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

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.

Conservative county council set to agree current highways contractors can carry on for another five years

Opposition councillors at County Hall have been shocked and angered to hear that Herts County Council are intending to extend the contracts of much-criticised highways contractors Ringway for a further five years.

Councillors were informed in a short email sent on Monday afternoon, with the news that the full decision would be made in November.

“This was a bolt out of the blue,” said Leader of the Opposition, Liberal Democrat Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst. “Over the past six years there has been considerable criticism and many justified complaints from residents and councillors about the poor state of our roads and pavements. Despite the poor performance of the highways contractor it seems that Conservative councillors and county council officers are prepared simply to grant Ringway a further five year contract.

“I was surprised to be sent a very short email giving the reasoning of ‘ongoing service evolution and service improvements’. Residents have not witnessed any of these improvements so far. There are no plans even to test the market, let alone a full tender, yet the Conservatives say they are in favour of using competition to drive down costs to the public.

“Being a leading critic of the poor performance of Ringway and the subcontractors week in week out has resulted in some improvements but things are still not right after six years – one has to question if this extension is the right choice. There still has to be a massive improvement in efficiency, communication and service delivery before the county council should be looking at simply handing a Ringway a new contract. It seems that the Conservatives are in denial about the failings of the highways contract.

“The Liberal Democrats are not convinced that this decision will deliver the best deal for Hertfordshire’s residents, nor that it is a wise way to spend over £30 million of council taxpayers’ money each year.”

Cheshunt Lakeside (Delamare Road) Development: Broxlibdems Making sure the development works for local people

For anyone who may not be aware, now that Tesco has relocated its headquarters from Delamare Road, the buildings along the road are effectively empty. A developer, Inland homes, has recently put forward proposals for the road’s redevelopment.

A public consultation was recently held and the Broxbourne Liberal Democrats visited it to listen to members of the public and the developers.

Ariel View of the Proposal

 

Whilst the Broxbourne Liberal Democrats broadly support the redevelopment of the site, we have several concerns about the current proposal, in broad terms these are:

Inadequate parking provision for residents of the new homes.
The developer is proposing one parking space for every home, in other parts of our borough where houses and flats have only one parking space roads are often clogged and residents are unable to park near their own homes.

Concerns surrounding congestion.
The new development would do very little to improve the traffic flow in the area, the borough is already struggling with traffic levels and low spending on roads and public transport.

How many properties will be on the site.
Inland Homes plans to build around 2000 flats on the site, which we feel is far too many for the size of land available. Relating to our previous points, the more properties are built on the site, the bigger the strain will be on everything else.

The Broxbourne Lib Dems do however welcome the Inland Home’s commitment to 20% social housing and 20% shared ownership properties within the scheme.

Broxlibdems contacted the developer to put our concerns to them, and Inland homes responded (to view this response click here). Whilst we are thankful for this, we do not feel the response we received goes anyway towards allaying our concerns and as such these still stand. We await further information, as well as the formal planning application to be submitted before taking further action.

 

What do you think? Please let us know your views on the development by contacting us at contact@broxlibdems.org.uk or on twitter or Facebook at @broxlibdems to see more pictures and for further information on the proposal click here.

Help us stop the Veolia Incinerator in Hoddesdon, Environmental Agency drop in

In order for the waste management plant in Ratty’s Lane, Hoddesdon to go ahead, Veolia must obtain both planning permission from Hertfordshire County Council and an operating permit from the Environmental Agency.

As such, the Environmental Agency is holding a drop in session for residents affected by the incinerator to voice their opinions on the environmental impact of the proposal. Please feel free to visit and make your voice heard, the more residents complain, the more likely the permit will be denied.

The Drop will be held on 27th July 13.00 – 17.00 the Baptist Church Hall, Burford Street Hoddesdon EN11 8HX

Parking is on site and close by on the opposite side of Burford Street there is a public CP by the Pound Close playing fields, or alternatively parking is available at Morrisons.

Please be aware that the environmental agency will not be interested in issues such as traffic, congestion or the visual impact of the building, but will be interested in hearing views surrounding air and water pollution, from both the incinerator and the vehicles going into and out of it.

 

A Thank You from Andy and the Brox Lib Dems

Well done everyone for all of your hard work and thanks to all who voted Lib Dem! Almost 3 million of us did, and although there is still a monumental battle ahead of us, the result is not bad at all 

What a great team you are in Broxbourne, you made me feel at home even if it was brief. There was a great sense of common purpose and an even greater sense of belonging. Keep going!

Wishing you all the very best

Andy

A message from the Broxbourne Lib Dem team

Locally getting Liberal Democrat representation at all levels is still an uphill climb, but nationally the sun is peeping from behind the clouds. There was a 50% increase in seats and it was incredibly close in another 4, (in one case there was only 2 votes in it!) it is really frustrating to be just missing a 75% increase. Now, however, we have a more diverse range of MPs across age, experience and gender.

 

Our vote share also means we are now 3rd highest behind the Tories and Labour. We have double the vote share of the SNP yet they have 35 MPs and we only 12! With this in mind please register on Make Votes Matter for PR! By clicking here and filling in the details.

Thank you once again to all, for your time, dedication and votes,

The Brox Lib Dems