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MAIDSTONE BOROUGH COUNCIL

 

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF MAIDSTONE BOROUGH COUNCIL HELD AT THE MOTE HALL, MAIDSTONE LEISURE CENTRE ON

23 FEBRUARY 2022

 

Present:

Councillor Mrs Gooch (Mayor) and

Councillors Mrs Blackmore, Brice, Brindle, Burton, Clark, Coates, Cooke, Cox, Cuming, English, Eves, Fort, Garten, Mrs Gooch, Mrs Grigg, Harper, Harwood, Hastie, Hinder, Joy, Khadka, Kimmance, McKenna, Mortimer, Munford, Naghi, Newton, Parfitt-Reid, Perry, Purle, Mrs Ring, Mrs Robertson, D Rose, M Rose, Round, Russell, J Sams, T Sams, Spooner, Springett, Trzebinski, S Webb, Wilby and Young

 

 

<AI1>

143.     Prayers

 

Prayers were said by the Very Reverend John S Richardson of All Saints Church, Maidstone.

 

</AI1>

<AI2>

144.     Apologies for Absence

 

It was noted that apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Bryant, Cannon, Cooper, Daley, Fissenden, Forecast, Holmes, McKay, R Webb and de Wiggondene-Sheppard.

 

</AI2>

<AI3>

145.     Dispensations

 

There were no applications for dispensations.

 

</AI3>

<AI4>

146.     Disclosures by Members and Officers

 

There were no disclosures by Members.

 

The Chief Executive, on behalf of all members of staff present, disclosed an interest in the report of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee relating to the Pay Policy Statement 2022.

 

</AI4>

<AI5>

147.     Disclosures of Lobbying

 

There were no disclosures of lobbying.

 

</AI5>

<AI6>

148.     Exempt Items

 

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

 

 

</AI6>

<AI7>

149.     Minutes of the extraordinary meeting of the Borough Council held on 8 December 2021

 

RESOLVED:† That the Minutes of the extraordinary meeting of the Borough Council held on 8 December 2021 be approved as a correct record and signed.

 

</AI7>

<AI8>

150.     Minutes of the meeting of the Borough Council held on 8 December 2021

 

RESOLVED:† That the Minutes of the meeting of the Borough Council held on 8 December 2021 be approved as a correct record and signed.

 

</AI8>

<AI9>

151.     Minutes of the extraordinary meeting of the Borough Council held on 31 January 2022

 

RESOLVED:† That the Minutes of the extraordinary meeting of the Borough Council held on 31 January 2022 be approved as a correct record and signed.

 

</AI9>

<AI10>

152.     Mayor's Announcements

 

The Mayor updated Members on recent engagements and events, including:

 

           Planting the first of 420 trees donated by the Woodland Trust at the Bridge Mill Way Recreation Ground, Tovil to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Maidstone and Medway Soroptimists and the world-wide centenary of the Soroptimist movement;

 

           Taking part in the Clean Up Maidstone Earl Street blitz;

 

           Officially starting construction work at LOC8, a new mixed use business park on the Ashford Road at Junction 8 off the M20;

 

           Taking part in the Chinese New Year celebrations organised by Cohesion Plus and the Maidstone Cultural Group; and

 

           Opening the new Heart of Kent Hospice Charity Shop in The Mall.

 

The Mayor said that she had met many wonderful people who volunteered their own time to help others.† She was continuing to promote a positive image of Maidstone by championing causes, raising profiles and visiting other Mayors and District Chairmen across the County.† She would like to thank her PA, Julie Webb, and the Civic Officers, Ray Dartnell and Russell Esgate, for their support.

 

</AI10>

<AI11>

153.     Petitions

 

There were no petitions.

 

 

</AI11>

<AI12>

154.     Question and Answer Session for Members of the Public

 

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

 

RESOLVED:† That since there are two questions for the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee and Councillor Cooper is unable to be present at the meeting, Council Procedure Rule 14.9 be suspended for this meeting only to enable the Vice-Chairman of the Committee to respond, rather than just a written answer being sent to each questioner.

 

Question from Mrs Sue Harwood to the Vice-Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee (in the absence of the Chairman)

 

Since Mrs Harwood was unable to be present at the meeting, the question was put by the Mayor on her behalf pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 14.7.

 

Will Full Council be provided with a detailed analysis of all representations relating to the Local Plan Review Reg 19 Consultation and will the findings be publicly debated before submission to the Inspectorate?

 

The Vice-Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee responded to the question.

 

Question from Mr Steve Heeley to the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee

 

Is it still your intention not to use Compulsory Purchase Orders to secure the remaining land needed for your controversial Heathlands 'new town' development at Lenham?

 

The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee responded to the question.

 

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

 

According to reliable local reports, landowners continue to be threatened by agents acting on behalf of this Council that unless they sign over their land, they will be compulsory purchased.† Why are Maidstone Borough Council and their agents using this unethical tactic to secure land for this controversial project?

 

The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee responded to the question.

 

 

 

Question from Ms Kate Hammond to the Vice-Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee (in the absence of the Chairman)

 

Given that a large number of respondents to the Regulation 19 consultation have yet to receive confirmation that their response has been included and analysed in the latest consultation, how can they be confident that their representation has been sufficiently accounted for in any modifications you may make to the Local Plan before submitting for examination at the end of March as you intend?

 

The Vice-Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee responded to the question.

 

Ms Hammond asked the following supplementary question of the Vice-Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee:

 

Is this a pre-determined Local Plan?

 

The Vice-Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee responded to the question.

 

Question from Ms Gail Duff to the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee

 

Do you think Maidstone's residents will be pleased to know that Maidstone borough delivered more houses in Kent over the last three years than Gravesham, Sevenoaks and Thanet combined as well as ranking 23rd highest in receipts of New Homes Bonus out of a total of 333 local planning authorities across England?

 

The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee responded to the question.

 

Ms Duff asked the following supplementary question of the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee:

 

What are your predictions for this yearís housing delivery for Maidstone Borough Council?

 

The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee responded to the question.

 

To listen to the answers to these questions, please follow this link:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsmcSJiXCyg&t=1711s

 

Note:† Councillors Harwood and Hastie joined the meeting during the question and answer session for members of the public (6.50 p.m.).† They said that they had no declarations of interest or of lobbying.

 

</AI12>

<AI13>

155.     Questions from Members of the Council to the Chairmen of Committees

 

Question from Councillor Mrs Grigg to the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee

 

After receiving no response from Planning Enforcement to discuss a local issue of concern for five days, can the Chairman please advise Members regarding the current measures being taken to improve enforcement procedures for this Council and can he also reassure Members that the necessary funds are being made available to help resource this understaffed Department with its workload?†

 

My concern, and that of The Maidstone Group, is that planning safety is being compromised and that retrospective applications are becoming a recognised method of overriding planning rules and regulations.

 

In the absence of the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee, and with the agreement of the Mayor, the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee responded to the question.

 

Councillor Mrs Grigg asked the following supplementary question of the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee:

 

What I would like you to do is reassure us again that this is going to be a priority, and may I please ask that Members are kept advised of any progress and timescale of any recruitment drives?

 

The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee responded to the question.

 

Question from Councillor J Sams to the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee

 

At the recent meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee on 9 February, a motion was agreed that the most of exhibition time for this Councilís Heathland proposal would be held in Lenham.† There was discussion regarding the security of a presentation in Lenham.


Since that meeting, we now understand that 4 events are to be held with only 1 in Lenham at the Community Centre.† Could you please outline why this decision has been chosen as this Councilís preferred option, contrary to a democratic vote taken at a properly constituted MBC meeting, and how hurtful and insulting this is on Lenham Parish Council, SOHL and Lenham residents who have consistently acted with decency and respect throughout this process?

 

The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee responded to the question.

 

Councillor J Sams asked the following supplementary question of the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee:

 

Who is leading the Maidstone Borough Council Garden Community project?† Is it Homes England, Maidstone Borough Council or the Councillors on the Policy and Resources Committee, and why are we making it so difficult for the residents of Lenham?

 

The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee responded to the question.

 

To listen to the answers to these questions, please follow this link:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsmcSJiXCyg&t=2475s

 

</AI13>

<AI14>

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

 

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

 

</AI14>

<AI15>

157.     Report of the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee held on 17 January 2022 - External Audit Procurement

 

It was moved by Councillor Perry, seconded by Councillor D Rose, that the recommendation of the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee relating to the appointment of External Auditors be approved.

 

In moving the recommendation, Councillor Perry said that the Council had still not had its 2020/21 accounts signed off by Grant Thornton, the External Auditor.† The Officers were pressing Grant Thornton for an audit opinion.† This did not cast any aspersions on the accounts; the Council had very sound finance systems and he would like to thank the Finance Team for their work.

 

RESOLVED:† That an invitation from Public Sector Audit Appointments to become an opted-in authority, in accordance with the decision-making requirements of the Local Audit (Appointing Person) Regulations 2015, be accepted.

 

</AI15>

<AI16>

158.     Report of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee held on 26 January 2022 - Pay Policy Statement 2022

 

It was moved by Councillor Purle, seconded by Councillor Mrs Blackmore, that the recommendation of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee relating to the Pay Policy Statement 2022 be approved.

 

RESOLVED:† That the Pay Policy Statement 2022, attached as Appendix 1 to the report of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee, be approved for publication on the Councilís website.

</AI16>

<AI17>

159.     Report of the Policy and Resources Committee held on 9 February 2022 - Medium Term Financial Strategy and Budget Proposals 2022/23

 

It was moved by Councillor Burton, seconded by Councillor Purle, that the recommendations of the Policy and Resources Committee relating to the Medium-Term Financial Strategy and Budget Proposals 2022/23 be approved.

 

Amendment moved by Councillor Harper, seconded by Councillor Cox, that the recommendations of the Policy and Resources Committee relating to the Medium-Term Financial Strategy and Budget Proposals 2022/23 be approved subject to the addition of the following:

 

18.  That a further £40,000 be added to the Museum Development Plan in the Capital Programme, and Capital Programme funding be increased by the same amount, to enable an improved programme of gallery refurbishment at the Museum.

 

Note: Councillor Harper had indicated that the revenue cost of the additional capital funding, amounting to £1,600 per annum, would be contained within the Museumís revenue budgets.

 

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

 

FOR (16)

 

Councillors Clark, Coates, Cox, English, Harper, Harwood, Khadka, Kimmance, Mortimer, Naghi, Newton, Mrs Robertson, M Rose, J Sams,

T Sams and Wilby

 

AGAINST (28)

 

Councillors Mrs Blackmore, Brice, Brindle, Burton, Cooke, Cuming, Eves, Fort, Garten, Mrs Gooch, Mrs Grigg, Hastie, Hinder, Mrs Joy, McKenna, Munford, Parfitt-Reid, Perry, Purle, Mrs Ring, D Rose, Round, Russell, Spooner, Springett, Trzebinski, S Webb and Young

 

ABSTENTIONS (0)

 

AMENDMENT LOST

 

Amendment moved by Councillor English, seconded by Councillor Harwood, that the recommendations of the Policy and Resources Committee relating to the Medium-Term Financial Strategy and Budget Proposals 2022/23 be approved subject to the addition of the following:

 

18.  That £70,000 be transferred from General Fund Balances to contribute towards the potential rewilding of Willington Street Car Park, should the Park and Ride service not be reinstated by the end of 2022.  

Note: Councillor English had indicated that the ongoing revenue costs of maintaining the additional open space would be contained within current Parks and Open Spaces budgets.

 

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

 

FOR (17)

 

Councillors Clark, Coates, Cox, English, Mrs Grigg, Harper, Harwood,

Mrs Joy, Khadka, Kimmance, Mortimer, Naghi, Mrs Robertson, M Rose,

J Sams, T Sams and Wilby

 

AGAINST (26)

 

Councillors Mrs Blackmore, Brice, Brindle, Burton, Cooke, Cuming, Eves, Fort, Garten, Mrs Gooch, Hastie, Hinder, McKenna, Munford, Parfitt-Reid, Perry, Purle, Mrs Ring, D Rose, Round, Russell, Spooner, Springett, Trzebinski, S Webb and Young

 

ABSTENTIONS (1)

 

Councillor Newton

 

AMENDMENT LOST

 

The original motion was then put to the vote.

 

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

 

FOR (32)

 

Councillors Mrs Blackmore, Brice, Brindle, Burton, Cooke, Cox, Cuming, Eves, Fort, Garten, Mrs Gooch, Mrs Grigg, Hastie, Hinder, Mrs Joy, McKenna, Munford, Newton, Parfitt-Reid, Perry, Purle, Mrs Ring, D Rose, Round, Russell, J Sams, T Sams, Spooner, Springett, Trzebinski, S Webb and Young

 

AGAINST (9)

 

Councillors Clark, English, Harwood, Khadka, Kimmance, Mortimer, Naghi, Mrs Robertson and Wilby

 

ABSTENTIONS (3)

 

Councillors Coates, Harper and M Rose

 

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.        That the revised Revenue Estimates for 2021/22, as set out in Appendix A to the report of the Policy and Resources Committee, be agreed. ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

2.        That the first £1 million of 2022/23 New Homes Bonus be allocated for strategic policy and planmaking, with the balance transferred to a Housing Investment Fund, to be used to subsidise the Councilís Affordable Housing Programme.

†††††††††

3.        That the Strategic Revenue Projection, as set out in Appendix A to the report of the Policy and Resources Committee, be endorsed as the basis for future financial planning.

††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

4.        That the proposed Council Tax of £276.30 at Band D for 2022/23 be agreed.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

5.        That the Revenue Estimates for 2022/23, set out in Appendix A to the report of the Policy and Resources Committee, be agreed.

 

6.        That the Statement of Earmarked Reserves and General Fund Balances, as set out in Appendix A to the report of the Policy and Resources Committee, be agreed. †††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

7.        That the funding of the Capital Programme, as set out in Appendix A to the report of the Policy and Resources Committee, be agreed. ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

8.        That the Capital Programme, as set out in Appendix A to the report of the Policy and Resources Committee, be agreed.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

9.        That the Treasury Management, Investment and Capital Strategies,† as set out in Appendix A to the report of the Policy and Resources Committee, be agreed. †††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

10.     That the Medium-Term Financial Strategy as set out in Appendix A to the report of the Policy and Resources Committee, be agreed. ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

11.     That it be noted that the Councilís Council Tax base for the year 2022/23 has been calculated as 65,896.22 in accordance with Regulation 3 of the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) Regulations 1992.

 

12.     That it be noted that in accordance with Government guidance the yield from business rates has been calculated as £51,455,907. ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

13.     That it be noted that the individual parish area tax bases set out in Appendix B are calculated in accordance with Regulation 6 of the Regulations and are the amounts of the Council Tax Base for the year for dwellings in those parts of the Councilís area to which a special item relates. †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

14.     That the Council Tax requirement for the Councilís own purposes for 2022/23 (excluding Parish precepts) is £18,207,126. ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

15.     That the following amounts now be calculated by the Council for the year 2022/23 in accordance with Section 32-36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as amended by the Localism Act 2011:- †††

††††

a)††† £76,752,996 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 32(2) of the Act taking into account all precepts issued to it by Parish Councils.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

b)††† £56,104,497 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 32(3) of the Act.

††††††††††††††††††††

c)†††† £20,648,499 being the amount by which the aggregate at 15(a) above exceeds the aggregate at 15(b) above, calculated by the Council in accordance with Section 32(4) of the Act as its Council Tax requirement for the year. (Item R in the formula in Section 32(4) of the Act).

 

d)††† £313.35 being the amount at 15(c) above (Item R), all divided by the figure stated at 11 above (Item T in the formula in section 33(1) of the Act), calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 33 of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year (including parish precepts). †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††

e)††† £2,441,373 being the aggregate amount of all special items (Parish precepts) referred to in Section 34(1) of the Act (as per the attached Appendix B). †††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

f)†††† £276.30 being the amount at 15(d) above less the result given by dividing the amount at 15(e) above by the tax base given in 11 above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 34(2) of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year for dwellings in those parts of its area to which no Parish precept relates.

 

16.     That it be noted that for the year 2022/23 Kent County Council, the Kent Police & Crime Commissioner and the Kent & Medway Fire & Rescue Authority have stated the following amounts in precepts issued to the Council, in accordance with Section 40 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, for each of the categories of dwellings shown below:-

 

 

 

Valuation Bands

 

KCC

PRECEPT

£

KCC

ADULT SOCIAL CARE

£

KPCC

£

KMFRA

£

A

858.66

115.50

152.10

54.90

B

1001.77

134.75

177.45

64.05

C

1144.88

154.00

202.80

73.20

D

1287.99

173.25

228.15

82.35

E

1574.21

211.75

278.85

100.65

F

1860.43

250.25

329.55

118.95

G

2146.65

288.75

380.25

137.25

H

2575.98

346.50

456.30

164.70

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

17.     That, having calculated the aggregate in each case of the amounts at 15 (d), and 16 above, the Council, in accordance with Section 30 (2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, hereby sets out in Appendix C, the amounts of Council Tax for the year 2022/23 for each of the categories of dwellings shown.

 

</AI17>

<AI18>

160.     Oral Report of the Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee held on 15 February 2022

 

There was no report arising from the meeting of the Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee held on 15 February 2022.

 

</AI18>

<AI19>

161.     Oral Report of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee held on 16 February 2022

 

There was no report arising from the meeting of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee held on 16 February 2022.

 

</AI19>

<AI20>

162.     Notice of Motion - 20 mph Speed Limits

 

It was moved by Councillor J Sams, seconded by Councillor Harper:

 

That Maidstone Borough Council:

 

           Supports the default speed limit of 20mph on residential streets;

           Calls on Kent County Council to implement 20mph in residential streets across the Borough's town and villages; and

           Writes to Kent County Council to request 20mph speed limits on streets throughout the Borough where people live, work, shop, play or learn, with 30mph as the exception on those roads, where full consideration of the needs of vulnerable road users allows a higher limit.

 

Amendment moved by Councillor Harper, accepted by Councillor J Sams:

That the first bullet point of the motion be amended and the second and third bullet points be deleted as follows:

 

That Maidstone Borough Council:

 

Supports the default speed limit of 20mph on residential neighbourhoods and streets, in areas where there is evidence of community support and a community led approach.

 

           Calls on Kent County Council to implement 20mph in residential streets across the Borough's town and villages; and

           Writes to Kent County Council to request 20mph speed limits on streets throughout the Borough where people live, work, shop, play or learn, with 30mph as the exception on those roads, where full consideration of the needs of vulnerable road users allows a higher limit.

 

With the agreement of Councillors Harper and J Sams the word Ďdefaultí was removed from the first sentence of the first bullet point.

 

Mr Stuart Jeffery addressed the Council in support of 20mph speed limits.

 

The Mayor said that she considered it to be convenient and conducive to the despatch of business that the motion be dealt with at the meeting.

 

RESOLVED:† That Maidstone Borough Council supports the speed limit of 20mph on residential neighbourhoods and streets, in areas where there is evidence of community support and a community led approach.

 

</AI20>

<AI21>

163.     Appointment of Mayor Select 2022/23

 

It was moved by Councillor Clark, seconded by Councillor Mrs Joy, supported by Councillors Burton, Munford and M Rose, and

 

RESOLVED:† That Councillor Derek Mortimer be appointed as Mayor Select for the Municipal Year 2022/23.

 

</AI21>

<AI22>

164.     Appointment of Deputy Mayor Select 2022/23

 

It was moved by Councillor Munford, seconded by Councillor Naghi, supported by Councillors Springett, Cox and Harper, and

 

RESOLVED:† That Councillor Gordon Newton be appointed as Deputy Mayor Select for the Municipal Year 2022/23.

 

</AI22>

<AI23>

165.     Duration of Meeting

 

6.30 p.m. to 8.45 p.m.

</AI23>

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