May 2019 Newsletter from our Borough Councillor.

Please Read More for the May 2019 Newsletter from Hollingbourne’s Maidstone Borough Councillor, Patrik Garten.

Hi, it’s your friendly councillor again. Did you notice? It’s gone rather quiet on the political front. On the B – issue: I did not have to eat my words (yet).
It is so quiet that KMTV even asked me for an interview. They must be desperate!

You are most likely aware of the demise of CCTV in Maidstone’s town centre. Three years ago we had 60 cameras, which were monitored 24/7. The number of cameras has been halved under some national data-protection rules and MBC has done away with the monitoring.
We were now asked to replace the remaining system of recording equipment at the cost of £278K this year, followed by £118K annually thereafter.
What will we get for this money? A lot of recorded pictures, which nobody watches and the police rarely requests, because it is easier to get CCTV images from the shops.

Worse, because few people appreciate that the cameras are no longer monitored live, the whole system provides a sphere of false security. Should you be unfortunate enough to get attacked in Maidstone, do not expect any help being ordered as a result of the CCTV. However, you can rest assured that there may be some brilliant HD pictures available for the police to identify your murderer. Maidstone CCTV is a measure after the horse has bolted at an annual cost of £4000 per camera per year and twice as much this year.

Oh, during my famous TV stunt, viewers also heard committee chair Councillor Mortimer (Lib), proclaiming that this new CCTV system helps in the fight against fly-tipping. I am afraid he is sooooooooooooooooooooo wrong! The environmental enforcement team, who only recently received my praise in this column uses entirely different cameras, not connected to the town centre system. Theirs are purchased at a one off cost of £500 per camera. Rest assured that we will use them in the North Downs.

An afterthought:
I wonder whether giving the Police and Crime Commissioner Mathew Scott an annual grant of £118,000 to employ two dedicated PCSOs in the town centre 24/7 may be more effective in fighting crime?

We expect shortly a planning application to come in for the building of a care home on the A20 close to Junction 8, the site which backs onto the new Woodcut Farm industrial estate. The latter got outline planning permission last year. I visited the developer’s care home in Warwick, which is equally wedged between the motorway and an industrial estate. I was impressed with what I saw. The quality of care for the people at the home is very high and everybody appeared happy to be there including the staff. I have not yet experienced a massive protest wave against this home and will therefore be happy to support it. – Of course I already voiced my two senses to the developer how to improve aesthetically their design. – Nothing else should be expected from yours truly.

Building for Life 12 provides a consistent structure for discussions on design principles. A Maidstone version has been drafted and approved by committee. It places emphasis on what is important to Maidstone BC. The guide is an excellent tool to be used in development planning conversations. It sends a clear message that MBC expects high quality designs for future residential developments and it enhances the structure and consistency of operational discussions. – A breath of common sense blown over Maidstone’s future developments.

The local elections will have passed by the time you’ll receive my next newsletter. And with it, this awful purdah – This is the time when electoral law requires me to bite my tongue even though my seat is not up for election this year.

PATRIK GARTEN (Cons)
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.