The 2015 general election campaign officially began yesterday.  This will almost certainly be held on Thursday 7 May, which will coincide with Borough and Parish/Town council elections in Dartford.  This thread will be used to record comments, opinions and views from the present MP, Councillors and prospective candidates.  It will aim to focus on matters relating to the Borough of Dartford rather than national issues.  In the next five months it should build to give you, the voter, a chance to access these opinions and quotes in one place.  If you see anything we may have missed, please give us the details and we will include these.

Saturday 20 December

Councillor David Mote (Conservative – Greenhithe) on Twitter @CllrJonHawkes Lidl was rejected because it went against the town’s core plan

Councillor Jonathon Hawkes (Labour – Stone) on Twitter Important point. Lidl rejected as against town plan – the Conservatives plan! No doubt it was a Tory decision.  I know they are embarrassed by it now but for Dartford Tories to claim the first rejection of Lidl wasn’t their decision is utter nonsense.

Councillor Richard Wells (Conservative – Heath) on Twitter @CllrJonHawkes As in the Local Development Framework Core Strategy? Also cross party I believe

Councillor Keith Kelly (Conservative – Greenhithe) on Twitter @CllrJonHawkes  No it wasn’t a Tory plan. The local plan was devised with cross party support as well you know.  There are several members of your party on planning, at the time including the late John Muckle who voted against it as well.  I am not embarrassed by the decision. The officers recommendation was quite clear, that site was identified for housing.  Which why they are coming back with a plan that includes housing. They really want to be in Dartford which is good 4 Dartford

Councillor David Mote (Conservative – Greenhithe) on Twitter @CllrJonHawkes Jon – there is nothing embarrassing about the decision made just your attempts to misinform the public.

Councillor Jonathon Hawkes (Labour – Stone) on Twitter @motey3 “Misinform” is a very strong accusation David and one I reject. I’ll invite you to withdraw it here.

Councillor David Mote (Conservative – Greenhithe) on Twitter @CllrJonHawkes Misinform was too strong but why do you insist on tweeting things that don’t reflect what really happened?

Friday 19 December

Councillor Jeremy Kite (Conservative – Longfield, New Barn and Southfleet; Leader of DBC) as quoted in an article from kentonline.co.ukTesco supermarket chain blasted by leader of Dartford Borough Council Jeremy Kite’.  Cllr Jeremy Kite blasted the behaviour of Tesco management as it attempted to bring a halt to profit slides of 60%.  Cllr Kite said he knew people were concerned about Lowfield Street.  ’We had a very fractious meeting with them [Tesco] in October. When you look at retailers like John Lewis, they tend to look at one area and they make it happen.  What Tesco seems to have done is buy land up and down the country in case they want to build something in the future. They should be ashamed of themselves.’  Cllr Kite said if this was the road Tesco wanted to go down, he would be open to discussion. He said: “Any housing plan would have to be what Dartford wants.  We have to take a long-term view on it and consider things like how this would look and how it would contribute to the town. Dartford isn’t part of the ‘Rescue Tesco Brigade’.’ Cllr Kite also expressed his frustration about a lack of control over how valuable pieces of land were treated by developers.  He said the council should be able to set deadlines on projects, but legislation prevented this.  ‘I do think the law needs changing.  It’s frustrating to me.  People blame the council and I understand that.  But this has much more to do with Tesco than Dartford.

Councillor Geoffrey Prout (Labour – Princes; Shadow Leader of DBC) in the same article from kentonline.co.uk  Labour shadow leader Cllr Geoffrey Prout said a plan was needed in case the firm did pull out.  He said: ‘I am extremely sceptical that they will come to Dartford.  They have shown no great sense of urgency about doing anything with the site.  What Dartford needs is a plan B and to take it off Tesco’s hands and turn it into something else.  The people of Dartford are absolutely ashamed of the place.  I have asked Jeremy Kite what he plans to do if they pull out and I’ve heard nothing.  Jeremy Kite should be pushing the government to change the law to give councils more power over issues like this.’

Councillor Jonathon Hawkes (Labour – Stone) on Twitter  ‘Same old excuses from Jeremy Kite. Tesco’s actions over last 12 mths cannot explain 12 years failure of Dartford town centre by his council.  Dartford Conservatives excuses won’t wash. It’s their council who have failed.  It wasn’t Tesco that failed to deliver Portas commitments.  It wasn’t Tesco who rejected Lidl and it wasn’t Tesco who spent £1m on a cricket pavilion while our Town Centre declined.

Councillor Keith Kelly (Conservative – Greenhithe) on Twitter – @CllrJonHawkes ‘At what point did you or @Dartford_Labour object to Tescos plans? When did you suggeat an alternative option. Never !!!  Same old political rubbish from you.Shame on you.Jeremy was right your trashing of Dartford is a disgrace. Where’s your plan?

Councillor Richard Wells (Conservative – Heath) on Twitter – @CllrKeithKelly @CllrJonHawkes ‘Well said mate. Labour cllrs were also on the non political planning commitee that rejected first Lidl plan.’

Councillor Jonathon Hawkes (Labour – Stone) on Twitter – @RichWDartford @CllrKeithKelly ‘As usual gents, lots of bluster and fury – not much answering of points or addressing of issues.’

About the author

Andy Clark is retired after a long career at Lloyds Register and subsequently the Civil Service. He has lived in Dartford for his entire life.

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