The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.
Chris White condemns May's 'mission creep'
Lib Dem Police and Crime Commissioner candidate Chris White has condemned the Home Secretary's proposals in a speech yesterday to expand the role of Police and Crime Commissioners. Chris said: 'The Government is already thinking of giving PCCs the control of fire authorities on the time-honoured principle of "if it's not broke, then fix it anyway".
'But yesterday's speech by Theresa May beggars belief. The Home Secretary has apparently been working with the Justice Secretary to look at the criminal justice system, and will bring forward proposals for PCCs to have a role in youth justice, probation and court services.
'She also outlined proposals to bring encourage PCCs to create free free schools, with the objective of diverting youngsters from a life of crime.
'So the role of PCCs - a post not loved or trusted in the first place given the 14.5% who turned out in the first elections - is to be vastly expanded to take on roles that should either never have been taken away from local authorities or should have been handed over to them in the first place.
'The prospects for councillors, diversity and local government continue under thisGovernment to be chilling. What next will be handed over to PCCs? Ambulances? Social care?'
At last, the result has been announced regarding the appeals over the Planning Applications for the Herts and Essex and Bishop's Stortford High Schools to move to green belt land at Whittington Way.
The local Liberal Democrats are delighted with the recent decision on the move of the two schools made by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP. He has agreed with the inspector and upheld the refusal of East Herts Council to grant planning permission for five out of the six related applications (he allowed the Jobbers Wood application) - which torpedoes the whole idea of the schools moving to green belt land.
By Nik Alatortsev, (Herts Lib Dems' Press Officer)
Herts County Council have published an Annual Report for last year, but opposition Liberal Democrat councillors have attacked it as 'one-sided' and 'biased', only reporting good news and omitting the bad.
It is supposed to be impartial.
Resources spokesman Cllr Malcolm Cowan (Handside and Peartree) said 'We have pointed out several errors and the failure to fully report all relevant news about the county council. But the ruling Conservatives have decided instead to ignore our comments and issue a'rose - tinted' and one-sided report at the taxpayers' expense.
The Lib Dem Opposition Group on Herts County Council has slammed the Conservative-controlled Council's plans to abolish the regular Highway panel meetings as "an erosion of local people's say on a key issue - the way their roads are maintained".
Under plans put forward by the Conservatives, which will be considered by the County Council's Highways and Transport meeting on July 3rd, the current Highways Joint Member Panels system is set to be scrapped. These Panels meet regularly and consist of local County Councillors and representatives of the Borough or District Council for each of Hertfordshire's ten Councils areas. Local councillors discuss and decide highways issues and are able to receive petitions from local residents.
By Mione Goldspink in Bishop's Stortford 'Flyer' - May 2012
Several controversial topics have cropped up this month.
The proposed new pedestrian bridge over the railway line at Johnson's Crossing is provoking very strong feelings - some people feel it to be an essential safety measure, whilst others think that it would be a huge monstrosity, and that it is not really necessary. They feel that the lights, gates and sirens which have already been introduced are quite satisfactory. It is interesting to note that many people who are against the bridge appear to be the ones who live nearest to the line and who actually use the crossing as it is. It is interesting also, that Network Rail has not consulted with local people to find out their views, and has not been granted planning permission yet, although work has already started to prepare the site. Personally, I would like to see a bridge to keep people safe, but would like to see a smaller version of the one proposed, which would not be such an eyesore.
The elections on May 5th were, to say the least, disappointing for the Lib Dems in Bishop's Stortford.
At District level, Bishop's Stortford has thirteen seats on the Council. The LibDems now have only one of those, held by Cllr Mike Wood who retained his seat in All Saints Ward. However, we sadly lost Mione Goldspink after 20 years representing the people of Stortford. Mione lost her seat in Central Ward as did Bob Taylor. In All Saints Ward we also lost the seat vacated by Andy Graham, who did not seek re-election after 16 years.
Re :-- Liberal Democrat influence over the NHS 'Reform' Bill,
As Liberal Democrats, we are delighted that the Government has agreed to make significant and major changes to the proposed NHS 'Reform' Bill. This is due in no small measure to pressure exerted by the Liberal Democrats which, in association with concerns expressed by the medical profession, caused the Government to pause and to consult.
The Bishop's Stortford High School and the Herts & Essex High School have appealed against the planning decisions by the East Herts Council. The Council refused the planning applications, which involved the moving of the two schools to green belt land at Whittington Way and building over 700 houses across the town on the vacated sites, on the Beldams Lane Playing Field and on land at Patmore Close.
The appeal will be heard at a Public Enquiry, which will begin on September 20th and run for about three weeks.
The Civic Federation, local Residents' Associations, Thorley Parish and other community groups in the town plan to contest the appeal, which is being funded by Hertfordshire County Council using tax-payers' money.
The local branch of the Liberal Democrats is also supporting The Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation's fight against the schools' move.
However, funds are needed to engage legal counsel to ensure that Bishop's Stortford Communities are professionally represented at the enquiry. Please help the Civic Federation to fight the 'Stop Schools' Move' appeal by donating online on the Civic Fedration's website at http:/www.stortfordcf.org.uk or by sending your contribution to:
'CAUSE' c/o 5 Maple Avenue, Bishop's Stortford, Herts. CM23 2RP
Your support would be appreciated and any donation gratefully received.
The LibDems are pleased that the Town Council has managed to reduce its share of the council tax for 2011 - 12 and supported the reduction.
However it could have been reduced still further had a suggestion by Cllr. Mike Wood been taken up by the council.
The council tax required for the Town Council now amounts to just over £1m and, by law, it has to keep reserves of half of the tax requirement. At the moment, reserves are well above this level, with the money just sitting in the bank.
Six years after Cllrs. Mike Wood, Andy Graham and Les Pinnell (now ex-councillor) first requested that the flats in Plaw Hatch Close be redeveloped it has now happened. The flats have been demolished and eighteen new homes, for people on the housing register, will replace them.
Following the launch of the Government's consultation on the future of the Public Forest Estate on January 27th, Bishops Stortford Lib Dems urged local people to get involved and express their opinions.
The plans could see a significant proportion of the Forestry Commission's woodlands transferred to the management or ownership of charities and community groups.