Mike Bennett - Cllr for Rolvenden and Tenterden West Ward

I am a recently retired journalist probably best known for my time as editor of the Kentish Express newspaper. I have lived in Tenterden since the late 1950’s and seen many changes over the decades. What has remained constant is my passion to keep both the town and surrounding villages special. That does mean some carefully controlled expansion to meet the needs of all.

I am aware of the many challenges faced by this ward, most notably the A28 speeding issues in Rolvenden and Newenden, the desperate need for more affordable homes to support younger people and keep them in the villages, and improvement of youth and general community services.

      

I will support a planned approach to house building so that a regular supply of affordable housing comes forward in addition to a good mix of open market homes.

The Tenterden area is under considerable pressure for 3, 4 and 5 bed houses with gardens, but this does not ease the situation of those who are starting out in their first job and keen to remain in the town where they were brought up.

15 out of every 50 houses built will produce 10 homes to let and five for shared ownership. Only planned building produces affordable homes, makes space for a long awaited all day car park, enables a new enlarged surgery space to be found, and will bring genuine extra funds to the benefit of all residents, and enable the modernisation of the leisure centre, and maybe the opportunity to improve the Ashford bus service hours.  As a sports mad teenager I played cricket and football for many years for both Rolvenden and Tenterden. Now as a father of five I want my children and grandchildren to have the very best leisure services available as well as the opportunity to live and work locally to be able to enjoy the quality of life.

Away from work I have always been involved in the community. I was the founding vice-chairman 20 years ago of the fundraising committee to raise the money for building Ashford Pilgrims Hospice and I still remain on the committee. I was a founder of the Ashford and Tenterden Samaritans, am a board member of the Norton Knatchbull Grammar School, and with a love for the countryside I am a staunch supporter of the Weald of Kent Protection Society.