FAVERSHAM TOWN COUNCIL & SWALE BOROUGH COUNCIL ELECTIONS
By: Brian Pain
Given the limitations to the power a town councillor can exert and the huge disruption caused
by Covid, the current Liberal Democrat majority has generally made some positive improvements in Faversham since 2019, in contrast to the previous disastrous Conservative administration. (see Faversham Eyes 1, 2 & 3 available on-line).
However, the one serious criticism we have concerns the lamentable progress they have made in rescuing the Creek from its continuing decline. Their Creek Working Group isn’t working.
Councillor Antony Hook led the attempt to reinstate a working swing/ lifting bridge but given that he is now stepping down, there is concern that the latest attempt to revitalise Faversham’s waterway will peter out, especially with Helen (photo opportunity) Whately involved.
The Town Jetty on the Brents side of the creek was fully restored two years ago - why is it still condemned?
The Town Jetty was repaired at no cost to the council over two years ago but remains unused and still with a sign on it declaring it to be condemned and unsafe.
Whoever is elected for the next four years MUST do much more to save the Town’s greatest and unique asset. The claims on the election leaflets distributed by the Conservative are generally unambitious, lack vision and, in one particular case , display a breath-taking Trumpian-like rewrit- ing of recent history.
Claiming that the Lib Dems have wasted money on vanity projects such as 12 Market Place when it was the previous conservative-led council
that actually bought the disused shoe shop in the first place (after a secret meeting) and in the process committed the Town to a staggering debt of £2.6 million repayable over the following 50 years, is frankly at best nonsense or, much more likely, dishonest.
The Labour pledges of action on the climate emergency, improvements in community and health services, infrastructure and greater access to affordable housing are all laudable but largely only achievable by national government.
It is hard to imagine any potential councillor disagreeing with any of these aspirations.
It is a shame that the resources of the Green Party do not stretch to being able to put up any candidates in the Town elections.
FAVERSHAM TOWN COUNCIL ELECTIONS. THERE ARE FOUR WARDS
ST ANNES (4 SEATS)
Conservative - Ben Fisher, Frankie O’Brien
Labour - Rob Crayford, Kieran Golding, Carole Jackson, Julian Saunders
Liberal Democrats - Charles Gibson, Nick Mengham, Monroe Palmer, Susette Palmer
Reform UK - Seb Arrowsmith-Brown
Social Democratic Party - Graeme Burrows
Carole Jackson (Labour) does not appear on the Statement of Persons Nominated but does appear on the Labour election flyers.
2019 ELECTION RESULTS
Kris Barker (Lib Dem) Carole Jackson (Lab) Trevor Martin (Lib Dem) Julian Saunders (Lab)
With so many new candidates and some with creditable previous experience, we imagine that the electorate will tend to vote tribally.
The two Conservatives are generally seen to be cannon fodder. Julian Saunders still seems to want to spend tens of thousands of pounds of public money on pushing through the proposal to construct a footpath along the creek side frontage of Faversham Reach which we have criticised in previous issues of Faversham Eye. This makes us question his financial probity. The new Labour candidates look quite promising.
Rob Crayford, Kieran Golding (Labour) Any two Liberal Democrats
ABBEY (4 SEATS)
Conservative - Jay Brown, Mel Regan-Brown
Labour - Trevor Payne, Anne Salmon, Francis Rehal
Liberal Democrats - Laura Coniam, Hannah Perkin, Josh Rowlands & Chris Williams
2019 ELECTION RESULTS:
Antony Hook (LibDem) Denise Knights (Lib Dem) Hannah Perkin (Lib Dem) Chris Williams (Lib Dem)
In this ward, Lib Dems Hannah Perkins, Josh Rowlands and Chris Williams have proved to be hard working and genuinely committed.
The Abbey Ward Labour candidates are not inspiring and are probably in the best interests of the Labour Party due for replacement. However, commendably, they do not appear to be over-concerned with slick presentation.
The Conservative hopefuls state an interest in stopping the destruction of local farmland for expensive housing, perhaps they are in the wrong party.
Laura Coniam, Hannah Perkin, Josh Rowlands and Chris Williams (Lib Dem)
WATLING (4 SEATS)
Conservative - Piers Baker, Jack Goodenough, David Simmons & Jess Valentine
Labour - Andrew Birkin, James Scott & Robert Newman
Liberal Democrat - Ben J Martin, Claire Martin, Trevor Martin & Eddie Thomas
2019 ELECTION RESULTS
Sam Blair (Lib Dem) John Irwin (Lib Dem) Ben J Martin (Lib Dem) Eddie Thomas (Lib Dem)
David Simmons is a long-standing member of the Conservative old guard and currently a Swale Borough councillor. He was somewhat mired in scandal in 2019 when as Chairman of the Friends of the Faversham Cottage Hospital donated on their behalf £5,000 to the controversial Preston Street War Memorial, a pet vanity project of the unlamented Tory Mike Cosgrove (see Eyes issues 2 and 3). This was more that the entire Friends fundraising income for that year and after X-ray costs was the hospital’s biggest capital expenditure. Perhaps he should concentrate on selling fruit and veg in the Market Place.
Jess Valentine previously stood for UKIP in the Abbey Ward receiving the fewest number of votes of all the other candidates.
Labour hopefuls Andrew Birkin and James Scott have interesting past records and certainly worth considering.
The Lib Dems are fielding three current councillors all of whom have provided good service to the Town.
In the interest of balance:
Eddie Thomas, Ben J Martin (Lib Dem) Andrew Birkin, James Scott (Labour)
PRIORY (2 SEATS)
Conservative - Andy Culham
Labour - Mark Sayer
Liberal Democrats - Peter Cook, Alex Eyre
2019 ELECTION RESULTS
Claire Belsom (Independent) Alison Reynolds (LibDem)
All candidates are standing for the first time apart from Andy Culham one of the few remaining Conservative dinosaurs from previous administrations. Andy hasn’t been very successful in recent past elections and so has had plenty of time for his social life and also a chance to improve his literacy skills.
Anyone but Andy (see below)
SWALE BOROUGH COUNCIL ELECTIONS. THERE ARE SIX WARDS
The Borough elections consist of many wards that are outside the wider boundaries of Faversham. Each of the wards of interest to the Town return only one or two successful candidates to Swale Borough Council.
In these elections those chosen have potentially more power to effect change than those in the Town. For this reason, a significant number of hopefuls are standing for both Town and Borough.
Also of note is the presence of a handful of Green Party Candidates.
ABBEY WARD (TWO SEATS)
Jay Brown (Con), Trevor Payne (Lab), Hannah Perkin (Lib), Melanie Reagan-Brown (Con) Francis Rehal (Lab) & Chris Williams (Lib)
Hannah Perkin & Chris Williams
ST ANN’S WARD (TWO SEATS)
Ben Fisher (Con), Kieran Golding (Lab), Charles Gibson (Lib), Frankie O’Brien (Con), Carole Jackson (Lab), Josh Rowlands (Lib) & Seb Arrowsmith (Reform)
Kieran Golding & Josh Rowlands
BOUGHTON AND COURTENAY WARD (TWO SEATS)
Piers Baker (Con), Alastair Gould (Green), Sonia Fox (Lib), Jeff Tutt (Ind), Oliver Lane (Con), Rich Lehmann (Green) & Ida Linfield (Lib)
Alastair Gould & Rich Lehmann
WATLING WARD (TWO SEATS)
Jack Goldsmith (Con), Oliver Heyen (Green), Robert Newman (Lab), Jess Valentine (Con),
James Scott (Lab), Ben J Martin (Lib) & Claire Martin (Lib)
Oliver Heyen & Ben J Martin
EAST DOWNS WARD (ONE SEAT)
David Simmons (Con), Terry Thompson (Green) & Stephen Fisher (Lib)
PRIORY WARD (ONE SEAT)
Andy Culham (Con), Sonia Jackson (Green), Rob Crayford (Lab) & Michael Henderson (Lib)
Ideally, Sonia Jackson, but otherwise anyone other than Andy Culham.