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Bonkers Blog January 2018

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29 January - Marking time

Until this evening’s Cabinet meeting is out of the way there is not a great deal to report but it should provide a good indication of how far the Council will be wanting to push up Council Tax again. Probably not as much as they could given the election due in May and the Conservative’s oft repeated claim that Bexley is a low tax borough. (It hasn’t been at any time this millennium.)

Whilst the Agenda does not reveal the extent of the increase it does go into great detail about various fees and charges. Not all of them are increased but it isn’t difficult to find hikes of up to 17%. (Adult Social Care).

There was a time when Cabinet Member Peter Craske constantly pushed out the message that Bexley had the lowest car parking charges in South East London. Needless to say it was nothing like true. It certainly isn’t true now.

The cheapest you will find in Bexley’s minor car parks (Gayton Road for example) is 70 pence for half an hour. The equivalent in Bromley, Petts Wood for example, is 50 pence for a whole hour. Maybe another reason why the shops in Wilton Road are being sold off and those in Queensway appear to be thriving. However the good news is that they are not going up again in 2018.

Somehow I failed to look at The Thamesmead Grump last week and so it was only yesterday that I noted it had returned to the subject of my supposed harassment of Councillor Fothergill even though it was me who was trying to close down the subject while she was offering new documents that I was assured would prove that the law had been an ass.

In going back to the subject The Grump runs the risk of falling foul of Kent Police’s strange attitude to news reporting; more than one or two references and it’s criminal! The Grump has changed his banner heading so you may wish to a look at the revised version.
Maybe it is time for a little update on the situation.

The last official word on the subject is now more than three weeks old. On 5th January I was told by two visiting police officers that I would receive a letter commanding my appearance at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court. So far the letter has not arrived.

A little more off the record a Kent Police Inspector phoned me soon afterwards to say that he would ensure the full facts of the case were first considered by their Legal Department, Sergeant Robbie Cooke at Swanley had taken the decision to prosecute on the basis of Councillor Fothergill’s complaint and unaware of the correspondence between ourselves. Nothing but a lawyer’s opinion can overturn that decision.

The Inspector did not disagree when I said that Kent Police might end up with “with egg on its face” if they went ahead with the prosecution without being in possession of all the facts. Naturally he did not want to see that and said so.

The impending prosecution continues to attract press interest. Everyone appears to be very aware of the implications of this case but despite a number of pretty firm promises nothing has appeared in print or on line.

I think the problem is that every journalist I have spoken to thinks the situation is so ridiculous that sooner or later common sense will prevail - and when it does the story will evaporate leaving only one embarrassed Councillor and one very silly police officer.


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