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Coronavirus Kent: Swale council prepares for tough times ahead

One of Kent's top politicians warned of tough times ahead and is expecting "a financial hit of serious proportions" amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Swale council leader, Cllr Roger Truelove (Lab), braced officers and councillors to expect challenging days to come as the authority is expected to take on more responsibilities.

Swale council leader, Cllr Roger Truelove (Labour). Picture: Swale council
Swale council leader, Cllr Roger Truelove (Labour). Picture: Swale council

Local councils have been charged with setting up community hubs, one each in Sheerness, Sittingbourne and Faversham.

He said officers had worked hard to convince holiday park owners on Sheppey to stay open and prevent people from being made homeless.

Speaking to KentOnline, Cllr Truelove said: "We've been working very hard to persuade some of those that closed to reopen.

"The government reviewed it's advice to close venues so it didn't apply to people who don't have anywhere else to go.

"Our staff have persuaded quite a few parks to stay open. We're not expecting a large pressure for housing on us from that."

"Our staff have persuaded quite a few to stay open."

Steps are being taken to keep staff and council members up to date with steps taken to prepare the borough.

"I'm trying to get members to realise how much the council has got to do," Cllr Truelove added.

"Everybody is working remotely, and doing a great job, but we'll face issues and the biggest one is waste."

In an email update sent to councillors today, Cllr Truelove announced money will get tight.

He said: "We are going to have to face a financial hit of serious proportions. A rise in homelessness plus the costs of running the hub are just part of the emerging pressure."

"We are going to have to face a financial hit of serious proportions."

He also raised further concerns about refuse collections, writing: "Waste collection is being constrained by increasing staff absences.

"This is inevitably not just a Swale problem and we need the forbearance of the public in dealing with demand.

"Garden waste has been collected in places this week but it may be difficult to sustain."

Despite Biffa, the firm contracted to collect waste around the borough, taking on extra staff and redeploying existing employees – it is likely some garden waste will remain uncollected.

Residents are being told to leave their bins outside if they are not collected.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

Read more: All the latest news from Sittingbourne

Read more: All the latest news from Faversham


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