Julia Batt

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Heath Ward Learn more

Councillor’s Surgery

by Julia on 22 September, 2007

Bridge, Fant and Heath Wards all held their quarterly Councillor’s surgery this morning. As usual it wasn’t particularly well attended, but people that did come had never before contacted any of us (their local Councillor’s), and so it was worth putting on.

Issues brought to Peter Hooper and myself (representing Heath Ward) were very close to the hall which we’d hired this time – so clearly there is value in changing venue each time and moving around the wards.

Sadly, as with every surgery we’ve run, the majority of problems people have is with anti-social behaviour – mostly aimed at teenagers. When I was a teenager (about 100 years ago according to my 6 year old), I was no angel, and I defy anyone to prove they were a perfect teen! However, I’d never hurt anyone, damage property or ‘answer back’ if caught doing something bad.

I remember one occassion when I was about 17, I had a boyfriend who had a car (this was a big deal and I was the envy of a few mates!). Anyway, this being in the days when there wasn’t a certain fast food outlet on every street corner, my boyfriend drove my mates and I, about 30 minutes away to buy a load of burgers etc and then we ate them on the drive back to my friends house. When we arrived, I left all the rubbish on the pavement opposite my friends house. A lady who lived there, saw what I had done and shouted at me to pick up my mess. I was so ashamed of myself, I immediately picked everything up and to this day have never dropped litter again.

By contrast, I recently (while still pregnant with Travis) watched a kid chuck down a half eaten burger in the town centre (right in the middle of the pedestrianised bit) surrounded by about 50 people. Seeing history repeat itself, I asked the lad to pick up his rubbish, thinking he wouldn’t do it again in a hurry. I got told to f**k off. Being a bit hormonal, and not quite believing my ears, I asked again for him to pick up his rubbish. The response I got this time was a little more eloquent, but still peppered with a fair few choice words. The burger remained on the floor. In the end, I picked up the burger and put it in the dustbin (that was about 1 metre from the drop point). I felt a complete idiot, until an older lady came up and congratulated me on having the nerve to stand up to the lad. She said, she’d had much the same response that I’d received in the past and wouldn’t ask anymore.

When did kids stop respecting their elders?

Whilst at the surgery, husband phoned to let me know that he’d just arrived at local (under 5’s) playground with kids, only to find it covered in obscene images and words. Trust me on this, you never want to answer a 6 year old asking: “What does **** mean Mummy?”

A local resident was cleaning down the worst of the graffitti, but there’s only so much you can do without industrial grade equipment – unfortunately, the remaining graffitti must stay until Monday, when Maidstone’s ‘hit squad’ go back to work…

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