News from British and Canadian Conservatives

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.

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