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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:

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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/

 

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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

March 10, 2018

Change the goal – Doughnut Economics

March 5, 2018

Inspiring speech on women in politics by Amelia Womack, Deputy Green Party Leader

March 3, 2018

Vote Green on International Women’s Day – March 8th #RochesterWest

220px-Annie_Kenney_and_Christabel_PankhurstThe Rochester West by-election is on the same day as International Women’s Day (1). One of the reasons I decided to enter politics was because of a lack of female voices in public life.  I felt that if I wanted women to have a voice, I needed to stand myself to contribute to that change. So as the only female candidate in the by-election, I feel honoured to stand on this day which begins a year-long campaign to further gender equality.

International Women’s Day was started by the Suffragettes in the early 1900s; the first International Women’s Day was in 1911 (2). Thanks to the suffrage movement’s determination to effect change, women have had the vote for 100 years and my view is that this has helped the country to enjoy relative peace since 1945.

However, we have to remember that the right to a political voice is often fought for, it is not given! Men and women’s voices still need to be heard on issues such as the blight of litter and landfill on our communities, the fundamental right to have a home and to continue to have accessible health services.

Medway Green Party considers that social rights are inextricably linked with the environment, but rights have to be fought for peacefully. This fight, which for me has been inspired by the determination of the Suffragettes, is one I aim to continue on behalf of the people of Rochester West, if elected on International Women’s Day on 8th March.

Sonia Hyner – Green Party Candidate Rochester West

Sonia was inspired to write this letter by reading “Hearts and Minds – The Untold Story of How Women Won The Vote” by Jane Robinson – Penguin books 2018. http://www.jane-robinson.com/

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NOTES

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

[2] https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Theme

Some additional information on the Suffrage Movement:

Women’s Full Political Enfranchisement – 1792 to 2018

The right to a political voice is often fought for, it is not given!

This is seen in Mary Wollstonecraft’s book of 1792:

A Vindication of the Rights of Women

A Bill to enfranchise women was presented to the House of Commons in the years: 1872,

’75,  ‘ 76, ’ 78, ‘ 79, ’84, ’86, ’87, ’97, ’92, ’96, ’97, ’98, ’99 and in 1901, ’04, ’05 and so on. All of these Bills were lost.

In 1897, the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) or Suffragists was formed under the leadership of Millicent Garrett Fawcett who espoused change through political reform.

The Suffragettes under Emmeline Pankhurst founded The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) 1905. Empty political rhetoric resulted in them smashing the windows of the gentry and tying themselves to railings. Emily Wilding Davidson fatally threw herself under the King’s Horse at Epsom.

By 1907, women organised a large-scale outdoor women’s suffrage meeting through the NUWSS, called the Mud March. Fifty-four suffragettes were arrested.

In prison, under the Cat and Mouse Act, suffragettes were forced fed, released to get well and re-arrested and force fed again.

The Representation of the People Bill received Royal Assent on the 6th February 1918, allowing qualified women of 30 or over to vote. The Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act was passed in 1928, extending the franchise to women aged 21.

 

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February 22, 2018

Council has wrong housing priorities says by-election candidate #RochesterWest

We know from the Local Plan consultation that three quarters of new housing development in Medway must be ‘affordable’ in order to meet the existing and future needs of the current local population.However, Medway Council’s recent review of contributions to be paid by housing developers (1) is to be based on their assumption that ‘the development of new housing increases the number of people living in an area and with that the demand for local services, such as schools and transport.’

Of course if houses that can only be afforded by people from outside Medway are built, then new people will be attracted to the area together with their need for additional infrastructure to support them.

These new people will contribute massively to the Council’s finances through rates, but it will still leave a correspondingly large number of Medway people without a home.

We do not intended to justify the failure of developers to contribute to the community, but to ensure that the appropriate type of housing is developed to meet local needs.

The Tory led Council is notorious for putting its finances before people.

On 8 March 2018 there will be an opportunity to put people before profit by voting for the Green Party in the Rochester West council election.

Sonia Hyner
Green candidate for Rochester West

 

(1) http://www.medway.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/applyforplanningpermission/developercontributions.aspx?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialSignIn

 

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February 16, 2018

Candidate profile – Sonia Hyner #RochesterWest

Sonia HynerSonia Hyner has lived in Medway since 2002 and has been an active peace and climate change campaigner for some time.  She worked for Citizen Advice for 21 years, supporting members of the public to alleviate poverty and secure housing, before recently retraining to teach English to adults at Further Education College. Sonia also stood as the Green Candidate for the Rochester and Strood constituency in the 2017 General Election.

Sonia says: “One of the reasons I decided to enter politics was because of a lack of female voices in public life.  I felt that if I wanted women to have a voice, I needed to stand myself to contribute to that change.  The Conservatives currently dominate the Council and people feel that the Council doesn’t take their wishes and needs seriously. People deserve better!  Voting Green in Rochester West will help to provide more balance on Medway Council as well as encouraging and protecting values that currently have little or no voice such as….

 

Medway’s Environment and Sustainability:

A Green councillor would work to put environmental sustainability, health and wellbeing at the heart of council decisions and to protect our local countryside and green spaces from needless development. Globally many plants and animals have died out because their natural habitats have been destroyed. We must fight to protect our healthy green spaces, and clean up our toxic air, as well as for all development and transport to be truly sustainable. One of my key interests is in reducing litter and landfill and improving recycling locally.

Our NHS and Public Services:

Nationally our NHS is being sold off to private companies at an alarming rate. Our local services are at risk – this needs to stop! The recent Carillion disaster demonstrates a total failure in both Labour and Tory economic policy and their management of public services. I would do all I can to protect and improve our local public services.  People need to come before profit!

Homes that meet the needs of Medway:

We need to provide homes that local young people can actually afford.  The Medway Local Plan consultation estimates that 75% of new homes need to be affordable over the next 25 years to meet the needs of the local population, but the Council is only planning to enforce a requirement for 25% and is failing currently to achieve even that. There are alternatives such as Community Land Trusts which support local communities to build their own homes at prices they can afford and many would agree that we need the Council to start providing enough homes again. I would do all I can to ensure that all local people have a decent home.

If elected as councillor in Rochester West, I will make it my duty to strive towards making Medway the responsive, supportive and secure place I know it should be; respecting and listening to ALL voices in the community.”

January 24, 2018

Sonia Hyner to stand for Greens in Rochester West by-election #RochesterWest #GreenMedway

SonSonia Hyner 2017 intraArtsia Hyner has been selected as the Green Party’s candidate for the upcoming by-election in Rochester West.  An active peace and climate change campaigner for a number of years, Sonia worked for Citizen Advice for 21 years, supporting members of the public to alleviate poverty and secure housing. She recently retrained to teach English to adults at Further Education College. Sonia stood as Green PPC for Rochester and Strood in 2017 and knows the Rochester West area well, having been a campaigner on the doorsteps in recent years.    
Sonia says:
“I would understand that people may be a bit weary of elections having been through eight elections in the past three years in Rochester West, but this does provide an opportunity to produce a bit more balance on Medway Council. The Council is currently largely dominated by Conservatives, with Labour the only real opposition.  A Green voice on the Council would provide more opportunity to put environmental sustainability, health and wellbeing at the heart of Council decisions. Currently those who support Green values have no consistent voice on the Council at all. I would call on anyone who does to get out and vote Green on March 8th”.
Steve Dyke, Medway Green Party Coordinator says:
“I am delighted that Sonia has been selected as our candidate in the by-election.  She is a passionate believer in green politics who would work hard to represent the interests of all those in Rochester West, whatever their background, while bringing a much needed environmental perspective to the Council.”
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