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Farthingloe and Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty high court decision

Housing developments: affordable, accountable and sustainable

Dover District Councillors (DDC) (chair cllr Scales) shouldn’t have okayed the Western Heights and Farthingloe development, according to High Court judges in September 2016.

Dover and Deal Green Party submitted the following planning objection to DDC in August:

“The local economy needs to support small, local, tourist businesses and the biodiverse Kent Downs AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) underpins this, this is one of the many reasons it is not demonstrated that it is in the public interest.” . . .

“It is ridiculous to say it is sustainable development; creating as it does a national precedent for building on an AONB and being opposed as such by CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England), Kent Wildlife Trust and Natural England; building on a much-loved greenfield site the Kent Downs AONB; having no commitment to low-carbon building methods or low-carbon building design. It is ridiculous to say that the development is in the public interest when it has no provision for affordable housing much less any provision for social, rented housing in a town which is crying out for it.”

D+D Green party activist Beccy Sawbridge was at Unite the union’s Housing roadshow in Dover on 21 Sept. Their campaign overlaps with ours a lot:

  • quality refits
  • building lots of social, council, quality, rented housing
  • introducing rent controls in the private rented sector.

We want to suspend the ‘right-to-buy’ Housing Association properties which cuts the social rented housing available.

The Conservative’s Housing and Planning Act 2016 is to blame for this and we oppose it.

We welcome the Connaught Park brownfield development whole-heartedly.

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Universal Credit and Other Benefits

The recent introduction of Universal Credit in the DDC area saw a rise in the use of food banks – as in other parts of the country.

DDGP will continue to work closely with Kent Unite Community and Disability rights groups to campaign for support for the many local people affected.  DDC should do what it can to help.

It could for example arrange for Thanet Community Transport to provide reduced cost bus travel or make sure that concessionary tariffs for sports facilities were set so they were affordable by people receiving Universal Credit.

Austerity is based on a wrong economic model – what is needed is more investment in creating green jobs, infrastructure and public services.

This article covered one of the 14 Themes of Dover and Deal Geen Party Action Plan:

  1. Action on Climate Emergency
  2. Open Government
  3. Improving Democracy
  4. Value for Money
  5. Policies to Support Local Business
  6. Planning Policy that Works
  7. No to Fracking
  8. Yes to support for electric cars
  9. A Plastics Free Council
  10. Ending Live animal exports
  11. Better Air Quality
  12. Support for Bus Transport
  13. Better Amenities – Especially For Young People
  14. Universal Credit and Other Benefits

Better Amenities – Especially For Young People

Here a little spending can go a long way. DDC should spend more on youth clubs etc.

Young people need buses to visit friends attend after school clubs in our area and this should be subsidised.

This is especially true for the new state of the art leisure facility at Whitefield, supposedly for the entire district. This needs to be available for people throughout the district – especially the young. Concessionary tariffs for sport facilities need to be set at rates that allow older people and young people to use them. 

We have many local artists, writers and musicians in our area and they should have more support from DDC. This would also help encourage year round tourism and bring income into our area.

There has been a catastrophic fall in insect numbers (including bees) in recent years.  75 percent of flying insects in German Nature reserves.  DDC could help by planting more insect friendly species in its open spaces and parks and encouraging rewilding and wildlife.

This article covered one of the 14 Themes of Dover and Deal Geen Party Action Plan:

  1. Action on Climate Emergency
  2. Open Government
  3. Improving Democracy
  4. Value for Money
  5. Policies to Support Local Business
  6. Planning Policy that Works
  7. No to Fracking
  8. Yes to support for electric cars
  9. A Plastics Free Council
  10. Ending Live animal exports
  11. Better Air Quality
  12. Support for Bus Transport
  13. Better Amenities – Especially For Young People
  14. Universal Credit and Other Benefits

Support for Bus Transport

The 2017 Bus Services Act would allow KCC to franchise routes (with the agreement of the Transport Minister). We will lobby for this.

KCC needs an integrated transport policy and research on bus need to back up their route franchises.

KCC also needs to abolish the Dover Quality Bus Partnership (DBQP) and replace it with an enhanced bus quality partnership which will have more powers of oversight.

The new DQBP should contain genuine stakeholders representing real interests not just councillors and representatives of the local private bus monopoly. The meeting’s minutes should be made public.

More bus travel would improve air quality as well as improving our quality of life. A restoration of KCC subsidy is not enough. We need a policy of bus franchising so routes are set by KCC.

The problems with bus services were caused by bus privatisation and the creation of a completely free market in bus transport introduced in 1985. Since then bus journeys outside of London have declined by 37 percent whilst prices have increased by more than 45 percent in real terms.

We now have a patchwork of private monopolies. Private bus companies have no need to consult or even inform either KCC or DDC. 

The truth is that KCC has no integrated transport policy.

They discuss subsidies when the bus company tells them a service is making a loss.

Recently Stagecoach has cut profitable routes to make overall journey times faster, leaving many communities without a bus.

It is an accepted axiom by economists that monopolies have an interest in restricting supply to increase prices. By contrast in London buses are franchised by London Buses Ltd. and fares are controlled by the Mayor.  Here bus travel has more than doubled since 1985.

This is the model DDGP would like to see KCC adopting in Kent – London has Transport for London (TfL) and we need a similar transport authority in Kent.

We would use these powers to ensure buses are hybrid/pure EV with wifi, phone charging points etc,  and introduce display panels giving information about bus arrivals.

This article covered one of the 14 Themes of Dover and Deal Geen Party Action Plan:

  1. Action on Climate Emergency
  2. Open Government
  3. Improving Democracy
  4. Value for Money
  5. Policies to Support Local Business
  6. Planning Policy that Works
  7. No to Fracking
  8. Yes to support for electric cars
  9. A Plastics Free Council
  10. Ending Live animal exports
  11. Better Air Quality
  12. Support for Bus Transport
  13. Better Amenities – Especially For Young People
  14. Universal Credit and Other Benefits

Better Air Quality

Our Green Councillor – Mike Eddy is working with local schools to stop engine idling – damaging children’s health – within 100 meters of any school. We need to raise public awareness as ‘unnecessary engine idling’ is already unlawful.

We will also get DDC to adopt the ‘Kent and Medway Air Quality Partnership’ so that air quality assessments are part of the planning process and developers take practical measures not to worsen air quality.

DDC should plant more trees and work to ensure there are more electric car points and car clubs.

DDGP will also work for a better local bus service with buses using less polluting fuel.  We would extend air quality monitoring throughout our area. Poor air quality kills 50,000 people per year in the U.K.

Poor air quality means more greenhouse gas emissions.

The local Green Party has tested air quality and found that 4 schools in our area have pollution levels exceeding WHO standards.

Children are especially affected by air pollution.

We would introduce solar canopies in many council parking areas and direct income to providing electric charging points and replacing council vehicles with electric cars.

This article covered one of the 14 Themes of Dover and Deal Geen Party Action Plan:

  1. Action on Climate Emergency
  2. Open Government
  3. Improving Democracy
  4. Value for Money
  5. Policies to Support Local Business
  6. Planning Policy that Works
  7. No to Fracking
  8. Yes to support for electric cars
  9. A Plastics Free Council
  10. Ending Live animal exports
  11. Better Air Quality
  12. Support for Bus Transport
  13. Better Amenities – Especially For Young People
  14. Universal Credit and Other Benefits

Ending Live animal exports

New Zealand has banned the export of live animals for slaughter since 2003 without any problems.

We can do the same. We support KAALE and other groups campaigning to stop this terrible trade passing through our port of Dover.

The Conservatives have taken the view that nothing can be done because it is against EU rules – although now with Brexit they say it is against WTO rules – on free trade. This seems complete hypocrisy.

Our local Green MEP, Keith Taylor, has actually done something about the problem – he has persuaded the EU parliament to limit journey times for live animals to 8 hours and for unweaned animals to 4 hours.

There are restrictions on the transport of many goods so what has transporting live animals got to do with free trade?

This article covered one of the 14 Themes of Dover and Deal Geen Party Action Plan:

  1. Action on Climate Emergency
  2. Open Government
  3. Improving Democracy
  4. Value for Money
  5. Policies to Support Local Business
  6. Planning Policy that Works
  7. No to Fracking
  8. Yes to support for electric cars
  9. A Plastics Free Council
  10. Ending Live animal exports
  11. Better Air Quality
  12. Support for Bus Transport
  13. Better Amenities – Especially For Young People
  14. Universal Credit and Other Benefits

A Plastics Free Council

There is a general awareness across the country that plastics are damaging our environment – especially our oceans.

Groups like ‘Deal With It’ are showing a brilliant example with cleaning our local beaches.

How can DDC help?

Deal and Dover Green Party will do what we can. As a start we will make DDC a plastics free council and extend this to council subcontractors.  We are working with Transition Dover that tackling plastic pollution is discussed by Dover Town Council followed by action.

Recycling in our area can be improved and we also would introduce bulk collections and reduce fly tipping.

This article covered one of the 14 Themes of Dover and Deal Geen Party Action Plan:

  1. Action on Climate Emergency
  2. Open Government
  3. Improving Democracy
  4. Value for Money
  5. Policies to Support Local Business
  6. Planning Policy that Works
  7. No to Fracking
  8. Yes to support for electric cars
  9. A Plastics Free Council
  10. Ending Live animal exports
  11. Better Air Quality
  12. Support for Bus Transport
  13. Better Amenities – Especially For Young People
  14. Universal Credit and Other Benefits

Yes to support for electric cars

DDC needs a clear policy on electric charging facilities.

There needs to be more public charging points. In residential streets no-one should be more than a few hundred yards from a charger. 

A franchised bus service could ensure that when old buses are withdrawn they are replaced with electric buses. 

This article covered one of the 14 Themes of Dover and Deal Geen Party Action Plan:

  1. Action on Climate Emergency
  2. Open Government
  3. Improving Democracy
  4. Value for Money
  5. Policies to Support Local Business
  6. Planning Policy that Works
  7. No to Fracking
  8. Yes to support for electric cars
  9. A Plastics Free Council
  10. Ending Live animal exports
  11. Better Air Quality
  12. Support for Bus Transport
  13. Better Amenities – Especially For Young People
  14. Universal Credit and Other Benefits