A New Year comes in with new cuts but new resistance. There is a mass protest against the leadership of Canterbury council at 7pm tonight (Thursday) — get there early! A petition of more than 3,000 residents demanding council leader John Gilbey and his cabinet resign their positions will be handed in. Groups opposing the closure of our museums, the sale of Kingsmead Field, the attacks on local democracy with boundary changes and many continuing cuts to our local services will be at the meeting to let the council know what we think of its policies.
Included in the issues that protesters have been asked to highlight is the hike in rent charges for pensioners who have owned beach huts for more than 15 years. Currently they pay a discounted rent of £172, next year the council proposes rises to as much £792. Some may think this is not the most pressing of council attacks but these huts have been owned for years by local people way before some of the areas they are in become more ‘marketable’. They should have the right to be able to afford to continue to enjoy them. Importantly, Cllr Gilbey has declared “the council has to operate as a business”. This means market rates on services only the well-off can afford and profits at any cost. We need to stop this attack and others to follow. So let’s see a huge turnout at the Guildhall. A Happy New Year and solidarity to all.
Herne Bay Times, January 9th 2014