Your Councillors

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, High Street, Maidstone

Contact: Debbie Snook  01622 602030 Email: debbiesnook@maidstone.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

110.

Councillor Peter Parvin

Minutes:

The Council stood in silence for one minute in memory of Councillor Peter Parvin who died on 27 January 2015.

 

111.

Prayers

Minutes:

Prayers were said by Andrew Royal, United Reformed Church Minister.

 

112.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

It was noted that apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Fissenden, Munford, Springett and P Watson.

 

113.

Dispensations

Minutes:

There were no applications for dispensations.

 

114.

Disclosures by Members and Officers

Minutes:

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

 

115.

Disclosures of Lobbying

Minutes:

All Members present stated that they had been lobbied regarding the question to be asked of the Leader of the Council by Mr Dave Witcher.

 

116.

Exempt Items

Minutes:

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

 

117.

Minutes of the meeting of the Borough Council held on 10 December 2014 pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the Minutes of the meeting of the Borough Council held on 10 December 2014 be approved as a correct record and signed.

 

118.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor and representatives of the five political groups paid tribute to Councillor Peter Parvin who passed away in January.

 

The Mayor then updated Members on recent/forthcoming events.

 

Following the announcements, Councillor Brian Mortimer presented a shield to the Mayor from the village of Montauban de Picardie which was adopted by the Borough after the First World War.

 

Note:  Councillor Garland entered the meeting during the Mayor’s announcements.

 

119.

Petitions

Notice has been given pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 11 of the intention to present a petition in the following terms:

 

Saving Bridgemill Play Area

 

We, the undersigned, wish our park at Bridgemill Play Area to remain with the bark surfacing, and not to be replaced with rubber surfacing, and do not want this play area to close.

 

Minutes:

Mrs Susan Hogg presented a petition in the following terms:

 

We, the undersigned, wish our park at Bridge Mill play area to remain with the bark surfacing, and not to be replaced with rubber surfacing, and do not want this play area to close.

 

In presenting the petition, Mrs Hogg said that:

 

·  When the Bridge Mill play area was replaced a few years ago, it was designed so that the equipment enhanced the natural woodland setting by having a chip bark surface surrounded by wooden edges.  The play area was well used by residents of Tovil and adjoining Wards.  The purpose of the petition was to inform the Maidstone Borough Council Parks and Open Spaces Team that residents did not wish the bark surfacing to be replaced with rubber surfacing and did not want the play area to close.

 

·  Local residents first heard about the proposal to replace the bark surfacing and the possibility of the play area being closed at a meeting of the Parish Council in January 2015 and through a local newspaper.  The estimate which had been obtained was only to replace some of the surfacing and did not include the cost of taking away the old surfacing.  The use of rubber surfacing elsewhere had resulted in the need for ongoing repairs due to the surfacing lifting up and breaking.  There had been no official complaints about the use of bark surfacing at the Bridge Mill play area.

 

During the discussion on the petition, Members made a number of points, including:

 

·  Funding for the renewal of the play area was raised by Councillor Derek Mortimer in conjunction with Tovil Parish Council some four years ago and included a Government grant obtained through Kent County Council and Section 106 monies from the Borough Council.  Bark surfacing was chosen at that time as it was in keeping with the woodland surroundings.  Also at that time there was a discussion about the possibility of ownership of the play area being transferred, in due course, from the Borough Council to the Parish Council.  Since then, there had been a considerable reduction in the funding made available by the Borough Council to the Parish Council.

 

·  A meeting was held recently between the Borough Council and the Parish Council to discuss the maintenance and future ownership of the play area.  At that meeting, the Borough Council asked the Parish Council to consider supporting and helping to finance the change from bark surfacing to rubber surfacing which was considered to be more economic from a maintenance point of view.  The view locally was that this change would be unacceptable.

 

·  The play area was probably unique in design and style and one of the best medium sized play areas in Maidstone.  The petition demonstrated the value placed on the excellent facility by parents and children.

 

·  There were no plans to close this play area, which was classified as a strategic play area.  The equipment was in good condition having been replaced some four years ago.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 119.

120.

Question and Answer Session for Members of the Public

Minutes:

Questions to the Leader of the Council

 

Mr Fergus Wilson asked the following question of the Leader of the Council:

 

Should adverse reports about Maidstone Borough Council be reported to Members to be debated or should they be buried?

 

The Leader of the Council responded to the question.

 

Councillor Mrs Wilson, the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Mrs Gooch, the Leader of the Independent Group, Councillor Powell, the Leader of the UKIP Group, and Councillor McKay, the Leader of the Labour Group, then responded to the question.

 

Mr Wilson asked the following supplementary question of the Leader of the Council:

 

Is it the intention to report CHI/29UH/HIN/20124/0005 (24 Hedley Street) to Members?

 

The Leader of the Council responded to the question.

 

Councillor Mrs Wilson, the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Mrs Gooch, the Leader of the Independent Group, Councillor Powell, the Leader of the UKIP Group, and Councillor McKay, the Leader of the Labour Group, then responded to the question.

 

Mr Elliot Dean asked the following question of the Leader of the Council:

 

The LocalPlan is a document which I have heard described as key, vital and "should have been done yesterday".  The Council’s failure to deliver this key document has left the local economy, employment and the environment (to name a few) in a disastrous state.  Can you explain why you have failed to deliver a LocalPlan?

 

The Leader of the Council responded to the question.

 

Councillor Mrs Wilson, the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Mrs Gooch, the Leader of the Independent Group, Councillor Powell, the Leader of the UKIP Group, and Councillor Harper, on behalf of the Leader of the Labour Group, then responded to the question.

 

Mr Elliot asked the following supplementary question of the Leader of the Council:

 

Bearing in mind this Council must demonstrate best value at all times, can you explain why external mediators are being used to deliver the Local Plan?

 

The Leader of the Council responded to the question and provided a further response having clarified the issue raised.

 

Councillor Mrs Wilson, the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Mrs Gooch, the Leader of the Independent Group, Councillor Powell, the Leader of the UKIP Group, and Councillor Harper, on behalf of the Leader of the Labour Group, responded to the question.

 

Mr Dave Witcher asked the following question of the Leader of the Council:

 

Anyone who is taken to court for an alleged debt would expect to receive an original court sealed and signed liability order from a magistrates court and NOT just a notification sent from the Council.

 

It goes without saying that this matter clearly affects an increasing number of people who are becoming aware that a transparent due process operating between the Council and the magistrates courts does not appear to exist; resembling an in-house system.

 

When one approaches the Council they are directed to the magistrates court for the liability order and vice versa, nor do the civil procedure rules seem  ...  view the full minutes text for item 120.

121.

Questions from Members of the Council

(a)  Leader of the Council

(b)  Cabinet Members

(c)  Chairmen of Overview and Scrutiny Committees

(d)  Chairmen of other Committees

Minutes:

Question to the Leader of the Council

 

Councillor Sargeant asked the following question of the Leader of the Council:

 

In view of recent revelations from other authorities can we ensure that the interactions of Maidstone Borough Council with vulnerable residents and children are handled appropriately?

 

The Leader of the Council responded to the question.

 

Note:  To listen to the response to this question, please follow this link:

 

http://live.webcasts.unique-media.tv/mbc243/interface

 

122.

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

Minutes:

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

 

123.

Report of the Cabinet held on 17 December 2014 - Update on Motion Referred to the Cabinet by Council pdf icon PDF 34 KB

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Blackmore, seconded by

Councillor Mrs Ring, that the recommendation of the Cabinet relating to a motion referred to it by the Council be approved.

 

RESOLVED:  That the action taken by the Cabinet in respect of the motion referred to it by the Council relating to the Waterside Park at Junction 8 decision and the update by Officers be noted.

 

124.

Report of the Cabinet held on 11 February 2015 - Draft Strategic Plan 2015-2020 pdf icon PDF 41 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Blackmore, seconded by Councillor Greer, that the recommendations of the Cabinet relating to the draft Strategic Plan 2015-2020 be approved.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the draft Strategic Plan 2015-2020, attached as Appendix A to the report of the Cabinet, be approved.

 

2.  That delegated authority be given to the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Leader, to make minor amendments to the document as required.

 

Voting:  29 – For  1 – Against  19 - Abstentions

 

125.

Report of the Cabinet held on 11 February 2015 - Budget Strategy 2015/16 Onwards pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Before calling upon Councillor Mrs Blackmore to move the recommendations of the Cabinet relating to the Budget Strategy 2015/16 onwards, the Mayor reminded Members that, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 16.4, each Group Leader could speak for up to ten minutes when moving his/her Group’s budget proposals.

 

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Blackmore, seconded by Councillor McLoughlin, that the recommendations of the Cabinet relating to the Budget Strategy 2015/16 onwards be approved.

 

Amendment moved by Councillor Mrs Wilson, seconded by Councillor Harwood:

 

That the recommendations of the Cabinet to the Council relating to the Budget Strategy 2015/16 onwards be approved subject to the amendment of recommendation 5 to read:

 

That the revenue estimates for 2015/16 incorporating the growth and savings items, as set out in Appendix A to the report of the Cabinet, be agreed with the following amendments:

 

a)  That recognition of the service growth required to provide new housing is set out in the Medium Term Financial Strategy through the provision of a budget of £40,000 to support the new service.  For the budget year 2015/16 funding will be provided from the set aside of the projected under spend for 2014/15 that Cabinet has already approved for such use.  For future budget years 2016/17 onwards this would be resourced from the income generated by the service.

 

b)  That a sum of £50,000 is set aside from the business rates growth identified in the 2015/16 budget to enable survey and feasibility work to be completed on one or more areas of the town centre that would benefit from regeneration and would provide a catalyst for further regeneration activity in the town.

 

c)  That 50% of the surplus generated from the litter enforcement activity of the Council be directed into new litter awareness work through a joint arrangement between the waste team and the community development team and that this work be focused on campaigns with school age children and young adults.

 

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

 

FOR (22)

 

Councillors Chittenden, Cox, Daley, English, Mrs Gooch, Mrs Grigg, Harwood, Mrs Joy, Long, Moriarty, B Mortimer, D Mortimer, Naghi, Newton, Paterson, Pickett, Mrs Robertson, Sams, Vizzard, B Watson, Willis and Mrs Wilson

 

AGAINST (19)

 

Councillors Mrs Blackmore, Burton, Butler, Collins, Cuming, Garland, Greer, Mrs Hinder, Hogg, Paine, Mrs Parvin, Perry, Mrs Ring, Ross, Round, Mrs Stockell, Thick, de Wiggondene and J.A. Wilson

 

ABSTAINED (8)

 

Councillors Ash, Black, Ells, Harper, McKay, McLoughlin, Powell and Sargeant

 

AMENDMENT CARRIED

 

The substantive 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 substantive motion as follows:

 

FOR (45)

 

Councillors Ash, Black, Mrs Blackmore, Burton, Butler, Chittenden, Collins, Cox, Cuming, Daley, Ells, English, Mrs Gooch, Greer, Mrs Grigg, Harper, Mrs Hinder, Mrs Joy, Long, McKay, McLoughlin, Moriarty, B Mortimer, D Mortimer, Naghi, Newton, Paine, Mrs  ...  view the full minutes text for item 125.

126.

Adjournment of Meeting

Minutes:

The meeting was adjourned from 8.55 p.m. to 9.05 p.m.

 

127.

Report of the Cabinet held on 11 February 2015 - Treasury Management Strategy 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Blackmore, seconded by Councillor Black, that the recommendation of the Cabinet relating to the Treasury Management Strategy 2015/16 be approved.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Treasury Management Strategy 2015/16 and related Appendices, all attached to the report of the Cabinet, be adopted.

 

128.

Report of the Member and Employment and Development Panel held on 21 January 2015 - Pay Policy Statement pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor McLoughlin, seconded by Councillor Black, that the recommendations of the Member and Employment and Development Panel relating to the Pay Policy Statement be approved.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the Pay Policy Statement, attached as Appendix B to the report of the Member and Employment and Development Panel, be approved for publication on the Council’s website after 31 March 2015.

 

2.  That the Chief Executive be given delegated authority to update the Pay Policy Statement with the pay figures at the end of the financial year, prior to publication.

 

129.

Oral Report of the Economic and Commercial Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 24 February 2015

Minutes:

It was noted that there was no report arising from the meeting of the Economic and Commercial Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 24 February 2015.

 

130.

Notice of Motion - Living Wage

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

 

Living Wage

 

As a result of the cost of living crises since 2010, wage levels have not generally kept pace with prices.  This is more exacerbated for lower earners.

 

The independently verified Living Wage represents the minimum hourly wage someone can live on at a basic level and ensures that those in full-time work are guaranteed a decent standard of living.

 

The Maidstone economy has a large element of lower paid unskilled jobs.

 

To demonstrate THIS Council’s commitment to the Living Wage, the Council agrees the following:

 

1.  To note that the Council employs all its staff above the level of the living wage and to advertise the fact to encourage other employers as a good example;

 

2.  To investigate with the Living Wage Foundation the implications of being an accredited Living Wage Employer and to receive a report back to a future Council Meeting on this;

 

3.  To ask the Council’s Officers to undertake an audit of all Council contractors and sub-contractors to establish if they pay any staff below the Living Wage;

 

4.  If any contractor/sub-contractor is paying below the Living Wage, to review the impact of bringing their lowest paid staff to the Living Wage;

 

5.  To investigate the policy of the Royal Borough of Greenwich to offer discounted business rates to local companies who commit to paying their workers the Living Wage.  This is aimed to encourage local businesses looking at making the change to the Living Wage, to supporting local communities and the local economy in general;

 

6.  To apply the Living Wage to apprentices in its employment (as the young should not be discriminated against); and, where they are paid less currently, to prepare an action plan on how this will be remedied and also to undertake a similar exercise with its contractors and sub-contractors; and

 

7.  To recommend that Kent County Council and other members of the Mid-Kent Consortium take similar measures.

 

Minutes:

The following motion was moved by Councillor Harper, seconded by Councillor McKay:

 

As a result of the cost of living crises since 2010, wage levels have not generally kept pace with prices.  This is more exacerbated for lower earners.

 

The independently verified Living Wage represents the minimum hourly wage someone can live on at a basic level and ensures that those in full-time work are guaranteed a decent standard of living.

 

The Maidstone economy has a large element of lower paid unskilled jobs.

 

To demonstrate THIS Council’s commitment to the Living Wage, the Council agrees the following:

 

1.  To note that the Council employs all its staff above the level of the Living Wage and to advertise the fact to encourage other employers as a good example;

 

2.  To investigate with the Living Wage Foundation the implications of being an accredited Living Wage Employer and to receive a report back to a future Council Meeting on this;

 

3.  To ask the Council’s Officers to undertake an audit of all Council contractors and sub-contractors to establish if they pay any staff below the Living Wage;

 

4.  If any contractor/sub-contractor is paying below the Living Wage, to review the impact of bringing their lowest paid staff to the Living Wage;

 

5.  To investigate the policy of the Royal Borough of Greenwich to offer discounted business rates to local companies who commit to paying their workers the Living Wage.  This is aimed to encourage local businesses looking at making the change to the Living Wage, to supporting local communities and the local economy in general;

 

6.  To apply the Living Wage to apprentices in its employment (as the young should not be discriminated against); and, where they are paid less currently, to prepare an action plan on how this will be remedied and also to undertake a similar exercise with its contractors and sub-contractors; and

 

7.  To recommend that Kent County Council and other members of the Mid-Kent Consortium take similar measures.

 

RESOLVED:  That the motion, having been moved and seconded, be referred to the Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, as the Cabinet Member responsible, for consideration.

 

131.

Report of the Head of Finance and Resources - Members' Allowances pdf icon PDF 30 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by the Mayor, seconded by Councillor Black, that the recommendations contained in the report of the Head of Finance and Resources relating to Members’ Allowances be approved.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the Group Leaders’ Allowance (other than the Leaders’ Allowance) be determined based upon how many Members there are in their respective parties as set out in the report of the Head of Finance and Resources.

 

2.  That Members be eligible to receive the same percentage increase in their allowances as the Council’s members of staff receive each year and that this should include Dependant Carer’s Allowance and Non-Councillors’ Allowances.

 

3.  That the issue relating to a Special Responsibility Allowance for Vice-Chairmen be deferred for further consideration by the Joint Independent Remuneration Panel at the full review in March 2015.

 

132.

Report of the Head of Finance and Resources - Harrietsham Parish Council - Increase in Number of Councillors pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by the Mayor, seconded by Councillor English, that the recommendation contained in the report of the Head of Finance and Resources relating to the proposed increase in the number of Parish Councillors on Harrietsham Parish Council be approved.

 

RESOLVED:  That an Order be made under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 to increase the number of Parish Councillors on Harrietsham Parish Council from nine to eleven.

 

133.

Report of the Head of Finance and Resources - Committee Membership pdf icon PDF 25 KB

Minutes:

It was moved by the Mayor, seconded by Councillor Hogg, that the recommendation contained in the report of the Head of Finance and Resources relating to the membership of Committees be approved.

 

RESOLVED:  That the following changes be approved to reflect the wishes of the Leader of the Independent Group:

 

Community, Environment and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee

 

Members

 

Delete Councillor Munford.  Insert Councillor Newton.

 

Substitute Members

 

Delete Councillor Newton.  Insert Councillor Munford.

 

Planning, Transport and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee

 

Members

 

Delete Councillor Munford.  Insert Councillor Mrs Gooch.

 

Substitute Members

 

Delete Councillor Mrs Gooch.  Insert Councillor Munford.

 

134.

Appointment of Mayor Select 2015/16

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Gooch, seconded by Councillor

B Mortimer, supported by Councillors Sargeant, McKay and Collins and:

 

RESOLVED:  That Councillor Daniel Moriarty be appointed as Mayor Select for the Municipal Year 2015/16.

 

135.

Appointment of Deputy Mayor Select 2015/16

PLEASE NOTE:

 

MEMBERS ARE REQUESTED TO BRING WITH THEM TO THE MEETING THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENT WHICH HAS BEEN CIRCULATED SEPARATELY:

 

APPENDIX A TO THE REPORT OF THE CABINET RELATING TO THE BUDGET STRATEGY 2015/16 ONWARDS

 

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Blackmore, seconded by Councillor Naghi, supported by Councillors Mrs Gooch, Sargeant and McKay and:

 

RESOLVED:  That Councillor Derek Butler be appointed as Deputy Mayor Select for the Municipal Year 2015/16.

 

136.

Duration of Meeting

Minutes:

6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.