Your Councillors


Appendix A

Strategic Plan Development

Original Strategic Plan Page Number

SPST

CHE

Policy and Resources

 

HCL

Analysis and Comment

3

Reformat so that Our Mission is first section, followed by Our Vision.

Reformat so that Our Mission is first section, followed by Our Vision.

 

 

This will be reflected in the diagram

 

Supported by Committee

 

Prioritisation of three actions for 2017/18:

·      Providing a clean and safe environment

·      Regenerating the town centre

·      A home for everyone

 

 

 

The diagram in Appendix B shows that these three areas are priorities for 2017-18

 

 

Change action areas to:

 

Maintaining and enhancing the town centre.

 

Planning for the delivery of sufficient homes to meet our borough’s needs.

Planning for sufficient homes to meet our Borough’s needs’ be re-inserted and ‘A home for everyone’ be taken out

 

 

 

Homes

The aim is to secure sufficient homes. It is important that this is expressed as clearly and succinctly as possible especially as this will be a key focus for the next few years. The process of planning for sufficient homes is reflected in the delivery of the Local Plan, Housing and Regeneration Strategy and Temporary Accommodation Strategies

It is therefore recommended that this amendment is not taken forward.  

 

Town Centre

This proposed change broadens the action and could dilute the clarity of the original with its focus on regeneration.

Maintenance and general enhancement of the town centre is embraced by the action area “Providing a Clean and Safe Environment” and this has been re-drafted on page 5 to reflect the importance of the quality of the public realm in the borough

It is therefore recommended  not to agree the change proposed and instead consider the proposed changes to the action area “Providing a Clean and Safe Environment

 

 

Values section moved to the last page

Values section moved to the last page

 

 

This proposed change in presentation does not change the substance of the existing Strategic Plan. However the link between our ambitions and the values with which we will deliver them is separated. This is an important consideration for staff.

It is recommended to agree the change within the Strategic Plan document and keep it together for the succinct “Strategic Plan on a page” poster for communication with staff

Providing a Clean and Safe Environment

4

 

 

Maidstone Borough Council has demonstrated its commitment to deliver cost effective and sustainable waste and recycling services. as a result our recycling rate has improved significantly. Maidstone does not experience high levels of crime.  We have with our Community Safety Partnership agreed that reducing anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse, reoffending and improving road safety are out priorities up until 2018 During the first year of the Strategic Plan The Council has introduced street cleansing and we will ensure we meet that objective.

 

 

The Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transport Committee have identified the issue of “maintaining and enhancing” in the context of the town centre, which resonates with this objective.

To reflect this and integrate with our original narrative  the  following amendment to the opening paragraph is recommended (as shown on page 5 of Appendix B):

Maidstone Borough Council is committed to creating an attractive environment which is safe, well maintained and clean. Our borough does not experience high levels of crime and through the Community Safety Partnership we aim to protect the most vulnerable people in our community.

Our recycling levels have reached 51%. Maidstone has areas of poor air quality due to high concentrations of nitrogen dioxide associated with road traffic and has designated the urban area of the borough as an Air Quality Management Zone.

It is also recommended that the Community Safety Partnership priorities are referenced in the “We will commit” section through the Community Safety Plan.

 

 

We mean:

People feel safe in the Borough and they live in a clean environment of high quality an attractive a safe and clean environment.

 

 

It is suggested that this statement is slightly widened so that it embraces residents and people who come to work or visit the borough:

People to feel safe in the borough and experience an attractive, clean and safe environment

 

 

We will:

Working with partners to deliver the Community Safety Plan Strategy 2017-18.

 

Amend: Deliver the Air Quality Strategy working with partnerships.

 

 

 

It is suggested that we widen this statement to include other relevant strategies as follows

We will commit too

  • Investing to improve street infrastructure and the efficiency of cleansing services in accordance with our Medium Term Financial Strategy
  • Deliver the Waste and Recycling Strategy
  • Deliver the Community Safety Plan 2017-18
  • Deliver the Low Emissions Strategy

 

It is suggested that working in partnership is endemic to delivery of all our strategies and that this does not need to be repeated throughout our Strategic Plan

Respecting the Character and Heritage of our Borough

 

 

 

 

In terms of its geography Maidstone Borough is largely rural and the countryside currently offers high quality landscape and biodiversity. Maidstone is the county town of Kent. A focus on achieving economic prosperity recognises that protecting the environment both built and natural is essential in making this a great place to live, work and visit.

The following amendment to the opening paragraph is recommended (as shown on page 7 of Appendix B):

 

Maidstone is a largely rural borough with high quality landscapes, countryside and urban green spaces and associated rich bio-diversity. Our borough has many attractive and protected buildings and we want these to remain in place for future generations. Our focus on economic prosperity embraces the need to protect and enhance and enhance these features so that the borough remains a great place to live, work and visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We mean:

 

  • Thriving and resilient urban and rural communities
  • Listening to our communities
  • Respecting our heritage, history and natural environment.
  • Devolving services where we can and working with Kent County Council to do the same

It is recommended that the “We mean” now known as “We want ” section  (page 7 Appendix B) remains unchanged other than changing the syntax to ensure it flows, as heritage includes history by its definition.

 

We will:

 

Add

·      Deliver the blue and green infrastructure strategy and the biodiversity action plan

We will:

 

Delete - Deliver the blue and green infrastructure strategy

 

Retain - Deliver the biodiversity action plan

 

We will:

 

·      Deliver and honour our Parish Charter

·      Deliver the Communication and Engagement Action Plan

·      Work with our Parishes and Communities on the design of their neighbourhoods

·      Deliver our Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy

·      Adopt and deliver our Parks and Open Spaces 10 Year Plan

 

 

The following additions are recommended:

·         Adopting and delivering our Parks and Open Spaces 10 Year Plan

·         Delivering our Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy

It is also recommended that the word ‘neighbourhoods’ is added to the existing bullet point regarding working with parishes, to read as follows:

·         Work with our Parishes and Communities on the design of their neighbourhoods

Ensuring there are good Leisure and Cultural Attractions

5

 

There is always something to see or do in Maidstone borough with the river, two museums and a theatre in the town centre, quality parks and open spaces and a well used leisure centre, a castle, various markets and a variety of festivals and events held across the Borough and throughout the year.

 

There is always something to see or do in Maidstone Borough with its quality parks and open spaces, rivers, museums, opportunities for sporting, leisure, musical and cultural pursuits, historic buildings and monuments, markets and a variety of festivals and events held throughout the year.

With the amendments brought forward this section is  becoming a list carrying a risk that something will be omitted eg the complex at Lockmeadow or when a new facility is created it will need to be added.

It is recommended that  the following paragraph be  included: (page 8 Appendix B)

There is always something to see or do in Maidstone borough reflecting the wide variety of venues, facilities and good quality public spaces. This not only enhances quality of life for our residents but also contributes significantly to the local economy. Our population is growing and we estimate an increase of approximately 10,000 people by 2020. We are also growing as a destination for visitors and so our leisure and culture offer has continued importance for those living in and visiting the borough.

 

 

 

 

We mean:

 

Maidstone offers a great range of sport, leisure and culture which meets the needs of our residents and attracts visitors.

Recommend this section remains unchanged.

 

 

We will:

 

Keep the bullet point: Maximise the benefits of our leisure and cultural assets through our commercialisation approach to maintain key services

 

Delete: Deliver the programme of projects a sustainable future for Mote Park

 

Add: Ten year Parks and Open Spaces Strategy

 

We will:

 

· Deliver the Destination Management Plan

· Maximise the benefits of our sports, leisure and cultural assets to support and enhance Maidstone’s economic performance

· Deliver the Festival and Events Strategy

· Adopt and deliver the Museum 20 Year Plan

· Support a sustainable future for Mote Park

It is recommended that these changes are amended to fit the presentational style of the overall Strategic Plan so that this section (page 8 Appendix B) becomes

We will commit to

·         Delivering the Commercialisation Strategy which refers to a sustainable future for our parks

·         Delivering the Destination Management Plan

·         Delivering the Festival and Events Strategy

·         Adopting and delivering the Museum 20 year Plan

·         Adopting and delivering the Parks and Open Spaces 10 year Strategic Plan

 

Regenerating the Town Centre

6

Regenerating the Town Centre

Maintaining and enhancing the town centre

 

Regenerating the Town Centre Enhancing the appeal of the town centre for everyone

See comment on first page

 

Maidstone has a historically thriving town centre, however we need to ensure that we keep pace with the changing economic environment and continue to meet the demands of businesses, residents and consumers.

 

Maidstone has had an historically thriving town centre, however we need to ensure that we keep pace with the changing economic environment and continue to meet the demands of businesses, residents and consumers.  Investment in Maidstone town centre is needed if it is to continue to be a popular place for leisure, to live, shop and work. A diverse and thriving town centre requires a full range of business, retail and cultural investment to support them.

Considering both and with the aim of capturing the spirit of the changes promoted and expressing them in a consistent style with the rest of the document it is recommended that the first paragraph (page 9 Appendix B) becomes

Maidstone has a historically thriving town centre benefitting from its role as the county town and a diverse mix of residential, business, retail, cultural uses and public services. The changing economic environment has created challenges and the need for further investment in the town centre  to meet the needs and expectations of residents, businesses and visitors

Investment will be key and it is suggested that this could be reflected in the “We will commit to” section

·         Deliver the Housing and Regeneration Strategy

 

We mean:

Ensuring that we provide a diverse and thriving town with a full range of business, retail, cultural, and leisure opportunities with the investment to support them.

 

 

 

Investment will be key and it is suggested that rather than amending we want this could be reflected in the “We will commit to” section

·         Deliver the Housing and Regeneration Strategy

 

We will:

·      Deliver (review and update) the Town Centre Development Plan

·      Deliver the Destination Management Plan

 

We will:

 

Delete: Deliver the Town Centre Development Plan

Insert: Deliver the Housing and Regeneration Strategy

The Policy and Resources Committee has agreed to the production of a Housing and Regeneration Strategy which will subsume the Town Centre Development Plan.

It is suggested that there is no need to make reference to reviewing and updating plans within our Strategic Plan as this is good practice and occurs regularly; any changes from year to year with a strategic impact can be reflected when the Strategic Plan is refreshed

In addition to the housing and commercial investment needed in the town centre it is also important to ensure that the infrastructure that residents need keeps pace with the growing population for example healthcare facilities; this is reflected to some extent in the Local Plan policies

Recommended change – add to the “We will commit to” section

·         Delivering the Housing and Regeneration Strategy

·         Delivering the Local Plan

 

Measured by:

  • % of vacant retail units
  • Target to minimise conversion of office space to residential
  • % hotel occupancy
  • Resident satisfaction

·         How Maidstone is rated as a retail, cultural and leisure destination

 

 

 

As the plan has progressed through the Committees it has been identified that performance measures should be considered once the actions are agreed and clear. It is proposed that each committee consider performance measures in March to measure the progress of the plan’s agreed action areas.

Securing Improvements to the Transport Infrastructure for our Borough

6

We mean:

·      A sustainable transport network that meetings the needs of residents and businesses

 

We will:

·      Deliver an Integrated Transport Strategy and work with our partners to seek improvements to the transport infrastructure

·      Deliver the walking and cycling strategy

 

Remaining bullet points deleted.

 

 

 

This change reflects our adopted Integrated Transport Strategy and it is recommend that the change is agreed (page 10 Appendix B)

The suggested changes simplify the “We will commit to” section; arguably there could be further simplification to

  • Deliver the Integrated Transport Strategy
  • Deliver the Walking and Cycling Strategy

 

As partnership working is key to delivery of all our strategies and action plans it could be referenced in the foreword rather than intermittently in the document.

Promoting a range of employment skills and opportunities across the Borough

7

We mean:

·         Meeting the skills and employment needs of our residents and employers, supporting and attracting businesses and not becoming a dormitory Borough.

 

 

We mean:

 

· Aiming to meet the skills and employment need of our residents and employers. Supporting existing business and attracting new business to the borough

The reference to the skills needs of employers is a helpful addition however the wording doesn’t particularly flow  so the following is recommended (page 11 Appendix B)

We want:

To meet the skills needs of our residents and employers, supporting existing businesses and attracting new ones

A Home for Everyone

7

Planning and delivery for sufficient homes to meet our Borough’s needs

 

Planning and delivery for sufficient homes to meet our Borough’s needs

 

 

 

See comment on page 1 regarding name change of action area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will:

·       Deliver the Local Plan

·       Deliver the Housing Strategy

·       Implement the Housing Assistance Strategy

·       Deliver the Homelessness Action Plan

·       Deliver the Affordable Housing Programme

·       Deliver the Temporary Accommodation Strategy

Develop and implement a housing standards strategy

We mean:

 

Amend sentence to read: Having enough homes to meet our residents’ long term needs, to include homes for affordable rent and affordable home ownership.  These must be economically sustainable for all our residents. 

 

We will:

Delete:  deliver the affordable housing programme.

 

Not to include: develop and implement a housing standards strategy

 

 

 

 

The suggested amendment clarifies what we mean by tenure and is recommended for inclusion

 

 

 

 

 

There was discussion on housing standards at SPST and a request for a housing standards strategy. The new Local Plan includes a specific policy for sustainable design (Policy DM2) which signposts the Building Control requirements for new homes and requires BREEAM ‘very good’ standards for water/energy use for new non-domestic development.  In terms of further guidance, MBC has endorsed the Kent Design document as supplementary guidance.  KD includes practical guidance for developers on sustainable construction and energy/water efficiency.  It is not therefore necessary to create additional housing standards and reference these in the Strategic Plan.

 

 

 

 

 

It is recommended that this section becomes

We will commit to

  • Delivering the Local Plan
  • Delivering the Housing and Regeneration Strategy
  • Delivering the Housing Strategy
  • Implementing the Housing Assistance Strategy
  • Delivering the Homeless Action Plan
  • Delivering the Affordable Housing Programme
  • Deliver the Temporary Accommodation Strategy
  • Develop and implement a housing standards planning document