A July newsletter from our local Borough Councillor.

A newsletter from our Maidstone Borough Councillor Patrik Garten appears below.

Looking at my list of things to discuss, I have a lot of information but nothing exceptionally new(s):

Starting with Junction 5 of the M2: Due to YOUR responses, Highways England did return to the drawing-board. A revised scheme is now on the table, referred to as Option 4H1, which is a revamp of the previously rejected flyover option 4

I cannot see any costings for the new proposed route, except the mention of a £2.5m KCC contribution.

The left to turn right and vice versa conundrum will not be solved, which makes this one of the most confusing junctions in the country.  Although the overall footprint will not increase much from the current lay-out, I notice that an awful lot of landscape will be tarmac-ed over.  This will be close to or even inside the ANOB. My favoured Option 10, as previously discussed, would reclaim a lot of land back to nature.

The problem is a general one, which arises out of road-building as well as house building. Politicians will have to start thinking whether the country shall retain some natural vegetation by 2118 or whether our children shall live in some concreted environment as portrayed in 1970s science fiction dramas.  Squandering such vast area of landscape on a simple motorway junction cannot be sustainable.

Going from the M2 to M20 Junction 7:  Who knows what is going on? Not me !

Most of the area beyond Nottcuts is envisaged as The Kent Medical Campus. The most recent plan is a proposed Innovation Centre. Construction to start  May 2019 to be open by 2021 fully operational by 2024. Maidstone is conducting a feasibility assessment whether the site is attractive enough to warrant a medtech innovation centre. A European Regional Development Fund bid was submitted in January. This bid, if successful, will not be affected by Brexit.

Next to the Medical Campus is a plot of land, which is, per Maidstone’s Local Plan, supposed to act as a woodland buffer, shielding the campus. Some of it being protected ancient woodland.

I note however, there is no woodland ! The trees were chopped down years ago and I have no idea whether any enforcement action could be taken, and if so, against whom, to replant this area.

 

This question could be conveniently solved… with some money from the Education, Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA).  They, with the support of our MP, were planning to build a desperately needed primary school here, to open in September 2017.  There is little other space anywhere near-by to place a decently sized school.

On the other hand, 100% of children would need to be driven to this proposed new primary school.

Propagated by the leading Liberals, modal shift to walking and cycling is supposed to solve all of Maidstone’s transport problems.

When viewed from the children’s homes, the site is in the sticks – albeit not in a forest.  Not only is it unreasonably remote for primary children to access it by walking or cycling, it is also too dangerous. Between the children’s homes and the school lies one of the already most congested areas of Maidstone. This site for a primary school smacks in the face of Maidstone’s walking and cycling strategy, which is so entrenched in Maidstone’s Local Plan.

 

This problem could be conveniently solved… with the aid of a mental hospital: Plans emerged that such a hospital will be sited next to the proposed school.  A mental hospital on the Kent Medical Campus?  -Makes sense. Mental health is important and heavily promoted by the government at the moment. – if it wouldn’t be for the small detail that this hospital would also have a secure unit.  Once somebody pointed out that former prisoners could be housed in this mental hospital next to a proposed primary school, sheer panic erupted.

Arguments ensued what level of mental illness this hospital would treat.  Rapists? Murderers?  – or just former prisoners with mild depression ? Regardless how irrational the fears are, the ESFA was quoted in the local press that they were to scrap their plans, – or will it ?

Our County Councillor reported at the last Stockbury Parish Council, that the plans for the school are still alive and kicking.

 

This problem could be conveniently solved… (watch this space)

If it weren’t so serious, I’d say that politics is fun!  You can have some fun too by actively participating in some important consultations.

Remember, government works by statistics. You did send Highways England back to their drawing board !

Kent County Council is holding its Big Conversation about transport to rural communities

KCC want to maintain, and where possible, improve accessibility for those without an alternative means of travel in rural areas.

Please make your voices heard by filling in KCC’s online questionnaire and attend the public meetings: www.kent.gov.uk/bigconversation

18 July 2018    7 – 9pm   UK P Leisure, Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne, ME10 4DE

19 July 2018    7 – 9pm   Sessions House, Lecture Theatre, Maidstone, ME14 1XQ

 

Kent County Council is also consulting on the draft Rights of Way Improvement Plan, which outlines their objectives for Kent’s Public Rights of Way network and wider public access for the next 10 years.  www.kent.gov.uk/rightsofwayimprovementplan

 

Health and social care in Kent and Medway is changing.

The development of local care hubs is part of NHS West Kent CCG’s wider local care plan to provide better access to care and support in people’s own communities.  Please follow this link for further information http://www.westkentccg.nhs.uk/news/news-articles/?blogpost=10700.

The sustainability and transformation partnership includes all local NHS organisations and Kent and Medway councils. You can subscribe to their monthly newsletter at http://bit.ly/2sG94PF

And finally:

The Electoral Register is checked yearly to get up to date information. Look out for your Household Enquiry Form which will be send out on 7 August. Please check them carefully and return them as soon as you can

 

PATRIK GARTEN 

MBC Councillor for North Downs Ward

 

Email:   patrikgarten@maidstone.gov.uk

Phone: 01622-807907