City of Medway v Dover City?

Yesterday’s (16th February, 2011) edition of Your Medway contained an article concerning the possibility of a new, and local, challenger to Medway Council’s city status bid.

According to Your Medway, Dover MP Charlie Elphicke said the town was considering making a city status bid but “it will come down to whether there is the public support for it.” [My emphasis.]

Dover from the air

Dover from the air - the town's residents will have a say in whether there is a city status bid, unlike those of us in Medway

Medway Council leader Rodney Chambers is quoted as saying:

“We believe we have the strongest possible case. Medway has all the key city credentials. It has a population of 255,000, four universities, a famous cathedral, a Football League club, superb transport and trade links, a worldfamous historic dockyard, a £6 billion regeneration plan, rural areas and a great river setting.”

I know I am pointing out the obvious to most people but Rochester – not Medway – has “a famous cathedral”, Gillingham – not Medway – has “a Football League club” and Chatham – not Medway – has “a worldfamous historic dockyard”.

How can Rodney Chambers claim they “have the strongest possible case” when the residents of Medway have not been asked if they support the bid?

Based on the Medway Green Party’s work collecting signatures for our “Medway City” referendum petition, it is clear there is a lot of opposition to the city bid.  (Despite our limited resources, more people have signed our petition than have supported the city bid via  Medway Council’s consultation.)

Furthermore, as Kent News reported back in October 2010:

“Medway Council’s city status bid has been given a big thumbs down by our online readers. We asked visitors to our yourmedway and kentnews websites if they support the proposals – and just a third of respondents clicked ‘yes’. The remainder, 67 per cent, clicked ‘no’. A total of 166 web users have responded to the poll to date.”

The city status bid opposition by residents can also be seen on sites such as the Say NO to City of Medway Facebook group and even the council’s own city status web site.

Despite Councillor Chambers’ assertion, it is clear Medway Council does not “have the strongest possible case” because the residents of Medway have been excluded.

If the people of Dover would like city status then I wish them luck and hope the town is granted such status.

David M. Davison

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