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.

 

#SaveOurDemocracy

On Saturday 24th June #SaveOurDemocracy are holding a national demonstration and action summit to demand and plan for the end of our undemocratic voting system.

You can sign up on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1740200812687579/

Or go to their website: https://www.makevotesmatter.org.uk/local-meetings/ge2017-demo 

All of us should have a vote that counts, one where seats in parliament match the votes that we cast – now and in every future British General Election. The UK is one of the minority of developed democracies that are routinely governed by a Parliament that ignores the choices made by their voters.

Thank you as always for your support!

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

A message from Andy Graham and the Brox Lib Dems on London

Keep our minds clear of fear, as terrorists and others are using this fear to dampen our spirits and infect our minds with hate and despair. Instead do one good deed however small for others each day: say good morning, buy the big issue,donate to a charity and we will show our true spirit full of hope. We can then say we acting together like this are indeed a great nation!

Our thoughts and feelings are at one with those in London, Manchester and elsewhere across the world

A Black Ribbon in commemoration of those who lost their lives in the terrorist attack in London on Saturday the 3rd of June 2017

Andy Graham, Supporting the rights of those with Disabilities in the face of Tory cuts

Andy Graham, our candidate for the general election 2017 passionately supports the rights of those with disabilities and the social care system that supports them, and other vulnerable people. The conservatives plan to drastically reduce funding available to those in need and even dismiss their concerns as “a childish wish list” when confronted.

Disabled people should not have to live in undignified ways or move to other parts of the UK where devolved administrations provide more.

Andy Graham has signed the Leonard Cheshire petition to make sure all MP’s support Disabled rights and has vowed to fight for their rights, should he be elected on the 8th of June. If you would like to sign it, please click here

Scrapping free school lunches would waste £2,474,003 spent upgrading kitchens in Hertfordshire

Plans by Theresa May to axe free school lunches would waste the £2,474,003 invested in Hertfordshire to upgrade school kitchens, according to the Liberal Democrats.

It comes after figures revealed 34,532 children in Hertfordshire are set to lose out under the Conservative proposals.

When in government, the Liberal Democrats invested £160m upgrading school kitchen facilities to enable them to prepare hot lunches, including almost £2.5m in Herts.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Broxbourne commented:

“The Liberal Democrats in government invested £160m to give schools the kitchens they needed to ensure that no infant would go hungry, including £2.5m in Hertfordshire.

“This policy was extremely successful and guaranteed that local children received at least two of their five a day in their school lunch.

“But now Theresa May is threatening to throw that money down the drain.

“A Conservative measure designed to save money will waste money. Not only is it heartless, it is bad economics.

“I challenge my Conservative opponent to say whether, if elected, he would vote against their own party to ensure that children in Broxbourne receive a decent lunch.

“The Liberal Democrats will protect free school lunches for infants and ensure all primary school children can get a healthy, free lunch a day.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

The government announced £150 million of funding to upgrade school facilities in 2015 (link)

An additional £10 million of funding was announced in 2015 to support the schools which most needed it (link)

The Liberal Democrats introduced free school meals when in government and have committed in their manifesto to extend free school meals to all primary school pupils (link, p.30)

The Broxbourne Liberal Democrats on Town Centres and Planning

Town Centre Regeneration
Waltham Cross town centre has long been neglected by the Conservatives in the borough. Each plan that has been created to improve the area has involved adding plants, trees and flowers and repaving certain areas, but have never dealt with underlying problems facing the area. Whilst improving the town centre visually is very important to make it a more pleasant place to spend time, residents of Waltham Cross deserve much more than window dressing.

The town centre lacks affordable parking, despite having a huge, barely used multi-storey car park and the parking charges are not redeemable in the town’s anchor shops such as Sainsbury’s. There are many unused units in the town which could provide a huge opportunity to create more jobs in Waltham Cross whilst making it a nicer place to shop, eat and live. The Liberal Democrats want to make changes to the town centre that benefit all. Local residents, market stall holders, small businesses and our long time anchors, like Fishpools, all deserve better.

Waltham Cross Town Centre, Image Courtesy of Herts Mercury

Local Planning
The Conservatives in Broxbourne have long treated the planning system locally as a way of allowing big developers to snatch up large plots of land and build small and inadequate homes. The Broxbourne Liberal democrats recognise the need for more housing in the borough, particularly as our young people are finding it increasingly difficult to live in the area they have grown up in, but new development must provide well designed, visually appealing homes that are fit for today. The Liberal Democrats in Broxbourne would also ensure that new development is sustainable, our local infrastructure such as roads, schools, hospitals and parks must be well maintained, fit for purpose and be able to keep up with changes in the built environment.

The Broxbourne Liberal Democrats also support making changes to local planning rules to allow home-owners to invest in their homes, community and future.