• Councillors at work in The Lakes
    Article: Nov 16, 2018

    Councillors from all parties joined local residents at the weekend to sweep up autumn leaves, clear paths, and cut back the undergrowth in Bradbourne Lakes.

    On Saturday morning they shifted piles of leaves and the tree branches which had blocked the waterways - causing floods in last week's heavy rain.

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    Article: Nov 13, 2018
    By Richard Streatfield

    The short answer is no. But what we spend needs to be spent much better.

    The truth is that the Defence budget has a Brexit shaped hole. The biggest cost in defence, after skilled professionals, is equipment. In the vast range of investments needed three items stand out; the new aircraft carriers, planes required to fly from them, and replacement for the Trident missile system.

  • Tony Clayton in Bayham Rd
    Article: Nov 13, 2018
    By Tony Clayton, Sevenoaks Town Councillor.

    The revolt of the entire Johnson family (Boris, Jo, sister Rachel, and dad Stanley) shows how much trouble the government's Brexit plan is in.

    Jo Johnson represents Orpington, which like Sevenoaks was split down the middle at the 2016 referendum. Now he sees that the future on offer from the government's negotiations is so far from Leave promises that to enact it would be a travesty of democracy. A poorer and weaker Britain isn't what anyone wants.

  • Merilyn version 2
    Article: Nov 8, 2018
    By Merilyn Canet

    Our GP Medical Services are under increasing pressure now. GPs have organised to manage resources better but have difficulty recruiting suitably skilled people.

    It is hard to replace retiring doctors with new young qualified people. Sevenoaks is a high cost housing area and salaries are similar across the UK for NHS GPs. We have shortages of skilled nurses and other key support workers for similar reasons.

  • Tony Clayton in Bayham Rd
    Article: Oct 26, 2018
    By Tony Clayton

    This is an important question, and the media often mixes up two completely separate issues. Refugees and migrants are different. Far right agitators in Europe, and UKIP here, have deliberately confused them. That's a dangerous thing to do.


    The refugee system isn't designed to benefit any government or country, but to help people fleeing war and persecution. It's about protection for individuals - as citizens of the world.

  • IainPorter
    Article: Oct 25, 2018
    By Iain Porter

    Sevenoaks District has the fourth highest number of million-pound properties in the country outside London, while 4,700 children here are living in poverty. As a community, we shouldn't accept this.

    Two thirds of children in poverty are in working families, trapped by low pay, insecure jobs and rising costs. Our social security safety net should support work and ensure that no one is left unable to afford the essentials.

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    Article: Oct 20, 2018
    By Ed Waite

    Sevenoaks is a victim of its own success. It is a beautiful town, with good shops and entertainment, great schools and a relatively quick and easy commute to London, by train or coach. It is because the long distance commute on public transport to London is so good that many of the problem arise. These include the lack of affordable housing and traffic jams.

  • /wp-content/uploads/2017/04/sevvine-300x163.jpg
    Article: Oct 17, 2018

    Our submissions on the Local Plan are now on the District Council website. But they are much easier to read here!

    So here goes .........

    Sevenoaks & Swanley Liberal Democrats' comments on Sevenoaks Local Plan call 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.