News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Scotland Turns Blue!

Scottish Conservatives have taken control of South Ayrshire County Council, following the resignation of the Labour Leader of the council.

"Councillor Gibson MacDonald, Leader of the Conservative Group since 1996, was chosen as the Council Leader and Councillor Robin Reid was appointed to the role of Deputy Leader following a 15-14 vote."

South Ayrshire becomes the first Conservative controlled Scottish Council since the reorganisation into unitary authorities more than a decade ago in 1995.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Conservatives take poll lead

Various opinion polls have been published showing that the Conservatives are finally making headway against the outdated Labour government at Westminster. We have hit 40% for the first time since 1992, which will serve as a confidence boost to the new Tory team.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Budget Meeting

Tonight's Finance and General Purposes Committee budget meeting agreed a precept for 2005/2006 with an increase of just under 10% on this year's budget. The figure is one which I consider to be unacceptably high, but it is clear that the majority of members of the council strongly support the proposals. The budget will not be adopted formally until the January full council meeting, prior to which the Conservative group will have to decide whether to publish an alternative programme. Given that it seems unlikely that the majority will support a tax freeze (the Conservative's preferred option) it seems probable that any changes will be minor and will relate to the priorities for the year ahead rather than the total size of the budget.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Cameron elected new leader

David Cameron has been elected as the leader of the Conservative Party. I strongly welcome his election, having publicly supported the Cameron Campaign for some time, and particularly welcome the inclusion of strong figures within the party in the Shadow Cabinet. In particular, losing opponents David Davis and Liam Fox retain senior positions, alongside former leader William Hague who returns to the front bench.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Town Illuminated

Folkestone Town Centre was illuminated for Christmas today. The switch on was performed by Town Mayor Cllr George Bunting assisted by the Deputy Mayor of Boulogne and the cast of the Wizard of Oz, which is playing at the Leas Cliff Hall.

The lights stretch from Castle Hill Avenue to Tontine Street, taking in Sandgate Road, The Lanterns, Guildhall Street, The old High Street and the Harbour, bathing the town in wintery blue and white Christmas lights.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Coolinge House

The Development Control Committee of Shepway District Council has agreed with the Town Council's objections to the proposed development of 14 houses in the garden of the Listed Coolinge house, over-ruling Officers' support for the plans. The move was a particular victory for the Town Council, on whose behalf I spoke at the meeting, as without our objection the decision would have been taken by the officers without the Development Control Committee having to hear the arguments.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Town Centre Management

Following the withdrawal of sponsorship for the Town Centre Management, which includes the Tourist Information service, alternate funds are being sought, and taxpayers may be left to pick up the pieces. The shock news that Saga and Eurotunnel will no longer support the initiative comes as a blow to the town at a time when things had been getting on track.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Shearway Lorry Parking

Today I approached SEEDA to see what steps they are taking to enforce the overnight lorry parking ban which they have applied to their property in Morehall. I am also investigating why the roads have not yet been adopted by the local council, which could then enforce the ban itself, as a condition of the planning application for the business park was the the roads be build to an adoptable standard.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Invicta Qualify for FA Cup

Congratulations to Folkestone Invicta on their qualification for the 1st round of the FA Cup for the first time ever, after defeating Aylesbury Utd 2-0 at Aylesbury. Invicta can look forward to a clash against Chester (my town of birth) on November 5th. The club will be running coaches to Chester for the game in association with club sponsors Buzzlines, details available from www.folkestoneinvicta.co.uk.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bandstand Saved

Local Conservatives celebrated this week when it was announced that the money had been found to save the bandstand. The Money has come from Shepway District Council (£50k), County Councillors Robert Bliss and Richard Pascoe’s Member discretionary 2nd home money (£35k each) and the balance will be met from County Hall.

Councillor Robert Bliss said, “This is great news for Folkestone”.

The aim is that the bandstand will be open for Easter next year.

Robert Bliss continued, “We already have planned a Royal Marine Swing band to do a charity event and the Council is looking forward to designing an interesting programme for next year.”

Friday, September 30, 2005

Conservatives Gain New Romney

Stephenson - Conservative 560 - 66.2%

Labour 175 - 20.7%

Liberal Democrat 111 - 13.1%

Turnout - 33.5%

Swing from 2003 - 16.59% Labour to Conservative

Friday, September 23, 2005

Regional Plan

Last night I attended the Shepway pre-meeting about the South East Regional Plan. It is a Government initiative to operate along side the existing Strategic Plans, Local Plans, Market Town Health Checks, Parish Maps and Parish Design Statements. So not another layer of totally unnecessary bureaucracy at all then!

The key obkective of the exercise was for District, Town and Parish councillors to come together to discuss where we should put all the houses which we're supposed to need according to the Government and the various suggestions made by the Regional Assembly. We generally agreed that it was daft to opt to put additional houses in Dover in that it may be the only area which does not get the High Speed Trains. We therefore suggested that we should seek to expand existing settlements in Shepway so that local people can find homes close to where they grew up, and to particularly expand Sellinge and Lympne, which have lots of space without environmental restrictions and with good access to Ashford, which is likely to be the major local hub for facilities and employment.

In the next stage of the process I will be pushing for transport infrastructure to ensure that people in the new settlements are drawn to Folkestone, preserving our shops, services and helping local businesses to attract the right staff. I will also be pushing for improved connectivity between Folkestone and the low unemplyment, high wage towns in the west of the county - particularly Maidstone.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Mexican Evening

Morehall Conservatives will be hosting a Mexican Evening in Shorncliffe Road on 15th October. Tickets will be £8 and will include Mexican foods such as Quesadillas, Nachos and Enchiladas. If you would like a ticket, please call me on 07774013091 or email me at dan.hassett@ntlworld.com

In Touch with Morehall

A new edition of the Conservative Newsletter "In Touch" will be delivered to households across Folkestone over the next week. The edition includes a new Morehall newsletter, to inform people about my work for the ward, and to help people to know how to get in touch with the local Conservative team.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Full Council Meeting

Last night's well attended meeting saw the Town Council voting to ask the Deputy Prime Minister to call in the planning consent granted to Trent Developments for Folkestone Sea Front. No-one voted against. Several members of the public had spoken against the plans during the open forum section of the meeting. Jimmy Godden, local businessman and Tren't partner in the development was also present at the meeting but did not speak.

Cllr Shirley Newlands, District Secretary for the Environment and SDC officer Jonathan Lund also addressed the council to answer questions about Ground Maintenance in Folkestone. They agreed that the current situation is not acceptable, and assured us that negotiations were under way and improvements would soon be visible. Details of problem flower beds in the town were also requested, and I will provide a list of ones which concern me, focussing on those in Cheriton and Morehall and the more prominent parts of Folkestone

The meeting also discussed the payment of allowances to Councillors. It seems that the majority remain opposed to the idea, but it was agreed that the Finance and General Purposes Committee should make further investigations before a final decision is made. The Conservative Group has agreed to oppose payment of allowances and I spoke against the proposal.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Seafront Development

Today's meeting at the top of the Leas, organised by 2 Folkestone Residents opposed to the Trent/Godden proposals, was well attended. Those present included several councillors from across the groups, as well as Toby Atkinson of Trent Developments and memebers of both the local and national press.

Friday, July 29, 2005

YC Summer Barbecue

Folkestone & Hythe Young Conservatives will be holding our annual summer barbecue on the evening of September 3rd. If you'd like to come along, you can email me on dan.hassett@ntlworld.com. Further details will be available soon.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Save Our Grammars!

Thank you to the Professional Association of Teachers for this week recognising the importance of Grammar Schools!

As the Government forces Northern Ireland, despite the views of parents, to adopt the Comprehensive experiment which has already failed in the rest of Britain, this teachin union has recognised the importance of an education system which allows teacher to stretch children of all abilities without leaving some class members behind.

Time and time again, government figure show that grammar schools have the best value added scores, and Northern Ireland has the best exam results in the country. The decision to abolish Ulster's Grammars has nothing to do with improving the quality of education - it's all about equality; even if that means levelling down rather than levelling up.

It's time for Kent to rise up and defend our education system, before it's too late.

The BBC News story in full: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4720567.stm

No to Electoral Reform

Electoral Reform

Key: FPPTP = First Past the Post; AMS = Additional Member System; SYV = Single Transferable Vote; JAV+ = Jenkins Alternate Vote Plus; PLS = Party List System; CC = Cellular Constituencies. For explanations of these systems, please read the electoral reform FAQ. For more information about electoral reform in general, visit the Electoral Reform Society or Make My Vote Count.


FPPTP 44
AMS -5

STV 10
JAV+ -2
PLS 0
CC -21





Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

New Bobby for Cheriton & Morehall

The new Community Warden for Cheriton and Morehall, David Harmes is nearing the completion of his training and will be on the steets of our local area very soon. Folkestone Town Councillors from the wards will be meeting him at the earliest opportunity, and plan to invite him to the next Community Forum, to be held in September, so that local people can meet him too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Community Services Committee

The first meeting of the new Community Services Committee will be held on Tuesday 2nd August at the Council's Offices in George Lane. Some of the key items on the agenda will include the creation of a quarterly newsletter, officially adopting the community forums and surgeries which some ward councillors have held and setting guidelines for the use of the new notice boards in Cheriton, Folkestone Town Centre and Wood Avenue.

Folkestone Sea Front

Last night, Shepway's Development Control Committee voted to grant permission to Trent Developments to build a mix residential and leisure development on Folkestone's sea front. I have grave misgivings about the overall design of the structure - the 14 storey tower block looks to me like a high rise Shanty Town - but welcome the proposed leisure facilities. A 6 screen multiplex cinema, ten-pin bowling and purpose-built nightclub to replace the current, rather inappropriate building would be a welcome addition to the town.

How the scheme will affect Roger De Haan's plans for the harbour, Tontine Street and the rest of the town generally remains to be seen. We can only hope that his grand plans will not be scuppered by the green light to this development.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Roger's Masterplan

Tonight Folkestone Town Councillors were offered the opportunity to see the current state of the Masterplan for Folkestone Seafront being drawn up by Foster Partners on behalf of Roger De Haan, the owner of Folkestone Harbour.

The general aim of creating a more joined up town is most welcome. The ambitious scheme would see the removal of the disused harbour branch line, allowing the widening of Tram Road to allow two-way tarffic, and general improvements to the awful one-way system in the east of the town. Wider pavements and the planting of an avenue of trees would also improve the general appearance of the area.

The creation of a permanently water-filled marina, with development along the western rim of the inner harbour would help to link the sea front to the town centre, helping to return Tontine Street to being a bustling, vibrant street instead of the run-down ghost town which currently exists. The plans also allow for a university, the restoration of a ferry link to Boulogne courtesy of Speed Ferries, and the extension of the coastal park in front of a lower-rise residential development than that offered by other proposed schemes.

What the plans do seem to lack is leisure facilities. It should be remembered that the site has always had leisure use, and purely residential development would be to the detriment of the town. The loss of the funfair (a sign of changing times), night club and amusement arcades would leave even less for the young people of Folkestone to do - at the same time as 1000 university students arrive in town.

The argument that the laws of supply and demand will deal with this simply doesn't wash - if there's no land to build on, the facilities won't be built, regardless of demand. And suggestions that nightclubs and cinemas be built at the edge of town, surrounded by Folkestone's leafy suburbs, is quite outrageous. The police have previously objected to out of town nightclubs, due to problems in policing the routes taken by late night revellers en route from town centre pubs, and Ashford's out of town M20 nightclub has just gone broke! Meanwhile, Folkestone's late night bus has been withdrawn, due to safety concerns.

Hythe By-Elections

Last night's by-elections in Hythe saw two Conservative gains from the Liberal Democrats on the local council. Congratulations to Karen and Nick. The full results were as follows:

Hythe South
Nick Meurice, Conservative 415 (Elected)
Hythe Preservation Society 306
Lib Dem 194

Conservative gain from Liberal Democrat with 54% of the vote against 21%.

Hythe East
Karen Belcourt, Conservative 799, 75% (Elected)
Lib Dem 262, 24%.

Conservative gain from Liberal Democrat.
Swing 29.5%, Lib Dem to Conservative.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Morehall Strawberry Tea

Morehall Conservatives' Strawberry Tea today benefitted from fantastic weather, with glorious sunshine throughout the afternoon. Approximately 30 people including the Town Mayor, former Mayoress and 3 other current or former councillors.

The successful event once again boosted local coffers, acting as a springboard for the next planned event - a Mexican Evening in October.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Coolinge House

Folkestone Town Council today objected to the latest proposals to develop the gardens of the 18th century Coolinge House. The proposals, incorporating 14 houses, entirely ignore the significance of this, one of Folkestones oldes buildings and would destroy its integrity. The proposals are overly intense, and in failing to respect Cooling House cut it off from the surrounding and equally historic Coolinge Farmhouse and Coolinge Riding School, which have formed a continuous frontage on Coolinge Lane for almost 300 years.

Moreover, the proposals for the site do not deal adequately with the traffic flows at the difficult junction beween Coolinge Lane and Paddock Close. It is questionable whether many of the protected trees on the site would be sustainable with such an intense developent, which is not in keeping with the neighbouring properties.

That the developer should seek to tie the repairs required to prevent the Grade II Listed Coolinge House from falling down to being given permission to develop the site was particularly outrageous, and is verging on blackmail.

I will continue to monitor the situation closely, and will seek an enforcement notice against the owners if they do not maintain the building in an acceptable condition.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Town Sunday & Blessing of the Fisheries

This morning Town Sunday was held at SS Mary & Eanswythe's church, at which Cllr George Bunting was confirmed as Town Mayor for the coming year at the Town Cross in the churchyard, as has been the tradition since 1313. The excellent Sermon was delivered by Prof Ken Pickering, of the United Reformed Church of which the Mayor is a member.

After a roast lunch at La Vue, there was a further procession and open air service for the Blessing of the Fisheries. Folkestone's fleet, although musch depleted as a result of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy, remains the largest on the South Coast and is an important part of town life, as it has been for millennia.

Throughout the event, councillors were robed. The events were attended by numerous dignitaries, including local MP Michael Howard, County and District Councillors and, the Speaker of the Cinque Ports (currently the Mayor of Winchelsea) and visiting Mayors from various Cinque Ports towns including New Romney, Margate, Ramsgate, Deal and Broadstairs and St Peters.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Folkestone Harbour By-Election result

The residents of Folkestone Harbour have elected Mrs Emily Sanger (Lib Dem) to represent them following the resignation due to ill health of Cllr Enid Miles (Conservative). The election was remarkable only for its particularly low turnout, which was expected coming so soon after the General Election.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Just to prove that I really am Conservative!

Who should I vote for?

Your expected outcome:

Conservative


Your actual outcome:



Labour -37

Conservative 47
Liberal Democrat -29

UKIP 37

Green 5



Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Letter to the Times

Today I had my first letter to the Times published. In it I argued that the UK should press ahead with the referendum on the EU Constitution. The French reputedly rejected it as too Anglo-Saxon, so we need to demonstrate that we don't find it Anglo-Saxon enough before our esteemed leaders start negotiations on the future direction for Europe. Also, it is inappropriate for our policy to be dictated by foreigners - our government should let us have a say on out future.

In my view, the EU should return to the idea of working as a free trade area, and should work with the WTO to achieve completely free and fair global free trade. Political and Monetary Union should be quietly forgotten by the politician who supported them in a vain attempt to write their names in the history books.

Bouverie Place Shopping Centre

Trent Developments report that the Bouverie Place Shopping Centre is now mosly let, with work due to commence this summer. This represents yet another delay to a project first proposed in 1962. However, the commercial interest makes the development sound hopeful.

Let's hope it's been worth the wait!

Folkestone Seafront

This evening new proposals for the redevelopment of the former Rotunda Amusement Park on Folkestone Seafront were presented to Folkestone Town Councillors by Trent Developments and Aukett. These mark a massive improvement on the previous scheme. The buildings will be smaller, similar in height to Marine Crescent, and less dense with clear views and passageways from the road to the sea. There will be 600 flats with underground car parking. The buildings will still be of similar design to those initially proposed, but I believe that the less dense format makes the design much more attractive. There will also be a glass fronted restaurant opposite Marine Crescent.

The view from the Leas will be enhanced by the creation of roof-top terraces for the penthouses. There will also be a leisure element to the proposal, including a 150 room 4 star hotel, 5 screen multiplex and an improved purpose-built nightclub. The leisure section will ajoin the harbour redevelopment site, which is also set to have a leisure element, which may include a marina and a casino, along with flats, cafes, bars and possibly a restoration of the ferry service.

Trent will also build a hardwood boardwalk along the seafront, which will be maintained out of the ground rent on the flats, and will extend the beach between the flats and up to the road. Also, money will be provided with a pedestrian link from the cliff top to the new development. This could be by way of refurbishing and funding the existing lift, or by providing a new lift. The latter is supported by the Folkestone Estate, but would probably lead to the closure of the 1885 lift.

Negotiations are currently taking place between Shepway and the Folkestone Estate for a renewal of the lease, with rumours suggesting that Viscount Folkestone is looking for a way to abandon the water-balanced lift, which I would strongly oppose.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Cheriton Drum n Base

Tonight the meeting of Cheriton Drum n Base confirmed the constitution and Youth Protection Policy agreed at the last meeting. We have agreed to open a bank account, and will be applying for funding in the first instance from the National Lottery Awards for All programme. We will also contact the Noise Abatement Officer at Shepway District Council to see whether they have any confiscated equipment which we may be able to use.

Monday, May 30, 2005

European Constitution

For once the French did something right. For years they've been burning our sheep and blockading out ports, but now they've turned their fire on something much more sinister: The EU.

The rejection of the EU Constitution is most certainly welcome. I am opposed in principle to written constitutions, as they take power away from our elected representatives to unelected judges. We already spend far too much on legal proceedings, so to allow the courts the final say over our daily lives would be horrendous. Moreover, the EU Constitution proposes yet more Human Rights, for the courts to uphold, without any mention of Human Responsibilities.

The EU Constitution is also poorly drafted. It is deliberately confusing and ambiguous, to prevent the man in the street from understanding it (and hopefully scaring him off questioning it). This also represents a further transfer of power to the courts, as judges decide what this nonsense actually means.

In addition, the EU Constitution goes far beyond a basic framework for the operation of the EU. It is an attempt to medal with every part of out day to day lives, which must be stopped.

It is still imperative that we hold a referendum on the treaty in the UK. The French have sent a signal to the European leaders that the constitution is too English. We need to make sure that any renegotiation does not simply turn into an excuse to bash our culture and way of life. We need to stand up and say that we object to the constitution as well, because it is too French.

Furthermore, such a rejection from the 2 ends of the spectrum will send a clear signal to the EU leadership - there cannot be a United States of Europe or a European Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, because the different peoples of Europe simply don't agree how it should be run.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Dover Road

The gas board has finally finished the roadworks which have cause disruption at the junction of Dover Road and Canterbury Road, by the skew arches. However, the road now undulates, where before it was in good condition. It would seem that heave equipment must have been kept just to the north of the Canterbury Road junction, where there is a large crater.

I will be on to the local highways unit as soon as their offices reopen after the Bank Holiday, as it clearly isn't acceptable for a private company to make a mess and expect taxpayers to pick up the bill for sorting it out.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Creative Quarter

Last night the Creative Foundation held its AGM, after which a selection of Creative Quarter buildings were open to view, with art exhibitions, a buffet and some information about the work of the Foundation both last year and in the year ahead. Of particular note was the Wedge, which is now almost completely refurbished. This formerly derelict building is now a shining beacon at the top of Tontine Street, which can only enhance the whole area. Also on view was the new florists in the Old High Street, with a magnificent window display.

The exhibition of the Foundation's work included the work on renovating the old glassworks as an art campus, and proposals to redevelop the old Tontine Street Post Office as further creative workspace, including a large expanse of glass which is set to transform the front of the building.

If the Wedge is anything to go by, the future is most certainly looking up for this run-down part of town, thanks to Roger De Haan's vision (and wallet), and the inspiration of the growing local artisan community.

Annual Meeting

Folkestone's second annual meeting, held last night on the Bayle, passed without hitch. A number of District and County Councillors also attended to report on their activities, including the newly elected Conservative County Councillor for Folkestone North East, Dick Pascoe.

The Town Centre Manager also reported on his organisations work in promoting and beautifying the town. He stressed that he is keen to work with the Town Council in order that we may better serve the needs of the town.

One member of the public also spoke, on behalf of the New Folkestone Society. He raised some important issues about the condition and maintenance of local trees, which the Town Clerk and SDC Cabinet member Cllr Hugh Barker pledged to raise with Cllr Mrs Newlands, SDC Cabinet member for the Environment.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Folkestone Town Council's new website

Folkestone Town Council finally has a website! It is not yet fully operational, but does include details of forthcoming meetings, as well as news and upcoming events. It is available at www.folkestonetc.kentparishes.gov.uk. A shorter web address will be available to link to the site once it is officially launched.

Annual Meeting

Meeting: Annual Assembly of the Town Meeting for the
Parish and Town of Folkestone

Date: 26 May 2005
Time: 7.00pm
Place: Woodward Hall, The Bayle, Folkestone

To: All Town Councillors, County and District Councillors, Kent Police and Town Centre Manager

YOU ARE HEREBY SUMMONED to attend the Folkestone Town Meeting on the date and at the time and place shown above to transact the business shown on the agenda below. The meeting will be open to the press and public.


L R Avory
Town Clerk

Prayers

1 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

2 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
To receive any declarations of either personal or prejudicial interest that Members may wish to make.

3 OPENING OF PROCEEDINGS BY THE TOWN MAYOR

4 MINUTES
Minutes of the Town Meeting 29 July 2004 previously agreed and adopted (attached). To receive the minutes of the meeting of the Folkestone Town Council held on 7th April 2005 and 27th April 2005 and to authorise the Town Mayor to sign them as a correct record.

5 TOWN MAYOR’S REPORT 2004/05


6 STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS 2004/05
The Town Council has approved the Statement of Accounts and Annual Return for 2004/05 which has been submitted to the Audit Commission (attached).

7 REPORTS BY COUNTY COUNCILLORS
County Councillors representing Folkestone will provide an update of matters and issues affecting the Town.

8 REPORTS BY DISTRICT COUNCILLORS
District Councillors (Folkestone wards) will provide an update of matters and issues affecting the Town.

9 REPORTS BY KENT POLICE AND THE TOWN CENTRE MANAGER
Kent Police and the Town Centre Manager will provide an update of matters and issues affecting the Town.

10 OPEN FORUM
To provide an opportunity for the Towns people to raise issues with their elected representatives.

DATE OF NEXT TOWN MEETING
20 April 2006 (Provisional)

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Mayor Making 2005

The Mayor Making and AGM of Folkestone Town Council held on Friday 20th May, 2005 resulted in the election of Cllr George Bunting as the first Conservative Mayor of Folkestone since 1985. His deputy will be Cllr Mrs Janet Andrews (People First). Both were elected unopposed.

The retiring mayor Cllr Mrs Ann Berry was presented with a vase engraved with the Folkestone Crest and an iscription commemotating her Mayoralty, which I presented along with Cllr Lynne Smith, following brief speeches.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Kent County Council

A stunning night for Folkestone and Hythe Conservatives saw all 6 County Counil seats in the constituency return Conservatives for the first time. Folkestone North East and Folkestone West were both Conservative gains, while majorities were increased by the Conservative incumbents in Folkestone South, Hythe and Romney Marsh and Susan Carey successfully defended the Elham Valley seat vacated by the retiring Conservative John Palmer.

The result in Folkestone West was particularly fitting as it saw the Conservative Leader of Shepway Counil oust the former Lib Dem Leader of the same authority after 14 years in the seat. Congratulations to Robert Bliss, whose election the Morehall team fought so hard to achieve.

Election Result

Last night's election saw the return of Michael Howard as our MP once again, this time with a massive 12,000 vote majority over the Lib Dem challenger to the seat. The fantastic result was the culmination of much work by Folkestone and Hythe Conservatives' activists. I thoroughly enjoyed the action, having spent much of my time in the thick of it as Chairman of the crucial Morehall Ward and Vice Chairman of the very active Young Conservatives. Thanks goes to all of those who helped to bring about this result!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Seafront Development

Folkestone Town Council has now formally objected to Trent Developments' proposals for the seafront. I believe that this was the right decision, as this prime development site lies between the picturesque harbour and the stunning Leas and Coastal Park. This exceptionsl site demands an exceptional development which could turn this into the most magnificent urban coastline in Britain and put Folkestone back at the top of the tree of seaside resorts.

Unfortunately, the proposals are for nothing short of a high-rise shanty town. The metal is designed to rust, and the wood panelling is designed to decay. Folkestone's front window should not be turned into a glorified scrapyard. We lie at the centre of the wealthiest part of Europe and surely deserve better.

The site should be redeveloped with a misture of leisure and residential property as planned, and modern architecture would not be out of place on this site, but this prime development site deserves buildings as magnificent as our coastline.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Budget 2005/2006

After hours of wrangling over the past couple of months, Folkestone Town Council's budget was finally agreed on Thursday (27th January).

The decision was not unanimous, and I was amongst those voting against what I considered to be an excessive level of tax. I had argued for fewer staff and that we should not spend money until we have developed a coherent strategy. These arguments fell on deaf ears as the Independent Liberal Democrats, Go Folkestone and the Liberal Democrats conspired to defeat the Conservatives.