Friday, 30 September 2011

Smile!


Unfortunately our MP ignored the advice of these campaigners and supported the Conservative NHS bill which will now see parts of our public NHS privatised.

No matter - under the boundary changes - Tracey is almost guaranteed a career for life. She is very likely to loose the Labour voting wards to neighbouring MPs and gain several solid blue wards from the weald of Kent.

Odd therefore it was Rehman who appeared on the Top 20 rising stars in the New Statesman recently.

If I were to put a wager down, Tracey is the one that is going places.

Credit where its due for meeting representatives of the opposition. Next time though; probably best to smile at the camera.


Rehman deliver for 11+ parents?


Very odd that a number of comment posts on the Medway Messenger website come out in support of Rehman Chisthi.

Some would say very convenient indeed.

The simple and obvious fact is that this 11+ fiasco comes under the management of Councillor Les Wicks, who so happens to be a Conservative and Rainham colleague of no other than Rehman himself.

Les even campaigned for the election of Rehman on a ticket of competence in the General Election; both share the same platform of competence in education.

Now the MP for Gillingham is stuck in the middle

Grammar school parents represent a core vote for the MP who now occupies an uber marginal seat. So the MP needs all the positive comments he can get ... and so they appear.

With half his constituency party in arms at his parachute selection, we should all be watching closely to see if the MP has any credibility.

A credible MP would put the interests of parents first and call for the immediate resignation of Cllr Les Wicks, who has clearly failed to manage the education department. We have witnessed a huge number of fiasco's under his watch.

Will Rehman put the interests of parents above partisan affiliation and his political colleague and call for his resignation?

Don't hold your breath.

A ticking time bomb?


Despite the focus on Luton & Wayfield and the Labour Conference, have been regularly in touch with campaigners in Grain and the Peninsula who feel utterly let down by the Conservatives on Medway Council and the actions of the local Parish Council.

Jack Hope, a tenacious campaigner and defender of his community, challenged the Council months ago only to be met by silence by those Tories in power who are happy to take the votes of Peninsula residents for granted.

The Tory Council has moved this week to formerly gag Jack Hope and has blocked all communication

The issue is the proximity of several mega LNG gas terminals - each the size of the Albert Hall - which residents believe present a clear and present danger should there be an accident.

Grain is getting a lot of press of late. The Tories have targeted this village for demolition should Cameron and Boris pick the Foster airport design.

However, the primary concern of residents surrounds the poorly written Emergency Plan which would have to come into effect should their be a major accident at the LNG facility.

The plan, which was written in apparent consultation with Grain Parish Council (though they apparently deny this) and other local actors has been revealed as being riven with errors. Not only does it not take into account the spread of explosive gas, which is highly likely given the proximity of the village, but also gets the number of residents in Grain wrong.

After a number of residents meetings, including one in which Tory Councillor Mike O'Brien handled himself badly (apparently trying to silence an expert witness) they have won small concessions; including an emergency alarm system and an email alert.

Residents still remain very concerned that there is a lack of focus in the Emergency plan on the local primary school and key fact that if the tide were out, the villagers would remain stranded from river access from any emergency crew attempting a rescue via the Medway. In addition, there are concerns around the stretch of fire crews in this location.

The Tory Councillors in this area have not come out in support of their voters. Carpet and brush springs to mind.


Thursday, 29 September 2011

The 'Weal' Deal



Rising star... the 'weal' deal from our Rory...



It isnt often you go to your first conference and become a national icon - indeed, at my first conference I began by handing Labour Party newspapers in a car park in Bournemouth!

No celebrity for me.

However, this blog predicted several months ago that two Kent Young members would be the rising stars of the future. Not that this blog is right in all matters mind...

The two of course being Rory Weal and Oscar Davies. Both bright young things, who have got involved in establishing a thriving youth group in Kent & Medway. Supported, incidently, by several of our former Council candidates from the May 2011 elections...

I know how difficult this is to set up a group from scratch; because many moon's ago myself and Cllr Vince Maple (as early twenty somethings) tried to do the same thing in Medway. It didnt work...

But then Rory is a class act.



And so it was - A barnstorming performance from our Kent & Medway star. Rory's speech - well written, and excellently delivered by him. Indeed, I couldn't have written a better speech (and I have ten years experience in NUS); thats how good it was! A story, a theme, a punchline and delivered by an excellent speaker. It was simply class. Class incidently which our Kent and Medway youth group exudes in spades.

So good was it that the right was in a frenzy - someone from true blue Kent, a grammar school boy, formerly privately educated who has a genuine story of the ups and downs of life. He is a person and one who could appeal to thousands across those marginal constituencies in the Home Counties.

The Mail was perplexed and convulsed and responded by spitting forth its usual bile by going for the oft used right-wing character assassination. Sending its shadowy right-wing attack dogs to dredge through the proverbial bins... The fact they did it on a 16 year old teenager and his single mum says everything you need to know... these people have a totally different moral equilibrium.

The guy cant even vote, or drink, or drive... yet can feel the scorn of having his life investigated and pillored in public by right wing hacks.

If you feel uncomfortable by this. You should. Its discusting and predatory behavour and belittles journalism.


Conservative 11+ Failure


Another failure by Medway Conservatives as Councillor Les Wicks and his education department once again become the focus for residents wrath

This time the Tories have totally mismanaged the 11+ examination process which could lead to hundreds of expensive appeals and potentially a total collapse of the entire entrance system.

Another Tory failure in education which is hitting concerned mum's and dad's across the borough. All of whom have now witnessed the the utter incompetence of Conservatives in Gun Wharf.

Hundreds of residents have commented on the Medway Messenger website as anonymous Tory surrogates seek to extol the virtues of Rehman Chisthi MP. Dont tell me that Tories arent concerned - they have failed to manage the 11+ exam process and have let hundreds of parents down.

Are residents that surprised?

Take one look at the tired faces on the Medway Conservative benches and you can see why they cant manage a simple process. They simply lack energy and the ability to manage officers efficiently and effectively. They are past their use by date - many of them a vestige of the Thatcherite 1980s.

This time Medway Tories have utterly mismanaged the 11 plus exams which could lead to unfair advantages, and huge numbers of appeals by concerned parents. All of which are suffering the indignity of Medway Tory failure over education.

This is quickly turning into an utter fiasco. A Medway Conservative fiasco.

Not one Tory Councillor has had the gall to apologise to the public. What spineless toads.

Medway Conservatives should immediately apologise and Cllr Les Wicks - the very definition of an incomptent portfolio holder - should resign.

His record in managing education has been utterly lamentable - from million pound overspends on Woodlands and Walderslade Schools from the failure to manage Primary school improvements across Medway. Coupled with the inability to answer basic questions at Council and cuts to teachers and teaching assistants.

In a few weeks we will know whether some of our secondary schools are performing in Chatham. I have already made my judgement which is the same as thousands of parents across the borough -

Resign Wicks!



Monday, 19 September 2011

Dodgy land-deal unacceptable




On the face of it is a simple application to expand a playing field for local kids (MC/11/2345)



But behind the scenes it is being used to sell-off part of the playing field to the PCT for a new Healthy Living Centre which is not in keeping with the surrounding land.



Residents rejected this idea in 2009 in a deal which would have seen a new school and new health centre. The Council cuts to the school re-build coupled with school assets being potentially seized is a very concerning development.



Why Planning Officers thought they could get away with it is amazing.



Sunday, 18 September 2011

Working in our community

Ward Councillor's Tristan Osborne, Sam Craven and Christine Godwin attended the Save St Mary's ABC fundraiser on Saturday night at Greenacre School.

We have been working closely with the Club management to safeguard this local and popular boxing club which had been threatened after the landlord changed.

The event was a massive success with thousands of local residents attending to watch a series of 'friendly' boxing matches between current and former club members.

Councillor Godwin and Councillor Craven even got into the ring. Alas not with gloves; but to award the fight trophies to the respective blue and red teams.

It is important that local Councillors work with residents and local sports clubs and we are very priviledged to be involved in such an event.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Bus Station Fiasco costs £2.3m


The ballooning cost of the bus station on the Brook has been subject to much debate in the corridors of power over the last two weeks.

It isn’t a new debate – Labour has been asking public questions for months about the ongoing cost increases for the bus station. Councillor Jarrett has deliberately obfuscated and the Conservatives deliberately failed to answer questions prior to the local election.

No surprises some might say!

Over the last 12 months Labour has expressed constructive concern about several aspects of this project:
  • The original budgeted cost has ballooned from £5m (Medway Renaissance estimate) to a now predicted outturn of £7.3m. An increase in cost of £2.3m on the original budgeted expenditure. Some 45% increase
  • The original timetable for completion was April 2011. As most residents have been aware this has now been extended and extended into October 2011. Some five months late.
  • The original planning process was tardy and delays from the Tory-led planning committee coupled with a poor original brief given to consultants, led to a proposal with little merit and being rejected. The subsequent proposal was rushed and was still poorly designed
  • Heritage has been bulldozed - including several historic trees on the Brook.

The bus facility has little public backing and though more modern than its current it is clear the public could have seen a better outcome for £7.3m of Labour government grant money.

All in all the public are extremely unimpressed by the seemingly endless litany of errors, mistakes, oversights, delays and buck-passing.

The emergency Council meeting was called by Labour because the public has become fed up with the constant increase in cost and the manner in which incompetence is being covered up by Tories. It is all very well for Councillor Jarrett to keep writing the blank cheques for fiasco after fudge – but Council tax payers need transparency and openness.

According to the Medway News; the latest charge to emerge is a failure of the Tory administration to engage and negotiate with Arriva, the bus operator in Medway, on a move to the new facility. Given Arriva had already signed a lease agreement with the Pentagon it is simply baffling that the bus company was not being engaged earlier on any move. Apparently not.

Councillor Jarrett admitted today that negotiations have been going on for several months; but given this station was being planned in 2009 and permission given in 2010... this should have been clear at that point.

As it is, Cllr Jarrett's incompetence and delay led us into the negotiations with a far weaker hand and thus a result where we either paid up or had the main bus operator snub the bus facility. Oh dear...

Last night, it was clear that not only were we fed up with the failure to manage capital programmes but the silence from the Tory back-benches spoke loud and clear. The chill in the air was palpable.

The Liberal Democrats meanwhile didn’t even bother to attend despite the significant impacts on residents across Gillingham. Outrageously lazy to not turn up to a crucial crunch vote on the future of bus provision for residents but then they have gave up the ghost months ago.

Cllr Juby was last spotted yesterday lunchtime having lunch with Cllr Jarrett. They do say birds of a feather flock together...

Monday, 12 September 2011

Boundary Changes

The English Boundary Commission published its draft recommendations to MPs at 12.30pm today, with an embargo for midnight.

Not surprisingly when you release anything secret to a gaggle of politicians it leaked like a sieve.

The other early observations are which MPs see their seats dissappear. A lot of early comment was around Vince Cable, whose seat is apparently merged with Zac Goldsmith in the new Richmond and Twickenham seat. A closer look suggests that most of his seat actually ends up in the new Teddington and Hanworth seat, which will notionally have a 11% Lib Dem majority… so Vince has a more vulnerable majority, but is not left seatless! George Osborne’s Tatton seat is no more… but forms the core of the new Northwich seat, which has a comfy 27% majority. Just because a seat’s name disappears or is merged with another, doesn’t mean they are left without a seat! Elsewhere of course, there are 50 MPs who really are losing their seats.

In Medway we have seen what I can honestly say was not predicted by anyone - it seems the wonks in the Boundary Commission have made some quite odd ward moves.

The present Chatham & Aylesford seat would acquire the three-member Conservative marginal Rochester South & Horsted ward from Rochester & Strood and in a peculiar twist, the two-councillor Safe Conservative Hempstead & Wigmore ward. Chatham & Aylesford would gain two wards from Tonbridge & Malling: East Malling, and West Malling & Leybourne. This would give Tracey Crouch a majority of 10,000-12,000 if the election were hold today.

Rochester & Strood would loose Rochester South & Horsted but gain the safe Labour seat of Chatham Central ward. This would cut Mark Reckless MPs majority from 10,000 to 8,000 if the election were repeated. All other wards remain in the constituency despite the speculation.

Gillingham & Rainham would loose Hempstead & Wigmore but gain Luton & Wayfield in what is an extremely odd move. It would have made more sense to transfer the River ward into Gillingham given its historical link with Brompton. We now have a peculiar situation where Chatham Highstreet and Dockyard are both in Rochester Constituency and Luton in Gillingham. This would cut the majority of Rehman Chisthi from 9,000 to 7,500 if the election were held today.

I suspect a few people will be representing that position.


Friday, 9 September 2011

O'Brien gone 'Rogue'?

It seems that Councillor Mike O'Brien is on his own and could have gone 'rogue' on his assertions that PCSO numbers are to be cut by more than half.

Evidence for the 'Rogue behaviour' from the traditionally vocal local Tories is evidenced from multiple sources;

Firstly the Medway Conservative website, a traditional link machine to anything the cabinet member has to say, has not deemed it appropriate to copy his press statement, in what could indicate a distancing of the administration on the PCSO accusations.

Add into the equation Mark Reckless MP, who slapped out of his obsession with all things Europe, commented on Radio Kent yesterday morning that he was unable to confirm the statistics being put forward by his own Medway Conservative colleague, and backed up (in the third person) the position of the Kent Police, that any proposals would need to be put out to an appropriate consultation. Instead of mentioning Cllr OBrien he made particular reference to Cllr MacKinley who this blog has postured could be the rival for any leadership bid

The Medway Council press room - known for fawning over hyper-partisan Tories on the top floor of Gun Wharf - has also remain noticeably tight-lipped.

Of course Mike O'Brien could claim he was commenting as Chair of the Medway Safety Partnership - but there website and twitter feed has said absolutely nothing. Given Mike is the Chair of the organisation; its very odd indeed that nothing has been said

The local media have picked up the story because it is clearly concerning, but it is worth pointing out that in addition to the above not one Cabinet colleague or Tory Councillor has backed the Cabinet holder.

Given Mike was being tipped for the leadership job for the Gillingham & Rainham faction the silence from Rochester & Strood is well numbing. Not one Tory Councillor or surrogate has backed the call by Mike OBrien.

Even Red Reh - as he is known by some colleagues in Westminster - has'nt put his head up ... but then again he is too busy spinning (on the cricket pitch that is).

Looks like he is on his own then... and that in itself is a story worth exploring.



Update

Medway Conservatives updated there website a few hours after this post. Must have been caught in the inbox... notice however how they have dropped the reference to the number of officers. Do they think we are mugs?


Thursday, 8 September 2011

PCSOs not Police Commissioners

As a former police officer I’ve worked alongside some incredibly talented PCSOs and am very concerned by the proposed cuts to PCSO numbers.


Cllr O'Brien, Medway Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety, has not served on the front-line and knows nothing of the hardships faced by officers every day. Cuts to police officer numbers, and PCSOs means taking risks with people’s safety, and flies in the face of Cameron's promise at the last General Election to protect front line services

Cllr O’Brien is calculating that by challenging the Kent Police and pinning the blame on them, he can somehow wash away responsibility for the cuts that his Government is inflicting on local residents. Crime costs the taxpayer and a reduction of police and PCSO numbers will have a significant economic and social cost.

If Cllr O’Brien were serious about PCSOs they would scrap their £2m proposal for an elected Police Commissioner, which equates to 100 PCSOs and 70 Police officers, and invest that on the front line.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Police row erupts


Cllr O'Brien attacks Kent Police for Tory driven cuts.

A major war of words is brewing tonight between the Kent Police and the Chair of the Medway Safety Partnership, Councillor Mike O'Brien after he released a press statement claiming the Police are proposing to cut the number of PCSOs by half.

If true, and there is no public information to support (on the face of it) an unprecendented leak by the Chair of the MSP, it has been challenged robustly by those tasked with safeguarding our streets - the Kent Police - who have tonight rubuffed the allegations as false:

In a tweet riposte to Cllr Mike O'Brien the Police made clear that no decisions had been made on PCSO numbers.

Medway Conservatives have a long and discredited history of playing politics with the Police which actually has positioned Medway in a difficut spot. In 2010, the River Ward by-election campaign was mired when Tories brazenly accused Ian Learmonth of triggering the by-election whilst it was actually poor research on selection by the Conservative selection panel.

Medway Conservatives are also in dispute with the Kent Police Federation and the Kent Police Authority and their own colleagues in Kent Conservatives in KCC. All are opposing the blatant politicisation of the elected Police commissioner proposals which were dreamt up by wonkers in CCHQ.

It seems that not only are these facts disputed but the Councillor has failed to be honest about why the Police are reducing front-line officers in the first place. As the Kent Police Federation stated in a supporting tweet we are 'still going to loose 500 cops & 1000 staff'

His Tory government, supported by our ineffective MPs, are directly responsible for cuts to crime fighters across our towns. Criminal cuts to Police budgets which Labour has consistently warned would send the wrong message to criminals from Rainham to Cuxton to the Peninsula villages and must be opposed.


Monday, 5 September 2011

Two-faced on Tory Toll


So 'Never is a long time'? Tory campaign incompetence or deliberate u-turn?

Despite the waffle from the Cameron Conservatives in the press last week over the Tunnel Toll it seems that they will say anything to residents before an election to secure a vote, which now undertaking a u-turn on the Tunnel Toll.

In what is a clear breach of the '100% Guarantee' to the voters of River Ward it can be revealed that Medway Conservatives have been two-faced on the Tory toll. Telling one audience there will never be a toll before the local election whilst now suggesting that never is a long time and that it could happen.

It is not clear whether the senior Tory leadership were even aware of what their candidates were promising in what is an abject failure of campaign management.

Councillor Jarrett stated to the Medway Messenger last week that:

"I can't say if we ever would, but I can say we have never looked at it so far. They might huff and puff and say I'm lying but that is the case"

Councillor Jarrett was responding to the charge led by this blogger in the Council Chamber that the Tories lied to the voters of River Ward, when Councillor Jarrett revealed that "never is a long time"

The stupidity of the Conservatives to use that particular phrase when less than four months previously they promised in the ironically titled 'No tolls, not now, not ever under a Conservative Administration' on the River Ward Labour Watch Blog that

'There are no plans, there have never been any plans and there never will be a toll on Medway tunnel under any future Conservative administration.'

Not only is this a direct contradiction to the assertions of Councillor Jarrett but it is so explicit it makes a mockery, out of all the promises put before residents in Rochester.

Residents across Medway are beginning to see through the expensive leaflets and Cashcroft funded veneer. They can see the sheer and utter incompetence after project after programme are mismanaged and botched.

The promise for no tolls in the future was also made explicit in the '100% Guarantee' to River Ward voters in their election leaflet distributed in February 2011.

Meanwhile our local MP Mark Reckless has distanced himself from the campaign over the Tunnel after it has become clear that the government has no intention of taking ownership.

In a blog piece from 11 November 2010 he invited the Transport Minister Norman Baker to visit the Tunnel and even had the ordacity to state that

'he was very pleased how the coalition government and, in conjunction with what other Councillors are doing locally to convince Ministers to visit the site.'

As is yet the Department for Transport has rebuffed our Medway MPs on the Tunnel. Ineffective on transport as standard so we get the silent treatment.

Distancing, but why?

Cllrs' Mark Reckless and Rehman Chisthi of course supported the purchase of the tunnel in the first place as Councillors so they are worried that any potential toll will damage. Believe me,

Any toll will be a Reckless one.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

NHS under threat



Campaigners in Rochester campaigning against Conservative NHS proposals



Gillingham Labour Councillors campaigning against Tory NHS privatisation


Medway Labour Campaigners have been meeting residents in Gillingham, Chatham, Strood and Rochester to safeguard our NHS from David Cameron and his Medway Conservative MPs Tracey Crouch, Rehman Chisthi and Mark Reckless who are supporting a privatisation agenda and the undermining of NHS through increased use of private-sector provision.

We need to take action to stop Tory-led plans which will fundamentally change the NHS we know and love. If the Tory and Lib Dem Coalition force through the Health and Social Care Bill, the NHS will be very different in five years’ time – with more privatisation, worse patient care and increased red tape to stop health professionals doing their job

Lots of campaign groups, professional health associations and patients’ organisations are working to stop the Bill.

To get involved in the campaign please visit the Save our NHS website and lobby your MP today.


Saturday, 3 September 2011

Tory Tunnel noose around tax payer necks


The potential for a Tory Tunnel Toll this week took a turn for the worst as it was revealed to the public what we all suspected since the dodgy deal, negotiated behind closed doors, and whilst Cllr Chamber's was lead warden at the Rochester Bridge Trust, that it was a shabby deal and not in the interests of Medway residents.

The Tories negotiated a deal which took a poorly maintained 'liability' off the books of the asset-rich and wealthy Rochester Bridge Trust onto the Council books for a one off payment of £3.6m.

I have an interest in the Tunnel because its purchase and subsequent legacy go to the very heart of our Conservative regime in Gun Wharf and future operating revenue for subsequent administrations; both Labour & Conservative.

It is also symbolic of the machinations, hyper-partisan buck passing and failure to grasp basic financial and political realities which summarise our current political leadership in the corridors of Gun Wharf.

So what is new?

Revealed in this Medway Messenger exclusive; it is now clear that the money for the tunnel is running out and quicker then expected. The original grant of £3.6m on annualised expenditure of £450,000 (calculated by RBT) has since doubled due to the shabby maintenance of the infrastructure prior to the Council purchase. As it stands the 7-8 year grant will now likely run out by 2012/13. Only three/four years after the purchase.

This proves that not only was the asset purchase absolute lunacy in financial terms, but the increase in repair bills highlights the total lack of work previously undertaken by the RBT, or perhaps the mistaken understanding of the Council of the liability it had purchased on behalf of Medway taxpayers.

Cllr Jarrett cites the erroneous assertion that the Council had to purchase the Tunnel but this is not true; because it ignores the fact that if the RBT had just withdrawn from Tunnel maintenance they could have been subject to legal action and would probably have lost given their constitutional obligation.

In addition, Cllr Jarrett and Chambers claim they were not involved in discussions over the sale but yet remained in post despite the perception of a conflict of interest which at the time was perceived very poorly indeed.

And what of government ownership?

Part of the justification for the purchase in 2009 was that the election of Conservative MPs and government would result in the movement of the tunnel onto the government books. So absolving Medway Council of all responsibility

It is now clear that the argument at the time was totally spurious and that a government purchase of the Tunnel is now not expected. Indeed, according to Cllr Jarrett "we will keep banging away at that one... but it might not be fruitful"

It is clear that this option is now not feasible which was not revealed to residents in 2009. This position has changed.

So what of the toll?

Medway Labour opposed the original purchase of the Tunnel because we believed the Tories at the time would have had to raise income via a toll, or via cuts to local services. This fact has not changed.

The Tories nevertheless ignored local opinion and purchased the tunnel.

I specifically asked Conservative Cabinet members about ruling out a future toll and at no point have they ruled it out. That is a de-facto Conservative Party endorsement of a future toll for residents used to Conservative buck-passing on transport locally.

Only the most idiotic of Conservatives could claim that the movement towards a toll was a Labour idea. It is an idea they endorsed as soon as they agreed the asset purchased, and they were fully aware of our opposition on the purchase of the tunnel.

In addition, and most concerning, is that the Conservative government has endorsed the idea of road tolling and private road ownership with tolls. In an article for The Telegraph in 2009; David Cameron stated:

“We’ve said we’re happy to look at road tolls. I don’t think that the eye in the sky big government scheme they [Labour] were planning was going to work, but separate road tolls...

“You know if you look at the one road toll that has been built – the Birmingham Relief Road – great success, a Conservative idea."

The simple fact is that this Tunnel was purchased by the Medway Conservatives in a shabby deal which has not benefited the tax payer of Medway. Buck-passing and blame from leading Conservatives will not work and Labour will oppose any Medway Conservative toll

Tory planning changes = Development

Capstone Valley could be threatened if Tory planning laws are passed.

It looks like local Planning is once again in the press with the Conservatives in Westminster now proposing to fundamentally undermine the planning system in full favour of the applicant.

Such plans will impact residents across Medway, but particularly in the rural areas of the Peninsula, Cuxton and Rainham. In addition, the development of Capstone Valley and the Conservative Peninsula Airport are far more likely to occur if greenbelt concerns are watered down by the gready and grubby fingers of the building developers, who channel funding into Tory election warchests.

Rochester & Strood Labour have expressed severe concern that rural life on the Peninsula will be put under severe threat by Conservative-led plans to water down planning laws, which could allow large-scale housing development on non-residential land, and threaten the area with an International hub airport, whilst hindering the capability of the public to oppose development.

As this blog has mentioned, Conservatives in Medway have not been open and transparent about the Lodge Hill development which will see a whole tract of the Peninula bulldozed for 5,000 properties.

In addition, Conservatives in Westminster continue to examine the feasibility of an International airport which will destroy the rural community. Already there are concerns around house prices caused by the incapability of Conservative MPs and Councillors to represent your interest to Tory ministers with an ear to the Mayor of London.

The threat of an airport coupled with watered down planning laws will weaken the strength of resident objection and allow Conservatives and their Councillor-supporters in Medway to run roughshod over local opinion and the potential for an airport proposal to increase.

Labour oppose the Conservative Government’s planning planning reforms which could lead to unchecked and damaging development in the undesignated countryside on a scale not seen since the 1930s.New plans published by the Government contain a core presumption that the default answer to development will be ‘yes’. We are deeply concerned that the Government’s proposals will allow developmer considerations to dominate, which could result in a green-light for poor quality or development in the wrong place, threatening the local places valued by Medway residents, while failing to deliver wider benefits to our community.

For decades our planning system has protected much loved places from harmful development. Cameron’s Conservatives and their local representatives are threatening Peninsula life; not only over Boris Island / Cliffe Airport but also on watering down planning laws which restrict the capability of the public to oppose development on this precious rural idyll.

Tories plan Greenbelt bulldoze





Looks like former River ward Councillor - and now Sefton Central Labour MP, Bill Esterson - has been in the press defending our Green belts from Conservatives and there developer friends.

Bill Esterson MP is supporting a huge number of residents in rural Medway and beyond who are outraged that the Tories are proposing to bulldoze our green areas

In Medway, we are seeing the developers and their Tory chums threatening to bulldoze over parts of the Peninsula / Strood Rural ward with a plan for 5,000 properties planned for Medway. Yet as this blog has discovered hardly any residents are aware of the Lodge Hill development.

The Tories are about to waterdown the planning regime in what would make the Prescott changes to planning look like small beer.

For decades our planning system has protected much loved places from harmful development. The Government's reforms turn this on its head, using it as a tool primarily to promote economic growth instead.

We believe in growth – but not at all costs. Planning for people combines long-term growth with other important things like local character and space to breathe, tranquillity and beauty. We need a system that serves all our interests, from commerce to communities.

The Government’s reforms fail this test- they need to stop and think again.

The Government’s planning reforms could lead to unchecked and damaging development in the undesignated countryside on a scale not seen since the 1930s.

New plans published by the Government contain a core presumption that the default answer to development will be ‘yes’.

This blog is deeply concerned that the Government’s proposals allow financial considerations to dominate, which could result in a green-light for poor quality or development in the wrong place, threatening the local places valued by you, while failing to deliver wider benefits to your community.

Send a message to the Tories in Government that planning is for people not for profit. Sign the petition.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Tory NH$