September 2018 Newsletter from our Borough Councillor.

Councillor Patrik Garten has sent the following newsletter to Parish Councils in his Maidstone North Downs Ward. Please Read More for further information.

Dear Residents

August started with four evening workshops in the first week!  Jointly we launched some kites and mastered a new Strategic Plan. We were asked to focus on the outcomes, which we want the Strategic Plan to deliver, not individual actions that might form part of the Plan.

I drummed the phrase that the Council should be a Facilitator, not a Regulator.

I said it so often, I live in hope that it may stick. If it becomes the new Maidstone slogan, you know who said it first.

Even our Labour members committed themselves to reducing red tape.

Ideas include regeneration through culture, arts, leisure, heritage and sports across all age groups. Support and develop the buildings/venues/places where people meet

We envisaged that Maidstone should be clean, green and well looked after. We want to increase trees in the right places; create a virtuous circle between waste and energy at a local level, create more wild areas for biodiversity including linking neighbourhoods/corridors.

Community participation shall be improved and resilient communities created, who care for their places.

Support for Parish Councils, resident associations and community-groups was proclaimed as part of a policy of subsidiarity. More community halls for people to come together were planned and new community assets to be created when new developments take place.

In order to deal with the increasing housing demand, members across the political spectrum expressed a preference for a garden village or town for achieving the housing need. The Council should take an active role as master-planner for new communities.

Better housing standards, flexible living space, adapted for older people and to accommodate changes in people’s circumstances. All these new developments shall use new or alternative building techniques to be on the forefront of modern designs.  This way we are creating a virtuous circle by encouraging local businesses, which provide the new materials/services and develop new specialist skills which will be in demand, not only locally, but in far away places, thus bringing long lasting prosperity to Maidstone……

No, we did not suffer heat-stroke, as you may expect. Some of your Borough Councillors, of all political colour, are visionary people who want to achieve the very best for our town and its communities.

Soon it’ll be autumn and the realities of MBC life with all its shortcomings (mainly financial) and political adversaries will bring down our kites …..-  with a bang.

Actually, MBC is not doing so badly with handling its finances and your taxes. Last year we had a £185,000 surplus. Conservatives wanted to put all of it to reserves for a rainy day.  Unfortunately the leading coalition had other ideas:  £40k  will be used to pay for a new Heritage Officer, whose remit it will be, to boost support for the museum.  –the museum is the place where every visitor is being subsidised at the tune of £10 of your council tax. Talk about throwing good money after bad….

£10k will be used to create a new ANOB in the Greensand Ridge. I am all for ANOBs. I am actually the biggest supporter and promoter of the existing ANOB. For that reason, I cannot see the merit in creating a new ANOB, if, by the same token, £10k annual funding has been withdrawn from the existing ANOB.

While I am on the subject of giving money away for free, if your community runs a worthwhile project, come and talk to me. A Members’ Community Grant fund has been created to assist with community development and cultural cohesion.  I have the unique opportunity to spend a total of £1,000 to support local community groups and organisations with one off pump priming money.

The Community Fund should support local initiatives which:

–           contribute to delivery of the Council’s priorities

–           are sustainable and do not create additional pressures on the Council’s resources

–           there is a tangible benefit to residents within the area represented by the councillor

–           funding is not readily available from other sources

–           expenditure is in accordance with the Council’s constitution and the overall local authority           legal framework.

Preference will be given to projects where funding is matched from other sources.

QUICK NEWS:

 

A S106 legal agreement for the application at Woodcut Farm (Junction 8) has been drawn up. The applicant formally withdrew their appeal at the planning tribunal. The outline approval by committee from last November is the one, which will now proceed.

Starting this summer, a £5.1 million investment in the Maidstone electricity network will be made by UK Power Networks. New cabling is being installed along a 4.1km route between electricity substations near the town centre and the Shepway area of Maidstone. A trench-less technique will be used to install the cables underneath the River Len and part of Mote Park.

Maidstone Borough Council has announced the third expansion of The Business Terrace, in a project that will create much-needed affordable office space for growing businesses in the town centre.

The Kent and Medway Business Fund (KMBF) is to open for new applicants. The Kent and Medway Business Fund (KMBF) will be opening to new pre-applications from the 1 September 2018.  KMBF is financed by recycled loan repayments from the former Regional Growth Fund schemes and aims to offer funding to businesses across Kent and Medway.

Looking to start up your own business and become your own boss? A series of 4 evening workshops will be organised by The Business Terrace. Mondays 3rd – 24th September 6-8pm

Please check at https://www.businessinmaidstone.co.uk/events  to find out what other opportunities there are.

Current Consultations can be found at:

http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/home/primary-services/council-and-democracy/additional-areas/have-your-say/tier-3-primary-areas-/current-consultations

 

and

 

http://maidstone-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/

 

And finally: The national www.planningportal.co.uk will be introducing a fee of £20 for filing planning applications.  This charge won’t apply to applications, which are send by email or post directly to MBC .

 

PATRIK GARTEN   

MBC Councillor for North Downs Ward

 

Email:   patrikgarten@maidstone.gov.uk

Phone: 01622-807907

Pictured below is Patrik Garten.

Councillor Patrik Garten in March 2018.