Agenda and minutes

Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee - Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Georgina Little  03000 414043


No. Item


Apologies and Substitutes

To receive apologies for absence and notification of any substitutes present

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Apologies were received from Mr A Bowles, Mr A Hook Mr D Farrell and Mr J Kite Mr. Mr B Lewis and Mr M Payne attended as substitutes respectively.



Declarations of Interest by Members in items on the Agenda

To receive any declarations of interest made by Members in relation to any matter on the agenda.  Members are reminded to specify the agenda item number to which it refers and the nature of the interest being declared

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There were no declarations of interest received.


Minutes of the meeting held on 15 May 2018 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To consider and approve the Minutes as a correct record

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RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 15 May 2018 are a correct record and that they be signed by the Chairman subject to the amendment of Mr M Hill’s Cabinet Member title on page 7 of the agenda pack.



Verbal Updates by Cabinet Members

To receive verbal updates from Mr M Hill, OBE , Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services and Mr M Dance, Cabinet Member for Economic Development.


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  1. Mr M Hill, OBE (Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services) provided an update on the new exhibitions that had taken place at the Turner Contemporary, including the art produced as part of the ‘Animals and Us’ themed exhibition on 25 May 2018 which was well received and positively reviewed by The Times and The Spectator as well as the celebratory event held on 14June 2018 whereby young children presented their award winning pieces of art to friends and family. Mr Hill praised the efforts of all those involved and commended Turner Contemporary in its efforts to inspire and encourage both international and local communities to visit.


  1. Mr Hill also informed the committee of the two libraries in Charing and Swale Cliff that had been reopened following a recent refurbishment. Both events were well attended and received strong support from local Members, Mr C Simkins and Mr I Thomas, thus demonstrating the importance of libraries within communities.


  1. Mr Hill said that the Kent School Games celebrated it’s 10th anniversary at the Pavilion sports grounds at the University of Kent in Canterbury. Olympian Lizzy Yarnold, OBE along with other Olympic and Paralympic GB medallists attended the event to inspire and encourage young athletes to participate and enjoy sport.


  1. Mr M Dance (Cabinet Member for Economic Development) provided an update on the launch of the Thames Estuary Commission and highlighted its significance in terms of its links to Ebbsfleet. Through joint working between University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University, the Government had agreed to commission two new medical schools in the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) area to improve recruitment within the NHS. Mr Dance assured Members that Kent County Council would continue in its efforts to put pressure on the government to find funding solutions to support economic growth.


  1. Mr Dance also informed the committee of his attendance at the Kent Excellence Business Awards which celebrated its 10th year anniversary of working in partnership with the Kent Messenger Group. Mr Dance commended the efforts of the judges who visited all of the companies and congratulated the success of those businesses. The recent event had 700 companies, however, Mr Dance has requested that this be increased to 750 in 2019, he said it was an important event for Kent and it was crucial that companies are recognised for their hard work. Kent Vision Live also offered companies from across the South East an opportunity to network with a high calibre of successful and inspirational speakers with the aim of creating new customer, supplier and partner relationships to create better businesses. 



Performance Dashboard pdf icon PDF 196 KB

To note the performance report.

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Richard Fitzgerald (Business Intelligence Manager, Performance, Strategic Business, Development & Intelligence) was in attendance for this item.


  1. Mr Fitzgerald introduced the Performance Dashboard which showed progress made against targets set for Key Performance Indicators.


  1. RESOLVED that the report be noted.



18/00040 - Open Golf Update pdf icon PDF 82 KB

To note the work that has taken place since March 2017 and to consider and endorse or make  recommendations to the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services on the proposed decision for Kent County Council  to underwrite the final 28% of contingency for the project, a sum of £243, 220. This is within the context that other funding partners collectively have contributed a further £1, 929, 425 towards the project since March 2017.

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Stephanie Holt-Castle (Head of Countryside, Leisure and Sport) was in attendance for this item.


1.    Mr M Hill, OBE, Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services introduced the report which set out Kent County Council’s position in relation to the Open Golf Championship and its decision to underwrite the final 28% of contingency for the project, a sum of £243,220, should it be called upon. Mr Hill reminded Members of the significant economic benefits affiliated with the Open Golf and the extent of work that had been undertaken by Kent County Council and its partners to ensure that the Open Golf returns to Sandwich for a further two Championships.


2.    Mrs Holt-Castle said that the Open Golf Championship was a prestigious event which offered significant economic benefits to Kent and the South East. She said that the Open in 2011 had generated a £77 million benefit to Kent and that the economic impact for 2020 was forecasted to be more than £85 million, of which £26.8 million would be direct additional spend. To secure the Open Golf, critical transport improvements were required at Sandwich station to facilitate the number of expected spectators, without the infrastructure in place The R&A would not invite Kent to host the event. Since March 2017, Kent County Council led a value engineering process to reduce the cost of the required infrastructure by £400,810 and was successful in receiving a £1.9 million investment from South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) which helped to negotiate a three Championship agreement, thereby maximising the economic impact from the public-sector investment and enabling long term planning up to 2036. The final significant development was that Network Rail had also agreed to fund the Power Draw element of the project which would support the power supply required for a 12-car train. She advised the committee that due to the way in which rail projects were contracted, this meant that there had to be a 35% contingency within the contracted price; the majority of which would be paid by the core investors with Kent County Council underwriting the final 28%, is required.


3.    In response to questions raised around Visit Kent and the efforts that had been made to promote Kent and the opportunities for businesses, Mrs Holt-Castle said that the Tourism Working Group had been established by Visit Kent and that Kent County Council was an active participant in the group. The Kent Golf Partnership was also established through Visit Kent which focused on the tourism market and how to maximise opportunities and benefits around this. The R&A who own the rights of the Championship also wanted to grow the number of young people attending the event and have looked at elements such as offering free tickets and potential camping sites where young people could stay to be within close proximity to the event and where they could also enjoy other benefits offered by Kent. In regard to the Inward Investment Steering Group, it was anticipated that Locate in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 86.


2017/18 Growth, Environment and Transport Directorate Equality Review pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To note current performance, provide any comment, and agree to receive this report annually in order to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty 2010.

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Stephanie Holt-Castle (Head of Countryside, Leisure and Sport) was in attendance for this item.


1.    Mrs Holt-Castle introduced the report which set out a position statement for the Growth, Environment and Transport (GET) Directorate for 2017/18 regarding the embedding of equality and diversity within work programmes and organisational development. Under the Public Sector Equality Duty 2010, Kent County Council had a statutory obligation in ensuring publication of its equality and diversity information and that this be reported annually to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The GET directorate positioned its equality and diversity approach within its customer service programme to reflect the fact that everybody had protected characteristics. Kent County Council was reviewing its corporate policies and mapping its performance against the six domains identified by the Equality and Human Rights Commission which reflected the areas of life that enabled people to flourish. Mrs Holt-Castle drew Members’ attention to paragraph 4 and 5 of the report which set out GET’s five lead objectives against the KCC Human Rights and Equality Policy and paragraphs 6 to 9 that highlight the directorate’s contribution to four out of the six domains identified by the Human Rights Commission. Mrs Holt-Castle announced that GET had successfully progressed year-on-year at embedding evidenced consideration of protected characteristics within its programmes, projects and ‘business as usual’ delivery schemes and that the analysis of diversity data of staff was an established key element of the directorate’s organisational development priorities.


2.    In response to Members queries regarding the Tonbridge Station Transport Interchange Improvement project, Mrs B Cooper (Corporate Director of Growth, Environment and Transport) acknowledged the points that had been raised and advised that these were within the remit of the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee.


3.    Members asked whether Kent County Council was working with the Government to review LGBTQ arrangements, Mrs Holt-Castle said that Kent County Council had a corporate policy lead who would be leading the Council’s approach on this aspect,  and that within the last year, an officer group had been established to look specifically at transgender communities. A key concern for Kent County Council was that there were no particular opportunities or detriments identified for the transgender community and it was crucial that staff were supported to be aware of this particular community’s needs. There was also an E-learning available to staff around transgender to ensure further understanding. Mrs Holt-Castle agreed to liaise with the corporate policy lead to determine whether Kent County Council was in direct engagement with the Government.


4.    In response to Members’ request for further clarification regarding the improvement of promotional material, Mrs Holt-Castle said that this was related to Kent County Council’s efforts in ensuring that all communities were fairly and proportionally represented within its marketing materials. It was pointed out at the Rural Strategy meeting that a leaflet only contained Caucasian members of the public, therefore GET continued to seek to ensure that all marketing designs reflected all communities of Kent.


5.    With regard to the publication of marketing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 87.


Developing a Kent and Medway Enterprise and Productivity Strategy: Progress Update pdf icon PDF 127 KB

To note the progress made to date and next steps.


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David Smith (Director of Economic Development) and Johanna Howarth (Deputy Director of Economic Development) were in attendance for this item.


1.    Mr Smith introduced the report that set out the Enterprise and Productivity Strategy which identified ways that local authorities across Kent and Medway, working with other public and private organisations, might help businesses to grow, move and thrive in Kent. The strategy also identified ways to increase the county’s economic productivity within a fast-changing technological environment as far as 2050 and has been formulated through the Leader’s working group of elected Members to reflect a breadth of innovative ideas.


2.       Mrs Howarth said that Kent County Council was working with key sectors, local businesses, local authorities and public service providers to identify better ways of measuring and understanding standards of living to provide stronger evidence with which to develop the strategy. Due to the scope of work required, the project would take a year to complete with an aim of publishing an agreed strategy by the summer of 2019. In other parts of the country, it has been demonstrated that areas with evidenced based policy making combined with strong collective governance over wider geographies benefitted from financial rewards and subsequent to that, Kent County Council were keen to ensure that the same approach be adopted when developing its own strategy. The first stage over the summer period would be the call for evidence which would be sent to all key target sectors, asking for their views on what they believe the data identified in terms of how people live, how productive and enterprising Kent’s businesses were and what areas of the strategy required further work. Kent County Council would be working with local and national policy academics and experts of Kent whose knowledge and understanding would play a critical role in providing further validation around the way in which Kent County Council gathered and applied evidence. A series of workshops would also take place over the autumn under the direction of the Leaders Group that aimed to work with local businesses, local authorities and service providers to identify what ‘good’ looks like in different areas and review ways in which Kent County Council could respond to the priorities and seek support from different parties to collectively deliver a short, medium and long term plan up to 2050.


3.    Members sought further information regarding the future of mobility for an aging population and how this fitted within Kent County Council’s policies, Mr Smith directed Members to the quotation in the report which had been extracted from a Government White Paper which challenged the nation to think about the future. Whilst there was not a direct link with the Councils current policies, the aim of the strategy would be to identify those issues so that they could be incorporated into future policies over the next 30 years.


4.    In response to Members concerns regarding the uncertainty of Brexit and whether Kent County Council was in a practical position to start producing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 88.


Business Preparation for Brexit pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To note the ongoing engagement with local businesses, the messages that Kent businesses and key national business bodies are giving and potential opportunities to support Kent businesses to prepare for Brexit as the national position becomes clearer.

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David Whittle (Director of Strategy, Policy, Relationships and Corporate Assurance) and Jenny Dixon-Sherreard (Policy Advisor, Strategy, Policy, Relationships and Corporate Assurance) were in attendance for this item.


1.    Mr M Dance (Cabinet Member for Economic Development) introduced the report which summarised the ongoing engagement with Kent Businesses by Kent County Council and partners, to understand the issues and opportunities associated with Brexit and how they could respond. Kent County Council had met with Hauts-de-France and discussions were taking place around the possible renewal of the memorandum of understanding between the super region and Kent. Mr Dance informed the Committee that a full debate on Brexit would take place at County Council on 12 July 2018 and sought Members comments strictly in relation to how businesses were preparing for the potential impact of Brexit.


2.    Mr Whittle said that the national picture from the business community was very similar to what Kent County Council was hearing from Kent businesses, with the same issues and concerns being raised. Due to the uncertainty of Brexit, businesses were taking a pragmatic approach and limiting their preparation; once clarity had been provided businesses would then be in a position to make the necessary preparations and investments. There had been a study commissioned by Economic Development for the Kent Business school to engage with local businesses on the Brexit impacts, Mr Whittle said that the data was unfortunately unavailable for the Committee, however, it could be brought back to the Committee for comment at a later date.


3.    In response to comments concerning businesses in Kent that do not trade internationally, Mr Whittle said the message from the research was that Kent businesses, regardless of whether they traded nationally or internationally, were concerned with the potential traffic implications and the pressure on the borders. There was an extensive amount of work being undertaken by Kent County Council in terms of the long-term infrastructure needed for freight and it was key that the Council grew its understanding around what the freight market was intending to do in terms of cross-channel activity and that it be incorporated into Kent County Council’s long term strategies.


4.    In response to concerns regarding the number of surveys completed by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Mr Whittle assured Members that the University of Kent had identified 260 as a proportional representative sample in terms of the number and type of businesses within Kent.


5.    RESOLVED that ongoing engagement with local businesses in preparation for Brexit, be noted.



Work Programme 2018 pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To receive a report by the General Counsel that gives details of the proposed Work Programme for this Cabinet Committee.

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1.    RESOLVED that the work programme be noted subject to the inclusion of Kent County Council’s visit to Thanet District Council which was due to take place at the end of summer.