THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY MANIFESTO
For the Shepway District Council Elections
On Thursday 7th May 2015
Under the Conservatives, Shepway council has been revolutionised. We have a proud record of delivering improved services, value for money, organisational reform and financial prudence. In the process, we have become a ‘can do’ council, confident in our ability to rise to new challenges and to embrace new opportunities.
This view is shared by our External Auditors, who have concluded that ‘we are satisfied that the Council has put in place proper arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources.’ (Grant Thornton, September 2014)
Local Conservatives have a Record of Action and a Promise of More.
SOME IMPORTANT CONSERVATIVE ACHIEVEMENTS
- Council Tax cut three years running. The ONLY District council in Kent to cut Council Tax in 2015/16 and one of ONLY eight in the WHOLE country!This is a reflection of our commitment to financial prudence, efficiency improvements and securing value for the taxpayer’s money that we spend.
- Award-winning service improvements. Most recently (March 2015), with Dover council, Shepway won a national Gold Award for Transformation in Waste and Environment for the recycling and waste collection service. The annual Improvement and Efficiency Awards recognise public sector innovation, transformation and excellence.
- Empowering our young people. The council has part-funded over 200 apprenticeships since our Apprenticeship Scheme was launched in April 2012. Folkestone’s Further Education provision at Kent College has been safeguarded, and Higher Education courses are now also on offer.
- Opening Shepway for Business. We have developed strong relationships with the business sector, and increasing numbers of firms are being attracted to Shepway.. More and more people are being helped to start their own business, while successful business incubator units have been established in Folkestone and New Romney. We have also set up Oportunitas, a new Housing and Regeneration Company, which will generate additional income streams to finance future projects and service delivery. We are unlocking significant development sites, such as Mountfield Road, Folkestone Seafront and Link Park.
- More housing for our residents. We are building the first council houses in Shepway for 20 years. This is part of a 10 year new build programme that will produce over 300 extra homes. New sites are being purchased to continue the programme, which has a large affordable housing element.
- A greener and cleaner District. We have restored weekly food waste collections. We have introduced a range of innovative recycling schemes, and a very popular garden waste collection service. We have more officers monitoring anti-social littering and dog fouling. And we have introduced extended summer opening hours for all public conveniences in the District.
FIVE GOOD REASONS TO VOTE CONSERVATIVE
‘Liberals may dream their dreams. Socialists may scheme their schemes. But we have work to do,’ (the late Iain Macleod, Conservative party Conference, 1960)
Conservatives are committed to Prosperity and Ambition, working for more jobs and homes in an attractive District. Our key priority is to boost the local economy and increase job opportunities through the development of a sustainable and vibrant local economy.
Conservative control of Shepway District Council is a recipe for financial prudence. We have been able to cut our share of the council tax, while at the same time balancing the budget and improving the quality and range of the services we provide.
Conservatives promise to incur additional spending only when it is matched by increased income or identified budget savings. We will also aim to produce future income sources through investments in the District which can generate a return over the longer term for the council. Only through continuing control of the council’s finances can we make provision for our ambitious programme for the District. A strong economic base is the key to a strong Shepway.
FOLKESTONE IS THE PLACE TO BE
We have invested in the revival of Folkestone. Our contribution towards the construction of the Step Short memorial arch, opened in 2014 by Prince Harry, helped to put Folkestone on the map. We have provided financial and officer support for events such as War and Peace, the Triennial, and the Airshow. We are right behind the ambitious Folkestone harbour and seafront development. We provided funds to Folkestone Town Council to enable them to take over the operation and maintenance of CCTV. We have increased the time limit for free on-street parking in the A1 zone in central Folkestone from one to two hours. Folkestone is now the most accessible town in Kent for free parking in the heart of the business area.
Conservatives will continue to have regular liaison with traders’ representatives, and will support initiatives and ventures designed to increase still further the prosperity and attractiveness of Folkestone.
SHEPWAY IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS
We have actively promoted the health and expansion of business across Shepway. Boosting the local economy and increasing job opportunities are a corporate priority. One result is that the number out of work has fallen to its lowest level in five years. We are unlocking our significant development sites, such as the land off Range Road, Mountfield Road and Kitewell Lane. We are also unlocking sites belonging to others, such as Folkestone Seafront, Link Park, Shearway Business Park, Nickolls’ Quarry and Shorncliffe Garrison. We have provided or facilitated incubator facilities; support for creative start-ups; apprenticeships; enhanced FE provision; business support and advice.
Conservatives will extend the discretionary rate relief scheme for businesses, first introduced in 2013, with a proposed budget of £250,000, and focusing especially on town centres and job creation. We will continue to invest in Shepway, supporting our town centres and ensuring that tourists come here in their thousands, and thus providing a huge boost to local businesses. We will continue to attract investment in the District through funding sources such as the Local Enterprise Partnership, the Marsh Million Fund and Expansion East Kent. We will encourage more start-ups, support business access to finance and innovation, and look favourably upon the development of commercial premises and empty premises. We will build on our successful Apprenticeship scheme, and work with education and training providers to meet employers’ needs.
MUCH MORE SAY FOR LOCAL PEOPLE
We are committed to the principle of Localism and to local community engagement. We have already provided funding to town and parish councils to alleviate the effects of central government’s changes in council tax collection arrangements. We have introduced a popular ward budget scheme that provides £1000 each year for each councillor to spend on deserving local projects. We have introduced a Community Charter, that sets out what town and parish councils can expect from Shepway District Council.
Conservatives will introduce a Community Infrastructure Levy, levied upon developers, which will deliver improvements in local facilities and amenities. .We will provide support for the Neighbourhood Plans adopted by town and parish councils, and supported by their residents in a referendum. We will introduce annual ward plans and ward budgets in consultation with residents, community groups, and town and parish councils. Ward plans will identify action priorities in each local area, and councillors will be provided with budgets to deliver these priorities on behalf of their communities.
LOOKING AFTER THE PLACE
We are working hard to create a cleaner, greener District. We have already devoted more resources to the monitoring of streets, recreation grounds and beaches, and are apprehending and taking action against more offenders who spoil our environment.
Conservatives will continue to support the creation of an attractive and vibrant place to live, including further improvements in the street cleansing standards achieved, and the provision of new litter bins and replacement bins. We will invest more resources in measures to monitor and combat anti-social behaviour. We will increase still further our monitoring of ‘hot spots’ across the District with a view to bringing about a significant reduction in the amount of littering and dog fouling. We will provide increased funding for the organisers of community litter picks. We will also seek the cooperation of our partners on non-council owned land in our efforts to remove unsightly graffiti. We will, however, also provide more opportunities for our young people, and so we will seek to extend access to leisure and sporting facilities across the District, since we all recognise that ‘a child in sport isn’t a child in court’. We will introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order (under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014) to cover street begging, street drinking, the street use of New Emerging Drugs (‘street highs’) and public space sleeping.
WE ALSO PLEDGE that we will
- continue to provide more local housing for local residents.
- maintain Customer Charter standards and retain the Corporate Customer Service Excellence Accreditation.
- facilitate the delivery of faster broadband access across the District, and encourage providers to offer free Wi-Fi access.
- speed up the planning process and continue to provide free advice to applicants.
- work to encourage local stores to provide adequate toilet facilities for their customers.
- review all existing yellow lines across the District and will seek to remove those that are clearly unnecessary.
- do whatever we practically can to support the efforts of KCC to remove unwanted lorries from our by-ways and lay-bys, and to clamp down on off street parking by HGVs.
- speed up the rate at which proposed local residents’ parking schemes are identified, considered and implemented.
- promote the sale of residents’ parking permits, and keep the annual price at £52, which represents acknowledged excellent value for money.
‘This exciting journey is set to continue.’
(David Monk, Leader of Shepway District Council)