iFAQ: Peninsula national park?

Following recent debates over the amount of development on the peninsula area of Medway, Cllr Ron Sands has proposed that the area should be designated a National Park. An interesting idea, we decided to email a range of political voices – other councillors, former councillors for the area, and other parties – to gauge their support for the idea.

Cllr Sands has recently proposed the designation of the Peninsula as a National Park. Do you believe this would be a positive development for the area?

As usual, we told all of them that we would publish their responses unedited. You can find them below in the order they were received.

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Voice of the Opposition: October

Once a month we will be offering the Leaders of both Medway Council and the official opposition the opportunity to talk unedited about.. well, Medway politics.

Today we hear from Vince Maple, leader of Medway Labour, the official opposition on Medway Council.


One of the things you find when it comes to politics is that, on certain issues, it can be difficult to not fall into a bunch of clichés. When it comes to young people; they really do only get one chance in life, they absolutely do deserve the very best support available and they really are the future.

There are three examples of young people in Medway that I want to focus on this month. I can’t start in any other place than the recent Ofsted into Children’s Social Services which rated Medway Council as inadequate, the worst possible rating. In my more than a decade as a councillor it is truly one of the worst Ofsted reports I’ve seen. It is important to note that those in the front line of the service are given positive recognition in the report. Despite some social workers having caseloads of up to 55 – dramatically larger than you would anticipate considering the government figures show the average number of cases held by a children’s social worker is 17.4.

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iFAQ: Language in the chamber

For our iFAQ this week, we decided to ask councillors about the use of language at Medway Council chambers, following discussions about what is appropriate in our national politics. As such, we sent the following question to every Medway councillor:

Given recent debates in Parliament about the use of language in politics, do you feel that language at Medway Council meetings is always appropriate, or would an element of moderation improve our political discourse?

As usual, we told all of them that we would publish their responses unedited. You can find them below in the order they were received.

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The Oft Forgotten Residents of Medway

In which Sue Groves looks at the day to day difficulties faced by disabled residents of Medway..

close up view of wheelchair with Pavement handicap symbol

Have you ever had one of those days where you plan everything with military precision, only for obstacles and barriers to get in the way at every turn? Welcome to my world – and that of many of Medway’s disabled residents.

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iFAQ: The benefits of a no deal Brexit

Yes, we’re all sick of Brexit. But as we hurtle closer to October 31 and a potential no deal, the potential consequences of that are facing us down. All three Medway MPs have endorsed the Prime Minister’s position of embracing no deal if necessary, and a number of Medway Conservative councillors have also expressed support. As such, for our iFAQ this week, we started by asking our three MPs a simple question:

What are the benefits to Medway residents of a no deal Brexit?

As usual, we told all of them that we would publish their responses unedited. You can find them below in the order they were received:

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Hard Conversations

In which Vicki Sigston looks at the support that exists for new parents during one of the most difficult times..

As an antenatal practitioner I meet hundreds of families every year who are waiting to meet their babies. Some will come to me as parents who have been affected by the previous loss of a pregnancy or who have experienced stillbirth and while often they might prefer to keep this information to themselves, they might also be keen to talk through their past experiences as they prepare to meet their new baby, and of course this is important.

Stillbirth and neonatal death will always be a hard subject for people to talk about, but June is SANDS awareness month here in the UK and I felt it was a great opportunity to open up the dialogue a little.

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Voice of the Leader: September

Once a month we offer a platform to the leaders of both Medway Council and the official opposition. Today, we have the latest column from Cllr Alan Jarrett, Conservative Leader of Medway Council.

Alan Jarrett

After a missing month, there is a lot to write about, both here in Medway and nationally.

The biggest national furor of course continues to relate to Brexit, this time the decision to prorogue Parliament with an awful lot of hysteria surrounding that. However, by standing back and sniffing the coffee we can see the prorogation relates to four days with Parliament traditionally closing down for the party conference season anyway.

As I write this there is a row within my party over voting. It is no coincidence that most of the usual suspects promising to undermine the will of the British people in the 2016 referendum have been recently fired from the government. “Hell hath no fury…….!”

There are varied views about what should done with those people who vote with the Opposition against their own party, and the threat of deselection has been mooted. Good!

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Voice of the Opposition: August

Once a month we will be offering the Leaders of both Medway Council and the official opposition the opportunity to talk unedited about.. well, Medway politics.

Today we hear from Vince Maple, leader of Medway Labour, the official opposition on Medway Council.


So the man who wanted to build an airport in our community has now got the keys to number ten.  There are many alarming things about Boris Johnson’s election to the role of Prime Minister. His obsession with the estuary airport, a vanity project of the highest order – considering the wide variety of evidence from environmental to economic all pointed to it being a flawed concept – but it’s not just us here in North Kent he managed to dismay.  

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Climate change: What can we do?

In which Esme Hehir of Medway Youth Council ponders what individuals and organisations to combat climate change.

Climate change is an issue that needs to be dealt with urgently. We cannot sit back as passive observers of the destruction of our planet. There is so much we should be doing to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come. 

This crisis has become so serious that there are now daily discussions in the mainstream media, taking the debate from a niche audience to the forefront of our global concerns. Despite there being an increased interest in the subject, not enough is being done to prevent climate change.

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