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What our Councils should do first in 2020

January 8, 2020 5:46 PM
By Tony Clayton

Candidates 2019

Sevenoaks Liberal Democrat Councillors set out their top priorites

For our Town, District and County Councils, the top priority for action in 2020 is the one most people recognised as crucial during 2019 - starting the journey to cut our dependence on carbon based energy. This needs more than government targets and political declarations. Achieving it means changing the way we travel, heat our homes, organise our lives, what we eat and what we throw away.

Our councils have huge influence on all these things. They need to get their own operations in order, but they can help us change our lives for the better too. Promoting active travel, helping people live closer to where they work, and making it easier to improve energy efficency at home all depend on councils doing the right thing.

Will 2020 see the first signs in Sevenoaks of real action to create Safer Streets? Within five years the number of young people at secondary school in Sevenoaks will pass 6000, plus over 3000 in primary schools. Making our streets safe for them to walk or cycle to school, has to start now, to avoid gridlock, save energy and save lives.

For Sevenoaks District, sorting out the Local Plan squabbles with Whitehall is crucial. Unless this is cleared up quickly, planning the future of Sevenoaks area will be paralysed, and undemocratic. Sevenoaks Town Council's Neighbourhood Plan to shape the future of the town itself depends on it, so please stop the legal mess and get some common sense into the process

What we most need to see here is real evidence that our Councils can deliver genuinely affordable homes for local workers. It's the form of development that almost everyone agrees we need. If Sevenoaks council can find £16 million for car parks, investment in homes isn't much to ask.