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.”

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Community Clean Up Success

Cllr Vince Maple with residents clearing Chatham alleys

We would like to thank all those who took part in the Chatham Big Community Clean Up

The event is the start of an ongoing programme of events lasting until at least June 2013.

If you would like an event in your street, please contact us.

The project, which is part funded by European Union grant funding, has allowed for a focus on specific areas throughout the two wards.

Volunteers have come from across the community, with support from council officers, local councillors, MHS Homes, Medway Messenger as well as those on community payback – all making a big difference.

Commenting Cllr Vince Maple, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group and Chatham Central Ward Councillor said,

“It has been an amazing turnout – for some time people from around the community have been asking for a project of this nature. We have seen community volunteers come out to make a difference on their streets. Another important element has been the involvement of community payback which again many residents are pleased to see happening. I am hopeful that this will continue to be a project well supported by the community.”

Local resident and Community Volunteer Arun Shrestha of Glencoe Road, Chatham said,

“It was great to be able to be part of the Clean Up Campaign. I hope it will raise awareness of cleanliness and community health”

Cllr Sam Craven who represents the Luton and Wayfield Ward added,

“The clean up has been an outstanding success that I am sure will continue over the coming months. It is great to see residents giving time to care for their community”

Anti-Social Behaviour Problem?

One of the most regular complaints we have raised surrounds the issue of anti-social behaviour and criminality in the ward.

We would strongly urge residents to contact the Police in addition to contacting the Council to ensure that issues are dealt with swifty. The Council contact is 01634 333333 or drop us an email or call.

For more information on the Police in Luton & Wayfield a new page has been set up with details of crime and contacts in the ward

Upper Luton Road Wall

After enquiries from a number of the parishoners from Christ Church and residents in nearby Tramways we are in touch with the Council about replacing the wall on Luton Road

Despite a number of enquiries we are led to believe the delay is being caused by a lack of correct bricks in the stock of the contractors.

We have requested that since this matter was raised in late 2011 it is causing concern in the community that the matter is not being handled swiftly.

Rest assured the wall will be improved shortly.

Salt Bin for Shipwrights

After significant resident interest we can confirm that we will be placing an additional Salt Bin on Shipwrights

Residents have been lobbying for additional salt bins via the Shipwrights Residents Association who we partner with closely.

The salt bin should be delivered before the end of April.

No Estuary Airport

Opposing the Estuary Airport plans

Local Councillor's teamed up with local residents and young activists to oppose the proposed Tory plan for a mega-airport on the Grain Peninsula.

An airport which will take twenty years to build, cause transport havoc in North Kent, bulldoze over an RSPB nature reserve and historic communities and potentially blight Medway with noise and increased pollution for years.

The Conservative government has changed its position. It had given assurances to residents that there were 'no plans' for an airport but have since undertaken a u-turn without giving residents a chance to decide.

Medway Labour is calling for a local referendum which will allow you, the public, to decide whether an airport for our area is right.

Cllr Tristan Osborne speaking from Grain

Nelson Court Privatised

Luton & Wayfield Councillor's and local businessman Jonathan Primett gathering signatures to oppose the Care Home closures

It is with great regret that Nelson Court Care Home was privatised by the Medway Cabinet last week.

We worked very hard with service users and with campaigners across the ward and beyond to safeguard this facility from a now uncertain future in the private sector.

Medway is on the verge of having no publicly owned care homes for people with extreme care requirements.

It is unacceptable that the most vulnerable have been made to suffer and we are standing by the staff, patients and local residents with an offer of support.

We will continue to stand up for the most vulnerable in our community.

Chatham resident Robert Heathfield gathering signatures against Care Home Closures

Friday, 10 February 2012

Formal Support for All Saints

Our support for the All Saints Project expansion

Ref: MC/12/0035 and MC/12/0036

We are writing collectively as the ward councillors for Chatham Central and Luton & Wayfield, both wards wrap around the site covered by both the above applications.

We believe the current status of the property as an empty public house could be a target for anti social behaviour and would therefore welcome a move to ensure it is not left empty.

We also believe that the proposal from the local church would greatly enhance the local community by providing a much needed community hub which has been requested by residents for some considerable time. We also note that the church and the aligned community project has carried out extensive community consultation for use the property.
On that basis, we would therefore urge that applications MC/12/0035 and MC/12/0036 be approved.

Paul Godwin
Sam Craven
Vince Maple
Christine Godwin
Julie Shaw
Tristan Osborne

Chatham Central Ward Councillors Luton and Wayfield Ward Councillors

Monday, 6 February 2012

Luton & Wayfield Project

Please find below minutes and agenda for the next Luton & Wayfield Community project

The next meeting coincides with Full Council once again; therefore the three Councillor's will be unable to attend.

We will be feeding back into the process.