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Not everything city council does is bad

It is a pity that everything about council-related policy in the papers/letters seems to be so black and white, whether it be the council (in effect “we have done everything right”) or some protesters who list a string of decisions as all wrong and equally wrong.

Decisions like trying to sell off a chunk of the Herne Bay Downs to a developer for beach huts, the approach to Kingsmead Field and the secret, claimed irreversible and not-for-consultation decision to slash museum hours clearly belong at the dark end of the spectrum. But the proposal on beach hut charges for example, routinely put in the list of black marks, is unquestionably unavoidable for the council given the legal ruling that market rents must be charged. Do protesters suggest the council ignore the law? Have they forgotten that some of them have in the recent past threatened the council with legal action on other hut matters under the Human Rights Act on the basis that the council has not been acting legally?

Similarly poorly made are the condemnations of the experimental St Dunstan’s scheme. It needs to be remembered that many people were for it, as well as against, and that a major reason for the scheme was because pollution levels were approaching dangerous levels in that major street, used by many pedestrians. The council may or may not have got it wrong with the details of the scheme but the motivation was wholly laudable and was not without significant public support from the wider electorate. Could 2014 please be marked by more considered critiques of council action and polices?

Graham Cox,
By e-mail

Herne Bay Times, January 16th 2014

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