Author: Sean Varnham

Kelly Tolhurst Resigns as Rochester West Councillor

This week the Prime Minister delivered a reshuffle of her government team, and I was extremely honoured to have been asked to join her team as a Government Whip. After discussions with colleagues and residents it is clear I am unable to carry on with my role as a local authority councillor without conflict. This has meant that, with the heaviest of hearts, I am having to resign as a councillor for Rochester West.

I first stood as a councillor in 2011, to represent the ward where I lived and to make a difference to my community. Since then I have been elected as the Member of Parliament and have managed to carry out both roles without complications, representing the constituency in Parliament and Rochester West at Council.

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Medway Council Christmas Bin Collections 2017

Below you can find the Christmas bin collections for the whole Medway area over the Christmas and New Year of 2017/18.

Christmas revised collections
Normal Collection day Revised collection day
Monday 25th December Wednesday 27th December
Tuesday 26th December Wednesday 27th December
Wednesday 27th December Thursday 28th December
Thursday 28th December Friday 29th December
Friday 29th December Saturday 30th December
New Year revised collections
Normal Collection day Revised collection day
Monday 1st January Tuesday 2nd January
Tuesday 2nd January Wednesday 3rd January
Wednesday 3rd January Thursday 4th January
Thursday 4th January Friday 5th January
Friday 5th January Saturday 6th January
Household Waste and Recycling Centre operating times
Date Operating times
Sunday 24th December 9am to 3.45pm
Monday 25th December Closed
Tuesday 26th December Closed
Wednesday 27th December 9am to 3.45pm
Thursday 28th December 8am to 4.15pm
Friday 29th December 8am to 4.15pm
Monday 1st January Closed
Tuesday 2nd January 9am to 3.45pm

Budget Statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer

Yesterday we released the Autumn Budget. This is a Budget for Britain that backs families and businesses.

We're tackling the cost of living by boosting your pay and cutting your taxes. We're investing in skills and infrastructure by spending more on research and introducing a National Retraining Scheme. We're building the homes Britain needs, increasing the number we deliver to 300,000 a year. And we're taking a balanced approach to our economy by dealing with our debts while investing in our country.

This Conservative Government is building a Britain fit for the future. And we start by tackling the cost of living.

That's why we're boosting pay by ensuring the National Living Wage rises from £7.50 an hour to £7.83. So the lowest paid get the support they need.

This means that a full-time worker on the national living wage earns £2,000 a year more than they did before it was introduced.

We're freezing fuel duty again, saving a typical driver £160 a year. So you can fill up your car without emptying your wallet.

We're introducing a new railcard to give discounted travel to 26-30 year olds, helping young people afford a journey to work.

And we're cutting your taxes, raising the tax-free personal allowance to £11,850. Because you earn money for yourself and your family, not for the Government.

But a Britain fit for the future means a Britain that invests in its future.

That's why we're spending £30 billion on upgrading our infrastructure, so companies can set up knowing they'll have access to world-class infrastructure.

It's why we're spending over £2 billion extra on science and innovation – as well as setting up the world's first Artificial Intelligence commission. Which will put Britain at the forefront of the technological revolution.

Most important, investing in our future means building more homes.

That's why we're increasing the number of homes we build to 300,000 a year – the biggest annual increase since 1970. So that the next generation can get on the housing ladder and get on in life.

To make the dream of home ownership a reality, as of yesterday, we have abolished stamp duty for first time buyers purchasing property up to £300,000.

That's a saving £1,660‎ on the average first-time buyer property and means no stamp duty at all for 80% of first time buyers from yesterday.

And to make sure everyone gets the support they need, we're investing more in our NHS.

We're going to spend an extra £2.8 billion on health, including £350 million for additional beds this winter. We will deliver an additional £10 billion package of capital investment over the course of this Parliament. So you know that the NHS will be there for you when you need it.

Yesterday's budget shows that we're backing families and businesses. Preparing for Brexit and beyond. And building a Britain fit for the future.

If you would like to support the our plans to build a Britain that is truly fit for the future please join us today.

Thank you,

Philip Hammond
Chancellor of the Exchequer

Regeneration at Strood Station

Cllrs Mr and Mrs Iles and Cllr Chitty with Nina of Network Rail and staff of WPB Contractors

Cllrs Steve Iles (Strood North), Cllr Josie Iles (Strood South) and Cllr Chitty (Strood North) with Nina of Network Rail and staff of WPB Contractors.

Councillors Steve Iles and Jane Chitty of Strood North, and Councillor Josie Iles of Strood South, were delighted with the progress being made by regeneration works taking place at Strood Station.

The Conservatives’ longstanding commitment to regeneration across Medway saw the Council successfully launch a bid and secure funding from the Local Government Fund to partner Network Rail in this development.

The £2.8 million improvement project will bring numerous benefits to commuters; including a new waiting room, bigger booking hall, improved toilet facilities and additional ticket gates. The new and improved station is expected to reopen to the public before the end of the year.

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Kent Wildlife Trust

Rupert and Sylvia with Kent Wildlife Trust team at Tyland Barn

Rupert and Sylvia with Kent Wildlife Trust team at Tyland Barn

The Rochester South and Horsted ward councillors met up with representatives from Kent Wildlife Trust at Tyland Barn to talk about opportunities to improve the green spaces in the ward.

The meeting followed an introduction from The Horsted Valley summit which we featured earlier on this site at which a ward resident who volunteers for Kent Wildlife Trust was present. Kent Wildlife Trust were founded in 1958, are a registered charity (number 239992) and the leading conservation organisation covering the whole of Kent and Medway, dedicated to protecting wildlife and wild habitats for everyone to enjoy with a vision to ensure that 30% of Kent and Medway – land and sea – is managed to create a healthy place for wildlife to flourish. Their mission is to work with people to restore, save, and enhance our natural heritage.

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Woodies Youth Centre, Summer Outreach

Woodies Youth Club

Woodies Youth Club

We have in the Rochester South and Horsted ward, Woodies Youth Centre in Arethusa Road, which provides a place for 10 to 19-year-olds to have fun, socialise and learn new skills.

Professional, experienced youth workers from a range of different backgrounds offer information, support and advice on a range of issues. The centre offers an assorted programme of activities, including general arts and crafts; sports; music, and games. Please see the link above for opening times and more details of the activities offered.

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Local residents transform Mayfair

Mayfair Street Party with local residents Cllr Hall and Community Wardens

Mayfair Street Party with local residents Cllr Hall and Community Wardens

Over the past few months the Mayfair area of Strood North has been transformed from an eyesore estate with frequent reports of anti-social behaviour to a warm, welcoming and friendly place where children play safely and parents behave responsibly.

A range of plants and colourful pots have been utilised to make the area look more attractive and public areas such as railings and steps have been painted by local residents.

A community shed has been provided for children to leave their bikes and scooters rather than being strewn across the street and this has also been tastefully decorated by local residents, including children.

Complaints about anti-social behaviour in the area have reduced substantially.

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