1 – Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Canham, Cllr Cutler, Cllr Howes, Cllr Fukes, Cllr Lynch and Cllr Pearce.

Relevant Legislation: Local Government Act 1972, s 85.

 

2 – Disclosure of Pecuniary Interests

There were no disclosures of pecuniary interests.

Relevant Legislation: Localism Act 2011, s 31.

 

3 – Public Participation

There were no questions from the public.

Relevant Legislation: Local Government Act, s 100.

 

4 – Approval of Minutes

It was resolved to approve the minutes of the meeting of the council held on Wednesday 28th September and the Special Council meeting held on Wednesday 12th October 2022.

Relevant Legislation: Local Government Act 1972, Sch 12, para 41 (1).

 

5 – Presentation of Recognition Award to Neighbourhood Plan Directors

Stone Parish Neighbourhood Plan Directors Paul Winchester, Valerie Winchester, Garnet Johnson and Dorothy Bartlett were presented with a gift and statement by Vice-chair Stephanie Thredgle in recognition of the considerable time and effort they had given to the parish through development of the Stone Parish Neighbourhood Plan, which received support of 90% of electors at referendum.

Members noted their gratitude and thanks for all their efforts. Paul Winchester, Neighbourhood Plan Chairman returned his thanks to the parish councillors and officers who also contributed to enabling the successful outcome of the Stone Parish Neighbourhood Plan and achieving a lasting legacy for the parish.

 

6 – Dartford Constituency Boundary Review

Members were advised the Boundary Commission for England (BCE) is redrawing constituency boundaries to rebalance the number of electors represented by each MP, and a final consultation on proposed new constituencies is now open. A new revised map of constituency proposals, which takes into account feedback sent in by the public on the initial proposals, has been published on the consultation website.

The BCE requested submission of views from local councils in this final consultation, before the deadline of 5th December.

Members discussed the proposals, which will see parts of the Dartford constituency south of the A2 incorporated into the Sevenoaks constituency and noted the requirement to rebalance constituency numbers following significant growth in the northern part of Dartford.

However, as proposals did not directly impact on constituents in Stone Parish, members felt there was little in the way of comment that could be made from the parish perspective.


Therefore, members resolved to note the boundary review but did not have any specific comments to make.

 

7 – Kent Fire & Rescue Safety & Wellbeing Plan 2023

Members were provided with details of the Kent Fire & Rescue Service Safety & wellbeing Plan for 2023. The purpose of the plan is to inform everyone across Kent and Medway, about changes that KFRS intend to make or would like views on.

The plan provided information on what KFRS has been working on recently, current safety campaigns and how KFRS has performed. KFRS also provided a summary of what residents receive for the money paid as part of council tax to help run the fire and rescue service.
KFRS invited comments through a survey on a number of options regarding council tax levels for 2023/24.

Members were advised that a formal response would be submitted in line with council strategic and neighbourhood plan objectives.

Members resolved to note the council’s response to the Kent Fire & Rescue Safety & Wellbeing Plan for 2023.

 

8 – National Highways & Transport Network Satisfaction Survey

Members were advised regarding the NHT Public Satisfaction Survey on highways and transport services which is focusing on specific issues:

  • Highway maintenance
  • Accessibility
  • Walking and cycling
  • Public transport
  • Road safety
  • Tackling congestion

Members were advised that Council officers will formulate a response on relevant subjects that relate to objectives in the Strategic Plan or Neighbourhood Plan as appropriate, but they were also invited to submit any views of their own.

Members resolved to note the proposed response to National Highways & Transport Network Satisfaction Survey and the option for members to submit individual comments.

 

9 – Civility & Respect Project

Members were provided with information regarding the Civility and Respect Project, a joint initiative between the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC), and One Voice Wales (OVW) to address growing concerns about the impact bullying, harassment, and intimidation is having on local (parish and town) councils, councillors, clerks and council staff and the resulting effectiveness of local councils.

Members were requested to resolve to the council signing up to the civility and respect pledge to demonstrate the council is committed to treating councillors, clerks, employees, members of the public, representatives of partner organisations, and volunteers, with civility and respect in their role.

It was noted that the council’s receipt of a Local Council award at gold level already demonstrated the council upheld high standards of performance, training and development, and had policies in place to address any issues this pledge sought to address.

As such, members felt the council upheld both the criteria and the desire to address unwelcome behaviour in the sector and were in support of signing the pledge.

Members resolved to sign up to the Civility & Respect Pledge and note the guides to Roles & Responsibilities and social media.

 

10 – NJC Pay Deal Conclusion

Members were advised that the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has been notified by the Local Government Association (LGA) that it has come to an agreement on the 2022/23 pay offer with the unions representing local government employees

The unions met on 1 November 2022 and agreed to accept the offer. The terms of that agreement include the following:

  • With effect from 1 April 2022, an increase of £1,925 on all NJC pay points 1 and above.
  • With effect from 1 April 2023, an increase of one day to all employees’ annual leave entitlement.

A NALC briefing note and updated pay scales is attached for review.

Members noted the recent conclusion to the negotiations on local government pay and implementation of new pay scales, backdated to April 2022, with immediate effect.

 

11 – Authorisation of Payments

A schedule of proposed supplier payments was attached.

Members resolved authorisation of payment of supplier invoices as outlined.

 

12 – Planning Applications

To resolve observations to Major Planning Applications affecting the parish
Relevant legislation: Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

1.  22/01120/VCON
Land Adjacent To The Old Rectory, St Marys Road, Stone
Erection of 4 storey building to provide 12 x 2 bed apartments and associated parking/amenity (incorporating variation of condition 2 to alter external materials).
> View the Design & Access Statement…opens PDF file

Members resolved to note the application but had no observations to make.

 

13 – Exclusion of Press & Public

Members resolved pursuant to section 1 (2) of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, that because of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted, the public and the press leave the meeting during consideration of the following items.

 

14 – Bar Provision at Stone Pavilion, the Claire Tiltman Centre & community events

Members were presented with a report that provided a comprehensive overview regarding the approach to bar provision at council venues and community events and which sought council consideration of service provision post-expiry of the current Service Level Agreement.

The report set out the background, analysis of issues and benefits, implications of continuing sub-contracted services and undertaking of in-house provision.

Members noted the difficulty in tendering and achieving the required service standards and considered factors in respect of in-house provision which included enhanced development opportunities, improvements in service quality and additional revenue into the council’s budget and concluded the recommendation on the basis of consideration of these factors.

After discussion, members resolved to move to in-house service provision beyond expiry of the Service Level Agreement for a period of 12 months to establish the basis for continued provision or consideration of subsequent re-tender.

 

There being no further business to conduct, the Chairman closed the meeting at 20:18pm.