Your Councillors

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, High Street, Maidstone

Contact: Debbie Snook  01622 602030

Items
No. Item

125.

Prayers

Minutes:

Prayers were said by the Reverend Ian Parrish.

 

Note:  Councillor Garland entered the meeting after the prayers had been said.

 

126.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

It was noted that apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Cox, English, McKay, Springett, Watson and Webster.

 

127.

Dispensations

Minutes:

There were no applications for dispensations.

 

128.

Disclosures by Members and Officers

Minutes:

There were no disclosures by Members or Officers.

 

129.

Disclosures of Lobbying

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of lobbying.

 

130.

Exempt Items

Minutes:

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

 

131.

Minutes of the meeting of the Borough Council held on 2 March 2016 pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the Minutes of the meeting of the Borough Council held on 2 March 2016 be approved as a correct record and signed.

 

132.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor updated Members on recent/forthcoming events, and thanked them for their support.

 

The Mayor then announced that:

 

·  At his request, a letter had been sent to the Mayor of the City of Brussels expressing deepest sympathy and solidarity following the tragic events which took place in the city on 22 March 2016.

 

·  He would like to take the opportunity to wish good luck to all those Members who would be seeking re-election in May and to thank Councillors Ash (former Mayor), Chittenden, McKay, Mrs Parvin (former Mayor), Paterson, Ross, Thick (former Mayor), Watson and J A Wilson, who would be standing down, for their services over the years.

 

·  He was sure that Members would agree to him sending a letter on behalf of the Council to Her Majesty The Queen congratulating her on the occasion of her 90th birthday on 21 April 2016.

 

The Mayor then called upon Councillor Harper who wished to say a few words about Councillor McKay, the only Group Leader retiring from the Council this year.

 

133.

Petitions

Minutes:

There were no petitions.

 

134.

Question and Answer Session for Members of the Public

Minutes:

Questions to the Chairman of the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee

 

Mr Peter Coulling asked the following question of the Chairman of the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee:

 

Regulation 19 consultation on the published Local Plan attracted 588 representations.  Are you happy that all Members of the Council now have a reasonable impression of the nature of those representations, the issues they raise and the responses from Officers and, if not, what action will you take?

 

The Chairman of the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee replied that:

 

It has been very good indeed to see so many responses to our Regulation 19 consultation.  Consideration of the consultation responses was delegated from full Council to the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee.  The report on this consultation has been published and is available to view on the Council’s website.  It will be considered by the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee on 18 April 2016.  I am confident that the report gives a thorough impression of the responses, and it will be for the Members of the Committee to make any necessary decisions arising from it.

 

Councillor Mrs Blackmore, the Leader of the Conservative Group, Councillor Mrs Wilson, the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Mrs Gooch, the Leader of the Independent Group, Councillor Sargeant, the Leader of the UKIP Group, and Councillor Harper, on behalf of the Leader of the Labour Group, then responded to the question.

 

Mr Coulling asked the following supplementary question of the Chairman of the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee:

 

As a Member should you remain comfortable that this Council has delegated digestion of those representations and evolution of the Infrastructure Delivery Plan to your Committee rather than requiring review and sign off by this full Council?

 

The Chairman of the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee replied that:

 

This full Council, by substantial majority, approved the Plan for submission, and delegated this final small part of the process to the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee.  Full Council has already made that decision. 

 

Councillor Mrs Blackmore, the Leader of the Conservative Group, Councillor Mrs Wilson, the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Mrs Gooch, the Leader of the Independent Group, Councillor Sargeant, the Leader of the UKIP Group, and Councillor Harper, on behalf of the Leader of the Labour Group, then responded to the question.

 

Mr Peter Titchener asked the following question of the Chairman of the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee:

 

The current draft of the Infrastructure Delivery Plan requires over £115m to be invested by various parties, plus monies for a further 93 projects for which costs are unknown.  Are you confident that all required investment will be forthcoming at the required time?

 

The Chairman of the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee replied that:

 

I would also refer you to the meeting of the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee on 18 April 2016.  The report on the Infrastructure Delivery Plan has been published and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 134.

135.

Questions from Members of the Council to the Chairmen of Committees

Minutes:

Questions to the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee

 

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

 

At the 9 December 2015 Council meeting, it was resolved, and subsequently amended, that the Council support the promotion of 20 mph speed limits in residential areas where supported by residents.

 

Unfortunately, at the recent Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee, the Committee refused to commission a feasibility study the cost of which was about £15/£20,000, and would only make vague commitments to refer to the issue in the draft Local Plan.

 

Would the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee agree that this small amount of money could be found either from within the Council’s overall budget or from reserves on a one-off basis to fund the feasibility study, without which there would not be the local evidence to proceed to the next steps?

 

The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee replied that:

 

As you know, achieving some 20 mph speed limits in our residential streets whether they are in rural or urban areas is dear to my heart and to the hearts of many other Councillors whatever their party.  However, my memory of the meeting, because I was there, does not quite tally with yours, so we have gone back and checked the webcast. 

 

As a result of the motion concerning 20 mph zones considered at full Council on 9December 2015 it was resolved to request that the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee review all the available evidence; consider the implementation of 20 mph speed limits within the Borough of Maidstone; and refer the findings to the Cabinet Member at Kent County Council.

 

The amendment moved by Councillor Harper and seconded by Councillor McKay, that the substantive motion be amended by the addition of reference to considering 20 mph zones in neighbourhoods where residents support them was lost.

 

Subsequently, on 8March 2016 the matter of 20 mph zones was considered by the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee.  The Committee considered whether or not to request Officers to undertake or commission further work on 20 mph schemes with specific consideration of the Maidstone Urban Area, the five Rural Service Centres and five Larger Villages as suitable scheme areas.  The Committee also heard that support from Kent County Council would be required if it was decided to pursue the introduction of 20 mph speed limits in the Borough and that initial indications were that signage alone would cost in the region of £1m and an initial study carried out by a consultant would cost in the region of £20k; significantly different to the smaller amount quoted in the question.

 

However, it was not a complete loss because the Committee resolved that in the Local Plan period pilot studies should be undertaken of certain sections of highway in Maidstone where there is acknowledged pedestrian and vehicular conflict and where there is residents’ support in order to deliver 20 mph speed limit  ...  view the full minutes text for item 135.

136.

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

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council submitted her report on current issues.

 

After the Leader of the Council had submitted her report, Councillor Mrs Blackmore, the Leader of the Conservative Group, Councillor Mrs Gooch, the Leader of the Independent Group, Councillor Sargeant, the Leader of the UKIP Group, and Councillor Harper, on behalf of the Leader of the Labour Group, responded to the issues raised.

 

A number of Members then asked questions of the Leader of the Council on the issues raised in her speech.

 

137.

Report of the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee held on 8 March 2016 - North Loose Neighbourhood Development Plan pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Burton, seconded by Councillor Mrs Grigg, that the recommendation of the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee relating to the adoption of the North Loose Neighbourhood Development Plan be approved.

 

RESOLVED:  That the North Loose Neighbourhood Development Plan, attached as an Appendix to the report of the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee, be made and becomes part of the Development Plan for Maidstone.

 

Councillor Burton thanked all those involved for their work in producing the Plan.

 

138.

Report of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee Acting as the Crime and Disorder Committee held on 15 March 2016 - 2016-17 Strategic Assessment and 2013-18 Community Safety Partnership Plan Refresh pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Ring, seconded by Councillor Paine, that the recommendations of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee, acting as the Crime and Disorder Committee, relating to the adoption of the 2016-17 Strategic Assessment and the 2013-18 Community Safety Partnership Plan refresh for implementation by the Safer Maidstone Partnership be approved.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the 2016-17 Strategic Assessment, attached as Appendix 1 to the report of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee, acting as the Crime and Disorder Committee, be adopted for implementation by the Safer Maidstone Partnership.

 

2.  That the 2013-18 Community Safety Partnership Plan refresh, attached as Appendix 2 to the report of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee, acting as the Crime and Disorder Committee, be adopted for implementation by the Safer Maidstone Partnership.

 

139.

Report of the Democracy Committee held on 17 March 2016 - Changes to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Fissenden, seconded by Councillor Chittenden, that the recommendations of the Democracy Committee relating to changes to the Constitution and to the cycle of meetings for the Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee be approved.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.  That all the changes and amendments to the Constitution shown in Appendix A to the report of the Democracy Committee be agreed and implemented with effect from the Annual Meeting of the Council on 21 May 2016.

 

2.  That the cycle of meetings for the Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee should increase to once a month with effect from the Annual Meeting of the Council on 21 May 2016, and that the Chief Executive be given delegated authority to finalise the date, time and place of these meetings.

 

140.

Oral Report of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee held on 12 April 2016

Minutes:

Councillor Mrs Ring presented the oral report of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee held on 12 April 2016.

 

Councillor Mrs Ring advised Members that:

 

·  In response to Councillor Harper’s motion to Council, which was referred to the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee, an informal meeting for both Councillors and members of the public to discuss the topic of housing had taken place at the end of March.

 

·  Most of the points made in the motion were already being actioned, but there was full support for a seminar on homelessness to be open to all stakeholders in order to exchange and learn best practice.

 

·  At its meeting the previous evening, the Committee had voted unanimously to support the promotion of a housing seminar.  The Committee would receive a report in June with an update on progress and feedback from best practice that might be identified by Councillors, Officers and members of the public who attended the informal meeting.

 

RESOLVED:  That the report be noted.

 

141.

Notice of Motion - Use of Mobile Phones by Councillors in the Council Chamber

Notice of the following motion has been given by Councillor Brice:

 

That just as MPs do in Westminster, Councillors can use their mobile phones in the Council chamber during meetings for the purposes of accessing Council papers online, researching items that are raised or if they are using a calculator on their device.  Obviously the use of technology in the chamber for personal use during Council/Committee meetings should still not be allowed.

 

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Brice, seconded by Councillor Paine:

 

That the following rule be included as a change to the Constitution:

 

Councillors may use their mobile or tablet devices during meetings of Council and Committees for the purpose of accessing Council papers online or for researching or looking up information related to items on the agenda only.  This should be done discreetly and should not distract any Councillor from listening and participating fully in the meeting.  The Mayor or Chairman of the meeting may ask any Councillor to stop using his/her device if the Mayor/Chairman thinks the use is disrupting the meeting.

 

With the agreement of the mover and the seconder, the following sentence, proposed by Councillor J A Wilson, seconded by Councillor Mrs Gooch, was added to the motion as the penultimate sentence.

 

“However, this will not be allowed when the Council/Committee is being addressed by a visitor to the meeting in order that full attention can be seen to be given to the content of their presentation.”

 

The motion, as amended, was put to the vote.

 

The motion was not carried.

 

142.

Duration of Meeting

Minutes:

6.30 p.m. to 8.40 p.m.