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downsmail.co.uk MAIDSTONE SOUTH & SOUTH EAST NEWS AND VIEWS


Firstly, many thanks to all those people who took the time to contact us following our first article in the September edition of the Downs Mail. It was also gratifying to see such a positive response to what we are trying to do — which is to reach out in new and innovative ways to the electorate of Maidstone South and Maidstone South East with news and views to keep you informed of what we are doing as your county councillors.


One thing that doesn't seem to have been universally welcomed are the new pop up cycle lanes. We both strongly support the objectives of active travel plans but it would seem that due to the nature of this funding received from central government, that KCC operated a very accelerated delivery programme and (forgive the pun) but corners were maybe cut that should not have been. As a member of the scrutiny committee, Gary has already been in touch with the chairman and has agreed that KCC will have an in-depth look at how the decisions regarding pop-up cycle lanes were arrived at and review the levels of consultation involved to establish what could, and maybe should, have been done better.


Something that certainly seems to unite us is the concern that many of us share regarding housing numbers and the impact that has on our lives.


Maidstone’s historic response has always seemed inclined towards more and more development. We were pleased to be instrumental in instigating a full debate among our Conservative colleagues on the County Council which resulted in unanimous condemnation of the governments proposed revisions for assessing housing need. As a result, a letter co-signed by every single Conservative County Councillor has been sent to our parliamentary colleagues requesting an urgent rethink!


Having somewhat struggled with the effects of a malevolent algorithm in education, we seem to be now facing a second mutant calculation that penalises districts that have historically pursued high levels of development. The more housing you allowed — the more that is required of you. Sadly as we know, Maidstone’s approach was to encourage development in pursuit of financial incentives, the New Homes Bonus which was spent on vanity projects.


We both welcome the news that Helen Grant will lead a delegation of Kent’s Conservative MPs to put our case to Government and we look forward to changes being announced, which also has the support of Helen Whately.


With all best wishes, Paul & Gary Maidstone South & Maidstone South East Conservatives Contact Details; Gary.Cooke@kent.gov.uk Paul.Cooper@kent.gov.uk


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