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Your Councillors


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, High Street, Maidstone

Contact: Debbie Snook  01622 602030

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

93.

Minute's Silence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council stood in silence for one minute in memory of Sir John Wells, a former Member of Parliament for Maidstone, and a Freeman of the Borough, who died on 8 February 2017.

 

94.

Prayers

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Prayers were said by the Reverend Ian Parrish.

 

95.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Mrs Grigg and Webster.

 

96.

Dispensations

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no applications for dispensations.

 

97.

Disclosures by Members and Officers

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive, on behalf of herself and all other members of staff present, disclosed an interest in the report of the Employment Committee relating to the Pay Policy Statement 2017.

 

98.

Disclosures of Lobbying

Additional documents:

Minutes:

All Members stated that they had been lobbied on the notice of motion given by Councillor Harper, seconded by Councillor Adkinson, relating to the Council’s Integrated Transport and Cycling/Walking Strategies.

 

99.

Exempt Items

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the items on the agenda be taken in public as proposed.

 

100.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Borough Council held on 7 December 2016 pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the Minutes of the meeting of the Borough Council held on 7 December 2016 be approved as a correct record and signed.

 

101.

Mayor's Announcements

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor updated Members on recent and forthcoming mayoral engagements, and thanked them, the Deputy Mayor and former Mayors for their support.

 

During his announcements, the Mayor made specific reference to the deaths of Sir John Wells, Member of Parliament for Maidstone between 1959 and 1987, and Monsieur Gilbert Froment, former Mayor of Montauban de Picardie, who was known to a number of Members of the Council.

 

102.

Petitions

Notice has been given pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 12 of the intention to present a petition in the following terms:

 

We object to the plans by Oakwood Park Grammar School and Saint Augustine's Academy to close the public access and fence off the whole of the Oakwood Park playing fields.  We want to keep public access to the site and leave them open as they have been since the 1940's.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Harper presented a petition in the following terms:

 

We object to the plans by Oakwood Park Grammar School and Saint Augustine’s Academy to close the public access and fence off the whole of the Oakwood Park playing fields.  We want to keep public access to the site and leave them open as they have been since the 1940’s.

 

Councillor Harper said that the petition, in the form of a letter and reply slip, had been collected over the period 18 December 2016 to early January 2017.  Over 150 reply slips had been returned.

 

The public had enjoyed uncontrolled access to the Oakwood Park playing fields since before the Second World War, and statements were available to confirm this.  The public had been able to use the site before the schools were laid out and had used the site jointly with the schools since they were built.  Taking this into account, there were concerns about the lack of consultation regarding the enclosure of the land.

 

The community wished to see the site returned to a shared use, with the schools having use during the school day and the community having use at other times.  The fencing had been erected over the last two weeks, and the work was likely to be completed the next day.  St Augustine’s Academy had stated that the fencing was required in the interests of safeguarding pupils and staff, but local residents maintained that the school rarely used its part of the playing fields.  Oakwood Park Grammar School did, however, use its part of the playing fields on a regular basis.

 

An application had been made for the playing fields to be designated as a town green to give full public access, and a general right of way across the site would also be claimed through presumed dedication.

 

During the ensuing discussion, it was suggested that a compromise should be sought if possible.  Whilst this was a matter for Kent County Council, it was appropriate for Borough Council Members to provide advice and support, and that was what they had done.

 

The petition was referred to Kent County Council as the decision making body.

 

103.

Question and Answer Session for Members of the Public

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Questions to the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee

 

Mr Brian Flinders asked the following question of the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee:

 

Is the banning of community access to Oakwood Park as a result of fencing off by St Augustine Academy and Oakwood Park a major loss to the community in west Maidstone?  This is in the context of the Department for Communities and Local Government cross party inquiry report (11 February 2017) identifying the community benefits of access to parks of increased fitness, better mental health and community cohesion. 

 

The Chairman of the Policy and Resources replied that:

 

Looking at the first sentence of your question, clearly, the community does believe this to be the case, and what people believe makes the loss real to them.  To link this to your statement about how this relates to the Department for Communities and Local Government cross party inquiry report, everyone who has fought for open spaces believes the report to be correct in terms of the community benefits of access to parks – increased fitness, better mental health and community cohesion.  The problem here is that the Council does not own the land and has no jurisdiction over it.  Several Councillors, including some County Councillors, have looked in detail at the history to see if weight can be added to the view that there should be open access.  It appears that when Kent County Council acquired the land it was for educational use.  The fact that people have had access to the land for a very long time would have to be tested by the community through the various methods open to them, but again apart from Councillors assisting in the process, there is nothing else the Council can do as it has no jurisdiction over Oakwood Park.

 

I think that our sympathies are with you, but there is nothing else that the Council can do other than what has been done already.  I do agree that the schools have handled this badly because of the lack of consultation, but that is in the past and we have to move forward as best we can.  It is appropriate for the petition objecting to the enclosure of the land to be referred to Kent County Council as the responsible body.

 

The Mayor then asked if any Group Leader/representative present would also like to respond.

 

Councillor Mrs Blackmore, the Leader of the Conservative Group, Councillor Mrs Gooch, the Leader of the Independent Group, Councillor Barned, on behalf of the Leader of the UKIP Group, and Councillor Harper, the Leader of the Labour Group, responded to the question.

 

Mr Flinders asked the following supplementary question of the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee:

 

Oakwood Park is midway on the route between Cornwallis Park and Clare Park.  The gates to these parks are locked and unlocked by Borough Council operatives at dusk and dawn.  Without any commitment would the Council be willing to consider in partnership with the residents’  ...  view the full minutes text for item 103.

104.

Questions from Members of the Council to the Chairmen of Committees

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Question to the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee

 

Councillor Garten asked the following question of the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee:

 

Various service reviews are about to be undertaken, please could all Members be informed which services are being reviewed, when the reviews are due to be completed and finally, what proposals are in place to ensure Member involvement in order that Members may have the opportunity to shape the outcome of these reviews from the very start?

 

The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee replied that:

 

A comprehensive review of the Planning service is currently being undertaken.  The Council’s Transformation and Planning teams are working in conjunction with an external consultancy to review processes and look at opportunities to make improvements.  The objectives and outcomes were shared with the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee and the review is due to be completed in June 2017.  Recommendations will be made to the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee following this.  The ICT shared service will be reviewed in 2017/18 and, depending on Officer capacity, Street Cleansing may also be reviewed. 

 

Member involvement is vital to the success of these reviews.  Taking the review of the CCTV service as an example, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee were involved throughout,Members had the opportunity to respond to a survey,a workshop was heldto which all Members were invited, and two reports were presented to the Committee for decision.  There was, therefore, an opportunity for all Members to be involved.

 

The other reviews we intend to do will be handled in similar ways depending on the requirements of the review being undertaken.  However, due to the nature of the service, the Planning review requires more in depth engagement with Members; so, there will be an opportunity for all Members and Substitute Members of the Planning andStrategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committees, plus theChairmen and Vice-Chairmen of all other Committees and Group Leaders, to give their views through a focus group, which is currently being arranged.  Other Members will have the opportunity to feed their views through any of these parties; so there will be opportunities for all Members to be involved right the way through the process.

 

105.

Current Issues - Report of the Leader of the Council, Response of the Group Leaders and Questions from Council Members

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was no report from the Leader of the Council on this occasion.

 

106.

Report of the Policy and Resources Committee held on 18 January 2017 - Council Tax Empty Property Discounts pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Wilson, seconded by Councillor Mrs Blackmore, that the recommendation of the Policy and Resources Committee relating to Council Tax Empty Property Discounts be approved.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Council Tax Empty Property Discount Policy, attached as Appendix B to the report of the Policy and Resources Committee, be approved.

 

107.

Report of the Policy and Resources Committee held on 15 February 2017 - Strategic Plan 2015/2020 (2017/18 Refresh) pdf icon PDF 32 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Wilson, seconded by Councillor Mrs Blackmore, that the recommendation of the Policy and Resources Committee relating to the Strategic Plan 2015/2020, 2017/18 Refresh be approved.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Strategic Plan 2015/2020, 2017/18 Refresh, attached as Appendix A to the report of the Policy and Resources Committee, be approved.

 

108.

Report of the Policy and Resources Committee held on 15 February 2017 - Medium Term Financial Strategy 2017/18 Onwards pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Before calling upon Councillor Mrs Wilson to move the recommendations of the Policy and Resources Committee relating to the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2017/18 onwards, the Mayor reminded Members that, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 19.4, each Group Leader could speak for up to ten minutes when moving his/her Group’s budget proposals.

 

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Wilson, seconded by Councillor Mrs Gooch, that the recommendations of the Policy and Resources Committee relating to the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2017/18 onwards be approved.

 

Amendment moved by Councillor Mrs Wilson, seconded by Councillor Mrs Gooch, that the recommendations of the Policy and Resources Committee relating to the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2017/18 onwards be approved with the addition of the following and the consequential changes as indicated in the papers circulated:

 

4.  That a 20% increase in planning fees effective from 1st July 2017 be agreed with a corresponding increase in the revenue estimates in the Strategic Revenue Projection and a corresponding increase in planning expenditure of £180,000 in 2017/18 and a further £70,000 in 2018/19.

 

As a consequence of the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, a named vote was taken on the amendment as follows:

 

FOR (53)

 

Councillors Adkinson, Barned, Mrs Blackmore, Boughton, Brice, D Burton, M Burton, Butler, Clark, Cox, Cuming, Daley, Ells, English, Fermor, Fissenden, Fort, Garland, Garten, Mrs Gooch, Greer, Harper, Harvey, Harwood, Hastie, Hemsley, Mrs Hinder, Mrs Joy, Lewins, McLoughlin,

B Mortimer, D Mortimer, Munford, Naghi, Newton, Perry, Pickett, Powell, Prendergast, Revell, Mrs Ring, Mrs Robertson, Round, J Sams, T Sams, Springett, Mrs Stockell, Vizzard, Webb, de Wiggondene, Wilby, Willis and

Mrs Wilson

 

AGAINST (0)

 

ABSTENTIONS (0)

 

AMENDMENT CARRIED

 

Amendment moved by Councillor Mrs Blackmore, seconded by Councillor D Burton, that the recommendations of the Policy and Resources Committee relating to the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2017/18 onwards (as amended) be approved subject to the following and the consequential changes as indicated in the papers circulated:

 

That the revenue estimates set out in the Strategic Revenue Projection at Appendix A are amended to delete growth for the Museum in 2017/18 and 2018/19, reduce the provision for Contingency from £200,000 to £100,000 in 2017/18 and to create an earmarked reserve for Planning Enforcement of £150,000 to enable direct action should a case require escalated enforcement and add £100,000 to the Contingency provision in 2018/19 to make a total of £200,000.

 

As a consequence of the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, a named vote was taken on the amendment as follows:

 

FOR (23)

 

Councillors Barned, Mrs Blackmore, Boughton, Brice, D Burton, M Burton, Butler, Cuming, Fort, Garland, Garten, Greer, Hemsley, Mrs Hinder, McLoughlin, Perry, Prendergast, Revell, Mrs Ring, Round, Springett, Mrs Stockell and de Wiggondene

 

AGAINST (30)

 

Councillors Adkinson, Clark, Cox, Daley, Ells, English, Fermor, Fissenden, Mrs Gooch, Harper, Harvey, Harwood, Hastie, Mrs Joy, Lewins,

B Mortimer, D Mortimer, Munford, Naghi, Newton, Pickett, Powell,

Mrs Robertson, J Sams, T Sams, Vizzard, Webb, Wilby, Willis and

Mrs Wilson

 

Abstentions (0)

 

AMENDMENT  ...  view the full minutes text for item 108.

109.

Report of the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee held on 16 January 2017 - Treasury Management Strategy 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor McLoughlin, seconded by Councillor English, that the recommendation of the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee relating to the Treasury Management Strategy 2017/18 be approved.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Treasury Management Strategy 2017/18 and the Treasury Management and Prudential Indicators, attached as Appendices A and B to the report of the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee, be adopted.

 

110.

Report of the Licensing Committee held on 26 January 2017 - Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Licensing Principles 2016/19 pdf icon PDF 31 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Joy, seconded by Councillor Mrs Hinder, that the recommendations of the Licensing Committee relating to the Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Licensing Principles 2016/19 be approved.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Draft Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Licensing Principles 2016/19, attached as Appendix A to the report of the Licensing Committee, be adopted.

 

111.

Report of the Employment Committee held on 1 February 2017 - Pay Policy Statement 2017 pdf icon PDF 33 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Cox, seconded by Councillor Fissenden, that the recommendation of the Employment Committee relating to the Pay Policy Statement 2017 be approved.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Pay Policy Statement, attached as Appendix B to the report of the Employment Committee, be approved for publication on the Council’s website after 31 March 2017.

 

112.

Oral Report of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee held on 22 February 2017

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was no report from the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee on this occasion.

 

113.

Notice of Motion - Integrated Transport and Cycling/Walking Strategies

Integrated Transport and Cycling/Walking Strategies

 

Maidstone Council, through the approved Integrated Transport Strategy and associated Cycling and Walking Strategy, has adopted policies to achieve modal shift away from our town's over reliance on cars.  This is needed both in terms of sustainability and as part of the measures to accommodate the planned increase in the local population assumed by the Local Plan to 2031.

 

It's unfortunate that KCC has raised objections to the proposals to achieve modal shift from cars to public transport and cycling/walking.

 

The Council is most concerned about the current consultation proposals for reducing bus services in the Borough and particularly in the Fant and Heath wards.  This would be contradictory to the Borough’s Integrated Transport Strategy and would likely result in modal shift from buses to cars.

 

It is therefore recommended that:

 

(1)  This Council objects to the current bus consultation which will reduce bus services to residents of the Borough both in urban and rural areas.

(2)  This Council takes all necessary action to urge KCC to adopt the MBC Integrated Transport Strategy and Cycling and Walking Strategy.

(3)  This Council recognises that cycling and walking are green non-polluting forms of transport as well as benefiting individuals’ health and fitness.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Harper, seconded by Councillor Adkinson, had given notice of the following motion:

 

(1)  That this Council objects to the current bus consultation which will reduce bus services to residents of the Borough both in urban and rural areas.

 

(2)  That this Council takes all necessary action to urge KCC to adopt the MBC Integrated Transport Strategy and Cycling and Walking Strategy.

 

(3)  That this Council recognises that cycling and walking are green non-polluting forms of transport as well as benefiting individuals’ health and fitness.

 

In moving the motion, Councillor Harper, with the consent of the meeting and Councillor Adkinson, amended the first paragraph to read:

 

That this Council expresses its great concern to Arriva about the reduction to bus services in urban and rural parts of the Borough because of the adverse impact that this will have for the public.

 

The motion, as amended, was seconded by Councillor Adkinson.

 

With the agreement of the mover and the seconder, and the remainder of the Council, the second paragraph of the motion was amended to read:

 

That this Council takes all necessary action to urge KCC to support the MBC Integrated Transport Strategy and Cycling and Walking Strategy.

 

The Council voted on each part of the motion separately.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.  That this Council expresses its great concern to Arriva about the reduction to bus services in urban and rural parts of the Borough because of the adverse impact that this will have for the public.

 

2.  That this Council takes all necessary action to urge KCC to support the MBC Integrated Transport Strategy and Cycling and Walking Strategy.

 

3.  That this Council recognises that cycling and walking are green non-polluting forms of transport as well as benefiting individuals’ health and fitness.

 

Councillors Brice, Perry and de Wiggondene requested that their dissent be recorded.

 

114.

Report of the Head of Policy and Communications - Calendar of Meetings 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by the Mayor, seconded by Councillor English, and

 

RESOLVED:  That the Calendar of Meetings for 2017/18, attached as Appendix A to the report of the Head of Policy and Communications, be approved.

 

Note:  Councillor Fissenden left the meeting after consideration of this item (9.45 p.m.).

 

115.

Appointment of Mayor Select 2017/18

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Blackmore, seconded by Councillor Daley, supported by Councillors Mrs Gooch, Barned and Harper, and

 

RESOLVED:  That Councillor Malcolm Greer be appointed as Mayor Select for the Municipal Year 2017/18.

 

116.

Appointment of Deputy Mayor Select 2017/18

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor English, seconded by Councillor Butler, supported by Councillors Mrs Gooch, Newton and Harper, and

 

RESOLVED:  That Councillor David Naghi be appointed as Deputy Mayor Select for the Municipal Year 2017/18.

 

117.

Duration of Meeting

Additional documents:

Minutes:

6.30 p.m. to 9.55 p.m.

 

 

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