Your Councillors

DELIVERY OF THE DESTINATION MANAGEMENT PLAN (DMP)

 

The DMP was developed over the first half of 2015 using a proven five stage process which involved extensive consultation with stakeholders and partner organisations. The DMP was adopted by Maidstone Borough Council in July 15 and was officially launched to the sector in September 15.  It is a three year plan which incorporates an action plan to deliver the themes identified.

 

DMP Board

 

The Project Group which managed the development of the DMP will evolve into the DMP board, responsible for overseeing the delivery of the Plan.  The DMP Board will meet quarterly to review progress.  It may want to meet more frequently in the first 6 months, as it moves forward with early tasks.

  

The core DMP Board will comprise one Councillor and two officers from Maidstone Borough Council, a representative from Visit Kent and six industry representatives, chosen for their interests and expertise in the themes of the action plans – events, town and countryside.   Additional people will be co-opted as needed, for their specialist input.  The role and composition of the DMP Group will be reviewed at year three to check it remains the best way to deliver the DMP.   The Council’s Heritage, Culture and Leisure (HCL)Committee nominated Cllr David Pickett to be their representative on the Board on 13 July 15. 

 

The DMP Board will oversee delivery of the Action Plans.  Early tasks will be to cost and prioritise the Action Plans and to identify a Lead Organisation for each Action. Some of the DMP actions will be driven forward by individual members of the Board but a number of themed working groups will be established to progress actions over the life of the DMP.  This will build the engagement with different interests in the Borough and encourage ownership of the DMP and its delivery by all stakeholders.  

 

Run Workshop sessions for tourism and other businesses and organisations involved in tourism to familiarise them with the Story and to help them think creatively about how they might use it to develop and differentiate their own offer, service or business  and help to deliver the Action Plans.

Develop an Online Shared Story Toolkit for tourism stakeholders to use, comprising Story-inspired product development ideas plus downloadable marketing copy (tailored for use in different markets) and images based on the Shared Story – so that people in the place are “singing from the same song sheet”.

Name

Organisation

Dawn Hudd (Chair)

MBC

Laura Dickson

MBC

Cllr David Pickett

MBC, HCL Committee

Natalie Moor

Hazlitt Theatre

Andy Davy

Maidstone Town Centre Management

Leonardo di Gagliano

Hilton Hotel

Kate Blacker

This Art of Mine

Glyn Charlton

Detling showground

Shane Guy

Leeds Castle

TBC

Visit Kent

 


 

Working Groups

 

Four Working Groups have been developed around the following themes:

Working Group 1 – River Access Improvement & River Experience

Working Group 2 – County Town

Working Group 3 – Events

Working Group 4 - The Countryside

 

The groups will be administered and chaired by MBC officers to provide continuity and to ensure that the Board receives regular and timely updates from the working groups and consistency in reporting against the action plan.

 

The working groups will be comprised of stakeholders with specific interest and skills in those areas and membership will be fluid to reflect the nature of the projects being worked on.  There will be a maximum of two MBC Officers and two MBC Councillors on each working group to ensure that the groups are sector led and that external resources are maximised. 

 

At the HCL meeting when the DMP was adopted members were keen that when necessary members from other Committees would be engaged in the working groups to ensure that necessary actions were undertaken i.e. improvements to shop fronts may require input from Planning.

 

Current membership is made up of nominated specialist MBC officers, HCL Committee members, those individuals that signed up to be involved at the launch event, key industry partners and others that have been involved in the development of the plan to date. 

 


 

Working Group 1 – River Access Improvement & River Experience

 

Programme of enhancements and improvements to make the river more accessible and appealing to visitors:

·         signing and entrance points to the river from the town centre

·         footpath investment – signing to include distances to key points, accessibility for cyclists

·         investment in moorings

·         parking for river visitors

Focus on strengthening visitor hubs on the river:

·         Improve access, facilities, activities and interpretation

·         Explore opportunities for more camping cabins/pods (luxury camping huts – alternative to camping in the open)  to enable long distance walking, canoeing etc

Priority hubs :

·         Church of All Saints/amphitheatre  

·         Cobtree by Kent Life

·         Lockmeadow

Create river-based events & activities that will appeal to visitors, animate the river, provide a reason to come today, contribute to extending the visitor day into the early evening.  Opportunities could include –  dragon boat racing, rowing events, festival of lights, regattas etc.

Build up marketing activity over time linking to countryside theme. Develop marketing collateral – maps, trails, leaflets.

Prioritise river management – litter, dredging, landscaping, lighting, policing, anti-social behaviour, mooring, illegal camping.

Develop Riverside Walking and Cycling Path from Allington to East Farleigh with connections to the wider Maidstone area. Potential to expand this up to Aylesford Bridge

Name

Organisation

Jason Taylor (Chair)

MBC

Fran Walllis

MBC

Ian Tucker

Maidstone United

Steve Law

Explore Kent

Cllr Gordon Newton

MBC – MBC HCL Committee

Cllr Dave Narghi

MBC

Claire Proctor

Downs Mail

Tony Monk

Streetlife

Nick Kennedy

Kentish lady

Brian Hegarty

Street Life

Neil Gunn

Environment Agency

Adrian Larkin

Allington Marina

Mark Smurthwaite

Medway River Users Association

 

Rowing Club

 

Kent County Council

Cllr Stephen Paine

MBC – P&R Committee


Working Group 2 – County Town

 

Develop local markets and fairs – food (including a farmer’s market), arts & crafts etc:

·         Review existing provision

·         Develop and deliver new markets in different town centre locations and develop a calendar of markets throughout the year

·         Use County Town Market Charter and history as part of the positioning for street markets

·         Introduce street food

·         Develop local market management plan – litter/cleaning, selection of stall traders, access

Use themed trails and quarters to help make the town more legible for visitors and encourage exploration: 

·         Identify trail themes and quarters

·         Develop a programme of animation and interpretation including:

·         Making use of green spaces

·         Pavement trails/digital trails using app

·         Distinctive lighting

·         Mark the quarters e.g. with sculpture, distinctive street sign branding, lighting etc.

Shopfront improvements including:

·          Shop front design and window displays (produce toolkit) 

·         Maintenance to frontages e.g. redecoration, brand signs

Strengthen town’s association with the countryside through celebrating and promoting local food

·          Encourage local restaurants to source local produce and promote  it

·         Explore potential for a new local produce centre

Agree a strategy for improved access by car and coach into the town centre and support with:

·         Clear uncluttered road signing

·         Signing to car parks/coach park

·         Visitor orientation in the car/coach parks

·         Pedestrian signing from car parks to the town centre and main attractions.

Review coach parking provision – volume, location and facilities – to reflect needs of international coach parTies for shopping, and take account of potential growth.

Improve welcome and visitor facilities at the rail stations:

·         Welcome sign and town map on board

·          Clear signing to drop-off/pick-up points

 

Longer term, a need to deliver new development at Maidstone East station to improve first impressions and provide additional welcome & visitor facilities.

 


 

Name

Organisation

Fran Walllis (Chair)

MBC

Lyn Palmer

MBC

Barbara Dunford

Kent Community events

Cllr Richard Ash

MBC

Neil Pattison

Jubilee

Mike Evans

MMF

Larry Williamson

MTCM

Ken Scott

MAAP/Town Team

Lloyd Wright

Fremlin Walk

Chris Seare

Kent Highways

Ilsa Butler

TCM

David Statham

South East Trains

Jayne Jones

House of Fraser

Cllr Denise Joy

MBC, P&R Committee

Cllr Stephen Paine

MBC, P&R Committee

 

 


 

Working Group 3 - Events

 

Create an Events Experts Group that brings together senior decision makers from the main venues & MBC to “join the dots” when it comes to planning & infrastructure, programming & marketing

 

Carry out an Audit & Gap Analysis – looking at infrastructure & resources (physical & people), including venue capacities, transport links, traffic management, parking, signing, policing & crowd management. Must take into account potential negative impact on local communities & environment.  Should include analysis of processes (licensing, highways, planning etc) too.  Gap Analysis will then identify if new infrastructure/processes needed - & specific actions should then be developed.  

 

Develop an Event Organisers’ Toolkit – to make it easier to hold an event in the borough.  

Set up a “No Clash Diary” – for venues to enter information on provisional as well as firm bookings. This is an “internal” tool for venues, organisers, accommodation providers and public agencies within the Borough (and neighbouring areas) to use – to help them avoid clashes, to spread events across the year, and also facilitate identification of potential “clusters” for joint development & marketing (see next action). 

 

Develop themed seasons/festivals, inspired by the Shared Story and by major events.  May need a DMP Group sub-group – an “Events Development Taskforce”. Members of the Taskforce to be selected for their specific skills (marketing, events management, programming, fundraising).

 

Develop a consumer-facing “Events for Visitors Calendar” – comprising an online realtime database of confirmed events for consumer marketing (website content, emarketing, social media & traditional media relations work), linked to the Culture Kent data pool.  Evolution of current online events calendar on Visit Maidstone.   Related to “No Clash Diary” – but serves different purpose. Drives events information on Visit Maidstone & Visit Kent websites, but also for tourism industry’s own marketing (could incorporate a “widget” for tourism providers to use on their own websites, providing a live feed).  Will need to be promoted to visitor-facing businesses as well as consumers. Needs tight criteria & market focus so only features events with clear visitor-appeal, and presents them in a way that motivates visits (e.g. clustering them, using Shared Story themes etc). 

 

Name

Organisation

Laura Dickson (Chair)

MBC

Jason Taylor

MBC

Sam Bromley

Leeds Castle

Jo Hage /Sarah Macdonald

Rise communications

Lucy Hegaty

Kent Showground

Barbara Dunford

Kent community Events

Larry Williamson

MTCM

Cllr David Pickett

MBC, HCL Committee

Ed Martin

Produced in Kent

Cllr Dave Narghi

MBC, P&R Committee

Neil Pattison

Jubilee

Jamie Freeman

Headcorn Aerodrome

Luke Bentall

Social Festival

Tracy Brunt

KCC

Cllr Martin Round

MBC, P&R Committee

 

Working Group 4 - The Countryside

 

Product audit – map & gap current provision of trails, walks and countryside & river experiences.

 

Marketing audit – understand who currently markets the countryside experiences, where and how.  Find best digital solution to make sure that online information for visitors from various sources is easily found.  Consider how best to use/work with existing brands and sub-brands e.g. Garden of England, Heart of Kent, Our Land .

 

Develop themed experiences and trails that use Shared Story for inspiration, include key attractions, pubs etc along trail to drive more spend .

 

Develop marketing collateral – digital and offline. Rich online content.

Audit  walks and trails selected for promotion to visitors to ensure they are easy to use and attractive  –  safe and easy to find car parks at start points, good facilities along the way, e.g. picnic sites, interpretation, benches, viewpoints etc.  Ensure the routes are consistently signed and that refreshment stops and attractions along the route provide appropriate facilities for walkers and cyclists, e.g. cycle lock ups .  Develop a plan for investment to plug gaps in provision.  

 

Develop rural Visitor Information Points – “i” branded.

 

Work towards becoming Kent’s first “Walker Friendly” destination using  the Cyclist Welcome and Walkers Welcome

·         Identify key towns/villages and support Walkers Welcome accreditation (prioritise villages with direct train links into Maidstone)

·         Promotional activity 

 

Name

Organisation

Christine Dier (Chair)

MBC

Abi Lewis

MBC

Cllr Peter Spearink

Staplehurst  Parish Council

Jo Hage / Sarah Macdonald

Rise Communications

Steve Law

Explore Kent

Ed Martin

Produced in Kent

Yvonne Stark

 

Victora Rose or Julian Barnes

Biddenden vineyards

Jamie Freeman

Headcorn Aerodrome

Nick Johanssen

Kent Downs AONB

Joe Gluck

Kent Wildlife Trust

Valerie Woollven

Tithe Barn Lenham

Cllr Gordon Newton

MBC, HCL Committee

Cllr Richard Ash

MBC, HCL Committee

Cllr John Perry

MBC, P&R Committee