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Sheerness Town Council to be set up after plans approved

By Ellis Stephenson

Sheerness is set to get its own town council after plans were approved last night.

There was applause from the public gallery at Swale council's meeting as proposals were given the go-ahead after a 90-minute debate.

Elections for the nine posts will be held in May next year.

Sheerness will now get a town council
Sheerness will now get a town council

An initial questionnaire asking if residents wanted a town council attracted 1,406 votes of support and 569 against.

But the 18-month campaign looked in danger of falling at the last hurdle when a second survey attracted only one vote of support and 905 letters against, leaving a total of 1,407 for and 1,474 against.

However, Swale councillors decided Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey deserved a stronger voice despite the town's Labour councillors Angela Harrison and Mark Ellen passionately arguing that poorer residents could not afford to pay more council tax.

The amount people will pay will be decided when the group is formed next year.

Jubilant: Campaigners Brian Spoor and Lana Henderson celebrate the go-ahead for a Sheerness town council
Jubilant: Campaigners Brian Spoor and Lana Henderson celebrate the go-ahead for a Sheerness town council

It is estimated to be about £50 - £1 a week per Band D home.

Residents will still pay tax to Swale and Kent councils.

Council leader Cllr Andrew Bowles (Con) said: "I thought long and hard about this and believe the people of Sheerness deserve their own independent voice. The result of the original referendum showed that residents wanted their own council."

Campaigner Brian Spoor said today he was "delighted" with the result.

But the retired businessman who chairs the Sheerness Town Team admitted: "It was touch and go until the final vote. I've never been so nervous."

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