Town council or Herne Bay Society: what does the town need?
Does Herne Bay need its own council, or would a Herne Bay Society be better? Is it time to reclaim our Bay? That’s the question campaigners are asking this week after another Canterbury City Council council decision was met with fury in the town.
This time, it was the decision to block two-hour parking bays in the town, even though it was supported at a meeting of Bay town councillors and by business leaders. Members of the joint transportation board voted to go back to the drawing board, raising fears traders would suffer.
Nigel Hancock, from the Bay Independent Retail Group (BIRG), said:
“The fact is that we, as a town, are being stymied time and time again by Canterbury City Council. With every move made by us, and other community groups, to improve Herne Bay for its traders, residents and visitors, the current council seem to dish out another blow which knocks us back.
The policy-makers in Military Road seem to think that one size fits all and policies made for the city of Canterbury will somehow work in Herne Bay. They are deluded.”
Mr Hancock questioned whether it was time to reconsider the idea of setting up a Herne Bay Town Council, to give the town more effective representation and control.
But long-time campaigner Phil Rose, who is part of the Campaign for Democracy in Canterbury District seeking to change the way the city council is run, believes said there may be better options. He said:
“When people talk of a Herne Bay Town Council they are often thinking of the old Herne Bay Urban District Council but it would not be anything like that. It would be a layer underneath Canterbury City Council, that would decide how to set it up and what powers it has. The solution for local people who are unhappy with things as they are is to get involved but at the moment there is no vehicle for them to easily do that.”
He suggested a town-wide community group could be set up, with representatives from existing clubs and organisations. It would be non-political and could reach hundreds of people under the same umbrella organisation. Mr Rose, who runs the Herne Bay Matters website, said:
“A Herne Bay Society would be a good move, representing all the existing groups, as the people of the town, without a political axe to grind. We have the BayPromoTeam who do fantastic work but they are more about arranging events and promoting the town. I think there is a need for a group to represent people’s views and provide a platform for serious, formal debate with the council.”
“They work effectively to represent their towns and we would be interested if Herne Bay were to create a similar society. We would work with them in exactly the same way we work with the two existing societies.”
Herne Bay Times 6th Mar 2014