Recent news and updates
Article: Sep 22, 2021
Sevenoaks' KCC Councillor Richard Streatfeild speaks to the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference to support the motion on responding to the crisis in Afghanistan.
11 years ago I commanded A company from 4 Rifles in Afghanistan. Over 7 months I wrote to 10 families of Riflemen, and Sappers telling them, after offering my sincerest condolences that their sons had not died in vain. They had died at the hands of the Taliban in our effort to give Afghans freedoms we hoped might endure, and so keep us and them safe. The freedom to live under the rule of law, freedom from oppression and freedom to access education.
The tragedy that has unfolded since 2014, but especially in the last two months in Afghanistan, has been tough. To the horror of those who served there, many feel we have abandoned and betrayed not only the Afghan people, but also those who we fought with, and worked with. Both British and Afghans who sacrificed their lives for a democratic Afghanistan. The lesson of history other than, we don't learn the lessons of history, is that we have been to Afghanistan four times and we have now allowed the circumstances which provoked our twenty year intervention to return. We might well have to go back. Some hope that the oppression will be temporary, that Afghanistan has changed, vain hope. What we have done is the political equivalent of the water board.
We took a people out of bondage, they breathed lungful's of the oxygen of freedom but we have now allowed the Taliban bindings to be refastened and the flow of oppression, misogyny and arbitrary justice to be turned back on. Shame on the United States administrations both this one and the last, and shame on our government for not acting sooner to get the people who worked for us and with us and who now face mortal peril, out. I speak in favour of the whole motion which sets out a detailed and helpful policy positions in relation to Afghanistan, but the lines that I particularly support are on setting up a public inquiry.
I will put a link to my parliamentary petition when I go back to the auditorium. We owe a judge led public enquiry to those 10 soldiers, and the 447 others who died there, we owe that enquiry to the three from my company and the many more veterans who have died subsequently where PTS or PTSD was directly or indirectly involved. We owe that enquiry to future generations of servicemen and women to set out where we went wrong and thereby how we could do it better next time, because there will be a next time and we need to do it better. We owe that enquiry most of all to the still grieving families who have all been to a coroners court to hear the precise circumstance of their sons death, but have never been told how their son or daughter came to be in that circumstance beyond the orders given that day. Only a public enquiry gives the ability for us to tell those families that their son or daughter's sacrifice has not been totally in vain.
Conference please support the motion.
Article: Jun 21, 2021By Richard Streatfeild
Our work has begun! Six-weeks on from the County Election on May 6th, I've been spending several days each week on KCC business; learning how KCC actually works, working with other members of the Liberal Democrat Group to divide up the tasks of opposition and - most importantly - helping residents with their issues with officers.
Article: May 8, 2021
Richard Streatfeild's win in Sevenoaks Town Division on Thursday gives Sevenoaks its first Liberal Democrat County Councillor in 24 years.
In a poll of over 6,300 votes, Richard came 179 ahead of sitting Conservative Councillor Crabtree. Every vote was crucial. Richard and his team ran an effective campaign based on asking people across Sevenoaks what they most wanted to make the town a better place to live. Hundreds of residents responded with ideas.
During the campaign, Liberal Democrats contacted thousands of people, on doorsteps, online, and by phone. In addition to the election campaign Lib Dems ran two online conferences including all parties - one on boosting Sevenoaks Town Centre and another on getting Sevenoaks to Zero Carbon. They encouraged hundreds more people to develop and comment on ideas for the future.
The key theme of Richard's campaign was involving and empowering local people to make Sevenoaks the best, most sustainable market town it can be. The response from residents - across the political spectrum - was amazing.
Richard says "I am very pleased and humbled to have been trusted with the task of representing Sevenoaks Town. The real work starts now to improve lives together with everyone in Sevenoaks".
Across the District, Liberal Democrats increased their vote by over 1100 votes, closing the gap on the Conservatives who vote only rose by 300 in a much higher overall turnout. The Lib Dem vote rose from 15% of the District total in 2017 to 18% this time, while Labour fell to fourth place behind the Greens in third.
The results show that Liberal Democrats, where they are organised and work hard, can mount a challenge to the Tories in Sevenoaks. No other party can get within 1000 votes of doing this in any County Division.
Richard and the Liberal Democrats are now looking to work with people in Sevenoaks - of all parties and none - to make our Town and District a better place. The election has shown that people have a real appetite to make Sevenoaks more attractive, greener, to look after it as well as we can and to invest more in our young people.
In addition to the County result, Liberal Democrats also scored well in the Brasted, Chevening and Sundridge District by-election. After no Lib Dem candidate in 2019, Sandra Robinson polled 704 votes against the Conservatives 1051, the highest achieved by any opposition party in the ward for at least 20 years. In the Sevenoaks West County contest in the same area, Tom Mackay increased the Lib Dem vote by over 400 to 1135, as much as Greens and Labour combined.
Sevenoaks Liberal Democrats May 8th 2021
Article: Apr 29, 2021
Over the last few months I enjoyed talking and listening to many of the residents and business owners who love Sevenoaks.
What you always tell me is that Sevenoaks should be a great market town and that it has amazing potential, and I agree with you.
What I see now is unrealised potential. There are too many empty shops, too many proposed developments that look like soulless suburbs, and too many HGV's
thundering through small streets that weren't designed for them.
But these challenges are not insurmountable.
The people of Sevenoaks have amazing ideas of how we can breathe new life into our high street and bounce back from the pandemic.
Sadly no one at Kent County Council seems to be listening to these people. That has to change.
Together we can make the high street better for the shopper, the resident, the pub, sports club and the theatre goers of Sevenoaks.
Our high street can be vibrant, safe, clean and smart. It can be the hub at the heart of Sevenoaks. If you elect me this May, I will work towards this vision.
Article: Apr 26, 2021By Tony ClaytonOver seventy local people, and inspirational speakers including Rob Hopkins of Transition Towns, gathered on 21st April and thought the unthinkable. What if Sevenoaks District (not just the Council) made it to Zero Carbon well before the Government target?
Over seventy local people, and inspirational speakers including Rob Hopkins of Transition Towns, gathered on 21st April and thought the unthinkable. What if Sevenoaks District (not just the Council) made it to Zero Carbon well before the Government target?
Rob challenged us to come up with "What If?' questions - and ideas to change the way we live. How can we win for the environment, win for quality of life, win for our local economy and win for jobs?
- all our gardens were wildlife sanctuaries
- all our streets were lined with trees
- we didn't need rubbish collections
- we had weekly car free days, and no HGVs
- parents felt it was safe to let children cycle to school
- council decisions were taken on lowest environmental impact
- Sevenoaks was a genuinely zero plastic town
- we had real action plans to insulate the housing stock
...... and many more
We talked through how important it is to link up individual actions that we can make, on energy saving, recycling, active travel and the rest with the bigger picture of decarbonising transport, the way we heat homes and offices, and how we work. So much has to change, and changes will be much easier if we start now, together, rather than put them off
People from Sevenoaks and surrounding villages have many of the skills and connections, to speed up progress. We have people working on community energy, on walking and cycling schemes, on green finance and on big technology changes. But most of them are working somewhere else!
Can we bring all these together, to make a difference in the place where we live?
Could we make Sevenoaks famous for the actions we are taking to create a genuinely sustainable future? Do we want to be green leaders? Of course we do. After all, they named Sevenoaks after the trees!
Watch Sevenoaks' entire Net-Zero discussion here
Page: Apr 17, 2021
Sandra Robinson - Your Local Choice in the Brasted, Chevening & Sundridge by-election, 6 May 2021.I have lived in Chipstead for over 20 years. I love our area, but we have pressing issues that have been allowed to fester to breaking point.
Tired of waiting for others to solve these issues, I am standing to represent our Ward on the Sevenoaks District Council (SDC).
Article: Apr 6, 2021A strong theme that has evolved from our High Street 'Thinkin' , is the environment.
From air quality to becoming a zero waste town, it's clear that there is huge energy to tackle the climate emergency properly - with ideas and action, not just targets.
While we're getting on with the action to make our Town Centre a model for the country, we're holding another event, opening a district-wide conversation to hear YOUR ideas for what more we could do to ensure we:
'Make Sevenoaks a Net Zero Carbon district by 2030'. Please register to join the next community zoom meeting to share or listen to ideas.
Article: Mar 22, 2021By Tony Clayton
The virtual 'ThinkIn' on March 17, on the future of Sevenoaks town centre, drew over 60 people to share ideas. Retailers, caterers, business owners, town residents and nearby villagers joined local and national experts sharing good ideas to make Sevenoaks 'the best market town for the future'.
- New independent shop, Knobbly Knees in London Road, has shown how Sevenoaks people welcome quality, specialist, retail offers. Owner Amy said town centre pavements need to be better for window shopping, and traffic congestion caused by delivery vehicles must be tackled
- Roger Lee, who co-wrote Sevenoaks in a Time of Change in 2020, emphasised the importance of social space in our town, to encourage locals to sit, stay and meet, and to draw visitors in
- Otto's co-founder Jack outlined his aim to be leader in zero waste catering. This could be a USP for Sevenoaks businesses shown by the example - and fame - of towns in other countries
- Parents called for safer town centre streets, family friendly, where children are protected from speeding traffic and where it is easy to cross from one shop to another
- People now working from home said they already spend more money in Sevenoaks, and outlined the big opportunity for shops, hospitality and service providers to meet their family and business needs
- The importance of education to Sevenoaks economy was stressed, with 5,000 plus secondary students in the town every day, with money to spend and able to make a contribution
- A member of Sevenoaks Business Board called for a vision for how the town will respond to radical change, as more traditional retailing goes online and more people will work locally - either from home or from satellite offices outside London
- A resident of South Park asked for action on air quality, which makes Sevenoaks High Street less attractive to shop and meet in.