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A Vision for Sheppey

MP Derek Wyatt calls for a separate CEO for the Isle of Sheppey

Local MP Derek Wyatt has written to Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP, Secretary of State for Local Government, asking her to make available an additional resource for Swale BC to enable the appointment of a special CEO for the Isle of Sheppey.

Derek said:

“Swale BC has always been an amalgam of three older urban district or town councils – Faversham, Sheppey and Sittingbourne. It is a costly to run because if Faversham has something then Sittingbourne and/or Sheppey also want it and vice versa. When Swale BC was established in 1974, Faversham was the lead community but now that has been ceded first to Sittingbourne and secondly to Sheppey.

The ‘Sittingbourne- Reborn’ project will have upwards of a £1.2 billion spent on its development over the next ten years.

The Isle of Sheppey has though several different developments:

** the largest federated Academy in the country to be built from 2009-2012 (£75 million inward investment) as well as additions for all first schools as they upgrade their facilities to take Year 5 and 6 students; delayed two years by incompetence at KCC

** a £1 million upgrade at Sheppey RFC at The Ditch; under discussion

** a £500 million public-private project at Queenborough & Rushenden which has already been delayed because of KCC

** the wish of local sports clubs to create a Sports Trust so £3 million of funding can be obtained from the Football Foundation; denied by Swale BC

** the need for a dual carriageway from Neats Corner to Thistle Hill and further improvements thereafter to the Lower Road; overlooked by KCC when the Bridge was being built

It is clear that business wants to relocate to the Island but it is also clear that business wants an improved service from Swale BC. It has rarely if ever received more than a “Fair” never a “Good” or an “Excellent” when its departments have been audited. This simply isn’t good enough in today’s global market. We are in danger of falling behind.

In my time eleven years as the local MP, Sheppey has always been considered an add-on at Swale otherwise a bridge and a new hospital would have been built long ago.

As we watch in admiration at what the Indian and Chinese economies are doing, we have to change the way in which we work; that applies to Local Government too.

I am asking Hazel Blears MP to join me in putting Sheppey first, for the first time since Swale BC was established in 1974.

The Island needs its own CEO and budget; now if CEO is not the appropriate title because there will soon be a new CEO of Swale, well I’d settle for a Managing Director, but it must be an individual who has executive responsibility for the Island.

Given the plethora of projects that the Island has - and there are more in the pipeline (SureStarts/Seaside Regeneration) – it is absolutely imperative that the Island does not come second to the ‘Sittingbourne: Reborn’ development.

A single CEO based on the Island with a small staff would ensure that we are not overlooked and it would give us a renewed sense of confidence and help us to fight for more inward investment at every level of Government. “


(c) Derek Wyatt MP 








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