Lib Dems launch local manifesto

For text click here: Manifesto 2015

The Liberal Democrats in St Albans have today launched their manifesto for the District Council elections in St Albans which take place at the same time as the General Election on 7 May.

The manifesto, entitled ‘Time for a New Approach’, contains details of the Party’s programme for the local council including:

  • a commitment to local travel plans, increased cycle facilities and the transition streets movement
  • a reversal of some of the key car parking charge increases imposed by the Conservatives
  • a commitment to make the district business friendly
  • a plan to give local people a much greater say over local facilities such as play areas
  • an increase in affordable homes while protecting the green belt.

Commenting today, group leader Chris White said: ‘It is important for the district to focus back on the core issues.

‘The Conservatives have lost interest in the city centre as a key part of the economy, being content to drive shoppers away from St Peter’s Street to out of town shopping centres. Labour likewise are actively encouraging people to desert the high street. We are the only Party locally which is standing up for those who still would prefer to come to central St Albans.

‘But the key issue is the environment. We need to green the entire district – and this means providing better cycle facilities as well supporting the transition streets movement as a way of reducing our collective carbon footprint.’

Chris added: ‘It’s also important that we have an administration which stands up for the area. The local Conservatives have just rolled over in front of their masters at county hall, taking no interest in the Conservative decisions to cut household waste sites, cut bus services and cut the quality of pavement and highway maintenance.

‘We will offer a much more robust response to the constant attack on the health and appearance of the district.’

Garden Fields JMI to be expanded

Notice from the county council

Hertfordshire County Council has given the green light for plans to extend and refurbish a primary school in St Albans.

Garden Fields JMI School will expand from two forms of entry to three forms of entry.

Permission was granted by the council’s development control committee to build three new classrooms, a break-out space, toilets and additional staff parking.

Catherine Street to be closed on Sunday 3 May

Temporary Closing of A4147 Catherine Street, St Albans

NOTICE is given that the Hertfordshire County Council intend to make an Order under Section 14[1] of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, to prohibit all traffic from using that length of A4147 Catherine Street, St Albans from its junction with Adelaide Street south eastwards to its junction with Drovers Way, a distance of approximately 90 metres, except for access.

The purpose of the Order is to enable gas maintenance works to take place.

The section of road will be closed between the hours of 8.00am and 6.00pm on Sunday 3 May 2015, when signs are in place. An alternative signed route will be provided for traffic whilst the road closure is in place.

Lib Dems welcome news that Buongiorno Italia has been reprieved 

Lib Dems Chris White and Sandy Walkington have this morning expressed jubilation that the application to turn part of Buongiorno Italia into a residential unit has been turned down.

Chris, who is county councillor for the area, and who called the matter into committee, said: ‘I am glad that common sense prevailed. We cannot afford to lose facilities of this quality.’

Sandy added: ‘Hundreds of people were galvanised to support this brilliant shop. It shows that people power can work, I am glad so relieved that the majority of councillors on the Committee listened to their concerns.’

Ringway slammed in county council meeting

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that failing county council contractor Ringway get a grip on the number of non-working street lights within six weeks – or be sacked.

Lib Dem Leader Stephen Giles-Medhurst, who proposed the motion critical of the county’s street lighting performance, said: ‘The levels of failure are now so high that members are spending more and more time dealing with lighting problems, having to apologise on behalf of the county council. It should not be like this.

‘Nor should we have to propose a full council motion to get action.

‘If Ringway have not fixed the problem within six weeks, the county council should be looking for a new provider.’

St Albans Lib Dem councillor Chris White was one of a number of councillors who highlighted key problems in his division: ‘A series of lights in Drover’s Way, central St Albans, have been out since December 2013 and I have just been given excuses or false reports.’

Sandy Walkington added: ‘There are numerous lights out on King Harry Lane in St Albans – one of the most heavily trafficked roads in the county. The contract says that Ringway has to keep 98% of lights working – but this is a county average, allowing Ringway to get away with poor performance.’

The motion was agreed unanimously.

New map of local cycling routes available

St Albans City and District Council has just published the updated map online at http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/sports_physical_activity/cycling/. Free printed copies of the map are also available from the St Albans Tourist and Information Centre, Parish Councils and local libraries. Members of the St Albans Cycle Campaign provided the Council with assistance to update the map.

Chris demands that Eurovia be banned from county’s roads

Chris at county hall today has demanded that Eurovia be banned from receiving any further work from the county council.

Chris said: ‘They failed in Grosvenor Road, Burnham Road and Clifton Street – in each case not informing residents of works or changes to works nor indeed local councillors.

‘I was assured that they would not bother us again and so was astonished to see that they were given the Green Ring works in St Albans – which they proceeded to turn into a fiasco in Hatfield Road and Lemsford Road, again failing to inform me or local residents, or indeed arranging for temporary pedestrian facilities.’

Advance notice of highways maintenance works

Temporary Closing and Temporary Waiting Restrictions in Various Roads in St Albans, Sandridge, Bricket Wood, Redbourn and Harpenden (Extract)

NOTICE is given that the Hertfordshire County Council intend to make an Order under Section 14[1] of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, to prohibit all traffic from using the following lengths of roads, except for access and to prohibit all vehicles from waiting at any time on both sides of these lengths of roads whilst works are in progress:-

  1. that length of B691 Stanhope Road, St Albans from its junction with Camp Road south westwards to its junction with B691 Grimston Road, a distance of approximately 276 metres.
  1. that length of Market Place, St Albans from its junction with Spencer Street south westwards to its junction with A5183 High Street, a distance of approximately 168 metres.
  1. that length of Upper Dagnall Street, St Albans from its junction with Market Place north westwards to its junction with Cross Street, a distance of approximately 60 metres.
  1. that length of Paxton Road, St Albans from its junction with Watsons Walk south eastwards to its junction with Lower Paxton Road, a distance of approximately 160 metres.
  1. that length of Lower Paxton Road, St Albans from its junction with Paxton Road north eastwards and south westwards for its entire length.

The purpose of the Order is to enable highway maintenance works to take place.

The sections of roads will each be closed and the temporary waiting restrictions will be in place for up to 7 days during the period 20 April 2015 and 20 October 2015, when signs are in place. Alternative signed routes will be provided for traffic whilst the road closures are in place.

Letter from Sandy Walkington about St Albans City hospital

Some of you will have received a letter from me expressing concern about the long-term future of the St Albans Hospital site once the current review of West Hertfordshire health services is completed after the General Election.

I met with the Chief Executive of the Trust earlier this week.  We talked about the future of the Waverley Road site.   We now have today’s very encouraging news that the West Hertfordshire Trust is making a £1 million investment in the site to upgrade the existing day surgery unit.

But we are still waiting for the outcome of the overall West Hertfordshire review.  I will press for the Minor Injuries Unit to be upgraded to an Urgent Care Centre, just as they have in Hemel and Welwyn Garden.

I also want to see as many outpatient clinics and day surgery services as possible located at St Albans so that local residents avoid the trek to Watford or Hemel.  Past history has too often seen St Albans hospital land being the first to be sold off, potentially limiting what can be delivered locally in the future.

The people conducting the review need to see tangible evidence that our city and district are four-square behind our hospital.  That is why we have launched a petition to support the hospital – please sign it at http://goo.gl/g3boMu

Sign the railfreight petition!

The massive Helioslough lorry terminal could now go ahead thanks to the decision by Eric Pickles to support it and the failure of the recent legal challenge by St Albans Council. Now it is all down to Hertfordshire County Council and whether it decides to sell the land.

Please sign the petition asking them not to do that here and get all your friends and neighbours to do so too.

This petition has been tabled by St Stephen parish councillor Jay Baillie. It points out that Hertfordshire County Council’s prime duty is to look out for the interests of Hertfordshire residents.   Not to sell this Green Belt land is in the best interests not just of local people but of all residents in Hertfordshire, both now and for generations to come, given the important Green Belt role it plays in protecting local communities from coalescence.