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Recent News From your Maidstone Wards

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  • Fran WIlson
    Article: Mar 15, 2018

    Following the Annual Budget Meeting on March 7th Maidstone Borough Council has agreed to increase the Council Tax by 2.99 per cent.

    Fran Wilson Liberal Democrat Leader of the Council said: " Over recent years Government cuts to Local Authority Funding have been very deep and there is no longer any fat to trim. We like the majority of Councils of various political colours have had to weigh an increases in Council Tax against the loss of major public services and like the majority of Councils including Conservative controlled Kent County Council we have reluctantly had to increase Council Tax by more than we would have in other circumstances.

  • Cllr Georgia Harvey and Cllr Brian Clark
    Article: Mar 13, 2018

    Maidstone Borough Council is to formally write to the Prime Minister requesting that the voting age be lowered to 16, following a motion raised in the town hall by Liberal Democrat Councillors Brian Clark (South Ward) and Georgia Harvey (Bridge Ward). This follows the success of a similar motion at Kent County Council proposed by Cllr Clark when he served as a county councillor.

  • Freezing rain
    Article: Mar 2, 2018

    You may be aware that the current cold spell of icy winds and snow may bring 'freezing rain'. Freezing rain is a very rare weather phenomenon and occurs when very cold rain freezes immediately on landing.

    Our electricity network is built to be resilient but extreme weather can damage overhead power lines, resulting in some customers losing their electricity supply. Where this happens we work to restore power as quickly and safely as possible, and we have organised for additional staff in our contact centre and more engineers on the ground to be available to help customers whose electricity supply might be affected by the cold weather.

  • Rob Bird
    Article: Feb 11, 2018

    The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, has now confirmed residents' fears about the future of rail services from Maidstone and Northwest Kent to London.

    Instead of delivering more high-speed trains from Maidstone and Snodland to London St Pancras, Mr Grayling confirmed that only two services will be required in the morning and evening peaks. Alternatively, the existing high-speed trains could be dropped completely and replaced by a service to Abbey Wood where passengers would need to change to continue their journey on the Crossrail line.

  • Thamelink Train
    Article: Jan 26, 2018

    Rail users from Maidstone & West Kent are facing up to the very real threat of services going backwards toward levels of service experienced in steam days. Promised improvements have been delayed and may never arrive.

    Thameslink postponed again
    Without any consultation, we were told back in November that the vital Thameslink services from Maidstone will be delayed by a further year to the end of 2019. This is due to perceived capacity issues and to provide a more "phased" introduction of the new services. Most unfairly, the only line to have this delay is the (Bearsted) Maidstone East, Malling, Otford, Swanley to Cambridge service.

  • Cllr Brian Clark
    Article: Jan 20, 2018
    By Brian Clark

    A junction improvement scheme proposed for the A274 Sutton Road, Willington Street junction was rejected at Maidstone's Joint Transport Board last night. The developer-funded improvements from three Langley park housing sites, were approved in 2014. The scheme proposed tree felling and a width reduction along part of the Bell Meadow grass verge to accommodate widening of the A274. Speeches from residents, highlighting impact on nearby properties, were followed by lengthy debate by councillors, culminating in a motion proposed by county councillor Gary Cooke (Con) to reject the proposal and to develop a smaller scale scheme, without grass verge reduction [Cllr Cooke later conceded in the meeting that verge space may be required].

    Cllr Brian Clark (Lib Dem), who had earlier expressed concerns, proposed an amendment, requesting that KCC Highways officers return to the following Joint Transport Meeting [18/04/18], with a specific timeframe to develop an improved proposal. The amendment included removing the mention of reduction in scheme size or inclusion of further constraints, to allow KCC officers the freedom to fully mitigate the impact of increased traffic, while recognising some of the concerns raised by residents. Although seconded, the chairman did not accept this amendment, and the initial motion was carried.

    Cllr Clark later stated, "While the public and Joint Transport Board members raised some valid reasons to amendment the design, I felt officers should be allowed to consider these concerns and develop a revised or new plan without constraints being set "on the hoof" by the committee. With funding in place and the views of the committee clear, specifying a "reduced scheme" and adding further constraints was unnecessary and could ultimately lead to increased traffic congestion, air pollution and misery for road users along the A274. When asked, officers made it clear that a reduced scheme would not meet the needs of future traffic growth".

    He continued, " A timeframe must also be agreed. If the money is not spent by 2021 for the purpose for which it was approved, as part of planning permission for the Sutton road Developments, it will revert back to the developers and be lost."

    County Councillor Rob Bird (Lib Dem) stated, "I have made clear to Kent Highways that we will not support a purely cosmetic change, which does not deliver improved traffic flows. Furthermore, I have stressed that the hold ups on this scheme should not delay other priority hot-spots such as the Wheatsheaf and Fountain Lane junctions. To lose the LEP monies in such circumstances would be clearly inexcusable."

  • Cllr. Rob Bird
    Article: Dec 12, 2017

    Rob Bird - (Group Leader of Liberal Democrats on KCC), gives his views on Theresa May's BREXIT deal.

    Friday 8th May 2017

    Watch the interview

  • SaveKentsBuses
    Article: Dec 6, 2017

    Please sign our petition to show you are opposed to these services being cut.

    Kent County Council are considering reducing the subsidies on 78 bus routes. The big bus operators have warned that these services could be withdrawn if the subsidies are cut. You can find a list of buses that could be axed by clicking here.

  • Thameslink train
    Article: Dec 6, 2017

    Statement by Liberal Democrat County Councillors Rob Bird, Ian Chittenden & Dan Daley

    The many Maidstone commuters who travel to London each day are incensed by the news that the new Thameslink service has once more been delayed, for a further year until December 2019.

    While other counties continue to benefit from new railways investment and are given priority, West Kent has once again shunted into a siding.

  • Rob Field at the count
    Article: Dec 5, 2017

    North Ward by-election 30th November 2017

    Liberal Democrats Gain Maidstone's North Ward from the Conservatives

    Liberal Democrats have gained the North Ward seat on Maidstone Borough Council left vacant by the sudden resignation of a Conservative Councillor. Councillor Rob Field's return to the Town Hall seals a Liberal Democrat clean sweep of all three seats in the ward.

    Leader of the Council and Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr. Fran Wilson commented: "The trust placed in Rob by the residents of North Ward is a vote of confidence in the Liberal Democrats philosophy of working all year round not just at election time. Rob's victory proves once again communities who have experienced the effectiveness of Lib Dem representation stick with it."

    Newly elected Councillor Rob Field added: "I would like to thank local people for their support and pledge to work tirelessly to tackle the many challenges facing North Maidstone."

    Result

    Rob Field - Liberal Democrat 719

    Conservative 363

    Labour 270

    Green 47

  • Penenden Heath History Garden Site
    Article: Nov 21, 2017

    Work is now well underway on the superb new public garden close to the pavilion and tennis courts at Penenden Heath.

    Tony Harwood negotiated grant and developer funding to realise the residents and Liberal Democrat ambitious vision.

    Rob Field ( North Ward Candidate ) commented. "I am impressed by what has been achieved so far by all those involved."

  • Cllr Brian Clark at Loose Girl Guides 2017
    Article: Nov 21, 2017

    Last week Cllr Brian Clark was invited to talk to the Loose 2nd Girl Guides for democracy week which was similar to one I gave to year 6's at Park Way school previously.

    Brian took a few key points and dates - Magna Carta and various voting acts which widened the right to vote firstly for men, then women after WW1 and the current debate about voting at 16. I planned to take no more than 20 minutes but the girls had lots of questions it ended up being 40 minutes (we ended on a light note with a for their favourite pop star complete with ballot slips and a ballot box - it was clear (aside from the call for Ed Sheeran for PM), that these girls were very interested in the world around them.

  • Cllr Denise Joy
    Article: Nov 19, 2017
    By Derek Mortimer

    Lib Dems save Heather House community centre Park Wood Maidstone from closure.

    On Tuesday evening Liberal Democrat councilors spoke and voted to keep the lights on at the Heather House community centre in Park Wood. The centre was earmarked for closure within months due to maintenance and repair costs..
    Cllr Denise Joy said 'Obviously costs must be considered in a backdrop of severe cuts to local government, imposed by the Tory government's austerity agenda, but to loose this valued community building will be severe blow to local residents.
    After a lengthy debate the centre was saved from imminent closure and plans to secure a new centre will now be explored.
    Cllr Derek Mortimer spoke passionately against closure, commenting, "We had to keep it open, history shows that closure would likely be the end for the facility". He continued ' Park Wood is crying out for a modern community centre and I did not want to see a band-aid approach for such an important local site. In making this decision we have taken the first step towards a brighter future for Park wood residents."


    Derek Mortimer, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Maidstone South Ward
    Tel 07825 9169
    30 Twitter @dereklibdems
  • Election Poster
    Article: Nov 8, 2017

    Read the by election focus here.(Download)

    Rob is Kent born and bred, and has lived in Maidstone for 14 years and locally with his family since 2009.
    He has primarily worked for Kent based organisations including Kent County Council, Medway Council and the NHS, before starting his own business working with NHS Trusts to manage demand in A & E departments and maximise performance of minor injuries units. Rob has also served as a Maidstone Borough Councillor, gaining a reputation as a tough and effective advocate for Maidstone residents.

    Candidate for North Ward Rob Field
    ROB SAYS,"I HAVE NO ILLUSIONS ABOUT THE BATTLES WHICH LAY AHEAD IN DEFENDING OUR HARD-WON LOCAL QUALITY OF LIFE AND ENVIRONMENT. NORTH WARD FACES MANY CHALLENGES - BUT TOGETHER WE WILL WIN THROUGH."
    PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR SUPPORT AT THE FORTHCOMING BY-ELECTION ON THURSDAY 30TH NOVEMBER, AND IF ELECTED, I PLEDGE TO WORK TIRELESSLY FOR NORTH WARD AS PART OF A STRONG LOCAL LIBERAL DEMOCRAT TEAM."

    READ THE ELECTION NORTH WARD FOCUS WHEN IT COMES THROUGH YOUR DOOR.

    ON THURSDAY 30TH NOVEMBER - USE YOUR VOTE WISELY.

    MAKE SURE YOU USE YOUR VOTE.

    VOTE ROB FIELD

    VOTE LIBERAL DEMOCRAT

    "I am delighted Rob is standing. He is just the sort of councillor North is use to, someone that is genuinely concerned about people and passionate about local issues and someone that lives on the doorstep of the local community",

    Martin Cox, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at Maidstone Borough Council

    "Rob is someone that genuinely cares about the community",

    North Ward Councillor Michelle Hastie

    "and someone who believes that everyone should be treated equally and fairly",

    North Ward Councillor Tony Harwood

  • Cllr. Martin Cox
    Article: Nov 3, 2017

    Lib Dems Secure Local Plan

    Maidstone Borough Council has adopted a new Local Plan. This document, required by Government, identifies sites for new development, provides some limited local landscape protection, and will facilitate delivery of new infrastructure. The new plan will run until 2031, but is subject to a review in 2021.
    Despite widespread anger at the level of housebuilding imposed on Maidstone by the Government's housing targets, it had become increasingly clear that the Council had to adopt a new plan in order to gain some control over where and how development took place, and to try to prevent the Government intervening and imposing an even higher level of development in Maidstone.

  • Cllr Harwood at Calder Road - Flytip
    Article: Oct 25, 2017

    Local Lib Dems Move Fast to Tackle Toxic Fly Tip

    Cllr. Tony Harwood worked fast to respond to local reports of a commercial
    fly tip, involving asbestos board tiles and paint, at the garage block at
    the bottom of Calder Road.

    Tony went straight out to the site on receiving the initial report, where he photographed the fly tip, collected together the dumped materials, well away from the informal path through the site, and contacted Maidstone Borough Council's Environmental Enforcement team and Golding Homes (the landowner).
    The site was quickly cleaned-up and evidence gathered to assist future enforcement action.

    If you are aware of any fly tips or serious littering problems in your areaplease get in touch with one of your local Lib Dem Councillors.

  • Outside schools
    Article: Oct 14, 2017
    By Cllr Ian Chittenden

    PCSO's Powers to be Increased

    Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are to be to be given additional powers to help crack down on antisocial behaviour and to deal with restricted area parking around schools.

    Additional powers will enable officers to close licensed premises which consistently sell alcohol to children, move people under dispersal orders and confiscate any items that could be used to commit any antisocial behaviour, crime or disorder.

  • South Ward and Loose Ward Councillors
    Article: Oct 14, 2017
    By Cllr Brian Clark (South Ward)

    Maidstone Local Plan

    (framework for development to 2031)

    Town Hall Vote 25th October 2017

    Dear Fellow Residents

    You may be aware that there has been much debate in the local press recently about the Local Plan and the level of housing proposed. Unfortunately, a process imposed by Whitehall determines this level and, going forward, councils without an adopted Local Plan will likely see significantly increased housing numbers (based on a government housing consultation announced in September). In light of this, we did not agree with the recent attempt to "call-in" our Local Plan to the secretary of state for reconsideration, and are pleased that the home secretary has decided not to intervene.

  • Cllr Tony Harwood and memorial
    Article: Sep 10, 2017

    Maidstone's Forgotten War Dead Remembered At Last

    A memorial was unveiled in Brenchley Gardens on 1st June, 369 years to the day and on the precise spot of the last action of the Battle of Maidstone.

    This pivotal English Civil War battle saw its opening Parliamentarian probing attacks fought on the fringes of Maidstone at East Farleigh Bridge and then Penenden Heath, followed by brutal urban warfare fought street to street and house to house through the town centre, towards Gabriel's Hill, before a desperate Royalist last stand and break-out from St Faith's Churchyard (now part of Brenchley Gardens).

  • North Ward Litter Pick
    Article: Sep 10, 2017
    By Ian Chittenden

    Tackling the Fly Tipping Epidemic.

    Local people are reaching the end of their tether with the growing tide of fly tipping blighting North Maidstone, according to North Ward local Councillors Michelle Hastie, Tony Harwood and Ian Chittenden. They are calling for a reintroduction of the tough intelligence-led enforcement that used to exist, but which lapsed during the recent period of Conservative Control of the Council.