Date 23/06/2021
Time 19:00 – 21:15
Location Castle Hall, Stone Pavilion, Hayes Road, Stone DA9 9DS
Present Councillor Keith Kelly, Councillor Stephanie Thredgle, Councillor Paul Cutler, Councillor Lucy Canham, Councillor Margaret Mitchell, Councillor Jeanne Hoadley, Councillor Julie Fukes, Councillor Lesley Howes, Councillor Jessica McQueen, Councillor Kelly Grehan, Councillor Claire Pearce

J Thomas (Parish Clerk), E Shrubsole (RFO)

Councillor Penny Cole (KCC), PCSO Steve Keers,

Apologies Councillor John Burrell

01/06/21CL: To elect the Chairman of the Council for 2021-22 and receive Chairman’s Declaration of acceptance of office

The chairman explained his reasons for being unable to continue as Chairman beyond the current municipal year, particularly in view of the sizeable projects set to be delivered that require a chairman that can give time as needed to support these.

The chairman asked for nominations for chairman for the ensuing year. Councillor Thredgle nominated Councillor Canham.

With no further nominations forthcoming, Councillor Canham was duly elected as chairman for 2021-22.

At this point, the incoming Chairman took over the meeting from the retiring Chairman.

02/06/21CL: To elect the Vice-Chairman of the Council for 2020-21

The Chairman asked for nominations for election of Vice-Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year. Councillor Cutler nominated Councillor Thredgle.

With no further nominations forthcoming, Councillor Thredgle was duly elected as chairman for 2021-22.

03/06/21CL: apologies for absence

Apologies for absence were noted for Councillor Burrell.

04/06/21CL: DISCLOSURE of PECUNIARY interestS

No disclosures of interests were made.

05/06/21CL: Questions from the public

No members of the public were present.

06/06/21CL: To approve the minutes of the Meeting of the Council held Thursday 29 April 2021

The council resolved to approve the minutes of the meeting of the council held on Thursday 29 April 2021.

07/06/21CL: To review and resolve council Scheme of Delegation and to appoint Portfolio Members as outlined in the report

Members were presented with a report outlining the proposed scheme of delegation, which maintains the ongoing cycle of monthly council meetings instated during the Covid pandemic.

The proposed structure aimed to uphold council commitments to effectiveness, inclusion and enhanced communications by ensuring decisions are taken at the most efficient level, with portfolio members taking a specific area of focus to support strategic plan objectives, and delegation to officers designed to enable delivery without impediment where this is in line with strategic plan objectives.

Significant discussion took place regarding the appointment of portfolio members and whether this would preclude involvement in other portfolio matters of interest. The pros and cons of operating collective meetings versus utilizing committees to examine specific matters was also heavily debated. Some members felt committees enabled this more effectively and allowed members to appreciate specific areas of council function, while others felt this often resulted in duplicitous dialogue when discussion takes place at committee and then subsequently at full council.

Concerns were raised regarding the ability of all members to contribute to decision making if smaller, less inclusive, committees with delegated authority determine policy. Some members queried the process for appointment of committee members and how existing skills and experience is considered to ensure the strengths of members can be best utilized.

Concerns were also raised regarding deviation from the proposed structure and the impact this could have on delivery of strategic plan objectives; many of the schemes contained in the plan require prompt statutory decision making by the full council, which could be impeded if they do not meet monthly. Inserting committee meetings into the outlined structure would also require additional administrative resource that had not been accounted for when producing annual action and delivery plans, possibly affecting objective deadlines. Given much of the council’s activity has been established through production of a strategic plan, it was unlikely many agenda items would arise that did not have the council’s position already determined.

The Parish Clerk confirmed to members the proposed scheme of delegation provides the ability for the council to appoint a working group at any time it feels a specific matter needs to be considered in more depth than a council meeting might allow. An ad-hoc approach to this may provide more flexibility and less administrative burden than a formal committee structure. However, any recommendations stemming from a working group would be advisory only, with the decision-making function retained by the council.

The Clerk also provided clarification on a couple of specific points in the scheme of delegation; namely that property leases, while negotiated by the Clerk, are executed under the seal of the council; and that, although communications is delegated in line with legislation, any sensitive matters would be discussed with the Chairman prior to publication.

After much discussion, it was felt the scheme provided sufficient flexibility to respond to any such matters that might present themselves and to proceed with adoption with the scheme as outlined.

Resolved: The Council resolved to approve and adopt the Scheme of Delegation as outlined. No portfolio members were appointed at this time.

08/06/21CL: To appoint council members as Hearing Panel representatives

The chairman confirmed the need to resolve appointment of five councillors, in conformity with the proportional balance of the council, as a pool of hearing panel representatives in line with council Human Resources policies. These members will be required to undertake virtual disciplinary and grievance training within the next 6 weeks.

The chairman invited self-nominations to these appointments.

Resolved: That the chairman (L Canham) and vice chair (S Thredgle), along with M Mitchell, L Howes and C Pearce form the pool of hearing panel representatives and undertake training as required.

09/06/21CL: To appoint council representatives to outside bodies

Members are required to resolve appointment of two council representatives to the Kent Association of Local Council’s Dartford Area Committee.

Resolved: That S Thredgle and J McQueen are appointed as representatives to the KALC Dartford Area Committee

10/06/21CL: To confirm the calendar of Council Meetings for 2021-22

A report was presented outlining a proposed calendar of monthly council meetings in line with the council’s scheme of delegation.

Resolved: That the calendar of monthly meetings is confirmed as outlined.

11/06/21CL: To review and resolve adoption of revised Standing Orders and Financial Regulations

Members were presented with copies of revised Standing Orders and Financial Regulations for 2021-22.

Resolved: That the Council approves and adopts Standing Orders and Financial Regulations for 2021-22 as outlined.

12/06/21CL: To receive reports from outside organisations and agencies

  1. Kent Police
    A report was presented by PCSO S Keers regarding recent area activity. Groups of youths have been visiting the area during recent hot weather and gathering around the lake at St Clements Lakes causing issues. This is being dealt with by the Management company, which is considering the addition of a dye in the water to deter people from entering it.
  2. Kent County Councillor’s Report
    A report was presented by Councillor Cole regarding local KCC issues including temporary traffic lights at Stone Lodge; the one-way system at Hill House Road, local traffic; plans for a new medical centre; and KCC’s engagement with the parish council regarding the Atlas Park scheme.
  3. Dartford Borough Councillors’ Report
    A written report was provided by Councillor Oliver.

13/06/21CL: PARISH Clerk’s Report

A report was presented to members providing an update on the following projects: new playground at Stone Recreation Ground; Stone Recreation Masterplan; Claire Tiltman Centre; Neighbourhood Plan; noticeboards; memorial bench; new tractor; and ongoing Covid restrictions.

Resolved: To note the Parish Clerk’s Report

14/06/21CL: To Resolve approval of Annual Return for 2020-21

Members were presented with a copy of the Annual Return outlining the council’s financial position for 2020-21.

Resolved: The Council approved the annual return for the financial year 2020-21

15/06/21CL: To note internal audit report from Heelis and Lodge

Members were presented with a copy of the recent internal audit report. Members were pleased to note the findings of the report and the quality of administration recorded by the auditor.

Resolved: To note the internal audit report

 

16/06/21CL: To authorise payments

Members were provided with a schedule of supplier invoices due for payment.

Resolved: The Council authorised the list of payments as outlined.

17/06/21CL: To resolve approval of signatories and amendment of the bank mandate

Members were requested to resolve to update the list of signatories on a new bank mandate. It was recommended that this list of signatories include the Parish Clerk, RFO, Chairman and Vice Chairman.

Resolved: The Council approved to make amendments to a new bank mandate with the list of signatories as outlined.

18/06/21CL: To resolve Community Grant Awards

Members were presented with grant applications received from local organizations. Members discussed the nature of applications received and felt it was somewhat difficult to determine an appropriate grant award in the absence of a full selection of applications to establish greatest need.

It was noted that some local groups and organisations may not have reconvened yet following Covid restrictions, which may have impacted the number of applications tendered. Members agreed it would be desirable to defer making decisions on grant applications until a high degree of promotion had been undertaken regarding the grant scheme to enable submission from as many local groups as possible, at which point all applications can be weighed against each other.

As such, it was agreed further promotion of the scheme would be carried out in coming months with a deadline in September to award the annual budget.

Resolved: The Council will further promote the grant scheme through the summer to encourage a full selection of applications for consideration in September.

19/06/21CL: To note response from the London Road lorry parking consultation and resolve council support for a permit scheme on London Road

Members were presented with a report outlining the findings of a recent consultation with residents that are affected by significant lorry parking along London Road.

The low number of responses was considered insufficient on which to base any mandate for action, even though most respondents were in support of potential restrictions being introduced.

Although a flyer was hand delivered to each household surveyed, it was agreed that a formal letter to residents may elicit a higher response to the consultation and should be undertaken before concluding the council’s final position or recommending further action.

Resolved: That the Council undertake a second round of consultation with affected residents by way of a formal letter, with the aim of eliciting a higher response before determining further action. 

20/06/21CL: To note Planning Applications responded to under delegated authority

Members were presented with details of planning applications responded to by officers in line with the council’s scheme of delegation.

Planning Application
Description
Council Response
opens in a new window21/00703/FUL –                  1 Stone House Lane Dartford Kent DA2 6FB
Conversion of integral garage into habitable room with associated alterations to front elevation.
No observation made.
opens in a new window21/00693/FUL– 13 Chambers Close Stone Kent DA9 9RB
Conversion of attached garage into habitable room with associated alterations to front and rear elevations
No observation made.
opens in a new window21/00719/FUL– 20 Hayes Road Horns Cross Kent DA9 9DN
Erection of a two storey side/rear and single storey front and rear extensions
No observation made.
opens in a new window21/00716/TPO – 1 Jepson Drive Stone Kent DA2 6FR
Application to raise tree canopy to roof ridge height subject to Tree Preservation Order No.1 1998
No observation made.
opens in a new window21/00454/FUL –  15 Trivett Close Stone Kent DA9 9PL
Demolition of existing rear conservatory and erection of a single storey rear extension
No observation made.
opens in a new window21/00516/FUL –          220 Watling Street Stone Kent DA2 6EW
Erection of a single storey front extension
No observation made.

Resolved: The council noted applications responded by officers under the council’s scheme of delegation.

There being no further business, the chairman closed the meeting at 21:15pm