Your Councillors

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, High Street, Maidstone

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

Items
No. Item

23.

Councillor Alistair Black

Minutes:

The Council stood in silence for one minute in memory of Councillor Alistair Black who died on 13 July 2015.

 

24.

Prayers

Minutes:

Prayers were said by the Reverend Robin Williamson, Assistant Minister at St Luke’s Church, Maidstone.

 

25.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

It was noted that apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Ells, Mrs Hinder and B Mortimer.

 

26.

Dispensations

Minutes:

There were no applications for dispensations.

 

27.

Disclosures by Members and Officers

Minutes:

There were no disclosures by Members or Officers.

 

28.

Disclosures of Lobbying

Minutes:

All Members stated that they had been lobbied regarding the Councillor Referral from the Policy and Resources Committee (agenda item 15).

 

29.

Exempt Items

Minutes:

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

 

30.

Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Borough Council held on 23 May 2015 pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Borough Council held on 23 May 2015 be approved as a correct record and signed.

 

31.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor and representatives of the five political groups paid tribute to Councillor Alistair Black who passed away on 13 July 2015.

 

The Mayor then updated Members on recent/forthcoming events.

 

32.

Petitions

Minutes:

There were no petitions.

 

33.

Question and Answer Session for Members of the Public

Minutes:

Question to the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee

 

Dr Mike Speight asked the following question of the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee:

 

With regard to the debate at the meeting on 24June of the Policy and Resources Committee, concerning the Economic Development Strategy, why was detailed correspondence from CPRE and the Joint Parishes Group to Councillor Wilson and detailed correspondence from Kent County Council to the Chief Executive singled out for in-depth consideration by Members, whilst very notably at the same time there was not even the simplest of enquiry of Members as regards whether they had been lobbied by members of the public?

 

The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee replied that:

 

The two letters from the CPRE and the Joint Parishes Group and Kent County Council were sent at the very last minute.  The letter from the CPRE and the Joint Parishes Group was dated 22 June and was sent to all Members of the Policy and Resources Committee and the Chief Executive. The letter from KCC was dated 24 June and was sent to the Chief Executive.  By this time the agenda had already been circulated and published and therefore it was too late to include the letters with the published documents.

 

Because these two letters were sent to Members of the Committee and to the Council at the last minute, and because they appeared to raise some serious points about the report, I decided, in consultation with the Chief Executive, that it was appropriate to circulate them at the meeting.  The Council wished to be as open and transparent as possible in doing this, by ensuring that all Councillors and members of the public at the meeting could read the letters and that all Councillors could include the points raised in an open and frank debate.

 

The Economic Development Strategy had gone through extensive consultation and a full summary of those responses was included in the report.  John Foster, the Council’s Economic Development Manager, presented the report and gave a detailed presentation on the night, including summarising the results of the consultation.  A full and detailed debate followed the presentation.

 

In answer to your question about declarations of lobbying, such declarations are a standard item on the agenda and it was on the agenda that evening.  On the webcast, I asked for disclosures and said that I thought a number of Councillors had perhaps been lobbied on various issues and I would take them at the appropriate item.  At item 13, the Economic Development Strategy, I referred to the fact that the letter from CPRE and the Joint Parishes Group had been sent to the Committee.  I also referred to the letter from KCC and told the Committee that Officers had prepared an update.  I adjourned the meeting for 15 minutes for the Councillors to read the letters before moving on to discuss the report.  It was each Councillor’s responsibility to declare lobbying at that point if they wished.

 

Councillor  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.

34.

Questions from Members of the Council to the Chairmen of Committees

Minutes:

Question to the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee

 

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

 

On behalf of our residents, given the social and economic impact that Operation Stack has on our community, the M20 a lorry park and the A20 often at a standstill, with the chaos this causes, can this Council demonstrate ways in which we can encourage all agencies to work together to alleviate what is an ever worsening and more frequent problem?

 

The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee replied that:

 

I would like to thank Councillor Sams for a very pertinent and very apt question as Stack is once again in operation.  I have a huge sense of déjà vu as seven years ago, when I was last Leader of the Council, we were talking about this problem, and little seems to have changed in the interim other than the numbers of HGVs held on our roads which, I am informed, have gone through the roof since the economy started to improve.

 

One of the issues which needs tackling is the current disconnect between Dover’s traffic access protocol and Operation Stack.  It is my personal view that Dover Town, Dover Port and the Stack need to find a more efficient way to relate to each other, and I will raise that with Kent Leaders.

 

This, however, does not resolve the issues Harrietsham and Lenham face or, indeed, the adverse impact upon all of our northern communities and the town centre itself.  Our economy is suffering, our people are suffering.  It is a ridiculous situation.

 

However, to answer your specific question, I believe the most important thing we can do currently for the Ward you represent is for Maidstone Borough Council to corporately push Kent County Council and other authorities to provide the road safety measures on the A20 which, I believe, have been agreed in principle, and now need to be implemented as a matter of urgency.

 

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

 

I am concerned as to the safety of all people associated with this; pedestrians, cyclists, car and lorry drivers, with lorries parked in often precarious parts on and off the highway and others forced into often questionable manoeuvres around them.  How will we work on joint strategies with other agencies to reduce risk?

 

The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee replied that:

 

I absolutely agree that this is a dire situation.  I believe that the only way forward is for Maidstone Borough Councilto work closelywith the Police and other agencies to see what can be done to improve the monitoring of the system when it is in place; not least, we need to watch the welfare of the lorry drivers themselves.  I come back to the point that we need the safety measures in place on the A20 so that people can at least cross the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

35.

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 McKay, 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.

 

36.

Oral Report of the Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee held on 13 July 2015

Minutes:

It was noted that there was no report arising from the meeting of the Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee held on 13 July 2015.

 

37.

Oral Report of the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee held on 14 July 2015

Minutes:

It was noted that there was no report arising from the meeting of the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee held on 14 July 2015.

 

38.

Report of the Chief Executive - Councillor Referral from Policy and Resources Committee pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Stockell, seconded by Councillor Mrs Blackmore, and:

 

RESOLVED:  That the Council agrees to adopt the Economic Development Strategy, attached as an Appendix to the report of the Chief Executive, with the following sentence removed from paragraph 6.21:

 

 “However with the NPPF direction to meet the needs of the economy in full it is Officers’ view that, with the completion of this qualitative assessment, the balance of planning and economic development considerations now weigh in favour of identifying land in the location of J8 in the emerging Local Plan.”

 

39.

Ms Zena Cooke - Director of Regeneration and Communities

Minutes:

The Mayor announced that after six years working for Maidstone Borough Council, Zena Cooke would be leaving to take up a new position with Tower Hamlets Council on 31 July 2015.  On behalf of Members, the Mayor thanked Ms Cooke for her services to the Council and congratulated her on her new appointment.

 

40.

Duration of Meeting

Minutes:

6.30 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.