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Maidstone BC – Councillor Patrik Garten’s Newsletter – 28th November 2023

Cllr Patrik Garten 1

One of my highlights this month was an invite by Bearsted CAN and the Roseacre Junior School Eco Council in Bearsted.  Parish, Borough and County Councillors and our MP Mrs Helen Whateley came and visited the exhibition of the school’s young artists.

The young people created pieces of art depicting their wishes and efforts to preserve their village and reduce the negative impacts of some of our lifestyles on their environment and the Earth.Not only did they show their work, but they gave the invited politicians a good grilling about how local and national politics can assist in reducing carbon emissions.  All the questions were drawn up by the young people and were very insightful.


Patrik report dec 23 art in schools

From left: MBC Cllr Springett, myself, KCC Cllr Rory Love OBE Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, the Headteacher & members of Bearsted CAN.


Take part in Maidstone’s climate change survey

In 2019, Maidstone Borough Council declared a climate emergency and pledged to become as close to carbon neutral as possible by 2030.  Carbon Neutrality, also referred to as Net-Zero, can be achieved through reducing existing emissions and actively removing greenhouse gases.

Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) is asking residents to take part in a climate change survey for their views on the actions and themes in the council’s current Climate Action Plan, and what residents are doing to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergencies.

The survey closes on 1 January 2024 and will take around 8 to 10 minutes to complete.  Please take part now:


Some 99% of English councils failed to meet the legal deadline to publish audited accounts for 2022-23.  Over 900 sets of accounts, dating back to 2017, remain unaudited.  In response, the Government is considering an amnesty to clear the backlog by effectively cancelling incomplete past audits.  Ten public bodies have not had their accounts audited for five years.  The reason for this is the collapse in audit capacity, because since 2015 audits are conducted by private firms who simply don’t have the capacity to take all this work on board.

You may think that this is really something boring for politicians alone, but this lack of scrutiny of councils’ finances removes any early warning system for local authorities in financial difficulty.  In the past, while I was member of our own Audit Committee, I often voiced my displeasure with our auditors when they attended

Gardeners wanted

Any budding gardeners with some free time on their hands are being encouraged to get involved with volunteering opportunities to help improve sites around Maidstone Town Centre.  The Council is working with local charity – Involve Kent – on a ‘Green Spaces’ project.  Involve is looking for green spaces in the Town Centre that can be cleared, planted and made more welcoming for everyone to enjoy.

To find out more about Green Spaces you can email: or call 03000 810 005.

Next Year’s Walking Festival

We are looking for your help to find additional experienced walk leaders for the festival, which will take place between the 15-24th March. Many of the previous walk leaders are taking part, but we do want to encourage walks in more parts of the borough.  The festival consists of free walks led by volunteers or organisations, paid walks by specialist walk businesses, and charities looking to raise awareness or funding.

If you know of any qualified walk leaders in your area, please can you ask them to contact the team if they are interested:

HerBiz returns in 2024!

This free women’s start-up programme offers a £500 prize to put towards start-up costs in a business plan competition.  With multiple previous winners from Maidstone this programme is built to support women with their business ideas.

And finally…

On 22 November 2023, all Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty(AONB), as they have been known since their inception in 1949,  became National Landscapes – in a bid to bring them in line with the importance of our National Parks.  This is not a mere renaming exercise but will highlight their equal place in the country’s aims around health, wellbeing and sustainable public access, climate change and nature recovery.  What does this mean for the Kent Downs? We will become Kent Downs National Landscape. 



MBC Councillor for North Downs Ward  (Conservative)

Cabinet Member for Environmental Services


Phone: 01622-807907