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Ask a Councillor - Issue 6

Do you have any questions for our councillors? ‘Ask a Councillor’ aims to help you get answers on the issues you care about, from road safety to housing, from youth facilities to council transparency.


We would like to apologise to coun Carole Jackson for mistakenly thinking that she hadn’t replied to her question on road safety in Issue 5. Please see her response below. In this issue we have also included Hannah Perkin’s response to why she’s the best candidate to stand against Helen Whately in the next General Election. It is also worth mentioning that Hannah Temple will be standing for the Green Party. The Labour Party had not announced their candidate as we went to print.


We also met up with Mayor Alison Reynolds to discuss our question on the lack of youth facilities in the town and found out that there are a few things currently happening in this area. The Umbrella Centre are starting a Youth Café at the end of October (see Listings). There is also talk of expanding the Youth Club at the West Faversham Community Centre and introducing facilities at the Preston School Room. We are investigating the rumour that St Mary’s Church has purchased a double decker bus to house a youth group and the possibility of a sheltered area in the Rec for teens to hang out rather than clogging up the playground. We will return to this topic in the next Issue.


We will also come back to the responses we have received from coun Chris Williams on the sewage in the creek and coun Denise Knights response to our question about the new LED street lights.


We have still had no response from coun Antony Hook on our question about how the town’s infrastructure will support our rapidly expanding town or anything from counTrevor Martin on the Shep’s pong.



QUESTION TO CAROLE JACKSON


Residents are concerned about pedestrian safety at many of the town’s crossings – especially Forbes Road (opposite Athelstan Road) and Whitstable Road (opposite the Rec). Drivers don’t seem to slow down for either of these crossings and there have been accidents. There is also concern about the junction of Forbes Road with The Mall (especially with schoolchildren), The Mall with the London/Canterbury Road and the western end of West Street near to Curtis Way/ Stonebridge Pond bus stop. What measures should be taken? Is it time for traffic calming/20’s Plenty in these areas?


Thank you for your question.


As someone who doesn’t drive anymore and walks everywhere, I share residents concerns about pedestrian safety. Faversham has a number of roads and junctions where local people don’t feel confident to cross the road because of speeding vehicles or complex junctions.


I campaigned in the elections on the basis that we needed more pedestrian crossings in town and a 20mph speed limit throughout Faversham. As part of this I believe we will require traffic calming on some roads where speeding is a particular problem – Lower Road and Ospringe Road in my own ward are good examples.


The Town Council has now set up a new 20s Plenty Committee which will have the role of planning and preparing for the implementation of a 20mph speed limit across Faversham, which improves the safety of all road users. A key task for the committee will be to run a consultation with the local community to confirm support for a town wide scheme for calming traffic. As a member of the committee I will be arguing for a scheme that is as comprehensive as possible.


Unfortunately, our biggest challenge in relation to making progress on implementing a 20mph speed limit and other improvements in pedestrian safety remains financial. Kent County Council has the prime responsibility for roads safety and their budgets have been squeezed over many years as part of central government’s austerity programme, with the result that progress in making improvements is painfully slow.


Our county councillor has been pursuing improvements to the pedestrian crossing on Whitstable Road since he was elected. I understand these are now promised for October. Residents in my own ward having been campaigning for a pedestrian crossing at the end of Stonebridge Way on Curtis Way for over ten years, but have so far been blocked because KCC has other priorities.


However, we need to remain positive. If residents get behind the plan for a 20mph speed limit and the Town Council works effectively with the local community, Swale Borough Council and our local county councillor, I hope we can see real progress in implementing the speed limit scheme and making the other safety improvements local people need.


Councillor Carole Jackson

St Anns Ward, Swale Borough Councillor and Faversham Town Councillor. Labour Party


QUESTION TO HANNAH PERKIN


What makes you the best Liberal Democrat candidate to stand against Helen Whately in the next General Election?


I have lived, worked and volunteered in Faversham for ten years and campaigned across the constituency for the past three. Both my children attend a brilliant local school. Faversham is our home. I dearly love the area and would be honoured to be selected to represent the people that live here and to be able to take their voices to Westminster. I think that many people would agree that they have lacked this representation for too long and showed that clearly at the ballot box in May.


I was elected as prospective Parliamentary Candidate by members after a hustings was called of Lib Dem members from all over the constituency. They gave me a good grilling about why they should pick me and I am thrilled to have been selected. If elected, I have pledged that I will have no outside interests other than the work I would do for my constituents. I am dedicated to improving communication, transparency and diversity in politics. This will be a two horse race between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems and I am going out to win it.


I’m not afraid of hard work, as I hope that I have proved thus far in my position as councillor. I would bring with me life experiences of juggling politics and family life, living on the sharp end of Universal Credit, the resilience of my many years working behind a bar, an empathetic ear, a love of history, and a great deal of motivation for change.


I am passionate about preserving our environment. Faversham suffers from areas of very poor air quality, in particular in Ospringe, something that kills 40,000 people per year in the UK and we have lost huge areas of our green spaces to unaffordable, unsustainable Conservative driven development. We are also looking at having an unprecedented solar power station at the Cleve Hill site. We have to look at ways of creating renewable energy but this highly unsuitable site will mean the loss of a rich, environmentally significant landscape. I wholeheartedly believe that we are running out of time to make meaningful changes to protect our planet and Westminster needs environmental activists more than it ever has. We must demand better.


I believe it is time for change. Two party politics is broken and failing people. The coming election should not be just about Brexit. This Conservative government is not working for ordinary people and is increasingly right wing and we deserve better than that. This election will be a once in a generational opportunity to alter the course of our political future. I want to be able to look my children in the face when they ask what I did when this pivotal point in history happened and say: “Everything that I could.”


Councillor Hannah Perkin

Abbey Ward, Swale Borough Councillor and Faversham Town Liberal Democrat Party