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A message from your County Councillor - May 2018

A really good start to May. Firstly, the local elections for one third of the Wards of Maidstone Borough Council resulted in the Conservative’s becoming the largest Party, the first time for some while that this has been the case. Both the Faversham & Mid Kent Ward’s which I had been assisting in were successfully gained from opposition Parties.

The Mayday Bank Holiday weekend included two highly enjoyable local events. Hernhill Fete on the Saturday and Eastling’s Bluebell Walk on the Bank Holiday Monday. Both were blessed with excellent weather, we were amongst the first starters on the Bluebell walk in order to complete before the day got too hot, both for our sakes and our two dogs which accompanied us.

At Swale Borough Council’s Conservative Group AGM I was confirmed unopposed as Leader for a further year. This led to the Annual task of appointing my Cabinet, etc. Always a hard and not particularly pleasant task to ask people to step aside especially when they have been totally loyal. However, I believe it was essential to bring in younger, both in terms of age and experience, people especially one year before elections when some of the more experienced Councillor’s may choose not to re stand. I welcome Sittingbourne Borough Councillor Sarah Aldridge to the Cabinet for the first time with a portfolio comprising of both Health and Leisure Services. A challenging task seeking to influence both the National Health Service and Kent County Council on Health issues whilst overseeing the contracts for our leisure centres etc. Both Sarah and I believe that maintaining a healthy population can do much to lessen the pressure on the Health Sector.

The second weekend in May brought the annual SSAFA coffee morning at Belmont House raising funds to help ex service personnel and also Badlesmere’s Medieval Fayre where we were joined by family, including grandchildren.

Swale now has a new Civic Head with Sittingbourne Borough Councillor Samuel Koffe- Williams elected as Mayor, with Minster Councillor Ken Ingleton elected as Deputy Mayor.

Later in the month I attended a meeting of the District Councils Network held in London, the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership, a Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority and a meeting of the Thames Gateway Kent Partnership. Another very interesting engagement was Chairing a Kent County Council Regulation Committee Member Panel held in Dymchurch to determine an application for Village Green status. After inspecting the site in question the meeting of the panel was held in a packed Village Hall, standing room only, and others listening outside the door. A very well-argued case put forward by both sides in a very polite and appreciative manner.

Parish Council’s attended during May included Sheldwich, Badlesmere and Leaveland, Selling’s Annual Parish Meeting, Dunkirk’s Annual Meeting followed later in the month by their ordinary monthly meeting and Newnham’s Annual Meeting. I also managed to attend the end of Bapchild’s monthly meeting after I had spoken at a Swale Borough Council Planning Committee and at the very end of the month the second part of Bredgar’s Annual Meeting after Chairing a Swale Borough Council Cabinet Meeting.

Andrew Bowles Email: Mobile: 07778629879

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