Rory Love

Councillor Rory Love - Shepway District councillor for Harvey West ward - Conservative
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About Rory

About Rory

Rory Love

Born in Folkestone in 1959, Rory spent most of his childhood in Hythe. At 26, he returned to Folkestone. He was educated in Hythe, at Westbrook House in Folkestone, and at Tonbridge School. He went on to the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, and graduated with an honours degree in Philosophy.

While a student, he took a job at the late John Aspinall’s Port Lympne wildlife park, as well as Philbeach convalescent home in Hythe to help fund his degree course. During his time at Newcastle, Rory represented his University at the National Union of Students conference, and was elected Junior Common Room President. He also enrolled as an Officer Cadet in the Northumbrian Universities’ Officer Training Corps. In 1981, he ran one of the first “Great North Run” Newcastle half-marathons.

Rory pursued a career in banking, firstly in customer services, then as a national Training & Development Manager. He is now a freelance training & development consultant.

Rory is a member of the MG Owners’ Club (owning a 1977 MGB). He is married to Vicki, who works for a careers company which provides guidance and advice for young people throughout Kent. Rory and Vicki have been involved in rescuing and rehoming Great Danes, and have helped organise charity dog shows in Lyminge for fundraising.

His current personal challenge is to complete the Daily Telegraph’s ‘Tough’ grade Kakuro puzzle within the duration of his train journey home between London and Folkestone!

Rory Love - Working for Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh

In 1987, Rory won his seat on Shepway District Council from an Independent. 3 years later, at the age of 30, he became Conservative Deputy Leader. In 1995, he was elected Conservative Group Leader, and in 1999 became Council Leader after winning overall control of the Council from the Liberal Democrats for the first time in 16 years.

Under his Leadership, Shepway enjoyed one of its most successful periods in its history. The fall in unemployment in the District was among the fastest in Kent. The Shearway Business Park was opened in Folkestone, the Mountfield Road business park in New Romney was expanded, and Rory was personally involved in bringing Holiday Extras to Newingreen, and BP Travel Trade Services back to Park Farm.

Rory’s team saved the Leas Cliff Hall from closure, and negotiated with Clear Channel Entertainment to build on a new suite, making the Hall one of Kent’s premier meeting and conference venues. Rory’s team also opened Folkestone’s highly-acclaimed Coastal Park, and picked up the pieces after the failure of the previous Administration’s shopping centre debacle. Rory signed up the new developers who built and opened the Bouverie Place Shopping Centre.

Rory devised and led the highly successful “Rail for Folkestone” campaign for the high-speed rail link, which gained 2,500 supporters. This enabled Rory to lead a team from Shepway to lobby several rail companies as well as the Transport Minister. The Strategic Rail Authority was finally persuaded that high-speed rail services should continue to Folkestone, rather than terminate at Ashford, as they had originally intended. As promised, the service now runs from Folkestone Central to London St Pancras in under an hour.

Rory committed the Council’s support for Folkestone’s White Horse. He adopted the white horse logo for the Council, and put the names of the District’s three main geographical areas back on the map, and replacing the anonymous “Shepway” with “Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh”.

He co-founded the Boulogne and Shepway Co-operation Association, and became its first President in 2002.

In 2006, Rory was the only district councillor to organise a public meeting to give his ward’s residents the opportunity to see Roger De Haan’s proposals for Folkestone’s seafront. Residents’ support at the meeting enabled Rory to put a motion before the Full Council which led to the alternative proposals of tower blocks on the seafront being withdrawn.

He is also the first (and currently still the only) Shepway councillor to publish his own website.

As well as his role as a councillor, Rory was one of the pioneers of the radio station, Shepway Sound. He helped set the station up in 1994, and became a familiar voice on the airwaves. The following year, he hosted “Love is on the Air”, a round-midnight slot on White Cliffs Sound in Dover, and was also an arts correspondent on the station. He lobbied the Radio Authority to allow a permanent local radio station for Shepway and Dover, resulting in a licence for “Neptune Radio”, which evolved into “KMFM”.

Between 2001 and 2007, Rory served as the Deputy Chairman of the Kent Probation Board, responsible for overseeing community sentencing in Kent. He was also a director of the Probation Boards’ Association.

Rory’s Experience

With over twenty years local government experience, Rory is the longest serving Conservative councillor in Shepway.

He chaired the Kent Association of Local Authorities in 2002, and as a member of the East Kent Forum, he successfully lobbied for a reduction in rail journey times between Folkestone and London.

Rory is the first Shepway councillor to have held senior positions at the Local Government Association, where he has served as a member of its influential Strategy & Finance Policy Review Group, and as the Deputy Chairman of its Human Resources Panel. He also served as Chairman of the Employers’ Organisation for Local Government for two years, has been the Vice Chairman of the Employers’ Side of the National Joint Council for Local Government Services, and with the late Lord Bruce-Lockhart formed the Conservative team on the Government’s Committee to reform the Local Government Pension Scheme. Most recently, he has been elected as the Chairman of the South East Employers’ Organisation, the voice of local government employers in the South East. Rory is also the Treasurer of the Conservative Councillors’ Association, the national representative body of 9000 Conservative councillors in England and Wales.

In 2000, he wrote a paper for the Conservative Party in local government on breaking up Government quangos, and decentralising decision-making to local people, helping start the “localism” agenda.

Rory was invited by local MP, and former Conservative Party Leader, Michael Howard to be his Personal Assistant for two periods during the 1990’s. In the 2001 General Election, he was asked to help the Conservative campaign in Thanet South.

Rory was a former Conservative candidate for the European elections.

He was selected as Parliamentary Candidate for the Lewes constituency in December 2003, where he fought the 2005 General Election, cutting over 1200 off the majority of high-profile Lib Dem MP Norman Baker on a 1.6% swing to the Conservatives.