• Final Say ballot
    Article: Sep 13, 2018
    By Tony Clayton

    Sevenoaks Liberal Democrats were on the streets on Saturday, with people of other parties and none, to find out what people think of the government’s Brexit plans.

    When we did this six months ago we found many people opposed to the ‘Hard Brexit’ then on offer, but no clear majority on the way forward.

  • The Vine - Sevenoaks
    Article: Sep 10, 2018
    By Tony Clayton and Merilyn Canet

    Sevenoaks & Swanley Liberal Democrats comment on Sevenoaks Local Plan, calling for:

    - review of the governments housing targets for Sevenoaks, as the international situation changes

    - recognition that any real increase in housing is only possible with better transport

    - objections to overdevelopment which would overwhelm some of our villages

    - more focus on community housing developments for the rising numbers of older people

    - more affordable homes for those who work in Sevenoaks, including social rented housing

    - real action rather than warm words on safer streets, air pollution, tackling speeding traffic and encouraging walking and cycling

    - action to cater for thousands of extra school students who will change Sevenoaks in the next ten years

    - recognition that improving the environment in Sevenoaks communities as attractive places to live, work and visit drives our economy. Our economy isn't limited by environmental standards; it depends on them.

    Constraints

    The main constraint on Sevenoaks District Council in its plan is the artificial government target for housing numbers. Changes in the economic and social pressures on different communities present real risks to the plan. The role of international workers in the London economy which Sevenoaks serves, and in local industry and services is high, and the impact of leaving the EU will be significant. It is therefore vital that the targets are reviewed early in the life of the plan.

    In-migration to Sevenoaks depends critically on transport links to London for employment for residents. The rail links on which many workers depend,are at full capacity, with no new investment planned beyond limited new services via Otford and Swanley on Thameslink, promised for 2018 but not yet delivered.

    Significant increases in housing must be conditional on new rail capacity delivered on the Darenth Valley line, improvements on the West Kent Mainline through Sevenoaks and from Swanley during the plan period.

    The other key constraint is the Green Belt and AONBs which gives the District its special character. We accept that some brownfeld areas may need to be used for new purposes. However, 'Exceptional Circumstances' Greenbelt sites should not have to deliver such a high proportion of the total number of homes, 6,800 out of 13,400 - over half.

    As a high proportion of additional residents are forecast to be retired people, there should be greater emphasis on attractive, higher density community / co-housing sites (like Rockdale in Sevenoaks), encouraging their development at the heart of existing communities. This would support the sustainability of our town and village centres, and help grow the already vital contribution of older and retired people to their communities. More efficient use of land, and of the housing stock, must be central to the plan, with roles for housing associations better defined.

    Where 'Exceptional Circumstances' sites are included in the plan there must be clear evidence that social and transport infrastructure will be developed to support them. More important, they must not be so large that the developments overwhelm the communities around them. The proposals at Pedham Place and in Westerham fail both these tests, and should not be included in their current form.

    The major developments at Edenbridge and Swanley are also challenging; to be accepted these need clear resolution of transport and social infrastructure needs. The total for developments in Halstead also run the risk of overwhelming the local community, and the access links.

    Major development proposed around the quarries in north Sevenoaks needs to be limited to avoid impinging on Seal and Kemsing, and to safeguard the function of the Green Belt separating settlements. Seal Parish Council make the point that neither the draft Local Plan nor Tarmac acknowledge that existing mineral conditions on the quarry site require restoration and public access for recreation, without the need for enabling development, This omission requires correction, to make absolutely sure that funding generated by new development contributes to new infrastructure, and is not diverted for restoration which the site owners are already required to carry out.

  • IMG_1219 cropped
    Article: Sep 6, 2018
    By Dr Merilyn Canet - Sevenoaks Town & District Councillor

    Britain is stuck in the dark ages on drugs policy, while other countries are taking a more enlightened approach. In Portugal, after resistance to decriminalisation, it's agreed across the political spectrum. In the United States, more states are moving towards regulating cannabis. The Liberal Government in Canada is legislating for a regulated market.

  • The union flag flying next to the EU flag.
    Article: Sep 3, 2018
    By Tom Brake

    The Government have refused to guarantee that MPs will see the full impact analysis of a no-deal Brexit before the final vote on departure from the EU.

    The Government are clearly losing the plot.

    Refusing to show MPs the full damage a no-deal Brexit would inflict on our country makes a mockery of the discredited mantra 'Taking Back Control'.

  • Krish and Merilyn Canet at the site of 'New Farningham
    Article: Sep 1, 2018

    In a seat where we had not stood for election in over a decade, Liberal Democrats this week started on the road back.

    Despite being trolled by the Tories as 'irrelevant' during the campaign, the result showed that Lib Dems are the main challengers to Conservatives in this part of Kent. Labour came third in all three villages covered by the District Council ward.

  • Alan Bullion by Market House
    Article: Aug 30, 2018
    By Alan Bullion

    This is a real issue, as the Gambling Comission's recent survey of 11 to 16 year olds showed. They found that:
    12% of 11-16 year olds had spent their own money gambling in the past week
    The most common forms of gambling are fruit machines (4%), private bets with friends (3%) and National Lottery scratchcards (3%)
    Young people who had gambled spent an average of £10 on gambling in the week

  • Final Say
    Article: Aug 24, 2018

    Who should get the final say on the Brexit deal?


    ❌ The Government
    ❌ Politicians
    ✔️ You


    Agree? Add your name ▶ www.libdems.org.uk/exit-brexit


    Website URL
http://www.libdems.org.uk/exit-brexit

    The Brexit deal will affect your future. So you should have the final say, not the politicians.

  • Tony Clayton in Bayham Rd
    Article: Aug 22, 2018
    By Tony Clayton

    Some politicians may have decided that the environment matters less than picking quarrels with our neighbours, or starting trade wars, but fortunately people haven't. As forests burn from Greece to California in yet another year for record temperatures, and plastic chokes our oceans, the reaction of most in our communities is that this needs fixing.