Whitstable tory councillor Neil Baker, used the pages of the Herne Bay Gazette to criticise Herne Bay Labour for not stating clearly that we would campaign nationally for rent controls on private houses and flats. This we clearly state now along with our plan to build 2000 new council homes over 10 years; to launch an ethical lettings agency; ensure 30% of new homes are affordable; and speed up repairs through a dedicated team across the district.
In Herne Bay we have a high level of privately rented poor housing; much of this is in Heron Ward which covers roughly the centre area of the town. This ward was deemed to be highly deprived by the previous NHS Health & Social Care committee following surveys carried out. This has been confirmed by the Citizens Advice Bureau particularly because of the level of poor and disabled people.
This ward is represented on the District Council by three tory councillors; one of them is also a county councillor. Yet we hear nothing about this and during the present term of office they, along with the other five tory councillors in Herne Bay, have overseen the building of highly priced private houses across Herne Bay, and not one council house; agreed the closure of our City Council office and failed to support any campaign to keep the job centre here open. All policies that ignore the fact that there are nearly three thousand people on the district housing waiting list, and these closures, along with the proposed reduced hours of our library, affect the poorer people of Herne Bay considerably.
Whilst the conservatives are eager to criticise the local Labour Party for supporting our district manifesto containing a programme of fresh ideas to transform our town for the benefit of everyone; and we have explained our policies in a series of leaflets delivered across Herne Bay, we have seen very little information from the local tories on their plans, except for their support for the building of a new grammar school on the coast which will take £20 million of tax payers money, at a time when the majority of the schools our children attend are seeing the biggest cuts to education carried out by this conservative government, since the second world war. They fail to explain that education is within the province of the County Council and not the district one, which is the election we are presently campaigning for. They have failed to stand up for Herne Bay and gone along with all the vanity projects in Canterbury that have wasted millions of pounds of our council tax payers money, and clearly nothing on their horizon for Herne Bay will change.
Our full Labour District Manifesto is available for viewing on
Waste bins were removed from Memorial Park, Herne Bay in June 2017 and a few weeks later replaced by five very large dumpster-style bins around the periphery of our park.
Having oversize bins has raised many issues that the councillors did not foresee. Firstly, to change peoples behaviour you need to start from a young age, these bins have openings that are too high to allow children to be responsible youngsters and place rubbish inside them. Secondly, this brings up the question of wheel chair users access which will also be problematic. (if not unlawful under the Equality Act 2010). Thirdly, we have also seen an increase in dumped rubbish alongside these bins such as chairs , furniture and sofas , which then incur costs for their removal. Fourthly, the fronts of the bins are never secured safely which is an accident just waiting to happen. One of the bins has been damaged to such a degree that the front no longer is fitted but has been left beside the dumpster. Fifthly, another has been defaced with graffiti which will invite more graffiti if it is not removed. And finally, the bins are still often found to be overflowing with rubbish which shows that they are not monitored and emptied with any regularity.
This has been brought to the attention of our Herne Bay councillors who now are begrudgingly starting a process of replacing these general waste dumpsters.
General waste must be collected but beside those bins should be recycling facilities for cans , glass , plastic and paper . We are told that it is our responsibility to recycle but the Conservative council has not provided the facilities for the public to do so, letting us down as well as the next generation.
For our council to have taken out perfectly good bins within the park and replaced them with not fit for purpose dumpsters shows how irresponsible and wasteful of money our Herne Bay councillors are. We need a modern council for 2019, a Labour council.
What I find most appealing about Herne Bay is how involved the community are with grass root activities to increase the appeal within the area. Herne Bay has over 55,000 residents and is a major asset to the City of Canterbury offering a unique visitor experience. Attractions such as the Pier, Coastal walks and a thriving High Street create a vibrant and enjoyable experience through a range of independent shops and community led projects.
One of the largest events in Kent every year is the Herne Bay airshow which attracts over 500,000 visitors to the Bay and brings in an estimated £6 million in revenue to small business owners. We have a large Arts community and have received requests to host concerts on the Pier from Chart Topping Musicians. So what is the issue you ask?
While our residents are digging deep in their pockets to self fund these fantastic initiatives our Councillors are more worried about Carparks and Dog poo. While we have received international acclaim from art critics due to grass roots campaigns our Councillors fail to recognise and support the initiatives being led from the ground. The Herne Bay festival was a fantastic way to build a brand within the area, we have many local artists, musicians and businesses that could have benefitted from this event through planning and application. Our council however decided to outsource this to an events Agency in London to the sum of £40,000. This event company brought down people from London to hand out flyers highlighting the Community works that were on display.
Would this money have been better spent supporting our Community Groups? Could we have invested this cash in the community?
It creates the question of the Councils intent to the area, they are squeezing the local area and forcing people to travel to Canterbury via tactics such as shutting the Job Centre.