Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Gordan replies

Here is Gordon's reply I do enjoy a Political argument keep it up the both of you

Dear Derek

Thank you for taking the trouble to respond to my email in which I asked you to make clear where I had said, or, had written that I wanted to see 2200 houses built as part of the Kent Science Park proposal. I assume that since you have removed this allegation from your website you accept that you were wrong. It would be good to receive an apology, but perhaps that is pushing my luck!

Can I now respond on a para by para basis to your rather long reply:-

1) It is simply wrong of you to say that any housing development at the Kent Science Park has "nothing to do with Government numbers". The Government, via the unelected South East England Regional Assembly, has imposed on Kent (and Swale) thousands of additional houses. The borough council has a statutory obligation to find sufficient land within the borough for those houses. It is quite obvious that if they find land in one part of the borough (whether that be Sheppey or Bapchild) it reduces the pressure on other parts of the borough. Unlike you, I have opposed these additional houses since before the last General Election and continue to oppose them now. You, on the other hand, are on record as saying that we need an additional 5000 houses in the borough (over and above those in the local plan). Where exactly do you want those houses built? It would perhaps help the debate if you would answer this question, which I have posed on numerous occasions.

2) You once again make the allegation that I am setting one part of the constituency against the other. WIth all due respect, that shows how little you understand the battle that we are collectively fighting to stop the over development of our borough. It is a battle shared by Islanders and those living on the mainland alike. Your allegation also highlights the difference between you and me. You have opposed the Kent Science Park development, and for that I commend you, however, you have at the same time supported an increase in the number of houses being built in Queenborough. Because I happen to have consistently opposed both these developments, I fail to see how this can be construed as "setting one part of the constituency" against the other. Are you suggesting that I drop my objections to an increase in housing in Queenborough - from the 750 homes that SEEDA wanted two years ago (which I accepted), to the over 2000 that they want now? How does my support for the residents of Sheppey in general, and Queenborough in particular, detract from my support for the Five Parishes Opposition Group? Whilst on the subject of Sheppey, perhaps you would like to explain to the residents of Halfway why you want to sell off the Minster College site for housing to pay for an academy spread across the Danley, Cheyne and St George's middles school sites!

3) I have exactly the same degree of opposition (and tolerance) to the additional houses being imposed on our borough, whether that proposed development is in Bapchild, Tunstall, Iwade, Queenborough or Minster. My position is exactly the same. Enough is enough!

4) It is quite true that I have a long standing commitment to the building of an A2-M2 link, because this will be not only an important part of Sittingbourne's long term roads' infrastructure, but is vital, once the Northern Distributor Route is eventually completed, if we are to protect, and improve, the quality of life for people living in Teynham, Bapchild and the other villages to the south of the A2. However, I am happy to "state categorically" that I would never support the route proposed by KSP. I should also make clear that, because of the strategic nature of the Southern Distributor Route (A2-M2 Link), I believe this road must be funded by the Government and should not be reliant upon a Section 106 linked to a housing development. In essence, no Government funding - no road! I trust this makes my position (which, incidently, is shared by members of the Sittingbourne and Sheppey Conservative Association) quite clear!

5) I cannot answer for Paul Carter, and his colleagues on Kent County Council, who will no doubt answer for himself, except to say that the KCC has a duty to take a strategic overview of the county's future. Sometimes that strategic overview might conflict with opinions on a local level. Inevitably that leads to debate about the best way forward. That is what democracy is all about. In many ways it is no difference to your position in Parliament where on occasions you disagree with the actions taken by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (such as over the war in Iraq).

6) Similarly, I do not intend to comment on the views of Swale Borough Council, except to point out that the Local Plan, which includes provision for the limited expansion of the Kent Science Park (with certain conditions) was agreed by all the political parties on the Council.

7) I am not quite clear why you are connecting my stance on the KSP with my views on the reorganisation of education on Sheppey. I have never tried to hide the fact that my position on Sheppey's education system is at odds with my Conservative colleagues on the KCC. It would be a poorer world if we were not able to disagree on occasions! I am even more confused about why you feel the need to drag my views on Europe into a debate about housing! The phrase "scraping the bottom of the barrel" springs to mind! As it happens I fully support David Cameron as Leader of the Conservative Party and I have no reason to believe that he does not support my position as the Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman in Sittingbourne & Sheppey. If David did rebuke me publically, he certainly failed to notify me of that rebuke!

8) For your information, I circulated my open letter to ALL the local newspapers in our area, as I did your short email (I assume to Roger Truelove, and copied to me by mistake) in which you asked for advice about what to do about my complaint! I also made clear to the newspapers that the original lie had been removed from your website. In the circumstances I felt that was only fair.

I have copied your letter and this response to our local newspapers, plus all the recipients of your email, including David Cameron.

Yours sincerely


Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman
Sittingbourne & Sheppey

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