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Thanet Liberal Democrats unveil their principles ahead of 5th May Poll
Thanet Liberal Democrats
Our Approach - District Council Elections 2011
“The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance
the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty,
ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge
and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to
disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all
citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which
affect their lives.”
- Preamble to the Liberal Democrat Federal Constitution
Our Approach
As Liberal Democrats, we start from the belief that local people are the experts in their own neighbourhoods
and their own needs.
We believe that people should be involved in running their communities and are committed to the values of
integrity, honesty and openness.
At these local elections we make the simple commitment to, at all times, be respectful, responsive and
available to you.
If elected, every Liberal Democrat action and decision will be based on the opinions of the very people we
Our Vision for Thanet
Despite its natural potential, Thanet is one of the most economically deprived districts in the South East, with
unemployment levels nearly twice those of the South East as a whole1.
This picture is at odds with the Liberal Democrat vision of a society “in which no one shall be enslaved by
poverty, ignorance or conformity.”
1 http://www.thanet.gov.uk/council__democracy/corporate_plan_2007-11/thanets_economy.aspx
Thanet Liberal Democrats
Our Approach - District Council Elections 2011
Central to achieving our vision is a strong and sustainable economy which encourages the necessary wealth
creating processes, develops and uses the skills of the people and works to the benefit of all, with a just
distribution of the rewards of success.
Your Economy
Thanet Liberal Democrats believe our District Council can do more to stimulate local business and enterprise.
We recognise that:
• Too many entrepreneurs who continue to live in the District have been forced to move their successful
businesses out of the area due to uncompetitive commercial rents and rates over the past few decades
• The corollary of the opportunities created by development at Westwood has been a steady decline in our
high street shops, with small, independent retailers being hardest hit
• As the largest private sector employer in the area, the announcement that Pfizer are to close their
Sandwich site could have a cataclysmic effect on local employment and lead to an outpouring of skilled
workers from the area if an alternative use for the site cannot be found
• While a study commissioned by Thanet District Council2, published in February this year, estimated that
the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector contributes £217 million to the local economy, this figure could
be much higher
Thanet Liberal Democrats want to work with local businesses and entrepreneurs to identify how we can
attract existing businesses to Thanet as well as encouraging and retaining new start-up ventures. We are
naturally supportive of all moves to secure an alternative future for the Pfizer site.
We believe our fragile tourist economy is in dire need of attention. That's why we back Laura Sandys MP's
ambitions to drive up tourism by looking at out-of-season opportunities, and believe that the District Council
should take a more prominent role in marketing Thanet as an all-year-round destination.
2 http://www.visitkentbusiness.co.uk/library/Thanet_Tourism_Economic_Impact_Estimates_2009.pdf
Thanet Liberal Democrats
Our Approach - District Council Elections 2011
Thanet Liberal Democrats also welcome the opening of the Turner Centre this weekend. We are optimistic
that this venture and the wider regeneration of Margate will ensure a return to the town's former glory.
However, we believe more attention must continue to be paid to other sites of interest in the vicinity - such as
Dreamland - and we must ensure that other Thanet towns are not neglected as a result of this star attraction.
Good transport links are vital to enabling enterprise, and particularly tourism, to prosper and we will press for
faster and more frequent rail links to and around the East Kent Coast - it is ludicrous that a train journey from
Margate to Dover now takes almost an hour.
Better access to technology is also essential - we will lobby for further investment in high speed broadband
investment in the area which we believe could open a door of huge economic opportunity.
Your Housing
Liberal Democrats are committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our community. We believe, therefore,
that every councillor should be obliged to consult with residents' groups and social housing providers in their
respective wards.
While the housing waiting list in Thanet has increased over the last decade, so too have waiting lists across the
whole of the UK. That's why we take the view that political point-scoring on this issue is cheap when people
need a suitable roof over their head.
Thanet Liberal Democrats will support any moves to increase the quality and supply of social housing in
Thanet but are realistic about the strain that local authority budget cuts place on these ambitions.
Your Safety
Thanet Liberal Democrats welcome the greater emphasis on community policing across the District that has
been derived from the Police and Communities Together initiative.
However, as ward councillors we would encourage greater police collaboration with the community, allowing
more people to set the priorities for their local area more often.
Thanet Liberal Democrats
Our Approach - District Council Elections 2011
Your Area
Thanet Liberal Democrats recognise that many residents' first contact with our local authority will be over a
planning issue.
Decisions on local developments can have a substantial impact on people's daily lives, yet those affected by
new buildings - and changes to existing ones - often do not enjoy parity of influence with those who propose
to construct them.
We believe that the planning process should be open, fair and responsive to ideas, comments and innovations
from the public as well as from planners and developers. As ward councillors, Thanet Liberal Democrats will
facilitate this process to the best of our abilities.
We will also seek to support decisions that protect and preserve green spaces and ensure that land is used in a
way that is sustainable, protects ecological diversity and minimises irreversible damage.
Our Plea
This approach document is not a manifesto; we do not have candidates District-wide we are not in a position
to make grand policy statements.
However, our principles and attitudes are based on the fundamental belief that all the people matter and that
no group or section of society can be disregarded or forgotten simply because they are a minority or because
their very existence is an encumbrance to a particular political philosophy.
At these elections you might have the opportunity to vote Liberal Democrat3 - please help us give you a
voice by voting for our candidates on May 5th 2011.
Printed and promoted by L. Latham on behalf of South Thanet and North Thanet Liberal Democrats for all Liberal Democrat
Candidates for Thanet District Council at Flat 1, 2 Prospect Road, Broadstairs, Kent CT10 1LD.
3 We have candidates in Bradstowe, Viking, Dane Valley and Birchington North