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GORDON HENDERSON MP

FOR SITTINGBOURNE & SHEPPEY

MP called on the administration at Swale Borough Council to resign

6th February 2020
MP called on the administration at Swale Borough Council to resign

Mr Henderson made the call following the announcement by Swale Borough Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Mike Baldock, that the Council is refusing to accept the £38 million offered by the Government to upgrade two roundabouts on the A249.

Mr Henderson said:

‘I am absolutely appalled at the way in which the current administration on Swale Borough Council is allowing its obsession with environmental issues to blind it to the real needs of our local community.

‘Although we all accept that climate change must be tackled, doing so at the expense of the livelihoods of local people will be counter productive in the long run. Reducing carbon emission will not be achieved unless we take the local community with us and refusing to support this money to upgrade the A249 will alienate those who use it, not get them onside.

‘Effectively opposing these improvements to the A249 will also be counter-productive in another way, because allowing the current congestion to continue, simply ensures that the existing queues of traffic will pump ever more harmful emissions into our atmosphere. How is that helping local people?

‘It is quite clear from the statement put out by Cllr Baldock, that he does not understand the reasons why the bid for the £38 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund was made in the first place. It was not intended to open the way for more housing, as he claims, but to service the developments that have already been built, or are in the pipeline, and for which planning permission has been granted, such as those at Queenborough, Halfway, Minster-on-Sea and Bapchild.

‘There is no doubt that those housing developments will still go ahead. However, without the necessary improvements at Grovehurst and Key Street, the increase in traffic will simply make worse the current congestion on the A249.

‘Those improvements to the two roundabouts are also needed because of the recent growth in businesses in Kemsley, such as the Morrison’s Regional Distribution Centre; at Neats Court on Sheppey, such as the Aldi warehouse; and on the Eurolink in Sittingbourne.
“In addition, without those road improvements, it will be difficult to encourage more businesses to invest and bring much needed jobs to our area.

‘Sadly, the current administration at Swale Borough Council appears to have turned its back on our local community with a succession of decisions that defy all logic. We should have known what to expect when at its first meeting the current administration supported a motion by Cllr Monique Bonney, which effectively scrapped the Council’s support for completion of the Northern Relief Road; construction of the Southern Relief Road; and improvements to the A249 and M2.

‘More recently, Swale’s Cabinet announced they were withdrawing from talks that could have led to much needed lorry parks in the borough, which would have reduced the inappropriate parking of HGVs in laybys and local residential roads.

‘Then the Cabinet announced it was reneging on the Council’s commitment to contributing £800,000 towards improvements of the Stockbury Roundabout. Now we have this further attack on local motorists and businesses.

‘Frankly, this latest decision is the last straw and it’s time for the so called “Rainbow Coalition” that currently runs Swale Borough Council to step aside and allow a more competent administration to take over the reins.’

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