July 2019 Newsletter from our Maidstone Borough Councillor.

Hollingbourne Parish Council has received the following July newsletter from MBC Councillor Patrik Garten who represents Hollingbourne. Please Read More for Further information.

Dear Residents

I just completed my application form to be considered as the Conservative Candidate for North Downs at next year’s election. I hope that you will be in favour that I seek to continue the job, which I started in 2016. …… and no, there won’t be any gates in the railways bridge !!!!

Last month’s tongue-in-cheek-comment caused a storm of protests in my in-box. ……. -Proof that people actually read their politician’s my monthly rant – Thank you !

I am pleased that last month I secured an additional bin to be placed near the entrance of the Millennium Green and a new bench for Hollingbourne, the site still to be decided. I also contributed £200 of my annual member’s grant toward the village hall’s new fence.

Suffice to say that there is still plenty ahead for the last quarter of my current term. – And please feel free to fill my in-tray with worthwhile causes !

You may be aware that last year MBC took part in a Government pilot for business rates retention. Without going too much into detail, the pilot allowed us to retain more of the business rates to spend on local projects rather than collecting them merely on behalf of Mr Hammond’s coffers.

I sat on the Policy and Resources Committee (the one which holds the purse strings) last week and we approved 16 costed ideas to enhance our Borough. Amongst the more notable proposals are:

The clean-up and smarten-up of important arterial routes into Maidstone, to give the County Town a more welcoming feel.
 Plans & appraisals for the future of Lower High Street and the Archbishop’s Palace
 Fitting CCTV to all bin wagons. This should alleviate any disputes about missed bin collections, a problem which has been mentioned several times in my in-tray
 Some improvements at MBC’s offices to make our operations more effective
 Enhance Domestic Abuse Awareness

A very worthwhile project to watch out will be named “Inclusion Through Enterprise”. Following the reduction of rough sleepers in Maidstone from over 50 to less than 4 during the past 14 months, this project seeks to give homeless people another head-start in life: It is envisaged as a community business, which ultimately should become self-funding. It seeks to give job-skills to the homeless, particularly in retail.

I was a bit sceptical, listening to the presentation and asked whether we will be looking at just another charity-shop ? I am glad that I asked. The answer was categorically NO. While plans have not been finalised, we may be looking at something much more innovatively. Watch this space! The ideas sound excellent and I can think of many less worthwhile projects where MBC sank £68k.

In the past weeks I saw an unusual amount of planning applications published for the North Downs. – Is it the time of the year again for home improvements?
Unless we are looking at a major development or a monstrosity of some kind, I try not to get involved in planning issues. My motto is, if an application does not bother your neighbours nor has it any impacts on the wider community, feel free to do with your property as you see fit.
Having said that, I have the power to call-in to committee any application within 21 days from validation. A call-in must not necessarily be in opposition to an application. I previously called in applications in support of the applicant against the recommendations of the officers. So if you have any planning concerns in support or opposition of the application, please contact me, but mind the 21 days deadline.
I mentioned previously that we will have to review the Local Plan by 2021. An important consultation will commence on the 19th of this month and run until Monday 30th September. This consultation may be the most important tool for voicing your input how this Borough will be shaped in the next decade. Please take your time and participate !
And finally, if you consider yourself an “older person”, the Mayor would like to invite you for a tea party in Town Hall either Tuesday 20 August or Wednesday 21 August from 2.30pm to 4pm. She seeks to meet residents from all wards. Please contact me to have your name included on her list of invitees. Spaces are limited.

MBC Councillor for North Downs Ward

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

Pictured below is Councillor Marion Ring who is hosting the tea parties mentioned in the newsletter.

Councillor Marion Ring, Mayor of Maidstone 2019-20.