Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, High Street, Maidstone

Contact: Tessa Mallett  01622 602524

No. Item


The Committee to consider whether all items on the agenda should be webcast


RESOLVED: That all items on the agenda be webcast.





Councillor de Wiggondene sent his apologies for being late and joined the meeting at 19:00.


Councillor English gave his apologies for having to leave the meeting early and left at 18:50.



Notification of Substitute Members


There were no substitute members.



Notification of Visiting Members


Councillor Harper was in attendance for items 9 and 10.



Disclosures by Members and Officers


It was noted that Councillor Harper had been appointed Kent spokesperson for the National Cycle Touring Club.


There were no Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests declared by members or staff.



To consider whether any items should be taken in private because of the possible disclosure of exempt information


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




Minutes of the Meeting held on 21 October 2014 pdf icon PDF 63 KB


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 21 October 2014 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman subject to the following amendment:


That for clarity the sentence on page four of the minutes “During lengthy discussion the committees’ raised the following points” should read “During lengthy discussion members of the committees’ raised the following points relating to the two following documents:”.



Minutes of the Meeting held 3 November 2014 pdf icon PDF 75 KB


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 3 November 2014 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman subject to the following amendments:


On page six of the minutes the sixth paragraph starting “Councillor Hughes stated that early and meaningful…” be deleted and replaced with:


“Councillor Hughes stated that Maidstone Borough Council had not undertaken ‘early and meaningful engagement and collaboration with neighbourhoods’ on the draft Local Plan as required by the National Planning Policy Framework paragraph 155. As a result the Coxheath Neighbourhood Plan had been delayed by about one year.”


On page six of the minutes the eighth paragraph starting “Councillor Hughes stated Coxheath Parish Council…” be deleted and replace with:


“Councillor Hughes stated that verbal advice had been received from Locality that the amendments and re-consultation on the Coxheath Neighbourhood Plan being advised by Maidstone Borough Council could lead to much greater delay and loss of weight as a material consideration than was being suggested by Maidstone Borough Council.”


The Recommendations on page eight, reference, 2a and 2b, be amended to read:


2.  That Coxheath Parish Council be recommended to:


a.  Make a request to Locality to put the verbal advice the parish council had received from them regarding their Neighbourhood Plan in writing, and;

b.  Share and discuss the advice given to them in writing with Maidstone Borough Council’s Spatial Policy Team to assist with progressing the parish’s Neighbourhood Plan.





The Chairman advised the committee, that due to advice received regarding the rules of the Constitution on the presentation of petitions, Agenda item 11 was to be withdrawn from the agenda and referred to the Cabinet, as the most appropriate committee for consideration.


RESOLVED: That the petition regarding future development on all fields boarding the designated Loose Valley Conservation Area be withdrawn from the agenda and referred to the Cabinet for consideration at their meeting of 17 December 2014.



Change to the order of the meeting


RESOLVED: That item 10 on the agenda be taken before item 9.



Transport in Maidstone - alternatives to using a car - Part Three - Rail Services pdf icon PDF 41 KB

The third part of the review by the Planning, Transport and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee in to Transport in Maidstone.


Interviews with witnesses working in or with an interest in Rail Services In the Maidstone Borough:


·  Mike Gibson, Public Affairs Manager, Southeastern Rail;

·  Mike Fitzgerald, Chair Kent Community Rail Partnership and Medway Valley Line Group;

·  Keith Harrison, Chief Executive, Action with Rural Communities;

·  Written responses from Stephen Gasche, Principal Transport Planner – Rail, Kent County Council.


Additional documents:


The Chairman introduced the item and explained that the committee had been carrying out a review of Transport in Maidstone – alternatives to using a car since July 2014.


The committee had already looked at how walking and cycling and bus services could assist with easing congestion in Maidstone town.  The draft report would be discussed under item 9.


This agenda item focused on Rail services in the borough and how they could help to ease congestion in the town.


The Chairman welcomed the witnesses invited to provide evidence for this review and invited Mike Gibson from South Eastern Trains to deliver his presentation.


Mr Gibson began by explaining that South Eastern Trains (SET) regularly surveyed its customers.  The data gathered demonstrated that customers’ main priorities included; value for money services; more frequent trains at times convenient to them and a seat on the train.  Other areas of importance included; a reduction in journey times; trains that were on time; regular and accurate information, especially regarding disruptions, and wifi access on trains.


Mr Gibson went on to say that value for money would be a major focus for SET for the next four years.  The Government set the cost of regulated fares, for example season tickets.  SET had control of off peak fares and in the coming months customers would see more offers on off peak services.


In previous franchise agreements SET would have received revenue support from the Government to provide rail services.  The new franchise meant SET were in ‘Revenue Risk’.  This meant they had to generate all their income. This would result in SET embarking on more effective marketing and partnership working with local bus service providers and tourist attractions.


Mr Gibson explained to the committee that from January 2015 Maidstone would benefit from a direct off peak service from Maidstone to Canterbury West as well as more frequent services to Blackfriars in London.


Mr Gibson advised the committee, to assist with reliability issues, Network Rail would be removing speed restrictions and improving their programme of asset repairs and maintenance. Also, issues with timetables for 2015 had been resolved.


Mr Gibson informed the committee that information provided to customers was crucial, especially when services were delayed and the reasons for the delays.  In the first four months of the new franchise 100 additional staff had been employed. Plans were in place to provide front line staff with iPads to assist customers with timely information.  Information boards at Maidstone were also due to be upgraded and a mobile phone app was available, free, for customers to download to provide timely information on services.


Mr Gibson explained SET were expanding their City Safe Haven scheme with local police, where train stations were used as a place of safety for the public.  The scheme had been trialled in Medway and London and SET were looking to extend it to other areas.


SET were embarking on a £5m station improvement plan were all South East rail stations would have been deep  ...  view the full minutes text for item 105.


Draft Report of the review of Transport in Maidstone - alternatives to using a car pdf icon PDF 41 KB

Draft report of the Working Group presenting the findings from the Walking and Cycling and Bus Services sections of the Committees review into Transport in Maidstone – alternatives to using a car.


Additional documents:


Councillor Springett presented the draft report of the review of Transport in Maidstone – alternatives to using a car.


During discussion the committee agreed the following:


·  That further work needed to be carried out to consult with car users on how to reduce congestion in the town.


·  It was agreed that any work carried out to ease congestion in Maidstone town should fulfil the council’s duties under The Equalities Act (2010) and must include an Equality Impact Assessment.


·  It was agreed that the information to parish councils regarding their powers and opportunities to assist them in the provision of transport services should be included in the revised Parish Charter.


·  The committee discussed the use of Maidstone East railway station car park and whether all users were rail service users or whether they were shoppers or people working in the town.


·  The following changes/checks to the draft report were discussed:


a.  A recommendation be included in the report that a sub group be formed focussing on future modes of transport that would ease congestion in Maidstone, eg trams, river transport and monorail.


b.  Recommendation ‘A’ in the report should include the maintenance of existing pedestrian and cycle routes at the gyratory system in the town as well as the creation of new routes for pedestrians and cyclist heading in and out of the town from west Maidstone using the A20 and A26.


c.  The data on paragraph 6.6 be checked regarding the number of cycle journeys to work in Maidstone.


d.  Recommendation B should included details of the radial route mentioned in paragraph 6.7.5.


e.  Recommendation C to include the following words at the end “to include details of proposed cycle routes.”


f.  A further recommendation be included after recommendation C to read:


“That the Head of Planning and Development, where possible, source Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy contributions from developers to enhance cycle facilities within the borough with a long term view of linking these routes.”


g.  In paragraph 6.9.2 the cycle parking should be identified.


h.  The information regarding bus services in paragraph 7.1 should be checked for accuracy and quoted in just numbers not percentages.


·  It was agreed that the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the committee should meet with the relevant officers regarding the possible inclusion of a review of the Park and Ride service and report back to the committee at their meeting of 16 December 2014.




1.  The draft report of the review of Transport in Maidstone – alternatives to using a car be noted;


2.   The following amendments be made to the draft report:


a.  That the Overview and Scrutiny Officer be asked to make the following changes and checks to the draft report on the review of Transport in Maidstone – alternatives to using a car:


b.  That a recommendation be included in the report that a sub group be formed focussing on future modes of transport that would ease congestion in Maidstone, e.g. trams, river transport and monorail.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 106.


Future Work Programme and SCRAIP Update report pdf icon PDF 46 KB

Additional documents:


RESOLVED: That the


·  Future Work Programme attached as Appendix A be noted;


·  List of Forthcoming Decisions attached as Appendix B be noted;


·  SCRAIP update attached as Appendix C be noted.



Duration of meeting


18:30 to 22:02