Venue: Town Hall, High Street, Maidstone
Contact: Caroline Matthews 01622 602743
Apologies for Absence
noted that apologies for absence were received from the Chairman,
Notification of Substitute Members
It was noted that Councillor Powell was in the chair for the meeting as Vice-Chairman.
It was also noted that Councillor Kimmance was substituting for Councillor Mortimer.
The Chairman informed the Committee that he had agreed to take an urgent update to Item 11 – Committee Work Programme. The reason for urgency was that several changes had been made to the document after publication of the agenda. It was important that the Committee were aware of the changes to ensure that they were kept fully informed of when reports would be coming to the Committee.
Notification of Visiting Members
It was noted that Councillor McKay was present as a Visiting Member, and indicated that he reserved his right to speak on Items 13 – Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy 2019-2024 and 14 – Affordable Housing Partnership Update.
Disclosures by Members and Officers
There were no disclosures by Members or Officers.
Disclosures of Lobbying
There were no disclosures of lobbying.
RESOLVED: That all items be taken in public as proposed.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 16 July 2019 be approved as a correct record and signed
Presentation of Petitions
There were no petitions.
Questions and answer session for members of the public
There were no questions from members of the public.
The Committee considered the updated Committee Work Programme and noted that:-
Weavering – As the lawyer
assigned to the case had departed from the Service, this casework
had been reassigned to another lawyer.
A report was to be forwarded to the Committee in December outlining
potential next steps and implications.
· Bio-Diversity – The report was to be taken to the newly established Climate Change Working Group, prior to the Committee considering the item in October.
The Chairman urged Officers to adhere to the schedule outlined in the Committee Work Programme to ensure that Members were able to effectively plan for the consideration of future items.
RESOLVED: That the Committee Work Programme be noted.
The Committee considered a report which set out the financial position for the Committee at the end of Quarter 1 2019/20 against the revenue and capital budgets. It also set out the progress of Key Performance Indicators that related to the delivery of the Strategic Plan 2019-2045.
Director of Finance and Business Improvement stated that the
revenue budget was underspent by £0.234m. This was expected to reduce to £0.115m by
the end of the financial year. A
capital expenditure of £0.583m had been incurred in Quarter 1
for the projects within the Committee’s remit. Slippage of
£4.270m was projected across a range of projects which would
be carried forward into 2020/21.
In response to a question from a Member, the Head of Environment and Public Realm advised that the criterion used to determine acceptable levels of litter and detritus was based on gradings set by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
The revenue position at the end of Quarter 1 and the
actions being taken or proposed to improve the position, where
significant variances have been identified, be noted.
The Capital position at the end of Quarter 1
The Summary of Performance for Quarter 1 for Key
Performance Indicators is noted.
The Housing and Inclusion Manager introduced a report which set out the final Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy 2019-2024. This followed a public consultation that took place in the summer of 2019.
It was noted that the majority of the 500 respondents agreed with the four key themes/priorities. These were:-
1. Prevent homelessness
2. Provide accommodation
3. Supporting vulnerable people
4. Tackling rough sleeping
In response to questions from the Committee, Officers said that:-
It was likely that central government would continue
to fund the Council’s rough sleeper programme. However, the Council did have some reserves that
could still be utilised if required.
A Members’ Briefing would be held on
7th October 2019 which would provide Members with
further information about Housing Allocations Scheme and how these
impacted on homelessness.
Informal discussions with housing providers had been
undertaken but a formal consultation was to commence in the
Funding had been withdrawn for Trinity Foyer and
Lily Smith House as KCC had recommissioned their service
Although the Council was reducing the amount of face
to face contact at the Link, it would still support those who did
not have access to digital devices.
The waiting times for 3 and 4 bedroomed properties
was dependant on what properties were coming through from housing
association partners. However, the
Council was working with private rented landlords to offer
incentives and had made some headway in promoting access for
The housing triage team provide support in many
ways. This included face to face
assistance at the Link, as well as house visits and a dedicated
outreach team tasked with assisting those in the rural
The last survey to identify street homeless was
undertaken in July and revealed that 6 people were sleeping
rough. The next survey would be
undertaken this month.
The Public Space Protection Order in place in the
Town Centre did not ban alcohol, but it did cover incidents where
persons were drinking alcohol and causing a
The proposed Staying Put Incentive encouraged
persons to stay in their current accommodation rather than needing
temporary accommodation by providing greater opportunity to resolve
their housing issues through the Housing Register.
A glossary of terms would be added to the
· A section was to be added to the Strategy, as stated in 3.5 of the action plan of the report, to ensure that the Council works with partners to bring forward improved health services.
In response to a Councillor’s account of her recent experience at the Link, the Head of Housing and Community undertook to look into the matter with the relevant Heads of Service.
1) The Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy 2019-2024, attached as Appendix 1 to the report, be approved subject to the following amendments as identified by the Committee:-
A glossary of terms be
That 3.5 of the action plan be included in the
Director of Regeneration and Place presented his report which would
finalise the strategy to enable the Council to recommence the
delivery of affordable housing within the Borough.
response to questions from Members, the Director of Environment and
Place advised that:-
In order for the Council to manage its own
affordable housing stock, a considerable investment was
· Lending money to a smaller registered housing provider was considered to be a greater risk.
The creation of a Housing Delivery Partnership be
delayed, pending further information relating to a garden community
Officers seek direction from the Secretary of State
to acquire up to 200 no. social rented homes on smaller
developments (at a value of not more than £30m over the 5
year MTFS period.
The services of a Registered Provider (RP), as a
managing agent, be explored together with an in-house housing
provider to acquire up to 200 no. social rented homes.
4) The required financial hurdles for a positive investment decision be 5% Internal Rate of Return and a positive Net Present Value, as per the Council’s current investment criteria for private rented sector housing (for Maidstone Property Holdings).
The Committee considered the report of the Principal Democratic Services Officer in regard to nominations to outside bodies.
Members were advised that there was an amendment to paragraph 2.4 which should read – “Action for Rural Communities – 1 vacancy (2 positions)”.
It was noted that Members received an email recently which advertised all vacancies for outside bodies within the responsibility of this Committee. Only one nomination was received. This was from Councillor Harper for the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Members made the following comments:-
That outside body organisations where vacancies
still existed should be invited to attend a future meeting to give
a presentation to the Committee on the work of their
· That where a vacancy still existed within a month of a presentation, the Committee would make a recommendation to Council that the vacancy is advertised to the wider community.
The appointment of Councillor Harper to the position
on the Citizens Advice Bureau be approved.
The Chairman invites organisations where vacancies
exist to give a presentation to a future meeting.
3) Where a vacancy still existed after one month following the organisation’s presentation to Committee that a recommendation be made to Council to advertise the vacancy out to the wider community.
Duration of Meeting
6.30 p.m. to 8.15 p.m.