Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, High Street, Maidstone

Contact: Lara Banks  01622 602033

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Newton.


Notification of Substitute Members


There were no Substitute Members.



Urgent Items


There were no urgent items.


Notification of Visiting Members


Councillor Kimmance was present as a Visiting Member for Item 18 – Appointment to Maidstone Twinning Association.


Disclosures by Members and Officers


There were no disclosures by Members or Officers.



Disclosures of Lobbying


There were no disclosures of lobbying.





RESOLVED: That all items be taken in public as proposed.



Minutes of the Meeting Held on 13 July 2021 pdf icon PDF 71 KB


RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2021 be approved as a correct record and signed.



Presentation of Petitions


There were no petitions.



Question 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.


Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 121 KB


The Head of Regeneration and Economic Development commented that the report on Capital Expenditure Proposals for Maidstone Museum would require a decision.


It was requested that clarity be provided at the next meeting of the Committee on whether the Pump Track Development report would be presented at any other Committees.


RESOLVED: That the Committee Work Programme be noted.



Reports of Outside Bodies


There were no reports of Outside Bodies.


Economic Development Strategy Consultation Review pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Additional documents:


The Regeneration and Economic Development Manager introduced the report and confirmed that the comments previously raised by the Committee had been incorporated into the draft strategy. The majority of the changes proposed were minor due to previous engagement of stakeholders, however it was noted that the wording of Priority 5, Destination Maidstone Town Centre, had been changed to refer to ‘a welcoming economy’ rather than ‘a thriving day and night time economy’.


Lucie Bailey, Economics Director at Lichfields, presented a summary of the work carried out to finalise the Economic Development Strategy (EDS). The consultation responses were largely positive, with eight organisations and individuals providing comments. The three key changes highlighted were the change in emphasis across the strategic priorities in response to feedback; the addition of specific references and examples; and the addition of specific actions to the action plan accompanying the EDS.


In response to comments, the Head of Regeneration and Economic Development confirmed that the Committee currently received regular reports on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as employment rates, but that the further KPIs referred to within the report would be more specific to the local area and utilise more current data.


RESOLVED: That the Economic Development Strategy and action plan be approved for full adoption, and that an initial review be presented to the Committee six months after adoption, with annual reviews thereafter.


Recovery and Renewal Actions pdf icon PDF 163 KB

Additional documents:


The Head of Policy, Communications and Governance introduced the report which had been developed following the release of a significant amount of government funding for recovery and renewal. The actions outlined in the report fell within the remit of the Committee, and an amended agenda had been published to include an additional appendix.


Jodie Stevens, representing MidKent College, presented the proposal of a skills and community hub to be piloted for six months, using an empty unit in The Mall and enabled by the prospective grant. Care would be taken to complement existing services from partners rather than creating competition. As this would be a new service, there would not be any historical data to aid analysis. However, a target had been set to support five adults per week on short courses, and to engage 25% of the local young people currently not in employment, education or training (NEETs) within the first three months of the pilot, supporting them into education, employment or apprenticeships. It was acknowledged that some outcomes may take longer than six months to present, however the aim would be to track the progress of those supported through the hub over a longer period.


The Head of Regeneration and Economic Development added that communication from Kent County Council (KCC) had been received, confirming that they would be supportive of the initiative. It would not duplicate work undertaken currently by KCC, and data showed that there had been a significant reduction in provision for NEETs and young people.


In response to questions, Ms Stevens agreed to ensure the wording of the proposal clearly set out that it would be open to adults as well as young people. Marketing via social media and around the town centre was proposed to attract young people to the hub, and work would continue with existing partners to cross-refer into relevant services.


The Head of Policy, Communications and Governance confirmed that data could be reported to the Committee to measure the outcomes of the pilot.


In response to suggestions that the pilot scheme be extended if successful, the Head of Regeneration and Economic Development advised the Committee to consider the budget allocation at the proposal stage, as the funding may be fully allocated by the time the pilot was reviewed. 


In response to questions, the Head of Regeneration and Economic Development agreed that there was often a short turnaround time between funding being released and the deadline for bids to be submitted. Technical support would enable bids to be prepared, including design and planning permission, so that when funding become available the bid would be ready for submission within the timeframe.


RESOLVED: That the Committee


1.  support the Community and Skills Hub proposal from MidKent College, and recommend to Policy and Resources Committee that £60,000 be allocated to the project subject to a review taking place at four months;


2.  endorse the support of the Visitor Economy including retail, hospitality and leisure sectors following the impacts of the pandemic to assist with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.


Spend of further allocation of Additional Restrictions Grant pdf icon PDF 208 KB

Additional documents:


The Head of Regeneration and Economic Development explained that, due to the short turnaround time of the multiple business support grants available during the pandemic, it was not feasible at that point to reflect on the administration process. However, the newly-released discretionary grant would be running for a longer period and therefore allowed time for a policy to be created and approved.


The Economic Development Officer introduced the report, which proposed the addition of four fixed-term Burden Support Coordinators to be funded through the new burdens fund, who could then reach out to businesses and signpost to relevant schemes. Businesses would be individually assessed so that appropriate support could be identified, and data would be collated and monitored so that regular reviews could be undertaken. A target was proposed of 50% of the spend to be achieved by the end of November 2021, when a review would take place with an opportunity to adapt the process if necessary. A second review would take place in January 2022.


RESOLVED: That the Additional Restrictions Grant Top Up Policy, at Appendix 1 to the report, be approved and a report brought back to the Committee in 6 months for review.



Appointment to Maidstone Area Arts Partnership pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Additional documents:


The Democratic Services Officer introduced the report, outlining that two nominations had been received for the two vacancies on the Maidstone Area Arts Partnership (MAAP). The length of term was one year, however MAAP were open to this being extended.


RESOLVED: That Councillors Harper and M Rose be appointed to the Maidstone Area Arts Partnership, each for a term of three years.


Appointment to Maidstone Twinning Association


The Democratic Services Officer introduced the item, explaining that no written nominations had been received for the two vacancies on the Maidstone Twinning Association.


Councillor Kimmance expressed interest in being reappointed to the role and outlined his reasons for this.


RESOLVED: That Councillor Kimmance be appointed to the Maidstone Twinning Association, and that the further vacancy be readvertised.


Duration of Meeting


6.30pm to 9.32pm.