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Good news for cyclists in Walmer : Well done independent-led Walmer Town Council 2019-2023 

The new secure cycle storage hub at Walmer station, funded mostly by Southeastern, with some input from Walmer Town Council (WTC) is very close to completion!

The installation has been pushed through by Councillor (Cllr) John Lonsdale, who has served as one of the 3 Green Party councillors on the mostly Independent 2019-2023 Walmer Town Council, (15 cllrs in all). John carried the responsibility of chair of the WTC Climate Change Working Group. He is a Dover District Council (DDC) Green Party candidate in Guston, Kingsdown and St Margarets in the May 2023 local elections.

The work at Walmer station has been two years in the planning with John keeping in close contact with Nina Peak and Steve Cross of Southeastern. It was originally planned as an outdoor hub within a secure cage, but the plan was later changed for the hub to become part of the original station building.

The project will cater for 24 bikes. Users will get a key fob access for a yearly fee and the facility will include a bike pump, repair kit, lock rings, CCTV and lighting.

Walmer station cycle storage hub
Cllr John Lonsdale of WalmerTC said, “This new secure cycle storage is brilliant news. I was determined to get something done when I heard of school students and others returning on the train of an evening to find their cycles stolen or vandalized. Now they can do without car lifts or car parking, use their bikes to get to their train, knowing it will be safe while they’re at work or at school. This will keep them healthier, saving money, reducing carbon emissions and car jouneys and traffic congestion. Walmer Town Council committed to encouraging cycling as part of its Climate Emergency declaration and this investment is part of that commitment. The funding from Cycle Rail Fund has helped a lot. Big thanks go to all my fellow Walmer councillors for supporting the scheme and to Nina Peak of Southeastern for guiding it through.”
Cllr John Lonsdale at Walmer station
Cllr John Lonsdale at Walmer station

It was surprising to see a Conservative DDC candidate, and ex DDC councillor, in April 2023 implying on social media that the work of getting Walmer cyclists the security they need was his. The prospect of some losses by the Conservative Party that has had so very much control of DDC and KCC for well over a decade, seems to be causing some very wild untruthful statements to be made / implied this spring.

So for the record:

  • Walmer Council 2019 – 2023 has been chaired by 3 people; Independent Cllr S Lechevalier (ex Conservative) 2019-2020; Independent Cllr J Murray 2020 – 2022; Green Cllr M Eddy 2022-2023.
  • There has been considerable agreement from most (12 or 13) Cllrs out of 15. There has never been more than 3 Grn Cllrs on WTC and between Dec 2020 and summer 2021 it was 2.
  • Walmer TC has not increased the parish precept by 97%. Careful maths show that if the precept is taken for the whole council tax increase (Conservative run KCC, DDC, Police, Fire and Social care Supplement) for 2019/20 this gives an increase of 83.98% between then and 23/24. Between 21/20 and 23/24 the percentage increase is 91.94%.  No wonder Mr Sunak is worried about maths skills.

The parish council tax precept for Walmer is less than that of Deal, Sandwich or Dover level 1 councils. If Conservatives say they will freeze the local precept while we have 10% inflation this implies a cut in services; which services will they cut?

  • Walmer Councillors of all colours 2019-2023 worked hard and cooperatively to continue running fantastic events. How rude to imply they didn’t.
  • Greens on Walmer TC have supported local residents who want to see a peace garden at York & Albany Close instead of building. There has also been evaluation by KWT of other sites, as prospective urban wildlife corners.
  • There was a public town meeting on 19th April 2023. Visibly most of the councillors had not resigned. It was a pleasant evening with a number of presentations, including to retiring ex Chair Sue LeChevalier, and a very civil and informative question and answer session. One of the presentations was to Mark Simpson, Conservative cllr on WalmerTC, representing the Royal Marines Association on the Strand.
  • WTC councillors who served 2019-2023 should not be expected to apologise for not being a one-party dominated council or for upholding the Nolan principles generally and specifically on integrity They [holders of public office] should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.” Most (around 12 or 13 out of 15) of the public-spirited 2019-2023 Walmer Council have cooperated so that Walmer now has a publicly-owned asset, a functional set of offices with a separate committee room, instead of a non-functional office paid from public funds using an expensive lease that would never become an asset except for the landlady, who was one of the Conservative leaders of Walmer council in 2013, when the advantageous lease was set up.
  • The 2019-2023 Walmer Council worked cooperatively to keep open green spaces; especially during the consultations on the DDC (Conservative-led) Local Plan. There’s no question of building either at York and Albany Close or at the Drill Field. How unkind to worry residents in the vicinity of these locations. Walmer Council objected strongly to Conservative-led DDC on the possibility of developing Ray’s Bottom on Liverpool Road and to the developments around Cross Road, and to other overdevelopment on greenfield sites. This overdevelopment authorised by Conservative-led DDC is seen by many residents as the cause of much of the dangerous traffic congestion on A258 and surrounding residential streets in 2023. The 3 Green Party candidates seeking election to Walmer TC, Pete Findley, Sarah Gleave and Mike Eddy, hope to be in a better position to continue supporting Walmer Road Safety Group if elected to the local council.