By Michael Prowse / Latest News / 0 Comments

The voters of Canterbury have once again created a political upset after last week’s local poll saw Labour increasing its representation on the city council by 150 per cent. Following on the 2017 success of Rosie Duffield in becoming the first Labour MP for the former Conservative stronghold, the party had its best night in Canterbury for nearly 25 years. Labour now has 10 councillors and will be “a real force to be reckoned with”, said Alan Baldock, the party’s leader on the council.

“The widespread support for our radical manifesto shows that the people of Canterbury are ready for change,” Mr Baldock added. “As the official opposition we will be scrutinising everything the Tories do and making sure that residents’ views are properly listened to.” On a night when the Tories lost both their leader, Simon Cook, and his heir apparent, Benjamin Fitter-Harding, Mr Baldock and Jean Butcher easily held their seats in the Northgate ward taking 56 per cent of the vote in a field that included Conservative, Liberal Democrats and Greens.

In Barton, Labour had a clean sweep with Connie Nolan, Pat Edwards and Dave Wilson taking all three seats up for grabs. The battle for Westgate ward saw Gill Gower winning one seat with the Lib Dem veteran Michael Dixey taking the other.  In St Stephens the multi-talented, saxophone-playing Mel Dawkins ousted one Conservative but the well-known local Tory Terry Westgate took the second seat, leaving him as the sole Conservative councillor in the city itself. “It seems his colleagues paid the price for their neglect of the city. Residents have been let down and ignored by the Tories for far too long,” Mr Baldock said.

Over in Whitstable the Labour trio of George Caffery, Chris Cornell and Val Kenny fought off a strong challenge from the Green Party to take all three seats.

By Tom Mellish / Latest News / / 0 Comments

With over 2,400 people on the Tory council’s housing needs list we need new housing. The Beltinge development will not answer that demand. The average house in the Herne Bay area costs £353,400 ( The average wage in Herne Bay is a little over £27,600 per annum. The average Herne Bay resident will not be buying on the new estate even at an ‘affordable’ price.

This development also shows no understanding of the impact it will have on Beltinge and its community.

The development

Beltinge Village is a residential area centred on shops and the memorial hall on Reculver Road. We are not nimbies but this development is too big. There’s been no consideration for the impact its construction will have on the area nor the development itself when finished.

Heavy construction lorries coming off and on the A299 each day will be using roads that have not changed in over 100 years or more. They will squeeze on to narrow unsuitable road bridges at Sweetbridge and Blacksole, difficult to navigate at the best of times.

KCC’s answer to avoid congestion Blacksole Bridge by putting in a mini roundabout is laughable.

Access to the site by massive construction lorries will be down Reculver Road turning right in to Osborne Gardens a quiet narrow residential road with double parking.

Exiting construction traffic will directed down Sweetbridge’s narrow roads and in to the path of children from Reculver Church Primary School.

The answer to providing proper and convenient access to and from the site is for additional roads and bridges over the railway line to the rear of the site. Proper investment must be found and not done on the cheap at the expense of Beltinge residents.

Environmental impact

Environmental impact assessments of the site have been done. But we need assessment for noise and air pollution on the access roads – and the surrounding area. This must be done before any development begins. Assessments are needed on the use of heavy haulage lorries on our badly maintained roads and on the culverts which feed Bishopstone Glen, already subject to erosion.

Medical Support

As well as an impact on the local surgery there will also be an impact on the minor injuries’ unit at the Queen Victoria memorial Hospital.

With an acute shortage of GPs, and difficulties in recruiting nursing staff, there are no proposals to ensure appropriate medical support for the area.

There are so many more unanswered questions about this development and how it will affect the lives of residents. They need answering now.

If elected Christine Wheeldon and I, who both live in Beltinge, will work and campaign with residents and campaign groups to get the answers Beltinge people need so they can decide what happens to their village not FTSE 100 property developers.