Louise and I went along to the Kent Construction Focus Group Breakfast meeting this week. It’s a great chance to network and listen to the guest speakers. You also get a very good full English Breakfast too!!
On the agenda this time was Paul Spooner, Interim Director of Planning & Development from Maidstone Borough Council.
He presented the up and coming projects that are earmarked for Maidstone and how the Borough Council now has all the strategies in place in order to get on with delivering against these. The listed schemes that will be coming on include Maidstone East Station, the gyratory system, a heritage quarter and the Enterprise Zone to name but a few. Local companies should benefit from these developments he mentioned and it was encouraging to hear that local architects have been involved in the masterplanning.
What is not so clear is how Maidstone Borough Council will encourage the quality of the build, the sense of place and environment that Maidstone needs in order to up its game. Our best asset the river is unfortunately underused and any opportunities for creative interventions in the town seem to be unrecognised or pulled due to lack of money. Quality public ream reflects the character and originality of a place and the people that live, work and play within it. There’s more to Maidstone then just shopping and with all the future developments Section 106 contributions could be utilised to address this.
Let’s hope that this positive air of change will benefit the town centre and surrounding areas. Unfortunately Paul Spooner’s interim contract will be over by end of February. Who picks up the gauntlet then?