Your Councillors


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

Contact: Debbie Snook  01622 602030

Link: clickhere for webcast channel

Items
No. Item

208.

Minute's Silence

Minutes:

The Council observed a minute’s silence in memory of Adrian Brindle and Trevor Matthews, former Members of the Borough Council, who had passed away recently.

 

209.

Prayers

Minutes:

Prayers were said by the Reverend Chris Lavender of St Nicholas’s Church, Allington.

 

210.

Recording of Proceedings

Minutes:

Councillor McKay reserved his right to record the proceedings.

 

211.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

It was noted that apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Newton and de Wiggondene-Sheppard.

 

212.

Dispensations

Minutes:

There were no applications for dispensations.

 

213.

Disclosures by Members and Officers

Minutes:

With regard to agenda item 20 (Notice of Motion – Maidstone Cycle Campaign Forum), Councillor Harper said that he was the Chairman of the Maidstone Cycle Campaign Forum, but he had no financial interest in the Forum which was an established Charity.

 

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 2021.

 

214.

Disclosures of Lobbying

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of lobbying.

 

215.

Exempt Items

Minutes:

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

 

216.

Minutes of the meeting of the Borough Council held on 9 December 2020 pdf icon PDF 138 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the Minutes of the meeting of the Borough Council held on 9 December 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed.

 

217.

Minutes of the extraordinary meeting of the Borough Council held on 28 January 2021 pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the Minutes of the extraordinary meeting of the Borough Council held on 28 January 2021 be approved as a correct record and signed.

 

218.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor said that:

 

·  She had sent a letter of condolence to the family of Captain Sir Tom Moore on behalf of the Council and the residents of Maidstone.

 

·  Although there were no engagements due to COVID-19, she was still talking to a lot of people by telephone.

 

219.

Petitions

Minutes:

There were no petitions.

 

220.

Question and Answer Session for Members of the Public

Minutes:

Question from Mr Peter Coulling to the Chairman of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee

 

With regard to questions from the public at a Council meeting, the Constitution states at paragraph 14.10 that “If the webcast has failed prior to the start of the meeting, a summary of the answer will be included in the minutes”.  In that event, is it reasonable to expect Committee Services staff to be able to provide a reasonable summary of such answers?

 

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

 

Mr Coulling asked the following supplementary question of the Chairman of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee:

 

It is good to hear that you have confidence in the Committee staff to give a gist of questions and answers, that would be helpful to the public.  As YouTube archiving is not long term assured, and as current Minutes go beyond simple statement of decisions, why not use that distilling skill for all questions and answers?

 

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

 

Question from Mr Duncan Edwards to the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee

 

The MBC Maidstone Walking and Cycling Strategy 2011-2031 has action:

"Action C5: Support the Maidstone Cycle Campaign Forum (MCCF) as a group to promote the cycling cause in the Borough; in order to ensure the Walking and Cycling Strategy and the Integrated Transport Strategy provide a coherent strategy for the promotion of Active Travel in the Borough."

 

And yet, Planning Officers refuse to work with MCCF.

 

How can we develop the situation where Council Planning Officers embrace Maidstone Policies and Strategies and are positive in working with groups like MCCF for the best interests of Maidstone?

 

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

 

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

 

It will be great to move forward with a positive structure for working together with the Maidstone Cycle Campaign Forum in the interests of residents.  How can we proactively assure ourselves and our communities that all the supporting infrastructure such as connected cycle routes that have been planned in as part of the Local Plan and supporting policies have been delivered in line with those Plans and that objectives such as the increased use of sustainable forms of transport are actually realised?

 

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

 

Question from Mr Russell Chidwick to the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee

 

We have seen examples in recent planning applications where National Planning Policy and supporting national guidelines for cycle infrastructure are not fully complied with in the application.  Will the Council require Officers' reports to specifically highlight all aspects of National and Local Policy which are not being met by a proposed application so that Councillors can easily consider these within their decision making?

 

The Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure  ...  view the full minutes text for item 220.

221.

Questions from Members of the Council to the Chairmen of Committees

Minutes:

Question from Councillor T Sams to the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee

 

The membership of both SPI and P&R has Councillors representing this Council in its role as Local Planning Authority on the one hand, and its Corporate Property role on the other.  We have Members serving both Committees, and some coming along and speaking and voting regularly as Substitute Members.  The Council is putting forward a proposal to itself to be decided by itself.  Can you explain to us and the public, how will it be possible to maintain a role that allows for fairness and transparency of process?

 

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

 

Councillor T Sams did not wish to ask a supplementary question of the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee on the subject of the original question.

 

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

 

Clearly there is a strong relationship between you as the Chair and Cllr Perry as Vice-Chair of Policy & Resources Committee and the Chair of Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Burton and Vice-Chair Cllr Grigg.  This has been echoed by yourself and the Chief Executive in correspondence and at both Committee meetings by yourself and Cllr Burton.  You all work closely together as the senior leadership of this Council.  Do you agree?

 

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

 

Councillor J Sams did not wish to ask a supplementary question of the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee on the subject of the original question.

 

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

 

Maidstone has lost many public houses in recent years.  There is a fear that, with the devastating impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown, many of our remaining pubs will not re-open or survive much longer, and are at risk of predatory developers converting them into depressing flats.

 

Will the Council now consider, as part of its Local Plan review, introducing enhanced and explicit protection in planning policy for our local pubs?

 

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

 

Councillor Purle did not wish to ask a supplementary question of the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee on the subject of the original question.

 

Question from Councillor Purle to the Chairman of the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee

 

I wrote to you on 17 May 2020 with a Member agenda item request that we discuss increasing Member involvement in the Council's work combatting anti-social behaviour and nuisance.  The response of the Community Protection Officers was quite good and included the idea of Members and Parish Chairs meeting in "ward clusters" twice yearly with Officers, Kent Police and other partners to discuss anti-social behaviour, nuisance and other concerns.  That approach was endorsed unanimously at the Committee's meeting on 25 August 2020.

 

Are you able to update us please on progress  ...  view the full minutes text for item 221.

222.

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.

 

223.

Report of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee held on 27 January 2021 - Pay Policy Statement 2021 pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Gooch, seconded by Councillor Cox, that the recommendation of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee relating to the Pay Policy Statement 2021 be approved.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Pay Policy Statement 2021, attached as Appendix 1 to the report of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee, be approved for publication on the Council’s website.

 

Note:

 

Councillors Brice and D Rose requested that their dissent be recorded.

Councillor Mrs Grigg joined the meeting during consideration of this item (7.13 p.m.).

 

224.

Report of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee held on 27 January 2021 - Electronic Signatures and Document Sealing pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Gooch, seconded by Councillor Mrs Joy, that the recommendation of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee relating to the use of mobile seals and electronic signatures be approved.

 

RESOLVED:  That minor amendments to the Constitution relating to the use of mobile seals and electronic signatures, as set out below, be approved:

 

1.  The addition of the following paragraphs to the Contract Procedure Rules:

 

Electronic signatures may be used by both the Council and the Supplier in accordance with the Electronic Signature Regulations 2002 provided the sufficiency of security arrangements has been approved by the Director of Finance and Business Improvement.

 

Electronic signatures will, in line with the Electronic Communication Act 2000, be accepted as a fair representation of a willingness to enter into a contract by and with the Council, insofar as the e-signature is a true representation of the authorised person’s written signature and (a) and (b) below apply (to the Supplier), in which case an e-signature and a signature will be referred to as the same.

 

(a) the Contract will be entered into in relation to being either under seal or under hand; and

(b) is supported with a contemporaneous document of authenticity and authorisation from the Supplier.

 

2.  The additional words in italics be inserted at:

 

Part 2: Responsibility for Functions

2.3.15: Head of Legal Partnership

 

10.  Contracts exceeding the value specified within the Financial Procedure Rules must be made under the common seal of the Council or the mobile seal for remote use attested by the Head of Legal Partnership or other authorised signatory, unless the Head of Legal Partnership considers that certain contracts may be signed rather than sealed.

 

11.  The Common Seal of the Council and the mobile seal for remote use will be kept in a safe place in the custody of the Head of Legal Partnership. A decision of the Council or a Committee or Sub-Committee or Officer will be sufficient authority for sealing any document necessary to give effect to the decision. The Common Seal or the mobile seal for remote use will be affixed to those documents which in the opinion of the Head of Legal Partnership, should be sealed. The affixing of the Common Seal or the mobile seal for remote use will be attested by the Head of Legal Partnership or any other solicitor authorised by him/her.

225.

Report of the Policy and Resources Committee held on 10 February 2021 - Strategic Plan Refresh pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Cox, seconded by Councillor Vizzard, that the recommendation of the Policy and Resources Committee relating to the revised Areas of Focus for the Strategic Plan 2021-26 be approved.

 

Amendment moved by Councillor Harper, seconded by Councillor Brice, that the document (Appendix A) in its current form be referred back to the Policy and Resources Committee for reconsideration.

 

When put to the vote, the amendment was lost.

 

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

 

RESOLVED:  That the revised Areas of Focus for the Strategic Plan 2021-2026, as set out in Appendix A to the report of the Policy and Resources Committee, be approved.

 

226.

Report of the Policy and Resources Committee held on 10 February 2021 - Medium Term Financial Strategy and Budget Proposals 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Cox, seconded by Councillor Mrs Gooch, that the recommendations of the Policy and Resources Committee relating to the Medium Term Financial Strategy and Budget Proposals 2021/22 be approved.

 

Amendment moved by Councillor Perry, seconded by Councillor D Burton, that the recommendations of the Policy and Resources Committee relating to the Medium Term Financial Strategy and the Budget Proposals 2021/22 be approved subject to the following changes affecting recommendations 3, 5, 7 and 9:

 

1.  That the budget for Planning Policy be increased by £139,000 in 2021/22 to fund further work on the Local Plan Review.

 

2.  That the transfer to Earmarked Reserves for capital funding be reduced by £139,000 in respect of Lower Tier Services Grant receivable in 2021/22.

 

3.  That ongoing annual revenue costs of the capital programme be increased by £5,560 to reflect the consequent increased borrowing costs.

 

4.  That the annual contingency budget be reduced by £5,560 to fund the additional borrowing costs.

 

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

 

FOR (21)

 

Councillors Mrs Blackmore, Brice, Brindle, D Burton, M Burton,

Chappell-Tay, Cuming, Fort, Garland, Garten, Hinder, Parfitt-Reid, Perry, Powell, Purle, Mrs Ring, D Rose, Round, Spooner, Springett and Young

 

AGAINST (26)

 

Councillors Adkinson, Clark, Cox, Daley, English, Fermor, Fissenden,

Mrs Gooch, Mrs Grigg, Harper, Harvey, Harwood, Hastie, Mrs Joy, Khadka, Kimmance, Lewins, Mortimer, Munford, Naghi, Mrs Roberson, J Sams,

T Sams, Vizzard, Webb and Wilby

 

Abstentions (2)

 

Councillors McKay and M Rose

 

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 (23)

 

Councillors Adkinson, Clark, Cox, Daley, English, Fermor, Fissenden,

Mrs Gooch, Mrs Grigg, Harvey, Harwood, Hastie, Mrs Joy, Khadka, Kimmance, Lewins, Mortimer, Munford, Naghi, Mrs Robertson, Vizzard, Webb and Wilby

 

AGAINST (22)

 

Councillors Mrs Blackmore, Brice, Brindle, D Burton, M Burton,

Chappell-Tay, Fort, Garland, Garten, Hinder, Parfitt-Reid, Perry, Powell, Purle, Mrs Ring, D Rose, Round, J Sams, T Sams, Spooner, Springett and Young

 

ABSTENTIONS (4)

 

Councillors Cuming, Harper, McKay and M Rose

 

ORIGINAL MOTION CARRIED

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the revised Revenue Estimates for 2020/21, as set out in Appendix A to the report of the Policy and Resources Committee, be agreed.

2.  That the minimum level of General Fund Balances be set at £4 million.

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 £270.90 at Band D for 2021/22 be agreed. 

5.  That the Revenue Estimates for 2021/22 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  ...  view the full minutes text for item 226.

227.

Oral report of the meeting of the Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee held on 16 February 2021

Minutes:

There was no report from the Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee on this occasion.

 

228.

Notice of Motion - Minuting of Responses to Questions

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

 

At the meeting of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee on 27 January 2021 a member of the public queried the Council’s approach to minuting the responses to questions to the Chairs of committees from members of the public and Councillors.

 

Almost ironically, the minutes to said meeting merely stated “The Chair responded to the question”.

 

This is in accordance with current practice, meaning that anyone wanting to know the actual response to a question or any supplementary question has to trawl through webcasts to find the answers as the written minutes are not a complete record of proceedings.

 

It is claimed that the current system is a matter of practicality as “the Minutes would become pages and pages long, there would be queries over the exact wording used and it is an intensive process to record every word of answers”.

 

Bearing in mind that the vast majority of answers are provided by officers and read verbatim by Chairs, this argument does not hold water.

 

And there is also a concern that Youtube’s archiving policy may not fulfil the requirement upon Maidstone Borough Council to retain important materials for several years.

 

This Council therefore resolves to amend the Constitution to require that the gist of answers to questions and supplementary questions from the public and Councillors are recorded in the written minutes.

 

Minutes:

The following motion was moved by Councillor Adkinson, seconded by Councillor M Rose:

 

At the meeting of the Democracy and General Purposes Committee on 27 January 2021 a member of the public queried the Council’s approach to minuting the responses to questions to the Chairs of Committees from members of the public and Councillors.

 

Almost ironically, the minutes to said meeting merely stated “The Chair responded to the question”.

 

This is in accordance with current practice, meaning that anyone wanting to know the actual response to a question or any supplementary question has to trawl through webcasts to find the answers as the written minutes are not a complete record of proceedings.

 

It is claimed that the current system is a matter of practicality as “the minutes would become pages and pages long, there would be queries over the exact wording used and it is an intensive process to record every word of answers”.

 

Bearing in mind that the vast majority of answers are provided by Officers and read verbatim by Chairs, this argument does not hold water.

 

And there is also a concern that Youtube’s archiving policy may not fulfil the requirement upon Maidstone Borough Council to retain important materials for several years.

 

This Council therefore resolves to amend the Constitution to require that the gist of answers to questions and supplementary questions from the public and Councillors are recorded in the written minutes.

 

During the discussion, with the agreement of the mover and the seconder, the scope of the motion was widened to seek a review of the terms of reference for question and answer sessions, including the platform on which questions should be answered.

 

In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 18.5, the motion, as amended, was referred to the Democracy and General Purposes Committee.

 

229.

Notice of Motion - Maidstone Cycle Campaign Forum

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

 

Maidstone Council has previously agreed to work in partnership with Maidstone Cycle Campaign Forum (MCCF).  This is also reflected in the adopted Local Plan and Walking and Cycling Strategy.  However, the Planning Department has continually failed to follow Council policy and does not work with MCCF.  Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) today instructs officers across all departments to implement MBC policy with respect to working in partnership with MCCF, and to that end will in March 2021 organise a round table of MBC Officers, MBC Chairs and Vice-Chairs, and Representatives of MCCF to agree new working protocols to ensure proper partnership working takes place in future.

 

Minutes:

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

 

Maidstone Council has previously agreed to work in partnership with Maidstone Cycle Campaign Forum (MCCF).  This is also reflected in the adopted Local Plan and Walking and Cycling Strategy.  However, the Planning Department has continually failed to follow Council policy and does not work with MCCF.  Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) today instructs Officers across all departments to implement MBC policy with respect to working in partnership with MCCF, and to that end will in March 2021 organise a round table of MBC Officers, MBC Chairs and Vice-Chairs, and Representatives of MCCF to agree new working protocols to ensure proper partnership working takes place in future.

 

During the discussion, with the agreement of the mover and the seconder, the fourth sentence of the motion was amended as follows:

 

Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) today instructs Officers across all departments to implement MBC policy with respect to working in partnership with MCCF, and to that end will in March 2021 at the earliest opportunity organise a round table of MBC Officers, MBC Chairs and Vice-Chairs, and Representatives of MCCF to agree new working protocols to ensure proper partnership working takes place in future.

 

It was also suggested that the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee should be involved in the discussions.

 

In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 18.5, the motion, as amended, was referred to the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee.

 

Note:  Councillor Hastie re-joined the meeting during consideration of this item (9.15 p.m.).

 

230.

Council Tax Hardship Relief Support Scheme pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Cox, seconded by Councillor Perry, that the recommendations set out in the report of the Head of Revenues and Benefits relating to a scheme, funded by Kent County Council, to provide additional Council Tax support for low-income households and for households suffering financial hardship as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic be approved.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.  That the additional funding to be provided by Kent County Council for the purpose of providing Council Tax relief be noted.

 

2.  That delegated authority be given to the Head of Revenues and Benefits, in consultation with the Director of Finance and Business Improvement, to finalise and implement the necessary changes for the scheme as set out in paragraph 2.9 of the report.

 

231.

Calendar of Meetings 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

RESOLVED:  That the Calendar of Meetings for 2021/22, attached as Appendix A to the report of the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance, be approved.

 

232.

Appointment of Mayor Select 2021/22

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Munford, seconded by Councillor Cox, supported by Councillors Perry, McKay and Powell, and

 

RESOLVED:  That Councillor Fay Lynette Gooch be appointed as Mayor Select for the Municipal Year 2021/22.

 

233.

Appointment of Deputy Mayor Select 2021/22

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Mrs Joy, seconded by Councillor Mrs Blackmore, supported by Councillors Munford, Powell and Adkinson and

 

RESOLVED:  That Councillor Bryan Vizzard be appointed as Deputy Mayor Select for the Municipal Year 2021/22.

 

234.

Duration of Meeting

Minutes:

6.30 p.m. to 9.40 p.m.