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Advertisement Feature


WE DO not know whether the scheduled elections for May 6 will go ahead or be delayed. What we can say is we do not believe postponing elections is healthy for our democratic traditions, so it is imperative we do all we can to ensure these elections take place as scheduled. Local Conservatives are following guidance by not currently knocking on doors to canvass your votes or sticking leaflets through doors. Anything you receive from us will come either via Royal Mail or via social media or via self-funded articles, such as this.


Whenever the elections are held, we are delighted to confirm that we have both been selected to stand again as Conservative Party candidates in Maidstone South and Maidstone South East.


WE WILL NOT SUPPORT WHAT WE BELIEVE IS AN EXCESSIVE 5% INCREASE IN RATES


COVID-19 has affected us all to some degree but for some it has been devastat- ing and, as county councillors, we are aware of the hardship caused to families we represent. We'll always put the interests of our residents first and therefore


at this difficult time with so many families facing hardship, we have concluded a 5% increase in KCC’s rates is too much and we are unable to support it.


YOUTH PROVISION


WE KNOW the Coronavirus is having a disproportionate adverse impact on the lives of our young people, which is why we strongly support all efforts to get our schools reopened both safely and as soon as possible! We are also aware from the young people themselves of the impact this has on their emotional wellbeing, and we are committed to doing all we can to promote local services helping young people to cope with anxiety and stress.


This is why we instigated and funded the first ever YOUTH DECIDES event in Kent, when a panel of young people awarded grants totalling £10,240 to local organisations. We were delighted young people chose to prioritise projects providing support for youth mental health and emotional well-being. All of the panel’s recommendations for funding were fully supported by ourselves and we have ensured that KCC implement those decisions.


Gary and Paul will always do whatever they can to support young people in Maidstone South and South East both in the community and through our local schools.


COUNTY COUNCIL ELECTIONS IN MAY PLANNING


LOCAL residents regularly feel let down by poor planning decisions with recent over-development in the South-East Maidstone area being a prime example. Many residents may be aware of the dire situation at Church Lane, Otham, where, despite strong local objections, an inappropriate development was permitted after appeal.


Gary Cooke worked hard with local residents and parish councils to oppose this development, believing the surrounding road network was unsafe, a view supported by the statutory Highway Authority. Unfortunately, the planning inspector ignored the views of the residents, the County Councillor and the Highway Authority.


We believe that it is vitally important the council makes its objections firmer and clearer from the outset to ensure future planning decisions are not implemented in this way. The costs of getting planning wrong are far too high, and it is simply unfair on local residents to continue to be ignored while having to live with the consequences.


LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE


LARGE parts of Maidstone are already snarled up with excessive traffic, affecting local residents with longer journey times and heavy pollution. This has grown worse over many years as car usage has increased and new developments have sprung up. But the road network has largely failed to keep pace.


Sadly, the situation on our roads isn’t the only concern. In many parts of Maidstone there is a real issue with important amenities. Many residents struggle to get registered with a GP nearby and too many children are unable to get places in their preferred schools, the impacts of which can be devastating on families.


Despite these problems, developers set aside large pots of funding specifically to provide infrastructure improvements. It is therefore mind-boggling in many cases this money remains unspent due to excessive bureaucracy and red tape. This cannot continue. The solution is simple, firstly local councils must work together and with local communities in an open and fair way to ensure that the money gets spent in a constructive way, and secondly it is vitally important Maidstone Borough Council examines all future developments on the basis of the improvement they can bring to the surrounding areas, ensuring that much needed infrastructure is included at an early stage.


Maidstone South East Conservatives Maidstone South &


Contact Details; Gary.Cooke@kent.gov.uk Paul.Cooper@kent.gov.uk 19


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