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Recent News From your Maidstone Wards

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  • James at Maidstone West Station
    Article: Nov 15, 2019
    By Agent - Barry Standen

    James Willis - Working hard for Maidstone and The Weald

    James has lived and worked in Kent most of his life. He cares about people and relates quickly and effortlessly to everyone he meets. He was elected to Maidstone Borough Council in 2014 and rapidly established a reputation as a fearless and effective representative. He has become an energetic campaigner, particularly on environmental and transport issues, and he believes in working with community groups to get results. James has led several campaigns to support local public services and to protect green spaces, and has helped many local residents with individual issues and concerns.

    As a family man, he is well aware of the problems facing both young families and the wider community. He would be a truly local champion for everyone, young and old and would devote himself tirelessly to serving the area he loves.

    JAMES SAYS:

    We are very fortunate to call The Garden of England our home but there are problems in Maidstone and The Weald, of these traffic congestion and the resulting air pollution, are probably the most pressing.

    The Conservative Government and their chaotic mishandling of Brexit have cost taxpayers here in Maidstone and The Weald millions of pounds. It has also brought chaos to our roads. Remember Operation Stack? The Tory Brexit 'solution' Operation Brock, proved to be even more shambolic for the few days it was in operation! Imagine what it will be like if Brexit goes ahead.

    It is time to repair the damage caused by years of Tory austerity by major increases in funding for our children's education, our health services and the police, and to take the action needed to deal with the threat posed by climate change. .

    I promise to work tirelessly for the residents of Maidstone and The Weald.

  • George Koowaree
    Article: Oct 28, 2019

    George Koowaree says that Highways England should remove the M20 contraflow between Jct. 9 in Ashford and Jct. 8 in Maidstone as soon as possible. The London bound lane restrictions have been in place since April. Earlier today Highways England reintroduced the coastbound contraflow, resulting in M20 traffic being restricted to two narrow lanes each way.

  • WildflowerVerge
    Article: Oct 23, 2019

    Earlier this year Kent County Council gave unanimous support for a plan to protect and increase the habitats for bees and other pollinators. These are vital for plants and food production. The plan proposed planting more wildflowers, including on our highway verges. These good intentions have to be translated into positive action across Kent as a matter of urgency.

    At last week's County Council meeting Trudy Dean, Lib Dem county councillor for Malling Central, pressed the Cabinet Member on what steps Kent County Council was taking to encourage the planting of wildflower verges. The response was less than helpful, indicating that the County Council is still not taking the positive steps which were promised earlier.

    Trudy Dean commented afterwards. "We know that the numbers of bees and other pollinators are in serious decline. This will soon have severe consequences for much of Kent's agriculture unless the decline can be reversed.

    "Planting wildflowers is a key step towards improving pollinator-friendly habitats, and our highway verges are the perfect place to start. Local people are coming forward to set up local schemes, but they will need practical help and advice. I gave KCC the opportunity to provide a simple fast track guide to setting up a scheme, and the dusty response received is pretty useless ... no names, phone numbers, website links or volunteer group contact details.

    "If this is how KCC recruits volunteers, we aren't going to be making much progress any time soon."

    Trudy Dean's question and the response received are set out below:

    Question by Trudy Dean to Mike Whiting, Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport & Waste

    "Following the formal adoption of the Pollinator Action Plan at July's County Council, could the Cabinet Member please advise how local groups wishing to help establish wildflower rich verges should go about doing so and what support the County Council will provide them with?"

    Answer

    "If local groups have identified sites that they feel would make good wildflower verges and they would like to become involved, then they should contact our Highway Soft Landscape team. The team can discuss the proposals for each site and possible maintenance changes as well as reviewing the site with our partners Kent Wildlife Trust and the Bee Conservation Trust."

  • Dan H and S
    Article: Oct 22, 2019

    After several years of sustained pressure from Liberal Democrat councillors and local campaigners, Kent County Council have confirmed that the long-awaited pedestrian crossing at Barming Heath in Maidstone will be installed next year. The confirmation was provided in response to a formal question posed by Dan Daley at last week's County Council meeting.

  • Rob at CH
    Article: Oct 20, 2019

    Last week Paul Carter stood down as Leader of Kent County Council, having been in post for 14 years. The Council elected Roger Gough as his successor. Roger Gough was previously the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education.

    Rob Bird, the Liberal Democrat Leader of the Opposition at KCC, paid tribute to Paul Carter and proposed three priorities for the incoming Leader.

  • Carer
    Article: Sep 29, 2019
    By Rob Bird

    Millions of people care for relatives, friends and neighbours, often at huge personal cost. They need more than our gratitude; they need our support.

    Carers UK have estimated that over 8 million people are currently caring for someone [1]. That is an increase of nearly 40% on the number of reported carers in 2011. It is likely that 3 in 5 of us will be caring for someone at some point in our lives.

  • Ian and Rob at Maidstone East
    Article: Sep 20, 2019

    In a letter to Tonbridge & Malling MP, Tom Tugendhat, Thameslink and Network Rail have advised that Thameslink trains will not start running from Maidstone East to Central London in December. No new date has been given for the introduction of these services.

    This devastating news comes less than a year after the former Conservative Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, gave a written undertaking that Thameslink would be going ahead this December to Rob Bird, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats at Kent CC.

  • Article: Sep 12, 2019

    Kent County Council voted unanimously in support of the Liberal Democrat motion [see below] today. The motion was proposed by Ian Chittenden and seconded by Ida Lindfield, It was then accepted, without amendment, by the Cabinet Member on behalf of the Conservative Group.

    Now the KCC officers need a constructive negotiation with the bus operators. Then we will need agreement at February's budget meeting. So there is still some way to go but it's a good step forward.

  • Tanni Grey-Thompson
    Article: Sep 11, 2019

    At tomorrow's County Council meeting Liberal Democrat, Ian Chittenden, will ask Kent County Council to consider allowing disabled persons and their companions to use their bus passes at all times. Currently they cannot be used in Kent before 9:30am.

    Being disabled should not stop someone from going to work or getting to a medical appointment or doing so many things which most of us take for granted. But it does.

  • Ian and Rob at Maidstone East
    Article: Sep 10, 2019

    Despite repeated requests, the Department for Transport continues to refuse to confirm that Thameslink services will be running from Bearsted, Maidstone and West Malling to Central London by the end of December.

    "Further delays to the introduction of this long-overdue service would be totally unacceptable", says Rob Bird, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at County Hall. "Local rail users, residents and businesses are fed up with the continued uncertainty."

  • Letter to KM 220819 (Kent Messenger)
    Article: Aug 22, 2019

    Today the KM published an abridged version of Rob Bird's letter regarding the refusal of Conservative Ministers and MPs to come clean about the future of Maidstone's Thameslink Service. Here is the letter in full.

    Time for Transport Minister to come clean about Maidstone's Thameslink service

    The Thameslink service is expected to provide Bearsted, Maidstone East and West Malling with trains to Central London and Cambridge every ½ hour throughout the day. Crucially, Maidstone passengers were told they would get to Central London in less than an hour. Last October Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport wrote to me confirming that this long overdue service would be running from Maidstone by December 2019.

  • Antony Hook at Eurotunnel
    Article: Aug 20, 2019

    Antony Hook Liberal Democrat MEP for South East England and European Affairs Spokesperson at Kent County Council visited the UK Eurotunnel site on 19th August to speak with senior staff about the on-going Brexit preparations.

    During the visit, Mr Hook was told how Eurotunnel have been forced to spend €15 million building new infrastructure to carry out extra customs checks.

  • Jenny Randerson
    Article: Aug 14, 2019

    Following the Government's announcement this morning of the Retail Price Index (RPI) figure for July, it is expected that rail fares will rise by another 2.8% in January.

    New 16-17 Saver Card will provide ½ price rail travel for 16 and 17 year-olds.

    Kent's rail users have expressed dismay and frustration at the prospect of another 2.8% increase in rail fares in January. Rail campaigners have long argued that rail fair increases should be linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is the Government's official measure of inflation. CPI is consistently lower than inflation. The latest figure for CPI was down at 2.1%

  • Rob at Dover with Susan & Tom
    Article: Aug 1, 2019

    According to a recent report a disorderly Brexit has been given the highest possible risk rating by Kent County Council. It is the biggest single risk currently being addressed by the Council. Disruption is expected to last for at least 6 months and probably more following a no deal Brexit, with 'significant long-term detrimental impact for Kent residents'.

  • Thamelink Train
    Article: Jul 29, 2019

    The Thameslink service from Bearsted, Maidstone East and West Malling to Central London is long overdue. New Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, should ensure the service becomes operational in December, as promised by his predecessor, Chris Grayling, last October.

    The Thameslink service had first been proposed when the Maidstone East to London Cannon Street service was withdrawn in December 2009. Thameslink is due to provide a fast service every ½ hour into Central London and on to Cambridge. This is absolutely vital for the residents and businesses based in Kent's County Town.

  • Jo Swinson Leader
    Article: Jul 22, 2019

    Rob Bird welcomes the election of Jo Swinson as the new Leader of the Liberal Democrats

    Jo Swinson will bring a new dynamic to the party and to the country. She is fed up with the broken politics of Westminster and the failure of the two party system to reach out to all people across the country. Too many people feel that they have been ignored or taken for granted by the Conservative and Labour parties, preoccupied by their own self-interest and political infighting. Only the Liberal Democrats have the values, the ideas and the common strength of purpose to stand up to those who are doing so much to damage our country.

  • Article: Jul 13, 2019

    At the County Council meeting on 11th July the Liberal Democrats were due to propose a motion calling for Kent County Council to remove peak time restrictions for disabled persons bus passes. The motion was withdrawn by the County Council Chairman following a last minute objection by KCC's senior financial officer.

  • Article: Jul 1, 2019

    Around a fifth of working age people live with a disability. For many of these people one of the biggest challenges of getting into work is the journey to work and back home.

    Disabled person's bus passes in Kent are operative during off-peak hours, from 9:30am to 11pm on weekdays. The pass is therefore too late for most disabled people needing to take a bus to work. However, in Wales, Scotland and some other parts of England, such restrictions do not apply.

  • Deputy Leader Cllr Fay Gooch and Leader of MBC Cllr Martin Cox
    Article: May 24, 2019

    Maidstone Lib Dems are delighted to have retained leadership of Maidstone Borough Council following May's elections which had again resulted in no overall control.

    At the AGM of the Maidstone Borough Council, on 18th May, Martin Cox, the Lib Dem leader gained support from Labour and Independent councillors to retain his position of Leader of the Council. Lib Dems nominated and The Leader of Independent Group - Fay Gooch who has retained her position as deputy leader of the council - She was unopposed.

  • South Ward Councillors at Tovil Site
    Article: May 24, 2019
    By Brian Clark

    Lib Dems have campaigned for more than a decade for an additional waste recycling centre to reduce chronic pressure on the road network in South Maidstone. The existing site at Tovil is beyond capacity and serves as the only facility in the whole of the borough for residents as far as Lenham, Allington, Yalding and Staplehurst.