And congratulations for disproving the received wisdom that Faversham was so politically zombified it would elect a farmyard animal so long as it sported a blue rosette. Between us, as a community, we have finally laid that myth to rest with a set of local election results that were as welcome as they were overdue.
It would be naive to expect everything to be plain sailing from here but it certainly feels like a fresh start. And that's something that was badly needed after years of government by complacent, out-of-touch cronyism. We can finally look forward to a better future with some degree of confidence.
As part of what we strongly hope will be a new era of transparency and consultation in Faversham's local politics, we'd like to hear what questions you'd like to put to our new councillors. They can be about anything, so don those thinking caps and drop us a line at email@example.com or by post to The Faversham Eye, Oyster Bay House, Chambers Wharf, Faversham, ME13 7BT.
As well as a more open and responsive town council, we hope to see a rejuvenated Swale Borough Council, run in a spirit of cooperation by the new multi-party coalition. Early signs are encouraging, with the new administration coming out fighting over two issues close to Faversham's heart: housing developments and the proposed Cleve Hill solar power station.
Some people have asked if the Eye will continue now Faversham is under new management. The answer is, of course, yes. A healthy local democracy needs a regular supply of detailed, independent information, whoever is in power and however good their intentions. And those in authority will always need to be made fun of from time to time. Satire is one of our finest British traditions. So, should egos ever become over-inflated, rest assured The Faversham Eye will be ready and waiting with a sharp pin.
Democracy is not doing so well just down the road in Selling however, where deposed Conservative leader of Swale Borough Council Andrew Bowles is now installed as chair of the local parish council.
After representing Boughton and Courtenay ward for 18 years, Bowles was booted out by voters in last month's elections after retweeting support for professional bigot and EDL founder “Tommy Robinson”.
To the dismay of Selling's villagers, Bowles subsequently exercised the same questionable judgement in his new downsized role. How? By appointing as acting parish clerk, someone who was dismissed from the same job nearly 25 years ago and who has conducted a bizarre personal campaign of complaints and false accusations against the parish council ever since.
It's an odd saga in all kinds of ugly ways. But the most disturbing aspect of this twisted tale of fear and loathing in the village hall is the total lack of redress for those forced out of local politics by bullying and abuse. We investigate with a four-page report starting on page 21.
With new estates sprouting up all around Faversham at a bewildering rate, Swale council's recent vow to take a tougher line with property developers is a welcome sign the new coalition takes the housing issue seriously. It's too late to stop the current wave of building, of course, but could help stop our town being swamped by future schemes.
In this issue, we investigate the 'evidence' used by the previous Tory Swale administration to justify the present construction free-for-all set to double the size of our town. And we reveal some troubling links between the consultants pushing new housing in Swale and the developers profiting from it.
And finally...if you like what we're doing with The Faversham Eye and would like to have a say in its future, click here to read about our plans to continue as a non-profit company and let us know your views. We look forward to hearing from you.
Enjoy the issue. And again, congratulations.