Agenda and minutes
Venue: Town Hall, High Street, Maidstone
Contact: Committee Services 01622 602899
Apologies for Absence
It was noted that apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Fort and Lewins.
Notification of Substitute Members
It was noted that Councillor Cox was substituting for Councillor Lewins.
There were no urgent items.
Notification of Visiting Members
There were no Visiting Members.
Disclosures by Members and Officers
There were no disclosures by Members or Officers.
Disclosures of Lobbying
Councillors Fermor, Harper, Hastie and Mrs Wilson stated that they had been lobbied on Agenda Item 14 – Play Area Provision.
RESOLVED: That the items on the agenda be taken in public as proposed.
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2018 be signed as a correct record subject to the following insertion:-
Committee Work Programme
Presentation of Petitions
There were no petitions.
Questions and answer session for members of the public
There were no questions from members of the public.
The Committee considered the Committee Work Programme for 2018/19.
The Chairman requested that a report be presented to the November meeting providing an update on the booking of sports pitches following concerns raised by a Member which related to Shepway Green.
The Committee considered a Reference from Planning Committee which related to a request for the provision of a footway from the Leisure Centre car park to the sports pitches to the rear of the centre.
Mrs Jennifer Shepherd, the Head of Environment and Public Realm advised that she had spoken to the Project Manager who confirmed that the footway could be incorporated within existing budgets.
RESOLVED: That the Committee approve the provision of a footway to create an access for the public by the side of the Park Maintenance building to the sports pitches to be paid for within existing budgets.
Change to the Order of Business
The Chairman advised that he intended to take Agenda Item 13 – Development of the New Strategic Plan at the end as this was likely to stimulate more debate due to its content.
Mrs Shepherd introduced her report which provided an update following the adoption of Maidstone’s Play Area Policy by the Committee in October 2017.
The Committee noted that £200,000 had been allocated to the Parish Grant Scheme to support improvements at Strategically Important Play Areas owned or operated by Parish Councils. Out of the 29 Parishes that were eligible for funding, 9 applications were received and had been successful for funding. The total amount requested was £86,500 and with match funding of £143,000 the scheme had generated £230,000 of improvements to Strategically Important Play Areas.
Due to there being a surplus in the budget, it was proposed that a second round of funding be undertaken to give those Parishes who did not submit an application previously to put in a bid for funding.
Mrs Shepherd advised that there were 20 MBC play areas which had been identified as non-strategically important and would be considered for decommissioning when the equipment comes to the end of its usable life. However, the Committee was advised that Officers would be contacting Ward Members and Parish Councils of those play areas to have an early discussion to consider alternative management arrangements for the site or request the Committee consider the future of their Non-Strategically Important Play Areas (NSIPAs).
It was noted that none of those on the list of NSIPAs would be closed for the next five years.
In response to questions from Members, Mrs Shepherd advised that:-
She would check with the Property Team to see how
the transfer of the ownership of Franklin Drive play area to Boxley
Parish Council was progressing.
If the Parish Council was to purchase a piece of
play equipment, the Council would carry out safety inspections and
minor repairs but if there were major repairs required then it
would not carry these out.
In the proceeding discussion Members made the following comments:-
That one of the criterion for strategically
important play areas of being within a 12 minute walk to residents
should be revisited.
That there are a number of densely populated areas
and areas of deprivation that do not have a play area and this
should be further investigated.
That if there was a strength of feeling from
residents for a play area in their area, a residents association or
similar organisation could take several years to form by which time
it could be too late.
That any surplus from the underspend on the Parish
Grant Scheme should be ringfenced and
used towards those non-strategically important play
1) That the
outcome of the Strategically Important Play Area (SIPA)
2) That a
second round of funding, based on the previous criteria, for
3) That a
pro-active approach to contacting Ward Members and Parish
Ms Victoria Barlow, the Museum’s Director gave a presentation on the progress made during the last six months to the Museum Transformation Plan.
The Committee was informed that the action plan for 2018/19 focussed on two main areas of delivery, the transformation of the museum and the development of a new café at the eastern end of the building.
It was noted that the Museum currently reached about a third of the residents of the borough but wanted to engage with more communities and one of the ways it was achieving this was to run a series of Memory Days to enable people to tell their stories in order that the public could gain more insight into the past employment of the town, such as Trebor Bassett and the Paper industry.
A recent consultation on what visitors would like to see more of featured answers such as more dinosaurs, more disabled friendly activities, improved lighting upstairs, things that they could touch and pet horses.
In the ensuing discussion Members made the following comments:-
That the Museum should not just be limited to the
history of Maidstone.
That having a more tactile approach should be
That the plans for the relocation of the Café
were very exciting.
That governance arrangements need to be realigned,
especially in regard to the Museum’s Strategic
Board. It was felt that this should be
reconstituted as an Advisory Board to advise on best
That work should be undertaken to launch a
fundraising campaign to raise £5 million for the
In response to questions from Members, Ms Barlow advised:-
discussions were being held with the
various Trusts at the Museum and it was progressing well.
Some of the fossils were billions of years old, and
some of the oldest exhibits donated to the Museum had come from the
That the review of progress towards the completion
of the 2018/19 Action Plan of the Museum’s 20 Year Plan be
That the terms of reference of the Museum’s
Strategic Board be reviewed with a view to it becoming an Advisory
That a Fundraising Campaign be commenced for the
Alison Broom, the Chief Executive and Mrs Angela Woodhouse, the
Head of Policy, Communications and Governance presented a report on
the development of the new Strategic Plan.
The Committee made the following comments:-
Duration of Meeting
6.30 p.m. to 8.45 p.m.