Josie with fellow Conservative councillors and members at the count
Josie Iles was declared the winner of the Strood South by-election with a 203 majority over Labour. The Conservatives overturned a 238 UKIP majority from May 2015 to take back the seat.
I am delighted to be back. I should like to thank the residents of Strood South who kept faith with me and voted for me in yesterday’s by-election. To all residents of Strood South it will be an honour and privilege to once again represent you and be your strong local voice.
I will honour my pledge to work for you and with you to resolve issues with the very best outcomes and deliver the improvements our area needs and deserves.
Jnct Dart Close and Darnley Road Carriageway Resurfacing
Darnley Road experiences heavy traffic flows and being a major bus route through the ward it is important to make sure repairs and improvements are made to the road surface.
Other highway improvement works carried out by Conservative-run Medway Council in Strood South included the resurfacing of Parkfields, the whole of Lancelot Avenue and works to improve the junctions of Dart Close and Columbine Road with Darnley Road.
Strood Community Hub
Josie had the opportunity previously to campaign and work with her Conservative Council colleagues to develop the community hub in Strood High Street. There was a million pound investment into this one-stop centre for all Council services and the old library was relocated here too into purpose-built surroundings as part of the project.
It is important that local residents have the right and the opportunity to access and enjoy modern services in safe, purpose-built premises. Full details of the services provided out of the hub can be found on the Council’s website.
Many of the everyday issues that residents face in the ward (including abandoned vehicles, blue badges, bus passes, pest control, safer communities, trees, untidy land etc) can be dealt with face-to-face at the hub.
Josie at the Rede Common site
Rede Common, or Sandy Banks as it is sometimes known, in Strood South ward offers a super place for walkers and outdoor activities.
Over 11 hectares of acid grassland with areas of scrub, this open space provides a vital home for wildlife and flora. The site is owned by Medway Council who work in conjunction with the excellent local Friends of Rede Common group to maintain and protect this unique greenspace right here in the centre of Strood.
The Friends have a website which details the history of the site and how you can be involved in their conservation work.
Street light in Swale Road
Having had the privilege of representing my home ward on Medway Council previously, I understand the need to engage with the everyday nitty-gritty of Council services and to support the local residents in ensuring vital repair or improvement works are carried out promptly.
One such minor issue I dealt with was a broken street light in Swale Road. Not only did it need a replacement column but the wear and the tear of the earlier installation had contributed to damage to the footway and I was able to arrange with Highways officers to have the replacement column erected and repairs to the footway actioned.
Children living in Strood South have the opportunity to attend Strood Academy. The new buildings in Carnation Road were built at a cost of £26 million and opened in September 2012.
As the attached picture shows, they offer an outstanding learning environment with excellent outside play areas as well as fantastic sports facilities. The Academy say on their website that these “buildings reflect our education vision of creating a mature and purposeful educational environment where children of all abilities can learn and thrive.”
Some of the Strood South canvassing team
The campaign proper began in glorious sunshine on Saturday, our team of 15 canvassers including the Leader of the Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, spent two sessions with Josie meeting residents and finding out about the issues that matter to Strood South residents.
It’s encouraging to know that the successful weekly refuse and kerbside recycling programmes and the lowest Council Tax in Kent that the Conservative council have maintained are still important to local residents.
This by-election is all about the local issues and we are grateful to those residents who shared their thoughts. A very enjoyable day had by us all and good to see the wide support for an experienced candidate who will be putting the ward where she lives first.
As part of the Conservative-led council in Medway, Josie was able to campaign and bid for funding to improve the play facilities across the ward.
Similar to the work Josie did for the Rushdean Road play area, she was involved in obtaining funding for the refurbishment of the Laburnum Road Recreation Ground play area seen here.
Strood’s Royal Mail Centre
Alongside the housing developments planned for Strood South it is vital employment opportunities are created as well. The ward currently plays host to Royal Mail’s state-of-the-art Medway Mail Centre in Knight Road that employs over 800 people.
The old B&Q store in Strood Retail Park has been demolished as part of a revamp of the Retail Park and will be replaced with new shopping units.
If elected, Josie will work with her Conservative colleagues on the Council to encourage new employment, business start ups and commercial investment into the ward to help provide jobs local people need.
Weekly refuse collections have been protected by Medway’s Conservative-led Council
At a time when across the country communities are being plagued by poor refuse collection staggered bi-monthly or even monthly, it is reassuring that residents of Strood South can take pride in their streets being clear of piled up refuse.
I will continue to make this a priority and support Medway’s Conservative controlled Council’s attempts to keep the funding for the very popular weekly black sack collection and the weekly kerbside recycling collection, including the brown bins.