June 2019 newsletter from our Maidstone Borough Councillor.

Hollingbourne Borough Council has received the following monthly newsletter from MBC Councillor Patrik Garten.

31 May 2019

The annual local elections have passed and despite purdah being lifted I have little sensible nor important to rant.
Ok, what happened? Not much, we lost a seat, which we expected, and we gained a seat, which the Liberals handed us on a plate: They missed their deadline for filing their election papers. – LOL – you couldn’t make it up !
Essentially Maidstone is still NOC (No Overall Control). Although the Conservatives are the party with the most seats, the Liberals are in charge, propped up by everybody else. – I get the feeling that being a Conservative is becoming a lonely position 🙁
The biggest difference between the Liberals and Conservatives at MBC is that the Liberals represent urban wards while we mostly represent the rurals.
From that point, the slow resurrection of the Labour Group is noteworthy. While three years ago they had only two members, they now doubled in size, to four. (This is how one writes headlines 🙂
Following the election of the Leader, Martin Cox (Lib), came the annual fight for committee chairmanships and vice chairs. For our opponents the gloves came off and the small groups, like Labour and Independents wielded all their mighty powers. The committee system, which we operate in Maidstone, favours smaller groups but also allows the opposition more influence. Do you remember when I wrote last year about the Strategic Plan? There the Conservatives were very successful to pursue their ideas even though we were and still are in opposition.
The year ahead will soon address the Review of the Local Plan. By a national government formula we will be required to add another 7500 homes to the current Local Plan. Councillors of most colour expressed a strong interest in a garden village solution. Such development will have less impact on existing village communities and the economy of scale will allow for better infrastructure, which can be planned from the outset rather than an ad-hoc patchwork as is otherwise the case.
A recent call for sites just about finished. Please do not listen to any rumours or speculation in the press or elsewhere. There is a lot of hush, hush around but no decisions are imminent. All proposals from developers are being weighed and will be discussed in due course. It is fair to say that Maidstone has a plan of its own up its sleeve. This does not mean that this plan will be prioritised. It is one of many. The Committee debated this recently in a non-public meeting. Many councillors disagreed that the public should be excluded. I requested my name to be recorded, that I voted FOR a public meeting.
While I am prohibited from saying what was discussed, I can assure you that nothing will happen this side of August and, when it does, you’ll be the first one who I’ll tell.
Finally, wasn’t it lovely and quiet last week in Eyhorne Street ? A tranquil little Kent Village where it was a pleasure to go for a stroll through the village.
I heard that a few locals were upset about cars getting lost and the inconvenience to circumnavigate the road-works.
For my money, I wouldn’t object to a proposal, which would see the installation of Downing Street style gates under the railways-arch. (Un-)fortunately I am your MBC councillor and highways does not fall in my remit………….

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.