If an existing Councillor, what do you consider your best achievements in the last four years?
Gained acceptance of need for an Ospringe bypass.
Run Nautical Festival for past three years.
Lead campaign against causes of potholes in Abbeyfields
Contibuted to removal of most of the cars parked around the Guildhall.
Taken part in numerous litter picks.
Planned cycle racks and installed new cycle rack opposite Post Office.
Reported and followed repair of many potholes and pavement repairs.
Intends to set up a committee to resolve Whitstable Road flooding.
Initiated Faversham’s involvement in the Heritage Harbour project.
Attended planning meetings and modified numerous plans to the benefit the town.
Lobbied for and achieved the post of part time Town Caretaker.
Member of four residents associations and served on the committee of two.
Re-organised the moorings and supervised the jetty when open.
Supported the Umbrella centre.
Member of FTA and formely the FBP.
Gave £1000 for the purifier roof and £5000 to the bridge fund (on the understanding that it would be returned if the bridge is not built).
Gave £700 to St Mary’s for new lighting and initiating training for young bellringers.
Lobbied against Graveney Marshes solar power station.
Successfully suported the 20’s plenty project.
Support of measures that might lead to cleaner air in Ospringe and Preston on the A2.
Supported, modified or canned numerous other small projects.
What are voters’ main priorities in your ward?
Low level crime and vandalism
Ever present potholes and their repair.
Flooding of Whitstable Road
Refurbishment of the Rec’.
Neglect of Faversham Creek.
Excessive infill of housing with small amenity areas and no parking.
Success of Town centre businesses.
Insufficient infrastrucure to support the planned new housing.
Have current councillors have spent our money wisely since the last elections?
I believe money has been spent wisely, despite the controversy over 12, Market place. There are some serious constraints that have to be observed by councillors that would not be necessary in the business world.
Many local people are disappointed about controversial decisions made by councillors behind closed doors e.g. the war memorial garden, buying the former shoe shop at 12 Market Place. What is your view? Should they have been made in secret? There were commercially sensitive issues to be considered over the aquisition of 12 Market place which made secrecy important in the early stages. The memorial garden changes were never secret, though they may have been implemented high-handedly.
Is Faversham’s local government transparent enough? If not, how would you improve openness and accountability?
Faversham’s local governement is very open. Residents can come and observe every council meeting, they can ask questions of councillors and the FOI enquiries have to be answered. Council members have to declare personal interest in topics before they are heard. The sort of things done in private session are items such as council employees salaries, Staffing, who is to benefit from town awards, survey reports. In other words, almost all the council’s business is conducted in open session. There has to be a measure of confidentiality surrounding some sensitive issues.
How would you develop opportunities for the town to draw on its heritage?
I would like to see the maritime heritage exploited by opening up the creekside and restoring Faversham’s traditional role in developing classic boat repair businesses alongside the purifier apprenticeship scheme. Subsidised clssic boat moorings would help. A help to regenerating the town centre could be offering rate free premises to non-food outlets on the high street. I believe 30 minute daytime car parking should be allowed on the high street. The Fleur and town walks are excellent offerings.
How should our creek be regenerated to boost local tourism whilst preserving its character and maritime heritage?
Much of the creek is lost to housing, but a simple step would be to open up a creek side footpath on both sides of the creek. Large houseboats are a poor substitute for boats that move around, and large modern upperworks spoil the visual effect of boats. Limits to houseboat sizes, offering subsidised moorings for classic boats and repair or replacement of the Town Jetty would help. Regeneration of the basin with a lifting bridge and barge repair yard would create massive interest along with moorings and cafe style development of Swan quay
How can local infrastructure (traffic, road network, shops, schools, medical facilities, social care, local law enforcement) cope with all the new residential developments without damaging the environment further?
People have got to live somewhere! Every home imposes some damage to the environment. The trick is to minimise the developed environment and ensure that it is good for the people who have to live with it. That means a new medical centre, new schools and more police. In particular it means also better road links. People should not have lengthened commuter journeys due to an overcrowded and sometimes dangerous road network. New estates South of Faversham should not be cut off from the town by having a busy trunk road running between them and the town when a simple two lane link from the Western Link to Junction 5 on the M2 would achieve so much to improve the local environment.
What is your view on the proposed solar power station threatening Graveney Marshes?
We need alternative non-polluting power sources, but not at the expense of a loss of nearly 1000 acres of agricultural land, interference of bird migrations, blighting the Saxon Shoreway and interuption of coastal views. Solar panels should go on factory roofs and houses. I have them on my roof.
What role do you think party politics should play in Local Government?
Absolutely NONE. There should be only one party in FTC, and that is the Faversham Party. I am pleased to say that is largely how it is at the moment. Let’s hope it continues after the next election.
Are you a Freemason? Should members of such organisations standing for public office be required to declare their membership?
I am not a freemason, and they should declare their membership before taking public office. Freemasons swear an oath of loyalty to each other that is reputed to take precedence over council issues.
Are you in favour of increasing Swale Borough Council’s contribution to Faversham Swimming Pools? Is the current level of council funding for the facility adequate in your view?
Funding is never adequate as there is always a need for more. I don’t use the pool, but £100,000 seems a lot to me.
Where do you stand on proposed cuts to Faversham Library’s opening hours?
The library is an infrastrucure type of facility which deserves priority support, therefore its hours should not be cut.
What more should be done for young people in the town?
A proper skatepark in the Rec’. Make clubs and societies more open to young people. Subsidise youth membership where a particular club can be shown to be engaging with youth.
What is your view on Swale Councillor Andrew Bowles’ retweet describing Islamophobic extremist ‘Tommy Robinson’ as a ‘patriot’. Was Bowles’ half-day social media training course and 13-day suspension from the Conservative party an adequate response?
It was not very clever to use Robinson as an example of free speech, but doing so doesn’t make him a racist any more that I become a Moslem if I retweet a Moslem’s anti Christian views. This kind of response is typical of the intolerant bigotry that is now pervading our society. The half-day media course might have been quite useful (I know I could benefit) and the 13 day suspension was adequate for a mistaken use of twitter. Demanding anything more would be playing a nasty, vengeful form of politics.
Are you happy with policing in the town? If not, how would you improve it and deal with crime and antisocial behaviour?
It would be better if we had a more visible presence of police in Faversham and round the Rec’ in the evenings, and more patrolling in general.
As a current councillor, what have you done to address air pollution problems in Faversham? Or, as a candidate, how should air quality problems be solved?
I have supported air monitoring and I always take my push bike around the town. I have also championed a Western Link extension to act as an Ospringe bypass and give relief of traffic along the A2 and to reduce heavy traffic passing through the town. I have supported 20s Plenty which will reduce stop start and accelerating traffic as well as making the environment safer. I would still like to see the Ospringe bypass built, and will continue efforts to divert traffic away from Ospringe. I would then use clean air legislation to restrict polluting traffic from driving through Ospringe and a 7.5 ton weight limit for lower West Street.