Karen at this year's Newington BestFest
Progess on fire concerns
After the dreadful catastrophe at Grenfell Towers, I have been dealing with safety concerns at Trove Court and elsewhere. Following a series of emails and meetings with residents who have been raising concerns about potentially ‘faulty’ alarms and other issues, work is now being undertaken to improve safety. There is more to be done, I know, but this is a step in the right direction. I will keep up the pressure where ever it is needed and am looking for examples of good practice from across the UK. Nothing is more important that the safety of our residents. That should be front and centre of all the work councillors do.
Supporting local business
I was approached by a number of businesses and residents on Harbour Street in Ramsgate to see if I could help to stem the follow of traffic during the pedestrianised hours. I spent some time stopping the traffic myself asking drivers why they were using that route. It seems many people either don’t see the signs or have lapsed into bad habits! I called a meeting to pull together key concerns and to float some pragmatic ideas. I’m grateful to the Town Clerk, Richard Styles, Town Promoter, Rebecca Smith the Mayor, Trevor Shonk and Peter Campbell and other Councillors for attending. We discussed some practical ideas to start to resolve some issues on Harbour Street. These included lowering of signage at the entrance and the use of a portable barrier which Ramsgate Town Council could take charge of. These barriers are now on order and really should help to improve matters. I urge you not to use Harbour Street during pedestrian hours!
Speed issues on Manston Road
Many residents have been complaining about the speed of traffic on Manston Road. I organised a meeting with Paul Velek of Kent County Council Highways to discuss this and other highways issues. We discussed improving the signage on Manston Road to counter the temptation to speed. We managed to agree to improve some of the road signs which are obscured by tree growth. This I hope, will make a difference.
Safety concerns near Ramsgate’s new Fire Station
I held a busy meeting at St Lawrence School, Newington to discuss a range of issues related to road and footpath safety around the new Fire Station on Newington Road. Valid and thoughtful concerns were raised amongst the 17 people in attendance from local schools, church and businesses. Working together, we will find a workable solution! My thanks to all those who came along and who have agreed ‘actions’ in readiness for our next meetings.
I’m hosting a coffee morning on 26th August at my home between 11am until 1.00 pm. I may even bake a few cakes! All local residents are welcome. Please do come by for a cup of coffee if you’re able. Contact me for more details. Please note, my house isn’t wheelchair accessible as there are steps at the front.
Talking of meeting people, my pop-up surgeries have been popular so my next one is a pop-up breakfast surgery. On August 10th at The Galley, which has recently re-opened on East Cliff Arcade. I’ll be there between 10am and 12 noon. Pop along for a coffee with me? Tell me what’s bothering you? I’m always very happy to talk!
I have masses of case work. Sadly, far too much is related to housing issues and, at this time of the year, also education issues. Please do contact me if you require my support or maybe some advice or even if you would like a listening ear.
Kent County Council 15% increase
You may be aware that KCC councillors voted to give themselves a 15% increase in allowances. I was outraged by this. Only Labour councillors voted against this greedy proposal. I think it’s a slap in the face for the people of Thanet, where austerity is biting hard! I’ll be using my extra allowance to further community interests and wrote about my thoughts earlier in July. I also spoke to Lembit Opik on BBC Radio Kent about my views on the increase.
I’m still working hard to get to the absolute bottom of whether the Pleasurama hoardings are on public land or not. I’ve asked for a ‘site’ meeting with the plans and a tape measure. That’s now being arranged. Watch this space!
Manston Airport site
I know the Manston site is a very emotional, topical and often controversial issue which polarises those involved. I have submitted a formal response to the RSP consultation. I am concerned about the proposal for a cargo hub on a number of levels. Pollution, night flights (and flights in the shoulder periods), and the efficacy of the business plan. It is now up to the UK Government to proceed – or not – with a Development Consent Order (DCO). Meanwhile I would frankly prefer it if the current owners could go ahead with their plans. Why? We do need housing, in fact we desperately need homes for people, we would all potentially benefit from increased leisure areas and the proposed advanced manufacturing units, are in my honest opinion the way to go. Moving towards a new carbon free lifestyle is our future. The jobs that I hope would be created would be hugely beneficial to our children to train up for.
My KCC members grant
As most people are aware Kent County Councillors have what’s called a members grant. My intention this year is to ensure that local groups know about this and I encourage groups and associations to make applications. Please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can read more about the KCC Combined Members Grant scheme here.
Street lights and residents safety concerns
It took a great deal of persistence but I did get to the bottom of the street lights issue. Many of you will know that I was prompted by what happened to my own daughter. I’d have been just as concerned if it had happened to any other resident. The facts are this. There are 3,500 lights across Kent that still need to be retrofitted with energy saving LED technology. 3009 are in Thanet. That means many dark streets and footpaths. All the time local residents are asking me isn’t this isn’t what they pay council tax for? They also tell me they don’t feel safe! So please, please, please, if you want your street lights on sign the petition.