Councillors from the Medway Labour and Co-operative Group have issued responses to Council Leader Alan Jarret’s remarks at Full Council that downplayed the strength of feeling surrounding the possible closure of Chatham Docks. We were joined in condemning Jarrett’s remarks by the Spokesperson of the Association of Chatham Docks Commercial Operators.
Phil Taylor, Spokesperson of the Association of Chatham Docks Commercial Operators said:
“Alan Jarrett’s claim at the recent Council meeting that he isn’t aware of any public opinion regarding the possible closure and destruction of Chatham Docks to allow a housing-led development on the site defies belief!
“Why does he think there were more than 250 people demonstrating outside the St Georges Centre on the 7th October last year in support of saving Chatham Docks?
“The campaign to Save Chatham Docks started in 2017 and is growing in strength as Councillors and the public realise, that despite the claims made by Peel that Chatham Docks is not financially viable and is a derelict brownfield site, the Docks is a thriving vibrant economic hub supporting more than 800 high-quality well-paid jobs directly and a further 1440 in the supply chain.
“It’s a disappointment that Alan Jarrett continues not to engage meaningfully with us, or even visit the Docks to see the great work that goes on here. I’m sure if he took the time to see what we do right on his doorstep he would form a completely different view regarding the importance of Chatham Docks to Medway and its people.”
Cllr Simon Curry, Medway Labour and Co-operative Group Spokesperson for Regeneration, Culture and the Environment added:
“After hundreds gathered for loud public protests outside October’s Full Council meeting, plus the many impassioned letters sent to the Tories as Public Questions over the last few years, Jarret’s denial about the strength of residents’ feeling on this issue shows just how out of touch this Tory administration has become.
“A Kent Online poll which had over 1,000 respondents showed that 85% of people in our area disagreed with Jarrett’s remarks, agreeing with us that keeping the Docks is clearly in the interests of Medway from an economic, environmental and a cultural perspective.”
Cllr Vince Maple, Leader of the Medway Labour and Co-operative Group said:
“I want to reiterate a point we’ve made many times before and in light of Jarrett’s comments will make again. Locals have been working at the Docks for generations and continue to do so now, with over 2,200 people’s employment linked directly or indirectly to it. Jarrett’s bluster impresses nobody and only strengthens the resolve of those affected by the closure. We’ll be fighting tooth and nail alongside the workers and businesses there to get the Docks designated as employment land to preserve our local industries.”