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Maidstone BC – Councillor Patrik Garten’s Newsletter & Video – 24th March 2024

Cllr Patrik Garten 1

I previously explained the Local Plan, which sets out the local authority’s policies and proposals for land use in the Borough.  The development plan guides and shapes day-to-day decisions as to whether or not planning permission should be granted.  Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires that planning decisions made, should be in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

The Local Plan is a carrot and stick instrument.  In order to address the national housing crisis, Central Government requires us to use a specific formula to determine how many houses need to be built. In the Local Plan we choose the least detrimental sites for them.  In return, if we fulfil our annual quota of house-building, we are granted protection from unplanned development.

Many of our neighbouring authorities fail to review their local plan in a timely manner and subsequently end up without one.  This equates to a developer’s charter in that there will be no legal instrument which gives the local council an authority to stop unplanned development.

Over the past two decades Maidstone’s Local Plans followed a strategy of dispersal.  While in 2005 it may have been reasonable to scatter 5000 new homes here or there, by 2017 it became clear that dispersing 17,000 homes harms infrastructure and has a severely adverse effect on community adhesion, which has shown to destroy village communities.

Since 2017 Maidstone Councillors took a new approach by aiming to build two new garden villages rather than dispersal.  Completely new settlements will bring new infrastructure rather than wearing thin old infrastructure.  New settlements will also grow new communities rather that thrusting new communities upon traditional ones.

There are two opposition groups against this new strategy:  Two parties continue to prefer dispersal and one party, joined by a minority of independent councillors, is opposed specifically to the two proposed garden settlements.

I am glad to say however, that on 20th March the Conservative Group, with the support of many independent councillors, ratified the latest Local Plan Review at Full Council.  This is a major weight off of our shoulders and the happy conclusion of 7 years hard and difficult work.

Maidstone continues to have the right tools to fight off unwanted and unplanned developments and we have a strategy to address the housing shortage for the next generation.

This is a major milestone to future-proof Maidstone.

Two-thirds of surveyed councils recently said that they were cutting services.  Parks, leisure facilities, arts and culture are at the top of their list.  Despite extra Government funding of £600m, many councils set budgets that will see service cuts from April.

Not so in Maidstone!

Frontline and neighbourhood services will continue full steam in Maidstone.

As I write this, we just started a new waste collection contract.  The new contractor will bring a brand new fleet of vehicles.  Downtime, due to an ageing fleet, should be a thing of the past.  The new fleet will comprise more smaller vehicles, for rounds where we historically had access problems, and the new vehicles have vastly improved telemetry and real time CCTV.  Any problems will be relayed immediately to managers and there will no longer be the need for complicated CCTV downloads of discs or tapes.

We expect a great improvement in the quality of our service.

Obviously, with 17,000 collections per day, there may be some, hopefully minor, teething problems with such a big new contract, despite thorough preparations.  I would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience.  My team will do their very best to keep any disruption to a minimum.




Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) has successfully secured funding from the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS), to help further its commitment to achieve Net Zero for operations by 2030.

This money will be used to upgrade MBC’s main offices including Maidstone House and the Maidstone Link (based in King Street).

The new carbon-cutting measures will include the installation of air source heat pumps for heating and cooling, solar panels to generate and create electricity, insulation for the entire seven story building, all new windows and LED lighting to improve energy efficiency.

As part of our Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan, the Council has been identifying energy and carbon cutting improvements within MBC’s main buildings and, as part of that, it has already installed measures at various locations.

Maidstone Council aims to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, improve efficiency and save money that can be spent elsewhere on the Council’s services.


Our council does some amazing things.

If you have a minute, please take a look at this video, showing where some of our Community Grants have assisted local groups and projects.  In the last four years, Maidstone Borough Council has been helping communities and providing greater access to counselling and activities to improve physical and mental well-being, while combating social isolation and loneliness.



And finally:


An additional £5m to support local village hall renovations in England has been announced by central government.  Watch this space……







MBC Councillor for North Downs Ward  (Conservative)

Cabinet Member for Environmental Services


Phone: 01622-807907