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  • Article: Sep 27, 2020

    In a policy motion adopted today at the Liberal Democrats' Autumn Conference, the Party has warned that the Government's planning proposals will "disempower" councils and allow developers to "run roughshod" over local communities' wishes.

    The motion lays bare the risks of the Government's proposals, which the Party argue amount to a Government "power grab" that will reduce investment in affordable housing, damage public scrutiny of planning decisions, and potentially undermine climate commitments.

  • Welcome to Kent - Lorry Park
    Article: Sep 27, 2020

    "The Government's proposal to require hauliers heading for Dover or the Channel Tunnel to obtain a Kent Access Permit has caused much amusement", says Rob Bird, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at County Hall. "But it's not a joke. It is another ill-conceived bureaucratic burden which will affect hauliers and businesses throughout the County."

  • Napier Barracks, Folkestone
    Article: Sep 25, 2020

    Folkestone and Hythe District Council have hosted a question time session on Friday 25th September with many of the people involved in the Napier Barracks migrant processing camp, including the Home Office. Speakers included:

    Although it certainly did not answer all the questions that I and other residents have asked regarding the centre, it did answer some of them. A Q&A paper following on from the session will be posted soon on the District Council website.

  • Standing water on development site
    Article: Sep 23, 2020

    A proposal to build 8 houses on a plot of land on Romney Avenue in Sandgate was given planning permission last night at Folkestone and Hythe's Development Control Committee.

    The proposal was opposed by ward Councillor Tim Prater after discussions with a number of local residents, who said that while he accepted it was better than a previously rejected application for the site, there were still too many questions that remained unanswered.

  • Shepway Civic Centre
    Article: Sep 23, 2020

    Yesterday Folkestone and Hythe dirtect Council (F&HDC) published an article on Facebook suggesting a move from the Civic Centre in Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone.

    "We are to investigate a possible move from the Civic Centre as a way of reducing our impact on the environment."

    So, what's the story? Has a decision been made? How much will this all cost?

  • Napier Barracks, Folkestone
    Article: Sep 18, 2020

    Earlier this week, I co-signed letters alongside the Leader of Folkestone and Hythe District Council David Monk and Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins to both Chris Philp Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Home Secretary Priti Patel demanding answers on the Government decision to open a migrant site at Napier Barracks at Shorncliffe.

  • Article: Sep 18, 2020

    Each year, Folkestone and Hythe District Councillors get £3,000 of grant funding that they can use to support organisations, activities and projects that benefit the area.

    One of the events that Gary Fuller and I backed with grant funding in 2019-20 was the Folkestone Channel Triathlon, which we were delighted to see go ahead.

  • Napier Barracks, Folkestone
    Article: Sep 17, 2020
    In Remarks to Sandgate Parish Council Meeting, 15th September

    You may also have heard very recently that the Home Office contacted the District Council last Thursday afternoon (10th September) to explain they had plans, previously never mentioned or discussed, to house a migrant processing centre at Napier Barracks.

    I am incredulous that they can have failed to consult, or even notify of plans to open such a centre, and yet are planning on doing so on Monday 21st September.

  • Princes Parade
    Article: Sep 17, 2020

    At an online extraordinary meeting of Folkestone and Hythe Council on 16th September, the Council considered the adoption of the Local Plan.

    The motion passed 17 for, 12 against and 1 abstention.

    Although this is an important document to the Council, and a tool to limit uncontrolled development in the area, I was not able to support it, and neither did my colleague Gary Fuller. Essentially as part of the plan a number of sites are indentified and listed as suitable for development under certain criteria. One of those listed was Princes Parade, and on that site, and some others, we have a fundamental opposition to the development of the site. I voted against the Plan at Cabinet, and I did so again at Full Council.

  • Folkestone and Hythe District Council logo (Folkestone and Hythe District Council logo)
    Article: Sep 15, 2020

    Chris Philp MP

    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State,

    Home Office, 2 Marsham Street,

    London SW1P 4DF

    14th September, 2020

    Dear Minister

    We are writing to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the manner in which Folkestone & Hythe District Council appears to have been disregarded in any decision-making to house asylum seekers at the Napier Barracks in Folkestone. To add insult to injury we have now been advised that the decision has been made and no-one has had the courtesy to advise the council and its members.

  • Gary Fuller
    Article: Sep 15, 2020

    The Liberal Democrats are calling for an extension of the Government's furlough scheme until the jobs market is "ready to bounce back" in the wake of "staggering job losses" across the country.

    With 7.5% of people now relying on Universal Credit in Folkestone and Hythe, the Party claims that extending furlough would help "stop this crisis getting even worse" and protect jobs for the future.

  • Shepway Civic Centre
    Article: Sep 7, 2020

    Ahead of the Government's motion on the Local Government Boundary Commission, Liberal Democrat Local Government spokesperson Tim Farron said:

    "The Chair of the Local Government Boundary Commissions looks like they're going to have a lot on their plate. Just last week the Tories proposed abolishing nearly every council and replacing them with larger, less accountable, 'super-councils.'

  • Council Housing
    Article: Aug 28, 2020

    On Thursday, I asked F&HDC Cabinet Member for Housing David Godfrey and his Housing Team to clarify the current position on Fire Risk Assessments in Folkestone & Hythe District Council's blocks of flats, and how the the remedial work that those inspecitions have flagged up, are going.

    In an email update this evening, Councillors have been told:

  • Council Housing
    Article: Aug 28, 2020
    By Tim Prater

    Following the decision of Folkestone and Hythe District Council (and the other three partner Councils) to close East Kent Housing and return to direct control of their own housing stock, work has been progressing fast.

    The Council will be taking back direct control from 1 October, and in the run-up and ongoing has started publishing a stakeholders bulletin with progress.

  • Ed Davey - Leader of the Liberal Democrats
    Article: Aug 27, 2020

    These are challenging times. Tens of thousands of families have lost loved ones and millions of people are worried they may lose their jobs. The country was already heading in the wrong direction. Now the need for change is urgent and essential.

    As the Liberal Democrats' new leader, I will make sure that we are listening to you and leading the fight for a fairer country. I want you to join me in that fight.

    I love this party and our values of fairness, compassion and hard work. I want to help build a country that represents those values. A country that not only claps for carers but also gives them the money they need to do their jobs.

    I know how difficult life as a carer is. When I was 12, I became a young carer to my terminally-ill mum. My dad had passed away, so my brothers and I looked after mum every day for the last year and a half of her life.

    My experience is far from unique. There are millions of people across the country now caring for loved ones. But that experience helped shape me and my politics. It is what inspires my vision of a fairer and more caring country.

    If you share that vision and those values, then please join the Liberal Democrats today and help us change Britain for the better.


  • Black taxi (Vauxford / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0))
    Article: Aug 21, 2020

    Folkestone and Hythe District Council (F&HDC) are consulting on our revised Hackney Carriage and Private Hire (Taxi) Licensing Policy. The current policy was last amended in 2012.

    The policy sets out F&HDC's approach to licensing of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade within the District. It serves as a guide to prospective applicants, licence holders and decision makers.

  • Folkestone Garden of Remembrance, Sandgate Road
    Article: Aug 13, 2020
    By Folkestone Town Council

    Following a recent meeting with the Mayor, Veterans Associations and Cadet groups I wanted to update you with regard to what has been agreed for the remainder of Remembrance events in Folkestone during 2020.

    The decisions made have not been undertaken lightly and as a Town Council we have had to consider the following:

  • FHDC Ward Grant Application 2020
    Article: Aug 9, 2020

    Folkestone and Hythe District Councillors have up to £3,000 per Councillor they can agree as ward grants during the course of a year.

    New for 2020 the forms and guidance notes to make an application to a Councillor are online at:


  • Rob at CH
    Article: Jul 25, 2020

    Some thoughts by Rob Bird, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Kent County Council

    Earlier this month Minister of State, Simon Clarke, stated that the Conservative Government is pressing ahead with the publication of its Devolution White Paper in the Autumn. The Minister stated that the Government is aiming for 'many more elected mayors and more unitary councils following in the footsteps of Dorset, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.'

  • Rob at Dover
    Article: Jul 19, 2020

    Minister admits that Government is planning for significant disruption in Kent at the end of the Brexit transition period

    Earlier this week the Government completed the purchase of the so-called "MOJO" customs clearance site and lorry holding area next to Jct. 10a on the M20 near Ashford. The Government's plans first came to light last Friday week. They were previously kept secret from Ashford Borough Council and local residents, although the Cabinet Member has confirmed that Kent CC was aware of the Government's proposals.

  • Tim Prater with a Seagull Proof Waste Sack
    Article: Jul 17, 2020

    Seagull proof sacks are now available to households in Sandgate (mainly the High Street / Esplanade areas and roads off) who have "purple bag" refuse collections. Stop the purple bags being pecked apart and waste pulled everywhere by putting your bags in the sack on collection days.

    Full details of how qualifiying households can apply for their (one!) free sack are at https://sandgatepc.org.uk/2020/07/17/seagull-proof-sacks-for-refuse-collections-now-available-in-sandgate/

  • Antony Hook at CH
    Article: Jul 17, 2020

    Kent Liberal Democrat councillor Antony Hook has asked Conservative-run Kent County Council to urgently clarify its approach to awarding big contracts.

    At a meeting this morning of the county's Environment & Transport Committee, Mr Hook challenged Conservative Cabinet Member for the Environment Susan Carey to include green requirements when contracts are awarded to supply services to the county.

  • Antony Hook in Kent County Councl Chamber
    Article: Jul 16, 2020

    Liberal Democrats, the largest opposition party on Kent County Council, today put forward a motion against racism.

    The Liberal Democrat motion said:

    "This Council:

    1. a) is mindful of the recent death of George Floyd in the United States and of the demonstrations that followed;
    2. b) is aware of the depth of public concern expressed during recent weeks in Britain about ingrained institutional racism directed against non-white persons; and
    3. c) is conscious of the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on black and minority ethnic residents.
  • Something is Wrong on the Internet cartoon (From xkcd: https://xkcd.com/386/)
    Article: Jul 16, 2020

    In early June, after massive issues at the Lower Leas Coastal Park coming back out of lockdown (as in previous summers) and after ongoing and lobbying from me and others, a number of changes were made to the Lower Leas Coastal Park terms of use, including the Banning of BBQs, new bins, diversionary signage and overnight closure of one of the car parks to reduce the impact on local residents.

  • Kent Downs fields / flowers (Clem Rutter, Rochester, Kent. / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/))
    Article: Jul 16, 2020

    The Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a nationally protected landscape and home to some of the most enchanting countryside in Britain. The Kent Downs covers about a quarter of the County of Kent focusing on the North Downs and the Greensand Ridge, stretching from the White Cliffs of Dover to the Surrey and London borders. Within Folkestone and Hythe District the AONB is predominantly found to the north of the district.

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