April 25, 2019

Medway Green Party Manifesto Offerings

Greens start to gather for candidate briefing

Green group starts to gather for candidate briefing

(In 300 words as provided to Medway Messenger)
If elected we would continue to challenge the proposals in the Local Plan consultation for mass house building on the Hoo Peninsula, much of which is targeted at London migration, unaffordable locally and would do little or nothing to address homelessness, while destroying valuable agricultural land, threatening important wildlife habitats, and increasing air pollution.

Rather than develop agricultural land on the Hoo Peninsula, vital to self-sufficiency as the effects of climate breakdown are felt, we would push for development to be directed to the creation of a thriving, vibrant, new urban complex in the centre of Chatham.

We would hold Medway Council to account and insist that it reaches a carbon neutral target by 2030, using joined up actions that are part of the solution rather than part of the problem.   We would provide guidance on how to reach this target including insulation of housing, investment in proper cycling infrastructure and low carbon, affordable public transport, alongside charging infrastructure for electric cars. We would look at ways to implement clean air policies in all of our town centres.

We would promote renewable energy by offering incentives to businesses developing these technologies, look at harnessing the power of the River Medway and work with property developers to encourage them to include renewable energy systems in all new developments. We would encourage producers of zero-carbon factory built houses to locate in Medway, creating local green jobs and providing homes that both protect the environment and reduce utility costs, alleviating fuel poverty.

We would seek alternatives to market housing, through encouraging community-led cooperatives and pushing the Council to invest in social housing.

We would work with Councillors from any party, work to ensure the Council listens to the people it is meant to represent and campaign for Proportional Representation nationally and locally.

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April 3, 2019

Medway Greens offer real alternative to larger parties #Medwayelects19

A3_artwork_for_corex_1024x1024Medway Greens will be offering a real alternative for those fed-up with the “main” parties by standing 16 candidates in 14 wards across Medway in the Council elections in May, allowing many people in Medway to vote for change. 

Clive Gregory who is standing in Peninsula ward alongside Sonia Hyner and Mohammad Ahmad says:

“We get a sense from speaking to people on doorsteps that they are fed up with Medway Council not listening, particularly in relation to housing development. The Council is currently planning to destroy hugely valuable agricultural land which will be particularly necessary after Brexit.  Developments are going up of the wrong types of homes in the wrong places with much of the development targeted at encouraging additional migration from London. Many of these homes are unaffordable to those who live locally, while people tragically remain homeless. Efforts to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution are limited and people feel that much more should be done to address climate change.

“The Brexit shambles has shown that the confrontational two party system is broken. Locally it’s little better with those currently in control thinking their ideas are the only ones that count. It’s time that all voices and opinions were represented in Medway. We are happy to work with Councillors from other parties in finding real alternatives.  Ultimately both locally and nationally the only way to fix our broken political system is to introduce a fairer voting system.  Members of Medway Green Party have worked hard in recent years in urging voters to start voting for democracy itself. Electing a Green Councillor is a real alternative and may be the first and most important step in bringing about that change”.

Wards which will have Green candidates:

Peninsula – Clive Gregory, Sonia Hyner and Mohammad Ahmad
Strood Rural – Kenneth Watkins
Strood North – Trish Marchant
Strood South – Marja Kingma
Rochester West – Catriona Jamieson
Rochester East – Marilyn Stone
Rochester South and Horsted  – Bernard Hyde
River – Caroline Bowes
Cuxton and Halling  -Tina Munro
Gillingham North  – George Salomon
Watling – Joel Love
Twydall  – Catherine Belmonte
Rainham Central – Mary Smith
Lordswood and Capstone  – Simon Marchant

 

 

January 7, 2019

Defending the local environment and democracy

In December we were asked by The Political Medway two interesting questions on political events in 2018 and our future campaign.  Please see answers below by Green candidate for Peninsula ward, Clive Gregory:

What political event from 2018 do you feel was most overlooked?

In June we were the only local party which held a campaign stall for ‘Demand Democracy Day’ arranged by the campaign group ‘Make Votes Matter’ as part of their cross party campaign for a change in the voting system to Proportional Representation. This is important because currently the vast majority of people are left without a voice as political parties are elected on a small proportion of the vote. This can and does result in complicit actions by politicians susceptible to the lobbying of their rich donors, leading to the continued rise of wealth and power of corporations and the stripping away of protections for ordinary people and our natural environment.

We would also like to see Medway Council adopt a proportional voting system and bring in other changes to make the Council more democratic. Recent developments, particularly those affecting those living on the Hoo Peninsula, show that the Council is not and has no intention of listening to the vast majority of local opinion. It’s time all local people were represented and not just those who favour the dominating party.

A reform to the voting system was well supported by shoppers in Strood Town Centre where we held our stall. Unfortunately there was and continues to be little engagement in furthering our democracy in this way by the bigger parties.

What is your vision for your party heading into the 2019 local election campaign?

We aim to be at the forefront of defending the environment and democracy. However as a small party locally we need to focus our energies which are currently (and for the last few years) centred on the disastrous proposals by Medway Council in the Local Plan consultation. The latest proposal to build a new town on the Hoo Peninsula will do little or nothing to provide truly affordable housing locally, will destroy valuable green spaces, and completely fails to acknowledge or respond to the reality of climate breakdown. This is a reflection of the national and international agenda, an agenda which we will seek to challenge in our local campaign for the good of people and the planet (locally and elsewhere).

November 26, 2018

People of Peninsula fundraising quiz

Medway Green Party has organised a fundraising quiz to support a campaign against over development on the Hoo Peninsula.

The Party is inviting Medway residents to the quiz which will take place on Sunday 2nd December at High Halstow Memorial Hall, 6-9 pm. The Greens have also been undertaking a survey of local residents on the Peninsula which has confirmed a great deal of concern about the amount of proposed house-building in the area.

Clive Gregory, Upper Stoke resident, who has been selected to stand for the Green Party for the Peninsula ward in the May 2019 local elections says:

“No one is listening to local people and Medway Council simply do not care about protecting our local environment preferring to turn the Peninsula into a dormitory town for London. I have long argued against over development here, including being committed to protecting the SSSI at Lodge Hill. I am looking forward to concentrating my efforts on my home ward in the run up to the local elections”.

Medway Green Party has responded to all stages of Medway Council’s Local Plan. Their recent response describes all the options presented as “ill conceived and [that they will] add to the problems we face instead of being part of the solution”. The Greens have proposed redevelopment of Chatham Town Centre as an alternative to building a new town at Hoo.

Those interested in taking part in the quiz are encouraged to contact Marilyn Stone at membership@medway.greenparty.org.uk to book a place.

July 14, 2018

Medway Greens in Strood supporting Demand Democracy Day

bdrLocal Green Party members were in Strood Town Centre on Saturday 30th June supporting “Demand Democracy Day”[1] arranged by the campaign group “Make Votes Matter”. Make Vote Matters had arranged the national day of action as part of their cross party campaign for a change in the voting system from the current First Past the Post system to Proportional Representation. Proportional Representation is any voting system in which the share of seats a party wins matches the share of votes it receives.

Marilyn Stone who organised the local event said:

“It was great to be able to chat to passers-by about the issues with our current voting system and why it needs to change. The most striking problem with the current system is that a political party can win power on a very small percentage of votes, leaving the vast majority of people without a voice”.

Medway Green Party had also brought along a petition for electoral reform in Council elections which they plan to grow during the campaign period before the May 2019 elections.

Clive Gregory, Green campaigner, said:

“Recent developments, particularly those affecting those living on the Hoo Peninsula, show that the Council is not and has no intention of listening to the vast majority of local opinion. It’s time all local people were represented and not just those who favour the dominating party”.

[1] https://www.makevotesmatter.org.uk/news/demand-democracy-day

July 14, 2018

Medway Greens call on Medway Council to “go back to the drawing board” with their Local Plan

Medway Green Party recently submitted a detailed response to Medway Council’s Local Plan consultation.  This was an article we sent to the press at the time…

Local Green campaigners have slammed the latest proposals in the Local Plan consultation describing the options as “serving the Council’s own laissez faire agenda”.

Bernard Hyde, Green Campaigner and local Architect says: “The rhetoric of the Medway Local Plan is worthy but the options presented are ill conceived and add to the problems we face instead of being part of the solution. We have to face up to the inevitable effects of climate change with all the many and varied impacts that it is going to have on all our lives. Our Council leaders, like Central Government, are avoiding the important issues, whether they be flooding, homelessness, failing harvests, lack of water or pollution, to serve their own laissez faire agenda”.

In particular, Medway Green Party has hit out at the proposal to build a new rural town on the Hoo Peninsula claiming that, not only is it unwelcome to local people, and damaging to the local environment, but that it stores up problems for the future because of the area’s clay soil.   Mr Hyde says:  “The developments will be built on clay which currently costs more to build on than chalk, will suffer more from the extremes of weather caused by climate change and may result in buildings that are uninsurable. Medway Council needs to go back to the drawing board on this”.

Clive Gregory, Medway Green and Hoo Peninsula resident adds: “There is little evidence that Medway residents were calling for development on the Hoo Peninsula.  In fact largely the opposite is stated in the Council’s own report on the last consultation.  It seems that the latest proposal is in the interests of developers and their short term profit rather than in the interests of the existing or future local population”.

Medway Green Party is however not without suggestions of how things can be done differently, and Mr Hyde delivered a hard copy of the Green Party response to the Local Plan Consultation to the Council Offices on Monday, together with a file of background information and references. He said: “The Local Plan consultation document is not particularly accessible to the average citizen due to the length of the consultation document and the mountain of material that accompanies it. We expect the planners to read the documents we have supplied”.

 

May 4, 2018

One year to go to Medway Council elections

While many people in the country are milling over the results of the 2018 Council elections, in Medway we were asked by local reporter, Dean Kilpatrick, to provide some thoughts on Medway Council’s elections next May.

Please see full article from Medway Green Party below:

***

Medway Council is not renowned for its recognition of democracy and there appears to be little exception to this in regard to the Local Plan consultation.  The latest proposal to build a “rural town” on the Hoo Peninsula arguably favours the interests of developers over local people who want to preserve our green spaces and certainly don’t want a new town at Hoo.

This together with the continued identification of the SSSI at Lodge Hill and now Deangate Ridge Golf Course and other valuable green spaces such as Capstone Valley in housing proposals is I predict likely to be the biggest issue on the agenda as we approach the 2019 local elections.

Both the Conservatives and Labour administrations fully support massive development and fail to recognise and indeed simply don’t understand the importance of our environment locally. We are privileged to live in an area of international importance and need to preserve it. Only the Greens are questioning both the need for so many houses and the decisions the Council is making about where to put them.

The proposals are also completely inadequate in fulfilling local need for affordable housing.  Medway is regularly being advertised as a commuter town with pitches for buyers for new, undoubtedly expensive, riverside apartments in the pipeline. Is this the pipeline development mentioned in the Local Plan which the Council has already approved?  The current requirement of local people should be addressed first; this is social housing. There also needs to be more proactive effort to reduce climate change by ensuring that any building allows for maximum energy production and efficiency.

As with many legislative bodies from the EU commission down to the humblest local council, transparency is an issue. Medway is a good example of a few individuals thinking they know best and to implement their plans they involve others reluctantly.  Local people no longer accept this style of governance – its day is ending. What people are calling for is to be included in planning and decisions.  Proportional representation would be the best way to begin this change.

Meanwhile, both Tories and Labour seem to believe that the only answer to overpriced housing is to build more houses ignoring the need for more socially rentable housing locally and ignoring the role that financial markets have had in the massive escalation in prices of market housing.  Most people are completely unaware that the economic system is at the core of the majority of disastrous policy decisions. Some like Kate Raworth in her book “Doughnut Economics” [1] or the Positive Money group [2] challenge the status quo, but the problems with our economic system are largely left out of debate.  Greens will endeavour to highlight alternative economic solutions both at a local and global level.

The risk of increasing congestion and rising pollution from all the additional cars on our roads is also likely to be a factor.  We will need to be thinking of more sustainable travel solutions.  We also need more electric car charging points.  There seems to be no anticipation by the Council of the emergence of electric vehicles.

Concern regarding single use plastics is becoming more prominent following the excellent Blue Planet programme.  While the Council has agreed to stop using SUPs on Council premises more can be done. It surprises me that while the charge on plastic bags has helped reduce use, that plastic bags haven’t been eliminated altogether. Why don’t shops supply paper bags for groceries as they do in America?  The Council also needs to do better at reducing landfill. That Medway Norse has taken over the contract for running household waste recycling centres is something that needs watching.  They don’t seem to have done very well with Deangate Ridge Golf Course!

Finally the fight to protect our local public services including health, education and social care is likely to feature, all of which are suffering through Government cuts to the Council budget.

Who can predict any result in these unpredictable times but we believe that in May 2019 there will be even more need for Green voices on the Council.

Clive Gregory

Green Campaigner and PPC for Rochester and Strood

[1] https://www.kateraworth.com/

[2] http://positivemoney.org/

 

April 14, 2018

Greens Councillors are there to ask the difficult questions, keep the people who spend your money honest

April 13, 2018

No, Medway Council! We don’t want a new town at Hoo!

Why has Medway Council excluded Option 1 from the latest Local Plan proposals? This option, which in the previous consultation phase proposed making the best use of brownfield land to build good quality homes at higher densities near town centres was clearly the most sustainable, a reality backed by the Council’s Sustainability Appraisal – the one they almost forgot to do!

Instead it seems they have taken people’s understandable concerns regarding lack of infrastructure on the Hoo peninsula to dump the majority of development there, under the guise that this would respond to these concerns.  No!  I doubt that anyone was calling for a new town at Hoo. We were saying we didn’t want major development there!  No wonder residents (especially of the Hoo area) think that the Council’s attempts at consultation are nothing more than a paper exercise where no notice is taken of anyone’s response ever!

One relief is that development of the SSSI at Lodge Hill is no longer in all four options as previously, but this needs to taken off the table completely; alongside the recent added insult to injury of closing Deangate Ridge Golf Course against the wishes of almost everyone!

Furthermore, instead of recognising that the numbers are much too high, the Council show signs of, in all but one option, caving into demands by the Tory Government to build even more houses!

As a Hoo peninsula resident, I will be doing all I can to fight these disastrous plans.

Clive Gregory
Green Party Campaigner &
PPC for Rochester and Strood

March 16, 2018

Tell a New Story – Doughnut Economics