By Chris Cornell / Latest NewsServices / / 0 Comments

So many of the serious problems afflicting Canterbury at the moment, such as crime, anti-social behaviour, rats, litter, filth and pollution, could be solved with more investment and yet the council have consistently ignored the fundamental problems and merely papered over the cracks. Rat traps and voluntary litter collections are not the answer. Despite pleading poverty and threatening more impending cuts, the city council are spending money or diverting it to more and more projects which will have detrimental effects on its local residents.

Why spend 75 million buying the freehold of the Whitefriars when it already had effective control of it?

Why borrow 9 million a car park which goes against its own District Green Infrastructure Policy (2018-2031) and will inflict more pollution on an already toxic city?

Why did Canterbury City Council lend Kent County Cricket club 7 million pounds for its Metropolitan ground at Beckenham when it has already sold half its historic ground for housing?

How much is being spent on the Kingsmead development for a cinema and leisure complex when the hospitality industry is in decline because people can’t afford to go out as evidenced by the rapid turnover of food outlets and underuse of cinemas that currently exist.

Surely this money could be better spent to improve the health, safety and quality of life of the Canterbury resident?

Employment of good quality services to clean and collect rubbish (it only costs money)

Why should local residents have to consider locking parks and communal area when they could be enjoyed by all if adequately policed 24 hours a day (it only costs money).

Why not implement the levy on pubs, nightclubs and late-night takeaways to contribute to the cost of extra policing, which Canterbury City Council has consistently failed to do.

If the city council is serious about reducing the traffic congestion in Canterbury and improving the health of its residents, why not make travelling by bus to the city free and join up the cycle routes.  This seems an ambitious plan but they said that about banning smoking in pubs and restaurants, but this has now become the norm.

This need vision, money and commitment.  I have lived in Canterbury for over 30 years and I ask why is the city council mismanaging our money and treating its residents with such contempt.

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By Simon Warley / JobsServices / / 0 Comments

Gazette readers will be aware that Canterbury Councillors backed a proposal by St Mildred’s Area Community Society (SMACS) to close the Dane John Gardens between 11.00pm and 4.00am. AsCouncillor for Westgateward,I fully support the trial closure. Residents of the Gardens and others in the vicinity are subjected to excessive noise and other disturbances, often throughout the night. The current situation is not fair on residents and council tax payers who live in that area. Hopefully the closure will protect residents against some of the worst behaviour in Canterbury at night.

However, closing the Gardens is not a solution to the wider problems caused by Canterbury’s so-called “night-time economy”. These problemsofteninclude criminal damage to private and commercial premises. The burden of dealing with thisis felt by hard-pressed public services, particularly the Police, ambulance and accident & emergency services. As well asalcohol fuelledcriminal andanti-social behaviour, the proliferation of late-night takeaways has increased the amount of litter and food waste on the streets of my ward and in parts of it there is now a serious problem with rats.

The Kentish Gazette reported on 3/1/2019 (page 10) that the Home Office has identified 222 “alcohol disorder hotspots” across the country and that Canterbury is one of these. Under existing legislation local authorities can make pubs, night-clubs and late-night takeaways pay a levy to fund the cost of extra policing. This is a voluntary scheme with no requirement that local Councils introduceit.Very few Councils have done so and Canterbury City Council has not.The Council should now consider introducing the levy especially as thenationalGovernment is consideringmakingitcompulsory.

The Police are struggling to police the “night-time economy” in Canterbury and a compulsory levy on late-night establishments would provide more money towards policing costs. However,the fundamentalproblemis that the 2003 Licensing Act was misguided and needs to be reformed. There should be much tougher regulation of which premises can obtain late-night licences and a significant reduction in the number of them. We also need more restrictionson the availability of alcohol, including minimum pricing, to discourage excessive binge drinking.

In Canterbury the Conservative administration should admit that it has allowed the current situation to develop without sufficient regulation and that it isblighting the lives of local residents and council tax payers. The “night-time economy” has been encouraged in the misguided belief that any business is good business. The current situation benefits only a very small number of business owners at the expense of thousands of local residents. In addition, the majority of jobs in the “night-time economy” are badly paid ones with poor future prospects. Canterbury City Council must adopt a much tougher and more restrictive approach tofuture applications forlate-night licences.It must not be afraid to revoke existing licences if there is evidence that the establishment is contributing towards criminal or anti-social behaviour.A

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