Please find below the full text of our Gravesham Labour Party Manifesto for the 2019 Gravesham Borough Council Elections which we have called ‘A Better Way Forward’

A Better Way Forward – Delivering a Gravesham to be proud of

Gravesham Labour Manifesto: 2019 Gravesham Borough Council Elections

Foreword by Cllr John Burden
Leader of the Labour Group on Gravesham Borough Council

Now is your chance to bring change in Gravesham and elect councillors in May who will be putting you, the residents of Gravesham first and not themselves, we need to take back control of Gravesham to work for the residents of Gravesham. The infighting between the Conservatives recently which you will all be aware of does not serve Gravesham well and by voting for your Labour Candidates in the May election we will stop this and put you first in how we deliver services in Gravesham.

How are we proposing to do this? Well if you go onto our local Labour Party website you will see our full local manifesto setting out what we want to do, compare this with the other parties if they have it and you will see we are looking at local issues that affect you and we put you first not party politics.

So, what are the key things? Well we want to provide homes for local people in places that are needed, of the type that are needed and not just what the big house builders want to provide. We want this new housing to bring with it local facilities such as schools, road improvements and doctors’ surgeries that we need as well as local jobs.

In addition, we shall work on improving local safety and keeping the area clean, making it better than it is now, and we will prosecute those we can find who undertake fly tipping or graffiti and work closely with the Police to work against knife crime coming to Gravesham.

Our green spaces in the urban areas are as important as the Greenbelt to us. We will take action to protect both from unwarranted development by the big House Builders whilst ensuring where housing is built, local benefits are seen.

We will also reopen public toilet facilities in our town and introduce new facilities where we can These are just a few of the ideas that can be seen in our manifesto that takes back Gravesham from outside control and places your needs at the front of what we do.

Cllr John Burden
Leader of the Labour Group
Councillor for Northfleet South Ward

Gravesham Labour is a listening party and we look forward to working with members of the public and listening to them about their priorities. Our commitments below, for the communities we represent, reflect what we have heard from you, our residents. We promise we will continue to listen and reflect upon our stated policies and evolve our priorities to meet the needs of the residents of Gravesham.

Policy objectives

Decent Housing for Local People – Housing in a form and location where it’s needed, we will:

  • Keep the housing stock under Council control, working with the council’s various departments, to find opportunities to provide additional council residential accommodation, for the residents of Gravesham in need of housing.
  • Work to obtain the funds from Government to build new Council Housing, whilst protecting existing tenants’ rights to a protected tenancy.
  • Require all new housing provision, within the Borough, to have 30% of the new stock available, for low cost housing for local Gravesham residents.
  • Work to protect and enhance private tenants housing standards. We will also ensure the establishment of regular private landlord forums and residential letting agents, working with them to develop and promote a Private Rented Housing Charter for Gravesham.
  • Work with all other agencies to ensure our estates are safe for our residents, using all available powers to remove tenants who commit acts of anti-social behaviour.
  • Work with all available organisations to end homelessness in Gravesham. People deserve homes to live in, not being left on our streets or doorsteps.

A Healthy Community – working with you to live an active life, we will:

  • Maintain strong partnership working with community groups, by continuing to support popular events and activities.
  • Continue to support our two leisure centres by:
    • working in partnership with the centre managers to start the process of replacing our outdated leisure facilities, which are needed for the health and wellbeing of residents of the Borough
    • involving community groups and other users to improve facilities at the centres, and by ensuring that the work of the centres contributes to better public health, social inclusion and the wellbeing of our children.
  • Maintain our commitment to work with young people through The Grand on sex education and preventing teenage pregnancies and provide other health programmes.
  • Improve the Council’s commitment to our elderly citizens, where we deliver services, and to ensure other organisations improve their delivery.
  • Continue to work closely with minority community groups, disabled people and faith-based groups, and other local organisations to secure successful events in the community.
  • Continue to support summer play schemes for children and young people in our leisure centres and outdoor facilities.
  • Whilst supporting the development of more cycle routes in the borough, we will work with Kent County Council and residents to ensure harmony amongst all road users.
  • Commit to ensuring that the land that was formerly the Fleet Leisure/Bowater’s Leisure site shall remain in public hands and shall not be sold for development. No housing will be permitted on the site and the site shall be retained as a community sports facility.
  • As a Labour Council, set up and maintain a directory of all sports clubs to assist in the publicity of clubs, and to be able to have a named contact within the Council to assist with sports related queries, including assistance with applying for grants.

Making our streets safer – making the borough a safer place to live, we will:

  • Work with the police to maximise their reduced budget, to work at street level to deal with crime and anti-social behaviour.
  • Enforce the Clean Neighbourhoods legislation. This will allow us to tackle the people who litter our streets and those who let their dogs foul footpaths and children’s playgrounds.
  • Work with Kent County Council to tackle misuse of public footways by cars, cyclists and motorbikes.
  • Work with partners to help children and young people to understand the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and anti-social behaviour.
  • Run campaigns to promote responsible drinking for adults, in conjunction with police. Where licensees are found to be irresponsible, we will take appropriate action.
  • Hold the police to account locally, for their performance and delivering value for money.

Abandoned Vehicles, Graffiti and Fly-tipping – keeping Gravesham clean, we will:

  • Continue to invest in our flexible teams for tackling graffiti and fly-tipping, to ensure a rapid response to the most urgent cases.
  • Prosecute people for fly tipping where evidence is found and publicise the results of any convictions.

Youth – for today’s young, tomorrow’s future, we will:

  • Continue to support the Gravesham Youth Council and involve them in Council Committees to ensure that the voice of young people is at the heart of decision making.
  • Carry out a review of Gravesham’s youth offer to ensure that our Borough is meeting the needs of the next generation, and as stated elsewhere, encourage apprenticeships.
  • Continue to invest in our play equipment for children and young people, across the Borough, so that it is safe and fit for use.
  • Work to ensure that organisations such as the Waterside Parents’ Centre and The Grand, who both act as exemplars of community organisations supporting young people in our community, remain open and supported.

Tourism – our Borough past and future, we will:

  • Ensure we have a fully-functioning Tourist Information Unit in Gravesham, given the Borough has a rich and diverse history, which we as Gravesham Labour, are keen to share with those who come to visit us.
  • Work with the public and local historians to find the best ways to showcase our history and historical artefacts to those whom may wish to see them.
  • Aim to preserve our history and take steps to safeguard our heritage across the Borough.
  • Support new opportunities for tourism in our Borough, where it brings benefits for our residents.
  • Hold many annual events, which are key to our civic life, as well as our history. Gravesham Labour commits as an Administration to continue to support these in conjunction with our partners.

Street Cleansing, Refuse Collection and External Services – a working Borough for you, we will:

  • Aim to ensure the council continues to have a high-performing Direct Service Organisation, which provides an excellent service, keeping the Borough clean and tidy and which continues to provide good value for money. Ensure our waste management service works with local residents to deal with problem areas.
  • Expand our services to the public, where we can, either directly, or via our own council-organised companies.
  • Take action to deal with dog fouling and spitting on our pavements, taking legal action where possible against offenders.
  • Continue to provide the weekly refuse collection service that we currently have in place, together with enhanced green waste recycling facilities.
  • Maintain the highly successful Christmas tree recycling and re-use scheme.
  • Reopen the Parrock Street toilets and investigate the provision of new, publicly, accessible toilets.
  • Take action to clean our streets with enforcement against littering.

Horticulture and Open Spaces – keeping the Borough green, we will:

  • Work with local young people to provide facilities for them, working with them and the community to keep them activity engaged.
  • Aim to increase open space within the Borough to provide opportunities for residents to participate in outdoor exercise.
  • Look for opportunities to provide more tree planting and wild area conservation in our urban and rural areas, working with schools and the local communities.
  • Aim to ensure our parks and open spaces are for the enjoyment of all our residents, visitors and future generations. Gravesham Labour commits to maintaining them. We support the conversion of some of these spaces to become ‘Village Greens’ using legislation.

Car Parking – appropriate parking where you want it, we will:

  • Continue to provide amongst the most competitive commuter, all day and short-term car parking rates in Kent, with some of the best quality facilities anywhere within the London commuter ring, for the benefit of car users and local residents.
  • Keep under review, the on-street parking situation in our town centre and village locations to ensure they are suitable for use and fully enforced.

The Woodville and the Arts – your community hub, we will:

  • Work towards maintaining a highly-regarded venue by local people, looking to build upon this and continuing to fund a wide range of arts, and cultural and entertainment provision.
  • Continue to support the Arts in Gravesham. Gravesham Labour will do all it can to ensure that those who seek to enhance their lives and the lives of others through art are enabled to do so.
  • Continue to support the Blake Gallery in the Civic Centre and the variety of exhibitions that occur. We will also look to support other art exhibitions across the Borough where possible.

Business Community – supporting local business that is key to Gravesham, we will:

  • Continue to support them in every way possible as we recognise the importance of local businesses to the viability of the Borough.
  • Look for ways we can use our international links to further promote our local businesses.
  • Apply the government’s reported support for business and shop units where we can, and ensure it is taken up by eligible applicants, to support our local shops and businesses.

Environmental Health – protecting local people from health hazards, we will:

  • Publish more clearly the Council’s policy commitment to maintain these standards and send out a powerful message that we will continue to take enforcement action against those who put public health and safety at risk.
  • Continue to provide leadership for a cleaner, safer environment.

Community-led Regeneration – speaking up for the interests of local people, we will:

  • Work with all government and private agencies to bring new regeneration to the Borough, to bring new homes and jobs for local people.
  • Continue to oppose the Lower Thames Crossing but if it cannot be stopped then ensure the residents of Gravesham are protected from its negative effects, with the local environment being protected.
  • Ensure unauthorised works carried out in the Borough are enforced against and where unauthorised use of land occurs, seek the removal of the work, buildings or mobile caravans.
  • Work with developers to bring forward and deliver regeneration proposals that are well balanced between the needs of development, the needs of the community, while respecting the existing heritage of our town.
  • Ensure, where development work occurs and is permitted, that the maximum benefit from developer contributions can be achieved, to provide the infrastructure the area currently needs, as well as that which will be required by the development itself. That all funding obtained is spent in Gravesham to benefit the residents. This is to secure community infrastructure improvements from any developments for things such as affordable housing, schools, GP Surgeries, open space, outdoor play areas and other community facilities.
  • Provide a lead to other landowners, by developing or bringing back into use council owned redundant buildings, land or accommodation. Where other landowners have redundant buildings, land or accommodation, work with them to get them brought back into use to help in the fight against unwarranted release of green space, or greenbelt areas in the borough.
  • Investigate with others how better public transport provision can be brought to the borough to include Cross Rail and possible Tram provision, whilst improving that which we already have.
  • Promote the use of existing public transport, including the buses and Ferry service to Tilbury as positive transport options.
  • Work with local residents to bring in the new housing provision this Borough requires, ensuring where land is released for housing, this is done in sympathy with local needs and design.
  • Work with external government agencies, to understand how we can speed up our development processes, to serve our community better.

Developing a council based upon excellent service – we are proud of Gravesham, we will:

  • Continue to put the customer first in all our engagements with them, listening to their needs and concerns. We will continue and enhance the council’s commitment to delivering the best possible local services, through our polite and friendly staff.
  • Ensure the Civic Centre becomes a genuine community resource, where we will promote our town and its facilities for the residents of the borough.
  • Improve our communications strategy, utilising new technology through websites, videos and text messaging. This will include improved recording of Council meetings so that our meetings are more open and transparent.

Promoting employment in our council and Borough – employment today and beyond, we will:

  • Look at ways the council can lead in providing more apprenticeships in Council departments and the suppliers it works with who provide services to the Council.
  • Look for opportunities to promote our borough to keep existing employers and promote the area to new employers coming into the area.
  • As a council, continue to be members of and promote the National Joint Council for Local Government Services National Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service, (commonly known as the ‘Green Book’ amongst existing and new employees of the council), or any of the Council owned operational companies that it establishes to provide services.
  • Working towards Gravesham being a Real Living Wage Town (Fair Pay, For a Fair Days Work) we will achieve this by working closely with our suppliers, employers and unions.

© Gravesham Labour Party 2019


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