By Councillor Val Kenny / Latest News / / 0 Comments

Visitors often ask me why there are so many places to drink in the centre of Whitstable.  People who live here complain that their lives are blighted by noisy, drunken behaviour, especially in the summer, so what can we do?

One way to control the growth of licensed premises is to bring in a special saturation policy.  We have them in St Margaret’s Street and Orange Street in Canterbury but nowhere else and none have been added in the district since 2008.  They require public consultation to be brought in, which is a good thing, and change the dynamic so that anyone wanting to open another licensed venue would have to show it did not add to the cumulative impact of other such premises in the street or area.  Otherwise the application will normally be refused.

 In the current situation it is very difficult for the Licensing Committee at the Council to refuse applications, even when there are loads of other drinking places nearby and neighbours are upset that their lives have been blighted by them.

Labour would bring in a special saturation along the high street and in particular along our beach to prevent new bars opening in areas which are badly lit and already attract people who drink on the beach away from police, such as the proposed development at the Kent & London by the Oyster Stores.

The response to our local petition for a new Police Constable in town shows that fear of crime is increasing, particularly at night. With no local police station, people are worried and we need some fresh thinking.


By Councillor Chris Cornell / Latest News / / 0 Comments

Last week the Whitstable Carnival Association wound up after almost 130 years running a Carnival in town. Whilst, a small group of local residents have come forward to try and ‘reboot’ an institution many have recently complained is outdated, it is important to note that those people who volunteered their time for so long cited the increasing red tape forced on them by the council as one of the reasons they couldn’t continue. Tellingly, we lost our Regatta two years ago with the Whitstable Lions citing similar concerns.

Labour believe the Council should enable and not hinder a local people wanting to organise events. In Herne Bay a council led partnership pulls together businesses, community groups and supporting communities to plan events and promote tourism. As a result it’s annual festival (Bayfest) is a month long showcase of local groups, not a two day event run by a London based promoter. The whole town benefits when local groups are properly supported.

If the council took more of an enabling role, many of the problems associated with insurance, fire safety and road closures could be dealt with in house. County and National funding could be identified early and we we wouldn’t have to see local volunteers who want to run a Christmas lantern parade expected to provide detailed terrorist evacuation plans for a high street which has no doubt already been assessed multiple times.

If elected, Labour would work to launch a town development partnership and strengthen the financial support available for a ‘Back the Bay’ alternative for Whitstable. I’ll personally follow the attempts to relaunch the Carnival with some interest and hope the council can support, not undermine, people who want to make our town a vibrant home to events we love.


By Canterbury Labour Group / Environment / / 0 Comments

As your candidate for Chestfield, I want you to know that I care about people in the local community and I care about the environment. That is why I am actively involved in projects that help make our environment a better place to live in, both locally and globally.

Reducing single-use plastics.

I was instrumental in setting up ‘Plastic Free Whitstable’ which aims to reduce the amount of throw-away plastic that ends up on our streets, on our beaches and in the sea, where it gets into the food chain, poisoning the fish we eat.

We started out as a small group of Labour Party members, then invited other members of the community, including the Green Party, to join us in our mission to reduce single-use plastics in our town. As the first town in Kent to be awarded ‘Plastic Free Community’ status from Surfers Against Sewage, we now have 16 businesses that have fulfilled the requirement to replace at least three single-use plastics (such as straws, cups, condiment sachets, packaging etc.) and there are many more in the pipeline working towards achieving this. We have also been awareness-raising alongside community organisations and schools to get our message across and have enlisted the support and commitment of Canterbury City Council, which has nominated Councillor Bernadette Fisher to be on our Steering Group. Working together with the council, we aim to support the whole district in achieving Plastic Free community status.

Repair Café – Avoiding waste and saving money!

I am also part of a small voluntary group that runs Repair Café. This is an opportunity for people to bring along things they may otherwise have thrown away, to get them repaired by a team of volunteers with expert skills such as sewing, darning, carpentry, electrical repairs, bicycle repairs, soldering, upholstery, jewellery repairs etc. We meet approximately once a month in either the Horsebridge Arts Centre, the Umbrella Centre or, once in the summer, in Stream Walk Community Garden. We invite people to come along and enjoy a friendly chat and a free cuppa and a biscuit while they either learn to do the repair themselves or have it done by an expert. This saves them money whilst reducing waste going into landfill sites and reduces co2 going into the atmosphere.

I wholeheartedly support our manifesto commitment to on-street recycling and other environmental improvements that will safeguard the health and well-being of local residents.

Pictured: Labour activists Lynette Aitken, Jean Fraser, Julia Seath and Councillor Bernadette Fisher as part of the Plastic Free Whitstable Team