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  • DARTFORD LABOUR WARN OF “TESCO Mark 2” ON LOWFIELD STREET
  • NO PROGRESS ON DEVELOPMENT DESPITE CONSERVATIVE ASSURANCES THAT WORK WOULD BEGIN MONTHS AGO
  • OVER A YEAR HAS PASSED SINCE TORIES STRUCK DEAL – LABOUR DEMAND COUNCIL HOLD DEVELOPERS TO ACCOUNT FOR DELAY AND INACTION

Labour Councillors in Dartford have warned that complacency and inaction from the Conservative Council is risking “Tesco mark 2” at Lowfield Street.

Despite planning permission being granted back in March 2017, progress has yet again stalled on the plans for housing and retail facilities on the Lowfield Street, which has been subject to unfulfilled promises of regeneration for over fifteen years.

The Conservative administration have serious questions to answer about the lack of progress. Residents were assured that construction would begin at the start of 2018, but all we have seen is delay, excuses and Lowfield Street continues to be an eyesore in the centre of our community

The delay will seem worryingly familiar to residents to how Dartford was treated by Tesco and the Conservative Council in 2015 regarding the same site, where the Conservatives allowed Tesco to delay, stall and finally break their promise to develop Lowfield Street.

Dartford Labour Deputy Leader Josh Jones, who represents Princes ward which includes Lowfield Street express concerned about the delays;

“When the Conservatives announced the new plans for Lowfield Street we were told it would be a fresh start – but instead we’ve seen the same delays, the same excuses and same lack of progress. It feels like Tesco all over again and Jeremy Kite has got questions to answer. Why has work been delayed again when he promised that construction would begin at the start of the year? Why is more pressure not being put on Meyer Homes to deliver when he promised that he would not developers off the hook again? Why can his council still not give a firm date when work will begin? This is not good enough for Dartford. The Tories have already allowed affordable housing completion at the site to be pushed back to 2020 – does this delay mean it’s pushed back even further? “

Dartford Labour Leader Jonathon Hawkes said;

Dartford desperately needs re-generation to get off the ground but once again Lowfield Street proves that we cannot trust the Conservatives to deliver.  It is worryingly similar to the Tesco debacle – a glossy PR launch, warm words from Jeremy Kite and then inaction from the developer and complacency from the Council. We need to see quick action if Dartford is to avoid ‘Tesco 2’ but there is no sign of it from the Conservatives. The Tories are yet again letting developers off the hook. A Labour Council would get tough with developers and we would not be afraid to hold them to account if they don’t deliver for Dartford.”

Lowfield Street Press Release 30th April

DARTFORD LABOUR WARN OF “TESCO Mark 2” ON LOWFIELD STREET NO PROGRESS ON DEVELOPMENT DESPITE CONSERVATIVE ASSURANCES THAT WORK WOULD BEGIN MONTHS AGO OVER A YEAR HAS PASSED SINCE TORIES...

PRESS RELEASE 16th April 2018

• LABOUR RAISE CONCERNS OVER PLANS TO CLOSE SIX GP SURGERIES IN DARTFORD

• PAITENTS WILL BE ASKED TO TRAVEL FURTHER TO SEE THEIR DOCTOR AT PROPOSED NEW ‘HEALTH HUB’

• DARTFORD LABOUR COUNCILLORS QUESTION ‘MISLEADING’ MESSAGES FROM CON-SERVATIVE RUN COUNCIL

Dartford Labour Councillors have raised concerns over plans to close six GP surgeries in Dartford and merge them into a proposed new town centre ‘Health Hub’. The new ‘Health Hub’ forms part of the Council’s plans to redevelop the old Co-op site and was promoted to Dartford residents as a “new health facility” (1). However, it was revealed this week that no new GP surgeries will form part of the plan – which will instead see six existing surgeries close and ‘relocate’ to a single location in the Town Centre.

A report to Dartford Borough Council Cabinet last week confirmed that six local GP Practices would relocate to the new facility, including those currently based at the Dartford West Health Centre and some town centre practices. The proposal would lead to some residents having to travel further to access primary care due to the closure of existing GP surgeries. (2)

Questions remain about costs of the new health hub and how it will be funded after an initial fund-ing bid was rejected by NHS England. Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commission Group (CCG) are currently in financial special measures with a £13million deficit.

Dartford Labour Leader Jonathon Hawkes said;

“With thousands of new homes being built in Dartford we desperately new additional GP surgeries to meet demand, so it’s disappointing to learn that this proposal – promoted by the Conservative Coun-cil – isn’t going to deliver that. The ‘Health Hub’ will simply relocate existing practices.

The Conservatives are supporting this plan, but there are questions that need answering. Why does the Council believe it’s right that patients – many of which will be elderly – should now have to travel further to see their GP? How will the new hub be funded? Our CCG has been underfunded by the Government and we’ve already seen one funding application turned down. It’s far from certain this proposal will go ahead if finances cannot be secured.

I believe the literature released by the Conservatives about this has been misleading. Telling residents they will be getting a new health facility while not mentioning it will be only relocate existing practic-es is not being straight with people. The Council should be focused on delivering the extra capacity we need, not trying to spin an announcement into something it’s not.

Dartford needs additional health facilities to meet the demands of our growing town. Instead we are seeing a Conservative government cutting funding to the NHS and a Conservative Council supporting a plan to close local GP practices. Jeremy Kite and the Conservatives need to stop the PR spin and start explaining when Dartford will get the new GP surgeries we desperately need.”

ENDS 

Notes 1. Page 16 of the Council’s “Discover Dartford” brochure http://www.discoverdartford.co.uk/brochure/#16/z

2. Dartford Borough Council Cabinet Report 12 April – Agenda Item 11, Section 3.5 http://committeedmz.dartford.gov.uk/documents/g2620/Public%20reports%20pack%20Thursday%2012-Apr-2018%2019.00%20Cabinet.pdf?T=10

Dartford Labour raise concerns over closure of GP surgeries

PRESS RELEASE 16th April 2018 • LABOUR RAISE CONCERNS OVER PLANS TO CLOSE SIX GP SURGERIES IN DARTFORD • PAITENTS WILL BE ASKED TO TRAVEL FURTHER TO SEE THEIR DOCTOR...

• DARTFORD LABOUR WELCOME PLEDGE FROM JEREMY CORBYN OF FREE BUS TRAVEL FOR UNDER 25’s
• LABOUR’S FREE TRAVEL PLEDGE COMES AS TORIES CUT BUS ROUTES AND HIKE COST OF FREEDOM PASS

Dartford Labour has welcomed Labour’s new policy to fund free bus travel for under 25-year olds across the country.

The move, which is being announced by Jeremy Corbyn today (12th April) could benefit up to 18,000 young people in Dartford and help them save up to £1,000 a year. The policy will be paid for using money ring-fenced from Vehicle Excise Duty.

The next Labour government will provide funds for free travel for under 25s to local authorities who introduce bus franchising or move to public ownership of their local bus services. This will support and incentivise local authorities to create municipally owned bus companies, run for passengers not profit, which research has found could achieve annual savings of £276 million per year.

Greater use of public transport reduces congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions. Free bus travel for under 25s will help generate lifelong increases in public transport use.

Leader of the Labour Group on Dartford Council Jonathon Hawkes said;

“This is a policy that gives help where it is needed most. Look at the rising costs of education, the near impossible job of getting on the housing ladder, stagnant wages and insecure employment – the last eight years of Conservative government have not been kind to young people in Dartford. That’s why Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement that the next Labour government will provide the funds to cover free bus travel for under 25s, to support them to travel to work, to study and to socialise, will be welcomed by young people across Dartford and their families.

Contrast Labour’s policy with the Tories who have cut bus routes on school runs and increased the cost of the Freedom Pass. Labour is committed to investing in young people, the Conservatives are making their lives more difficult and more expensive.”

Labour Group Deputy Leader Josh Jones said;

”Free bus travel will make a huge difference to their lives of young people in Dartford. Fares are too expensive and travel costs can be a huge proportion of the incomes of young people so it’s right that they are given a break. Labour will do that. We want to see local councils take back control of their buses, so they can provide a better service. Too often in Dartford we’ve seen the wrong priorities from private bus operators which has resulted in the cuts to route announced by Conservative run Kent County Council. Young people, like all of us, need a reliable, affordable bus service. Labour will deliver that.”

ENDS

Bus Press Release 12th April

• DARTFORD LABOUR WELCOME PLEDGE FROM JEREMY CORBYN OF FREE BUS TRAVEL FOR UNDER 25’s• LABOUR’S FREE TRAVEL PLEDGE COMES AS TORIES CUT BUS ROUTES AND HIKE COST OF FREEDOM...

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