Election hustings cancelled after only two of 12 candidates confirm attendance


An election hustings organised by Westgate and Garlinge action group against housing development has been called off after only two of 12 invited candidates confirmed they would attend.

The campaign group had arranged the event, due to take place today (April 29) so residents could put their questions to the Birchington and villages and Margate candidates standing in the KCC May elections.

Penny Wells, vice chair and secretary of the Westgate and Garlinge action group said the lack of response was disappointing.

She said no response was received from Bertie Braidwood independent, Ash Asbhee and Linda Wright Conservatives.

Conservatives say apologies were sent for Ash Ashbee and Linda Wright.

Derek Crow Brown Conservative sent apologies due to health reasons and informed that Linda Wright would also not be attending due to being on the TDC planning committee.

Rob Yates Labour informed that he may not be able to join the meeting due to having to attend one at Thanet council  but would join later if able. Barry Lewis Labour accepted  the invitation and then emailed the day before to say that he could no longer attend due to having his Covid jab.

Abby Smith Green and Martin Pennington Lib Dem confirmed attendance.

Penny said: “We understand that people may have prior commitments and could not attend for reasons of health but only two out of a possible 12 candidates attending is very poor. It is particularly concerning that some did not even respond.
“The matter of the housing development is a cause of concern of many residents. People are deciding how to vote.This was an opportunity for candidates to engage with their electorate and to explain how they would represent them if elected as a KCC councillor.”

Residents had submitted questions for the hustings around housing development, brownfields and agricultural land.

These will now be forwarded on to the candidates and a written response requested which will then be published on the action group Facebook page.

Residents go to the polls on May 6 to vote in county council elections as well as Thanet by-elections, the Broadstairs Neighbourhood Plan and for the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner office.