Liberal Democrat campaigners are celebrating at the news that Tesco have decided against building a superstore by Tolworth roundabout. Instead, Tesco plan to develop the whole site for much-needed housing.
For full details of the Lib Dem campaign, led by local councillors and Edward Davey, see www.everylittlehurts.co.uk.
On Monday 10th March the Mayor of London and Council Leader Cllr Liz Green announced that Kingston’s ground breaking mini-Holland programme has successfully won £30 million to create a major cycle hub to improve conditions for cyclists. The bid is one of the most ambitious projects of its kind for cycling in London.
The days when the Guildhall was the sole provider of services to the community and the sole arbiter of what is best for people are long gone. Beware those who would see those days return and beware those who would cruelly abolish the services all together and would see our communities weakened leaving everyone to fend for themselves.
Liberal Democrats believe in a modern, supportive and inter-dependent society where everyone is free to take the path best suited to them, but where we all share the responsibility to ensure everyone else can enjoy that same freedom. A safe and sustainable environment; a healthy and supportive society; a thriving and accessible economy; inquisitive and happy children; responsible, and caring parents; respected and cared-for elderly; a creative and vibrant community to feed our body, our mind and our soul.
This is no wishful pipedream; this is what the Kingston Borough Liberal Democrats are committed to. But as with all things we will achieve it better and quicker together. Twenty years ago, and in the teeth of Conservative opposition, we created the Neighbourhood structure that brought services closer to the people and gave everyone an opportunity to get involved and have a say in how things are run. For the past decade we have helped build and support a Borough-wide Strategic Partnership that has brought together all the key service providers: the Council and the police; the University and the health service; local businesses and the voluntary sector; and many more besides. We now want to see that mutually-supportive partnership expanded through the Kingston Community Charter.
The concept is tried and tested and much of the ‘infrastructure’ is already in place, all we require now is the commitment and determination to see it happen. This will be a further move away from an arrogantly Council that knows what’s best and does things to people; we seek to no longer be a paternalistic Council that creates dependency and does things for people; instead Liberal Democrats will create an enabling Council that does things with people and supports, facilitates and encourages them to do things for themselves, and with and for each other.
Initiatives like One Norbiton and the Malden Manor Project are a start but we believe we can improve and strengthen these examples and make them the norm in our communities and not the exception.
Based on the strategic partnership agreement: Voluntary and Community Sector Strategy, its Action Plan and Compact 2013 we will empower and facilitate the Borough’s four Neighbourhoods to build similar community partnerships that will:
- Create a register of local community, residential, business and voluntary groups that will be consulted as of right on matters of local interest and service provision
- Provide advice and support for those who wish to start new groups or extend the work of existing ones
- Create a register of community assets to raise awareness of exiting local facilities and ensure they are efficiently used and best maintained
- Provide space and opportunity for groups and Neighbourhood Partnerships to come together
- Encourage the sharing of services and facilities, and support their continued existences and development by facilitating co-production, co-provision and the community’s ‘right to bid’ for local service provision
- Invest in training, development and capacity building that will see community leaders come to the fore and help fulfil the aims of the Charter
- Communicate all this through one easily accessed and well publicised online community portal and support forum at Borough and Neighbourhood levels
- Collectively develop policy and service planning to support and further the aims of this Charter
- Consult on and allocate Neighbourhood resources according the principles of this Charter
- Create imaginative innovation; advance equality, access and participation; and build stronger, healthier, happier and sustainable communities
The Kingston we inherited is better today thanks to our collective efforts. Let us ensure that the Kingston we pass on to our children and to their children will be better still.
Our key pledges in our manifesto for Kingston 2014:
- Build four new primary schools and a much needed new secondary school
- Create more and better facilities for our elderly to meet the growing need for dementia care
- Build vital affordable homes so our young people can stay in the borough
- Continue to protect and enhance our natural heritage, encourage biodiversity and defend our Green Belt
- Invest in our roads and deliver the £30 million ‘Mini-Holland’ programme to make Kingston the best and safest place to cycle in London
- Push Neighbourhood committees to introduce more free parking periods to help small shopping parades and expand 20 mph zones across residential roads in Kingston
- Continue to keep your Council Tax down and deliver value for money services
The Lib Dems have announced that decisions on parking charges should be decided locally by Neighbourhood Committees, giving more flexibility to local areas to set charges that best fit their high streets or local shops.
On the passing of this year’s budget for Kingston council, Cllr Rolson Davies attacked Secretary of State for local government Eric Pickles for budget cuts to the authority, which have required over £30 million in savings in just 4 years.
Cllr Rolson Davies said:
“Thanks to our value for money approach to services we can afford to freeze council tax this year and protect the services that matter to local residents.
“Liberal Democrats in Kingston our making it a priority to invest in services that help local families and protect the most vulnerable from cuts.
“CLG has had 44% cuts in the last three years, with most of that directed at Local Authorities thanks to Eric Pickles and his Conservative cronies. And that’s without including backdoor cuts from other departments, like with council tax benefit.
“Kingston Conservatives have shown time and again that their priority is cuts. But our record shows that even in these times of austerity we are the safe hands for the council to be in; and they will be for the next four years.”
Kingston is again anticipated to have the best council tax collection rates in London in the coming year. It is the only Borough in London predicted to collect a full 99% of council tax owed.
This is great news for local residents as it means the burden of council tax is spread more fairly.
I read with interest the comments of the Conservative leader and Finance spokesperson in response to our budget last week.
It seems that whilst local Lib Dems are working hard to protect our services, Tory councillors are relishing the thought of slashing services and delivering even bigger cuts.
Kingston council are celebrating winning £40,000 funding for plans to produce a new heating system for the Town Centre, which if successful could cut costs and carbon emissions for local businesses and council buildings.
A new grant from the government announced last week will fund detailed work on plans for a new energy centre, which will heat commercial and public buildings in Kingston town centre.
Amidst the ongoing row over the Government’s Airports Commission report and possible plans for Heathrow going forward, Cllr Liz Green, Liberal Democrat Leader of Kingston Council reiterated Lib Dem opposition to a 3rd runway:
“There is nothing in it that seriously considers the environmental impact of any of these proposals, or the impact on local residents who will be marooned under these new flight paths.
Love Kingston is an exciting campaign to raise vital funds for community and charity projects in the borough.
Liz Green, Leader of Kingston Council asks you all to support Love Kingston, and especially Love Kingston Day on 14th February.
Cllr Liz Green has declared her support for Kingston University’s campaign to scrap page three in the Sun. Kingston University are supporting the national campaign against this long standing anachronism and have removed the Sun from sale or distribution on the University campus.
Under the new tougher inspection regime Knollmead school was found to be inadequate in its latest Ofsted inspection.
Under the Government’s Department for Education (DfE) rules, it will be forced to become an Academy. It will also have a sponsor to turn it around and work towards making it a good and ultimately outstanding school for local children.
Orchard Hill College has this year taken over the Beaconsfield Centre from the council to deliver courses and services in Kingston.
Orchard Hill’s services focus on learners with special educational needs and it has an excellent reputation for its Individualised Learning Plans, which focus on what each individual learner wants to achieve during their time at College.
Their ability to nurture an individual’s talents and further their skills for the future has been commended by a recent Ofsted inspection that showed them to be ‘outstanding’ under Ofsted’s rating system.
Responding to today’s press reports that the Government’s Airports Commission will recommend a 3rd or even a 4th runway at Heathrow, Cllr Liz Green, Liberal Democrat Leader of Kingston Council said:
“The planned new runway is to the south of the airport and could have a massive impact on Kingston residents.