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Recent news and updates

  • IMG_1219 cropped
    Article: Mar 8, 2019
    By Merllyn Canet

    Fly-tipping is unsightly, dangerous and expensive to clear up. Whether it's rubbish dumped across a country lane, on farms which the farmer has to clear up, or old fridges left in residential streets, Tipping isn't a 'victimless crime'. It costs money, and can cost lives.
Sevenoaks District has more fly-tipping than Tonbridge or Tunbridge Wells, because it is closer to London. Often this is commercial rubbish, dumped to save a contractor money. 

Even with big penalties, certain detection is the real deterrent, not theoretical punishment. In 2016/17, over 1,500 incidents were reported in Sevenoaks District, but just five fixed penalty notices for fly tipping were issued. One person was successfully prosecuted.

  • Maguerita and Tony
    Article: Mar 8, 2019
    By Marguerita Moreton and Tony Clayton

    Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells have very different High Streets. All three face similar pressures from on-line shopping and out of town competition.

    Tunbridge Wells has its main shopping centre, Royal Victoria Place, independent shops in Camden Road, Mount Pleasant and the High Street leading to the Pantiles. But it has faced high street shop closures - starting with Woolworths and BHS.

  • Rachel Sadler ()
    Article: Feb 22, 2019
    By Rachel Sadler and Merilyn Canet

    Sevenoaks has invested about £15 million in new multi-storey carparks in the town.

    These will serve the people who work here and travel in by car from somewhere else.

    It should make a profit for the council.

    But encouraging more traffic into town comes at a cost to all of us, poorer air quality and car queues that jam our rather narrow roads are the result.
    At what cost? Increased pollution threatening the health of children and people with breathing problems, a public health disaster in our towns. Increased emissions at a time when we need to find ways to reduce the threat of climate change. It is estimated that emissions cause 40,000 premature deaths and cost the NHS £6 billion a year.
    Liberal Democrats would use this money to improve bus services, encouraging people to move out of their cars and into public transport. This way school children, students , many older people and others who don't drive cars but need to travel , could benefit, as well as car drivers who choose not to drive into towns.
    Electric powered buses are now available, very quiet and non-polluting, double benefits.
    We must consider the needs of all people not just car drivers. It is shameful that our councils are presiding over a decline in public transport at a time when it so needed .
    Improving air quality must become our priority especially in our towns to reduce the morbidity from Pollution.
    For the future of the planet and our health's sake we must be more ambitious about reducing emissions and air pollution.

  • Margerita Moreton
    Article: Feb 21, 2019
    By Marguerita Moreton

    Two years ago we saw how vulnerable our roads were to snow.

    A well forecast blizzard turned the drive from Sevenoaks to Tunbridge Wells into a dangerous two-and-a-half hour slide. Last year trains were hit as home coming commuters were stranded at Lewisham in freezing conditions.

    It could almost certainly happen again. In October, Kent County Council's 60 gritters and five mini-gritters took part in a dry run of routes, to familiarise drivers with the roads they need to protect. It might help avoid problems, but it was the failure to send them out in time that seems to have gone wrong in 2017.

    Kent roads are not resilient to hard frost or wet. When the snow clears the potholes reappear quickly. Years of poor maintenance have left them fragile.

    In most areas, Kent pays District Councils to maintain roads and bus routes. On other roads 2,000 salt bins are placed for use by the public. Snow clearance on pavements is delegated to district or parish councils - so it varies from place to place.

  • Merilyn version 2
    Article: Feb 21, 2019
    By Merilyn Canet

    Many voters want their councillors to offer something better than national politicians have delivered at Westminster for the last three years. If they can't, candidates in at the local elections in May can expect tough treatment.

    Honesty is the first essential, spelling out what can really be delivered. Making fantasy promises, and pretending they can be carried out for free, has done huge damage to trust in politics.

  • Tony 2017
    Article: Jan 28, 2019
    By Tony Clayton

    Brexit obsession has wasted three years when UK governments should have tackled three big problems. Instead we've gone backwards on all of thde. We must act now.

    First, and perhaps hardest, we must reverse the trend which made Britain the most unequal society in Europe. The gaps between rich and poor, and lack of social mobility, are producing a polarised and more violent country. Some may feel insulated from it in Sevenoaks or Tunbridge Wells, but the problem is here. We need to understand that record employment has been bought by too many poverty jobs. Schools are being squeezed, which limits opportunity for all. But building a fairer Britain is priority number one.

  • Merilyn version 2
    Article: Jan 17, 2019
    By Merilyn Canet

    Dear Friends

    As our councillors face 2019, here are three top resolutions for the New Year.

    First, the Local Plan which will shape Sevenoaks for the next 20 years needs to reflect the housing needs for young families, and for the increasing number of older people. That means more affordable family homes, and more purpose designed homes in which older people can support each other. We need both of these so that local families can stay in our community, and to make the best use of the homes we have.

  • Article: Jan 16, 2019
    By Tony Clayton

    This is the beginning of the end of Brexit - Vince Cable

    Responding to the crushing 230 vote defeat for the Theresa May's Brexit deal in the House of Commons, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said:

    This is the beginning of the end of Brexit. With Parliament in deadlock, it is time to to go back to the public

    Labour have finally lodged a no confidence motion, after weeks of failing to do so. I have signed it and the Liberal Democrats will vote against a Conservative Government which is now in meltdown.

    However, a General Election will not offer a way forward for the country so long as Jeremy Corbyn continues to procrastinate, backing Brexit while pretending not to. And while the Conservatives are more divided than ever, they are likely to unite with their friends in the DUP if only to keep themselves in office.

    Jeremy Corbyn must listen to Labour members and MPs, and back a People's Vote on the Government's plan versus staying in the European Union.