabinet approves the grant of the option and the disposal of the land referred to in this report and the appendices recommendation 2, that delegated authority is granted to the Head of economic development and property in consultation with the Director of Finance Policy and Development, the monitoring officer and the Cabinet Member for Finance and performance to negotiate and agree the terms of the option to be granted in the subsequent disposable so of the option is exercised items recommendation 3 that the head of Mid Kent legal Services is authorised to negotiate and complete all necessary legal documentation and formalities to give effect to these recommendations and disposal of the land are we agreed?

12 Capital Management Report - Quarter 1

thank you, we'll move on to Item number 12, which is the Capital Management report for Quarter 1, and I'm going to ask.
Lee Collier to to present the item. Please,
thank you Chairman. So this report sets out the capital management position to Quarter 1 and we are forecasting an end of year outturn of 19.1 million pounds. However, to the 30th of June, only 628,000 pounds has been spent, so there is much work to be done if this programme is to be completed. This report includes one new request, approval relating to 219,000 pounds for the Wyld Leisure Centre decarbonisation scheme and there were no capital receipts at all in quarter 1, a detailed discussion with numerous questions took place at the Cabinet Advisory Board, where the recommendations were unanimously agreed. Habitat questions, chairman
thankfully, any questions
on this item for Lee.
now in that case,
and does anybody wish to comment comments?
thank you, I just wanted to say that I think has cabinet and as the administration,
sometimes the public seems to comment upon our capital expenditure in the short term and challenges our short term choices or decisions about capital when in fact what we need to be doing is much longer view about the capital expenditure which may be upcoming in the future which is shaping both the way in which we manage our monies now and as we manage them in the future
and I think that that sometimes gets lost. in the public view about what the looming potential might be for costs, the bill will be incurred by this Council.
thank you, Lord Mayor, and as anybody else wishes the same thing
in that case, I'll move straight to the three recommendations recommendation 1, that Cabinet note the actual gross and net expenditure for the year, and the sources of finance are shown as appendices in Appendices A B to the to the Cabinet approve the proposed variations to the capital programme set out in note for point 3. recommendation 3 that Cabinet approve the proposed movement between years, set out in Note 1.4 are we agreed?
thank you very much.
sorry, that should have been for point 4.

13 Revenue Management Report - Quarter 1

thank you item 13, which is a revenue management for quarter 1, I'm gonna pass
back to Lee. thank you,
thank you Chairman. Actual expenditure at the end of June was 2.6 6 million, that's 1.1 million under budget, so I'm pleased to be able to report that we've reduced the forecast outturn budget deficit to 526,000 pounds, so that's an improvement of 417,000 in the quarter this is mainly due to reductions in forecast staff costs of 437,000 pounds less, the 85,000 needed to fund the vacancy factor and also 300,000 pounds per additional off street parking income. so whilst this has been positive for the Councils finances, the current shortfall 48 full-time equivalent staff in post is invariably putting pressure on the delivery of services, as I've just explained when I discussed the capital programme, where there has been significant slippage in the planned programme and again at the Cabinet Advisory Board all the representations were fully supported happy to take questions Chairman.
thank you does anybody any of the questions for lead on this item, no, then the the matters open for debate,
if anybody wishes to comment.
leak and I can I just ask you
one question which is, whilst the deficit looks like it's going to be closing for 23 24, we're still in a position by 27 28 of a very big gap in one of the graphs in the item, and can you just confirm that still the case?
yes, I whilst the good news in relation to increasing income from interest rates and staff reductions and recovery, car parking, that is already factored in into future years until we get to the year 27 28, which he referred to and that is the point where a major contracts are up for maturity and our intelligence tells us that other councils that have gone out to market for waste street sweeping leisure and parks have had to incur significant additional costs to procure the same level of services because the market is much different now than it was when we procured, so that is why there's a further 2.5 million pound forecast additional cost in the year 2007 28.
thank you.
does anybody wish to come on now,
so I'll move straight to the recommendations
recommendation 1 3 is the Cabinet note the Quarter 1 net expenditure on services year to date was 2.666 million 1.098 million pounds less than budget. a recommendation to the Cabinet note that by the year end, the Council anticipates net expenditure of 15.837 million pounds on services this forecast is 1.001 million pounds and the budget.
item sorry recommendation 3 the Cabinet note that the by the year end the Council anticipates receiving an increase in funding of 1.248 million due to the initial additional investment interest overall this means an improvement to budget of 2,200,200 and 49,000 pounds the Council will transfer 1.8 3 2 million pounds. of this aim to marked reserves and 417,000 will reduce the budget deficit that was to be met
from reserves
are we agreed?

14 Treasury and Prudential Indicator Management Report - Quarter 1

thank you item number 14 is a treasury and prudential indicator management report for Quarter 1, and I'm going to ask her Lee Collier to
introduce the item,
thank you,
thank you Chairman. The forecast outturn for interest from investments and also bank interest is 2 million million 668,000 pounds and that's an increase of 1.248 million from the approved budget, this is due to an increase in interest rates and also active treasury management. the 9 million pound investment with the property fund was valued at 10.00.2000000 pound as at the 31st of March 23, and this value hasn't changed by the end of quarter 1, the dividend paid was a net return of 5.3%, which actually is very close to that which we can achieve now risk-free, so therefore we served notice on the property fund and we should be getting the proceeds of the property fund. the 30th September, thank you, Chairman.
thank you, Leader, does anybody in have any questions of lie on this item,
no, does anybody wish to comment
no, in that case, I'm straight to the recommendations or recommendation 1, the Cabinet note the treasury, management and prudential indicator position for 2023 2024 recommendation, 2, that Cabinet note the forecasts for investment and bank interest of 2.668 million pounds, an increase of 1.248 million from the approved budget of 1.420 million are we agreed?
Thank you very much. We're now going to move on to Item 15, which is biodiversity action plan and by diversity net gain, and I'm going to ask Councillor Hugo Pound council cabinet member for housing and planning to introduce the item. Please,
thank you very much. Geoff

15 Biodiversity Action Plan and Biodiversity Net Gain

I'm going to introduce this item, which has some complexity to it, which I understand members and members of the public will grapple with, as I am going to try and give a very brief overview, and then I will turn to David Skelly who will either pick up on all the bits that I have missed
or and is also available to answer questions from from members but essentially what we have before us this evening is as a consequence of the Environment Act 2021 which requires from November of this year 2023 that all major development sites need to prove at least that they are providing a 10% biodiversity net gain either on site or that they acquire them from approved sites elsewhere.
the Council, this Council has been actually ahead of the game, I think, largely thanks actually to our landscape and biodiversity officer, David Skelly, and we already have a no net loss policy on biodiversity and in place, and we have an at least a 10% gain policy in the submission Local Plan which hasn't yet been adopted, but we are hoping to bring forward to adoption sometime soon. So the Council already has a relationship with developers where they understand that they need to provide biodiversity net gain, but the in the Environment Act 2021 reinforces that within statute and requires it on major developments. Smaller development sites will will follow. On later.
I will get David to give a bit more detail in a minute of its required. This was discussed at length at the planning and transportation cab. A couple of weeks ago, two principal issues arose,
and one of which has been added to the recommendations that are before you this evening. There was an expressed concern
about Kent County Council's ability to effectively represent the interests of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council through a KCC ecology officer,
which was an arrangement that had been already proposed, rather than Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. Trying to find somebody to fulfil that role. It was more appropriate to have somebody within KCC who could provide that span across the whole county
but there are concerns about whether Tunbridge Wells's interests will be best represented by KCC and whether they have the capacity to do it themselves, or indeed whether they'll be around at any point in the future,
and that is why the recommendation has been modified, there was also a desire from one member at the CAB that the Council should promote the potential of the comments here in Tunbridge Wells as a site which might be able to provide biodiversity net gain units to developers.
but, as with other potential providers across the Borough, because there will be others, including ourselves, much work will need to be done by the Conservatives to get to the point where they are able to offer those units if and when they do so, then the Council will consider and its promotion again, but currently that is not a position that we are taking.
other than that, you can see the recommendations within the report at pages 1 5 1 and 1 5 2, but if you have any questions or if David has anything further to add, I look to him to do so, thank you.
thank you, I just wanted to add that, as a couple of issues related to the the key points you
described there, firstly, the fact that we've been promoting net gain at 1.00 end as a consequence of that, we needed to ensure that developments that came forward, will we wish to approve, would have somewhere to go if they needed to provide net gain off-site, and so the Council used its own woodlands in order to achieve that in order, the development wasn't frustrated and the report sets out what was done about that when it was approved and are we gonna take it forward and also there's a new biodiversity duty that had been brought in by the Environment Act which or hear more about, which applies to the whole Council as a corporate issue, and we will we be taking forward
on the point of the Katie she contract, the P and T can recommended that we sought.
some requirements in any negotiations with KCC over that contract, one of which was to secure training through that service level agreement, I can tell you now that the
the KCC ecology have already offered two training days to officers in October, free of charge as part of that ongoing discussion and cooperation across all Kent authorities who take advantage of that service.
thank you,
thank you, David, but does anybody wish to ask David any questions on this item?
does anybody wish to comment
on the item?
she gets my only comment is that cabinet has thrashed through this as well, so I think the role of Cabinet is now reasonably familiar with the proposals and the complexities of it,
and that has been an important discussion that we've had over the last week, thank you.
we have discussed it at length
OK, so I'm gonna move to the recommendations which are very long,
so recommendation number 1
that the Council's interim biodiversity net gain project, utilising Council owned woodland, be continued, as proposed in the report, and that the necessary work and efforts to be made to register the land for biodiversity net gain credits under the Environmental Act 2021, including the appointment of a consultant to undertake the necessary surveys and to provide advice on the longer term management of the scheme,
recommendation 2, that the Council continues preparations for mandatory biodiversity net gain, which commences in November 2023, this will include bullet number one bullet, point number 1, continuing to develop guidance and procedures for Development Management bullet point number 2, collating information on biodiversity net gain being provided in the borough and developing a longer term strategy for the off-site provision for biodiversity net gain bullet. Point number 3, the appointment of KCC ecology under the service level agreement brackets seller to assist in the review of biodiversity net gain plan submitted in support of planning applications in the borough.
recommendation number 3 that, as required by the Environmental Act of 2021, the Council prepare and publish a biodiversity report through consultation with members and key stakeholders. The biodiversity report shall, as a minimum, meet the requirements of the biodiversity duty and set out the council's abide diversity action plan
recommendation for that delegated authority be given to the Head of Planning, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning, to implement the above actions set out in recommendations 1 to 3 above, including entering into a seller with KCC ecology following any necessary negotiations, and that delegated authority be given to the Head of legal partnerships in consultation with the Head of Planning, to negotiate and complete all necessary agreements with the consultant referred to in paragraph 1, above negotiations with KCC, ecology will seek to secure a one year review clause and two training sessions for members and officers. Are we agreed
thank you very much

16 Kent High Weald Partnership:Service Level Agreement and Funding

Item number 16 is the Kent High Weald Partnership, the service level agreement and funding, and I'm gonna pass back to Councillor Hugo LB.
thank you Chair very much so agenda item 16, which is in front of you at page 1 9 6, is the Kent High Weald Partnership service level agreement from 2024 to 2027
the Kent High Weald Partnership is a sort of semi, independent organisation which has a formal agreement with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and KCC to provide all sorts of services.
around countryside management and countryside care within both this borough and elsewhere across Kent I personally, I have to say I'm a huge fan, they do fantastic work,
they engage lots of volunteers and I volunteered within a couple of times.
and through their volunteer network. They are therefore able to provide an enormous number of hours of care to our countryside that would otherwise not, I suspect, be provided by anybody else, and they also do outreach. They do work with schools, they do wellbeing walks, they are engaged in our communities,
they facilitate all sorts of dialogue and and interactions with schools, and I think that they do fantastic work,
and I've written in my notes here, I'm not sure that we could do without them, and I think that is probably true, so you had three options before you within your papers of which option 3 really is the only realistic option which is represented in the four recommendations that are before you this evening. the principle important statement within it is one that we enter into an agreement with them and that too, we agree to the setting of an annual budget, which is our contribution towards the work that they undertake, but from what I understand from officers,
the work that they undertake and which might be proposed this year and in subsequent years to be 76,194 pounds probably gives us a return. of several multiples of that in terms of time and expertise, I would therefore strongly recommend approval, thank you,
David Scully's here again and can respond to anything that I've left out thanks.
sorry, do nothing to add really adding that if. again I bow, we would have wanted to create an organisation with in collaboration with, say, KCC and other organisations today, I don't think it would be able to achieve it so as to something actually is very precious because I think if it were lost it would be very difficult to replace in any and any meaningful form for the amount of money that it costs the Council at the moment.
thank you, and I'll second that as a nearby resident of Groovin and Hilbert park, if you haven't done the boardwalks built by Kent High Weald with volunteers, they're fantastic.
well worth it is it
does anybody wish to ask David any questions or comments on the item?
no OK, so she she goes proposed or option 3 are we happy to endorse option 3?
sorry, Chair, there are recommendations at the beginning of the report. Yeah yeah,
so so the three options for us to look at and you're recommending out of those three options option 3, so I'm just checking with Cabinet we're we're voting on recommendation that will include option 3, OK, so recommendation. I'll move straight to recommendations recommendation 1, that the draft service level agreement SLA between Tunbridge Wells Borough Council TW B C and the Kent High Weald Partnership K H W P be approved recommendation 2 that the draft memorandum of agreement M o A between Kent County Council KCC, and TW BCC governing the operations of the High Weald Partnership be approved.
recommendation 3 that the Head of Planning Services and the Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning be given delegated authority to make minor amendments and sign on behalf of TW B, C B S L A and M A in 1 and 2 above and recommendation 4, which is the option 3 that was in our papers reads that the funding for the Kent High Weald partnership for the period 1st of April 2024 to 31st of March 2027 be set at 76,000 pounds so 76,194 pounds and 50 pence annually subject to the setting of the Council's annual budget. Are we agreed

17 Affordable Housing Commuted Sum Position Statement

agreed? Thank you very much, we'll move straight on to Item number 17, which is the affordable housing commuted sum position statement, and I'll ask Hugo pounds to introduce the item please.
thank you very much Chair,
we are now going to be working through
3 fairly significant agreements in relation to housing. Before I start, I just want to acknowledge that much of the work on this has been done by Toby Phillips, who is the council's affordable housing and enabling Officer, and he has done a fantastic job over the last few months of pulling together some real clarity about what it is that this Council desires, in terms of its relationships, in its expectations, with both providers and with our tenants, and I think this is an important move forward. So the first item that is before you agenda item 17, is the committed sum position, a statement
essentially until now.
as I understand it, the Council has had no formal procedure for calculating commuted sums, in lieu of on-site of full, affordable housing when we are in negotiation with developers.
and if you turn to 3.6 in your papers, which is a page 2 3 4. essentially, the prince one of the key principles behind the statement
is that the developer of a scheme should be no worse or better off financially, whether they provide the affordable housing on-site or as a commuted sum, and that has been a cause of friction.
both with public and sometimes with us in our relationship with developers,
and what we want to be very clear about is that there will be no financial benefit in either direction in choosing to provide affordable housing, on-site or off-site and and therefore that is the principal thrust and behind this statement
and the rest of the statement and Carlos Hone is here as head of planning and can again rather like with David fill in on the bits that I miss out if needs be.
the rest of this statement essentially, is just one more string in the bow to developing an honest and more open and transparent relationship with developers, and they better understand this Council's imperatives, so if you turn as an example to some of the statement in Appendix A some of the calculations that have been worked out,
provide clarity that has never been provided before so residual land values, which is a huge debate with both developers, and the Council is more clearly expressed here than has ever been the case before and might be subject to further discussion
most positively from my perspective, certainly in planning and housing,
partial units, in other words where the calculation works out that the affordable housing might be 10.3, we settled on 10, but this agreement proposes that we are then able to claw back in some other form the point 3 that would otherwise be lost
and that actually, oddly, is quite important and in both housing and planning terms.
So, as I say, this statement is a position to help the Council be more assertive about its understanding of its relationship with developers, and I hope that it will help us going forward to settle more equitably the committed sums that are required.
I'm sorry, I said it was Carlson, but actually it's not, of course, it's Gary Stevens, who is back from holiday, and you may want to add something to that. Gary
no, I don't thank you, Councillor LB and and to be fair costs,
it hadn't put into this with with Toby as well in developing the policy so hits it's very interlinked between local planning policies and housing policies.
I will pass on your thanks and to typing tomorrow, so nothing else to say thank you.
thank you, Hugo Gary, and does anybody wish to ask any questions or make comments on the item?
OK in that case, we'll move straight to the recommendations on Item 17. There are two recommendations recommendation, 1, that the Cabinet approves the affordable housing commuted sum position statement in order to set guidelines when calculating and negotiating a commuted sum in lieu of the on-site delivery of affordable housing recommendation 2, that delegated
be given to the Head of Housing, Health and Environment in consultation with the portfolio holder for housing and planning to make any minor amendments to the affordable housing commuted sum position are we agreed?
Thank you very much
we're gonna move on to

18 Affordable Housing Commuted Sums Spending Policy

Item 18, which is the affordable housing commuted sums spending policy, and we're gonna ask Councillor Hugo Pound to introduce this item as well. Please,
thank you very much. So the commuted sum spending policy then extends from beyond the position statement to give clarity about how we as a Council will use the commuted sums that we have gathered to further our desire to provide more social rent, homes and other affordable tenures across the borough, and
I don't want to go on too long, but if you go to page 2 5 6 of your papers, you will see at 3.00.1 a number of bullets which rather adequately explain the fact that providing social housing isn't just about building new housing and it isn't just about acquiring properties, and there are other ways in which we are able to ensure the provision of social and affordable housing tenures across the across the Council.
for example, is as it says here to provide funding for the development of affordable housing and social rent levels in within schemes that are already present, to subsidise alternative developments, to allow for a greater provision of affordable housing or social health, social rent, or to create a more favourable mix of social rented properties versus affordable, rented or intermediate or private rented properties, so that is are stepping in and engaging with a with or
a development that is already in place we can fund extra units of social affordable housing within existing developments we can contribute towards forward funding and kickstarting affordable housing schemes. we can reduce the funding gap for pipeline and current affordable housing schemes, which in fact were in discussion with at the moment
we can assist with works required to bring void, affordable housing properties back into usable standard.
we can assist with bringing empty buildings back into use as affordable housing, and we can secure a long term temporary accommodation to ease housing needs and facilitate transitions into affordable housing, all of those things can be done using our section 106 commuted sentence, and it's important that people understand that those are options that are available to us one of the questions that was asked. at the planning and transportation planning and transportation CAB a couple of weeks ago was an expression of concern that, where developments are taking place in a particular location, that those commuted sums, if not available to be delivered on site,
need to be delivered within near the location of the agreed development, in other words that we shouldn't be taking committed sons from one town and then using it to provide social housing somewhere else.
having had discussions with the Head of Planning, I can confirm that within the submission Local Plan, it very clearly expresses that where the Council considers that full provision of on-site, affordable housing cannot be delivered.
sorry, Robert. it says all forms of affordable housing will be provided on the basis of a local connection cascade. The details of this cascade will be determined on a case by case basis.
Google follow the general principle of prioritising households with an established local connection and for social and affordable rented housing need to the parish or town through the residents or place of work, and then households from surrounding parishes. So that means that where we are providing social or affordable housing, those in local need will get first preference, and then it will cascade out from there. Similarly, where the Council considers that full provision of on-site affordable housing cannot be delivered, alternative delivery will be considered in the following order, that full, affordable housing provision to be provided by the applicant on the alternative site agreed with the Council in sequentially the settlement, in other words, where the development is taking place and the Parish of the application site and or a reduced number of affordable provision on the application site and or a variation in the tenure of the affordable housing and or the applicant making land available elsewhere. Sequentially in the settlement in the parish, in the borough, to provide the affordable housing for a registered provider and or a financial contribution in lieu of on-site affordable housing. So that has been sent to every member of the CAB and they confirmed on e-mail, or some of them did that that cascade of how we ensure that social and affordable housing is provided in the location at which the commuted sums were gathered will be adhered to and is within the submission Local Plan.
so on that basis, so as a long explanation of again, what we're trying to do is to be very explicit and transparent about the manner in which we will use those sums and the locations in which they will be used, if Gary has anything else to add.
please do.
I would just add that, so what I said is to policy that will help guide that spending the release of each individual. section 1 0 6 will follow the normal route of either face a Cabinet Member decision to be published, so again it's very transparent and for the larger sums would need Cabinet approval, but the policy gives us a good framework to have those discussions in.
Q. Gary, Does anybody wish to ask any questions or comments on the item?
Councillor Justin Rutland.
just to comment, really just for the record, it was the communities and economic development cap,
not P and T that might help Peter with the record.
plankton, Justin offer, I think it sounds really good that is transparent and it's open and people can hold us to account and developers know what to expect when they come and talk to us about possible developments right, as we will move to the recommendations on Item 18 recommendation 1 that the Cabinet approves, the affordable housing, commuting commuted sum spending policy at Appendix A to utilise commuted sums, funding paid in lieu of affordable housing provision recommendation 2, that delegated authority be given to the Head of Housing, Health and Environment, in consultation with the portfolio holder for housing and planning to make any minor amendments to the affordable housing commuted sums spending policy are we agreed,

19 Nomination Agreement

thank you very much, we're going to move on to Item number 19 nomination agreement and I'm going to ask Councillor Hugo Pound to introduce the item.
last one I promise,
so this is the housing nominations agreement
and the disagreement will serve as the standard agreement
detailing our relationship and understanding with the registered providers who worked with the Council to provide nominees from the Council's Housing Register, and again then there is a need for a little more clarity about, the hierarchical structure of nomination and the manner in which that is achieved both by us as a Council and responded to by the registered providers.
so this agreement makes more explicit the criteria for refusal, it makes
more explicit and understanding about the appeals process, which many people struggle with.
It also gives a CA, a working definition, which I don't think we've had before of a void property and both the registered providers, responsibility for addressing void properties and the manner in which we are then able to take them on as our own.
No sorry that we regain the nomination rights in relation to to those properties.
So again, this is all part of the package that Toby has been working on over the last few months and with others in the Housing Services team, and and I would strongly recommend approval of the two recommendations that you have before you. Thank you
thank you, does anybody wish to comment or make any statements on this one
Justin round?
thanks today I just wanted to agree with you, Gareth, again, let a lot by reading these
three reports, and I just want to commend Toby in the team and for the increased clarity I think it's gonna be so useful for us
as hopefully we enter
a new planning period, thank you.
thank you, just do I particularly like the void definitions avoid in that box, very clear, black and white
was really helpful. thank you, so recommendation 1,
that Cabinet approve the adoption of the nominations agreement Appendix A subject to any necessary drafting changes, considered necessary by the Head of Mid Kent legal services recommendation to the Cabinet, give delegated authority to the Head of Mid Kent legal services to enter into nominations agreements with registered housing providers after receiving instructions to do so from affordable housing and enabling Officer are we agreed.

20 Urgent Business

thank you very much Item number 20 is urgent business and we have none.

21 Date of Next Meeting

item 22 has been dealt with in public's
session, so we don't need to go to private session, so therefore item 21 is the date of the next meeting, which is first day of the 26th of October 2023 at 6.30 at the Town Hall in Royal Tunbridge Wells, thank you very much for listening and coming