I think we can all agree that one quality we expect from the man who leads our council is that he would talk up our town and shout to the rooftops about the great opportunities on offer.
I assume this is not a controversial point to make?
However, it would appear our current Council Leader, Councillor Peter Chowney, the smiling, affable and unassuming face of a party led by Marxists, anti-capitalists and left-wing extremists, would disagree. His recent comments on the state of our town would make you think he thought very little of it and certainly doesn’t believe it has a bright future.
In response to a recent report from the House of Lords on The Future of Seaside Towns he is quoted as saying: “Hastings suffers from poor transport links, poor health outcomes, high unemployment, and a lack of the kinds of skills that employers need. In some parts of town, economic and social deprivation remain a damaging problem, with intergenerational worklessness and poor health blighting communities.”
Not only are these the words of our Council Leader, they are the words of the man who wants to be our next Member of Parliament. I for one would never want to be represented by someone who thinks so little of our town and cannot find it within himself to say something good about our seaside resort and its residents.
Hastings has been my home for all of my 28 years. It is a wonderful place to live, work and play, and since I was at school the number of children now in good or outstanding schools has more than doubled; the number of unemployed people has fallen dramatically; we’ve seen major transport improvements with the A21 getting ‘dualled’, the Link Road and Queensway Gateway being built and announcements soon on the HS1 extension; our hospital is now improving; apprenticeships up by thousands; and events and activities in our town are flourishing.
This is a fantastic part of the South East coast, of the entire UK in fact, and I will never cease from shouting about its opportunities, potential and success.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are clearly problems and issues that need to be tackled, from eradicating homelessness, providing better mental health support, protecting our environment, lowering poverty levels and continuing to encourage business investment and job growth. However, the bleak picture our Council Leader paints is not accurate – it’s misleading, demoralising and shameful.
It is also worth noting that just to take one example, Mr Chowney and the local Labour Party, are the problem not the solution. When it comes to tackling homelessness, the Labour Council has been equipped with millions of pounds over recent years to tackle the issue – from the Conservative central Government – and yet homelessness continues to rise.
What has all this money been spent on?
Where has it gone?
One would hope it has gone directly to organisations like Seaview, Emmaus and the Salvation Army, to help support the work they do in tackling the causes of homelessness – well is that where the money went Mr Chowney?
It is all very well for our Council Leader to go around accepting no responsibility for any of the problems in our town and to blame it all on the ‘evil’ Conservatives in central Government, but his argument fails – it is not supported with any facts or evidence.
I do hope, but I doubt very much, that Mr Chowney will reflect on his recent comments, and consider that a Council Leader should be fighting on the frontline to speak up for our town, its residents and its future.
Mr Chowney and the Labour Party he represents are ill-equipped and ill-suited to stand up for Hastings, it really is time Mr Chowney and his cabal were kicked out of the council.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – shame on you Councillor Chowney!