WHILE Alex Stevens, Michelle Freeman and Stuart Jeffery of the Green Party have invited residents of Gorrell, Seasalter and Tankerton wards to sign their petition calling for a town council in Whitstable they might be interested to know that there has been a petition in circulation on this issue for some considerable time and it can be found at www.ipetitions.com/petition/whitstable-town-council
Begun two years ago, the original petition seemed like a good idea to me when it first caine my way so I duly signed it and circulated it to my community contacts. However, it gained little support from the 400 or so local people on my lists — many of whom wrote back to me with comments that echoed the following: “…we already have WAMP (Whitstable Area Members’ Panel) so I am not going to sign this because I do not want to have to pay for another layer of governance which might perpetuate further Tory dominance in our town.”
While I have every respect for the Green party with whom I campaign against fracking, it does seem to me rather disingenuous for Michelle Freeman to claim of the Greens’ petition: “This is not a political party campaign” just seven weeks before an election. Since the Greens do not have a single councillor on Canterbury City Council I can see how they might hope to pick up a town councillor in Whitstable, but they will need a few thousand signatures on their petition to trigger an official consultation and I notice that they have (at the time of writing) only 15 – an unchanged figure from the petition’s launch last week. Indeed, if this really isn’t a “party political campaign” perhaps Alex, Michelle and Stuart might simply add their names to, and take over, the existing petition which has marginally more signatures at 57?
While Green Party parliamentary candidate, Stuart Jeffery implies that local problems such as “traffic and parking” might be “resolved” by a town council, I believe this is misleading for local people, since surely the city council will not relinquish control of parking due to revenue implications? The sound of a town council might have a good ring to it but as many local people kindly instructed me two years ago, be careful what you wish for — it could mean that we end up paying for more of the same.
Herne Bay Times, April 1st 2015