Many local residents have told me that they do not support Swale Borough Council’s plan to invest at least £3 million on a Multi storey car park in the centre of Sittingbourne. That is not the end of the story.
The Council is now considering provision to invest a further £6 million in the Spirit of Sittingbourne project. At a Cabinet Meeting on Wednesday (Feb 4) they were very coy about what this was for and how it will be funded. However, it is to gain a shared control with Spirit of Sittingbourne in the Forum and its car park. It will be funded, at least in part, from the Council’s healthy reserves.
Labour cannot complain about reserves being used. They are there for the benefit of local people and not to sit in the bank. However, instead of this extraordinary concentration on one project, in one location, in partnership with one developer, we would spread the benefits much more widely and fairly across the Borough.
If people decide to elect a Labour Council in May, we will use the equivalent of the car park investment of £3 million on a wide range of one off improvements to the public realm in all parts of Swale. We would spend £1 million on local tourism and recreation, in places like MIlton Creek Country Park and the Sheppey coastline. We would allocate £500,000 on giving our open spaces a much needed makeover, improving footpaths, signage, seats and floral displays. Another £1 million would go on improving leisure opportunities, updating our children’s play areas and improving sport facilities. Finally, we would allocate £500,000 on various infrastructure improvements, needed throughout Swale to balance the inevitable housing growth.
We believe our offer is fairer and more practical than using local people’s money to build a car park just to facilitate the building of flats in the Sittingbourne Town Centre.
Cllr. Roger Truelove