October 2018 newsletter from our Borough Councillor.

Hollingbourne Parish Council has received the following monthly newsletter rom Our Borough Councillor, Patrik Garten.

Dear Residents

It’s about a year now that I write my monthly rant. First starting in Stockbury and then slowly expanding the distribution via various local volunteers and networks.

Most authors must wonder whether anybody even bothers to read one’s writings. I found it incredibly encouraging getting some feedback lately. Most of it is very positive and so far I have not received any death-threats. A keen reader pointed out that I had a dyslexic moment with my abbrv. Hey, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is “Naturally Outstanding” !

Last month, I reported how we councillors embarked on a mental kite flying exercise.
I am not a member of the Heritage and Culture Committee. However, I hear that Labour and Liberal members on that committee are translating foresighted vision with large increases of spending.

This runs contrary to my mantra of the local authority being a facilitator: Cut red tape, provide opportunities and encourage the private sector. Especially the Arts and Culture would have wonderful opportunities to engage with the creative field. This does not require throwing lots of dollars at some costly, over-rated hype. Meaning to say, that many aspiring artists would welcome a council which provides venues and a bit of free advertising through existing channels, with little red tape in exchange of an opportunity. The Pilgrims Way Artists Annual Exhibition in Lenham embraces this spirit for years, very successfully. (Obviously it is NOT organised by the Council.)

I went for a workshop last week. It was all about encouraging business and making Maidstone the business capital of Kent. Another event with great ideas.

– By the way, if you have any recent local business case study, please let me know. –

Two days later I sit on the Licensing Committee: New legislation introduces an updated licensing framework in England for activities involving animals. Home boarding and day care for dogs now requires a licence. I am all for animal welfare and this is a positive idea, -in theory.

– BUT : A four dog home day-care licence costs the same as the licence to run a kennel for 50 dogs: a whooping £485 ! This does not create business in Maidstone. It destroys small business ! I wonder how many dog-sitters will now claim that they are merely looking after a friend’s dog, rather than properly registering their business? I asked to have my dissent minuted.

And another one:

I couldn’t believe it when I saw this key performance indicator: Percentage of fly tips resulting in enforcement action: 61.1%. I queried this at Committee and was told that, indeed, I can take this message to my community: There is a very high chance that fly-tippers will get prosecuted by MBC !

GREAT ! This is positive news !

Why does the County Council undermine our efforts? Have you heard of the ‘Household Waste Recycling Centre Consultation’ ?

KCC proposes charging you for taking ‘non-household waste’ to the local tip.

The consultation runs until 1 November 2018, and can be found at www.kent.gov.uk/wasteconsultation

Any savings at County level will be more than outweighed by bigger cost to MBC, due to increased fly-tipping.

While we are talking about consultations, do you have any thoughts about the Borough’s sports facilities and playing pitches? A public consultation will be launched shortly. In the meantime, I would like to hear from anybody who is involved in community sports within the North Downs.

Finally, you may have noticed that I referred you to two entirely different web-addresses for last month’s consultations. I queried this with the IT department and found that planning related consultations are not listed on the consultations web-page:
https://www.maidstone.gov.uk/home/primary-services/council-and-democracy/additional-areas/have-your-say/tier-3-primary-areas/current-consultations

The reason is that Planning Policy use a procured system which is separate to the one run by the Policy and Information team. I was given assurances that actions will be taken to bring all consultations to one central location on the website.

All in a month’s work…….

PATRIK GARTEN
MBC Councillor for North Downs Ward

Email: patrikgarten@maidstone.gov.uk
Phone: 01622-807907

Pictured below is Councillor Garten.

MBC Councillor Patrik Garten for North Downs Ward including Hollingbourne.