Manifesto 2023

Gravesham Conservatives are proud to present our manifesto for the local elections in 2023. This resident and local business informed vision is designed to put pride back into our community, unlock Gravesham's full potential and end the waste and neglect of the current Labour-run Council.

We need your support on Thursday 4th May to realise this vision, so that together we can turn the tide on inaction and get the Council working for residents and local businesses again. 

MAKING GRAVESHAM SAFER: We will take a zero-tolerance approach to crime and anti-social behaviour.

Under a Conservative administration there will be a zero-tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour. We will fight to get more police presence in public spaces and recruit our own enforcement officers to provide a uniformed presence in our parks and public spaces. We will bolster our support to residents on estates to help eradicate anti-social behaviour and we will work with Kent’s Police & Crime Commissioner to tackle the illegal use of e-bikes, e-scooters and dirt-bikes.

We will:

  • Recruit our own uniformed enforcement officers to patrol our public spaces, parks and estates. 
  • Work to integrate resident's electronic doorbells and CCTV cameras into our network.
  • Give a Council Tax Discount to Special Constables living in Gravesham to reward those who volunteer to put their lives on the line.
  • Work with the Police to tackle drug dealing and county lines related crimes. We will focus our efforts to stopping our local young people from being exploited by criminal gangs. 
  • Work with the town's traders and businesses to eradicate crime and anti-social behaviour in our town centre.
  • Give additional powers to Police and Council Officers so that together they can tackle anti-social behaviour across our communities.
  • Put pressure on landowners to secure their estates to tackle the illegal use of e-bikes, e-scooters and dirt-bikes.
  • Work bring forward new initiates to eradicate street drinking and to make it safer to enjoy an evening out in Gravesend.
  • Recognising that domestic abuse and violence against women is a growing and serious problem in our society, we will bring forward new measures to protect victims with wrap-around, multi-agency support. 

CLEANING UP GRAVESHAM: We will dedicate the full resources of the Council to making Gravesham cleaner. 

Your local Conservative team will work tirelessly to clean up our town and streets. We will dedicate the full resources of the Council to cleaning up the place and empower communities and individuals to join us in tackling littering. We will work with our rural communities to fight against fly-tipping and impose the toughest penalties on those who litter and blight our communities with fly-tipping. We remain committed to being an environmentally responsible council and will support local businesses and residents reach net zero.

We will:

  • Retain a weekly waste collection services for all residents and increase recycling rates across Gravesham.
  • Increase the number of dog waste bins and glass recycling facilities across the borough.
  • Bolster the Street Champions scheme to enable residents to support our clean-up of Gravesham.
  • Encourage our local businesses to contribute towards a cleaner Gravesham by working with them to reduce littering. 
  • Recruit additional enforcement officers to tackle littering and impose the toughest penalties on offenders.
  • Put pressure on National Highways South-East to clean-up the A2 slip roads and junctions.
  • Work with our Parish Councils to fight against fly-tipping and take legal action against offenders.
  • Bring forward new measures to clean-up alleyways across Gravesham and ensure that residents take better responsibility for waste around their properties.
  • Make drastic improvements to alleyways throughout the borough by supporting residents and owners to take better care of these spaces.

RECONNECTING WITH THE RIVER: We will regenerate, enhance and protect our maritime and heritage assets.

Our goal is to completely regenerate Gravesend & Northfleet by bringing our historic riverside back to life. The Prom and Fort Gardens are amongst Gravesham’s greatest asset, but unfortunately after years of neglect it is looking tired and desperately crying out for some TLC.

If elected with a majority in May, we will bring forward a plan to completely restore the Prom to its former glory and to make it a more welcoming place for the local community. We will work with local clubs on the river to bring forward modern sporting facilities and we will create new and exciting play areas for children of all ages. We will bring forward plans to create a new adventure playground for children which tells the story of Pocahontas and Gravesend’s proud maritime history.

We will give the Prom a much-needed deep clean and bring forward tough measures to reduce anti-social behaviour. We will invest in our riverside leisure area so that residents have access to quality open space. In Northfleet we will campaign to end the pollution of the River Fleet and enable the restoration of Northfleet Harbour and Northfleet’s historic Thames frontage.

By reconnecting our towns to the River will we provide new leisure attractions for our community, draw visitors, and create new jobs. We will do all we can to attract investment for the major projects that will restore Gravesend’s maritime heritage and river connections for generations to come. This includes scrapping Labour’s plans to build a plush new Council Office at the expense of restoring our historic riverside through Levelling Up and other national funding schemes. 

We will place new protections on our beautiful marshlands & make them more accessible to the Gravesham community. From Northfleet to the Higham Marshes, we are blessed with an amazing frontage onto the River Thames. We will work tirelessly to restore our Thames frontage and work with the others to safeguard these nationally significant sites for the future.

As part of our aim to reconnect the borough to the Thames, we will host an Annual Maritime Festival in Gravesham and better utilise the Prom and Fort Gardens as an outdoor event space. We will continue and make better the riverside events that locals love and bring forward new ways for local residents to enjoy these fine spaces. We believe that the River Thames is Gravesham's greatest asset and are on a mission to put our town on the map.

From the River Fleet in Northfleet, to the Higham Marshes our historic riverside is crying out for investment and care. – Only your local Conservative candidates are committed to reconnecting our borough to our rivers.

QUALITY HOMES FOR LOCAL PEOPLE: We will enable homeownership for local people and improve the standard of social and privately rented housing.

We are against cramming more homes into already dense residential areas and will fight against inappropriate large-scale developments that damage our local environment.

We will stop Labour’s green-space grab and work with communities to bring forward appropriate, quality development. We are passionate about helping younger people stay local, enabling older people to downsize and providing sanctuary for the homeless. Our housing and development policies will reflect these priorities.

We will support local first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder as we believe that local people should not be priced out of the area. We will bring forward revolutionary measures to enable local residents of Gravesham to fulfil their right to own a home in the town of their upbringing by offering affordable home ownership schemes that address the main barriers to getting on the housing ladder, such as raising a deposit.

We will therefore offer the provision of an affordable rent-to-buy system in Gravesham where local residents pay a reduced rent to help them save. We will then enable these tenants to buy the home after just 5 years or up to 20 years, at which point they will be gifted a 10% deposit to buy the house they are renting.

We will invest in our social housing stock across Gravesham and work with our tenants to improve the standard of accommodation across Gravesham.

Unlike your current Labour councillors who just increase council rents we will freeze council rents across the borough.

We will stand up for private tenants by tackling rogue landlords and we will ensure that everyone has the right to a decent standard of accommodation. 

DELIVERING A VIBRANT TOWN: We will support & empower our local business to unlock opportunities for our town.

We will enable Gravesham to flourish by supporting and empowering our local business community. By making drastic improvements to the town centre, such as cleaning up the place, rethinking the market, providing free public WIFI and freezing parking fees, we will entice shoppers back to our town centre and enable Gravesend to grow.

We will make sure that any development permitted not only contributes to the success of the town but unlocks opportunities for local employment. We will find new and innovative ways to put Gravesend back on the map and we will work with our business community to finally realise the incredible transport links that we have in the borough.

We are committed to delivering social mobility across Gravesham and will provide opportunities for our residents to acquire new skills and employment opportunities. We will deliver a new market offer, giving local people what they want rather than what consultants think we ought to have.

We will:

  • Create an environment that attracts quality shops and business to the town and make the High Street a place people want to come and shop.
  • Develop long term plans for the Council owned Market and make rents more affordable for our traders.
  • Make the High Street and Queen Street ‘go to’ and safe destination by cleaning-up the place and tackling crime.
  • Introduce free public Wi-Fi and bring forward innovative ways to celebrate the town's rich maritime heritage.
  • Work with our parades, such as Perry Street, The Hill and our village parades, and outer-town shopkeepers to improve local shopping facilities for residents.
  • Empower local business owners and traders to have a voice on the future of our town centre, rather paying consultants to tell us what they think we need.

INVESTING IN THE FUTURE: Our Youth Offer will give every young person in Gravesham a better chance in life.

We will create a new offer for and a commitment to the young people of Gravesham. By investing in our youth service, we will make sure that young people from all backgrounds have something to do in Gravesham and are given a better chance in life. With Covid and other local factors young people in Gravesham have had a raw deal over the past few years. Growing up in Gravesham is hard and we believe that this must change.

By investing in our leisure centres and grassroots clubs we will fight to address the health inequalities which hold our young people back. We are lucky to have some great parks and play spaces across the borough, but some of them are feeling tired and in need of refurbishment. We will listen to residents and invest in these facilities. 

We will launch a specially designed digital platform to highlight opportunities for young people in our borough, providing a one-stop-shop for parents, carers and young people to find out what is going on across Gravesham for families and young people. We will use the Council as a mechanism for true social mobility by increasing the number of apprenticeships and work placement opportunities internally and we will work with local businesses to create private sector opportunities for young people across a range of industries. 

We will:

  • Launch a specially designed digital platform to highlight opportunities for young people in Gravesham.
  • Make sure that young people in Gravesham have 'something to do'. From providing safe quality parks to leisure and training opportunities we will become a youth focused council.
  • Use the council as a mechanism for true social mobility by increasing apprenticeships and work placement opportunities. 
  • Grow and develop Gravesham Youth Council  to give young people in our community a stake in the decision making process.

ADDRESSING LOCAL HEALTH INEQUALITIES: We are committed to delivering better public health outcomes.

We will work with local charities, the NHS and Kent County Council to strengthen and widen our public health outreach for everyone in Gravesham. 

Our leisure centres will be improved and made fit for future generations. We will support our grass roots sports clubs across the borough and enable them to grow.

We will find new and innovative ways to support better health outcomes for the elderly and the young.

We will be a strong voice for local residents in making sure that the NHS and Integrated Care Partnership delivers for local people.

We will work with local charities, the NHS and Kent County Council to strengthen mental health support within our community and take action to encourage the prevention of suicide.

A BETTER VALUE COUNCIL: We will keep your council tax bill down by running a cost-efficient & streamlined council.

We know that the council tax you pay is your hard-earned money. It must be spent with that level of respect. After four years of inaction, Labour have left the borough with an impending deficit of over £4.3 million. We will therefore have to take some tough decisions over the next few years, but take them we must as we are committed to balancing the books to secure the services that our residents rely on. We will focus on cutting back on waste and ending Labour's vanity projects.

Under a Conservative administration there will be justification for every pound spent.

We will end the reliance on city-based consultants and get on with the job of delivering quality low-cost services. We promise to keep council tax and council rents low while protecting front line services. This means eradicating wasteful spending by the council and finding new and innovative ways of working.

We will invest in the services that matter to you such as expanding our recycling and waste collection services and completely reforming the Council’s Planning Department.

We will run a cost-efficient, streamlined Council which delivers for local residents. The ivory towers mentality of the Council will come to end as we reconnect and listen to the communities that we are there to serve.

We will:

  • Stop wasting your Council Tax on paying city-based consultants to tell us what Gravesham needs. Labour have WASTED millions of pounds of your council tax on paying consultants over the past 4 years.
  • Completely cut back on vanity spending and waste to insure that we invest your money in the delivery of efficient local services. 

COST OF LIVING SUPPORT: We are getting on with the job of supporting households across Gravesham with the cost of living.

Unlike your Labour Councillors who have just voted to put up council rents and your council tax, your local Conservative team are committed to supporting families across Gravesham with the rising cost of living.

The Conservatives in Government are getting on with the job and tackling the cost of living with real practical steps to help hard-working families. Over the past year, from your Energy Bill Rebate to the increases in the National Living Wage, tens of thousands of residents in Gravesham have received direct support and intervention from the Conservative Government.

Locally, with your support we will continue this action and target funding to help the families who need it the most. We will do all that we can to keep your Council Tax bill down. We will make the Council find efficiencies like we have all had to over the past few years. 

OPPOSING ULEZ EXPANSION: We are fighting Labour’s Mayor of London who is seeking to expand the ULEZ charge.

Gravesham residents and local businesses should not be made to suffer from Labour's London Mayor's proposals to expand ULEZ. This unfair taxation on car owners will push up the cost of living for Gravesham residents who need to commute by car for work, to visit family and friends and to attend hospital appointments in the outer London boroughs. We will fight Sadiq Khan's expansion of ULEZ and take action alongside other Conservative-run Councils in opposing these unfair proposals  

Vote Conservative on 4th May to protect local commuters and small businesses in Gravesham from this unfair charge. A vote for any other party in May risks ULEZ expansion.

PROTECTING OUR HERITAGE: We are proud of our local heritage and will do everything we can to put Gravesham on the map.

Unlike others who are standing in this election, we care deeply about our town’s heritage and will work tirelessly to celebrate everything that makes Gravesham great. Over the past four years, your local Labour Councillors have left our heritage assets to decay, demolished a historic part of the old Milton Barracks, and sold off the world’s oldest cast iron pier. They have proven that they can’t be trusted with the custodianship of our town’s heritage and action must be taken to safeguard what we have left.

Under a Conservative-run Council in May we will invest in our heritage by creating new family archiving facilities, new heritage displays of our local artifacts and a new digital museum platform which celebrates the story of our towns, villages and local people. We will put pride back into our Fort Gardens through our riverside regeneration programme and find innovative ways of making sure that young people feel part of our proud past. We will put pressure on the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation to celebrate our industrial heritage and we will work with our villages to tell the story of our rural communities.

We will:

  • Bring events to the borough for families to enjoy to help boost our hospitality and leisure sector.
  • Protect and safeguard the borough's heritage assets and invest in our historic riverside.
  • Utilise technology to create a virtual museum and to support residents with archiving local family heritage.
  • Re-launch the Gravesham Tour Guides scheme to put this borough on the map and to support our town centre embrace the opportunities of the London International Cruise Terminal at Tilbury and visitors from London.

SUPPORTING OUR VILLAGES: We will keep our villages as villages and stop labour's destruction of our green space.

For too long our villages and rural communities have been neglected by the borough council. A Conservative-run council will deliver for the whole of Gravesham and will dedicate time to supporting our villages and rural communities. We will appoint a Cabinet Member responsible for Gravesham’s rural communities and villages with the aim of making sure that the Council delivers for the whole of Gravesham.

We remain against the Lower Thames Crossing and will work with our parishes and local campaign groups to mitigate the effects of this scheme. Further to this we share concerns regarding the unacceptable levels of traffic clogging up and polluting our villages, so we will work hand-in-hand with your parish and county representatives to support initiatives  to combat rural speeding and our villages being used as rat-runs.

We principally believe that our villages should remain as villages and therefore we will oppose all inappropriate, large-scale development on our green belt. We support small-scale, sympathetically designed developments to meet our own local need, whether it is affordable housing for our younger local residents starting out on the property ladder, or sheltered housing for older residents downsizing. However, we will always vigorously defend our countryside and green space from inappropriate development.

We will:

  • Make sure that the Council delivers for the whole of Gravesham.
  • Keep our villages as villages and prevent inappropriate development.
  • Address local Traffic and Parking Concerns and stop our villages from being used as rat-runs.
  • Support our villages and rural communities.
  • Continue to provide leadership in opposing the Lower Thames Crossing

LISTENING TO YOU: We will clean-up local democracy, increase transparency and put residents back in control.

Under Labour, Gravesham Borough Council has become disconnected from the peoples' priorities. The Council is in urgent need of reform. If trusted with your vote in May we will fight to make the council more democratic and to give residents a greater say over the issues that matter most to you. From Planning to Spending your Labour Councillors have failed to listen which is why you should use your vote to demand change. 

We will:

  • Ensure all residents and stakeholders are meaningfully consulted and views taken into account before development projects are undertaken.
  • Review all Council joint ventures and partnerships to ensure that they deliver for local residents.
  • Create local forums so councillors can discuss ideas with businesses, residents associations and key stakeholders prior to decisions taking place.
  • Never undertake projects which are economically unviable and put the Council at financial risk.
  • Ensure the highest levels of openness and transparency and ensure all possible decisions will be made in public.
  • End the culture of Council officers making decisions and ensure better accountability of Councillors and officers working for the Council.
  • Support all Councillor to get better casework results and to engage more proactively with their residents.
  • Bring forward significant reform to the Council's planning department, by strengthening the rights and voice of local residents. 

PROTECTING OUR LOCAL ENVIRONMENT: No wasting money on wokery - Just real local action to make Gravesham, cleaner and greener.

Nationally the Conservatives are taking bold action to cut pollution, clean-up our rivers and protect our environment.

We have placed new duties on water companies to tackle pollution and overflows, planted over 40 million trees, introduced legally binding targets to cut plastic waste and improve air quality and taken tougher action against illegal river pollution.

In Gravesham we will end Labour’s woke and ineffective approach to reaching carbon neutrality. Instead we will take practical measures to empower individuals and local businesses to do their bit to help our local environment.  

We will:

  • Find ways to increase local recycling rates.
  • Renature our parks and open spaces.
  • Plant hundreds of new trees across Gravesham.
  • Protect our ancient woodland and marshes.
  • Support Kent’s Plan Bee, to improve the general habitat for pollinators across Gravesham.
  • Install new charging points for electric cars.
  • Provide improved council homes with energy efficiency measures and clean heating systems.
  • Introduce a more responsible procurement system to put greater emphasis on sustainability within supplier contracts.
  • Coproduce our Action Plan with local businesses so that the Council can become a catalysis for change within the winder community.
  • Support our local schools with their eco clubs and local litter picking initiatives to install environmental responsibility in the next generation.
  • Lobby central Government for further resource to support the retrofitting of buildings across the borough.