Councillor James Baker writes about the importance of consultation before Council assets are sold.
Labour leader Tim Swift is concerned about changes in legislation that might mean local people and democratic bodies may have less of a role in consultation around NHS changes. He has written to party leaders asking them to lobby our local MPs on the topic. I agree Cllr Swift is right to raise concerns over this issue, I believe strongly that local people should be involved in decisions that impact upon them. It should be the case that administrators can make these sorts of decisions without accountability.
I would urge Cllr Swift to also examine the actions of the Council which he leads. This month it launched just a 21 day consultation with ward Councillors over the closure of a local community centre. This period included the entire duration of the Christmas period in which many people will be away, visiting family and loved ones. The governmental advisory guidelines do have something to say on this:
Timeframes for consultation should be proportionate and realistic to allow stakeholders sufficient time to provide a considered response and where the consultation spans all or part of a holiday period policy makers should consider what if any impact there may be and take appropriate mitigating action.
The Pellon Network Centre is a complex issue, and we need more time to work with community groups and third sector organisations to explore the potential of a community right to bid and asset transfer. Pellon isn’t Hebden Bridge though, there aren’t lots of highly skilled retired professionals with the means to take on an asset like this at the drop of the hat. That doesn’t mean people in the area are not entirely capable, they just need some additional support and training.
As it stands the consultation ends on the 30th of December, which is actually the 6th day of Christmas. This really isn’t long enough for myself or the other ward Councillors who are all opposed to this closure to create a detailed argument backed up with both qualitative and quantitative evidence as to why the centre should be retained.
We all understand the Council needs to make savings, (although that is harder to stomach when it’s also building a brand new central library). However we should still have time so that ward Councillors, as elected representatives of the people, can be properly involved in a process. At the moment that process is entirely led by a small group of senior officers and Councillors acting with a large amount of executive power. If you want a more startling example, then you only need to look at the Council’s admission that an asset as big as the Shay could be sold off without Full Council even having a stay in the matter.
Stoodley By-election result:
Liberal Democrats in Todmorden and Calderdale announce, newly elected,
Councillor Zaheer Abbas held the seat in the Stoodley By-election with a wide margin over Labour
The confirmed results are;
Zaheer Abbas (LD) 203 (40%)
Steph Booth (Lab) 123 (24%)
Stephen Curry (Ind) 71 (14%)
Christian Jackson (National Front) 59 (12%)
Philip Walters (Ind – former Lib Dem) 53 (12%)
Lib Dem hold.
Commenting, local Lib Dem organiser, Dr Mick Taylor said “This is a stunning victory for Cllr Abbas and the Liberal Democrats. It shows the local electorate have confidence in their Lib Dem councillors and think they are doing a good job. The Labour campaign on the other hand was a disaster. It was led by their current parliamentary candidate and their Stoodley Ward candidate stood for them in the General Election in 2010. Yet they got just 24% of the vote compared to 40% for the Lib Dems.” Dr Taylor added, “It’s good to see that the racist national front could garner so few votes.”
Councillor Abbas has pledged to serve his community, local and national party.
Lib Dems Calderdale wish to thank all party members and volunteers’ in achieving an outstanding result.
Picture shows the victorious Lib Dem Cllr Abbas with Calder Ward Cllr Janet Battye (left) and Stoodley Ward Cllr Margareta Holmstedt (right)
Calderdale Liberal Democrats have selected their candidate for Calder Valley for the 2015 general election, Alisdair Calder McGregor, at a packed hustings at the Shay stadium. The contenders for the role were quizzed by party members for over two hours before a vote was taken.
Winning candidate Alisdair Calder McGregor pledged: “I will bring a forthright Liberal campaign to the Calder Valley, fighting for a Fairer Society”
“The priorities for Calder Valley are a Stronger Economy to enable everyone to get on in life, better transport links between our communities, and the protection of community and social spaces like Calderdale’s pubs.”
Council group leader Janet Battye commented “I’m pleased that we’re strengthening the local Liberal Democrat team. I am looking forward to developing our manifesto and explaining it to local people”
Party chair Dr Michael Taylor said “I am delighted that we have selected an enthusiastic and committed candidate to fight and win Calder Valley for the Liberal Democrats. Watch out Craig Whittaker, we’re coming for your seat.”
Alisdair and the rising numbers of Calder Valley Liberal Democrats are fighting to win in the current Stoodley Ward by-election and next May’s European and Council elections as well as pushing towards the General election campaign.
Alisdair has been selected to fight the Calder Valley constituency in the 2015 General election.
Leaving the European Union could spark the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in Yorkshire & Humber. Analysis of figures from a YouGov poll revealed around 4,641 businesses in the region could face closure if Britain withdrew from the EU.
It could mean job losses of up to 124,000 as companies battle with life outside the world’s biggest single market.
Cllr James Baker said:
“Calderdale as a host of companies for whom membership of the EU is essential for their trade. These companies and the business they generate with Europe create the jobs that help pay the bills and feed people’s families . Put simply: it’s in Europe, in work.”
“UKIP and many Tories who say we should withdraw from the EU. This would be a reckless gamble with our economy, they have some difficult questions to answer about how these businesses who say they would close if we pulled out of the EU would be replaced.”
“As Liberal Democrats we believe in working closely with our neighbors. Cooperation between nations is essential for building a stronger economy and creating more jobs in the region. ”
“That means reforming the EU to make it easier for local businesses to expand their exports, both to Europe and the rest of the world.”
Local Labour cabinet leaders are missing the point about Children’s Centres and Early Years Services. A vision must be much more than “keeping the Children’s Centres open”, which is a good cause in itself, but not the whole story.
Children’s Centres are a part of Early Years Services, so it is important that the Council is clear about their role and function, and that local people understand this. Why should local families “need and value” the centres if they don’t know what they are for?
So, let’s have a clear vision, and a strategy describing how the vision can be put into action – and then get on and do it, but within available funding.
– Cllr Janet Battye, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Calderdale Council.