Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, High Street, Maidstone

Contact: Committee Services  01622 602899

Note: This meeting is the postponed 22 December 2021 Extraordinary Meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee. 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Councillors Ring and de Wiggondene-Sheppard.


Notification of Substitute Members


Councillor Purle was present as a Substitute Member for Councillor Ring.


Urgent Items


The Chairman informed the Committee that he had accepted an urgent update to Item 9 – Park & Ride Service – Call-In, which provided additional information for the Committee to consider.



Notification of Visiting Members


Councillors Cooper and M Rose were present as Visiting Members for Item 9 – Park & Ride Service – Call-In.


Councillors Clark, Mortimer and Robertson were present for the debate on Item 9 – Park & Ride Service – Call-In, as the Members that had signed the call-in referral form.



Disclosures by Members and Officers


There were no disclosures by Members or Officers.



Disclosures of Lobbying


All Committee Members had been lobbied on Item 9 – Park & Ride Service – Call-In.




The Chairman informed the Committee that except for the legal advice contained within the restricted papers, consent had been given from the relevant parties to discuss the information in open session.  


RESOLVED: That at least in the first instance the Committee remain in open session, unless any Member of the Committee wished to refer to the legal advice contained within Item 9 – Park & Ride Service – Call-In.  



Presentation of Petitions

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


“We call for Park and Ride services to remain a core part of Maidstone Borough Council’s plan to improve air quality in the urban area and help us to meet its Net Zero targets. 

While this valued service has been severely impacted by lockdown, we ask Maidstone Borough Council to support the operator by providing funding to meet the breakeven shortfall while the service recovers”



Councillor Mortimer introduced the petition received and highlighted the number of signatories from across the Borough.  


RESOLVED: That the petition be considered during the Committee’s consideration of Item 9 – Park & Ride Service – Call-In.


Park & Ride Service - Call-In pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Additional documents:


The Director of Regeneration and Place introduced the report and referenced the original report and subsequent decision made following its presentation to the Strategic planning and Infrastructure (SPI) Committee on 7 December 2021. Officers had recommended that the initial subsidy requested be agreed, however an increased amount had been requested by the Operator prior to the issue’s consideration which could not be met through Covid-19 relief monies in their entirety. 


The Operator had formally served notice to the Council that the Park and Ride Service would end on 19 February 2022, due to the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the service’s viability which was further affected by the recent Omicron variant of Coronavirus. The urgent update, which contained further information on the usage and the uncertainty of the financial support required by the Operator, was referenced.


Councillor Cooper addressed the Committee as the Chairman of the SPI Committee and outlined the contributing factors to the original decision made, which was that no further subsidy be provided.


The Councillors that had signed the call-in referral form were invited to address the Committee and outlined the content of the petition. 


Several Members reiterated the benefit of the service to all residents and that an equality impact assessment had not yet been conducted. It was felt that further public consultation should have taken place before the operator’s request for further financial support was initially considered by the SPI Committee. As the Government’s guidance to ‘Work from Home’ had been withdrawn as part of the continued recovery from Covid-19, it was possible that the number of service users would increase.


There were concerns expressed that the service’s end would negatively impact air quality, the achievement of the Council’s carbon neutrality target, congestion and the ongoing Local Plan Review.


In response to questions, the Director of Regeneration and Place reiterated that formal notice was served to the Council and that no other potential operators had been contacted. The Chief Executive confirmed that the Council’s staff were able to use the service for work purposes, but that alternative methods to assist staff no longer able to use the facility, would be considered in the future if required. The Council’s commitment to carbon reduction was emphasised.


During the debate, it was felt that individuals were unlikely to return to the office full-time due to the benefits of home working, which would prevent the service from recovering fully. Given the consistent decline in service users alongside the likelihood that the operator required additional medium-to-long term financial support, the service was felt to be nonviable. The Committee were of the view that in the circumstances the service’s continued provision would not deliver value for money for local residents and taxpayers across the borough.  


The importance of promoting adequate provision of local commercial bus services was referenced. Officers were encouraged to consider alternative options for the park and ride sites, as included within the decision made by the SPI Committee.


RESOLVED: That the original Strategic Planning and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 133.


Questions and answer session for members of the public


There were no questions from members of the public.



Questions from Members to the Chairman


There were no questions from Members to the Chairman.


Exempt Appendices (A-D) to Item 9 - Park & Ride Service - Call-In


RESOLVED: That the item be considered alongside Item 9 – Park & Ride Service – Call-In.




6.30 p.m. to 8.04 p.m.