The Fight Back

The election results were devastating, many a great MP and councilor lost their seat.  Certainly we made mistakes in 2010, both pre-election and post, but the country would have been in a far worse position without the Liberal Democrats helping to form a stable platform to enable recovery and to apply a brake on some of the more excessive Tory policies.  However, the British public chose the 2015 election to make a few messages:

>         Scottish voters wanted a greater influence over the decisions made in Westminster;

>         English voters do not want SNP to be the tail that wags the Labour party;

>         UKIP became the receptacle of the vote against the ‘mainstream’ parties;

>         Students, disillusioned after the tuition fees ‘debacle’, turned Green.

Strangely the policies of the parties seemed irrelevant, which could explain why, whatever the parties announced, the polls didn’t move.  The last minute swing to the Tories was driven by a fear of a Labour / SNP coalition.  None of the ‘messages’ were going to lead voters to select the Liberal Democrats.  Since the event most commentators have said that the results were extremely unfair on the Liberal Democrats who had been doing a good job in coalition.  Some went on to predict the end of the line for the party.  However, as usual, they have underestimated the strength of feeling that many people have towards the Liberal Democrats especially when it comes to policies.

Since polls closed last week, over 10,000 new members have joined the Liberal Democrats.

Last week’s elections hurt us all. Across the country our candidates and campaign teams worked so hard but did not get the results they deserved.   We have a long journey ahead to get our party back where it belongs, but we are starting that journey ten thousand people stronger than we were – people from all over the country, all sorts of backgrounds and ages.

>   Over half of our new members are aged under 35 and our oldest is 91 (welcome to the family Tily);

>   82% have not been a member before and 72% have not been involved in any sort of campaign;

>   They have highlighted a huge range of issues, like protecting Human Rights Act and blocking the Snoopers Charter.

>   Top locations are Sheffield, Bristol, Twickenham & Richmond, Cambridge, Islington, Battersea and Cardiff.

Would you like help the fight back by becoming a volunteer or by joining the party?     www.libdems.org.uk/join

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Excessive Development – Can We Cope?

Growth is a key strategic priority – encouraged by financial rewards from Central Government – but can the infrastructure cope? Our roads are already at bursting point, especially at rush hour. If you live in Pinewood there are limited exit points – the Holiday Inn junction and the roundabout at Tescos. In the morning it can take 20 to 30 minutes to get out of the Parish, so what will the impact be of planned new developments and should there be a point at which we say enough is enough?

After years of inactivity – Suffolk One was the last major development – we are now faced with a glut of applications:

> Chantry Vale (on land behind the Holiday Inn) – 350 houses and 70 businesses with exits opposite the Hadleigh Road traffic lights on the A1071;

> Belstead House and Meadows – 155 houses and a 65 bedroom care home;

> Belstead School – doubling in size;

> ‘Fred Olsen’ site – 200 to 300 office block;

> 24 hour veterinary unit;

> Aldi store next to Suffolk One;

> Sugar Beet site – possibly hundreds of houses and many businesses.

If all of these go ahead we could be looking at an additional 4,000 vehicle movements per day – mainly at the busy periods. Surely this is madness and we have to start saying no to some of those developments listed above. Is it right that the last one(s) to apply should be penalised? This could be a problem as the likely latest ones are already in our Strategic Plan. Surely we have to be more proactive than that but will we get the support for this approach from the Inspectors should any refused application be refused. You would like to think so but I just don’t think that we are good at seeing the bigger picture.

Watch the ever shrinking space!

Pinewood – A Pivotal Month

September looks like being a pivotal month in the ‘life’ of Pinewood. Two controversial planning applications are likely to hit the decks. One is common knowledge – the wind turbine – the other may come as a surprise and shock – Belstead House & Meadows.

Pfr have chosen to leave the original wind turbine application on the table despite some 700 people complaining but more surprisingly without dealing with the MOD issues. In my opinion this is a good sign for those opposed to the project. Had Pfr re-applied with a slightly modified application – say a 10% reduction in the height – then the objectors’ slate would have been wiped clean and more costs would have to be incurred.

I wonder if Pfr think that their application is going to fail and have decided to go down the cheapest route out. We will see soon enough – it looks as though there will be a site visit on the 10th September and the Planning Committee will meet soon after that.

 

Picture - Belstead MeadowsBelstead House, previously owned by Suffolk County Council and used as a conference centre, has been in the hands of a developer for the last 12 months or so. It would appear that his design process is over and a plan has been formulated for the house, cottages and meadow. This plan is likely to unite the nearby residents in their opposition. Whilst there are many interesting aspects to the plan – the design and community priced housing – replacing meadows with 100+ houses and care home is not likely to be popular.

I believe the application will be presented to the Planning Dept. in the next few days – once I have the details I will give you a link to the papers.

Catch Up Posts – Suffolk One Parking

Picture of Suffolk One

 

Fantastic building, great facilities and courses, great teachers and students but why-oh-why do we ignore residents’ fears at the outset and then have no solution when they come to pass? From the very first meeting the residents were raising the issue of student parking – where were they going to park.  Not enough money in the project budget apparently, anyway “we have a green travel plan so only a handful will use their cars”!  Really?

Picture of Suffolk One Street ParkingAngry residents publicised their plight in the Ipswich Star.  Numerous surveys have been done and proposals are close to being presented to residents of Pinewood and Sprites.

On Tuesday I walked round the impacted streets with Steve & Chris from Highways to firm up on the amount of yellow paint we are going to need.  I wonder if Del Boy has any of that luminous tunnel paint left?!

 Not a solution we will be looking at!

Picture of Suffolk One Car