Campaign update - less than 10 days to go
With polling day fast approaching, Conservative Borough Council Leader Jeremy Kite believes the Council’s record of delivering good services, building great family facilities and freezing council tax for six years is helping his candidates make the case for a council that focuses on the community rather than politics.
He said "Political parties are making lots of noise at the moment and it always makes me smile to see some candidates convinced that only their party has an answer to any problem. In my experience, life is rarely that simple and a little more common-sense and a little less politics might go a long way."
Conservative candidates have circulated a 32 page magazine to Dartford households setting out a positive vision for the town and highlighting some of great things happening around Dartford and how the Council supports the community.
"People seem to like the magazine because it’s a bit different from the usual election literature full of empty promises and party political nonsense. We’ve tried to show what a great community we have and say what we’ve done and intend to do in the future."
"Our team have had a warm welcome as they have campaigned across the borough and people do seem to appreciate that we have a record of keeping the promises we make and getting things done. We’ve built more new facilities than most councils do in a lifetime, have kept weekly bin collections and we invest in clubs, societies and decent local people We put on terrific events, are supporting a burgeoning creative community and have restored our wonderful Orchard Theatre to financial health. And despite all that, and more, we haven’t put a penny on our Council tax for six years."
The Conservatives promise to go on running a low tax, common-sense council and have highlighted just some of their key priorities for the year ahead
Tesco have a great deal to answer for in dozens of towns like Dartford. We will demand compensation for their treatment of our town but more important than that, we must seize the opportunity that their failure brings. The recession has been awful for High Streets all over Britain but things are improving and it’s the time to create the master plan for the kind of town that the community wants rather than big-business says we should have.
Our vision is clear. We want a Lowfield Street that complements Central Park and offers a traditional mix of homes and businesses that enhances our market town heritage. With the opening of Aldi now imminent and an application for a new Lidl store on our desk, there’s no need for more food retail - we can focus on a different kind of town centre community.
NEW CASH AND ENFORCEMENT POWERS TO TACKLE LITTERING
Attitudes to litter seem to have changed for the worse over the years and Cabinet Member for the Town Centre Chris Shippam has confirmed that the Council is to introduce private litter patrols with the power to issue fines. "It’s a pity that we need to do it because the problem is caused by only a small number of people but your family and my family don’t drop litter so why should a small number of selfish people think it’s ok for them ?" The new patrols will have the power to issue on-the-spot fines of £75.
THERE’S NOTHING ‘CIVILISED’ ABOUT ANTI-SOCIAL STREET DRINKING - WE’LL CREATE MORE CONTROL ZONES AND SEIZE ALCOHOL FROM THOSE WHO DON’T RESPECT OUR TOWN
When Labour introduced 24 hour drinking laws in 2005 they promised a ‘civilized cafe society’. The policy has been a disaster and towns across Britain are awash with cheap alcohol and plagued by some of the poor behaviour it fuels. Now, they suggest shops should adopt a ‘voluntary code’ to prevent the sale of strong alcohol but if a retailer refuses (and many will) the policy is in tatters. Conservative Dartford say the answer is to seize the alcohol from drinkers who refuse to respect our town or the people in it. Expanded Alcohol Control Zones will give officers the powers to seize alcohol and deal with nuisance drinkers.
CASH FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO OUR HERITAGE TOWN CENTRE
Our High Street Revival plan has the support of local traders and is showing real results. Six years ago, we led a vision for the transformation of Central Park that has been hugely successful and our Council will deliver similar heritage improvements to street furniture, signage and public realm as part of a £500,000 investment in the town centre.
SUPPORT FOR A COMMUNITY SPORTS AND CLUB AT THE BRIDGE
Dartford Council’s cabinet member for leisure and facilities, Andy Lloyd, confirms that a Conservative council will contribute to the creation of new sports and social facility at The Bridge. Andy says "Conservative Dartford has created more amazing family and leisure facilities than most councils do in a lifetime - everything from a new home for Dartford Football Club to the Edwardian restoration of Central Park. In 2015 alone we have embarked on the refurbishment and expansion of Fairfield Pool and opened a new community pavilion at Hesketh Park. Now, I am pleased to confirm that we wish to work with partners and the local community to bring a new sports and social facility to the flourishing community at The Bridge."
GETTING DARTFORD MOVING - WE’VE SECURED THE FUNDING, NOW IT’S TIME TO SORT OUT TOWN CENTRE TRAFFIC
The removal of toll-booths at the Dartford River Crossing after years of broken promises has given our town a little relief from congestion but everyone can see that roads around our town need significant redesign and improvement to end the traffic nightmare - particularly around Prospect Place and Princes Road. Working with the KCC and the Highways Agency, we have succeeded in prioritising town centre congestion for some major funding to deliver the improvements we need to Get Dartford Moving.
A MAJOR NEW INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC PLAY SPACES
People love the new facilities and events we’ve introduced to Central Park but we mustn’t forget the role of traditional play in open spaces across the Borough. We want to refurbish and reinvent the play space in Central Park to create a truly accessible space for all children - including those with disabilities. There are great examples across the country and we want Dartford to offer something really special. We’ll also set about upgrading other playspaces across the Borough with the advice and help of local parents - and children!
SALUTE TO YOUTH HAS BEEN A HUGE SUCCESS - NOW, WE’LL OPEN NEW FUNDING FOR OTHER CLUBS AND SOCIETIES TOO
A little over seven years ago, Conservative Dartford launched ‘Salute to Youth’, an easy-to-access fund for uniformed youth groups . It has been a phenomenal success with one youth leader calling it a ‘god-send to cash strapped Scout groups ‘ and another confirming it has helped his local group to grow.
That’s great, but we now want to create a similar fund - CLUB TOGETHER - to help the many groups and clubs that provide companionship and activity for people of all ages across our Borough. Dartford has a fantastic community of clubs - everything from amateur dramatics to astronomy, from bee-keeping to allotment societies. These clubs and societies have been the backbone of great communities for years and sometimes, a small amount of help and funding can go a long way to help them. That’s what the new fund is all about.
Jeremy says that Dartford is entering a period of unrivalled opportunities - with proposals for the Paramount resort, the High Street emerging from recession and new investment in infrastructure on the way , but he says it needs a council focussed on community to bring out the best of them.
"I think people realise that with all these great opportunities comes great pressure to get things right. Dartford needs a council with common sense, not one that’s always focussed on politics. Take Paramount for example, we’ve worked hard to bring the scheme here and it could be a ‘game-changer’ for our economy but it’s no good if jobs don’t go to local people, if contracts don’t go to local firms and traffic ends up on local roads. It needs a council with vision to get that right."