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East of England Liberal Democrats

  • The flags of EU countries flying.
    Article: Feb 18, 2018
    By Tom Brake

    A survey by Kantar Public, published today (Sunday, 18 February), has found that 56% of the public judge the Conservatives' handling of Berexit as poor or very poor.

    Whether people are for or against Brexit, there is clearly growing anger that the Conservatives are badly mishandling negotiations.

    Warring factions in the Conservative Party mean the prospect of sensible negotiations has long since disappeared.

    This is why there is growing support for the Liberal Democrat policy of a vote on the terms of the deal, with the option of an exit from Brexit.

  • The union flag flying next to the EU flag.
    Article: Feb 17, 2018

    Everything Theresa May said in this speech illustrated that being in the EU is the best way of securing our security objectives.

    This was an opportunity for her to show some pragmatism.

    She could have shown willingness to compromise on the European Court of Justice so as to break the logjam on the European Arrest Warrant and to make sure we have access to Europol's information.

  • County Cllr Mike Mackrory
    Article: Feb 17, 2018

    Essex County Council this week turned down a bid from the opposition Party (Liberal Democrats) that would have helped reduce "bed blocking", supported more young people and addressed residents' concerns about dangerous pavements.

    At the annual budget meeting on Tuesday 13th February, Conservative-run Essex County Council agreed to cut £59 million from the budget and raise council tax by 5%.

  • Tom Brake MP campaigning for a plastic bag charge in 2012
    Article: Feb 16, 2018

    The world's oceans are slowly turning into a plastic soup.

    Unless we take action, plastic waste will continue to pollute our oceans with devastating effect.

    We have all heard the reports of seabirds strangled by 6-pack rings and whales washing up with guts full of plastic, but did you know that people who eat seafood swallow around 11,000 plastic particles a year?

  • Article: Feb 16, 2018

    Des Fulcher, one of two District Councillors for South Norfolk Council's Stratton ward, has joined the Liberal Democrat Group at the Council.

    Des had been elected as a Conservative in 2015, but resigned from the Conservatives in 2017, since when he had been an Independent.

    Stratton ward comprises Long Stratton and the parishes of Tharston, Hapton and Wacton.

  • A pile of Liberal Democrat posters. Window posters mind. Not the really good ones.
    Article: Feb 16, 2018

    Last night, in a bumper crop of by-elections the Liberal Democrats made a hat-trick of gains and huge increases in the vote in a brace of others:

  • New Road Bridge
    Article: Feb 16, 2018

    Lockfield, off New Road, Northchurch is being considered for development after 2031, though this could be earlier. At the moment it is railway land and provides access to the track from a public road. As such it is infrequently used and generates very little traffic.

    In the left hand picture you can see Lara Pringle discussing the matter with her Lib Dem colleague, Tring County Councillor, Nick Hollinghurst. They both agreed that residential development would result in significantly more traffic to and from the site - and on a daily basis.

    Lara explained to Nick that there are huge traffic issues in Northchurch in general, with New Road now taking far more traffic than ever before. The narrow bridge acts as a chicane but does not always slow the traffic down. Sometimes traffic actually speeds up to cross the bridge before someone else.

    Lara feels that New Road and the High Street are both part of the same problem.

    She said,"I very much support the group campaigning for 20 mph speed restrictions.

    However, but I feel it should include New Road and start near the junction with Bridgewater Hill."

    She continued, "Personally I feel that the site is completely unsuitable for housing. I certainly wouldn't want to live so close to a high speed rail line. However the government has drastically reduced planning restrictions recently and so it is now much easier to get permission to build on Previously Used Land - which Lockfield clearly is.

    But if Dacorum Borough Council - which is our local Planning Authority - does ever grant permission, then I would look to the developer to make a significant contribution towards road safety in Northchurch - a mini roundabout at the site entrance, traffic calming on New Road and the High Street and speed tables at each of the crossing points."

    She concluded, "But whatever is decided we can't wait till 2031 for our 20 mph zone in Northchurch!"

  • children crossing
    Article: Feb 15, 2018

    Proposals to reduce eligibility for free school transport in Suffolk will adversely affect students 5-18 - and their families. Have your say!

    +++++The proposed changes have the potential to bring hardship - especially in rural areas: loss of choice; a postcode lottery for places and courses; potentially the splitting of siblings between schools. It will also put a lot more cars on the roads round our schools - with predictable effects on speed, safety, air-quality, and quality of life." says Lib Dem County Councillor for Woodbridge, Caroline Page.

  • Blocked Gulleys
    Article: Feb 14, 2018

    Local Authority Trading Companies - or LATCos in the jargon - are not new. They are authorised under the 2003 Local Government Act.

    Perhaps it's time to think about a LATCo to handle basic highway maintenance in our county?

    For a long time now, Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) has outsourced most of its highway maintenance and design work under long term contracts. The current contract with Ringway has been in place since 2012 and is worth £182 million.

    However, these contracts need more checking and management than HCC seems able to carry out. The public's view certainly is that the results for this contract - like the one before it - always fail to meet their expectations.

    Nevertheless, despite poor contract management HCC still clawed back £1.2 million for proven poor workmanship over the last 5 years - and further deductions are pending.

    You might think that they may have learned the lesson at the end of the first 5 years - but no! The Tory councillors decided to extend the contract for another 5 years.

    There appears to be have been no market testing. The Tories say that results are getting better.

    This could be true if fewer penalties really does mean performance is improving, but Lib Dems say, "This is not the experience of residents. It could just mean Ringway are getting better at gaming their targets - or even just that HCC is catching them out less! These contracts are working no better in other parts of the country. Completely new arrangements should be explored."

    "Southampton is said to be setting up a Local Authority Trading Company (LATCo) to run waste collection and other public services and savings could be reinvested into council services."

    "Some highway work is already directly contracted and this works much better. Why not a LATCo like Southampton, but for routine highway repair and maintenance? It could hardly be worse than what we have at the moment - and it could be a lot cheaper!"

  • Outline of Northern Ireland on a map.
    Article: Feb 14, 2018

    Talks have today collapsed in Stormont.

    British taxpayers have coughed up £1 billion to placate the DUP and keep them on the Government's side during this disastrous parliament. What are we getting for it? Just intransigence.

    The British government are heading for a very dangerous situation in Ireland.