Residents will no doubt be pleased this month to hear that the City Council is rolling out 12 electric vehicle charging points across the district in response to a sharp rise in the number of electric cars in our area. Between September 2017 and September 2018, the number of electric cars registered in our area increased by 48% but if we are really to improve the air we breath, surely a more radical plan is needed?

Almost a year after the City Council agreed funding for points, the Whitstable points are are going up in Gladstone Road, Nelson Road, Sea Street and Cromwell Road but their location has been to some extent determined by local residents petitioning the council because they can’t string an electric hook up over the pavement outside their house. This was not a broader public consultation over who would want them or convert if they were available?

The truth is that it also isn’t a case of money. The funding for the charging points came largely from central government who wrote to councils last year encouraging them to ‘use or loose’ the £45m they had put aside in 2016. The government promised to fund up to 75% of the cost of installing these points,  encouraging council’s to contribute larger sums to reap greater rewards.

Despite all of the comments welcoming these points from the Conservatives, last January they voted against calls from the Labour Party to contribute over £30,000 from the budget instead plumping for a far smaller sum. With the new points installed by the council we will have just over 40 electric charging pints amongst a population of almost 150,000 and 25% of these are located in council car parks you have to pay to enter.

Whilst many people will be lucky enough to have drives on which they can park there cars to charge electrical vehicles, in Whitstable this is often not the case and residents of these streets deserve a solution to this problem which helps them in the long term rather than feebly meets the needs of people already struggling at the moment.

There will be more than 1M electric vehicles in use by 2020, which will require a total of 100,000 EV charging points. There are currently there are only 16,500 points in the UK and with our town being a short drive from London shouldn’t we be aiming to lead the county in the number of points we have. Getting people to change their behaviour requires bold policy making, not timid investments.

Click here to check out where the new electrical charging points are in your area.

By Chris Cornell / JobsWelfare / / 0 Comments

My first impression of the Gateway for Sheppey was its location. It was the former Woolworths, band in the middle of the high street. It’s accessibility was excellent. It’s make over was fresh, modern and spacious. The facilities were set out on two floors, ground and first. Each floor had sets of disabled and child toilets. Services such as the library and computers on the first floor. A comprehensive array of advice services on the ground floor with a sitting area and cafe.

When you walked into the building, there was a large reception desk with the words ‘Meet and Greek’ in bold letters. On the desk was a trained receptions to guide and put clients at ease and make sure that they were directed to the right area. Children could read books or draw whilst their parents accessed services. Every social need was catered for; Mental Health, Domestic Abuse and Health charities hosted pop up surgeries on a weekly basis; the council were on hand to advise on housing, rates, planning roads and homeless issues. Food bank vouchers were available on request. Upstairs KCC floating support services and adult education teams had offices, with ‘return to work’ training available in the afternoons.

Under years of Conservative government, we have no direct access to public services. Tory austerity has nearly broken our community. In Whitstable we have become a disenfranchised community, not knowing where to get help or challenge anything which is being imposed on is.

Kent County Council has a number of under utilised buildings in our town; a proactive council could approach them to improve access to what KCC services we have and start up a Gateway or Hub which will centralise new advice services. It would help us gain access to services we have paid for! This is our right!

A high street hub would make the council more accessible, so why is Canterbury one of the only districts in Kent not to have them. The Council’s own community profile acknowledges that whilst Canterbury is relatively affluent, areas of Whitstable (Gorell, Seasalter) and Herne Bay (Greenhill and Eddington, Heron) are amongst the 20% most deprived areas in the country. So why is this council removing services from those most in need. I want what Sheppey and Margate have got for Whitstable.