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Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

Liberal Democat County Council Questions

At each meeting of the Full County Council,, Councillor's can ask questions of the KCC Leader, Cabinet Members or Committee Chairman. A Councillor can ask one question (submitted in advance), and may also ask a suplementary question relating to the answer provided.

Click here for County Council Agendas & Additional Documentation - including list of questions.

Scroll down to see our most recent questions:

  • Article: May 17, 2014

    Can the Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport comment on the failure to set up an integrated transport strategy for Maidstone and explain KCC's strategy to reach consensus with MBC on transport policy.

    Answer

    KCC has worked closely with Maidstone Borough Council in recent years to devise a practical transport strategy to support the Local Plan. This has included the secondment of a KCC transport officer to the Borough and financial support to transport modelling. However an agreed transport strategy requires certainty on the scale and distribution of the employment and residential land uses promoted by the Borough Council as the Planning Authority, and the acceptance of that scale and distribution by the County Council as the upper tier provider of highway, educational and other necessary supporting infrastructure. This dialogue is ongoing, and the outcome of the Borough Council's recent consultation on its draft Local Plan proposals is awaited.

  • Article: May 17, 2014

    For far too long, the grammar school admissions system has been skewed by the ability of relatively well-off parents to pay for tutoring for their children. There is clear evidence that this has made it very difficult for children from deprived backgrounds to get a grammar school education. Thus we welcome the recent announcement that a number of grammar schools across the country are to give priority admissions to pupils entitled to free school meals.

  • Brian Clark
    Article: Mar 31, 2014

    Brian Clark Kent County Councillor has been left wondering just how many outsourced property companies would be needed to change a light bulb after witnessing problems with a special needs project at Southborough School in Maidstone.

    The project began when a child with special needs gained a place at the school, with works planned to complete prior to the school year. However, at the start of term the work was far from complete and a required paediatric bed had not been delivered. Without facilities, care training to teachers could not go ahead and the child's mother was forced to visit the school daily to attend to the child's needs.

  • Article: Mar 28, 2014

    Question by Ian Chittenden to David Brazier, Cabinet Member for Transport & Environment

    The "Kent Traffic Counts Program", cancelled in 2011, was set up by KCC to independently collect data to assist officers to make transport planning decisions, monitor effects of traffic and their patterns. Today this is monitored by developer reports with officers having little independent data to scrutinise their validity.

  • Article: Mar 28, 2014

    Question by Brian Clark to Gary Cooke, Cabinet Member for Corporate & Democratic Services

    KCC has recently undertaken a project to adapt a school to meet the special needs of a local pupil. A key part of the project was an item of furniture costing approximately £1000 which the school specified and provided KCC with a suitable supplier. The supply chain started with KCC engaging a preferred supplier who passed it on to a property company, who in turn passed it on to yet another property company, who ordered the wrong item, which brought about lengthy delays and frustration. Would the cabinet member agree that this is a costly way to do business?

  • Article: Mar 28, 2014

    Question by Dan Daley to Paul Carter, Leader of the Council

    This winter we have witnessed the devastating impact of flooding across the county. This has had far-reaching economic, social and environmental consequences. With our climate appearing to become increasingly turbulent, there is an increasingly pressing need for better flood defence and mitigation to help vulnerable communities, including those neighbourhoods which have been exposed to localised flooding.

  • Article: Mar 28, 2014

    Question by Rob Bird to Paul Carter, Leader of the Council

    With reference to Maidstone Borough Council's Local Plan would the Leader please say:

    a) What the Borough Council need to do to make the new housing targets in their proposed Local Plan achievable and sustainable?

    b) What the implications would be if the housing targets are unrealistic and which Kent County Council is unable to support?

  • Yalding Floods taken by Brian Clark
    Article: Feb 20, 2014


    During the Kent County Council budget debate last Thursday the Liberal Democrat team exposed a sting in the tail for KCC's flood management capability.

    It has emerged that staff cuts are to be made in the same emergency planning department which has been struggling to meet demands of people affected by recent flooding. Councillor Brian Clark has called on the Conservative running County Hall to think again

  • Brian Clark
    Article: Dec 17, 2013

    At last week's Kent County Meeting at Sessions House Councillor Brian Clark raised concern with the continuing problem with buses in South Maidstone. Three months on from the beginning of term time, parents are still having real problems with the quality of service along the A229 Corridor.

    Brian asked the Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, David Brazier, "firstly what measures will be in place to prevent the situation from reoccurring, and secondly, while some progress has been made since September; how South Maidstone morning bus provision can be made truly fit for purpose?"

  • Article: Dec 16, 2013

    Question by Dan Daley to Roger Gough, Cabinet Member for Education & Health Reform

    In the course of work undertaken by the KCC Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, we have had experience recently of two instances of failure of the new Commissioning system being operated by the Community Commissioning Groups run by GPs under new arrangements since the demise of the Primary Care Trusts.

  • Article: Dec 16, 2013

    Question by Rob Bird to David Brazier, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment

    The DfT has stated that there is clear evidence that reducing speeds reduces the frequency of collisions and, where collisions occur, lowers the risk of fatalities and serious injuries (Report to Environment, Highways and Waste Cabinet Committee, Thursday 3rd October 2013). Evidence shows that schemes which combine 20mph limits with traffic calming measures to reduce speeds have proved very successful in reducing casualties by around 40% to 60%. However, it is recognised that there can be difficulties in achieving widespread observance of 20mph zones and limits.

  • Article: Dec 16, 2013

    Question by Martin Vye to Roger Gough, Cabinet Member for Education & Health Reform

    Will the Cabinet Member for Education and Health Reform say:

    a) what action KCC has taken to ensure that entry to grammar school is based on "merit not money" as set out in the Sutton Trust report which recommends that working-class pupils should be prioritised during the admission process, and

  • Brian Clark School Bus Service Problems
    Article: Dec 16, 2013

    Question by Brian Clark to David Brazier, Cabinet Member for Transport & Environment

    As the Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment may be aware, at the beginning of the academic year, there was major chaos with bus provision along the Loose Road corridor in South Maidstone. Children with Kent Freedom Passes arrived late to school day after day as completely full buses passed by time after time.

  • Martin Vye
    Article: Dec 12, 2013

    At the County Council meeting on Thursday 12th December, Martin Vye, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats on the Council, asked for all parties to have a say in how the county's services are reorganised. Over the next three years KCC has to save another £240 million to stop going bankrupt. So the Conservative administration is taking a cold, hard look at which of its 300 services it needs to contract out.

  • Article: Sep 24, 2013

    Question by Dan Daley to Paul Carter, Leader of the Council

    During the formulation period of the Core Strategies and Local Development Plans of Borough and District Councils - all of which are now coming to a crucial point in the process, there have been many changes in Government Guidance concerning the methodology of approach to housing number projections. The most recent of these has notably been the National Planning Policy Framework of March 2012 and yet another amendment as late as 5 September 2013.

  • Article: Sep 24, 2013

    Question by Martin Vye to Graham Gibbens, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services & Public Health

    Will the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services & Public Health inform the Council whether, at a time when KCC is becoming more dependent on the voluntary/not-for-profit sector for delivery of key services, it will continue to give financial support to voluntary sector support organisations, such as Councils for Voluntary Service, that play a vital role in developing the capacity of the voluntary/not-for-profit sector to deliver those services?

  • Article: Sep 24, 2013

    Question by Rob Bird to Mark Dance, Cabinet Member for Economic Development

    After several years in the doldrums there are signs that the housing market is picking up and, with housing demand outstripping supply in much of Kent, house prices are now forecast to continue rising in the coming months.

    It has been difficult for many would-be first time buyers to get on the housing ladder. KCC working together with district councils has taken steps to assist first-time buyers. However, these measures risk fuelling increased house price inflation putting properties further out of the reach of future home-owners.

  • Article: Sep 24, 2013

    Question by Trudy Dean to Paul Carter, Leader of the Council

    Will the Leader of the council agree to request a report to Policy and Resources cabinet committee exploring what action KCC could take to limit the activities of so called Pay Day Loan Companies including:

    • banning payday loan websites from its entire computer network, including publicly accessible PCs in libraries and community centres;
    • seeking to persuade district/borough council colleagues (through the numerous twin-hatted Members as well as by directly approaching councils) to ban payday loan advertising on billboards and bus shelters;
    • publicly promoting credit union facilities as alternatives to payday loan companies; and
    • banning all advertising from its property including highway land
  • Article: Jul 9, 2013

    Question by Mr B Clark to the Cabinet Member for Corporate and Democratic Services

    As a local resident I am aware of local fears that the terms of the 125 year lease due to be signed between KCC and Future Schools in South Maidstone are unfavourable given how much of the land will be considered for residential development, when a KCC Special Needs School at the site will be left with insufficient land to expand.

  • Article: Jul 5, 2013

    Question by Mr M J Vye to Paul Carter, Leader of the Council

    In 2011 a Member stated that as the proposal for Locality Boards had been forged at a time when all District Councils had a Conservative administration, if there were any changes of administration following the May elections this could raise issues*.

  • Article: Jul 5, 2013

    Question by Mr R Bird to the Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment

    Maidstone Borough Council Core Strategy proposes close to 1,000 new houses either side of the B2246 Hermitage Lane which will place considerable strain on the local road network, especially the Fountain Lane junction with A26 Tonbridge Road already operating at well over capacity.

  • Article: Jul 5, 2013

    Question by Mr G Koowaree to the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services and Public Health

    "Each month of delay 'costs' approximately £1.5m of savings not achieved in 2013/14" (para. 10 (1) p.12 report to Scrutiny Committee on 17 April 2013*).

    Would the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services and Public Health provide the County Council with specific details of the KCC / Newton Europe (our efficiency partner) transformation savings during the past 3 months and whether this equates to at least £4.5m (or £1.5m per month)?

  • Article: May 20, 2013

    Question by Mrs Dean To The Leader of the Council

    Will the Leader of the Council please say whether in view of public concern regarding so-call 'gagging clauses' within severance agreements with staff, he is willing to cease the use of such clauses by Kent County Council?

    Answer

    It is entirely understandable that there is such concern over "gagging clauses" however there is a massive misunderstanding as to why they are used. The term 'compromise agreements' can mean all things to all people and we must be clear on the definition of this term. I am pleased therefore to have the opportunity to make it clear that KCC does not use compromise agreements in the context described to prevent an employee 'discussing the work and services of the organisation'.

  • Article: May 20, 2013

    Question by Rob Bird to Roger Gough, Cabinet Member for Education and Health Reform

    Of 150 councils whose primary schools are inspected by Ofsted, Kent was ranked tenth from the bottom and for the fourth year in succession 45% of our primary schools were judged to be under-performing. I am sure all members will welcome the recent improvement in the Ofsted ratings of Kent's primary schools and will join me in congratulating all the schools that have received improved Ofsted reports.

  • Article: May 20, 2013

    Question by Martin Vye to David Brazier, Cabinet Member for Transport & Environment

    Will the Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment give his assurance that in the course of the impending review of traffic management in the City of Canterbury, the County and District Councillors for Canterbury City, and representatives of local residents and businesses will be engaged right from the start in consideration of possible options, and in the drafting of firm proposals?

  • Article: May 20, 2013

    Question by George Koowaree to David Brazier, Cabinet Member for Transport & Environment

    Recently I witnessed a site employee at the temporary Ashford Household Waste Recycling facility getting into the metal recycling container to rearrange items to maximise the space for additional metal waste apparently because there was no crusher fitted.

  • Article: May 20, 2013

    Question by Brian Clark to David Brazier, Cabinet Member for Transport & Environment

    Prior to the last Joint Transport Board (JTB) meeting I submitted a large petition objecting to the bus lane proposal along the Sutton and Loose Roads. During the meeting, the Chairman categorically stated that the plan would not go ahead (to confirm this point a letter from Bryan Sweetland, former Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways & Waste was read, which only referred to the Loose Road section).

  • Article: Mar 25, 2013

    Question by Dan Daley to Bryan Sweetland, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways & Waste

    Park and Ride services have become the established norm for large conurbations throughout England. In Kent, only Maidstone and Canterbury run such services regularly on weekdays at frequent intervals. These services allow mass parking at the edges of the urban areas and go a long way in preventing inner town traffic gridlock.

  • Article: Mar 25, 2013

    Question by Martin Vye to Bryan Sweetland, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways & Waste

    Will the Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste tell the Council what measures KCC will put in place to ensure that all relevant partners act as a matter of urgency to deal effectively with the disgusting plague of rubbish and litter that increasingly disfigures the sides of our roads in Kent, presenting such a poor image of the County?

  • Article: Mar 25, 2013

    Question by Rob Bird to Mike Whiting, Cabinet Member for Education, Learning & Skills

    I am sure all councillors will agree that good primary school education is crucial to a young person's development. People across the country are alarmed by the latest National Audit Office (NAO) report pointing to the failure in recent years to respond to clear demographic evidence of increasing need for primary school provision.

  • Article: Mar 25, 2013

    Question by Ian Chittenden to Bryan Sweetland, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways & Waste

    The headline in 'Kentnews' on the 15th March was 'Nightmare on Kent's roads set to continue due to cold snap'.

    For many years questions have been raised in relation to the quality of repairs to potholes. The average pothole is never properly prepared which is why most fail repeatedly, as demonstrated by the short 'freeze-thaw' cold spells in February and March, when many hundreds of temporary repaired potholes have failed and will cost millions of pounds to repair yet again.

  • Article: Feb 11, 2013

    Question by Mr I Chittenden to the Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste

    A programme to remove 3,000 street lights in Kent due to start 7 January 2013 was postponed in part due to a motion by the Lib Dems in December 2012 which resulted in a halt to the proposed removal until meaningful discussions could be held. The Medium Term Plan 2013/15 on p.87 states 'Street Light Energy saving through the Part Night approach or removal - This would be achieved through selective turning off streetlights between midnight and 5 am'

  • Article: Feb 11, 2013

    Question by Rob Bird to John Simmonds, Cabinet Member for Finance and Business Support

    I am sure all Members would agree that the prompt payment of outstanding invoices is crucial for the survival of many businesses, particularly small Kent companies.

    Would the Cabinet Member for Finance and Business Support confirm that Kent County Council pays all suppliers on time by settling all undisputed invoices within a maximum of 30 days*, that KCC will sign up to the Prompt Payment Code** following the lead of many local authorities who have signed up to the Code, including a quarter of Kent (District/City & Borough) Councils - Shepway, Tonbridge & Malling and Tunbridge Wells Councils, as well as our neighbours at East Sussex and Surrey County Councils, and that he will insist that all KCC contractors sign up to the Code and themselves encourage adoption of the code through their own supply chains; thus ensuring the certainty of cash flow which is critical for many firms but especially for small businesses based in Kent?

  • Article: Feb 11, 2013

    Question by Mr M J Vye to the Cabinet Member for Children Services

    Will the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children's Services inform the Council of the total value of grants made by her department to the voluntary and community sector in the year 2011/12*; and the total value of Specialist Children's services work she is planning to commission from the voluntary and community sector for 2013/14?

  • Article: Feb 11, 2013

    Question by George Koowaree to Bryan Sweetland, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste

    Would the Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste inform the Council of the management and delivery of the Kent roundabout sponsorship programme by way of completing the following table and providing detail of how the income generated has been spent?

  • Article: Jan 14, 2013

    Question by George Koowaree to Bryan Sweetland, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste

    "With regard to the maintenance and repair of the Shared Space in Ashford, would the Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste please tell the Council if he regrets the decision to purchase and ship materials for the shared space from China and Belgium rather than using a UK source and was there any political input in making that decision? Can the Cabinet Member confirm that he will go back to the original scheme that included the expansion of the station forecourt and say how the expansion will be financed?"

  • Article: Jan 14, 2013

    Question by Rob Bird to Mike Whiting, Cabinet Member for Education, Learning & Skills

    Of 150 councils inspected by Ofsted, Kent is tenth from the bottom and for the fourth year in succession 45% of our primary schools are under-performing; for the same period the percentage for England as a whole averages at 31%. I am sure all Members would agree that Kent's performance is still totally unacceptable.

  • Article: Jan 14, 2013

    Question by Tim Prater to Mike Hill, Cabinet Member for Customer & Communities

    On searching through Google for "Kent County Councillor Mike Hill", a link is found to Mr Hill's Councillor profile on the kent.gov.uk website, but the description underneath reads that "A description for this result is not available because of this site's robots.txt".

  • Article: Jan 14, 2013

    Question by Martin Vye to Bryan Sweetland, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste

    Will the Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste inform the Council of:

    a) the total cost to the County Council of all the works connected with the Westgate Towers, Canterbury closure scheme, including the costs of highway realignment, signage, new pedestrian crossings, Public Notices, and the planned traffic lights

  • Article: Oct 29, 2012

    Question by Tim Prater to Mike Whiting, Cabinet Member for Education, Learning & Skills

    At the September meeting, the Cabinet Member informed the Council that it was not possible to report on the exact number of children who would have previously been eligible for free home to school transport, who may not qualify under the new arrangements and that he would report back to the Council at the November Council meeting.

  • Article: Oct 8, 2012

    Question by Ian Chittenden to Mike Hill, Cabinet Member for Customer and Communities

    I am now receiving regular complaints about 'Public Rights of Way' being severely obstructed by overgrown nettles, brambles and other obstructions. This is particularly affecting children and parents with push chairs.

  • Article: Oct 8, 2012

    Question by Trudy Dean to Bryan Sweetland, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste

    In view of residents' complaints about standards of grass, hedge and shrub cutting and the lack of maintenance of public rights of way, will the Cabinet member for Environment, Highways and Waste please inform the Council:

  • Article: Oct 8, 2012

    Question by Tim Prater to Mike Whiting, Cabinet Member for Education, Learning & Skills

    How many children have started this school term in Kent excluded from free home-to-school transport they would have been entitled to prior to the cut imposed by this Council on home-to-school transport provision?

  • Article: Oct 8, 2012

    Question by Dan Daley to Mike Whiting, Cabinet Member for Education, Learning & Skills

    Before the introduction of legislation* by the Labour Government in October 1998 there was widespread concern about the indiscriminate and uncontrolled disposal of school playing fields with an estimated 10,000 playing fields disposed of between 1979 and 1997 when the Conservatives were in power. Local authorities and schools now need to obtain the Secretary of State's written consent before they can sell, or dispose in any way, or change the use of playing fields used by schools. Between 1997 and 2009 212 applications were approved, since May 2010 approval has been given for the disposal of 21 playing fields.

  • Article: Oct 8, 2012

    Question by George Koowaree to Jenny Whittle, Cabinet Member for Specialist Children's Services

    Is the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children's Services aware of published research demonstrating that:

    • child pedestrians can't judge vehicle approach speeds as well as adults. The "speed illusion" problem relates to children's low-level visual detection mechanisms, children's estimates of how fast a vehicle is travelling became unreliable once 20mph is exceeded (Prof. John Wann, Royal Holloway College, London University); and
  • Article: Oct 8, 2012

    Question by Martin Vye to Bryan Sweetland, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste

    According to the World Health Organisation and research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) lowering urban and residential speed limits to 20 mph has a direct impact on the number of road injuries with a reduction of all casualties of 40% to 60% and in the severity of road injuries - with a pedestrian survival rate of 97% compared to 1 in 5 pedestrians (or 20%) who will be killed hit at 30 mph. The 20 mph zones in London are estimated to already be saving more than £20 million annually in crash prevention.

  • Article: Jul 16, 2012

    Question by Malcolm Robertson to the Leader of the Council

    Will the Leader explain how the 'Compensation for loss of office' payment of £420,000 (*) to the Managing Director accords with the numerous steps taken as a result of the urgent review of the procedures by the (same) Group Managing Director in response to the Leader's motion (**) at the County Council meeting 22nd July 2010; in which he stated that procedures would be strengthened so as to minimise the risk of such large payments being made in the future?

  • Article: Jul 16, 2012

    Question by Mr M J Vye to the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children's Services

    Will the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children's Services inform the Council:

    a) what is being done to ensure that the County Council has a robust up-to-date and clear record of the numbers of vulnerable children running away or going missing from care or home;

  • Brian Clark
    Article: Jul 16, 2012

    Question by Mr T Prater to the Cabinet Member for Education, Learning & Skills:

    A Primary School in Folkestone has started the process of consultation on the possible conversion to Academy status, and states in a letter to parents that "We are mindful that the Government aims to see all schools convert to academy status by no later than 2015".

  • Article: May 14, 2012

    Question by Mrs Dean To The Cabinet Member for Finance & Procurement

    In view of the transfer to KCC employment of former Health Service employees whose pension schemes would not include investments in tobacco; will the Cabinet Member for Finance & Procurement reconsider KCC's previous stance on the withdrawal of Superannuation Fund investment in tobacco firms?