St Albans Liberal Democrats attack Tory council’s ‘litany of failures’

Following last week’s Full Council meeting, St Albans Liberal Democrats have attacked the Conservative run council for a series of recent failures and poor financial management.  This follows a disastrous report on the levels of financial risk the council has exposed itself too, persistent ducking of questions about how the council went about organising the Meraki festival, and the news that the new museum is expected to make a loss, not a profit in its first year.

In January the council’s Audit Committee heard how the Council has no Risk Management Policy and how the council’s procedures do not meet best practice. The Liberal Democrat Council Group tabled a motion at last week’s Full Council meeting designed to address the issues highlighted by the Audit report, but this was irresponsibly voted down by the Conservatives.

This is after a confidential report, mistakenly published on the Council’s website earlier this month, revealed that the new Museum and Gallery is expected to make a £108,000 loss in its first year. The report showed that despite projecting that the exciting new project would make money, the Conservative administration have yet again failed to properly consider risk and budgets.

Local people are left questioning the ability of the Conservative administration to budget properly, following the revelations at the Audit Committee, and after the Tories had claimed that the new museum was expected to make money, not lose it.

Chris White, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “It’s astonishing that the Conservatives have only taken action on financial risk when pushed by us. This is the latest in a litany of failures that the current administration has presided over, and it’s the residents of our district that suffer as a consequence.

“St Albans deserves a better and more responsible council than this. We need a council that we can trust to spend wisely, not make stupid mistakes, and be honest with residents. The Liberal Democrats are ready to step up and succeed where the Tories have failed. “

Councillor Jacqui Taylor said: “The news about the Museum was the latest in a line of gaffes from the Conservative council, who have risked the reputation of our great city by failing to properly manage initiatives like Meraki Festival and Pub in the Park. When we ask questions of the administration, they just try and duck taking responsibility. We deserve to know the truth.”

Allotment fees – victory so far over proposals for massive rises

In a victory for the Liberal Democrats and allotment holders the ruling Conservatives have been forced to shelve their plans to increase allotment fees by 400%.

‘Liberal Democrat councillors and allotment holders were astounded by the attempt by the Conservative council to balance the books on the back of City Centre allotment holders,” noted Clarence councillor Gerard McHale. (more…)

Have your say on Detailed Local Plan

Note from the District Council

The Council is inviting representations on its Detailed Local Plan (DLP), which
adds detail to the Strategic Local Plan (SLP) using policy text and a Policies
Map. The DLP covers topics such as specifying Green Belt boundaries, the design
and layout of new development and protecting the environment and residential

The consultation period runs for six weeks between Wednesday 9 November 2016 and Wednesday 21 December 2016. Full information on the Detailed Local Plan process and the current consultation can be found at

How do I make a representation?


Time for St Albans council to get act together on street cleaning

Liberal Democrats are calling on the Conservative controlled District Council to improve the standard of street cleaning in the District.

“Last week I asked the Conservative administration to identify measures to improve the street cleaning in the city. However, I was shocked to be told that they could see no issue with the service currently being provided,” commented Councillor Gerard McHale.

“It is clear from speaking to residents across the district that this is clearly not the case, and that parked cars, reductions of frequency and a lack of adequate notification are reducing the effectiveness of street cleaning. (more…)

Liberal Democrats call for local accountability over play areas

Liberal Democrats have called for local people and their councillors to have a much greater say across the district on how play areas are managed.

Liberal Democrat group leader Chris White said after Wednesday’s evening’s full council meeting: ‘It is clear that there is an appetite in the community to have a detailed say on how play and leisure areas are managed rather than having decisions made for them in the civic centre.

‘I am delighted that the City Neighbourhoods Committee will now be having a look at how small and effective local forums can be established for those parts of the city which currently don’t already have arrangements in place.

‘In due course, we will be seeking to spread the idea across the whole district.’

Have your say on leisure facilities

Let us hear your views on Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre and Harpenden Swimming Pool and Sports Centre by completing a short survey at:

St Albans City and District Council opened Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre in St Albans just over two years ago.

We want to find out what you think of this facility and the Council’s leisure facilities in Harpenden. The deadline for completing the survey is 5pm on Monday 23 February.

The survey will only take a few minutes to complete. It includes questions about how often you use the facilities and how satisfied you are with the mix of activities and equipment available. (more…)

Think about restaurant hygiene ratings when booking Christmas meals

Note from the district council

If you are planning a Christmas meal with work colleagues, friends or family in St Albans District check the food hygiene ratings for restaurants before you book.

St Albans City and District Council inspects local food businesses to check they comply with food safety and hygiene regulations and gives them a score.

The food hygiene ratings run from 0-5, with five representing a very good level of hygiene and a zero indicating that urgent improvement is required.

The Council is a part of the Food Standards Agency’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and puts all its ratings on the scheme’s website at: Local restaurants and food businesses are also given a Food Standards Agency green and black sticker showing their food hygiene rating to display on their windows.

You can’t tell a restaurant’s hygiene standards by how clean and tidy the staff look, or by how busy it is. It’s the things you can’t see – like germs spread by bad hygiene practices – that you need to consider when selecting a restaurant. If there is no green and black sticker in the window or you spot a low rating online, you can make an informed choice about where to book.

Nationally, 93% of food businesses are rated three or better through the Food Standards Agency’s scheme so there are plenty of eating places with good standards.

Green Ring consultation

Note from the district council

I am writing to you, as a Councillor representing Clarence Ward, to give you advance notification about additional arrangements relating to the Green Ring route project consultation.

We are proposing to invite residents and other interested parties to come along to an exhibition and consultation events on the proposed St Albans Green Ring cycling and walking route. The exhibition is being held at District Council’s offices in St Albans on Monday 16 December (noon – 5pm) and on Wednesday 18 December (4pm – 7pm). Officers from St Albans City and District Council and Hertfordshire County Council will be on hand to answer questions from members of the public.

The exhibition forms part of a current consultation that the District Council is holding for the aspects of theGreen Ring that it is delivering.  This consultation has been extended until 20 December.  The consultation documents are available on the District Council’s website:

The exhibition will give an overview of the whole project which is being delivered jointly by the two councils.

Review into traffic issues caused by school coaches


A group of councillors from St Albans City and District Council is to look into traffic issues surrounding the transportation of pupils to school by coach.

The group wants to hear from residents about any issues they have faced with coaches travelling to and from local schools in their area.

The Local Services Scrutiny Committee set up a Schools and Coaches Task and Finish Group to look into this topic following concerns raised by residents and councillors.

Chris White, Chair of the Local Services Scrutiny Committee: “Some residents and councillors are concerned about traffic congestion caused by coaches transporting children to school. The Committee felt that this is a complex topic with many issues to consider. It has set up a sub-group to explore the matter in detail with the aim of coming up with possible solutions.”

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