March 2019 Newsletter from our Borough Councillor.

Hollingbourne Parish Council has received the following newsletter from local Maidstone Borough Councillor Patrik Garten. Please Read More for further information.

I do travel quite a lot through my ward after darkness. –Or not so darkness these days. Every time I revisit an area, I notice some new installations of those darn bright LED floodlights. There is little, which upsets me more than floodlights. I know, that they are ridiculously cheap to buy and not too expensive to run. But just because we can illuminate the AONB, does that mean that we must?

You may remember that last July I was ranting about activities by the “new kids on the block”. These I define as residents who moved into the North Downs within the past six years. I wonder if the majority of floodlights are being installed by those ex-townies, who cannot cope with the unpolluted sky-view, which we ought to enjoy in the AONB. – So far this is just my pet-theory. Please help me to find out the exact traits in human behaviour, which lead to the destruction of nighttime tranquillity.

Answers & opinions very much needed and appreciated.

As it stands, policy SD7 of the Kent Downs Management Plan advises that careful design and use of new technologies should be used. Such installations must comply with the Institution of Lighting Professionals Obtrusive Light Limitations for Exterior Lighting Installations for Environmental Zone E1: Lights must be pointed downwards with zero sky-glow being emitted. No light must shine into any windows. Luminarie Intensity must not exceed 2500 candelas. This is the equivalent of approximately a 150W old-fashioned halogen spotlight. (the little ones) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candela

Any lighting stronger than this will be a planning breach contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework paragraph 172 and policies SP7 and DM 34 of Maidstone’s Local Plan.

If you notice extreme exterior lights please report them via the Maidstone Portal:
https://self.maidstone.gov.uk/service/report_a_planning_enforcement_breach

Could you also please email me your report reference numbers. I note that planning enforcement officers are not pursuing this issue with the needed vigour. In the coming months I will seek to raise the awareness for this issue amongst the planning department. I will also seek to introduce a stricter dark skies policy for Maidstone when we review the Local Plan in 2021.

Please let me have your thoughts on this issue. I am YOUR representative and, never mind how strongly I feel personally about an issue, I need to do my work according to YOUR wishes.

And finally: Brexit!

I know that the vast majority of the North Downs Ward voted for Brexit and naturally, being your representative, I will support this decision. As your Borough Councillor, I have no influence about the final outcome. I can however assure you that at local, County and regional level there are furious preparations underway and South Eastern authorities are coordinating their efforts as we speak.

As for my personal opinion: Do you remember the millennium-bug scare? I am sure that we’ll face a similar situation on the 29th. An amicable solution will be proposed at 22:55 hours and a group of politicians in Brussels will stand on a set of stairs smiling for a late night photo-shoot. Remember, Brexit time is 23:00 UK time, which will be midnight in Brussels.

PATRIK GARTEN (Cons)
MBC Councillor for North Downs Ward

Email: patrikgarten@maidstone.gov.uk
Phone: 01622-807907
(for back-copies of my Newsletters see: https://www.stockbury.org.uk/observer )

“I’ll have done my job if, in the end, the deal is so tough on the British that they’d prefer to stay in the EU”. Michel Barnier

Brexit must be a form of “punishment” for deserters. Jean-Claude Juncker

Pictured below is Councillor Garten.

MBC Councillor Patrik Garten for North Downs Ward including Hollingbourne.