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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Remote Meeting - The public proceedings of the meeting will be broadcast live and recorded for playback on the Maidstone Borough Council website

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Items
No. Item

147.

Prayers

Minutes:

Prayers were said by the Reverend Joyce Addison of St Martin’s Church, Northumberland Road.

 

148.

Recording of Proceedings

Minutes:

Councillor McKay reserved his right to record the proceedings.

 

149.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

It was noted that apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Bartlett and Eves.

 

150.

Dispensations

Minutes:

There were no applications for dispensations.

 

151.

Disclosures by Members and Officers

Minutes:

There were no disclosures by Members or Officers.

 

152.

Disclosures of Lobbying

Minutes:

The following disclosures of lobbying were noted:

 

Item

9.

Petition – Housebuilding Targets and Infrastructure

Councillors M Burton, Chappell-Tay, Cox, Perry, Powell, J Sams, T Sams, de Wiggondene-Sheppard and Wilby

 

Item

15.

Oral Report of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee held on 22 September 2020 – Local Development Scheme 2020-2022 (September 2020 Edition) and Maidstone Statement of Community Involvement September 2020

 

Councillors D Burton, Cox, Garten, Mrs Gooch, Mrs Grigg, Munford, Parfitt-Reid, Perry, M Rose, M Round, J Sams, T Sams, de Wiggondene-Sheppard and Wilby

Item

16.

Notice of Motion – Anti-Idling Campaign

Councillors M Burton, Chappell-Tay, Cox, Garten, Kimmance, Perry,

D Rose and Round

 

Item

17.

Report of the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance – Amendments to the Constitution

 

Councillors Cox, Mrs Gooch, Munford and Purle

Item

21.

Report of the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance – Call-In of Policy and Resources Committee Decisions on Property Acquisition 1 and Property Acquisition 2

Councillors Mrs Blackmore, Brice,

M Burton, K Chappell-Tay, Cox, Garten, Kimmance, Newton, Parfitt-Reid, Perry, D Rose and Round

 

153.

Exempt Items

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That if Members wish to discuss the information contained in the exempt Appendix to the report of the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance relating to the Call-In of Policy and Resources Committee Decisions on Property Acquisition 1 and Property Acquisition 2, it will be necessary to exclude the public from the meeting because of the likely disclosure of exempt information having applied the Public Interest Test.

 

154.

Minutes of the meeting of the Borough Council held on 15 July 2020 pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the Minutes of the meeting of the Borough Council held on 15 July 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed.

 

155.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor said that the number of engagements was increasing, which was good, but people were being very cautious and this was understandable at this difficult time.

 

156.

Petition - Housebuilding Targets and Infrastructure

Notice has been given pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 13 of the intention to present a petition in the following terms:

 

We the undersigned request our Elected Representatives in Maidstone Borough to:

 

  • Challenge and campaign against National Government's Housebuilding targets.
  • Rethink the building of Garden Communities.  They are not an appropriate planning policy for the Borough of Maidstone, especially in places like Lenham Heath, Marden and Langley as perfect examples.
  • Not accept new housebuilding levels that are unsustainable for the Borough of Maidstone.
  • Complete a full infrastructure assessment before the Local Plan Review and ensure all historical infrastructure issues are rectified across the Borough before projects commence.
  • Be transparent and engage Parish Councils and local communities before any final decisions are made with regards to planning and new developments in the area.

 

Minutes:

Mr Steve Heeley presented a petition in the following terms on behalf of the Save Our Heathlands Action Group (SOHAG):

 

We the undersigned request our elected representatives in Maidstone Borough to:

 

·  Challenge and campaign against national Government's housebuilding targets.

·  Rethink the building of Garden Communities.  They are not an appropriate planning policy for the Borough of Maidstone, especially in places like Lenham Heath, Marden and Langley as perfect examples.

·  Not accept new housebuilding levels that are unsustainable for the Borough of Maidstone.

·  Complete a full infrastructure assessment before the Local Plan Review and ensure all historical infrastructure issues are rectified across the Borough before projects commence.

·  Be transparent and engage Parish Councils and local communities before any final decisions are made with regards to planning and new developments in the area.

 

In presenting the petition, Mr Heeley said that:

 

·  The petition had been signed by thousands of Maidstone residents calling upon the Council to rethink its plans on housebuilding.

·  The SOHAG was opposed to the Council’s proposed Garden Community at Lenham.  However, through its work, the Group was finding that there was a lot of opposition to the overall planning approach in the Borough.

·  Many of the people the Group had spoken to appeared resigned to the fact that the Council would carry on with its growth strategy without properly seeking the views of residents.  The petitioners were calling upon Members to hear and listen to the voices of Maidstone residents who were saying “Enough is Enough”.

·  The petition was specifically asking Members to challenge and campaign against national Government’s housebuilding targets and to rethink the building of Garden Communities as this was not considered to be a suitable planning policy approach for the Borough.  The petitioners did not expect the Council to accept new housebuilding levels that are unsustainable for Maidstone and were asking the Council to be transparent and engage with Parish Councils and local communities before any final decisions are made regarding where new development goes.

·  In terms of housebuilding targets, the petitioners were well aware that the Council had made attempts to challenge the targets imposed already but were underwhelmed by the action taken to date which had constituted a few letters to the Secretary of State and a meeting with Civil Servants.  Instead they wanted loud and clear voices against national targets and were calling upon the Council to join forces with MPs across Kent and further afield and the Kent Association of Local Councils to amplify the opposition to these targets.

·  In terms of Garden Communities, the petitioners were calling upon the Council to listen to the many residents who are opposed to this form of growth.  Maidstone residents did not want new towns built in the countryside at the expense of hundreds of acres of greenfield land miles away from the main conurbations.  Garden Communities were the right solution in the right place but were not the right solution for Maidstone.  Existing Garden Communities such as Ebbsfleet in north Kent and Kingshill, West  ...  view the full minutes text for item 156.

157.

Question and Answer Session for Members of the Public

Minutes:

Question to the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee from Mr Stuart Jeffery

 

It is now almost 18 months since the Council declared a climate and ecological emergency and 15 months since the Council agreed to develop an action plan.  The plan was due to be presented at April’s Policy and Resources Committee but was understandably deferred until June.  There have been three Policy and Resources Committees since June and still no sign of a plan.  Given that the climate and ecological emergencies dwarf the Covid pandemic why is the Council not giving it its full attention?

 

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

 

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

 

What will you tell your grandchildren when they ask why you didn’t do everything enough quickly enough and why you didn’t do everything possible to stop the climate ecological catastrophe?

 

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

 

Question to the Chairman of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee from Ms Geraldine Brown

 

Will the Democracy and General Purposes Committee work with Group Leaders to ensure that next year’s election arrangements, particularly so-called “purdah”, and, as necessary, the Constitution are revised to ensure that the Local Development Scheme suffers minimal inconvenience and lost time arising from the election period?

 

The Chairman of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee responded to the question.

 

Ms Brown asked the following supplementary question of the Chairman of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee:

 

With Officers trying to pull out all the stops to achieve early Regulation 19 consultation, do you not think that Members, particularly Group Leaders, should try as hard as they can to find a solution and remove the possible impediment for the benefit of residents?

 

The Chairman of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee responded to the question.

 

Question to the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee from Mr Peter Coulling

 

In your view, do you think this Council is assured that our Borough will not have to absorb 5,000 extra dwellings in the period up to 2037, if a new algorithm comes into force?

 

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

 

Mr Coulling asked the following supplementary question of the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee:

 

Does that mean when we get to agenda item 15 (Oral Report of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee held on 22 September 2020 – Local Development Scheme 2020-2022 (September 2020 Edition) and Maidstone Statement of Community Involvement September 2020), you will really express your concerns that the proposed Local Development Scheme leaves us very exposed as a Borough in January, February and probably a good part of March if the algorithm changes and that the Local Development Scheme is just not quick enough/agile enough and is not really covering our risk?

 

The Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee responded to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 157.

158.

Questions from Members of the Council to the Chairmen of Committees

Minutes:

There were no questions from Members of the Council to the Chairmen of Committees.

 

159.

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

Minutes:

Councillor Cox, the Leader of the Council, submitted his report on current issues.

 

After the Leader of the Council had submitted his report, Councillor Perry, the Leader of the Conservative Group, Councillor Mrs Gooch, the Leader of the Independent Group, Councillor McKay, the Leader of the Labour Group, and Councillor Powell, the Leader of the Independent Maidstone Group, responded to the issues raised.

 

There were no questions from Members regarding the issues raised by the Leader of the Council and the other Group Leaders in their speeches.

 

160.

Report of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee held on 25 August 2020 - Request to Reduce the Number of Nominative Trustee Positions from the Cutbush and Corrall Charity (Incorporating the Quested Almshouse Charity) pdf icon PDF 36 KB

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mortimer, seconded by Councillor Powell, that the recommendation of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee relating to a request by the Cutbush and Corrall Charity (incorporating the Quested Almshouse Charity) to reduce the number of Council appointed Nominative Trustees from four to two be approved.

 

RESOLVED:  That the request by the Cutbush and Corrall Charity (incorporating the Quested Almshouse Charity) to reduce the number of Council appointed Nominative Trustees from four to two be approved.

 

161.

Report of the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee held on 14 September 2020 - Audit, Governance and Standards Committee - Annual Report to Council 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 37 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Harvey, seconded by Councillor Adkinson, that the recommendation of the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee relating to its Annual Report to Council 2019/20 be approved.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee Annual Report 2019/20, attached as Appendix A to the report of the Committee, be noted.

 

162.

Oral Report of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee held on 22 September 2020 - Local Development Scheme 2020-2022 (September 2020 Edition) and Maidstone Statement of Community Involvement September 2020 pdf icon PDF 30 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

At the invitation of the Mayor, Councillor Geraldine Brown, the Chairman of the Maidstone Area Committee of the Kent Association of Local Councils, and Councillor Peter Coulling, a member of the Co-ordinating Team including the Maidstone Area Committee of the Kent Association of Local Councils, Maidstone CPRE, the Bearsted and Thurnham Society and the Joint Parishes Group, addressed the Council, urging Members to further accelerate the timetable to Regulation 19 consultation to attempt to avoid the risk of increased housing numbers being applied to the Borough.

 

Councillor D Burton then presented the report of the meeting of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee held on 22 September 2020.

 

It was moved by Councillor D Burton, seconded by Councillor Mrs Grigg,

 

1.  That the Local Development Scheme 2020-2022 (September 2020 edition), attached as Appendix 1 to the report to the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee, be approved.

 

2.  That the Maidstone Statement of Community Involvement (September 2020), attached as Appendix 2 to the report to the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee, be approved.

 

3.  That the Statement of Community Involvement Covid-19 Temporary Addendum (May 2020) adopted by the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee on 9 June 2020 as an Addendum to the Maidstone Statement of Community Involvement (September 2020) be approved.

 

4.  That the Head of Planning and Development be granted delegated powers to reverse the changes within the Maidstone Statement of Community Involvement Covid-19 Temporary Addendum (May 2020) adopted by the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee on 9 June 2020 as soon as Covid-19 restrictions allow.

 

In moving the recommendations, Councillor D Burton wished to make clear that they did not necessarily reflect his personal views.

 

Amendment moved by Councillor Garten, seconded by Councillor Perry, that the Council proceed directly to Regulation 19 consultation in February 2021 and adopt the Local Development Scheme 2020-2022 displayed at the meeting.

 

When put to the vote, the amendment was lost.

 

The original motion was then put to the vote and carried.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the Local Development Scheme 2020-2022 (September 2020 edition), attached as Appendix 1 to the report to the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee, be approved.

 

2.  That the Maidstone Statement of Community Involvement (September 2020), attached as Appendix 2 to the report to the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee, be approved.

 

3.  That the Statement of Community Involvement Covid-19 Temporary Addendum (May 2020) adopted by the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee on 9 June 2020 as an Addendum to the Maidstone Statement of Community Involvement (September 2020) be approved.

 

4.  That the Head of Planning and Development be granted delegated powers to reverse the changes within the Maidstone Statement of Community Involvement Covid-19 Temporary Addendum (May 2020) adopted by the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee on 9 June 2020 as soon as Covid-19 restrictions allow.

 

Councillor Garten requested that his dissent be recorded.

 

Councillor D Burton said that although the outcome of the vote might not be the preference of all Members, he was sure that they would work  ...  view the full minutes text for item 162.

163.

Notice of Motion - Anti-Idling Campaign

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

 

Following the question to Council by a member of the public at its meeting on 15 July 2020, and whilst welcoming the findings of Maidstone Borough Council’s 2020 air quality Annual Status Report, it is disappointing to note that the provisions of Regulation 12 of The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002 have still not been implemented by Maidstone Borough Council.

 

These provisions are even more relevant today as the country slowly emerges from lockdown due to Covid-19.

 

Schools are back, but social distancing rules and understandable anxiety of parents have meant that fewer journeys to schools are being made by public transport.  It is estimated that you would need at least 5 times the number of buses the UK currently has to enable safe social distancing.

Therefore, there are now more cars on our already polluted roads than ever before – all pumping out noxious fumes.

 

Idling is detrimental to the modern automotive engine, but even more seriously idling engines are adding to already bad air pollution.  Air pollution is linked to poor recovery and higher infection rates of Covid-19 due to damage caused to the lungs.

 

This Council therefore resolves to ensure that the provisions of Regulation 12 of The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002 are enacted immediately, with appropriate publicity, training of enforcement officers, engagement with local businesses, bus and taxi operators and presentations in schools as has been done in the London-wide Idling Action’s #enginesoff campaign.

 

Minutes:

Notice of the following motion had been given by Councillor Adkinson, seconded by Councillor Harper:

 

Following the question to Council by a member of the public at its meeting on 15 July 2020, and whilst welcoming the findings of Maidstone Borough Council’s 2020 air quality Annual Status Report, it is disappointing to note that the provisions of Regulation 12 of The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002 have still not been implemented by Maidstone Borough Council.

These provisions are even more relevant today as the country slowly emerges from lockdown due to Covid-19.

 

Schools are back, but social distancing rules and understandable anxiety of parents have meant that fewer journeys to schools are being made by public transport.  It is estimated that you would need at least 5 times the number of buses the UK currently has to enable safe social distancing.  Therefore, there are now more cars on our already polluted roads than ever before – all pumping out noxious fumes.

 

Idling is detrimental to the modern automotive engine, but even more seriously idling engines are adding to already bad air pollution.  Air pollution is linked to poor recovery and higher infection rates of Covid-19 due to damage caused to the lungs.

 

This Council therefore resolves to ensure that the provisions of Regulation 12 of The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002 are enacted immediately, with appropriate publicity, training of enforcement officers, engagement with local businesses, bus and taxi operators and presentations in schools as has been done in the London-wide Idling Action’s #enginesoff campaign.

 

In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 18.5, the motion, having been moved and seconded, was referred to the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee.

 

Note:  Councillor Daley left the meeting during consideration of this item (10.00 p.m.).

 

164.

Report of the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance - Amendments to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Gooch, seconded by Councillor Mrs Joy, that the proposed amendments to the Constitution set out in Appendix 1 to the report of the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance, including changes to the requirements in relation to Planning and Licensing training, the Planning Referrals process and Seat Allocations be approved.

 

RESOLVED:  That the proposed amendments to the Constitution set out in Appendix 1 to the report of the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance, including changes to the requirements in relation to Planning and Licensing training, the Planning Referrals process and Seat Allocations, be approved.

 

165.

Report of the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance - Review of Allocation of Seats on Committees pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Cox, seconded by Councillor Mrs Gooch:

 

1.  That the allocation of seats on Committees be as set out in amended Appendix 1 to the report of the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance which has been circulated separately.

 

2.  That the wishes of the Group Leaders with regard to membership of Committees, as set out in the schedule circulated separately, be accepted.

 

Amendment moved by Councillor Perry, seconded by Councillor Cuming, that the proposed seat allocations be amended to reflect the original seat allocations agreed in May 2019 and that the wishes of Group Leaders regarding the membership of Committees be agreed following the meeting.

 

This amendment was not put to the vote.  Section 17 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 provides for exceptions to the political balance requirements. The Council can amend the political balance of a Committee provided that notice of the intention to give such consideration has been given to all Members of the Council and that when the alternative arrangements are put to the vote at the Council meeting, no Member of the Council votes against them.  Councillor English indicated that he formally objected to the amendment.

 

The original motion was then put to the vote and carried.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the allocation of seats on Committees be as set out in amended Appendix 1 to the report of the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance which has been circulated separately.

 

2.  That the wishes of the Group Leaders with regard to membership of Committees, as set out in the schedule circulated separately, be accepted.

 

Note:

 

Councillors Fort and Newton left the meeting before the voting on this item.

 

Councillors J and T Sams left the meeting during consideration of this item (10.15 p.m.).

 

166.

Long Meeting

Minutes:

Prior to 10.30 p.m., at the conclusion of the voting on the report of the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance relating to the Review of Allocation of Seats on Committees, the Council considered whether to adjourn at 10.30 p.m. or to continue until 11.00 p.m. if necessary.

 

RESOLVED:  That the meeting should continue until 11.00 p.m. if necessary.

 

MAIDSTONE BOROUGH COUNCIL ACTING AS CORPORATE TRUSTEE OF THE CHARITY KNOWN AS THE COBTREE MANOR ESTATE

167.

Report of the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance - Review of Allocation of Seats on Committees pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Cox, seconded by Councillor Purle, that the recommendations set out in the report of the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance be approved.

 

RESOLVED: 

 

1.  That it be noted that there is no impact on the seats on the Cobtree Manor Estate Charity Committee as a result of the review which has been undertaken.

 

2.  That the wishes of Group Leaders with regard to the membership of the Committee be accepted.

 

MAIDSTONE BOROUGH COUNCIL ACTING AS CORPORATE TRUSTEE OF THE QUEEN'S OWN ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT MUSEUM TRUST

168.

Report of the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance - Review of Allocation of Seats on Committees pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Cox, seconded by Councillor D Rose, that the recommendations set out in the report of the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance be approved.

 

RESOLVED: 

 

1.  That it be noted that there is no impact on the seats on the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment Museum Trust Committee as a result of the review which has been undertaken.

 

2.  That the wishes of Group Leaders with regard to the membership of the Committee be accepted.

 

169.

ADJOURNMENT OF MEETING

Minutes:

At 10.35 p.m., the Mayor adjourned the meeting until a date to be determined by the Proper Officer in consultation with the Mayor and Group Leaders when the remaining items on the agenda will be discussed.

 

170.

Duration of Meeting

Minutes:

6.30 p.m. to 10.35 p.m.