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Recent News From your Maidstone Wards

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  • New Lower Thames Crossing (Highways England)
    Article: Dec 16, 2018
    • Tens of thousands of foreign-registered lorries fail to pay the Dart Charge for the existing Dartford crossing
    • Failure to improve link roads will cause chaos in long term warn Kent Lib Dems as Highways England consults on Second Thames Crossing

    More than 150,000 foreign-registered lorries failed to pay the Dart Charge in the past year according to a Freedom of Information request by Kent Liberal Democrats, who are calling for a new system to be introduced as soon as possible.

  • Ollie Grender
    Article: Dec 13, 2018
    By Baroness Olly Grender

    For too long, tenants have been made to pay additional, unnecessary fees when renting a place to live.

    After years of putting pressure on the Government, on Tuesday they agreed major concessions on the Tenant Fees Bill.

    Liberal Democrats campaigned to:

    • significantly limit the fees that could be charged to a tenant by their landlord or lettings agent,
    • require a greater amount of transparency when deciding not to refund a holding deposit, and
    • limit the maximum security deposit a landlord can require to five weeks rent.
  • Ida Linfield
    Article: Dec 13, 2018
    By Ida Linfield

    Period poverty is finally getting the publicity it deserves with several councils over the country offering free sanitary products to their local residents.

    Kent County Council has a statutory duty to look after young women as they leave care and move into adulthood and has ultimate responsibility for the wellbeing of all residents.

    Periods on average cost these young women £10 a month and many in Canterbury are having to resort to using toilet paper or newspaper, or take sick leave. And this is in the 21st century! In Canterbury you can access products from our excellent Food Bank, a service I'm pleased to support in a small way via my members grant.

    So this week I asked Graham Gibbens, the County Council Cabinet Member who would take the relevant decision, what steps he is taking to sort out period poverty for women aged from 14-21. I'm delighted to report that Kent CC is working with schools, but not everyone is at school and everyone else's needs were completely ignored in his answer - unless you live in Thanet where providing protection will be part of a "trial". One trial for the whole of Kent!!!

    I don't believe this is good enough - to end period poverty KCC should stand up to the mark and provide products without delay in libraries and community centres for local residents throughout the County and not rely on local charities doing the job for them.

  • Rob at CH
    Article: Dec 6, 2018
    • Food supplies disrupted as safety testing becomes impossible
    • Schools, social care, transport and business will face severe disruption
    • County Council forced to spend over £20 million on reinforcing Kent's roads and hundreds of thousands of pounds to employ more staff to cope with chaos

    The true impact of a catastrophic no deal Brexit has been laid bare in a report published on Wednesday detailing Kent County Council's emergency plans.

  • Compaid Bus Service
    Article: Nov 23, 2018

    The Detling bus service is operated on behalf of Kent County Council by Compaid and provides a Monday-Friday service between Detling village and Maidstone via Vintners Park.

    The bus stops at the Crematorium and the Chiltern Hundreds pub on the way to its final destination in King Street in Maidstone. The service consists of four journeys per day starting from 09.45AM after having dropped school pupils off at Five Acre Wood School in Maidstone and finishing at 2.30PM in time for the bus to collect the pupils from the school and take them home again.

  • Wera Hobhouse
    Article: Nov 21, 2018

    Wera Hobhouse's speech to the County Councils' Network on Tuesday 20th November

    Wera Hobhouse is the Liberal Democrat MP for Bath and Spokesperson for Communities and Local Government.

    Good afternoon everybody. It is a pleasure to be here with you all at the County Councils' Network Conference.

    The 12 months since you last came together in Marlow, have been a mixed bag for local government as a whole. One can argue it has been harsher on the counties than other local authorities. The events in Northamptonshire have been a stark warning to all.

  • Green Sand ridge - Bought0n Monchelsea
    Article: Nov 14, 2018
    By Brian Clark

    Lib Dems seek National Protection for Greensand Ridge and Maidstone borough's "Landscapes of Local Value" sites

    Lib Dem Maidstone Borough Councillor Brian Clark has successfully gained cross party support for a proposal to strengthen the "Landscape of Local Value" sites identified in Maidstone's Local Plan, and progress a Lib Dem initiative spearheaded by Cllr Tony Harwood to gain "Area of National Beauty" (ANOB) designation for the wildlife rich Greensand Ridge. At November's Strategic Planning and Sustainable Transport (SPST) committee meeting, Maidstone Council officers recommended that the committee consider AONB 'sub-tier' protection for the Greensand Ridge but Cllr Clark, in seeking to progress his group's determination to gain greater countryside protection, proposed that the borough instead seek full ANOB status for site.

  • Trudy
    Article: Nov 2, 2018

    On Monday the Chancellor announced that he was providing £420m extra to councils for pothole and other urgent highways repairs. Kent can expect to receive about £10 million. Kent Liberal Democrat Group are calling for at least half of this extra money to be spent on long overdue pavement repairs.

    The backlog for pavement repairs in Kent has hit £84 million, leaving more than a third of paths and pavements across the county in a poor and potentially dangerous condition.

  • Article: Oct 31, 2018
    By Ian Chittenden

    Parents buying Young Person's Travel Passes still have no choice but to pay upfront, or in two large payments following further delays to a direct debit system proposed back in February.

    Dan H and SLiberal Democrat Cllr Dan Daley has called for clarification over when the scheme to allow parents to pay the £290 cost in monthly instalments would be introduced, but Mike Whiting, the Conservative Cabinet Member, has given no firm timescale.

  • Article: Oct 31, 2018
    By Cllr. Ian Chittenden

    Highways England officials have been accused of ignoring the people of Kent after refusing to face councillors to account for the traffic chaos caused by multiple roadworks on the M20 and M26.

    Highways England chiefs were invited to come to the Maidstone Joint Transportation Board (JTB) to explain to councillors how they are managing the various works on the M20 and how they will operate the controversial Operation Brock post Brexit.

  • Air Quality Warning...
    Article: Aug 10, 2018
    By Clive English

    Tories Only Party to oppose funding for work on preserving our Countryside and improving our town.

    Over the last year the Liberal Democrat led council has sought to reduce the cost of council services where practicable and at the Policy and Resources Committee on the 24th July sought to use a small amount of the money saved from this year's budget to begin the work needed to bid for a new Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Greensand Ridge, covering villages such as Ulcombe Sutton Valence and Boughton Monchelsea, and to create more nature reserves in the Borough.

  • KCC Logo
    Article: May 29, 2018
    By KCC High Ways

    The nature of the carriageway failure and reasons for road closure at A26 Tonbridge Road, Maidstone

    Following reports of a collapse and depression in the carriageway on the afternoon of the 28th May 2018, the A26 Tonbridge Road was attended by our local out of hours Highways teams to investigate the incident reported. While on site, a section of the carriageway surface collapsed to expose a deep void under the road, in addition the collapse continued to develop on site during our attendance. Due to the nature of the collapse and the infill within, we could not determine the full extents, or causes of, the void while on site. The road has been closed for the safety of local residents and all road users.

  • A249 Bearsted Road Maidstone Major Infrastructure Improvement
    Article: May 14, 2018
    By Ian Chittenden

    A249 Bearsted Road Maidstone Major Infrastructure Improvement

    Following the successful National Productivity Investment Fund bid, Kent County Council has been awarded £9.399m of Government allocation. This combines with £1.5m in developer contributions and £500k investment from Maidstone Borough Council to deliver a congestion busting improvement on the A249 Bearsted Road. This involves the widening of the carriageway between Bearsted Road and New Cut Road roundabouts, the connection onto the M20 and other works necessary to join other connecting local roads.

  • Article: May 2, 2018

    We do not normally respond to Conservative negative literature, but always keep you advised on what has been achieved and what campaigns are ongoing. However, in this case the information given in their recent leaflet is so misleading we really have no choice.

    The problem of congestion in South Maidstone has been an ongoing problem for many years and while progress has been made in relation to design proposals along the A229 from Cripple Street down to Armstrong Road, including the bottleneck at the Wheatsheaf Junction, and also the Willington Street Junction on the A274, nothing has been finalised by KCC who have the overall responsibility for highways in Kent. The Conservatives recently voted to delay the proposals for Willington Street junction and then cancelled the next joint Transport Board where the changes were supposed to be discussed again.

  • 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."