Back in May 2014 when the community was invited to elect a new Borough Councillor each candidate was invited to answer ten questions (in no more than 50 words) to help inform everyone of their views and policies. Martin Round (Conservative) was elected. Here you can read his answers to the questions.
Q 1: How long have you lived in Headcorn?
A: I moved to Headcorn as a small child in 1963. Professional roles later took me away for some years but I returned many times and have been permanently resident since 2000.
Q 2. What do you believe are the community’s three most important assets?
A: There are more than 3 assets! But 1) Lovely Rural Village/Wealden character 2) Geographical position in the heart of the countryside that can access so many opportunities so easily 3) Great High Street area of varied products and services.
Q 3. If you are elected, how will you ensure the voice of the Headcorn community will be heard in MBC?
A: If elected I would be a Conservative within a group of other Conservatives. I could then impose my conviction and ensure my rational views of Rural Village Life would be heard amongst that Group, the others & Officers in MBC, and make the “townies” think more appropriately about rural life.
Q 4. What three issues do you feel MBC need to improve on which matter to the Headcorn community?
A: There are more than 3 issues for MBC to improve upon! 1) Rural Life & Ways need to be better understood. 2) Communication and appropriate interaction between Maidstone and its rural constituents must be improved. 3) Rural Wards need more benefits-a better spread of return from their contributions-for their part in the Borough.
Q 5. Provide one compelling reason why you might feel you are the right candidate for the job…
A: I WILL be taken seriously. Because I have lots of credible experience in local matters where I understand the key background and important issues plus I love and care about the Headcorn area and it shows.
Q 6. What ideas do you have to improve the prospects for employment in and around Headcorn?
A: The rural economy is important & made up of many factors: quality of train services to High Street trading, as well as farming/equestrian activities and more. I want MBC to understand the importance of a mixed rural economy & especially the Tourism potential, then I have many project ideas.
Q 7. The Headcorn community is being told to accommodate a minimum of 425 new homes in the MBC Local Plan. What is your reaction to this and what do you propose to do to respond to the plan?
A: 425 Houses as a total is unacceptable, especially in terms of mix and the suggested positions of such numbers! I will continue to support the Headcorn Matters team and come up with RATIONAL COMMON SENSE plans for development. I don’t want urbanisation of a rural community. The Local Plan is disproportionate. My response has been submitted and is available on www.martinround.co.uk.
Q 8. What is your opinion of applications for installations of Solar Farms in the area?
A: Solar Farms in the area have to be judged on each and every application, but original suggested plans were well out of proportion and far too big. Personally I don’t want to see loads of panels between Headcorn and the Green Sand Ridge. It would ruin the Wealden view.
Q 9. What plans do you have to ensure the community’s Open Spaces, Footpaths and Dog Exercising Areas are protected?
A: Open Spaces are run by Parish Councils. The trouble is they lack the funding to make the most of them. I want to see some joint projects that attract grant funding to enhance as well as protect our Open Spaces and in this respect I have already been involved in the Consultation process. I will continue to be at the forefront.
Q 10. Give two reasons why the people of Headcorn should elect you and not an opposing candidate.
A: Experience: as a local Parish Councillor and a passionate community activist in work like Youth issues means I know the background and all the local and relevant agencies that have a part to play. PLUS I love and am truly passionate about the area.
2014 ELECTION RESULT:
Headcorn Village has two Borough Councillors within Maidstone Borough Council. Richard Thick has recently stood down after many years working hard on behalf of the community. On 5th May 2016 a new Borough Councillor was elected - Shellina Prendergast. She joins our other existing Councillor Martin Round. Both are Conservative.
You can read more about Shellina Prendergast here:
You can read more about Martin Round here:
What do these councillors do specifically for the Village of Headcorn?
Both were elected by the Headcorn community in order to represent us all within the Borough Council. Thus residents need to be aware of how they assist us and all the dates that each councillor invites face-to-face dialogue with the community.
What do they do for Headcorn?
2016 ELECTION RESULT:
After being elected in May 2016 Shellina submitted this message to the community:
Firstly, I am absolutely delighted to have received such a great mandate from the residents of Headcorn ward - I think it was one of the highest majorities (if not the highest) of the borough wide election on 5th May. It's good to know that residents have the confidence to trust me with representing the needs and views of all sections of the community at the Council - and I hope some of that is based on the work I have done to assist the community over the last few years.
Outside of the ward, I am expected to contribute actively to the formation, development and review of the Council's policies, plans and budgets - with regular meetings with Officers, Members, committee sessions (FYI - I am on Planning and Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transport committees and a substitute member on Democracy) and full Council meetings. Whilst carrying out these functions you can be assured that the local issues and needs will always be at the forefront of my mind and my actions.
Returning to the ward, you may be aware that it is one of the largest within the borough - over 60 square miles and covering the parishes of Headcorn (incl. Hawkenbury), Ulcombe, Boughton Malherbe/Grafty Green and East Sutton. I met a lot of local residents whilst out and about prior to the election, and several have already been in contact seeking help with their concerns. I can't promise that I will always have a solution - Headcorn ward has more than its fair share of major issues to contend with - but I can promise that I will listen and do my very best to help. Additionally, it is my intention to attend all regular full parish council meetings and assist my parish council colleagues wherever I am able, and I will keep everyone well informed about the Council and the services it offers.
Coming to your question over regular dialogue with residents, my election literature was clear that I would welcome contact from local residents on issues that concern them - at anytime - and meet with them face to face if necessary. With such a big ward, I really believe that this is a better way to communicate rather than restricting myself to monthly or quarterly sessions. My email address for council related issues is ShellinaPrendergast@maidstone.gov.uk and my telephone number is 07818 048234. My fellow ward Member, Cllr. Martin Round, is equally committed to local residents and their concerns, and has worked tirelessly on their behalf for many years.