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A message from your County Councillor - March 2020

This must be the strangest Monthly report I have ever penned. Not even sure who will get to read it ! Many Parish magazines are struggling to edit or print.Parish Councils not meeting and some Parish Websites do not appear to be being updated.

This was very much a month of two halves. The first two and a bit weeks were relatively normal although one did not need to be a genius to see the storm clouds gathering.

In those first two weeks we had the quarterly meeting of the Joint Transport Board for Swale. One of the contributors in the Public Speaking section was Lynsted & Kingsdown Parish Council Chairman David Powell who spoke very well on the Parish Council’s concerns regarding the proposed changes to the road layout at Greenstreet [ A2 ]. David was supported by the two Swale Borough Councillors for the Ward Lloyd Bowen [Con] and Mike Whiting [Con]and myself.

I also attended my first Meeting of the County Council’s Planning Committee as a full voting Member. Their were no applications from within Swale East on the Agenda but there was one to the West of Sittingbourne. We also had a meeting of the Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee. The main item of local concern on this Agenda was the review of the Frank Lloyd Unit at Sittingbourne.

Following a proposal from myself, seconded by Sittingbourne South County Councillor John Wright [Con] to refer the decision to the Secretary of State the CCG were instructed to appear at our next meeting [scheduled for June ] to offer any reasons why it should not be referred.

On 11th March the meeting that I had facilitated between Sheldwich, Baddlesmere & Leaveland Parish Council together with Challock PC & Boughton Aluph Parish PC together with Kent Highways took place. The Three Parish Councils each left the meeting with greater clarity of work needed on their Highways Improvement Plans. I took the opportunity after the meeting finished to update the Officers present on the current status of Selling’s HIP.They were very supportive and complimentary of work so far.

My last visit to County Hall before “lockdown” was for two meetings on the 17th March. Whilst there I learned of the decision to cancel Full Council on the 19th and all further meetings until further notice. The last actual meeting I have attended in person to date was Selling Parish Council on the 19th . At that meeting we dealt with Planning and Finance issues. We then passed a resolution on advice from the National Association of Local Councils and other under Section 72 section 10 of the Local Government Act to delegate authority to the Proper Officer, the Clerk, together with the Chairman and Vice–Chairman to transact the business of the Council until, in our case, the 10th of July 2020.

Aside from two Church Services ‘ attended ‘ via zoom I have taken part in 3 meetings. Together with County Councillor Tony Hills [Con – Romney Marsh] I took part in a Regional Flood and Coastal Committee Finance Sub Committee via a telecom link. I have also dialled in to two KCC Sub Committees/Working Groups, the Kent Environment Strategy Cross Party Working Group and the Kent Flood Management Network.

Please keep safe and follow Government instruction to Stay in wherever possible, maintain a safe [2 metre at least ] distance when out etc to protect yourselves and the staff of the NHS and other Emergency Services.

Andrew Bowles Email:

Mobile: 07778 629879

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