Introducing Julia Bird, your Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Broxbourne

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After more than fifty years with a Conservative MP, now is the time for a change. The Liberal Democrats in Broxbourne are demanding better for our community.

Julia Bird is our Liberal Democrat candidate for Broxbourne when the next general election is called.

Committed to improving the lives of Broxbourne’s residents, Julia and the Liberal Democrat team will work hard to ensure the community’s needs are being addressed.

As an economist working in London, with a particular expertise in Urban and Transport Economics, Julia has helped develop Liberal Democrat policies, including our recently adopted

“Fairer Share for All” plan, which fights against the deepening inequalities in the UK, recognising that everyone deserves a decent income, decent services, with opportunities to make their lives better.

Julia and all the Liberal Democrat team here in Broxbourne are concerned about a number of local issues:

  • In Cheshunt, at the A10/College Road crossing, monitors have recorded the 8th worst air pollution level in the UK for any borough outside London. With a large secondary school and a nursery nearby, greater pressure is needed to reduce risks for all children and young people in this area.

 

  • We are so fortunate to be in the wonderful Lea Valley Park providing, as it does, a fabulous space for recreation. However, it is under pressure too. Julia will be vigilant in following up any changes to ensure the park is protected from further pollution.

 

  • Given the growing population of Broxbourne, we should be seriously considering either better transport to the nearest Health Centres and hospitals or perhaps invest in our own more local option – Cheshunt Community Hospital for example.

 

  • The incinerator planned for Rye Park has been rejected, but now there is a new plan to build a much larger gas fired power station on the site. Residents need to have a say in any decision. Our climate is facing critical risks and building more fossil fuel burning power stations will make that worse.

Julia says:

I am delighted to be standing for the Liberal Democrats in Broxbourne at the next General Election.

This is a real opportunity to demand better for everyone in this constituency. Thanks to the reckless behaviour of the Conservative Prime Minister, we are in a period of national crisis. We are all facedwith the real risks of No Deal Brexit - medicine shortages, higher food prices, a damaged economy and inevitable job losses. The Liberal Democrats are demanding better. We need better health care, better education for our children, and a better future. It is time to stop Brexit and focus on the real issues again. Housing in the Borough is in short supply, and often very expensive. The Borough Council, as the planning authority, has the opportunity to demand developers include “Affordable Housing” in any new housing estate. Too often they seem to be missing the chances this can offer.

This is especially important for the young people of the Borough who, of course would like to have their own place but find it increasingly hard to afford, if they want to remain in the area they grew up, close to family and friends.

I am looking forward to listening to your views and sharing the Liberal Democrat vision for Broxbourne with you over the coming weeks and months.

For more information, please contact Julia on juliabirdLD@gmail.com

Austerity and Knife Crime

According to the Hertfordshire Police, knife crimes have more than tripled across the county since 2014 . Despite knife amnesties and other local initiatives, the trend is remorselessly upwards and Hertfordshire towns are becoming as unsafe as Britain’s inner cities. Tragically, over 1,000 young people ( age 10-19) were admitted to UK hospitals with knife injuries last year and 10 teenagers have been killed in just the first two months of 2019.

Sadly, this increase should not surprise us. You can’t cut police numbers, essential services in schools, access to mental health services and youth work, and not expect there to be consequences. Beyond the tragic injuries and fatalities, there’s a climate of fear. The fear experienced by young victims and their loved ones every time they leave home. Nationally police budgets have been cut by £250m since 2010, leading to 21,000 fewer officers on increasingly dangerous streets. The police are becoming a reactive ‘blue light’ service with fewer Officers available to engage with local communities or to carry out ‘stop and search’ operations around knife crime ‘hot spots’.

Austerity driven cuts to Police Budgets are only a part of the problem. Since 2010 there has been a massive contraction in community services like youth clubs, resulting in many more young people spending time on the street, where risks are higher and the temptation to carry knives for ‘protection’ is greater.

Maintained Schools and Corporate Academies, focused on tests and targets are excluding 40 ‘disruptive’ or ‘under achieving’ children a day. Small wonder that bored young people, lacking positive role models, are targeted by criminal gangs who use Social Media to paint a beguiling picture of drug dealing and violence. 90% of young people serving sentences in youth offending Institutions have previously been excluded from School.

The epidemic of knife violence can only be countered when schools, police, health and youth workers work together, intervening early to support young people at risk of being sucked into knife crime. This approach has been used by the Scottish Government to reduce violent deaths in Glasgow, once “The Murder Capital of Europe”, from 41 in 2005 to 0 in 2016.

The continuing spate of stabbings involving young people amounts to a national crisis requiring a sense of urgency and strong leadership. This is not being provided by a government obsessed with the Brexit end game. Theresa May is in denial insisting that “there is no direct correlation between crime and police numbers”. Phillip Hammond thinks that the police should “become more efficient” but will not commit to extra funding. This country and our young people deserve better!

A piece by David Payne, a local campaigner and prospective candidate in the local elections in May

Suffragists and Suffragettes

December 2018 marked 100 years since women first voted in the 1918 General Election. Even then, only women aged over 30 could vote (40% of the electorate) as an electorate evenly divided between men and women was politically unacceptable! Women had to wait another 10 years before Electoral Equality was finally achieved in 1928.

Of course, Electoral Equality did not just happen. The women’s suffrage movement was born out of the frustrations of those tired of not having their voices heard. It required tireless effort by several generations of women who were not afraid to speak out.

In 1897, various local women’s suffrage societies came together to form the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (lead by Millicent Fawcett).” The law-abiding suffragists “of the NUWSS promoted their cause by debate, petitions and peaceful demonstrations. Possibly the most spectacular was the Great Pilgrimage of 1913 from Cambridge through Hertfordshire to a rally in Hyde Park. Not all went smoothly; The Pilgrims had to be rescued by the police from a hostile mob as they tried to march through Ware.

Frustrated at the glacial pace of progress a group of women (lead by Emmeline Pankhurst) broke away in 1903 to take a different path. The Women’s Social and Political Union or the “Suffragettes” used more disruptive tactics, including civil disobedience and arson. Emily Davison, from Sawbridgeworth, was one of the most daring and reckless of the militants, enduring repeated imprisonments and forced feeding. She became a martyr to the cause by throwing herself in front of the Kings Horse during the 1913 Derby.

100 years on, let’s celebrate what the women’s suffrage movement achieved. However, we should not kid ourselves that because women have the vote, they have equal citizenship. Women still earn 81p for every £1 earned by men, less than 30% of our MP’s are women and violence against women remains a stain upon society. We still need to speak up for equality because everybody benefits – even men.

A piece by a local Liberal Democrat campaigner, David Payne

Housing Crisis in Broxbourne

The leafy Borough of Broxbourne has one of the worst rates of
homelessness in the Country (ranked 22nd in a recently published list of
50 homeless hot spots around the UK)

There is no night shelter
in Broxbourne and, at the Council’s estimate, you can expect to find
three or four people sleeping rough within the Borough most nights. It’s
easier to become homeless than you might think. Lose your job or your
partner, face a period of illness or unemployment, fall behind with the
mortgage or the rent, and you and your family could be on the way to
losing your home.

Sleeping rough is only the tip of the iceberg.
There are many more homeless in temporary accommodation, more than 200
households in Broxbourne alone. Homelessness is particularly tragic for
children. If your childhood is blighted, you never get it back and the
effects can last a life time.

If you have a job and an income you
should at least have a home. Time was when local authorities and
housing associations built 200,000 affordable homes nationwide each year
but since 1980 construction of social housing has plummeted. House
prices in affluent areas like Broxbourne have soared to an unaffordable
8* average salary. “Generation Rent” must struggle to rent privately in
a market where rental costs are increasing faster than pay. Small
wonder that this poorly regulated sector has grown by 38% in Broxbourne
since 2000.

Unfortunately, the government seems intent upon
making a bad situation worse for the most vulnerable renters. The roll
out of Universal Credit will replace Housing Allowance paid directly to
the Landlord with an, inadequate, capped monthly benefit payment to the
claimant after an initial five-week delay in payment. The process seems
designed to create further arrears, debt and distress.

Housing has become a national crisis and solutions are urgently needed at both national and local level.

  • The Government must commit to building 300,000 new homes nationwide by 2022. That’s affordable and energy efficient housing within well planned new towns, not speculative “premium” developments shoe horned on to land filched from the Green Belt.

  • Local authorities need additional powers to require affordable homes within all new developments and to prevent developers from reneging on commitments.

  • Renters in the mushrooming private sector need better protection, to end discrimination by landlords and insurers against tenants on benefits and to outlaw “no fault” evictions.

Safe, secure and affordable housing is a basic human right and we deserve better.

A piece by a Broxbourne Liberal Democrat campaigner, David Payne

Broxbourne in top eight of the UK for illegal air pollution.

Broxbourne suffers with some of the highest levels of illegal air pollution in the country. A government air pollution plan, ordered by the High Court earlier this year, revealed air pollution in Broxbourne to be much worse than previously feared, in fact it is amongst the eight worst areas in the country outside of London.

The main pollutant in the air is nitrogen dioxide and the main cause of that is traffic.

Amongst the worst air in the borough is along the A10 in Cheshunt but there are several others in the borough including Waltham Cross and Wormley that well exceed the minimum accepted levels.

The area has been above the legal limit for some time but originally it was expected to be able to get down to the legal limit by 2019. After reviewing just how bad the problem is, Broxbourne Council revised that date to 2028.

The most likely way the Council will address this problem is by implementation of a charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ) ie vehicles entering the area that do not comply with the specifications required will be charged a fee. They are hopeful this would enable the area to get to minimum compliance by 2023. This still leave us all breathing dangerous levels for another four years.

A final plan on how they intend to address the issues must be with Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by October 2019.

Broxbourne council currently ask residents in the area not to make short car journeys – I would suggest better, and more frequent bus routes should be implemented so short car journeys are less necessary.

In addition, Broxbourne District council are in direct opposition to Hertfordshire County council. Herts instigated the proposal for a 350,000-tonne incinerator that will pump further nitrogen dioxide into the Broxbourne Lea Valley and generate another c98,000 lorry movements – so huge potential for even higher levels in the north of the borough.

A Piece by Elaine Thatcher – Chair of the Broxbourne Liberal Democrats

Upcoming Dates for your Diary

Hoddesdon Incinerator Public Inquiry Tuesday, June 19th

The Public Inquiry re the proposed Hoddesdon Incinerator begins at High Leigh Conference Centre, Lord Street Hoddesdon EN11 8SG on Tuesday 19th June at 10 am. There will be a brief protest by individuals and groups opposed to the development outside at 9.20 am Please come along to represent the Lib Dems at the protest as it is most important for people to attend in large numbers to send a clear message to the inspector.

Lib Dem Pint

There will be a special Lib Dem Pint on Monday 25th June at 8.00pm in The Red Lion 1 High St, Stanstead Abbotts SG 12 8AA. Kate Beajeux who works in the pharmaceutical industry will be coming along to talk about Brexit as it affects the industry. As the talk is likely to prove popular please let me know if you plan to come along.

EU Final Say March

A lot of us will be going to the march for a peoples vote in London on Saturday 23rd June. It is very important this gets a high turnout and is reported widely. If you are going please don’t forget to RSVP to the party event so they can update you when the meeting point is known

We also hope to meet up locally and travel down together so if you are planning to go, please email andrewporrer@ntlworld.com with which station you will be going from and he will try to coordinate times.

Your Candidates for the May 2017 Local Elections

We are pleased to announce that the Liberal Democrats will be fielding nine candidates in the Broxbourne Borough Council elections on 3 May – the greatest number in over a decade.

The current Conservative domination of politics in Broxbourne isn’t good for anyone, and we have heard disheartening stories of your concerns being ignored when raised with your councillors.

We are proud to play our part in democracy, by offering another choice for voters across the borough, aiming to bring balance to Broxbourne’s political scene. If elected, Liberal Democrat councillors would take time to listen to your concerns and incorporate ideas into plans for the area.

From left to right: Lisa Naylor, David Payne, Gianluca Perotti, Fabio Bonfante

The full list of Liberal Democrat candidates is as follows:
Hoddesdon North: Ruth Everness
Hoddesdon Town and Rye Park: Gianluca Perotti
Broxbourne and Hoddesdon South: Kirstie de Rivaz
Wormley and Turnford: Lisa Naylor
Goffs Oak: David Payne
Flamstead End: Kypros Savopoulos
Cheshunt North: Kostas Inchenko
Cheshunt South and Theobalds: Deborah Highfield
Waltham Cross: Fabio Bonfante

Introducing David Payne, Your Liberal Democrat Candidate for the Goffs Oak and Bury Green By-Election on the 22nd of February

I have been fortunate to live in Broxbourne for over forty years, sending my 3 children to excellent local schools and enjoying the Lee Valley’s green spaces. Together with my wife Val I have been actively involved in local school and church activities.

The Conservatives who have run Hertfordshire County Council since 1999 have become ever more remote from the needs of local people and without an effective opposition ill thought out changes and cuts to local services will continue to be bulldozed through.

If elected I intend to be a hard working councillor and any voter with a problem or an improvement they would like to see locally can get in touch with me on libdemdavep@yahoo.com.

A message from Jan Metcalfe from Hoddesdon Against Incineration

Dear Campaigners,

Herts CC’s planning officer’s report on the proposed incinerator is now available. A copy is attached. Surprise, surprise it recommends that the incinerator goes ahead.  County Councillors on The Development and Control Committee will be meeting on 20th Dec to vote on this.

 

Now we must concentrate on getting it called in by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, to ensure we get a fair hearing.  Our MP Charles Walker has been working to ensure this happens, but needs your support.

PLEASE WRITE NOW to Sajid Javid  [details below]

Ask for it to be called in for some of the following reasons (Clarity and brevity are key.  We are asking for an independent judgement).

  • The proposal disregards National Planning Guidance, Herts CC, Local Waste Plan and Broxbourne Council’s Local Plan. [no need to explain this]
  • There is a conflict of interest because Herts CC has a contract with Veolia and are also determining Veolia’s planning application.
  • A biased and misleading report from Herts CC officers confirms fears about Herts. CC having vested interests.
  • The entire region across two counties are united in objecting to the proposal. This includes Broxbourne Borough Council, Epping District Council, the Lee Valley Park Authority, The Canal and River Trust, Amwell Magna Fisheries, The Lee Valley Growers, and 6 Parish Councils   [ No need to list:t Nazeing, Roydon, Stanstead St Margarets, Stanstead Abbotts, Hunsdon, Hertford Heath].
  • Will damage long-term economic growth in the area of SE Herts and SW Essex. 
  • Will have a huge impact on our environment including Green Belt and our well being so merits an independent judgement.

Write to:

Rt Hon. Sajid Javid MP

Secretary of State

Department of Communities and Local Government

Fry Building

2 Marsham Street  London SW1P 4DY

Email sajid.javid@communities.gsi.gov.uk

Got 5 mins to look at the report?

The summary is on p 2-3 [section2],  the conclusion is on p157 -161 [Section 23].   Some points which show bias are highlighted, you will be able to spot many more!

Please be at County Hall, Hertford 10.00am 20th December to demonstrate  opposition to the incinerator.

With thanks,

Jan and the campaign team

Don’t forget to join us for the march against the incinerator in Hoddesdon tomorrow!

We plan to congregate in Barclay Park Car Park (off Cock Lane) 10.30 to 10.45 the event will begin at 11.00. If possible, please wear Lib Dem colours gold/orange/yellow are all acceptable.

There will be entertainment in Barclay Park beforehand and at 11.00 there will be the opening address and the walk will begin.

Route: through the town centre down Burford Street (alongside Morrisons), across the Dinant Link Road at the pedestrian crossing to continue along Burford Street to Pound Close Recreation Ground. At Pound Close there will be further entertainment and closing speeches.

The March will take around 1 hour as it’s a whole community event with all ages welcome. We hope to see you there.