Here is our campaign update newsletter for May 2021.
Lib Dem Campaign update May 21
Here is our campaign update newsletter for May 2021.
Lib Dem Campaign update May 21
I am so pleased I have now had my second vaccination, but I remain frustrated with this Government’s handling of the pandemic. In the first wave, the social care sector suffered from government mistakes, hospitals only coped by stopping non-covid treatments, we went 2 weeks late into lockdown and people continued to enter via Heathrow in thousands each day. Everyone was feeling their way at that stage, but in June, when the Liberal Democrat leader called for a speedy inquiry to learn from that, Boris refused. Then in the Autumn, when experts warned of a second bigger wave, government were still deceiving us by talk of concern when they most wanted to revive the economy. Now we have confirmation of an exceptionally high England death rate of 1901 per million people, compared to Germany’s death rate of 97 per million, higher than most developed countries, higher even than Brazil. This is according to the recent John Hopkins University world-wide report on 21 April.
Over half of our deaths came from November onwards, showing clearly the huge mistake government made. If we had gone into lockdown more severely and sooner before Christmas we would almost certainly have had less deaths (as we should have learned from the first wave) and emerged sooner from lockdown.
But is that the end of the matter ? Far from it. We have continued to allow even tourists to come into the country in their thousands every day. On 24th March the Indian authorities warned of a surge of a new variant and cases here began to emerge. We still continued to allow tourists from India to enter our country freely. Boris got elected on a promise to stand up for our nation, but now his claim that we had very strong curbs on people coming here from India was yet another deception. His complacency is unforgivable. Restrictions on people from India start on 23 April, that is 30 days after the warning.
He has learned nothing from the mistakes made last year and it is costing us dearly.
The LIBERAL DEMOCRAT candidates for STAFFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL, covering Newcastle under Lyme are:
Audley & Chesterton – ANDREW ROBERT WEMYSS
Bradwell, Porthill & Wolstanton – AIDAN MARK JENKINS
Keele, Knutton & Silverdale – JAMES MARTIN BORG
Kidsgrove – KATHARINE SHIRLEY MITCHELL
Maybank & Cross Heath – MORGAN-ROSS INWOOD
Newcastle Rural – HILARY ANN JONES
Newcastle South – SALWA BOOTH
Talke & Red Street – RICHARD MARK WHELAN
Westlands & Thistleberry – PETER EMIL ANDRAS
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for STAFFORDSHIRE, the Liberal Democrat candidate is:
RICHARD MARK WHELAN
Party policy is that this system should be replaced so that it is not in the hands of one person representing one political party.
The quarry actually sits in the Thistleberry ward, contrary to what you will have heard in the media.
Planning Permission for the quarry to operate was given in 1996, despite opposition from my Liberal Democrat predecessors in Thistleberry. Permission was finally granted by the Secretary of State following refusal at local level. As part of that permission a condition was put in place that the quarry operators had to set up a liason committee to enable stakeholders to raise concerns. This committee has met for over 20 years now and we as the Liberal Democrat ward members have been active within that group which meets at least 4 times a year, throughout that period. At the start it was a productive committee and issues raised were thoroughly discussed and mediation took place, but latterly due to a change of operator at the quarry, useful discussions have broken down and Red Industries refuse to admit it is the quarry which emits the odour. It is hard to believe that the smell can be coming from anywhere else. The Environment Agency officers, Environmental Health team, Police, Highways Team and residents are all present at this forum.
So what happens next?
Regular meetings with management take place on site, raising your concerns, pressure is put on to get Red Industries to co operate better.
A report is about to be published at the end of March by the Council EH department following a member scrutiny committee which looked at all concerns independently, I sat on that panel. Recommendations are in that report about what we to improve. Odour is the major concern, but we are also looking at the route of travel, mud on the road, litter caused by the landfill site, excessive parking of lorries in the layby used by visitors to the cemetery and how we can prevent gulls becoming a nuisance to nearby residents. In that report we are saying very clearly that we think operations should be suspended until all mitigation measures are addressed, better care needs to be taken with regard to netting on site. We are asking for better monitoring of the site, particularly by the EA who have been slow to respond to complaints but are now more proactive following pressure from the public and agencies.
We are working with our MP who has now successfully managed to lobby colleagues for support in erasing the problem. That has only happened due to pressure over a number of years by faithful campaigners who have continually put the pressure. Much of my time has been taken up supporting them, time well spent.
I am disappointed that this has now become an election issue and folk are joining in on the band waggon, many of whom have been silent for years. Pity those people have not been active before, but I suppose we must be grateful they are joining us now, and I hope they continue to shout post County elections! I am supporting a motion put forward by the Labour Party to have an extraordinary full council meeting in order to debate the subject further. I am always disappointed that I cannot put forward a motion myself, but two Liberal Democrat councillors cannot get the necessary signatures to enable that to happen and opposition parties are reluctant to cooperate and so put in their own motions under their party brand.
MORE COUNCILLORS ARE REQUIRED so we can make our own mark. Do your best to support candidates in what ever way you can.
Medium Term Financial Strategy 2021- 2026.Budget Savings. ONE COUNCIL. Tory Cabinet have now endorsed this strategy, introducing yet more budget savings. The Full Council will approve or not the budget on 24th Feb. My concern is we are cutting services so much, can we continue to be efficient.
Kidsgrove Town Deal investment plan has now been submitted to the government in a bid for £25m to improve health and wellbeing, and regenerate the town centre. Kidsgrove welcomes this and I am very pleased to endorse it. A video showcasing the schemes can be viewed at hhps://youthtu.be/Kfw635lijlo (Liberal Democrats have a long history of being involved in the interests of Kidsgrove).
The Council have secured two short term contracts for temporary accommodation with Open door to support the homeless during this cold period. More work needs to be done to address the needs and problems across the Borough with regard to rough sleepers. Some we assume to be homeless in fact do have accommodation or have been offered accommodation but for reasons of their own decline to use it.
Jubilee 2. Morgan Sindell are now resolving the ongoing building defects at J2 with regard to the leaking roof and leaks in the sauna and swimming pool area. The Council are not responsible for the bill.
Proposed Resident Funeral service. The Council have approved a residents funeral service which will include more affordable options for both cremations and burials. We recognise the potential hardship some families experience at a very stressful time.
North Staffs Local Air Quality Plan . A plan has been submitted to government including the preferred option for delivering compliance with statutory limits on roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the affected areas in the shortest time. Basford bank and Barracks road are two areas of particular concern. The Council are requesting a consideration of an exemption for electric and ultra low emission vehicles from the proposed bus gate restriction on Basford bank.
Knutton masterplan has gone out for public consultation. Joint piece of work between the Council, Aspire and Staffs County Council. The aim is to outline opportunities for new housing investment and improvements in the quality of community facilities.
Proposed extension to Newcastle crematorium grounds and development of land in the Chatterley close area. A controversial proposal which is out to consultation. We await findings before any final decision is made.
Brampton Museum Redevelopment Project. A contractor has been approved for the redevelopment project. Work includes the creation of a new dedicated temporary exhibition space, reconfiguration of rooms to expend the capacity of the archives and the creation of a dedicated research area and improvements to the ground floor galleries to better showcase collections and engage visitors of all ages.