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Click on the KCC image to read the candidates' statements, uncut
You can vote at Iwade Village Hall on Thursday 4th May 2017 between 7am and 10pm for the Swale West division KCC councillor from the following candidates: Mike Baldock UKIP, Tim Valentine Green Party, Mike Whiting Conservative Party, Marc Wilson Liberal Democrats and Tony Winckless Labour Party. Click on more to read their statements issued exclusively to iwadevillage.co.uk and the-meads.co.uk and published here uncut to allow you to easily make an informed vote.

Mike Baldock - UKIP - "Community politics is at the heart of what I believe in. Whether through Parish Council meetings, resident Group meetings or open meetings where people work together, I feel that local people working together are the real backbone of any community. So I have spent the last four years on Kent County Council arguing for greater consultation with local people and more opportunities for local people and local groups to get the support and funding for local events and local priorities. I have been successful in pushing this approach up the agenda on KCC and it is now being done more often. Looking forward, I want to get groups organised to tackle loneliness and get support for elderly people who may be at risk of becoming isolated. I also want to get KCC to stop centrally controlling youth outreach groups, and instead to fund local groups where they have proved they are working successfully with the local community."

Tim Valentine Green Party - "With increased awareness of poor air quality, the pressure of new development and ever worsening traffic congestion, a strong Green voice on Kent County Council is needed more than ever. Kent County Council’s policy of relentlessly encouraging road traffic has given Kent the highest number of deaths from air pollution in the region. Instead we should design our communities so that we can provide a safe, healthy environment for everyone, enabling us to enjoy walking and cycling, and provide the option of efficient public transport. If elected I will work to reduce local air pollution (which is responsible for approximately 745 deaths in Kent each year), for better integrated public transport, and support 20mph speed limits on roads where people live. I am a voluntary non-executive director of Orchard Community Energy, which runs a community-owned solar farm near Iwade. The solar farm generates enough electricity for 1250 local homes. Solar energy is now one of the cheapest ways to generate clean, British energy. It helps to secure our electricity supply, and returns profits to local community projects. "

Mike Whiting Conservative Party - "I want to be elected to get improved health and school facilities in the area and I have already written to the government planning inspector to remind her that she cannot approve new housing in Swale unless the infrastructure to support it can be delivered. I am working with a local GP to get a new surgery and with parents to get much-needed Special School built in The Meads. Congestion on our roads is awful and I think the way to improve things on the A249, the A2 and at Key Street and Grovehurst roundabouts is to provide alternatives, so I will continue to lobby government to get the Northern Relief Road completed to the M2 east of Sittingbourne, and to get better direct rail services to London from Swale and Kemsley stations. Vote for Action. Vote Conservative. Vote Mike Whiting"

Marc Wilson Liberal Democrats - "Sometimes you just look at the issues affecting our community and you think, "why is this happening?”. Why can people in Iwade not get hold of a GP when they or their family are ill? Why does more housing continue to be built without the infrastructure to support it? Why are there continual delays in Sittingbourne town centre redevelopment? Why are there excessive funding cuts to our schools across Sittingbourne and Sheppey? Those responsible need to be accountable, and someone affective needs to fight in our corner. Continuing pressure must be applied to make sure these issues are addressed, that plans are in place, and that those who have made promises deliver on them. I put myself forward for local office to be that person that will find out and hold the responsible to account. I am a business man, a former school governor at the Bobbing and Iwade schools, and I have been in many hundreds of meetings at different levels. I can play my part in making things happen. I would be honoured to do this for the people of Swale West."

Tony Winckless Labour Party - "I have lived in Sittingbourne for 30 years been an active campaigner for 28 years. Believe in opposing over development in rural areas joined the Borden protest march to oppose the proposed Cryalls Lane housing development. Represented Milton Regis Ward on Swale Borough Council from 2011 to 2015. Sat on the planning committee and licencing committee. Experience in representing residents. You might consider voting for me on May 4th as the K.C.C. Labour Candidate for Swale West."