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Fencing Work – Temporary Closure of Alban Way from 2 October for 10 days

From the District Council:

St Albans City & District Council’s Housing Department will be replacing the wooden boundary fence between Woodvale Park and Alban Way.

The Alban Way will be closed to both pedestrians and cyclists during this work.

The works are due to start on Monday 2 October 2017 and will take around 10 days to complete.

Advanced warning signs were erected at each end of the proposed closure on 22 September to forewarn users of the impending closure.

A signed diversion route will be in operation when the Alban Way is closed, which will divert users via Morrisons car park, Hatfield Road and Sutton Road, and vice-a-versa. A plan of this diversion route is attached for information.

Cable: 10,000 EU nationals have quit NHS since Brexit vote

Vince Cable has called on Theresa May to use her speech in Florence tomorrow to make a bold offer on EU nationals’ rights, as new figures reveal that almost 10,000 EU workers quit the NHS in the year after the Brexit vote.

9,832 EU nationals left the NHS between 30 June 2016 and 30 June 2017, figures published by NHS Digital today have revealed. This is an increase of 22% on the previous year, and up 42% on two years earlier.

In total 3,885 nurses, 1,794 doctors and 1,518 support staff from the EU left the NHS between June 2016 and June 2017.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for negotiations on the rights of EU nationals in the UK and British citizens living in Europe to be ring-fenced so that neither are used as bargaining chips in the broader Brexit negotiations.

Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said:

We are losing thousands of high-quality nurses and doctors from the NHS, driven partly by this government’s heartless approach to the Brexit talks.

Using EU nationals as bargaining chips is not only morally wrong, it is utterly counter-productive and damaging to our NHS.

It’s time for the government to take the issue of EU citizens in the UK and British nationals in Europe out of these negotiations.

Theresa May must make a bold offer to the EU to ring-fence negotiations on citizens’ rights and come to a rapid agreement.

Car parking visitor permit charges review

The impact of an increase to the cost of visitor car parking permits in the St Albans District is to be reviewed.

The price of a single-use permit for streets that form part of a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) rose from a minimum 37p to £1.30 earlier this year.

This rise was due to the withdrawal by St Albans City and District Council of four-hour visitor parking permits. They had cost £3.70 for a book of ten – the equivalent of 37p each.

Vouchers are now only available at a cost £13 for a book, £1.30 each, although they can cover a whole day.

A report on parking permits was considered by the Council’s Community, Environment and Sport Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on Thursday 7 September.

After a debate, members decided to ask the Car Parking Working Party to review the impact of the changes at its meeting next month.

They have also been asked to investigate how the scheme could be amended to assist those residents who are less able to pay.

Councillor Anthony Rowlands, the Committee’s Chair, said: “This was a significant rise for many of our residents and I have been told some are struggling with it. Continue reading

Did Herts Police Tsar deliberately mislead County Council?

David Lloyd, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, was recently challenged at a Council meeting by Paul Zukowskyj, Lib Dem shadow cabinet member for resources, about the loss of constabulary staff, including significant numbers of police officers and PCSO’s, since Mr Lloyd was first elected in 2012.

Government data clearly show a fall in constabulary staff from 3729 FTE in 2012 to 3398 FTE in 2017.

The minutes of the meeting state “Mr Lloyd stated that he did not recognise the challenge and provided assurance that his office was committed to retaining the same number of PCSO’s within the county”. In the meeting Mr Lloyd stated that the staff numbers appeared to have fallen much more than they actually had due to the establishment of cross-county collaborative units and redeployment of staff to them.

However, in response to an FOI to Hertfordshire Constabulary, the Constabulary state they have followed the guidance by the Home Office in preparing the figures: “For the purposes of counting accurately, officers and staff that are part of these units should be counted only by the force whose payroll they are on.”

So are the staff on the payroll of another force? Continue reading

Lib Dems condemn local NHS over Nascot Lawn

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.

Lib Dems step up the pressure on air pollution

A Lib Dem motion calling for anti-idling zones in St Albans was passed by Councillors at the full council meeting ​on Wednesday, with technical amendments from other groups.

Chris Davies, who moved the motion, said: ‘​The statistics tell us air-pollution is harmful to everyone, in particular to those classed as vulnerable: young, elderly, those with respiratory or heart problems. Motor idling is one of the main contributors to air pollution and although the District Council has launched an ‘anti-idling campaign’ this is reliant on the public goodwill and taking action.  Continue reading

Lib Dems table motion on Nascot Lawn closure

Mark Watkin as opposition spokesperson for Children’s Services has tabled the following motion about the proposed closure of Nascot Lawn Childrens Respite and Care Centre.

It will be debated at the next meeting of the County Council in support of the petition which will be presented by parents and families who are dependant on the services provided by Nascot Lawn which is now due to shut down at the end of October.

Mark comments “The Government is talking about easing austerity. This cannot happen soon enough. The closure of Nascot Lawn is entirely due to the Government’s insistence that the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group reduce their expenditure by £45m p.a. In these circumstances it always seem to be the most vulnerable that suffer first and worst. While we wait for the Government to change its tune, the County Council MUST dip into its £3m underspend from last year to keep Nascot Lawn going until it has had sufficient time to assess how best to serve the needs of this group.”

Council notes:

That on Friday 16th June, Herts Valleys CCG informed families across Hertfordshire that they would no longer be funding its contribution of £600k towards Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust run Nascot Lawn Children’s Respite Service.  Consequently Nascot Lawn will be forced to close on 31st October 2017. Continue reading