Liberal Democrats celebrate top Councillors and Council Groups

Baroness Sal Brinton, Lib Dem President presented the Lib Dem Council Group of the Year Awards at the Local Government Conference in Manchester in June, with awards for Lib Dem Council Groups across the Country who are leading the Lib Dem fightback from the grass roots, these included: 

City of York Liberal Democrat Group – Council Group of the Year Award

–       This group bucked the national trend to win 4 seats

–       They came back after losing seats in the 2011 elections. Key campaigns included:

o   Keeping a recycling depot open, including a 2,700 strong petition, press work and council motion

o   Got the Local Plan revised to deliver housing but protect the Green Belt

o   Stopped the closure of a swimming pool


Haringey Council Liberal Democrat Group – Highly Commended Opposition Group of the Year Award

–       Successfully challenged plans to move a library and campaigned for a new bus stop and safer road crossing

–       Launched a campaign for every school to have a safe crossing. Forced administration to agree to consider each school on a case by case basis

–       Campaigned for better children’s services in the borough, having found out that the council’s Childrens Services had the second worst rating from Ofsted inspectors

–       Called in Labour’s 3 year budget by persuading the cross party scrutiny committee that the budget was flawed, forcing a special vote at Full Council. First ever successful call-in of a budget in their borough

–       Fought Labour’s plans to abolish local area committees and uncovered the fact that Haringey spent £196,000 on legal fees and costs defending a high profile legal case.


Teignbridge District Council Liberal  Democrat Group – Opposition Group of the Year Award

–       Gained a seat this May

–       Gained almost 6,500 signatures via on-line campaigning, focus leaflets, door to door petitions against garden waste collection charges. It gained 3,952 new email addresses, 441 mobile numbers and 1,180 home phone numbers. Campaign meant the charges were deferred

–       Other petition campaigns included to save a minor injuries unit and a library

–       Successfully changed their council’s Local Plan,  making sure more affordable housing was included and the total number of new homes needed was based on evidence rather than an arbitrary target

–       Using scrutiny to question the Police and Crime Commissioner over the closure of police stations


Cllr David Noakes and the Southwark Council Liberal Democrat Group – Healthier Communities Award

Despite losses of Councillors in 2014 and the MP this year, the group are continuing to campaign hard – identifying key issues which resonate with core Lib Dem values. A good example of this is the work one of their Councillors, with Lib Dem Group support, has done with his borough’s LGBT and HIV/AIDS awareness charities and groups:

o   He worked with the national “Halve It” organisation to halve the number of people diagnosed with late HIV and halve the number of people living with undiagnosed HIV by 2020. Southwark has the second highest HIV prevalence rates in England and Wales.

o   He invited a guest speaker from the “Halve it” campaign to speak to a full council meeting and persuaded his Labour and Tory counterparts to support a council motion on the issue, and has been adopted by the council’s Cabinet.

o   The Lib Dem Council group ensured there was an integrated Lib Dem parliamentary and local campaign on the issue, gaining coverage in the local paper and LGBT press.

o   The council group has also campaigned for the Bakerloo line to be extended through the borough, persuaded the Council to raise the financial threshold before selling council homes, and has secured cross party support over empty/second homes and community mental health services.


Community Champion Award – Adam Dance, South Somerset District Council Liberal Democrat Group

This councillor stood for a County Council two years ago, was the subject of a homophobic bullying campaign by a local Tory and refused to give in when faced with a Tory campaign to get rid of him as Parish Council chair. He stood for the District Council and topped the poll, working with his running mate to win two Conservative seats. If he had not done that there was no way the Lib Dems could be in a position to continue, with the support of Independents, to control their District Council.


Leader’s Award 2015 – Bedford Liberal Democrat Group & Mayor Dave Hodgson

They successfully retained the Mayoralty and held 9 council seats.


Putting Liberal Values into practice award – Oldham Liberal Democrat Group

Some great pro-active work over issues like the Peace Pledge, (all signatory councils have to pledge to build peace on the ground in their communities), holding Labour to account over plans to reduce the chance for the opposition to ask questions, and have been campaigning inside the council and outside of it on the issue of food poverty and on benefit sanctions.


* Cllr Terry Stacy MBE is head of the Liberal Democrat office at the Local Government Association

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  • Richard Underhill 28th Jun '15 - 12:08pm

    Tunbridge Wells Liberal Democarts probably did not apply for an award, but did ensure the demolition of a derelict former cinema, paid for by the owners, firstly removing 40 tons of asbestos and then demolishing the entire site, using section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, if memory serves.

    There was a brief period during which people were amazed at the success of a petition having about 14,000 signatures.

    Architects have written to the local newspaper opining about impossibility. Probably what they mean is that a developnent would be commercially unattractive, despite the town centre location. The owners have put the site up for sale.

    A mixed development of housing with a few shops would be possible. Commercial interests always try to maximise profit and there is a powerful conservation lobby, but an iconoic building would be posssible with sufficent imagination, sadly lacking at p[resent with a Tory controlled. borough council.

  • suzanne fletcher 11th Jul '15 - 2:22pm

    given the sad state of some areas, wonder if there needs to be recognition of “lone councillor” of the year.

  • Richard Underhill 25th May '16 - 7:48am

    Liberal Democrat Borough Councillor David John Neve becomes Mayor of Tunbridge Wells on 25/5/2016.
    He has more than 20 years continuous service.
    He was re-elected in May 2014 with 751 votes. Tory 247, UKIP 246, Labour 184.

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