December 2018 Newsletter from our Borough Councillor.

Hollingbourne Parish Council has received the following newsletter from Councillor Patrik Garten who represents Hollingbourne on Maidstone Borough Council.

STRATEGIC PLAN

Yes, we are still working on the Strategic Plan:  Eight key points were put up for consultation two months ago. We Conservatives always pursued a six point plan. The officers now produced, after the public consultation finished, a four point plan; –  albeit very much in line with our proposals.

Can the Strategic Plan be an ambitious, courageous vision or is it just a statement of the obvious?

– Well, I hope that it’ll turn out to be a bit of the former, but as a two tier Local Authority, Maidstone has little scope to draft grandiose visions without the cooperation of other bodies.

For example, the draft Strategic Plan seeks an improvement of infrastructure. This includes:

  • roads, which fall within KCC’s remit,
  • doctors => the remit of the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
  • trains => Network Rail
  • electricity supply, => National Power
  • broadband ……
  • …….

….- do you get my frustration?

 

PLANNING

 

Your local councillor likes to keep an open mind about ALL planning issues.  I certainly DON’T see myself as the local “Planning Policeman”.  Indeed, if your activity does not bother you, your neighbour nor the public at large, I wouldn’t consider it my business either.

Having said that, I’ll always be happy to look into a planning application, which you may be concerned about.

As your local councillor I have the power to call-in any planning application.  This means that if an application is of concern to you, your neighbours or the public, I can ask the case to be heard by the Planning Committee. In that case, the planning officer cannot take the decision on his/her own, but must leave it to the committee of elected members.

I previously explained the powers of the planning committee. (Jan 2018 edition)

Most call-ins are made in order to stop a development, but I also called-in an application because the officer wanted to refuse it.  The powers to call-in can work either way.

However, in order for me to call-in an application, I must do so within 21 days form the date of advertisement. This is a VERY short time !  If you want me to act on an application, please do not wait until day 20.

There is often much debate about the advertisements.  Only the most immediate neighbours in the same road will be notified by post.  If your house backs on to an application site but you live in another road, you will not be notified.  Notices on lamp-posts, fences etc are an antiquated means of communication and are often overlooked or illegally removed.

If you are concerned about a particular site, you can follow it via the Planning Portal: https://pa.midkent.gov.uk/online-applications/

If you are concerned about an illegal development, you can report it here:

https://www.maidstone.gov.uk/home/do-it-online/report-it

FREE MONEY

I mentioned before that I have £1000 to give away, but surprisingly, so far nobody asked for it: A Members’ Community Grant fund has been created to support local community groups and organisations with one off pump priming money. Please see my September newsletter for further criteria.

ARE WE DEPRIVED ?

Did you know that North Downs is the 5th most deprived ward in Maidstone? In terms of deprivation we are ranking closely with Park Wood and Shepway South.

There may be some factors, which skew the statistics. The low population number may be one, which will drop the overall affluent community average very quickly into the lower percentile by just a few residents who are genuinely deprived.

Other factors may include the actual criteria of this statistic. Measurements of the quality of the local environment may not appreciate the rural nature of our environment, such as poor transport links and long distances to a doctor’s surgery.  Most people live here by choice, despite the perceived negative factors.

Nonetheless the Indices of Deprivation are certainly contrary to the general perception of the North Downs Ward. Drop me an email for a copy of the whole document.

I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE YOUR COMMENTS, PLEASE

Do these statistics reflect your community appropriately ?  – And if so, what can be done at Borough level to alleviate this deprivation ?

 

PATRIK GARTEN 

MBC Councillor for North Downs Ward

 

Email:   patrikgarten@maidstone.gov.uk

Phone: 01622-807907

Pictured below is Councillor Garten.

Councillor Patrik Garten in March 2018.