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A message from your County Councillor - May/June 2017

I always try to write my report during the first week of the following month. This fits well with the various Parish Magazines and Newsletters the first deadline being the 8th of the month.

Thinking ahead during the day yesterday as to what to include I little knew that late evening would bring news of the third recent terrorist atrocity in our Country. Suddenly most things, even this week’s General Election seem so much less important. Every General Election is described by the Press as the most important for a generation or even ever. This time the description may fit. As votes will have been cast and the results will be known before anyone reads my words I can be honest with my opinions.

I believe the British people have a choice between a brand of Marxist Socialism which will take us back to Russia or Albania before the Berlin Wall fell (or Venezuela today) or a Capitalist Democracy with all its admitted failings.

May has been a very busy month, I extended last month’s report to include the County Council Results. Since then we have had the first meeting of the new County Council. We have also had Swale Borough Councils Mayor Making. The new Mayor is Councillor Colin Prescott who represents that part of my County Division which comprises the East Downs Ward of Swale Borough Council, eight very scattered rural Parishes.

There have been many training days and half days at County Hall, essential for new Members but equally useful for those of us returning. As well as the general Induction Day, I have attended sessions on the Code of Conduct and our responsibilities as County Councillors as Corporate Parents.

After my annual meeting with the County Leader and having declined two job offers I was able to secure the continued Chairmanship of the Regulation Committee. I shall also continue on the Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee. The former has responsibility for approving or otherwise new and diverted footpaths, applications for new Village Greens and oversees action against illegal waste sites etc., a big issue in this Division. The latter acts as a sounding board for Policy Development to the Cabinet Members of both Growth, Economic Development and Transport and for Communities.

I will continue as a Member of the Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee, vital at this time of proposed changes within the Health Service Committee. I also have Membership of two smaller Committees which meet less often, the Electoral and Boundary Review Committee which could suddenly become busy if the new Government goes ahead with the review of Parliamentary Boundaries and the Kent Flood Risk Management Committee. Outside of County Hall I will continue to represent the County on the Environment Agency Regional Flood and Coastal Committee and the Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries Authority as well as continuing as a Trustee of the Benstead’s Charity in Faversham.

During this period, I have attended Parish Councils at Norton and at Ospringe (both Annual Parish Meetings) and at Teynham and at Hernhill plus a special Planning Committee of Selling Parish Council. Other Meetings attended include Chairing a meeting of the Borough’s WW1 Steering Group, the Kent & Medway Economic Partnership Board (a joint private/public sector board) and a meeting of Graveney School Governors. Outside of Local Government I enjoyed two Brilliant Saturday afternoons at Hernhill and Throwley Fetes respectively. I also supported the Soldiers, Sailors and Air Forces Association Coffee Morning at Belmont House.

A real highlight on Friday 2nd June was an all day Conference on World War 1 and Africa. It was educational, at times entertaining and also emotionally draining. Serious papers presented by academics interspersed with poetry and African drumming.

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