• Kurt Stephens
    Article: Jul 19, 2018

    There is no easy way to say this: our friend, member and former Councillor Kurt Stephens was killed in a motorcycle accident this afternoon in France.

    Kurt was on his way with a number of other members of his Motorcycle Club to a weekend in Belgium. We understand he died in a multi-vehicle accident just after they had left Eurotunnel and onto the motorway in France.

  • Operation Stack / lorries
    Article: Jul 19, 2018
    By Gary Fuller in Folkestone Herald - Talking Points

    We've seen it reported that the Government has put aside sums of money to prepare for a no deal Brexit. Some of that money is to be spent on stockpiling food. That's how serious Brexit could be for Britain. So serious we need to stockpile food.

    Folkestone and Hythe will be at the rough end of any fallout from Brexit. We have some of the most deprived wards in the country, coupled with being reliant on some of the most important road and rails routes to and from the continent.

  • Water leaking from road (The Undercliffe)
    Article: Jul 18, 2018

    As many local people have noticed, there is water running from the road at The Undercliffe, Sandgate. The water running down to and into Sandgate High Street, and also beginning to run into the neighbouring Chichester Hall. The water has been running off and on for months, but has recently restarted: it's doing considerable damage to the surface of the road which is also now breaking up.

  • Rob at CH
    Article: Jul 13, 2018

    Vast swathes of the Kent countryside would be turned into lorry parks under a no deal Brexit, according to a plan presented to Kent County Council.

    At a full council meeting on Thursday, a paper was put before councillors by Conservative Leader Paul Carter, which suggested concreting over large areas of the countryside in an effort to avoid gridlock if customs checks were imposed at ports.

    Checking every lorry passing through Dover would slow freight traffic to a crawl and lead to permanent Operation Stack, necessitating acres of extra lorry parking.

    Other impacts of a disastrous no deal Brexit were discussed, including shortages of skilled workers and the introduction of tariffs that could see Kent firms going bust.

    The Liberal Democrats, the official opposition on Kent County Council, tabled an amendment calling for the council to tell the government that a no deal Brexit must be avoided at all costs.

    The party also called for a People's Vote, so the public can decide whether to accept a proposed Brexit deal. The Conservative leadership blocked any debate and instructed councillors to vote against the Lib Dem proposals.

    Liberal Democrat Leader Rob Bird told the council: "A bad Brexit deal for Britain will be a disastrous deal for Kent. No-one wants our roads turned into lorry parks. That is what will happen if customs checks start up, which is a real risk.

    "The government talks about using technology to fix it, but that does not exist yet and who knows if it ever will.

    "Today the opposition at Kent County Council fought for the people of Kent's interests to be put first. It is appalling that Conservatives prioritised papering over their party divisions. Kent deserves better than this."

    Speaking at the meeting, Economic Development Spokesman Antony Hook told the council: "No deal Brexit means loss of tariff-free access to the EU for Kent firms.

    "Tariffs are more than 30% on agricultural products and 19% on beverages, and that would put Kent firms out of business.

    "A no-deal Brexit would also mean UK products will no longer be licenced or accredited for sale in the EU, which would crush Kent's pharmaceutical and chemical firms.

    "We have to tell the government that Kent cannot have a no deal Brexit."

    Explaining why a People's Vote is important, Cllr Hook said: "If it's a good deal, people will endorse it and that will strengthen it, but If it's a bad deal they will be angry if not allowed to reject it.

    "People may ask where is the £350m per week for the NHS? Why haven't our wages improved? Why did the threat of Turkey joining turn out to be false?

    "They may consider that we have, in fact, a better economy and a safer place in the world as part of a strong, united Europe. When we all find out what the exit deal actually is, we owe people the chance of a fully informed say for the first time."

  • Thamelink Train
    Article: Jul 13, 2018

    Liberal Democrat county councillors have called on the KCC Cabinet Member to seek reassurance from the Department for Transport that the timetabling problems of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) will not result in any further delay in bringing the Thameslink service to Maidstone.

    Thameslink services should already be running from Maidstone to Central London. Disappointingly, the County Town has already been shunted to the back of the line with services delayed to December 2019. Any further delay would be totally unacceptable to the poorly served Maidstone rail users.

  • Rubbish Bin
    Article: Jul 12, 2018
    By Gary Fuller in Folkestone Herald - Talking Points

    Littering isn't just dropping the odd sweet wrapper. It covers everything from dog poo to fly-tipping. Littering is not looking after your environment. Locally there are two issues. We don't do enough to encourage and support responsible disposal of waste and what enforcement action takes place seems to be focussed on parking.

  • MOD consultation map on Shorncliffe Garrison site development
    Article: Jul 12, 2018

    Taylor Wimpey began acquiring the Ministry of Defence Shorncliffe Garrison site in 2015. Outline planning permission for a residential development of up to 1,200 homes with a nature conservation area, improved recreation facilities and a new primary school on this site was granted by Shepway District Council, now Folkestone and Hythe District Council, in December 2015. Full planning permission for the initial phases of development at St Martin's Plain and The Stadium was also granted at the same time, and those phases now have a significant number of occupied homes.

  • Walking in boots
    Article: Jul 6, 2018

    The Kent County Council draft Rights of Way Improvement Plan details how they will develop the public rights of way network in Kent over the next 10 years.

    They want to hear your views to ensure that the draft plan will meet the needs and expectations of Kent residents.

    The consultation runs from 20 June - 12 September 2018.

  • Gary Fuller
    Article: Jul 5, 2018
    By Gary Fuller in Folkestone Herald - Talking Points

    There are three issues preventing young people from engaging in politics and elections. These are opportunity, trust and access. Young people are denied the opportunity to vote between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, for example. The vote should be extended to this group so they can vote at the same age at which they can contribute to society.

  • Tim Prater at Canada Day 2018
    Article: Jul 2, 2018

    Tim Prater was delighted to represent Sandgate Parish Council on Friday 29th June at Shorncliffe Cemetery at the annual Canada Day ceremony.

    As Deputy Chair of Sandgate Parish Council, Tim joined the main parade and laid a wreath on behalf of the Parish at the main memorial.

    The Canada Day Service was first held in 1919 and commemorates the 296 Canadian soldiers who died during WWI and are buried in the Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. It is marked each year by a service and the attendance of local school children laying their own floral tributes on the graves of soldiers.

  • Lynne Featherstone
    Article: Jun 29, 2018

    Responding to the news that the Supreme Court has ruled that mixed-sex couples should be able to enter into civil partnerships, Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece said:

    "The Liberal Democrats are delighted by the Supreme Court's decision to rule against the Government and ensure that mixed-sex couples will be able to form civil partnerships.

  • Gary Fuller
    Article: Jun 29, 2018
    By Gary Fuller in Folkestone Herald - Talking Points

    It is patently obvious that the voting age for all UK elections and referenda should be reduced to sixteen. Young people not only have the right to influence decision makers, but they are also the group that suffers the most significant long-term effects of the political decisions that are made in our country.

  • Southeastern Train
    Article: Jun 29, 2018
    By Gary Fuller in Folkestone Herald - Talking Points

    The biggest improvement we can make to the local rail network is to put customers in control. The recent timetable changes have shown us just how out of touch the rail companies are with the needs of their customers. There's various ways we can do this.

    Firstly we need to create a rail ombudsman with real power to act on behalf of customers. The ombudsman will need the power to offer compensation to customers, as well as the power to fine and sanction rail companies that fail to offer excellent service.

  • Flyposting on street furniture
    Article: Jun 27, 2018

    Another day, another business decides that rules are not for them, and that they'll advertise their business or event on posters on street furniture somewhere in Folkestone and Hythe.

    Flyposting is illegal and, especially when done onto lampposts in the middle of the road, dangerous too. Seeing a poster is MUCH less important than seeing whats coming the other way down the road to drivers and pedestrians alike.

  • Folkestone Harbour Cycle Company Townie Bicycle (Folkestone Harbour Cycle Company Townie Bicycle)
    Article: Jun 18, 2018

    Having written about the launch of the new click2cycle service covering Folkestone, Sandgate and Hythe last week, I've been prompted to mention that Folkestone Harbour Bicycle Hire has been operating from their base near the Folkestone Harbour Arm since 2017.

    They rent adult bikes from 2 hours up to full days, and also offer a range of child trailers and "tag a long" child trailer bikes.

  • Lucy Salek and Lewisham East by-election result
    Article: Jun 15, 2018

    We achieved an amazing result in Lewisham East - a 19% increase in our vote share!

    Thank you so much to absolutely everyone that came to Lewisham to help us here, or made calls from home, and thank you so much to everyone who helped fund my campaign.

    The last time we achieved such a big swing from Labour was in the 2004 election in Hartlepool - the year after Iraq and when Blair was at his most unpopular.

  • Tim Prater
    Article: Jun 13, 2018

    Folkestone and Hythe District Council have published details of an "Urgent Decision" to purchase various pieces of land in the Otterpool Park area without discussion by Councillors.

    Former Shepway District Councillor, and former Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Tim Prater has asked why this decision is being taken as an "Urgent Decision" rather than being discussed and decided by Councillors. Tim says:

  • Roadworks sign
    Article: Jun 12, 2018

    Kent Highways report that it will be necessary to close Sandgate Road, Folkestone from 14 June 2018 for up to 2 Days.

    The road will be closed between the junctions of Shakespeare Terrace and West Terrace.

    The alternative route is via Shakespeare Terrace, The Leas and West Terrace.

    This is to enable carriageway maintenance to be carried out by Kent County Council.

  • Bicycle brake (CC BY-SA 3.0,
    Article: Jun 12, 2018

    A new "Pay As You Go" or monthly subscription cycling service click2cycle serving Folkestone, Sandgate and Hythe launches on 16th June.

    To rent a bike, you need to download an app to your smartphone. You then set up an account, sign in, and find your nearest bike using the app. You then use the app to unlock your bike from the collection point at pick up, and again when you drop it back off. Pay As You Go rental cost £6 for the first hour, but a variety of price options are available.

  • Chani Sanger outside To Let Shop in Guildhall Street
    Article: Jun 8, 2018

    Long term Folkestone resident Chani Sanger has challenged Council Leader David Monk over the number of vacant shop units blighting Guildhall Street and other areas of Folkestone. Although there has always been a number of empty units in the area, a recent visit showed it's worse than ever, and action is now long overdue.

  • Rob Bird
    Article: Jun 7, 2018
    By Rob Bird, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at KCC

    The Government's latest proposal for a backstop 'Temporary Customs Arrangement' post Brexit does nothing to help maintain the continued frictionless movement of freight through Kent and the Channel Ports after Brexit.

    The proposal is focussed almost entirely on the desire to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This is understandably a red line in the Brexit negotiations; even so, the proposal may be rejected by EU negotiators in Brussels.

  • Article: Jun 6, 2018

    The FTA has identified eight priorities to Keep Britain Trading:

    1. Urgent confirmation of the terms and duration of the transition/implementation period
    2. Frictionless trading arrangements during the transition/implementation period
    3. Continued access for UK companies to the benefits of EU agreements with third countries throughout the transition period
    4. Urgent clarification regarding the UK's customs classification system, duty rates and VAT arrangements to be used after Brexit in the absence of an agreement
    5. Arrangements ensuring that conformity, sanitary and phytosanitary checks can take place at the point of production rather than at the border
    6. Continued unrestricted numbers of vehicles able to cross the UK-EU border
    7. Continued recognition of vocational driving licences and qualifications, such as Driver Certificate of Professional Competence
    8. Ability to retain EU workers currently employed by the UK logistics sector and continued access to EU logistics workers employed in the UK on a seasonal basis, but not permanent residents in the UK, to cope with peak demand
  • Chani Sanger at Folkestone Bus Station
    Article: Jun 6, 2018

    Folkestone Lib Dem Campaigner Chani Sanger has written to Stagecoach asking them to take action to improve the look of Folkestone Bus Station and enhance our environment.

    Chani says:

    "At Folkestone Bus Station the wall next to the old kiosk is in disrepair and needs fixing up. The slabs are still nearby - it's a cheap fix, and a little work there would make a real difference to the look of the area.

  • Article: May 31, 2018

    Sites with dangerous levels of air pollution have increased by 25 per cent in just one year according to figures released by Kent County Council.

    At May's full council meeting, Cllr Antony Hook, Kent Liberal Democrats' spokesperson for economic development, asked Cllr Peter Oakford, Cabinet Member for strategic commissioning and public health, how many locations in the county have failed to meet recommended or legal standards of air quality levels.

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