As part of our final series of interviews for the upcoming local elections for Maidstone Borough Council, here it’s the turn of Patrick Coates, long-time activist in Fant, Labour member, and our candidate for Fant, to answer some questions and give you the lowdown on why he will be worthy of your vote.
Hi Patrick, thanks for speaking with us today. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello, I’m Patrick Coates and I’m standing as a candidate in Fant. I have lived locally in West Maidstone most of my life and love our County Town. I’m standing in place of Keith Adkinson, a great councillor for Fant, who is retiring this year.
How did you get involved in politics?
Back in 1996, I became one of the founders of Fant Wildlife Group and also serve as the Chair of Kent Wildlife Trust in Maidstone. I became a member of the Labour Party in 1997 and have been heavily involved in the Fant community since; not only helping campaign for Labour in the area but leading on work for a Fairtrade community and introduction of an environmental directory for Maidstone. I’ve also been involved in the Fant and Bower Community Group and also the Oakwood Park Community Group in its campaign to restore access to the playing fields.
Can you give us any specifics of what you will do, if elected as representative of Fant?
As your elected representative, I will work with other Labour Councillors to make the Council listen to what local people want, putting people before politics. I cannot promise to do everything, but I do pledge to you to do my best for you and Fant.
As for specifics, I’ll be working with the other Labour Councillors, looking to ease traffic congestion and car-parking issues in Fant and introducing a 20mph speed limit. We want to improve the area for all, reducing dog mess and litter, improving the pavements and dropped curbs for wheelchairs and less abled people, and protect and improve public open spaces, including the riverside and allotments. We want to help those who need a better deal, such as fair rents for private tenants, and providing quality affordable housing. We also want to support a more dynamic arts and culture scene; including keeping Maidstone Museum free entry, as well as upgrading it for the 21st Century.
Ok, so give us your pitch – why should Fant residents vote for you?
I’ve been involved in the Fant community for over 20 years now in some way or another. I have talked to many of you over the last 10 years of campaigning and know and share your priorities of a better environment for Fant. If I’m elected I will do my best for you and Fant. I will be proud if you support me to join my colleagues Paul Harper and Margaret Rose on Maidstone Council to work towards a better future.