This report sets out the public questions received for this meeting.
Question A – Toni Oliver, of Chatham, asked thePortfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, Councillor Chitty, the following:
“What is being done to make the owners of the site at Dock Head Road machine shop structure clean up the site?
It’s currently overgrown and an eyesore for the area. It has planning permission, I understand, with restrictions on it but it has been on and off and in this state for approximately 4 years now and is getting worse!”
Councillor Chitty thanked Ms Oliver for the question. She said that Medway Council was working with the current owners of the site and structure to clear outstanding conditions attached to their planning approvals and to implement their most recent permission. There had been a delay due to the significant increase in construction costs associated with material and labour. This meant that the owners had to change their scheme to ensure it was financially deliverable and respected the historic character of the site. It was hoped that implementation would start shortly.
Question B – Tracey Wilson, of Strood, submitted the following to the Portfolio Holder for Resources, Councillor Gulvin:
“Why is there no public toilet facility in Strood any more?
We own the site of the Salon/Mortuary/Micropub next to Asda carpark entrance. The Public now think we must provide all the water, soap, electricity and toilet paper that should be funded by the Council. We are fed up with it.”
Question C – Andrew Sweeting, of Chatham, submitted the following to thePortfolio Holder for Front Line Services, Councillor Filmer:
“The speed limit on Pear Tree Lane has recently been reduced from 50mph to 40mph, though there have been very few accidents on this road over the last few years.
Yet there is a clear need for the same restriction to be put in place on Ash Tree Lane after all the accidents we have had on this road, the last one taking out many of the concrete bollards at the edge of the road, yet it still remains at 60mph.
The width of this road is also a major contributing factor to the accident rate as many of the bends are not suitable for cars to be traveling at high speeds.
Would it not be beneficial for road safety for the junction of Beacon Road onto Ash Tree Lane to be modified to give better vision when turning out to go up Ash Tree Lane, as this has also caused many accidents in the past and to reduce the speed limit on Ash Tree Lane to 50mph?”
Question D – Ben Rist, of Gillingham, submitted the following to the Portfolio Holder for Resources, Councillor Gulvin:
“At the Council meeting on 19 January 2023, during agenda item 8 Leader’s report, Councillor Gulvin misled the questioner asking about investment in Gillingham by claiming a new mental health service was in Gillingham, which is untrue. Britton House is just Canada House that moved and is not new. When are we going to get the Mental Health Services we need in Medway such as a Theraputic Community, a Section 136 Suite and a Psychiatric Unit?”
Question E – Vivienne Parker, of Chatham, asked thePortfolio Holder for Front Line Services, Councillor Filmer, the following:
“What is the Council going to do about people driving the wrong way down Brake Avenue, Chatham? I and other people have nearly suffered a car accident meeting people driving the wrong way.”
Councillor Filmer thanked Ms Parker for the question. He said that the one-way section of Brake Avenue was enforced by ‘No Entry’ signs and road markings at the junction with King George Road. Councillor Filmer was very sorry to hear that Ms Parker had experienced near misses due to drivers ignoring these signs. He said that these drivers were committing a moving traffic offence, which at the present time could only be enforced by the Police. These concerns would be passed on to the Police and they would be asked to observe the junction.
Question F – Chris Spalding of Gillingham, asked the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, Councillor Doe, the following:
“In the Spring Budget on 15 March 2023, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a one year fund of £63.3 Million being made available for publicly owned leisure centres with swimming pools.
This fund is being managed by Sport England and allows local authorities to apply for funding for leisure centres with swimming pools that face immediate cost pressures, including operational and maintenance costs, as well as energy bills.
£40 million is being made available for capital investment to improve the energy efficiency of such public facilities while the remainder comes in revenue grants.
Can you confirm Medway Council has applied for money from this fund for Hoo Sport Centre, including how much has been asked for?”
Councillor Doe thanked Mr Spalding for the question. He said that it was the Council’s intention to bid for funding from the recently announced swimming pool support fund but that no bid could yet be submitted as Sport England was working with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the fund criteria and application process.
Question G – Jon Castle, of Chatham, asked thePortfolio Holder for Adults’ Services, Councillor Brake, the following:
“Numbers published recently have highlighted that some GP surgeries have very high numbers of patients registered. In particular, St Mary's Island Surgery has over 34,000 patients, one of four practices across Medway with more than 20,000 patients registered.
Does the Portfolio Holder agree with me that this data shows both an unsustainable number of patients registered at some practices in Medway and a chronic lack of GPs in Medway?”
Councillor Brake thanked Mr Castle for the question. He said it was nationally, regionally and locally accepted that more general practitioners were needed to meet the needs of a growing population. In Medway, the Council had been working with the Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board (ICB), which had responsibility for the commissioning of primary care, to highlight local issues impacting on the care and support available and provided to patients in primary care.
There were a number of programmes currently in place to attract and employ more GPs in Medway. There was also a specific GP and Primary Care Strategy that had recently been developed by the Kent and Medway ICB to help deliver additional GP capacity and improve services locally.
Councillor Brake said that work would continue with NHS partners to enable local people to access the care and support they required within Medway.
Question H – Ben Pranczke, of Gillingham, submitted the following to thePortfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, Councillor Chitty:
“As this is your final Full Council, would you like to take this last opportunity to apologise for wasting £130,000 on a Japanese peace roundabout which nobody can access when that money could and should have been spent on improving Gillingham High Street?”
Note: As Mrs Wilson, Mr Sweeting, Mr Rist, and Mr Pranczke were not present, the Mayor stated that they would receive written responses to their questions, 7B, 7C, 7D and 7H respectively, in accordance with Council Rule 8.6.