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The city council has lost the plot

I have been following the debate, kicked off by Dylan Hampshire of Cockett’s Mattresses, about the need for a town council for Herne Bay ("Call for town council to end 'democratic deficit'", Times, June 21). I certainly believe Canterbury City Council has lost the plot and we should return to more local control of our affairs.

Canterbury is just not doing the job and causing a lot of problems.

My wife and I settled in Studd Hill in August 1986. One of the benefits was being able to stroll to the seafront for a swim using the ramp opposite Standard Avenue. Ten years ago Canterbury City Council allowed jet skis to use the front without any reference to residents. While we would not deny the few jet—skiers the use of the seafront, a new ramp was provided for them at great expense next to the boat house. The jet-skiers then started using the area reserved for swimmers but our city councillor was unable to help.

Now our roads in Studd Hill are being badly damaged by lorries well over the 13-ton weight limit. In Wolseley Avenue the bungalows are very attractive but city planners have allowed a two- storey semi-detached house to be built on a single plot. This type of building will turn the area into a slum, doubling the number of cars and people. Would members of the committee who approved this application like to live in the same conditions? I invite them to come and see the damage they are responsible for.

All building work should be stopped until repairs have been carried out to the roads. Part of the cost should be met by the council because of its planning decision. Builders should not be allowed to double up on single plots. A bond equal to ten per cent of the value of any new building should be paid before any work is started. This will ensure roads are correctly restored.

Under the new boundary suggestions, neighbouring areas will be included in Herne Bay which will boost its population to 78,000. This is why we need to consider restoring our own Town Hall. One idea would be the burned out ruins of the former Bun Penny pub, which is due for restoration. Rooms could be rented out to pay for the running costs.

It would appear the city council is also using parking fines in Herne Bay as a cash box to the detriment of shops and traders. A traffic warden has been handing out fines to cars parked at the bottom of William Street between Mortimer Street and the Bun Penny. I am meeting the person in charge shortly and will point out that the town is also plagued by an abundance of parking meters.

To save money on council tax I also suggest reducing the number of city councillors to one per ward.

Harold Lloyd, Wolseley Avenue, Studd Hill

Bay councillor Peter Lee said:

Mortimer Street between Greensteads and Iceland is closed to all traffic on Saturdays between 10.30am and 4.30pm except commercial vehicles loading and unloading between the same times on Monday to Friday. Any car in this area, moving or parked between these times, is subject to a penalty. A blue disabled badge does not exempt the vehicle. 

People often say parking charges should be abolished or reduced but never come up with any suggestions how the council can replace the lost revenue, or which services should be cut to reflect the lower income. If you have any suggestions, please let me know and I will feed them into the budget discussions I will be having with officers this month.

HB Times 13th Sep 2012

Incidentally, this is the same Peter Lee who told us in August that the Council had saved £465,000 thus boosting its cash reserves to £3.8 million, meaning "we will be able to do what we want in the next few years".

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Reader Comments (2)

The roads with the 13 ton weight limit at Studd Hill are part of a private estate. Those roads are unadopted and thus aren't maintainable at public expense.
Fri, September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGregory Williams
I seem to remember watching a mark thomas programme some years ago saying you only need 50 people at a meeting to set up a parish council, dont know if this includes a town council or not...
Sun, September 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterstony haggles

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