'Medway’s Conservative Council in Chaos' say Liberal Democrats
By John Castle/Stuart Bourne/Alan Wells Medway Liberal Democrats
*photos by Martin Rose/Medway Liberal Democrats
Medway Liberal Democrats are shocked by the complete incompetence shown by Medway's Conservative administration as it handles the unveiling of the draft Local Plan. What should have been a formality of beginning the consultation period for the draft Local Plan during the full council meeting scheduled for the 7th October, but it was turned into complete chaos as the administration pulled the item at the 11th hour.
It has now been over ten years since the last plan ended in 2011, and since then predatory developers have swooped in and used this opportunity to get planning permission for completely inappropriate housing that doesn't help Medway's residents. We have had ten years of our town centres decaying and falling into ruin because they have no strategic plan for their future. We have had 10 years of not having measures in place that can help meet the reduction of CO2 emissions we desperately need to reverse climate change. And with this latest mess caused by the conservative administration, who knows when we will get a plan in place for Medway.
John Castle, Chair of Medway Liberal Democrats said 'On one hand I'm glad this draft of the plan has been pulled. The closure of Chatham Docks is bad for Medway Council and bad for Medway residents and would damage Medway's economy, the council should drop it from an future draft. However this process has been totally bungled by the Tory leadership, who have been aware of a potential backlash against the closure for months. Instead of listening and working with others, Cllr Jarrett has tried to force his will on us and even members of his own party. That's not how you lead in a democracy.'
Medway Liberal Democrats have been calling for two years for the land at Chatham Docks to be designated as employment land. We have issued a number of statements about our concerns over decisions at Chatham Docks, Deangate and the infrastructure requirements, transport and sustainability, with the threat to 1,400 high skilled jobs. We strongly urge the Council to give assurance that the local plan protects jobs and apprenticeships at the Docks and to guarantee a firm commitment to protect the long-term future of the Docks. Liberal Democrats are calling for the land to be protected for employment use only, to close the Docks would be a body blow for Medway.
Medway Liberal Democrats believe that this current embarrassing event is symbolic of a council administration that wants to bully its own council and residents into following its leadership's will. Therefore we are calling on Cllr Alan Jarrett to immediately apologise to the people of Medway for the further delay to the local plan and to resign his position as leader of Medway Council. Even though it's impossible to please everyone, hopefully with a new leader we can finally get a plan that is best for the whole of Medway.