Saturday, 17 November 2012

All Saints Project Support

David Miliband MP,  Labour’s former Foreign Secretary, visited Chatham on Tuesday 13th November to see the All Saints Community Project and the work it does for the local community which serves a number of areas within Luton.
David was there to visit the community project with Labour’s candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner, Harriet Yeo but also to highlight how Labour Councillor's can work and partner with the community to deliver real change
The Community Project was set up in 2001 as a response to the needs and issues faced by many people in the All Saints area of Chatham, and has been a great success offering homework clubs and summer holiday activities for children, support groups for residents, community clean-up days and much more

The hard work being undertaken at All Saints by the staff is a real testimony to community engagement and change.

Millenium Green Proposed Works

As ward Councillor's we are pleased to report that we are making significant progress in our key campaign pledge to improve Luton Millenium Green which is a much cherished green park near to Shipwrights in Chatham

We have been working with Council officers and Portfolio Holders to secure the site in the Council ownership which has was finalised by Court Order on November 13th last week.

Ward Councillor's have since met with Council officers and made representations at full council with several questions for a programme of proposed works to improve the site. 

We have received a lot of support from all Parties on this project which shows bi-partisan working at its best.

With limited funding we will need to partner with others to secure funding for major works but some limited improvements can occur over the next 12 months on site at little cost. 

Ward Councillor's have made representation for shrub clearance, new bins and signage and for additional lighting for users using the park as a cut through during the late afternoons and early evenings.

With the St Mary's Boxing Club close to raising its target to relocate to the derelict Scout hut adjacent to this site we believe that we could be on the cusp of some positive change for this park with new neighbours; and for a facility which has been neglected for a period of time.

For those that decry the work of Councillors this is the type of action that can be delivered for those who work hard for their ward.

The legal aspects of now been completed; now comes the delivery phase.

Members Item for Age Concern Closure

We are deeply disappointed as Ward Councillor's that the conversations led by the Conservative Council and MP has failed to secure a positive outcome for Age Concern in Chatham.

The centre in Hopewell Drive is based in Princes Park ward but we are concerned as local Councillors who border on this facility because many of our residents use this service.

The Luton & Wayfield team will be requesting a consideration of a Members Item which we are to discuss in more detail next week for the next Health & Adult Social care committee. 

We want to know the detail of the conversations and from first hand evidence whether our Conservative administration and Parliamentary representatives got the best deal for this charity. 

Age Concern is a key service which many of our resident in Luton & Wayfield use. We feel unhappy that many Charities in Medway have been let down by continued charity funding cuts and we want to explore whether funding cuts and the publicised move from Chatham town centre to Hopewell Drive as a result of Council policy on regeneration in the town centre has contributed to this closure. 

This was a charity with a long and proud history in Medway with a forty year record of help in the community

Over the last 18 months we have seen how the Tory-led Council have treated charities through massive budget cuts; we have seen the watering down of service provision for elderly residents with dementia and key care needs, so making it more difficult for residents to get support for loved ones as the criteria get even tighter; we have seen the threats to privatise and close local services. 

In terms of work undertaken we have made several representations to the media over the last four weeks and linked below press releases and blog articles to the matter where we have made open our willingness to arbitrate on behalf of the service users for an outcome. 



The Labour Group is in contact with Council officers to raise our concerns around three major issues:

  • The current Council contracts with Age Concern and the state of these post December 2012
  • Future of provision in the Chatham area given the closure and its impact on other services locally
  • The detail on the offer and a response from the Charity as to why they refused. The letter received does not go into detail and the offer was not made public for obvious legal reasons during the arbitration.

We have made representation to the leadership of our group that we should be tabling a members item at the next Health & Adult O&S. 

Due to legal sensitivities on the offer and us not seeking to prejeudice or politicise any conversations we have been sensitive to media output. Now the offer has been rejected this allows us to probe in more detail, and more publicly, make representation and listen to those called to speak.

In terms of our wider work the Labour Group will also be having an open forum to discuss Adult Social care and our policy on November 29th which is open to the public. The meeting will take place from 7-9pm in the Princes Hall, Corn Exchange, Rochester. 

One of the issues discussed will be our campaign efforts to stop the privatisation of Platters Farm, Nelson Court and Robert Bean which was persued by the Conservative Party administration

Monday, 15 October 2012

Supporting Million Meal Appeal

Cllr Tristan Osborne was at the Sainsbury in the Pentagon Centre on Saturday 6th October to help with the Million Meal Appeal. 

The Million Meal Appeal, where shoppers can donate food to help local people in crisis, is organised by charity FareShare and Sainsbury's and is today operating in stores across the country, including Chatham, Hempstead Valley and Larkfield. 

As part of the appeal on Tristan signed up to help collect donations. 

Volunteers were asked to greet customers and encourage them to buy an extra item of food from the Million Meal Appeal shopping list. Donations were collected as shoppers left the store. FareShare will then deliver the donated food to over 700 charities and community projects across the UK to help families in need. Sainsbury’s will match the level of food donations collected over the weekend. 

The Million Meal Appeal comes as the economic crisis deepens and the rising costs of living hits households in Chatham & Aylesford hard. 

Food prices rose by more than four per cent over the last year and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimate that around 5.8 million people in the UK struggle to afford everyday essentials like food. 

Standing up for our Police

Cllr Tristan Osborne and Cllr Sam Craven 

As a former Special Constable Cllr Tristan Osborne and the Labour team are well aware that having bobbies on the beat, supported by a number of seasoned PCSO officers, is the only way you can combat crime on the ground.

Anti-social behaviour is the number one issue in our ward and we will tirelessly work to make our area a safer and cleaner community to live, work and play in.

Luton & Wayfield Ward Councillors are leading the charge to combat anti-social behaviour in the ward having successfully lobbied for a Dispersal Zone and CCTV cameras; but a lot more remains to be done.

All the good work is undermined by budget cuts to our thin blue line which is why we have submitted a motion to full council to oppose cuts to our Police who need our support to fight against these cuts.

We hope it will get the support of all Parties at the Council to oppose the privitisation and cuts to our Police

Petition for Street End Road

The Luton & Wayfield team have undertaken a resident survey and petition of residents on Street End Road and Settington Avenue concerning parking at this key junction and the risk of an accident.

On-curb parking 

Restricting (South) exit view from Settington

A number of vans were inappropriately parked on key junctions and on mounted curbs at this high volume junction.

A petition will be submitted to full council on Thursday 18th October and we are asking a question (10A) of the Council Portfolio holder that will express our concern that due to the volume of traffic at this key junction that double yellow lines be considered for this site.

We have since corresponded with the Council officer and we can confirm that double yellow lines will be prioritised for this junction over the next 3 months which is a positive development. 

Another campaign success

Clearing up Luton High Street

Your Luton & Wayfield team worked with local ward officers to clear up the Luton High Street corner from accumulated litter and detritus.

We have also been working with the Council to get skips placed so that residents can clear alleyways. We have had success in Thorold Road, Grove Road and Edinbrugh Road.

If you would like a skip we are happy to support your street.

Residents who see flytipping or litter can report it using the LoveMedway application

Alcohol Control Zone Extension

Your local ward Councillor's are actively working to extend the Chatham Alcohol Control Zone into Luton.
Despite opposition we have presented and successfully argued via the Council Overview & Scrutiny Committee process that the area has a statistical evidence base for an Alcohol Control Zone given the number of reported levels of anti-social behaviour.
We presented the case in August 2012 and received support to persue our members item.

We are due to meet the Police this week to articulate our concerns about the zone. 

Cllr Vince Maple expressed community desire clearly at the recent Medway Safety Partnership meeting in the All Saints area.
Thus far have been met with opposition from a number of Portfolio holders one of which incorrectly attributed only four cases of anti-social behaviour to the Luton Road area at the Overview & Scrutiny meeting. This was dismissed as inaccurate by the cross-party committee.
We believe the Police are there to serve the community in partnership and with the support of the All Saints and Luton PACTs we will work to secure this zone extension

Ward Councillor addresses Labour Conference

Ward Councillor Tristan Osborne address Labour Party conference to challenge the Medway Conservative administration to step up its efforts to oppose the Estuary Airport.

The Tory proposals for an Estuary Airport will see residents across the ward blighted by noise pollution and the associated risks of pollution

It is imperative that we stand up for our local heritage and our community. 

We also believe the public should have a say on whether they feel we should have an airport or not and have worked with other Labour Councillors to push for a local referendum so that you could have had your say. 

Unfortunately the ruling administration has opposed the moves and refuses to consult with residents who want to send a message to the government and Boris Johnson that no means no.

Luton Millennium Green Improvements

Ward Councillors are working with the Council to improve the Luton Millennium Green site after a period of neglect since 2005.

We can report that the Council has now made a statutory declaration of interest on the land which, unless opposed, will see it move into the Council ownership and allow improvement works to be undertaken.

We have also worked with officers to communicate with Groundwork Kent & Medway to engage in community improvements to the Green in light of the work undertaken at both Bryant Street and at the Hillyfields site which saw successful and costed improvements to these cherished green spaces.

Work is in progress on Luton Millennium Green. Rest assured it is a focus for your ward team.

£23,000 funding for All Saints

Congratulations to the All Saints Project and the partnership of local residents, Councillors and community organisers at the All Saints Church for winning a £23,000 members priority fund grant to improve the facilities 

The money will support the project to see the former Magpie Pub renovated to create a community facility for the Chatham All Saints area. 

The community will be able to use the facility for community events; it will also provide a drop off point for elderly and young people and be a focal point for community outreach for the diverse communities which comprise the inner Chatham area.

Local Councillors in Chatham Central and Luton & Wayfield submitted the application for funding which was granted by Cllr Alan Jarrett with the support of other Cabinet members.

We wish to congratulate Linda Fiddyment for all of her stirling work to secure this grant and put on record our thanks to the administration for the financial support

Luton PACT Success

We wish to congratulate the Luton PACT for all their efforts for this really successful event which was very positively received.

We have worked closely with the PACT to ensure our community feels safer and that our resident concerns are heard in the Council and beyond.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Coney Banks Saved

The threatened destruction of Coney Banks has been averted thanks to the work of Friends of Horsted Valley, local residents and the work of ward Councillor's

 The application was dropped after it became clear that the PCT was open to conversations around an alternate site and engagement in the community

 Commenting Cllr Tristan Osborne

 "It is welcome to see that the PCT have been open to conversations on a more suitable location for the Luton Health & Wellbeing Centre despite the unwelcome comments of Cllr Alan Jarrett who labelled the Friends of Horsted Valley group, amongst others, a bunch of slow-worm enthusiasts"

"I want to thank the Friends of Horsted Valley for standing up for the community and challenging the administration shotgun approach to preserving our heritage. The threat has been met with common sense from the community who want improvements to our NHS but in a location which benefits the entire community"

"We will be working with the NHS to find an appropriate site which respects our heritage and which is more accessible for the community as a whole

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Step in the right direction

Sometimes it is the little things which make the job of being a local representative worthwhile.

A resident in Ironside Close, who is in his late eighties, contacted us to help him improve accessibility to his bungalow and did not know who to approach.

A quick call by the local Labour team to MHS Homes with some active lobbying and the result is one happy resident who can now get access to his house.

Small steps can make a big difference to residents.

'Bin' very successful

Wayfield Road dog bin

Dog bins are now in place in several locations around Burma Way, Tobruk Road and on Wayfield Road. 

Another project delivered by the local Labour team

Standing up for Horsted Valley

Once again we see the return of the application to take away a piece of the Horsted Valley for development but this time there is a total lack of clarity about who wants this land changed and why.

This has been a complicated case because there has been a total lack of communication from the Conservative-controlled Council as to the purpose of this current application despite the deadline. 

The school, who will gain land, have no recollection of ever submitting the application and the PCT, who originally wanted to build a Healthy Living Centre, have shelved those plans so not requiring the land-usage change. It is a total mystery. 

You can oppose this here.

We are very concerned that senior Conservative cabinet members are looking for development potential on the land to the West of the school playing field and behind Lawn Close; which had been the original plan for the Luton Health & Wellbeing centre.

The PCT have indicated they are still interested in having a new facility but want to explore alternate locations; a point the community have consistently made despite the outrageous and publicised comments by the Deputy Conservative leader that those opposed, including the Friends of Horsted Valley, were nothing but slow-worm enthusiasts. 

Tory cabinet members in Medway show little or no respect for local heritage;  we can cite numerous examples of vandalism from the destruction of the Aveling & Porter building in Strood, the Chatham 'Brook' fiasco which saw historic trees dug up for a monstrous and over-budget bus station, to a total disregard to the historic market in Rochester. These are but a few.

Of course we will oppose all over development and especially on or near a well loved piece of green space.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

BORA Ofsted Report

The latest Bishop of Rochester Ofsted Report can be found below.

As Councillor's we are keeping a very close watch on improvements to the Academy and there is some very welcome news within.

It is early days but it is clear challenges are being overcome; please find below

Magpie Hall Road Pelican Crossing

Positive news that the Pelican Crossing on Magpie Hall Road is to be modernised and replaced as part of the Bishop of Rochester improvements.

If you have any thoughts on the proposal please read the below documentation and respond with any comments to us below.

Pedestrian Crossing - Bishop of Rochester Academy

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Councillor Expenses

Councillor Expenses

As promised in the Local Election please find expenses for Medway Councillor's published above.

The Luton & Wayfield team claimed nothing more than the basic allowance; we claimed no additional responsibility allowances, or any subsistence or travel expenses.

In such tight times economically it is responsible for all to treat the public purse with respect.

The above document shows however that Conservative Councillor's cost you more despite the pledges in the local election to give value for money.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Petition to scrap parking meter

Petition calling for Council to scrap the new parking metre at the Luton Library

Ward Councillor's have been working with local business to petition to remove the newly replaced parking meter at Luton Library

The previous parking meter had been withdrawn because it was making little revenue and was a magnet for vandalism. 

In addition, many individuals merely parked in surrounding non-permitted streets including Nelson Road, Queens Road, Chickfield Gardens and Kings Road.

We handed in our petition for 420 residents to the full Council on Thursday 26th April 

We hope the Council will step and listen to the community and the lead petitioner, and Chatham Hill resident, Ben Pranczke

Click to enlarge

Time for Alcohol Control Zone

Current Chatham Alcohol Control Zone: Luton & Wayfield Councillors want it extended

With the win for additional CCTV units for Luton Road our efforts to combat anti-social behaviour must continue at pace.

We have sat down with colleagues across the Labour Group and we will be pushing for an Alcohol Control Zone for the entire stretch of Luton Road and High Street as an extension to the Chatham Alcohol Control Zone.

We will also be working with new funding sources including the Big Lottery Fund, DNA and other funding sources to improve lighting and alleys in the ward.

Cllr Osborne specifically raised at Full Council whether Cllr Mike OBrien would back the move towards an Alcohol Control Zone but was not given a conclusive response.

Commenting Cllr Osborne

"As a former Police Officer is is clear that alcohol related criminality and anti-social behaviour is and remains a problem in urban areas of Medway including in the Luton & Wayfield ward

"We want to give Luton residents the power to say no to on the road drinking in an effort to combat and reduce levels of anti-social behaviour. It is not a nanny state to want people to live in peace."

We will be working with our PACTs to ensure that it is not only Rainham that benefits from Alcohol Control Zones.

Community Update Leaflet


CCTV Win for Luton

CCTV Win by Ward Councillors and activists

Ward Councillor's Sam Craven, Tristan Osborne and Christine Godwin would like to thank residents and local PACTs for backing our campaign for more CCTV for Luton

We have been campaigning for three months to get improved CCTV coverage for the ward after residents have informed us of concerns about anti-social behaviour. 

A temporary camera has now been fixed on Beacon Hill / Luton High Street and we are expecting further fixed camera's shortly to be fitted at the following locations
  • Magpie Hall Road / Newnham Street
  • Ambrose Hill / Luton Road 
  • Beacon Hill / Luton High Street

Temporary CCTV Camera on Luton Road

Luton and Wayfield Community First Panel

The Luton & Wayfield Community Panel has now been established. 

We have funding of £80,000 available to be allocated to local groups and projects within the ward. A set of group priorites has been established by the panel and we welcome applications which fit atleast one of the panels priorities as follows. 

  •  Enhance the health profile of residents of Luton & Wayfield 
  •  Bring different communities within the ward closer together 
  •  Increase the range of activities available for young people 
  •  Steps to reduce the effects of anti-social behaviour 
Groups/Projects are able to apply for between £250-£2500 once a year and applications will then be assessed and decided on by the panel members, who are local ward councillors and local community members. 

Panel members for Luton and Wayfield are: - 

  1. Cllr Christine Godwin 
  2. Cllr Sam Craven 
  3. Cllr Tristan Osborne 
  4. Jonathan Primett 
  5. Ben Pranczke 
  6. Tim Atkinson 
  7. Susan Crittenden  
  8. Jeff Fray

 Anything which does work towards improvements in the community can only be a good thing in my eyes, so if anyone is involved or knows anyone involved in a group or project who would benefit from funding spread the word about this available funding and help make improvements to our community!!!

For more information or application form please email: 

See our panel website at

Monday, 2 April 2012

Community demands CCTV

Luton & Wayfield Councillors

Labour ward Councillors have called time on the conversations for additional CCTV camera's for Luton Road.

After three months of discussions with the Medway Conservative Cabinet we reached a point where we had to take the campaign public because we were getting nowhere with the Council.

We have since submitted Member Priority Funding bid to secure the £20,000 necessary for the community in the ward.

We have been working with local PACTs, residents and activists in the ward to fight for funding.

We submitted a bid for funding to Cllr Alan Jarrett last week and are expecting to hear back on whether we have been successful for the £20,000 of funding which will make our community safer.

Tory Councillors need to step up to the needs of constant public questions at full Council from members of the community. The community has spoken via its elected representatives and PACTs.

We believe there is a significant problem surrounding under-reporting of criminality in the area caused by normalisation of certain behaviours. We note the Police have not reduced numbers and have extended the Dispersal Zone; this suggests a tacit understanding that the area should warrant consideration.

We have a lot of support from residents and business owners in the locality. We believe the bid has justification.

We await to see the outcome of our bid for CCTV

Monday, 19 March 2012

St Mary's finds a new Home

A new home has been found for St Mary's ABC.

Local Councillor's have been working and supporting the St Mary's Amateur Boxing Club in securing a new location after the club was faced with eviction from its site on Luton Road.

We have been working with the club owners, trainers and players to fund raise and fight for the award winning club to remain in the ward.

The boxing club has secured a new site on Shipwrights which will see significant improvement of surrounding derelict land.

We are also working with the Shipwrights Resident Association to secure funding to improve fencing to reduce quad-bike behaviour.

Downsview Clearance

Dumping & fly-tipping. Councillor's worked with residents to get land cleared

An older story this; a number of residents on Downsview had major complaints about land being used a dumping ground behind their properties.

The Luton & Wayfield team worked with the residents to ensure the land is cleared.

Commercial land owners need to be sensitive to their environment. As local Councillor's we will be working to ensure people are not blighted by industrial waste

If you have problems with fly tipping on dumping please do contact us.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Save Nelson Court Update

We were disappointed by the poor response from the Tory administration at the Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Meeting last week on the Nelson Court care home.

Local businessman and blogger Jonathan Primett also attended the meeting and has blogged here about his experience. It is worth a read

This meeting was called by Labour as an opportunity to present alternative proposals, which would avoid the privatisation of three Medway care homes.

Cllr Vince Maple (pictured) spoke from the floor citing the poor consultation by the current administration

Cllr Tristan Osborne and Cllr Christine Godwin also addressed the meeting calling for alternate proposals to be considered. Alternatives included ideas such as the Co-operative or Local Authority Trading Company models, as showcased in other local authorities of all political affiliations.

However, at the meeting, the Conservatives remained closed to new ideas, and seemed resolute on limiting outside input, stymieing the chance to make the meeting a meaningful part of the decision process.

The chair, supported by his fellow Conservative members, insisted on the use of formal votes, and refused to allow any members of the public to speak. Interested councillors were also disallowed from speaking at the meeting.

Taking this closed approach was completely unacceptable, as the point of the meeting was to promote further discussion and help present new ideas.

Though the meeting was called by Labour to help offer a further opportunity for concerned service users, carers, families and staff to express their opinions, it seemed clear from the outset that these opinions would not be fairly listened to.

Cllr Teresa Murray, Medway Labour’s Spokesperson for Adult Health and Social Care said,

“The Tories showed how politically motivated and small minded they are by refusing to support our proposal for a pause in the tendering procedure to privatise the care homes and investigate alternative arms length staff-led models. This would enable the people who run the services to identify the key priorities and efficiencies, and keep the much loved specialist staff in place to maintain quality.”

“Even Tory led Essex County Council has done this successfully for it’s social care services, but Medway Tories are political dinosaurs who only want to contract out. They don’t want hard working social care staff in Medway to have a chance, although when we met staff they were keen to try.”

New Dog Bins

After resident demand we will be fitting an additional two dog bins on Tobruk Way and Eden Avenue.

Luton Recreation Groud

We have been liaising with residents on the Luton Recreation Ground and the concerns expressed by a number of residents, led by Ben Pranczke (who has blogged here) from Chatham Hill, that the site is unfinished.

Luton Rec play area was originally designed to be "open plan" i.e. not fully fenced, to open up the play area onto the surrounding grassed area.

Many residents have expressed concerns that animals are gaining access to the play site which poses risks to children. A photo below indicates this is indeed happening:

Spot the dog!

The Council has confirmed a fence will be extended round the whole play area and a self closing gate will be installed at the end of the footpath allowing easy access to the play area from the pavilion end of the park.

There is a footpath that links the play area from both ends of the rec but these have become weedy over the years and need to be refurbished.

We are also concerned that this path is incomplete and will be chasing this.

Path to nowhere?

We have received assurances that a request has been placed with the Community Payback Offenders unit asking them to undertake the path refurbishments but we do need to know why this path is not complete

Friday, 2 March 2012

Luton Road Wall Replaced



The wall has now been replaced by the Council. It seems the 'right kind of bricks' were eventually sourced from the contractors.

A win for all

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Budget cuts £14.3m to front line

Tories target vulnerable; we voted against

Medway Labour and your Luton & Wayfield Councillors voted against the Conservative budget at last night’s Council meeting.

We opposed this budget not because we reject every decision within it, in fact, Labour would also have kept Council tax frozen this year.Rather, forced to vote on the budget as a whole, a number of items contained within it made the budget impossible to support.

The Labour group, out of principle, could not support cuts affecting the elderly, the disabled and children, and we are proud to take this standpoint.Cllr Paul Godwin, Leader of the Labour Group said,

“The Tories always play the game of accusing us of not supporting each and every item in the budget, because of our decision to vote against it. By this rationale, the Conservatives’ history of voting against every Labour parliamentary budget means they oppose the NHS, investment in the police, the education system, the army… The list goes on.”

Challenged by Labour councillors that Medway residents have not been fairly consulted on this budget – as the public are in other parts of the country – the Conservatives cited the fact the public voted them back into leadership in May as evidence that their plans for the budget are supported.

We ask, where in the Conservative manifesto was:
  • The closure of the Balfour Centre?
  • The privatisation of three local care homes?
  • Cuts to Sure Start funding?
  • Cuts to Supporting People?
  • Increased parking charges?

Delivering the bus station months late and millions over budget?Conversely, the Conservatives promised to protect front-line services, and accused Labour members of misleading the public on the threat to Sure Start.

The Medway Conservatives therefore both misled the public and broke its promises to them.

Yet, aware of presenting a budget of cuts and broken promises, Cllr Jarrett was keen to blame anyone but his own administration for their decisions – even willing to admit that his own government is causing pain by inflicting the cuts handed down to local government, which amount to a further £14.3m added to the £23.5m cut last year from Medway.

Cllr Vince Maple, Deputy Leader of the Labour group and Finance spokesperson says,

“The Conservatives also like to blame the last Labour government. This either shows a poor grasp of world affairs, or a wilful lie. The global economic crisis did not happen because Labour invested in police, nurses and teachers. It was caused by a sub-prime lending crisis originating in the US, which was able to hit the UK as hard as it did because of the deregulation of financial services by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, which the Conservatives were still arguing should go further until as late as 2007.”

“When Labour left power we were building our way out of recession. Now, residents of Medway, like others across the UK, are suffering due to the Government’s poor management of the economy.”

“The Tory Administration in Medway like their masters in Westminster go around making election promises they simply break, in their case in less than a year.”