J5 SLIPS CAMPAIGN HISTORY
|THE REAL HISTORY OF THE J5-SLIPS CAMPAIGN|
Many of you will be surprised to read this recent tweet from TMBC Cllr Steve Perry, so let us recap the true history of what became the J5 Slips Campaign.
The concept of East Facing Slips at Sevenoaks has been discussed ever since the Government failed to build a proper junction there in 1978. It was used as a "ploy" by anti-bypass campaigners in 2005/2006 to deflect support from the BG Bypass.
However, when the Celcon Factory application collapsed in 2007, and the Bypass was shown not to have Planning permission, it became very apparent that the Bypass would only ever be built using Mass Housing money, a price Tim and I refused to accept.
During the Bypass process, Wrotham and Borough Green had been virtually at war, which made joint projects like the Skatepark, 3G Pitch and Traffic measures very prickly. On the afternoon the inquiry collapsed, we made the first tentative approach to Wrotham PC, and to see if there could be a joint campaign.
From that approach came a meeting in January 2008 at the Bull Hotel in Wrotham. Tim began to pull together a campaign, adopting Pete Gillin's proposed "J5 Slips" name and his famous "Jigsaw Logo", and an inaugural meeting in late 2008,which Cllr Perry was invited to attend as a lay member.
The first "4-Parish Alliance" meeting, a scheme proposed by Tim and I, was finally accepted by BGPC and took place later in August 2008, chaired by KCC Cllr Valerie Dagger.
BGPC eventually released a Press statement on 3rd November 2008 (89iii)* supporting East-facing Slips, but maintaining support for a publicly funded bypass.
Cllr Perry was appointed by BGPC as an "observer" to J5 Slips in March 2009 (151iii).
In the intervening Years Tim slowly built the J5 Slips campaign into a powerful lobby group uniting Parish Councils from West Malling to Westerham. At first the Campaign used the BG-TAG website as its vehicle, until Cllr Perry volunteered to set up a dedicated site called www.j5slips.org. When Cllr Perry withdrew the site, we immediately launched a new site called www.j5-slips.org (note the hyphen)
Tim's success with J5 eventually resulted in it being adopted as a Formal Policy by the Kent Association of Local Councils at its AGM in 2013. They set up a Motorway Working Party under the Chairmanship of Richard Parry to lobby for J5 Slips at Sevenoaks, and Junction 10 at Ashford.
The KALC Motorway Working Party successfully lobbied KCC to jointly fund an Economic Benefits Study into East Facing Slips at Sevenoaks, with large funding contributions from TMBC and the Parishes, and that is being carried out now.
But it is important that the public know the truth.
Tim Shaw has dedicated much of his spare time over the past 8 years building J5 Slips from a grass roots campaign group in Wrotham, Platt and Borough Green, into powerful lobby group supported right across North Kent. When anyone now mentions J5 Slips at Westminster, they know what it means, and who started it.
* refers to BGPC minutes