Photo of taken on the border of East Ward in Vinters Valley Nature Reserve
East Ward covers those communities in the northeastern part of the County Town. Many of these were developed during the 20th Century on the landscaped parklands which formerly characterised this part of Maidstone. A legacy of beautiful old trees and relic woodland blocks are the ghosts of long-lost Foley and Vinters Park. The northernmost extent of the ward comprises land which once formed historic Penenden Heath, one of the most significant meeting places in all England. The setting of historic trials, royal decrees, civil uprisings, military encampments, Civil War skirmishes and brutal executions, only fragments of this once extensive heathland and ancient woodland remain, framing the recreation ground and play area. A grant-funded ‘History Garden’ has been established near the tennis courts which interprets the long and often grim history of ‘The Heath’.
East Ward is a popular residential neighbourhood, close to the town centre, yet well-located for rail and road, out of town shopping and still remarkably green and wildlife-friendly, with many beautiful trees, hedgerows and open spaces. The skyline to the north of the ward is dominated by the imposing scarp slope of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a nationally protected landscape.
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Local Lib Dems initiated and led the long campaign to protect what is now the Vinters Valley Park Nature Reserve from serial multiple development threats and proposed its designation as Local Nature Reserve.
Local Lib Dems have successfully campaigned for measures to improve pedestrian and driver safety measures across East Ward. These include controlled pedestrian crossings on Sittingbourne and Bearsted Roads, traffic lights at the junction of Holland Road / Well Road, Wheeler Street, pedestrian refuges in Boxley Road, variable speed limits between junctions 6 and 7 of the M20, zebra crossings in Snowdon Avenue and Penenden Heath, Boxley and Hampton Roads.
Local Lib Dems have successfully defended the remaining green space at Penenden Heath, proposed and delivered grant funding for a History Garden and achieved policy changes to better protect local landscape and wildlife.
Lib Dems have promoted and achieved improvements to our local play areas and green spaces over many years.
Local Lib Dems are leading the fight to protect the quality of life of residents from the challenges posed by the Government’s massive and unsustainable development plans, which are causing gridlock and polluting our area and threatening our precious green spaces and wildlife.
Local Lib Dems have long been at the vanguard of the battle to drive down local greenhouse gas emissions, ensure our communities and landscape are resilient to climate change and stem the collapse in our wildlife populations. We have achieved miracles in terms of driving energy efficiency and renewable energy generation against a backdrop of a systematic weakening by successive Governments of local planning powers.
Local Lib Dems have consistently defended the most vulnerable in our society in every way we possibly can. The unfolding pandemic has seen this advocacy on behalf of our children, the older generation and people with a disability or underlying health issues made even more challenging.