Friday, 29 November 2013

Little Buddies: Sign the Petition

Following on from the meeting Steven has set up an online petition.

Threat to Little Buddies

On Tuesday Night Steven Neville joined campaigners at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Epping Forest District Council who were considering their response to the Consultation (See here for proposal and here for consultation which finishes on 5th December) into the future provision in Essex. The plans include shutting Little Buddies - the only such centre in Buckhurst Hill. Below is the transcript of what he said: I am talking to you today about Little Buddies, which in this consultation is threatened with closure. Firstly I would like to clear up a few myths about this plan. Firstly Little Buddies is not on a main road. Queens Road is our main shopping centre, but Little Buddies is actually on Victoria Road, near the underground station, and has a number of bus routes close by. The second myth is poor parking. There is ample parking in Waitrose next door, in Queens Roads, in the public car park at the bottom of Queens Road and in nearby Forest Edge. I would also question the rumour that it is less used than other centres, but indeed Essex will know better about that. Its Reach or catchment area is largely Buckhurst Hill West, Loughton Forest and Loughton St Mary’s, each of which has hidden pockets of poverty: people living in flats on low incomes with high rents. It is also used by people who are intended to use Sunrise Alderton Hall Lane, i.e. people in Buckhurst Hill East, as they consider that venue hard to get to with no direct bus route and some walk from the station. Some residents in Buckhurst Hill East especially cannot afford train fares and bus fares, so they have to walk with a buggy. It will take over an hour if not more from somewhere like Hornbeam Road. I challenge Councilors to walk with a buggy for that length of time. Even if they get on to a bus there is a rule of no more than two buggies at a time. What if there are already two on there? Hard luck maybe. Even if you luckily drive try getting your child out at school opening and closing times at Sunrise: it can be dangerous, and if you come under the train bridge you may to cross a dangerously busy road in Oakwood Hill. It should be noted that people meant for the Limes Farm Centre also use Little Buddies. Also if I am correct about the usage of Little Buddies, how would Sunrise cope with all these extra families? I would ask what extra resources are going to be brought in and is the move financially worth it? An issue is also outreach, as when Stage 3 came in they should have changed the Reach areas so that Little Buddies served Buckhurst Hill East and West, which would have made sense. Because they did not, issues arise with catchment. Most of the usable halls are religious and some families will not use a church because they come from another faith. So this limits what you can do, as in the area there is only Lopping Hall and Loughton Library and that’s it. Everything else is a church hall and not all of them are adequate for use. Some are expensive and with marketing budgets down fewer people know about this valuable service. If things had been configured as I suggest for Reach areas there is the Wollard Centre and Roding Valley Hall in Buckhurst Hill alone which are right on the door steps of Buckhurst Hill residents. Another problem for the outreach is that, although once they had a van to take things around, workers are now expected to use cars to travel around and they have to travel around with a lot of stuff: I would ask who is going to reimburse them. Finally another myth is that Buckhurst Hill is ok. On top of areas of deprivation, its highest crime is domestic violence (which is classless), there are teens who have drug problems, people with mental health issues and that’s just scratching the surface. Children’s Centres are there for families who are afflicted by social problems and that does not just include deprivation

Monday, 18 November 2013

Threat to Essex Youth Services

A few years ago, the Youth Service at Essex had a budget then of around £12m, that budget was cut a couple of years ago to just £5m ensuring a wave of redundancies across the County of experienced and professional Youth Workers. I know the good work they do and this could be lost. The latest proposal coming from County are cuts of £3m bringing the total budget for the whole county down to just £2m. The latest cut of £3m, or 60%, is disproportionate to the budget cuts required at Essex, yet again young people with no vote have been singled out. There is a consultation running online at present but the closing date is the 20 November. You can find the page here and I believe that it vital that as many people respond to these proposals as possible.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Threat to Free School Transport

Essex County Council have plans to end free school transport. This will hit the poorest hardest. Let us not forget Essex County have the highest Councillor expenses in East Anglia and cabinet members have chauffer driven cars. However it is not too late! For information visit To have your say, email

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Roding Lane Bridge Update

When at the end of 2012 lights were put either side of Roding Lane Bridge inbetween Buckhurst Hill and Chigwell, there was outcry as traffic, at peak times, went all the way back to the top of Palmerston Road. When we were told this would be there for over a year many local residents and I asked for it to be brought forward, spending the necessary money to get the bridge fixed and safe again. We were delighted when we were told it would be completed by the summer. Well summer has gone and we are told Essex County Council went ahead without getting up all the consents needed from the Environment Agency and utility companies, or drawing up all the plans needed for successful completion. As a result we are told that it will be the end of the year at least until the project is complete. In the meantime local residents have to contend with long queues. Was the decision to proceed due to political pressure, or did the relevant officers in the Highways department make the decision alone? Either way this is maladministration and incompetence, and wasting of ratepayers’ money and we in the Green Party want to know who made these decisions and how they are going to be held to account?

Friday, 26 July 2013

Cycling News

 Fellow Greens and Cycling Campaigners Chris Lord and Nicky Fuller have received the backing of Buckhurst Hill Parish Council, who have promised £500 for a feasibility study by national cycling organisation Sustrans, following the same being promised by Loughton Town Council. This study will look into improving on- and off-road cycling routes between Loughton, Chigwell and Buckhurst Hill. Good News!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

20 is Plenty: Some Results

I am writing  in getting some  results towards Essex Council creating 20 mph area wide limits, Ideally this would cover residential areas including schools. Limits do not usually involve road humps. Some roads are exempted where warranted.  Essex have handed powers down to Epping Forest Highways Panel. The suggestion is the odd road here and there will be effective in reducing speeds. While I welcome this move I do so up to a point as it could become ineffective. It needs to cover areas of roads not just single roads.

20mph limits have been success in all sorts of places from Portsmouth to NE Somerset. Iconic cities such as Oxford, Cambridge, York and Bath are implementing them. 20mph limits reduce accidents and average speeds. They enhance traffic flow and reduce pollution. Children get more exercise as parents feel more confident in allowing children to walk and cycle. Research shows children’s visual systems do not reliably see traffic faster than 20mph.

They can be afforded infact
Residential 20 mph limits is the single most cost effective measure that a Local Authority can take to reduce road casualties, make streets more attractive for walking and cycling and improve the quality of life of residents. They offer excellent value for money particularly when compared with the high cost of new infrastructure.

Your support helps 20’s Plenty for Epping Forest demonstrate to Local Councillors, (who determine local speed limits) that 20mph is popular.  So sign the 20 is Plenty Petiton.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Thank You

I would just like to thank you to all those who voted for me on 2nd May 2013 in Buckhurst Hill and Loughton South. We increaed our share of the vote on four years ago from 6 to 7%. We did by far and away our best result in the Buckhurst Hill East section of the county division where it was close between us and the Conservatives. The Lib Dem vote sharnk further. Elsewhere Essex has its first two Green County Councillors, James Abbott and Michael Hoy who i know worked extrememly hard for the result. Both men got elected as District Councillors first and next year we will fight the Conservatives hard to win Buckhurst Hill East.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Steven Neville for Buckhurst Hill and Loughton South

On 2nd May 2013, we have the chance for electing a new county councillor in Buckhurst Hill and Loughton South. Fours years ago I stood for the division and beat Labour amongst others. This year with the collapsed Lib Dem vote there are real chances for progress. Last year 26 votes separated me and the Conservatives in the Buckhurst Hill East part of the division.
County deals with education and youth facilities and Highways, among other things.
If elected I will be pushing for:
 more funding for Highways so we can mend our roads and footpaths  our Highways Panel to reduce speed limits in residential roads for the safety of all  better bus services  more primary school places  tackling the issue of siblings being forced to go to different schools  holding Essex to account over its spending cuts to Highways  Challenge Essex over its lack of accountability.
 As someone who works with young people I am concerned about the lack of youth facilities and have working with community based group this year to start to redress this.

I am concerned that Essex Councillors have the highest expenses in East Anglia. This is appalling when you think of the state of our roads and the cutbacks we have seen: with fewer inspectors to look at our areas of concern it takes longer than it used to get things sorted. Steven Neville Here all year.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Green Matters Spring Season

Following the Epping Forest Green Party's successful autumn series of talks called Green Matters, we return in the spring with 3 new talks. On March 5th Dr Terence Lewis of Greenfootprint Consulting will be talking about Off Grid energy. On 11th April Jean Lambert MEP will be talking about a Green Vision for Europe. And on 7th May John Stewart of Airportwatch will be talking about potential airport expansion.

All of these talks will be at the Railway Tavern, Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill, and will start at 7:30pm. There be a £2 entrance fee to cver hire of room.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

167 diversion

It has been brought to my attention that due to the resurfacing work on the 7th, 8th and 11th in Loughton between 9.30am and 3.30pm, there is no information regarding the 167 and any diversion it might take during that time.

I have contacted Transport for London who have told me during the above hours if you are going to Debden then go to Buckhurst Hill Station and the bus will go up Palmerston Road and along the High Road before completing the journey as normal. If you are going to Ilford the bus will go along the High Road down Palmerston Road and then complete the journey as normal. Apparently signs should have gone up at the bus stops along the route, 3 or 4 days before the diversion, explaining this diversion to the route and none have appeared. I have requested that signs appear and Transport for London said they will do so. The question is why did they not go up 3 or 4 days before hand?

Please tell those you know who uses this route about the diversion.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Roding Lane Bridge

Hello I called on Essex County Council to bring forward repairs on the weak bridge in Roding Lane. In the morning rush hour queues can be going right to the top of Palmerston Road. We were told that actual repairs will not be for another year. That is simply untenable! It seemed another case of Tories not wanting to spend money on urgent repairs. ’Readers will notice that repairs are now scheduled for Spring 2013 another success for the campaigning Green Party looking after local residents interests