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Decisions published

06/11/2019 - Corporate Property and Projects - Service Changes ref: 192    Recommendations Approved

To set out the new vision for the service to help make it more flexible and responsive to the needs of all its users.  The restructure is to manage a corporate property resource who’s focus will be on delivery a high quality and expansive service.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision published: 15/10/2019

Effective from: 25/10/2019


The Portfolio Holder introduced the confidential report which asked Cabinet to consider proposals to change the Corporate Property and Projects Service, the impact these would have on the delivery of service priorities and the consultation process followed.




That    (i)        the recommendations of the Joint Consultative Committee of 27th September 2019, which note the outcomes of the consultation and proposals for the Corporate Property and Projects Service, be endorsed.


            (ii)       the implementation of the service changes of the Corporate Property and Projects Service be approved as outlined in the Joint Consultative Committee report of 27th September 2019.




That the potential costs of £46,427 resulting from early release of pension on the grounds of redundancy be approved.


Lead officer: Paul McKenner

06/11/2019 - Housing - Current Delivery, Finance and Onward Strategy ref: 191    Recommendations Approved

To update Members on the delivery of approved projects, seek approval for any new sites and reiterate the grant assumptions that have been made in the Business Plan to ensure we are maximising flexibility in our funding bids to Homes England, and making full use of right-to-buy receipts, while taking a holistic approach to delivery and enabling.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision published: 15/10/2019

Effective from: 25/10/2019



The Portfolio Holder introduced the report which, amongst other elements, included the Council’s new Affordable Housing Delivery Plan 2019-2023 for endorsement. This set out how the right homes would be delivered in the right places and the strategic context in which the delivery programme sat, enabling work with Registered Providers and acquisitions (land and on-street purchases). He wanted to thank the Officers involved for producing such a detailed document. It was admittedly ambitious, but it would put Ashford at the forefront of delivering affordable social housing in Kent. The document was also holistic in the way it looked to deliver affordable housing in the Borough along the lines of the Council’s wider corporate agenda – carbon neutrality by 2030, space standards, decent homes for all and attempting to remove the stigma regarding social housing. The document was also flexible in that it would allow for a change of direction if and when needed, in response to changing circumstances in future years.


The report was opened up to Members and the following responses were given to questions/comments: -


·        The commitment to carbon neutrality was something that was being closely examined by Housing and its contractors/partners in terms of embracing new heating methods and technologies. It was important to constantly challenge themselves to deliver the facilities to meet the targets that had been set. In terms of existing stock they were working with Engie to examine their expertise in energy provision and potential retro-fitting. This had of course not yet been costed, but a provision had been included within the business plan and this would be kept under review going forward.


·        The Chief Executive and the Portfolio Holder for Finance and IT agreed to examine possibilities for the Council to be more flexible with the dates it took direct debit payments, particularly for those claiming Universal Credit.


·        The plan had been closely analysed in financial terms and had been found to be sound. The level of debt for the current proposed programme could be repaid within 20-23 years and was affordable and manageable within the life of the current business plan. Clearly though it would have to be kept under review on a year on year basis.


·        There was some risk to the Council if there was a significant and sustained increase in Right to Buys due to legislative changes, but this was not anticipated and the business plan did have flexibility to deal with changing circumstances.


·        In terms of disabled adaptations, the business plan did maintain the budget for these in the Council stock, including the support for the In-House Occupational Therapist post who worked on adaptations and Disabled Facilities Grants. In addition, the significant amount of work undertaken within the HRA to meet the needs of disabled people would continue.




That    (i)        the progress in delivering the affordable housing programme in the HRA be noted.


            (ii)       the impact of the Housing Department on the corporate agenda, as detailed in paragraph 4 of the report be noted.


            (iii)      the priorities set out in paragraphs 5 & 6 of the report be agreed.       


            (iv)      the updated HRA Business Plan and financial projections as set out in the report and in Appendix A to the report be agreed.


(i)               it be noted that Overview and Scrutiny (O&S) will review the HRA Business Plan financial projections as part of the budget scrutiny process.


(ii)             it be agreed that given the positive impact of street purchases on the overall programme, the existing delegation to the Head of Housing (no.14.9) be amended as set out in paragraph 35 of the report.


(iii)           authority be delegated to the Head of Housing, in consultation with the Head of Finance and IT and the Portfolio Holder for Housing, to bid for and/or purchase land suitable for housing development, up to a value of £5m., subject to the availability of sufficient funding (as explained in paragraph 65 of the report).


(iv)           the Council’s plans for future housing delivery as set out in Exempt Appendix B to the report, which represents the full delivery programme be agreed, and authority be delegated to the Head of Housing, in consultation with the Head of Finance and IT and the Portfolio Holders for Housing and Finance and IT, to vary the programme as necessary


(v)             the detailed delivery plan entitled “Building on Solid Foundations” at Appendix D of the report be endorsed.



Lead officer: Mark James

06/11/2019 - Proposed Local Authority Lottery Scheme ref: 190    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision published: 15/10/2019

Effective from: 25/10/2019


The Portfolio Holder introduced the report which sought Members approval to undertake the necessary legal and project management tasks to develop and deliver a Local Authority lottery scheme for the benefit of the local voluntary sector and the residents of the Borough.


Two Members expressed concerns about the proposal in terms of its potential effect on those who may be susceptible to gambling addictions and whether such a lottery was sustainable given previous experience of an Ashford Borough Council run lottery scheme in the 1980s where initial interest very quickly lost momentum. They therefore wondered if a Council run lottery was an appropriate thing to be lending support to and whether there were better and more moral ways to raise funds for charitable causes. Both the Portfolio Holder and the Leader said they had some sympathy with those comments, but these matters had already been considered and this would not be a lottery of instant gratification such as scratchcards, game machines or online gaming/betting. Dover District Council had been running such a scheme since February and had been very successful, as had a number of other Local Authorities, in raising money for the local voluntary sector and local not for profit clubs.




That    (i)        a set up budget of circa £11,000 be agreed to be allocated that will     enable a Local Authority lottery scheme to be launched.


            (ii)       the Head of Culture and the Head of Legal and Democracy be authorised, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Culture, Tourism and Leisure, to agree and settle all necessary licences, legal requirements and documents and to contract with an External Lottery Manager to deliver an appropriate Local Authority lottery scheme for the Ashford Borough.


Lead officer: Michelle Byrne

06/11/2019 - Adoption of the WYE3/WNP11 Masterplan ref: 189    Recommendations Approved

To set out the revised and updated context for the draft masterplan and recommend whether the masterplan should now be adopted as it stands or whether additional amendments should be made.

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision published: 15/10/2019

Effective from: 25/10/2019


This report was a follow-up to the Cabinet report of September 2018 and considered issues raised at the time of the Cabinet resolution and subsequently in respect of the former ADAS site that formed part of the draft masterplan area. The Cabinet was asked to approve the draft masterplan as informal guidance for development management purposes, subject to the suggested changes in the recommendations, to assist decision-making on applications within the Masterplan’s boundary.


In accordance with Procedure Rule 9.3 Mr Jarman, representing Telereal Trillium, the owners of the site spoke on this item. He said he was pleased that, after a long gestation period, the Masterplan had reached the point of adoption and he hoped the Cabinet would follow Officers’ advice to adopt. Like all parties to the Masterplan process there had been frustrations at delays along the way, but they did feel that the plan in its current form would be of great value in guiding the re-use and re-development of the former Wye College building complex. There was one point of detail that he wanted to address the Cabinet on and that was the proposal to reduce the number of buildings proposed at the former ADAS complex from 20 to 15. As a brownfield site with substantial existing buildings, that already had been subject of extensive negotiations with Officers, he asked that this be reconsidered and retained at 20. Indeed, during the process the number had already been reduced substantially from 27 to 20 and following the Cabinet’s interim approval of that number last September that had progressed to pre-application discussions in January 2019 and the recent submission of the planning application. The Officers’ comments with regard to the permitted development rights were noted but he felt that the key point was that the complex of buildings remained exactly the same in terms of site, buildings and constraints, so a proposal for 20 was realistic and still would reduce the overall amount of built floor space on the site within the AONB. He was aware supporting this in the Masterplan would in no way guarantee permission for 20 in a planning application and that would be dealt with at the appropriate time.


In accordance with Procedure Rule 9.3 Mr Bartley, of Wye with Hinxhill Parish Council spoke on this item. He asked the Cabinet if Council Officers were clear on what kind of document they were recommending for adoption tonight. In his view Paragraphs 70 and 71 of the report suggested they did not. It was a document that had moved from a Supplementary Planning Document to a Design Brief. He said that adopted policy stated that the Masterplan should be a Supplementary Planning Document, and therefore be compliant with Regulation 8, and conform to other policy documents. The Parish Council knew that Telereal had challenged this policy requirement on the 25th April 2016. Then, at some point, Officers had pronounced that ‘it had been decided’ that the Masterplan would just be ‘informal guidance’. He wondered where was the justification for this significant change to adopted policy, since planning law required that planning applications be determined in accordance with the development plan, in this case the Local Plan and Wye Neighbourhood Plan? Despite the receipt of some 2,000 comments, he said that the Masterplan map in Appendix 1 to the report had remained unchanged in over two years, bar one minor change to help the bin lorries. He asked where was the evidence that Officers had reassessed the entire Masterplan against the new Local Plan and revised NPPF policies? In the absence of this reassessment he asked how the Cabinet could know if the scale of the development proposed by the Masterplan was proportionate to the size of Wye and whether, the proposal would conserve and enhance the AONB’s natural beauty? Specifically he asked how Policy HOU2 would apply in relation to heritage assets and the proposed care home flats, and HOU3a and HOU5 elsewhere on Wye3? He also asked why this Masterplan ignored Withersdane? These were a few of what he considered to be the many fundamental flaws in the process. With regard to traffic, he said that the TPP Assessment used an imputed fall back allowance. All the Cabinet had in front of it were assertions, and these pre-dated the change in the lawful use of the ADAS site and it’s, as yet unknown, fall-back position. He asked where was the evidence of assessment of the MLM analysis? The ADAS site had profound implications for traffic. The lawful use issue would reverberate and impact on every number within the traffic model, on which the Masterplan relied. Therefore, before any consideration of which traffic assessment was right, he considered it was fundamental that the new lawful position of the ADAS site was clarified, and correctly reconsidered within any modelling, and reviewed by KCC Highways. Advice had been sought from Counsel, who confirmed the Parish Council’s view that the ADAS permitted development granted in January 2016 was not lawful. Therefore, he considered that the fall back, the workshops and indeed the entire Masterplan consultation process was based on a false presumption of residential development, and therefore an inflated land use value. He said that there was no evidence in the report that Officers had assessed the hasty proposal for 15 Units on the ADAS site against the usual policy requirements, therefore this recommendation was flawed and open to challenge. Mr Bartley said that given the complexity of the issues and the impasse that had been reached on this site, a positive suggestion would be a Neighbourhood Development Order which could resolve WYE3 equitably. In conclusion he said that Telereal had stated publicly in 2015 that ‘The Imperial Masterplan was in the bin’. He now invited the Cabinet to bin Telereal’s WYE3 Masterplan, and not accept the recommendations, or adopt what he called a “flawed, quasi-policy document”.


The Portfolio Holder said that he wanted to assure all present that the amount of work that had been put in by Planning Officers to arrive at their conclusion had not been reported in its totality and the report was only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in terms of that work. In terms of the previous report that came to the Cabinet in September 2018, new information had come to light and the report had been reviewed and found to be wanting. That new information had brought about the changes to the numbers and the historical use of the ADAS buildings. Much of the consideration was judgment based, but based on real experience and analysis of this important site within the AONB. He understood that there were strong opinions on this matter, but on balance he considered the report in front of Cabinet was sound and he urged colleagues to support the Officer’s recommendations.


The Spatial Planning Manager said that this matter had to a large degree already been covered by the Cabinet back in September 2018. A number of the issues raised then by the Parish Council were matters that since that point had now been addressed, for example the MLM traffic assessment and concerns about Officers checking for the presence of any outstanding representations on the draft Masterplan. This had therefore come back to the Cabinet at this meeting mainly because of the ADAS site. Significant new evidence had come forward in respect of whether the prior approval process was the appropriate one to determine whether that building could be converted to flats or not, and this report demonstrated that there had been a very thorough exercise undertaken, with the benefit of Counsel’s opinion, to confirm Officers’ views that were reported to the Cabinet in September 2018 were in fact incorrect and that advice to Members had now been corrected. In the absence of that previous fall-back position, Officers had reconsidered what they viewed as the appropriate numbers for the ADAS site in the Masterplan. On balance a small reduction in the amount of development on the ADAS site was viewed as appropriate and should be made to the Masterplan.




That the draft masterplan for the WNP11 area be adopted as informal guidance for development management purposes subject to the following:-


(i)               the wording and any associated diagrams or maps be changed to reflect that residential redevelopment of the former ADAS site should not exceed the existing footprint of previously developed land and be up to a maximum of 15 residential units; the amendments to be to the satisfaction of the Head of Planning and Development, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Planning & Development.


(ii)             wording be changed to the appropriate Planning and Design Principles section to include further general principles sections on grey water recycling measures in accordance with paragraph 63 of the September 2018 Cabinet report; the amendments to be to the satisfaction of the Head of Planning and Development, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Planning & Development.


(iii)           the inclusion of those amendments to the draft masterplan listed in the attached schedule of proposed changes, appended to the report; and,


(iv)           any other consequential minor amendments considered necessary by the Head of Planning and Development in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Planning & Development.


Lead officer: Simon Cole