Tag Archives: kingston council

Beyond potholes … addressing fly-tipping is an issue LibDems can campaign on in cities everywhere

Canvassing in the Hounslow by-election recently, I couldn’t help but notice old refrigerators, household waste, and builders’ rubble accumulated on the street corners and estates of Heston West. Residents were fed up and felt that they were being taken for granted. Statistically, Hounslow has the 2nd highest number of fly-tipping incidents in London. Even more depressing is that the Labour-run Council only bothered to issue 53 Fixed Penalty Notice fines for fly-tipping in 12 months. (Fly-tipping data for all UK Local Authorities is available here).

Fly-tipping is a real blight on the sense of pride everyone wants for the place they live. Council-run housing estates are especially popular locations for fly-tipping. Even worse, the daily exposure to stained mattresses, soiled nappies, and other waste constantly drags on the mental health and general well-being of the people living on them.

For Liberal Democrats getting serious about fixing urban fly-tipping is an opportunity to show city-dwellers what a community-minded approach can achieve. Our Heston West candidate has already adopted action on this blight as one of the major themes of his campaign. There is a lot Local Authorities can do about this problem, but only a few are doing enough. For challengers in Local Elections, this is an opportunity to demonstrate the difference a LibDem approach can make.

Two years ago in “leafy” Kingston there was a noticeable increase in fly-tipping during the pandemic. Statistically, Kingston is one of London’s least fly-tipped boroughs, but that is no consolation for people living with a problem in their area. Certain streets and locations of the borough received significant dumps of household waste/furniture and black bags. Housing estates and flats above shops especially had problems. Council Departments in Housing, Highways, and Parks were not working together, and issues were being handled poorly, frustrating residents and Councillors. And just Like Hounslow at that time very few Fixed Penalty Notices were being issued.

With the support of the LibDem Group, I initiated a fly-tipping task force. The task force brought together councillors, officers, and the vast amount of data gathered by the Council to identify ‘hot spots’. We then systematically set about fixing the worst areas through site visits and engaging with residents and local businesses. Each area had a slightly different problem and some issues were more difficult to resolve than others.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 11 Comments

How Lib Dem Councils respond to emergencies

For many years I have groused that Conference makes celebrities of our MPs but ignores our Council Leaders, many of whom exercise far more power than their Westminster colleagues.

Ed Davey gets that, not least because some of us in Kingston have been bending his ear for years. He notably asked Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council (which Lib Dems have held for 35 years or so), to summate on the Carers motion, which was so close to his heart. And he frequently references his wife, Emily, who is the portfolio holder for Housing on Kingston Council.

I am unashamedly reporting on a fringe that not only focussed on local government but also drew on experiences in my own patch. The meeting, held yesterday evening, was run by the Lib Dem group on the Local Government Association, under the title 2020: Managing a crisis and major incidents, from Covid to flooding.

Cllr Ruth Dombey popped up again, ably chairing the session. The panel consisted of the Leaders of York City Council (Keith Aspden) and the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Council (Caroline Kerr), with portfolio holder colleagues (Darryl Smalley from York and Tim Cobbett from Kingston). They all emphasised that the strong community involvement and partnership working that characterises Lib Dem run Councils put them in a very good position to respond to the Covid crisis.

Posted in Conference | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Got some spare time? Can you help out in Kingston today?

There’s a whole crop of by-elections today across the country. ALDC have the details here over three pages. Have a look for details of one near you and do what you can to help your local campaign.

However, there is only one Liberal Democrat defence, in Edward Davey’s Kingston constituency, so here at the Voice we are asking Liberal Democrat supporters reading this to concentrate their efforts there.

Lesley Heap is our candidate in Beverley ward. She’s a former NHS worker who’s now a swimming coach. She’s lived in the ward for 12 years.  And she needs you to ring her supporters …

Posted in Local government, London and News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Why I didn’t go down to Eastleigh

sushilaresultAs well as being one of the day editors on Lib Dem Voice, Mary Reid is chair of Kingston Liberal Democrats. The local party covers the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, which includes the whole of the Kingston & Surbiton constituency, plus a third of the Richmond Park constituency.

Actually I would have loved to have joined in the fun at Eastleigh. It is an easy journey down the M3 from where I live. But while all the national focus was on the south coast, here in Kingston we had our own needle match to fight.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

Election results thread

Most eyes will be on the Feltham & Heston Parliamentary by-election, but there are also a handful of council by-elections being held including a double-header in near-by Kingston, where the Liberal Democrats are trying to take two seats off the Conservatives.

We will update the site in due course with the results and party reaction, but for the time being here is a discussion thread…

UPDATE:

Sky News reports turnout in Feltham & Heston at 31%. Very low, but also in typical Sky ‘never wrong for long’ style, wrong. Turnout turns out to be even lower: 28.8%. It was 59.9% at the general …

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged | 24 Comments
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