Welcome back to York…

Liberal Democrat Voice at Conference

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The timing of Spring Conference’s return to York is particularly significant for the city.

York Members and supporters 2015

As many will know, widespread flooding hit parts of the city over Christmas as residents and businesses were evacuated from their homes in the worst flooding seen since 1982.

The TV cameras and politicians who descended on York soon left, but the long hard clean-up operation has taken many weeks and for some will take many more.

The way local residents (as well as groups from all over the country) have rallied round has been tremendous. Nevertheless, the challenges have been significant.

A key hurdle – especially for businesses and tourist leaders – has been getting the message out that York is once-again open for business.

As Deputy Council Leader, I was pleased that we played our part by freezing car park charges to help local businesses and contributing £50,000 to a new UK-wide campaign to promote York.

The return of Lib Dem Spring Conference (after the success of 2014) will further show York is back on its feet. If you are attending you can also play your part by taking the chance to explore the city.

One area to visit is Fossgate – badly hit by the recent floods but with most of the shops now reopened it really is “one of the most unique shopping, eating and drinking experiences in York and beyond”. It’s just a 5-minute walk from the Barbican.

Elsewhere, York has something for everyone with so many historic sites, shops, pubs and restaurants. Take a visit to something or just enjoy a stroll around the bar walls – the most complete example of medieval city walls in England.

So, if you are coming to Conference get out and about whilst you’re here. And when you go home please tell friends and families about the city. We want York to be on everyone’s to do list in 2016.

Inside the Conference, there is the usual fascinating mix of speeches, debates and training. Something for everyone whether you are a conference veteran or a first-timer.

One event that might be of interest is on the Friday evening (8:15pm at the Novotel Meeting Room 3) where you can hear more about our success in the local elections last May in York.

This will also be an opportunity to hear how we have subsequently got on after forming a joint-administration in York with the Conservatives!

I look forward to seeing you at this event or elsewhere over the weekend. Enjoy Conference and most of all enjoy York.

* Keith Aspden has been the Councillor for Fulford Ward in York since 2003 and for Fulford and Heslington Ward since 2015. He is the Deputy Leader of City of York Council and the Liberal Democrat Deputy Chair of the LGA Fire Services Management Committee (FSMC).

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One Comment

  • Jonathan Hunt 22nd Feb '16 - 2:35pm

    We are delighted to return to the wonderful sights and streets of York, and are staying an extra day to enjoy it further. Hope the attention of such media attending will be drawn to the failure of government and its agencies to provide adequate protection for this jewel of English cities.

    And to subsidise the landowners upstream on the drainage boards of the Ouse, Foss and Wharfe whose actions on reducing ground vegetation, draining and burning grouse moors, plus dredging, embanking and straightening the rivers, ensure much greater quantities of heavy rainwater rushes much faster to towns and cities like York.

    Heavy rainfalls have to go somewhere, and the vested interests of landowners prioritise profits from crops and shoots before people.

    By putting the needs of grouse moor owners and farmers above the safety of urban dwellers they have been the cause of much of the flooding. Remember that the internal drainage boards, public bodies largely controlled by landowners, pay out sums to themselves to make more money at the expense of urban homeowners.

    High time for Lib Dems to repeal the Enclosure Acts!

    And pass the savings on to the long-suffering residents and businesses of York.

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