At yesterdays meeting of Hertfordshire County Council parents from the NHS Nascot Lawn Respite Care home presented a petition with over 14,100 signatures seeking the commitment of the Country Council to do all in its power to ensure the continuing support and care even though the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group had announced withdrawing the £600k funding from October 31st which will force the centre to close.
The motion drafted by Councillor Mark Watkin and the Liberal Democrats and presented jointly with the Labour Group is attached as is Mark’s speech supporting the motion.
Mark condemned the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group for its heartless approach, and in particular its total failure to consult with parents or the County Council before making its decision. Mark was appalled that without carrying out fresh assessment the CCG had announced that only two of the over sixty children had medical needs. In fact at this moment no fresh assessments have been carried out.
Mark commented “This decision defies understanding. These children and their families face some of the greatest challenges that life can present. The fact that they can function and support their children through all adversity is very largely due to the respite they receive from the dedicated medical staff at Nascot Lawn. To suggest that they only have social issues is an insult. These families can not function without the support of Nascot Lawn.”
Following debate, the motion was amended by the Conservative majority to remove the the attack on the underfunding of the NHS, but then was passed unanimously.
Message from the County Council:
I am writing to notify you of the forthcoming Highways Maintenance works due to take place on Sandpit Lane, St Albans.
The works are due to commence on Monday 6th March and are programmed to take approximately 10 Nights to complete. Given the likelihood of danger to the public whilst the works are being undertaken, it will be necessary to close Sandpit Lane between the junctions of B651 Sandridge Road and Lemsford Road.
The Road closure will be set up between the hours of 7pm – 5am, the highway will be clear at all other times. The final phase of the scheme will be completed using off peak Lane Closures / Stop Go Boards.
A routine safety inspection was conducted on the ramp and steps structure on 03 February. During the inspection it was noted that the current deterioration of the timber sections is such that structure is now deemed unsafe. The deterioration has accelerated since the last inspection in December. Owing to the extent of the deterioration observed it was recommended that the structure should be closed immediately on the grounds of health and safety until remedial measures are put in place
This morning officers met with Cllr Alun Davies and Clarence Ward Councillors Chris White and Ellie Hudspith at the site. As a result officers are currently obtaining price quotations to carry out repairs to sections of the steps to enable its reopening at the earliest possible convenience.
With a design for the construction of a replacement structure in steel now in place officers will also investigate the option of replacing the existing steps only (in steel) in the short term whilst options are considered for permanent solution.
A quotation will be communicated back to councillors by the end of next week so that a way forward can be agreed.
We have been trying (so far without success) to replace the ramp and steps at Clarence Park. Sadly we have been very badly let down by our contractor and our agent and this will impact on our future choices of expert. We are still trying to resolve the issue but it is proving very difficult.
The structure has for some years now been in a state of decay and has been declining. You may recall that we spent thousands of pounds stabilising it 3-4 years ago. We have recently been undertaking regular inspections in an attempt to keep open the ramp and steps for as long as possible. Paul Gallagher carried out an inspection this morning and found significant areas of concern. As a result we had to close the structure immediately. It was not therefore possible to give any advance warning.
Although we have been carrying out spot repairs we have now reached the stage where economic repair is no longer viable. Paul has estimated that between £3K and £5K will need to be spent to deal with the current problem but that will not guarantee the safety of the structure. It is also possible that these costs will increase if we uncover further areas of rot. For your information, yesterday we had a report that someone had put her foot through the bottom platform of the ramp & steps. We don’t believe she was hurt but we haven’t heard directly from her so we don’t have all the details.
As the senior officer responsible for health and safety I cannot knowingly allow an unsafe situation to exist. Therefore it will be necessary for the structure to remain closed until we find a solution, either in the short or long term.
The Liberal Democrats new party political broadcast airs tonight on BBC 1 and ITV1.
The broadcast is inspired by the classic Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day and features a couple waking up to a radio news bulletin on the morning after the European referendum. As the days pass the morning routine stays the same but the couple are greeted with different news – from the election of Donald Trump in the US and the rise in racist incidents following the referendum to warnings over the NHS winter crisis and reports of Labour backing Brexit – and worry about what is happening around the country and the world.
Tim Farron addresses the audience with a clear, unapologetic pitch to the millions of people who do not support what this government is doing, and look at Labour and don’t see an effective opposition.
And for those watching closely there’s a David Cameron gag in there too.
A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said:
“There are millions of people across the UK who are being let down by this Conservative Brexit Government and their plans for a hard, divisive Brexit. They are people who voted Leave and Remain, Labour and Conservative, and do not feel they are being represented.
“If you wake up every day with a sinking feeling about the way our country and our world is going, then we are the only party standing up for you.
“The Liberal Democrats are fighting for an open, tolerant and united Britain. We are holding this government to account on Brexit and the under-funding of the NHS. The Liberal Democrats are the real voice of opposition this country needs now Labour are left fighting amongst themselves.“
Notes to Editors
The PPB can be viewed here
Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats launched their manifesto for May’s County Elections today, setting their six key priorities to fix if they win control of the council from the Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats have promised to help reverse cuts to social care and protect key services for vulnerable people in Hertfordshire, to tackle the shocking state of the County’s roads and pavements and to deal with the crisis engulfing Hertfordshire’s NHS.
The Liberal Democrats would protect the County’s Public Health budget and seek to find a permanent solution for the future of areas three local hospitals. The Liberal Democrats will also prevent further cuts to local bus services and help bring an end to the school place chaos in the county.
Cllr Stephen Giles Medhurst, the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at County Hall said, ‘The Conservatives have run the Council for nearly two decades now without a break but simply fail to deliver on basic services. Our roads are some of the worst maintained in the country, far too little is being done to secure places for primary or secondary school children, our transport links have suffered from huge cuts while at the same time as the Conservatives spend money on wasteful propaganda. We believe it is time for a change.
‘We are clear with our six priorities that we want the Council to work for local people and deliver on key services. More and more people have been saying how they are fed with the Conservative County Council and are putting their faith in the Liberal Democrats to deliver real change at County Hall.”
Full manifesto here.
Daisy Cooper with Cllr Ellie Hudspith
The results of yesterday’s by-election are set out below:
Green Party 98
Ellie Hudspith – Liberal Democrat 916 ELECTED
Chris White said: ‘I am delighted to welcome Ellie to the team. She has been an excellent candidate and I am sure she will be an excellent councillor.
‘The Conservatives pressed us hard in this by-election, having previously taken no interest in the ward. The Lib Dem message of “Service and action all year round, not just at elections” clearly hit home and well over 50% of those who voted backed Ellie and the Clarence Lib Dem team.’
Chris’s speech on refugees: 40 seconds in.