Your Councillors

Agenda item

Disposal of Open Space at Franklin Drive

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of Mrs Jennifer Shepherd, the Head of Environment and Public Realm in regard to the disposal of Franklin Drive Open Space by long lease to Boxley Parish Council.

 

It was noted that the Maidstone  Play Area Policy was brought to this Committee in October last year.  In that report it was agreed that non-strategic play areas would not be maintained in the future using the Council’s resources but instead they would be offered to Parish Councils, Housing Associations and other Community Groups to take over the maintenance and running of them.  Franklin Drive was one of the play areas considered to be non-strategic as there were two other play areas in the area.

 

Mrs Pauline Bowdrey addressed the Committee on behalf of Boxley Parish Council and stated that this was a good example of localism and partnership working to provide what was best for the community.  She also emphasised that the Parish Council had secured external funding to replace and add equipment to the play area and were willing and able to take over the maintenance of this site. 

 

The Chairman read out a statement on behalf of Councillor Mrs Hinder who was a Ward Member for Boxley who stated that the Franklin Drive open space was greatly used by local children due to its close proximity to the houses on Grove Green.  It was also noted that the closest play area was a good 12 minutes walk away.  Its loss to the local community would have had a detrimental effect on the local community. 

In response to questions from Members, Mrs Claudette Valmond, the Team Leader Property and Regeneration (Solicitor) advised that if as was being advised that the land in question was of relative low value (as it could not be used as anything other than a public open space) then it just needed a valuer to confirm that the rent of a peppercorn was the best consideration that could reasonably be obtained.   

 

The Council was of the view that Boxley Parish Council taking over the maintenance of the open space would be the best outcome for all concerned.  The reason the Council had leased it rather than handed over the freehold was due to a change in policy that was adopted by Policy and Resources Committee and it would ensure that it is used as a public open space.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1)  That agreement be given to the disposal of Franklin Drive open space to Boxley Parish Council by a long lease (99 years) and that the land be declared surplus to operational requirements.

2)  That the proposed disposal be advertised for two consecutive weeks in a local newspaper and consideration be given by the Committee to any objections that may be received in response.

3)  That the Director of Finance and Business Improvement be authorised to negotiate, agree and complete the Lease and such other documents and to undertake such steps as are necessary and incidental to the recommendations in this report.

Voting:  Unanimous

 

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