Charlotte at Tilmanstone Village sign
Charlotte at Tilmanstone Village sign

Rural communities around Dover and Deal have been badly hit by austerity cuts. From the appalling Conservative cuts to bus services, impacting massively on villages such as Northbourne and Wootton, to the closing of local services including dentists in Aylesham and Doctors’ surgeries in villages such as Eastry (which also serves people in other villages falling in the Dover constituency), our villages have suffered greatly.

Cuts should not fall on the most vulnerable. These Conservative decisions, impacting on our rural communities in this way, drive up isolation, poor health outcomes and loneliness. As things are taken away from villages, the sense of community that once attracted people to live there, also falls away.

The removal of transport services and key bus routes has another worrying outcome. It means that those who live in villages are only those who can afford cars (and the nowadays very expensive fuel) and indeed are in good enough health to drive. If villages are cut off from bus networks, older people will move out and people with school-aged children won’t live there either (no schools buses). Young families struggling to get by will move somewhere with cheaper travel options and as people get older and their health becomes more precarious, they may have to move somewhere closer to services, leaving behind much-loved family homes.

This sort of social engineering of our villages is completely wrong. The local Conservative councils have failed to undertake full, long-term strategic impact assessments of these decisions.

I loved growing up in a village and it makes me very sad to think that generations of children will be denied that chance because villages are becoming more and more cut off from the services families need. Things must change.




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