Secret plans exposed over waste sites

Secret plans to save over £1 million have finally been exposed by the Liberal Democrats on Hertfordshire County Council.  Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Stephen Giles-Medhurst, has now forced the county to make public that their plan to close two household waste sites and cut opening hours at others, including closing them for two days a week, will cut the budget not by the £750,000 reported to councillors back in early July but over £1m.

The Council had wanted this “saving” to be kept confidential despite having already awarded a contract to Amey Cespa.

Stephen said: “We always knew the supposed ‘consultation’ exercise and the planned closures were nothing to do with improving services for local residents.

“Finally we have the truth. This is a £1 million pound cut in services.

“The County Council consultation is a fraud. I wonder how many leading Tories knew that the saving was far more than was being let on and that both Elstree and Hoddesdon could be kept open and they could still save £750,000?

“This whole exercise stinks. They should be looking at each waste site to see what the needs of residents are. Why cut the opening hours at Waterdale in Watford by 44% when it is the most used site both with tonnage and visitors?

“Whilst savings could and need to be made, the Tory blanket cut across all opening hours, and the closure of two sites with no background as to usage and no local input, is just like the bus cuts, a ‘do not care’ approach.

 Chris backs AIDS charity

Thanks to funding from their local county councillor, a charity will be able to offer support and counselling for sufferers of HIV and AIDS.

County Councillor Chris White (St Albans Central Division) has allocated £1,500 from his locality budget to The Crescent for supporting and counselling people living with HIV and AIDS.

Cllr Chris White said: “I am always happy to continue supporting the excellent work that Crescent does in St Albans and the surrounding areas in supporting those with HIV and AIDS.”

Crossrail news is good news for Hertfordshire Business

Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats have welcomed the news that an extension to Crossrail is being considered which would mean it served Tring, Hemel Hempstead, Watford Junction and Berkhamsted.
Stephen Giles-Medhurst, the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Hertfordshire County Council commented, “This will help support jobs and businesses in the County, as well well as making travel to and from London significantly faster for many who live in the west of the County.”
It is thought that the new services would run into Canary Wharf, Liverpool Street and Bond Street, reducing overcrowding at Euston, and making onward travel easier for those getting tube lines towards the south of the capital.

 

Bus cuts to include bank holidays

Hertfordshire County Council’s plans to cut bus services on 39 routes after 6.30pm each evening and on Sundays has now been exposed to also include Bank Holidays.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader County Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst has found this out by questioning officers.

“Yet again we have had to drag out of the ruling Conservatives what they are really planning: first they say the cuts will save £700,000, then after Lib Dem questioning it’s found it is a £887,000 cut! They told us it would ‘only’ affect 200,000 passenger trips; then we exposed it was 887,000 passenger trips. Now we are told that Sunday services also includes ‘all bank holidays’.  So that is at least another five days a year with no buses.

“I am outraged about the dishonest way the Conservatives have pushed ahead with this. They will not even call their consultation ‘bus cuts or reducing services’ instead calling it ‘more efficient bus service’. Since when has stopping 807,000 passenger trips been that? The consultation says nothing about Bank Holiday services being cut: it’s a farce!

“The Conservatives  are claiming to consult but are hiding the real facts.  The consultation says that the amount of support the County Council pays per passenger journey ranges from 10p to over £9 per individual journey. Yet on none of the routes being cut is the subsidy that high - the highest it is £4.19 and the lowest is 8 pence.  They are misleading the public and hiding the truth.” 

Stephen has called on the council to suspend the consultation and put the cuts on hold so that the true impact on the public can be assessed.

“The Tories have lost a grip on this and need to amend their mistakes. We do not support these bus cuts and I know the public do not either,” said Stephen Giles-Medhurst.

Open letter about bus cuts

39 bus routes across Hertforshire are all under threat from the Conservative-run county council.

The Conservatives have forced through a flawed consultation on bus cuts on County supported routes, wanting to cut buses after 6.30pm every day and cut all routes on Sundays.

The County consultation on this is at https://consult.hertsdirect.org/bus-services/, but it provides no real options and also implies that some of these bus routes are subsidised to the cost of £9 a journey which is not true.

When this was debated by the Council the Tories said these blanket cuts would save £700,000. Only after questioning was it revealed that the cut was £887,000. They then said it only affected 200,000 passenger journeys. Now, again after questioning, this the true figure of over £809,000, a four-fold increase has been dug out. The highest subsidy of any of the routes is £4.19 not the £9 as claimed.

The Conservatives have already cut bus support by £800,000, just over 2 years ago. If these cuts go ahead that’s another £800,000, mounting to over a 36% cut in just three years. Yet they refuse to cut the press and publicity budget by this amount and gleefully spend over £5m on securing empty buildings they will not sell, and spend over £10m on trying to get a incinerator built in Hatfield – that money was wasted as its been rejected!

It seems cutting bus services for the less well off and those unable to drive due to health problems, thus forcing people to stay indoors at night and on a Sunday is an easy choice for them. That’s why Liberal Democrats have opposed these blanket cuts  and  tried to get this flawed consultation stopped – but we were outvoted. So now we have launched a county-wide petition that you can sign at http://signme.org.uk/985.

Please sign this petition and also say so no on the web consultation. If you are not a bus user it’s still important. Just think if everyone or even just half who used this buses diverted to a private car or taxi what the effect of 800,000 extra such trips would be on traffic at night and weekends!

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Etna Road water mains problem

 

 Note received from county council

An inspection was carried out on Friday 18/7/14 and found Affinity Water had an emmergency road closure in place and works already in progress to repair a water leak, the road closure being required due to the position on the excavation being in the centre of the carriageway. Affinity Water was contacted by phone to highlight the site and request that the reinstatement and reopening of the street was given priority, as other streets in the vicinity already had closures in place.

It was also highlighted that heavy scarring of the carriageway caused during the works would need to be attended to. A follow up inspection has since been carried out and Affinity Water have been issued with defects relating to the heavy scarring still remaining on the carriageway and a depression with adjacent cracking around the new reinstatement. This defect will now be monitored and inspected under NRSWA.

12% fall in St Albans ‘footfall’ over past year

The Liberal Democrats have expressed concerns about the 12% in ‘footfall’ between 2013 and 2014.

Lib Dem Group Leader Chris White said: ‘In July 2013 there were 26690 visits to our shops. The equivalent count in July 2014 was 23540.

‘This means that there has been a 12% fall in trade in a single year – at a time when the economy in this part of the world is recovering.

‘It is quite clear that the council’s new parking regime is responsible for this very significant drop. The Administration now needs to respond to the clear wish of the council and revise this policy – and not revisit the cheap point scoring they attempted at last week’s council meeting.’

TORIES ACCUSED OF MISLEADING RESIDENTS OVER BUS CUTS AS NEW FIGURES SHOW OVER 800,000 BUS JOURNEYS COULD BE CUT

Hertfordshire’s ruling Conservatives have been accused of misleading residents over plans to reduce bus services in the evenings and at weekends.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader, and Highways Spokesperson, Stephen Giles-Medhurst has found out that instead of the 200,000 passenger journeys being cut due to the Tories suggested cuts to evening and Sunday services, the real figure will actually be closer to 809,000 passenger journeys.

Stephen said, “When the proposal first come out I asked for details of who would be affected by what route and what the county subsides were. I have had to chase several times for this and now after the Consultation process has started, with in my mind flawed data, the Council has had to admit that the number of people affected by this cut is 4 times as many as theyfirst told us, with some 809,00 journeys actually facing the cut. This is scandalous, the Tories run the council and they should be checking what they are proposing, tens of thousands of residents will be affected and no longer able to use buses if these cuts go ahead. Read more »

St Stephen’s Hill closed from Monday

Edited note from the county council

The resurfacing scheme will take place between 8pm and 5am, using a full road closure between the junctions with Watling Street and Griffiths Way. It is expected that it will be completed in five nights.

Signed alternative routes will be in place. Vehicle access to properties during the working hours will be maintained and controlled by gatemen at each end of the closure but access will only be allowed when it is safe to do so.

The contractor aims to complete the noisiest operations such as removing the old road and jack hammering by midnight to reduce the disturbance to nearby residential properties. 

The work is weather dependent and from time to time unforeseen circumstances can arise and work may continue outside the advertised hours.

Any changes to the proposed start date, duration or working hours will be announced on the information boards on site and will be available at www.hertsdirect.org/roadworks

Bus service routes may be affected by these works – for details of any changes you can visit www.intalink.org.uk – and look in the ‘service disruptions’ section.

General road faults like potholes or faulty streetlights can be reported at www.hertsdirect.org/highwayfaults

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