I would like to say a big thank you to the 243 or 30% of people issued with a ballot who voted for me in the Buckhurst Hill West by Election. It is our best result yet in
Epping Forest . I wish the two winning Conservative Candidates well in the few months before the whole Parish comes up for election on 3rd May 2012. They can sit in the chamber knowing they have a democratic mandate.
Friday, 23 December 2011
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
On Thursday 22nd December 2011 the voters in Buckhurst Hill West have the chance to ensure that there is a voice of opposition on Buckhurst Hill Parish Council. As it is there are four Conservative Councillors on the Parish, and the Conservatives have put two candidates to our one. As Greens we would make keep the Tory Council accountable and make sure it keeps its promises. We will be a voice of opposition in an otherwise all Tory council. If we are elected we will fight to make the council more open and transparent, help to get the council to involve the voters more in decision-making, sponsor a garden-share scheme, and help to sort the dog-fouling problem by introducing bags to complement the District penalty scheme. A Green will make a huge difference on the council; one more Conservative will not add anything to democracy.. So vote for Steven Neville, your Green candidate, on 22nd December 2011. Polling opens from 7am to 10pm. Polling Stations are at
and the Baptist church on St John’s Palmerston Road.
Saturday, 3 December 2011
Steven Neville is the Green Party candidate on 22nd December 2011. Steven is a hardworking local campaigner who has lived in Buckhurst Hill all his life. He is the chair of Epping Forest “20 is Plenty”, which wants a default 20 mph in residential roads. Steven says ‘I care passionately about Buckhurst Hill and feel we need an alternative voice on the Parish Council. We can only get that by voting Green on 22nd December 2011.’
One more Conservative will not make the slightest bit of difference to the Parish Councilwhich is entirely Tory after all the Lib Dems resigned from the Council. A Green councillor, however, will provide an essential independent voice.
If Greens are elected we will:
ü Keep the Tories accountable
ü Promote more youth facilities
ü Encourage more community involvement in the Council
ü Promote a Garden Share scheme in which residents who cannot garden any more can allow people without a garden to grow food
ü Reintroduce dog fouling bags to work with the District’s Penalty Scheme for dog fouler.
Thursday, 1 December 2011
Local Greens express their extreme disappointment as an attempt to reach a mutually beneficial comprimise which would have avoided a by-election in Buckhurst Hill West was rejected and sabotaged by a group of high handed Tories. Local Green Steven Neville said 'We tried to come to a deal with the Tories by which we would put forward one candidate(in effect withdrawing one candidate for each party and we have done this) each for the two seats vacated in October by Angela Cass and Joyce Darby and thus avoid a by election just before Christmas. The Tories already have the only four occupied seats on the council and this arrangement would see them easily hold onto that majority but give another non Tory voice on the council. This would mean better decision making and a whole tranch of voters on the left would have a voice. However Local Tories have decided they should have both seats as of divine right and we should back away. This is arrogant and would mean a monocrome council which is bad for democracy.' The by-election will be on 22nd December 2011 7am to 10pm. Postal Votes applications need to be in by 7th December 2011. Proxy vote applications need to be in by 14th December 2011.
Saturday, 26 November 2011
A new era has started at Buckhurst Hill Parish and I wish the new council the best. I know they will try their very best to work on some of the problems. Obviously work for 4 and eventually 6 will be tough over the next few months because of having fewer councillors around to share the load, for which the Lib Dems should be ashamed. I also know it would take a while for possible co-options to take place so we will have to wait until May for a full council again.
In the meantime there is the chance for a possible By-Election in Buckhurst Hill West on 22nd December 2011. We do not want this as we see it as expensive, too near to Christmas, and an extra load on electoral services at Epping Forest District Council. We are working to make sure we avoid a By-Election.
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
Now the entire Lib Dem group have resigned from the Parish Council and as yet we do not the full reason why. We do know, however, that they have nearly destroyed the finances of the council, they bought the Woollard Centre, laudable though it was, at great expense, had no plan on how to get the money back, and as it is it barely breaks even. They had no imagination of how to take things forward, they had run out of ideas, were increasingly out of touch and also secretive. We now have a situation where Buckhurst Hill East only has one councillor representing it out of five, and Buckhurst Hill West has three out of six. There will be by-elections in West for two of those seats but the rest are vacant and as we are so near to the next election we cannot have by–elections. The new Tory administration should co-opt to share load and be true to the statement of running the council on a bi-partisan basis. The Lib Dems should have stayed and faced the electors next May but they chose not to.
Monday, 14 November 2011
It was recently announced that two councillors on Buckhurst Hill Parish Council have resigned over employment issues. Joyce Darby, who was chairman of the Council from 2009-2011, and Angela Cass both had served for 3½ years from 2008. Their resignation was the only honerouble action available to them following an employment tribunrel ruling that had gone against the council, yet again. This is a devastating blow to the Lib Dems and comes after a whole catalogue of problems. Last year a Lib Dem Parish Councillor defected on separate issues. The finances of the Council are under severe pressure: the Woollard Centre, bought (plus refurbished) by the Council from Essex County Council for £275,000, and it will cost £1million after loan repayments, is barely breaking even and the Roding Valley Hall is in a similar poor financial state and possibly more employment issues have yet to emerge.
The accounts for the Council have not been made public on the website for three years. It appears the Parish is out of touch and presiding over a whole heap of problems of their own making. Recently, in these tough economic times, the Parish voted to increase the hall surcharges up for non locals, believing it would both turn off non-locals using the hall and at the same time encourage them to cough up the increased fee. Really?? It has to be mentioned that the one Tory at the meeting went along with this. It is symptomatic of the confusion on the Administration. They also decided on a maintenance matter by going for the much higher of two quotes, and this was after negotiations. Again all Lib Dem/Tory councillors present voted this through. It is clear that the Conservative-Lib-Dems both locally and nationally cannot be trusted to look after the issues and concerns of ordinary citizens. We need a Green voice on the Parish council and soon. I am glad as I go out and about that more and more people say they will be voting Green next May.
Friday, 23 September 2011
Tuesday, 20 September 2011
We recently had our party conference in
Sheffield home to Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg. In her speech our leader Caroline Lucas said this:
I have been heartened by people, locally, saying they will vote Green, people who voted Lib Dem for whatever reason. They see that we are the only active party in Buckhurst Hill other than the Tories and Lib Dems
Monday, 29 August 2011
In order to save £2.5million Essex Police are planning to slash opening hours at Loughton Police Station from 24/7 to 6 hours a day. This is a huge cut of 75%. In Epping we are to see times cut from 14 hours to 6 hours. While many of us use the phone to get the police, stations being open are a sign of police visibility in the community. Across the country the Con-Dem governments cuts are hitting front line policing making it more difficult to deal with crime. While some cuts in opening times may be acceptable these are huge cuts and we call on the police to rethink.
Thursday, 14 July 2011
I am please that we are starting to see our potholes filled after a lot of chasing up by me and others. We will now carry on seeing if more potholes can be filled before next winter.
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Thursday, 7 July 2011
I was appalled at leaked government plans to make it easier to use green belt land to build on. While we all recognise the need for Housing, especially affordable and social housing, this is a charter for chaos. Under the plans it is up to the council to say why we can’t build on green belt land and thus, with the safeguards gone, this will be a charter for tearing our green spaces and all sorts of developments. I do hope between now and the official launch of the policy the Con-Dem government think long and hard about this.
As a member the Buckhurst Hill Open Spaces Group I will do my utmost to make sure in future council land and that which is regularly used by the public is untouchable. At the end of
Chestnut Avenue and Hornbeam Road, thanks to efforts by members of the Group and local residents, we now have a Village Green, meaning developers can’t touch it. An Application for the Donkey Field site has now gone in. The Group are doing valuable work at defending our green spaces, and it is a shame the Parish Council, while still allowing us to meet at the parish offices, has demoted the group and cut our funding.
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
I am glad to report that I have joined Buckhurst Hill Parish Council Open Spaces Working Group. This group is concerned with the protection and preservation of the natural environment in Buckhurst Hill - something we in the Green Party are concerned with. The green spaces of Buckhurst Hill are like the lungs in our urban environment. In this age of the Big Society it is good that this group is wider than just parish councillors and includes the community beyond, as this is an issue many consider to be of vital importance.
I will fight to make sure that as many of the areas owned by the council are kept for the community as possible, so they will be unable to be sold off at some later date. I will also see what can be done to support biodiversity in these areas.
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
I notice that we in
Epping Forest are not immune to the cuts in Library Services. Luckily for us it is just hours that are being cut: my local Library in Buckhurst Hill loses 1 hour overall. However, for a number of residents the weekend is the time they get down to the Library. Saturday and Sunday were the days they used. Now none of our Libraries will be open on Sunday. For many this is awful and, to them, is a major cut. As it is, overall Loughton Library is losing 14 hours, Debden 8 hours, North Wealth Bassett 7 hours, Epping 4 hours; and Waltham Abbey and Chigwell escape with no cuts! Many poor and disadvantaged people rely on our library service to get books and it is a scandal that some of the biggest cuts hit many of these areas. Epping Forest is losing 34 hours in total. Sign the online petition to reduce the cuts in Debden and Loughton, especially.Sign the petiton
Monday, 9 May 2011
I would like to thank you to all those who voted for Ben in Buckhurst Hill West on 5th May. We moved into 3rd place thanks to your votes, beating UKIP and Labour. In
Epping Forest we Greens got our best result more than doubling our vote on last time and coming second to the Tories in 5 wards. We need to work hard and build on these results!
I would invite anyone who wants to do more to help getting Green councillors elected in our area to contact us via our website (eppingforestgreens.org.uk) or ringing 07545 378553.
Thursday, 5 May 2011
Here is a letter I sent to County Councillor Norman Hume, who is in charge of Transport and highways.
Dear Mr Hume
I am heartened to that you say Essex County Council is pleased to try out new ideas. I hope you are aware of the reduction in average speeds in
by 7mph, where 20mph speed limits have been put in place (previous speeds were 24-29mph). I hope you are aware of a NHS report from the Directors of Public Health in the Portsmouth which strongly supports 20mph speed limits without humps or other traffic-calming measures. It is entitled “Road traffic collisions and casualties in the North West ” and is at http://www.nwpho.org.uk/rtcs_nw/reports/RoadtrafficcollisionsandcasualtiesintheNW.pdf North West
I note too your use of guidelines from 1993 where you say ‘The legislation governing the introduction of 20mph speed limits is limited to streets where the current or average speed is at or below 24mph.’ This is simply not true. Firstly these guidelines are not rules, secondly they are out of date, and thirdly the guidance was for areas, not individual streets. Since this time we have guidelines from 2006 and 2009.
Your reply fails to recognise that today we no longer need to adhere to these guidelines and many local authorities do not. In
the average speed was between 24 to 29mph where they introduced many of their 20mph speed limits. The 2009 Department of Transport circular states ‘“Early research from the area-wide 20mph limit in Portsmouth suggests that greater reductions can be achieved through signed-only limits where previous average speeds were significantly above 20mph.” I suggest you update your reference material. Portsmouth
In light of this will you reconsider introducing wide area 20mph limits to promote safety, environmental well-being and community benefit? I await your reply!
Monday, 2 May 2011
I would just like say a word about Ben Wille, the Green Party candidate for Buckhurst Hill West. Ben is a teacher of Classics and Drama at
. He has recently become convinced that the Green Party presents by far the best set of policies for improving the quality of life both on the planet as a whole and in our local area. He says ‘The mood amongst local people is that the Tory/Lib-Dem Government’s budget plans are not the only option. A mixture of intelligent investment and reduced tax avoidance would provide financial stability and at the same time avoid job losses and service cuts. People want these alternatives put forward at every level of government.’ If elected he will: Chigwell School
defend public services, work for more decent affordable housing and reverse the scandalous rent rise for those on social housing, and campaign for better public transport, walking and cycling facilities. It is clear that neither the Tories nor Lib-Dems can be trusted. Locally both parties have cut budgets. The Greens are the Real Alternative - we are the only party that has consistently called for proper funding for further and higher education, scrapping Trident, or demanding that the post office be maintained in the public sector. Labour introduced tuition fees and wanted to sell off the Post Office. Now more than ever is the time for a change from the tired old politics of the tired old parties. So on 5th May vote for Ben Wille.
Sunday, 1 May 2011
I just want to clear up some common misunderstandings about the Alternative Vote which are put forward by those who want to keep the highly unfair First Past the Post System:
1) "AV is unfair. With First Past the Post, everybody gets one vote. But under AV, supporters of extreme parties like the BNP would get their vote counted many times, while other people's votes would only be counted once.”
This is nonsense. It is like saying that if you go to a restaurant, and find that your preferred dish is not available because it wasn't popular enough, then you shouldn't have the chance to have a 2nd preference.. Each person has only a SINGLE Transferable Vote. It is interesting to note that the BNP are campaigning against AV.
2) “AV doesn't work. Rather than the candidate with the most votes winning, the person who finishes third could be declared the winner.”
Yes, of course, the person who finishes 2nd or 3rd ON FIRST PREFERENCES could become the winner - IF they get enough transfers from other candidates. That is exactly HOW AV works. AV allows people to express what their actual preferences are, and thus be truer to their convictions. (It therefore also, crucially, allows smaller parties over time to build up their 1st preferences until they become contenders to actually win. This is how the Green Party has grown in Australia.)
3) "AV is expensive. Calculating the results is a long, complicated process (which would cost the taxpayer about 250 million for counting machines).”
Actually, AV would be barely any more expensive than FPTP: surely the very small additional cost - basically, the extra staff time to count the more complex ballot papers on election night - is a price worth paying for democracy. Indeed there is no need for machines, as has been suggested, at all.
4) “No one wants AV. Even the 'Yes' campaigners don't actually want AV - they see it as a convenient stepping stone to yet more changes to how we vote."
Well, it is certainly true that there are many Yes2AV campaigners who would in the longer term want PR, and it would be great, from their (our!) point of view to have AV as a 'stepping-stone'! Because yes, included among those many are we in the Green Party. It is relatively easy to imagine a chance occurring to have proper proportional representation, which is the Green Party’s favoured option ultimately, should we win this vote. AV is our preferred option, compared to First Past the Post.
Saturday, 16 April 2011
(Pictured from left to right) Nicky Harries, Steven Neville, Rob Ogle
On Saturday 9th April 2011 Epping Forest Greens were outside Waitrose, Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill persuading local voters to vote in favour of the Alternative Vote on Referendum Day on 5th May, as well as persuading people to sign a petition to give us all the chance of a local referendum on having a directly elected Mayor for Epping Forest.
Local Greens feel this would free councillors to represent their electors better as having a directly elected Mayor would replace the current council leader system by which the person who leads the party that wins a majority becomes Council Leader and dictates what happens with councillors doing as they are told and thus a Directly elected Mayor removes the need for the whip system, (as is already happening elsewhere), which we have in the council at the moment. The Green Party will be outside Waitrose again on the 30th April.
Friday, 15 April 2011
Monday, 11 April 2011
Buckhurst Hill Green Party Campaigner Steven Neville is holding a surgery to allow residents of the area to take up their concerns with him. He says ‘At this time of cuts people want to know someone is actually listening to them.’ The surgery will take place at St James’ United Reformed Church,
Palmerston Road, Buckhurst Hill, IG9 5NGfrom 10am to 12 noon on Saturday 16th April 2011.
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
I have been interested in the recent debate on the Educational Maintenance Allowance. It is designed so people from poorer backgrounds can get help with funding for books, travel etc. I have witnessed firsthand how this has helped students from less privileged backgrounds get an education. From this I will make two observations: a) a number of these had jobs as well and could not afford an education on that money alone; b) every day they signed a form to say they had attended classes. They thus got the money for the classes they attended. The EMA now has been scrapped by the Lib-Dem/Tory government and replaced with a new ‘targeted’ scheme. EMA cost £500 million, while the new scheme costs £180 million. Because people don’t fall into certain categories they will lose out. I once attended
and know how students from poorer backgrounds benefited from the EMA, while they will not under the new scheme. Caroline Lucas and the Green Party opposed the scrapping the EMA, as we saw the value. We see how it helps people who might not get a good education otherwise and may not be able to escape poverty. Both the Tories and Lib-Dems promised to protect the EMA and they have broken promises and betrayed a whole generation of school children. Epping Forest College
Saturday, 19 February 2011
Epping Forest Greens are backing the Say Yes to AV campaign; we believe the Alternative Vote (AV) is more democratic than the current First Past the Post (FPTP) system. It is a stepping stone on the path to reform of our electoral system. Of course we ultimately want a form of Proportional Representation, which the Green Party leader, Dr Caroline Lucas MP tried to give us by having the AV bill amended as it went through parliament. Although the Con-Dem government voted this down (Tories and Lib-Dems)
How does it work? It means every vote has a single transferable vote in which they can express the parties or candidates they most want to win in order of preference. So you may say your first preference is Green, 2nd Lib-Dem and third another. The first preference votes get added up and if one candidate gains over 50% then they are elected. If no candidate gains over 50%, then the candidate with the lowest share of 1st preference votes is removed and these votes transferred to the voters second preferences.
We back AV. Why? Because it means we all have a real say in who will represent us. We have a single transferable vote. People can vote more freely and know that their vote will count. In two thirds of seats the winner at the last election got less than 50% of the vote and so AV could affect who wins in such seats.
AV is how most parties elect their leader, from Labour and the Lib-Dems to Greens. It is also how the Mayor of London is elected.
It allows people for the first time in years to vote for whom they want and so ends the classic tactical vote whereby voters back another party to keep so and so out. Yes it may change certain results but that only be healthy for democracy.
Is it expensive? Well not much more than FPTP and that is not a good enough reason not to better the democratic system.
So we urge the voters of
Epping Forest to vote for AV over FPTP on 5th May.
Monday, 31 January 2011
Green Party welcomes NHS report calling for hump-free, bump-free 20mph speed limits on all residential roads
Health directors’ new report agrees with long-standing Green Party policy
Epping Forest Green Party has welcomed a new NHS report (1) on road deaths and injuries which strongly recommends a general 20 mph speed limit, without humps and bumps, on all residential roads.
Directors of Public Health in the North West have produced the report, which draws attention to the high rates of death and injury on roads in the region where children are more likely to be injured in RTCs than anywhere else in the country.
This is an incredibly important report from NHS Directors of Public Health. It says we have a serious problem with death and injury on the roads and it says the solution is a 20 mph limit. I agree.
The report presents compelling evidence that lives could have been saved and injuries reduced if 20 mph limits had been introduced in residential areas. We have called for residential roads in Epping Forest to have these limits as well as those areas near school and shops. The County Council have decided not to include us in a pilot scheme, which is just not on. I call on our Director of Public Health to do the same.
One of the report’s main points is that over four-fifths of child casualties occur on roads that have a speed limit of 30 mph, and statistical modelling shows that up to 140 killed or seriously injured child casualties could be saved each year if 20 mph speed limits had been applied in these areas.
In the report, road traffic casualty rates are measured for all local authorities in the North West.
Stockport is the “best” with 342 casualties per 100,000 population and Eden the worst at 793 per 100,000 population. had 477 casualties per 100,000 population. Lancaster
Other regions may have slightly better records, said the Greens, but they would be advised to follow the 20 mph policy to reduce road deaths further.
1. The full report, Road Traffic Collisions and Casualties in the North West of England, was produced by the North West Public Health Observatory in conjunction with NHS North West, the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, the Child and Maternal Health Observatory and the Trauma and Injury Intelligence Group. See http://www.nwph.net/nwpho/Publications/Forms/rta.html.