Agenda and minutes

Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee - Thursday, 1st July, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Online

Contact: Emily Kennedy  03000 419625


No. Item


Apologies and Substitutes


Apologies were received from Mr Holden and Mr Manion. 


Mr Dendor was present as a substitute for Mr Holden.



Declarations of Interest


Mr Broadly declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 13 (Work Programme 2021/22) on the agenda, with reference to the Theme Park Project on Swanscombe Peninsula, due to his role as Chairman of Broadness Cruising Club and Secretary of Northfleet Harbour Restoration Trust.



Election of Vice Chairman


It was proposed by Mr Kite, and seconded by Mrs Binks, that Mr N Baker be elected Vice Chairman of the Committee.


It was RESOLVED that Mr Baker be elected Vice Chairman of the Committee.



Minutes of the meeting held on 2 March 2021 pdf icon PDF 168 KB


It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 2 March 2021 are correctly recorded and a paper copy be signed by the Chairman.



Verbal updates by the Cabinet Members and Corporate Director


1.    Mr Hill (Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services) introduced himself to members, explaining that he oversees a complex portfolio encompassing 15 services, and is always happy to speak to members outside of the Committee. Mr Hill said he is also the Chairman of the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel.


Mr Hill gave a verbal update on the following:


(a)  The 4,000 mile Public Rights of Way (PROW) network has been very busy during the pandemic.  A decision paper on PROW Operational Management Policies will come to the Committee at a future meeting.


(b)  The County Council’s 9 country parks have been very busy during the pandemic seeing an increase in visitors of 60%.  The development of a Country Parks Strategy is underway and will be supported by a member working party.


(c)  The County Council has an active partnership with Sports England with the Kent School Games taking place every second year and this proves to be very popular. The Open Golf in Sandwich will take place between 11 and 18 July 2021 with an expected attendance of 32,000 visitors each day, a total of 130,000 visitors over four days. 


(d)  The Community Warden Service has provided an important visible presence across rural areas throughout the pandemic providing protection for around 4,000 vulnerable people.  Two Canterbury Community Wardens, Mandy Quy-Verlander and Roger Lithgow, have received the Lord Mayor’s ‘Community Hero’ Award.


(e)  The Coroners’ Service has seen an increased workload as a result of the pandemic which necessitated the building of a temporary mortuary.


(f)    Trading Standards have increased their remit and played a major role during Brexit with increased border responsibilities.  A paper on the implication and planning for new import duties will come to the Committee at a future meeting.


(g)  The Arts Investment Fund has provided a lifeline to small arts organisations with hotspots for creative activities being established in several areas within Kent.   The Turner Contemporary is providing a real focus for arts in Margate, with smaller organisations being set up in its shadow.


(h)  The Libraries Registration and Archives Service (LRA) has been badly affected by the pandemic with the closing of 99 libraries and 5 mobile libraries.  A phased reopening is taking place, in line with government guidelines, with 43 libraries currently open, and it is anticipated libraries across the county will be open by mid-August.  Many libraries in town centres have been refurbished but some small libraries require work. A review will be taking place and a paper will come to the Committee at a future meeting. 


(i)    Birth and death registrations were halted during lockdown but are now fully operational with death registrations taking place by telephone.  The service has taken the decision to cease further wedding and civil partnership ceremony bookings for July, August and September this year. The first National Registrars Day to recognise efforts during the pandemic was held on 1 July 2021.


(j)    Kent Libraries have announced that the Summer Reading Challenge is back  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Risk Register Review pdf icon PDF 333 KB

Jody Catterall


Jody Catterall (Risk Manager) was in attendance for this item.


1.    Ms Catterall (Risk Manager) introduced the risk management report explaining that the report presents two strategic risks on the Corporate Risk Register which relate to the Cabinet Committee, and a summary of key risks from within the Growth, Environment and Transport directorate. 


Ms Catterall explained that the Corporate Risk Register is taken to the Governance and Audit Committee regularly and, in addition to this, strategic risks are reported to cabinet committees annually.


2.    Ms Catterall and Mr Jones responded to comments and questions from the Committee, including the following:


(a)  In response to a question about whether Risk GT0003 should be assessed higher than the current score of Medium as a result of blockages further afield due to utilities and debris, Mr Jones said teams were working with water authorities to ensure drains were clear and pumping equipment was fully operational.


(b)  Ms Catterall explained the methodology behind scoring risks, namely the use of the 5x5 matrix, impact and likelihood, and discussions with officers.


(c)  Referring to risk CRR0003 and risk CRR0042 it was noted that many traders are experiencing difficulties in sourcing materials and parts efficiently and questioned how these businesses can be supported.  Mr Jones explained that the backlog of building activities was creating a shortfall in materials.  Work was being done with the border force to increase efficiency in importing goods, and on transporting materials to site as quickly as possible.   He explained that whilst new materials are difficult to get, there has been an improvement in the recycling and reuse of equipment in the construction industry.


3.    It was RESOLVED that the risks presented in the report be noted.



Performance Dashboard pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Additional documents:


Rachel Kennard (Chief Analyst) was in attendance for this item.


1.    Ms Kennard introduced the fourth and final Performance Dashboard for the 2020/2021 financial Year. 


(a)  In response to comments and questions Ms Kennard confirmed that the increase from £5.9 million (for year to March 2020) to £28 million in relation to the activity indicator EPE03 – Value of items prevented from entering or removed from the market by Trading Standards - was correct and that there had been considerable effort in this area resulting in the significant increase in performance.


(b)  Mr Jones undertook to provide additional information to a member about the targets associated with the proposed KPIs SPA01 and SPA02


(c)  Mr Murphy said he would speak with Ms Kennard about how more detailed information on employment in the 16-24 age category, including NEETs (not in education, employment or training) and those undergoing apprenticeship programmes within the private and public sector, might be included in the next performance dashboard.


(d)  In response to a question about the target of 400 homes being brought back into use through the No Use Empty Scheme when 462 units had been brought back into use in 2020/21, Mr Jones said he would be happy to provide statistical updates.


2.    It was RESOLVED that the performance report for Quarter 4 of 2020/2021 be noted, and that Mr Murphy discuss with Officers the inclusion of data relating to young people in unemployment and apprenticeships (16-24 age category).



District Visits Programme 2021 pdf icon PDF 13 KB


Rob Hancock (Programme Manager) was in attendance for this item.


1.    Mr Hancock introduced the report outlining the proposed programme for future member visits to Kent districts in 2021. Visits had been interrupted by the pandemic but it was proposed to start them again in September with visits scheduled to the Sevenoaks, Tonbridge & Malling, Thanet, Canterbury and Maidstone Districts.


2.    Members commented on the success of previous visits and expressed their support for the continuation of such visits. Mr Hancock said that any requests for visits to specific sites should be referred to Mr Murphy.


3.    It was RESOLVED that the Cabinet Committee endorse the report, and that the briefing note for the visit on 22 September 2021 include background information explaining how the Council and the districts have worked together in the past.



Kent County Council Village and Community Hall Grant Scheme Performance Report - 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 239 KB


Mark Reeves (Project Manager) was in attendance for this item.


1.    Mr Hill introduced the agenda item and said the County Council’s Village Halls and Community Centres Grant Scheme, which supported small village halls by offering capital grants of up to £30,000 from an annual allocation of £75,000, was very important to communities.


2.    Mr Reeves introduced the report which provided an update on grants made under the scheme since April 2020.


3.    In response to a question, Mr Reeves said that grant agreements were sent once funding was agreed, funds were paid as quickly as possible and halls had the option to submit invoices in stages to alleviate the financial pressure.


4.    It was RESOLVED that the report be noted.



Report on decision taken by the Leader between meetings - 21/00042: UK Community Renewal Fund: Bid Submission pdf icon PDF 300 KB

Additional documents:


Sarah Nurden (Strategic Programme Manager) was in attendance for this item.


1.    Ms Nurden introduced the report and presented a series of slides outlining the background to the decision.  The presentation is attached as an appendix to the minutes.


2.    Ms Nurden said the framework on the Shared Prosperity Fund had not yet been released, and she would welcome the opportunity to speak with members to identify potential projects prior to the framework being announced.  She undertook to share the Local Government Association papers on the Shared Prosperity Fund with members.


3.    It was RESOLVED that the decision taken between meetings of the Cabinet Committee in accordance with the process set out in the Council’s constitution:

21/00042: UK Community Renewal Fund: Bid Submission be endorsed, and that information about successful bids be included as an agenda item at the next meeting.



21/00056 - Inward Investment Services pdf icon PDF 338 KB

Additional documents:


David Smith (Director of Economic Development) was in attendance for this item.


1.    Mr Smith introduced the report explaining that the Council was seeking to procure inward investment services for the period August 2021 to April 2023. 


2.    It was RESOLVED that the proposed decision to enter into a contract with the successful bidder for the provision of inward investment services and provide authority to the Director of Growth and Communities the delegated authority to enter into necessary contractual arrangements to let the contracts as shown at Appendix A be endorsed.



Work Programme 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 147 KB


It was RESOLVED that the committee’s planned work programme for 2021 be noted subject to the inclusion of the following items:


·       Country Park Strategy (all member working party)

·       Trading Standards – implication and planning for new import duties

·       Libraries Network Review

·       Section 106 Developer Contributions

·       Infrastructure Funding

·       Monitoring of unemployment and private and public apprenticeship take-up figures for 16-24 year olds

·       Interest free loans – money loaned to businesses on recyclable basis to help economy recover and grow

·       Update on the No Use Empty Scheme

·       UK Community Renewal Fund: Successful Bids

·       Statistics on the key industry sectors in the county to target resources