Cabinet decisions scrutinised

16 Aug 2023

Cabinet asked to reconsider its decision on Key Junctions.

Recently the Cabinet decided against the advice of the Planning Infrastructure and Economic Development Advisory Committee not to fund improvements to Linton Crossroads, on the grounds that other improvements were more important to deal with congestion, such as Fountain Lane. However, the Cabinet failed to provide a clear indication of how or when the alternative projects could be brought forward.  As a result, Lib Dem Councillors Clive English and Dave Naghi along with Independent Councillor Steve Munford called in the decision to the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

After an in-depth discussion the Committee resolved by 10 votes to 3 with 2 abstentions to ask the Cabinet to reconsider funding Linton Crossroads at this time and to take action to bring forward proposals to improve the junctions at Fountain Lane and Hart Street.

Speaking in the debate Clive English stressed that the decision made by the Cabinet risked none of the junction improvements coming forward at all. Whilst Dave Naghi reminded the Committee of the poor safety record of the current Linton Crossroads and the need to address this. Finally, Ashleigh Kimmance called for action to speed up progress on the Fountain Lane Junction.

As a result of the Committee’s decision the decision not to award funding will now have to be reconsidered by the Cabinet

 

Archbishops Palace

At the same meeting the Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered another call in to look at the proposed use of the Palace as a wedding venue. There was no issue with the proposed use, but the Committee wished to reassure itself of the details of the financial arrangements.  The nature of the figures presented in private within the original policy advisory committee suggested a specific business model that certain councillors felt uncomfortable accepting that level of risk for the residents of Maidstone.

The proposal is still some way from a final package and the Committee’s questions were satisfactorily answered at this stage with the concerns from multiple councillors being noted. Lib Dem Councillors will keep an eye on the project as it progresses to see if any further action is needed.