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How can Herne Bay find its voice?

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.”

The group would be similar to the Whitstable Society and Canterbury Society and council spokesman Rob Davies said those groups worked well. He said:

“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

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3 comments

  1. Sue Studd Hill Herne Bay

    I do not go into town to shop as much as I used to due to the parking and parking fees. I bet there are hundreds more residents who are doing the same. I really resent having to pay, which I feel is a high price, to visit my town!!! Lower the parking fees and more people will come in to shop. No Brainer. Make it free to park on the front like it used to be. Council are so greedy and they live in another world. I know of visitors who do not come to Herne Bay any more because they now have to pay. Council ought to realise that by raising parking fees and 1 hour restrictions are having a very detrimental effect on this town.

  2. Sarah, Herne Bay The idea of a town council or society for Herne Bay is an interesting one but how do we as a community create that? the Whitstable Society that Phil Rose uses as a comparison looks straightforward to use as amodel but what power, if any, does it have and what are the limitations? I agree that we would benefit from having our own voice and one that includes the various local interst groups that are really trying to build the area up.

  3. Sam Herne Bay

    Whitstable parking – Free, with no time restrictions, all the way along the Tankerton Slopes, right throughout the majority of the conservation area, and in almost all streets adjoining said areas, (i.e. near to shops and restaurants). Station parking 2.50 per day. Herne Bay parking – Sea front- Time-limited in the winter, pay and display the rest of the year, anywhere near shops and restaurants – severely time-limited or use pay and display car parks. Station parking 3.00 per day.Why is Herne Bay being penalised in this way? Why do we always get a raw deal in comparison with Whitstable? No wonder Herne Bay traders are struggling to prosper. The council frets about possible loss of revenue, but seems to refuse to accept that these restrictions and parking fees should not have been imposed in the first place. If the council wants to help Herne Bay flourish, we need to be given the same deal as Whitstable.