Swale’s biggest electoral shake up in decades promises to deliver significant changes.
The Conservatives have lost control of Swale Borough Council after losing half of their councillors including former council leader Andrew Bowles in what can only be described as a ‘Bloodbath’ for the local Conservative party.
With no one single party in overall control there is some speculation and hope that a coalition can be agreed between the other parties which will put the Conservatives in opposition for the first time in 17 years.
Regardless of whether or not a coalition is formed, it is unlikely that the next leader of Swale Borough Council will be a Conservative, as this decision is based on a vote by full council and not simply awarded to the party with the most councillors which in this case is still the Conservatives.
One of the big changes that could happen is the scrapping of the current elected mayor and cabinet model of governance which has been heavily criticised in the past for both its decision making process and the inflated salaries awarded to cabinet members which has significantly increased the tax burden following the previous Conservative administrations introduction an entire new tier of deputy cabinet positions.
Whilst there are significant challenges ahead, for example the government housing targets haven’t simply disappeared there is renewed hope that some sense of equality might now exist between the various areas of the borough which will unfortunately result in Sheppey and Faversham taking a much greater share of proposed level of housing development than was previously planned.
The next Local Plan which was only supposed to be a review rather than an entire new plan, may now become an entirely different prospect going forward and I hope that now the council listens to what the public have said and have now voted against in large numbers and scraps the concept of Garden Towns which appear to be universally despised across not only vast swathes of Kent but the entire country.
My favourite quote of the day came from a slightly nervous Mad Mike Young, The Official Monster Raving Loony Party candidate standing in Sheppey Central who said “Winning was not in the job description” as he polled far better than excepted to the point when it looked possible that he might actually win a seat.
Overall number of seats by Party for the whole of Swale
Conservative - 16 seats
Labour - 11 seats
Swale Independents - 10 seats
Liberal Democrats - 5 seats
Independent - 2 seats
Green Party - 2 seats
UKIP - 1 seat
Results for the Sittingbourne area are as follows: -
Bobbing, Iwade and Lower Halstow
Corrie Alanna Woodford, Swale Independents, 852 votes
Roger Gordon Clark, Conservative, 570 votes
Tyrone Thomas Ripley, Conservative, 437 votes
Paul Martin Hurd, Labour, 305 votes
Borden and Grove Park
Mike Baldock, Swale Independents, 1640 votes
Nicholas James Hampshire, Conservative, 712 votes
Geoff Broughton, Labour, 581 votes
Ghlin Maurice Whelan, Labour Party, 397 votes
Richard Thomas Allsep, Conservative, 184 votes
Hartlip, Newington and Upchurch
Richard Frank Palmer, Swale Independents, 1,135 votes
Alan Campbell Horton, Conservative, 641 votes
John Geoffrey Wright, Conservative Party Candidate, 598 votes
Amy Rose Leggatt, Labour, 302 votes
Roger Truelove, Labour, 1166 votes
Simon David Clark, Labour, 1045 votes
Gareth John Randall, Conservative, 438 votes
Danielle Marie Hoynes, Conservative, 422 votes
Derek William Carnell, Swale Independents, 570 votes
Michael Rodger Dendor , Conservative, 429 votes
Samuel Koffie-Williams, Conservative, 340 votes
Andy Cooper, Labour, 273 votes
Mary Zeng , Liberal Democrat, 204 votes
Tony Winckless, Labour, 635 votes
Steve Davey, Labour, 446 votes
Jason Clinch, Swale Independents, 434 votes
Darryl Anthony Brown, Conservative, 244 votes
Silvia Marin, Conservative, 171 votes
Alexander Francis Stennings, Liberal Democrats, 103 votes
James Hall, Swale Independents, 705 votes
Ann Patricia Hampshire, Conservative, 314 votes
Ashley Luke Wise, Labour, 297 votes
Richard Samuel Raycraft, Labour, 275 votes
Stephen Norman Young, Independent, 227 votes
Rosemary Madgwick, Liberal Democrats, 124 votes
Tim Gibson, Labour, 810 votes
Ken Rowles, Labour, 739 votes
Sarah Jayne Aldridge, Conservative, 578 votes
Dennis John McFarlane, Conservative, 425 votes
Teynham and Lynsted
Lloyd Robert Bowen, Conservative, 640 votes
Mike Whiting, Conservative, 495 votes
Hari Johnston, Swale Independents, 490 votes
Colin Michael Hopper, Swale Independents, 419 votes
Janet Lyn Bott, Green, 282 votes
Ambrose Nwodoh, Labour, 259 votes
Carol Louvain Morris, Liberal Democrats, 135 votes
James Christopher Hunt, Conservative, 355 votes
Michael Alan Page, Swale Independents, 277 votes
Monique Elaine Bonney, Independent, 899 votes
Christine Helen Ann Coles, Conservative, 135 votes
Paul John Stephen, Swale Independents, 1,011 votes
Sarah Ann Stephen, Swale Independents, 1,004 votes
Kane Roy Blackwell, Conservative, 466 votes
Lee Burgess, Conservative, 424 votes
Ash Bull, Independent, 350 votes
Shelley Susannah Cheesman, Labour, 220 votes
Brenda Ellen Hammond, Liberal Democrats, 61 votes
Brian Bernard Johnson, Liberal Democrats, 47 votes
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In addition to what Kay Murphy says, perhaps they will also look to removing the market from Sittingbourne High Street on Friday mornings so that buses can return to the High Street generally and ease the traffic chaos and congestion and make life better and easier for passengers as it once was.
But the best result has been to see the end of the Bowles regime and many of his cohorts. Good riddance! Truth and honesty might prevail again but a lot of work will have to be done to to make up for the disasters and catastrophes he has presided over.
Perhaps we might also see the demise of some of the Chief Officers. Surely their time must be up in some cases.
Well done Sarah and Paul .