An open letter signed by 14 out of 18 Folkestone Town Councillors including Tim Prater has slammed the cleaning of local streets, claiming "Shepway Council are failing to keep our streets clean."
The letter was signed by the majority of Folkestone Town Councillors, including members of all Parties: Janet Andrews (Mayor), Ann Berry, Paul Fox, Peter Gane, Dan Hassett, Paul Marsh, Tim Prater, Hugh Robertson-Ritchie, Emily Sanger, Lynne Smith, Richard Theobald, Richard Wallace, Rodica Wheeler and Jon Wicken.
The letter, published in todays Folkestone Herald, reads:
"Folkestone Town Councillors have been trying to work with Shepway positively for months to see a reduction in litter and rubbish on local streets. At our most recent full Council for example, we agreed to buy new bins for the sea front to reduce litter, and are committed to doing much more.
"However, we have to be blunt. Folkestone, and in particular Folkestone Town Centre, is often a disgrace. Litter, dirt and cigarette-ends are turning too many of our public areas into unpleasant grot-spots. Shepway Council are failing to keep our streets clean.
"Let's be clear - local taxpayers money goes to Shepway Council to clean local streets. Shepway receive the money, Shepway hold and manage the contracts to clean our roads and pavements. The list of the responsibilities of each Council is clear - what they get money for, and what services each should provide.
"Folkestone Town Council costs a "band C" household 50p a week and gets no additional funding from Government. Street cleaning is currently not in the Town Council's remit. Each time the new Folkestone Town Council take on a responsibility from Shepway Council (or anyone else), it is our duty to ensure that local residents don't end up paying twice for the same service.
"However, as Town Councillors, we will offer any assistance to Shepway Council we can to get Folkestone's streets clean: now, and throughout the year. We will work, as we have already been doing, in partnership with other bodies like the Town Centre Management.
"We will continue to look at any scheme where we can improve the situation - from new bins to town clean-ups to litter campaigns - and are happy to look at any positive suggestions. Equally, we call on Shepway to ensure that a full work-force is out cleaning Folkestone's streets, with the right equipment, throughout the day.
"Town Councillors are determined to show that we are happy to take a lead in getting Folkestone clean. This Saturday (5th August) at 10am, many Councillors will be meeting outside the George Lane Town Council office for a Folkestone Clean-Up Day, and we would be delighted for any members of the public to join us.
"This will be an ongoing campaign - it doesn't end on Saturday. We all feel it is time that Shepway Council understand that we do NOT accept our streets are clean, and that it is NOT good enough.
"Finally, in order to ensure people know as much as possible about what Folkestone Town Council are doing, we would like to invite any member of the public to attend our meetings. Full meeting lists, agendas and minutes of past meetings are available on our web site - www.folkestonetc.kentparishes.gov.uk"