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Medway Tory councillor Jane Chitty de-selected by party after 40 years on the council

A long-standing councillor who has overseen major planning and regeneration schemes for decades has been de-selected from standing as a Tory.

Cllr Jane Chitty – who has been on the council for more than 40 years – will not be allowed to stand in Strood North at the May 2023 local elections.

Cllr Jane Chitty
Cllr Jane Chitty

The portfolio holder for planning, economic growth and regulation, said: "I'm hugely privileged to have represented residents as a unitary authority and for other Medway authorities (before 1998).

"I'm hugely grateful for the support they have shown me."

Last October the top Tory fought off calls to quit over the handling of Medway's draft Local Plan.

Councillors grilled her after the blueprint was dropped from the full council agenda after it emerged the leadership would lack the votes required to take the plan to the vital public consultation stage.

There was anger the plan was incomplete and lacked clarity on important issues.

Medway Council's Gun Wharf HQ in Dock Road, Chatham
Medway Council's Gun Wharf HQ in Dock Road, Chatham

And one of the most contentious proposals in it was giving the green light for Chatham Docks to be transformed into a development of 3,625 new homes, which would result in major job losses.

Responding to councillors' questioning, she said: "I always consider my position, and my position is first and foremost that being responsible for one of the most technical and challenging pieces of work that affects people right across Medway, I certainly feel I have the necessary experience to take that forward.

"I consider my position every time I am involved in discussions in relation to the Local Plan, but certainly, I have always been adamant that I will see this through."

Councillors repeatedly asked Cllr Chitty to identify which documents related to the plan were not ready to be shared and to give a timeframe on when they would be ready.

They also wanted to know why an incomplete plan had been put forward in the first place.

Speaking today, Cllr Chitty said she was interviewed by party officials on Saturday and received the news that night.

She declined to comment further at this stage.

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